Sunday, December 29, 2013

Walsingham Park in the Rain

Heavy rains were forecast for the day but they weren't too bad so I headed over to Walsingham Park to see if anything was on the water. There was not of birding activity as I drove in but after I parked and walked to the playground I could see a lot of birds in feeding flocks streaming across the pines and oaks. Most were Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers so I decided to not chase them too hard in poor light and with sprinkles moving in.

I scanned the main lake and found a male Anhinga trying to dry out on a Wax Myrtle branch in the wind.


Behind me, in a pine tree, a Palm Warbler was busy grabbing bugs when it could.

Palm Warbler

I continued to check the edge of the lake when a sudden rush of Yellow-rumped Warblers moved through. I took up a spot under a palm tree and waited for a photo op to arrive. Again, the lighting was poor but seeing so many birds feeding in the trees made it fun to watch. Most were females like this one.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Every now and then a male would swing by to feed before moving along. Note how he is transitioning to his Spring colors already.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Another female Yellow-rumped Warbler inspects the Wax Myrtles, a favorite tree for them which also gave them their initial name.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Moving on, I was hearing Gray Catbirds but they were being too shy for a photo. Soon, I began to hear another sound I was trying to ID. I knew it from the past but it had been a while. Then it hit me. Eastern Towhee! I tracked the sound and in a couple seconds, a female emerged from the scrub.

Eastern Towhee

I spotted the male hiding in the back but had to wait a bit more for him to come out into the open.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhees are primarily ground feeders and you sometimes only know they are there by hearing them scratching on the soil to find seeds and such. I stayed stationary for a couple more minutes and they began to forage right in front of me along the roadside.

Eastern Towhee

We used to catch Eastern Towhees at my old banding site and I really miss this species. They bite like crazy but they are amazing to watch and to hear. Did you know they are actually sparrows?

Eastern Towhee

I moved down to the next parking lot to see if I could find anything else hiding on the lakes before heading out but only saw some gulls and Red-winged Blackbirds before a Northern Mockingbird jumped up onto the top of a dead snag.

Northern Mockingbird

Then I heard another bird calling. A bit different from before but it turned out to be another male Eastern Towhee on territory. It continued to call as I got into position for a new shot.

Eastern Towhee

One last picture of the Towhee before heading back to base.

Eastern Towhee

Finally, the only other birds near the reeds were a couple of Common Yellowthroats and a few American Coots.

American Coot

While I did not find any ducks as I had hoped, it was a nice quick stop near my folks house. The rain is lighter than predicted. Should I make another run at a Life Bird before going home to Orlando? Hmmmm...

No comments: