Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Heat Wave

Well, it's certainly been feeling a lot like summer all of a sudden. The flashy migrants have moved on and we've been hit with 100-degree temperatures. So things have slowed down significantly, but there's still been a slow trickle of milestones from the resident breeding birds:
  • I heard my first House Wren at the park this morning bubbling away near the tennis courts (though I didn't manage to see him).
  • Barn Swallows have been regular over the lake and coursing over the soccer fields on the north end of the park. I also saw a small group of Northern Rough-winged Swallows on May 31 -- a first for me at the park.
  • Chimney Swifts are a near constant presence over the park, sometimes dipping down to scoop up a drink of water from the lake.
  • A flock of Cedar Waxwings has been resident in one of the (hackberry?) trees on the south side of the park for the past week or so.
  • I saw my first Wood Duck fledglings of the year on June 6.
  • No sign yet of the Eastern Bluebird fledglings, though I did notice the female repeatedly dive-bombing a squirrel that was a bit too close to the nest cavity for comfort.
  • I've seen American Robins carrying food in their bills, so there must be active nests in the park, though I haven't managed to locate one.
This morning I observed a male Red-winged Blackbird enthusiastically singing and displaying in the reeds at the north end of the lake. I suspect that this particular spot holds a Song Sparrow nest, as I've seen a pair of them in the same area numerous times recently (once carrying a couple of caterpillars in its bill). This morning, one of the song sparrows was persistently giving its 'chimp' call at the blackbird ("Would you mind? I'm trying to raise a family here"), and the blackbird repeatedly chased the song sparrow away from its scolding perch. I've seen Red-winged Blackbirds quite regularly this spring, but they tend to be calling from high in the treetops. This is the first time I've seen one down in the reeds giving an obvious mating display. I didn't see any audience for his display, however.

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