Saturday, April 30, 2011

If it's the day before May Day, it must be Sandpiper Day

For the second year in a row, I found a small flock of sandpipers along the shores of Powderhorn lake on the day before May Day. Last year it was a pair of Solitary Sandpipers; this year a small flock of 5 Spotted Sandpipers. I'm not entirely sure what the significance of this is, but it seems a good omen in any case.

The rainstorm overnight and this morning must have brought a lot of new migrants into the area, because the park was hopping with activity this afternoon when I walked around. Yellow-rumped Warblers have been around for a few weeks already, but this morning brought a few others to join their ranks. Palm and Pine warblers have made an appearance, and White-throated Sparrows showed up in force today, with at least 20 hopping around up near the tennis courts and singing their ode to Canada.

The pair of bluebirds has returned to their territory on the upper part of the park along 14th Ave. I'm keeping my eyes open for signs of nest-building, but haven't spotted anything yet. Last year they fledged 3 young, so I wouldn't be surprised if they nested in the park again this year. Speaking of nests, the Cooper's hawks appear to be incubating eggs in a nest in one of the large Cottonwood trees along the lakeshore.

My most unexpected sighting of the day came when I accidentally flushed a Sora (a small bird in the Rail family) from some tall vegatation on the hill along the north side of the lake. Admittedly, this picture is pretty awful, but come on, it's a Rail. They don't just let anyone take their picture.

Sora at Powderhorn Park
The first Sora I've ever seen in Powderhorn Park

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