Sunday, July 9, 2017

Oak Openings Metropark - 03 Jul 2017

After last night's downpours the day was supposed to be nice. It was. I arrived at Oak Openings Metropark shortly after 7 am and enjoyed a nice morning watching Lark Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Chipping Sparrows.

Good start! A brightly-colored male Scarlet Tanager was a nice find as I drove slowly along Girdham Rd. toward the Metropark. It was far back in the field and I felt uncomfortable driving on the two-track where it was perched. So, as I back up another pair of Scarlet Tanagers appeared just outside the car window to my left. But, wouldn't you know it - the camera jammed. Dead batteries. Switched batteries, and still had a frozen shutter. Not a good start. But, the Girdham Rd. corridor was a gem of a habitat, and I could see why its so popular among birders.

I arrived at the Lark Sparrow nesting site and spotted several birds on the road ahead of me. But, they were uncooperative and would remain so for the rest of the morning. However, the Red-headed Woodpeckers were out and I would enjoy some nice digiscoping from 300' away.

This image of the Red-headed Woodpecker is almost identical to the one Paul Jacyk posted on Facebook yesterday. Same bird, same tree, same branch, and almost the same pose. Wild.

Baby birds were about. A fledgling Chipping Sparrow was foraging on the road ahead of me while an adult Chipper was foraging nearby. A short time later I'd find a fledgling Field Sparrow near the cemetery fence. Note the white eye-ring.

I then drove by the Lodge and headed back toward the airport to look for Grasshopper Sparrows. I wasn't disappointed. From a side road I was able to digiscope several birds at fairly close range, but they didn't stay around long.

Another loop through the Metropark kicked up a pair of Common Yellowthroats, and another attempt at the Red-headed Woodpeckers.

I was happy to see this juvenile Eastern Phoebe singing "Fee-BEE". It helped me verify identification of not only it, but the exact same-looking bird that was in my yard late last evening. The cinnamon wing bars and dark beak, grayish chest,  and light tail pumping are also nice clues.

Other highlight birds seen or heard included Wood Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Red-tailed Hawk, Summer Tanager, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, and Indigo Buntings.

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