Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leading a Hike

Orange Audubon has started holding Spring Migration bird walks in addition to their previous Fall walks out at Mead Garden and I was asked to lead one of the groups today. The attendance has been pretty high this year and we need to split up into two group so no one area is too crowded. My group headed to the Southern side of the gardens while Larry headed toward the Butterfly garden just to the North.

Our first bird was a fast moving Palm Warbler. Most other Palms moved North not long ago. This one busy trying to catch some tiny moths. There is one in its bill.

Palm Warbler

We headed to the 'ear-trees', (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), and started to find several Warblers but they were so high in the tree it made photos pretty difficult. However, we did record Northern Parula, Black and white Warbler, and Cape May Warblers here.

Barred Owls are out of the nest but the youngsters were tucked in some foliage while one of the adults sat in the bright morning sunlight.

Barred Owl

We did not find too many birds out this morning but the Gray Catbirds gathered in large numbers down by the new bridge by the creek. They were eating fruit from the palm trees. Not too far away we entered the boardwalk and were quickly met by a small flock of Cedar Waxwings and a often hidden female Cape May Warbler.

Cedar Waxwing

Over in the willows, a Prairie Warbler darted in and out of leaves in search of insects.

Prairie Warbler

Out in the open, a male Black and White Warbler prowled the branches and tree trunks just past the railings.

Black and White Warbler

Before we exited the boardwalk I spied beautiful a Five-lined Skink along the rails.

Five-lined Skink

Folks began to drift apart by the time we got to the Butterfly Garden. Time for a sit down at the benches. I spotted a Great-Crested Flycatchers darting around the back of the lawn so I tried to outflank it for a photo. Success!

Great-Crested Flycatcher

Over at the Clay Pit we checked for any migrants in the mulberries. Nope. We instead watched a Great Blue Heron swoop in and do a short bit of hunting before it nabbed a snake.

Great Blue Heron

Upon closer inspection it appeared to be a Banded Water Snake. Yum!

Great Blue Heron

One the way back to the car I stopped by the Red-shouldered Hawk's nest. I didn't look too closely first thing in the morning but now we could clearly see 2 little fuzzy heads bopping around up there.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Finally, I got to see one of the juvenile Barred Owls before I headed home.

Barred Owl

Some interesting birds for the day and some warblers even I was wanting to see. Now we settle in for the hot months and dream of Fall migration.

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