Hurricane Michael came along and cancelled our walk, but today 16 people came out to enjoy the area and feel refreshed in a much cooler morning. We had Norther Flickers, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, Carolina Wrens and House wrens all over the place. The exciting fly overs were 6 Coopers Hawks, 5 Kestrels, at least one Northern Harrier, all in migratory flight. Five species of warbler, and guess what is back. Fall is here, Yellow-rumped Warblers. Exciting was the flash across of one Yellow-billed Cuckoo and just as we were leaving, this one gave decent views. The eBird List can be seen here. Photo by Fred Hileman
Ten Birders joined Eileen and Jim today on the ILT and the group was able to tally at least 35 species. Bev Hansen spoke about Mary Dowdell's recent passing and I dedicated the walk to Mary's wonderful memory. It was a beautiful morning and our participants were so appreciative of the birds we saw. At the start, a mob of A. CROWS were upset at a BARRED OWL in the big oak tree by the parking area. Among other highlights, were good looks at 2 YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERs and a PRAIRIE WARBLER, a soaring BALD EAGLE, group of 4 flying SANDHILL CRANEs, many E. BLUEBIRDs, several COMMON GROUND DOVEs, a LITTLE BLUE HERON in a small cypress tree, and a somewhat unusual, for Cooter Pond, OSPREY flying over looking for breakfast.
The first walk for the season brought us face to face with a "Murder" of Crows and a hoard of mosquitoes. But neither was a deterrent to our enjoyment for a fun time after a long hiatus. The crows, hawks, titmice, woodpeckers and others were extremely upset in an area that to our surprise was not the Barred Owl that we had heard, but the Great Horned Owl. The Owl finally left the area, but I could still hear him off in the distance with his very low, "Ho-hoo-hoo." Warblers were not in great numbers, but we all got looks at two Blue-winged Warblers. For me, this was only the second and third time that I had seen one. We had gone into an area prior to exiting at the point in the above picture, but Ken could not pass up the opportunity to "expose" us. Although he had been in the area, someone had to take the photo. We had just been treated to several excited species because of a tiny snake that was coiled on a tree above our heads.
We had a Prairie warbler and the first Blue-winged Warbler near this spot. You wouldn't think that this tiny creature would have startled so many birds into action, but all snakes can be a threat to their survival. We tallied 25 species of which the list can be seen at this eBird link. Fred Hileman Photos by Ken Spilios