Sunday, September 11, 2005

Today Belongs to Goldfinches

OK, so even husbands can be right once in a while! If he had just told me he was talking about the Hay Creek area which I have never been able to find, I might have gone more willingly this morning. Anyway, Jody, Melissa and I decided to take a chance on this tip and it was worth it. We parked the car just before the washed-out bridge in Birdsboro (fitting place for birding, huh?) and before we were completely out of the car, a ruby-throated hummingbird popped up out of the weedy growth by the stream to look at us. “OK,” I thought “this is a good omen.”

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here the past few days. A little chilly in the early morning, but warming up nicely by mid-morning without the abysmal humidity we had last month. We walked about two miles up the road which included a second washed out bridge that we had to climb a ladder to get over, but the area yielded quite a few species, including Carolina Wren (very vocal today), Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Chipping Sparrow, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Mockingbird, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Turkey Vulture and Blue Jay.

The most frequently seen bird today was the American Goldfinch. There were close to fifty in a flock chipping, fluttering, and diving near a clearing where two small streams converge. We watched them for a long time and they seemed to be consuming the tiniest gravel from the walkway and well as the sycamore and pine pods. They were in all variations of plumage (from dull brown to yellow-green to spectacular yellow and black), so it was a good opportunity for Jody and Melissa to get the gisss of them (“gisss” being the general indications of size, shape and sound). There were a few full breeding plumage males that were gorgeous.

We walked back without seeing too much more. Melissa and I stalked a Belted Kingfisher without much luck. Melissa got a wet foot and muddy pants for it! However, back at the parking lot we saw a grand specimen of a Great Blue Heron.

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