Tuesday, September 20, 2011


After a few more new birds spotted this fall, the park list is up to 125 different species. That's not bad for a park in the middle of the city that's not exactly managed to be a natural area. It shows that there can be a lot of wildlife around even when people don't realize it. On the other hand, on any given trip to the park, you're not likely to see very much variety; it's only over repeated trips that you're likely to see anything other than the most common birds.

The number of individual birds migrating through the park this fall has seemed a bit low, but the variety has not been too bad. Thus far this fall, I've seen 17 different kinds of warbler at the park. Ring-billed Gulls are increasing, and this morning I watched a Mallard steal a meal from a gull. I'm not entirely sure why the Mallard wanted the tiny bullhead; it didn't seem to eat the fish, which is unsurprising. I had expected the gull to put up more of a fight, but it just walked away.

I also watched a Cooper's Hawk make a couple of unsuccessful passes at a squirrel that didn't seem overly bothered by the encounter. In the past week, I've seen up to 5 Cooper's Hawks in the park at a time; small groups of juveniles getting ready to head south for the winter.

In addition, a female Northern Shoveler has been hanging out among the mallards for the last couple of days, and I saw my first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season a few days ago. I'm still waiting for the first migratory sparrows to show up. Here's to hoping that the fall doesn't pass too quickly.

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