Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Late Autumn Birds of Cherry Lake

White Birch holding yellow.

I have been meaning to post a few photos of birds from this fall's bird walks at Cherry Lake and other spots in and around the Upper Indian Head Creek Valley. I found a flock of 20 mountain bluebirds in a small pasture north of the Squirrel Hills. They were loosely associated with a small flock of warblers, including this Yellow-rumped. . .

. . .and this Palm Warbler. . .

The bluebirds flew around me for a while. . .

I burrowed myself a spot in the slough grass next to a small pond with a few ducks, and waited for the bluebirds to settle. . .

. . .finally a male landed.

Here are some of the sparrows I was able to photograph this fall. A Harris Sparrow. . .

One of the rarer sparrow species at Cherry Lake in migration is the Swamp Sparrow. I think we have two or three records in six years. Not a great photo, but so far my only chance to get near enough to a Swamp Sparrow to even attempt a photo.

One of the commonest and definitely the latest sparrow species is the American Tree Sparrow.

As the hawk migration continued, we saw this little guy over the yard site high and heading south. A Sharp-shinned Hawk.

And the largest raptor we see regularly on migration is the Bald Eagle. This sub-adult flew over me as I was waiting for the Swamp Sparrow to emerge next to one of the beaver ponds in our valley.

This is the last Turkey Vulture I saw in 2010.

The last buteo hawk we see each fall is the Rough-legged. This one passed through on a warm day in early November.

With the sun almost down, and the leaves all on the forest floor, here is how the hills looked south of the lake the day the Rough-legged flew by.

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