Spring Surprise Bird Walk 

April 9, 2017

I think everyone already guessed the surprise. There was a lot of socialization and I think, at times, everyone forgot we were supposed to birding. For me, that’s the best part of the walks. We were all set to go at 8:30, everyone was so prompt. Our group was large, approximately forty of us ready for the surprise. Up the hill, which I seeded earlier, were some usual “feeder” species, Chickadees, Titmouse, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Some of the walkers up ahead saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly out from a nearby tree as our group meandered up the path. We paused briefly at the pines, where the Long-eared and Saw-whet Owls were previously seen, but they are gone now, as expected. We proceeded down the trail, found our first Eastern Phoebe and then spotted a very cooperative Golden-crowned Kinglet. We watched and photographed it for a few minutes.Then we stopped briefly for the photograph above, before turning down the trail. A Great Horned Owl flew out in front of us and we were able to see where it landed, most of us finding it with our binoculars. We were also able to use the scope and eventually everyone got a look. We then proceeded around to the surprise, seen in the photo below. So many cameras and so many long lenses were out. After the surprise, most people left, but a few of us continued on and visited the small island that is connected to a boardwalk. This was rewarding, since we saw a pair of American Oystercatchers, two Horned Grebes getting their breeding plumage, a Red- throated Loon and some Red-breasted Mergansers. The walk was done about 11:30 and everyone had three hours of fun on a really beautiful warm sunny morning.

The surprise were these Great Horned Owlets. Only two are pictured, since the third was so low in the nest, only a bit of it could be seen. This nest has been successful for many years but for the past two years it was not, so it was great to see three healthy looking owlets. Soon they will be too big for the nest and will jump down. Mom will keep an eye out for them until they become better fliers. Photo by Ted Kavanagh

Ok, where is that owl?

Most people left after the surprise but a few of us walked to this small island and found Oystercatchers, a loons and Grebes. Photo by Joe Morales.

Once you knew where they were, you could see the white fluff without binoculars.

Binoculars and cameras up quickly but the owlets weren’t going anywhere.

Maria, John and Jane, ready to move on after the surprise

Terrific shot of the Golden-crowned Kinglet. It’s easy to see why it’s called a golden crowned. It’s difficult to get a good shot of this bird because it moves so quickly and is so tiny. Photo by Ted Kavanagh.

Species Account

Great Horned Owl (4)

American Oystercatcher (2)

Horned Grebes (2)

Red-throated Loon

Red- breasted Merganser (4)

Black-capped Chickadee

Eastern Phoebe (4)

Northern Cardinal (2)

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-throated Loon

Osprey

Tree Swallow

Song Sparrow (several)

White-thoated Sparrow (several)

Great Egret

Double-crested Cormorant

Tufted Titmouse

Common Grackle (several)

Red-winged Blackbird

Northern Flicker (4)

Golden-crowned Kinglet (2)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (4)

Bufflehead (6)

American Robin (several)

Blue Jay (4)

That’s me, getting across the walkway to the island. Photo by Joe Morales.

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We saw two American Oystercatchers, like this one, out on the island.