Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Springtime Birding along Underwood Creek

A warmer than usual Saturday morning in early April had me thinking about birds.  Again.  I drove the SPT out onto the freeway and headed west.  After a short cut-through on Discovery Lane in Wauwatosa, and a quick jaunt up Swan Blvd; I pulled into the parking lot at Hoyt Park.

Tree leaves had begun budding and the forest floor along the river showed signs of life in the form of fresh green shoots.  The water in the noisy creek was high and running rapidly to the east.  The trees at the trailhead were alive with Ruby-crowned kinglets dashing to and fro in search of insects. Standing still only for fractions of a second; they present an intimidating photographic subject. Songs of many other birds filled the air as I slowly walked along the rain-dampened soil of the trail.  A group of children explored the playground equipment as some young men practiced volleyball.  Only the popular and often bustling Hoyt Beer Garden was silent on this particular day.

Over the next two and a half hours I walked my "usual" circular pathway and tallied 31 species of birds.  Noticeably missing were the many, many warblers that would be arriving in the next couple of weeks.  I also did not see any ground dwelling sparrows like White-crowned and White-throats.  I did however record my FOY dragonfly and Garter snake, as well as many Clouded Sulphur and Red Admiral butterflies.  Compare this spring to 2013 at Hoyt, and you will notice the differences.

The County Detention Pond in Spring

A male Ruby-crowned kinglet flashes his crown

You can see just a bit of this male's red crown

A Ruby-crowned kinglet briefly pauses on a branch
Here is a Golden-crowned kinglet on a spruce tree
Siberian Squill in a log

Siberian Squill
Wisconsin's State Flower - Wood Violet

(Myrtle) Yellow-rumped warbler

A White-breasted nuthatch is caught outside it's knot hole nest.

This Garter snake decided to take a swim in a mud puddle

The wind ruffles the feathers of this detention pond Song sparrow

A Killdeer near the railroad tracks

This Mallard's bright green head shines in the sun

A Red Admiral butterfly sits on some dead leaves

Here's the rebuilt Hoyt bridge from below

A female Hairy woodpecker searches the bark for insects

A blooming Dogwood along the trail

A Black-capped chickadee perches on a twig

Classic shot of a Black-capped chickadee on a branch

A robin's nest below the new Hoyt Park bridge

This male American robin watches from the safety of a tree
This female robin is carrying nesting materials
and is warily watching the male cardinal

List of birds seen:

  1. Mallard
  2. Common Merganser
  3. Pied-billed Grebe
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Killdeer
  6. Ring-billed Gull
  7. Red-tailed Hawk
  8. Belted Kingfisher
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Hairy Woodpecker
  12. Northern Flicker
  13. Blue Jay
  14. American Crow
  15. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  16. Black-capped Chickadee
  17. White-breasted Nuthatch
  18. Brown Creeper
  19. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  20. American Robin
  21. House Sparrow
  22. House Finch
  23. American Goldfinch
  24. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  25. Eastern Towhee
  26. Savannah Sparrow
  27. Song Sparrow
  28. Northern Cardinal
  29. Red-winged Blackbird
  30. Common Grackle
  31. Brown-headed cowbird