Posted by Dan Arndt
Last weekend the Friends of Fish Creek Spring Birding course visited the always familiar and great stand-by that is the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. The air was filled with new songs, and the sky was filled with plenty of new birds for the year, along with a great many old faithful birds that have stuck around all winter.
The first new bird we saw was almost immediately spotted when we entered the sanctuary. This American Kestrel was hovering about ten meters up before diving down into the grass and flying away with a freshly caught field mouse or meadow vole.
As we turned down the pathway into the wooded area at the west end of the ponds, we were alerted to the presence of Yellow-rumped Warblers, as they flitted around through the trees. Not a new bird, but certainly the number of these birds was something to write home about. We estimated about 25 individuals, but there were likely many more that we didn’t see in the low brush throughout the sanctuary.
As we came out onto the bridge, we were greeted by a small flock of Tree Swallows with their aerobatic flights and high pitched trills, and later on throughout the day they were present almost everywhere we turned.
As we came to the pond, the high pitched call of a single Lincoln’s Sparrow was heard over the din, and once we narrowed down its location, playing a few calls on my iBird app brought it out in search of the intruding male, but also into better view for everyone in the group.
As we walked along the river bank, we spotted an early male Brown-headed Cowbird that seemed to follow our group around the pond before posing on a nearby branch for some very good views, and then disappeared into the brush.
A very irate Redhead pair also being harassed by a male American Wigeon, who was displaying and approaching the female time and time again. Or so it seemed. Interesting that a brood parasite like the Redhead would be so possessive of its nesting site!
Further down the path we came across a female Canada Goose nesting in a small cavity in a dead tree. I was more surprised that the male didn’t attempt to dive-bomb us since we were so close to his mate, as that has happened to me a few times before at this particular nest site!
As we crossed the pair of bridges at the south, we saw a small number of Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Canada Geese, along with a display of a Red-tailed Hawk chasing down a Bald Eagle, while an Osprey flew over on our left. Moving north past the Walker House, we were notified by Gus Yaki’s group that there was a Palm Warbler in the bushes just ahead of us, along with a large number of Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
While it’s nowhere near my best shot of the day, it was the highlight when I spotted the Palm Warbler before it headed further back into the trees. Remember, some photos are worth a million bucks, but others are only for recording the sighting… I think this one is most definitely the latter, but shows enough detail to decidedly be identifiable.