By Sally O’Byrne, Teacher-Naturalist…
Yesterday morning, 8 intrepid participants joined me and William (Bucktoe Creek Preserve Land Manager) on the weekly Monday morning bird walk at Bucktoe. I took the group to the field where Joe and I had found a passel of sparrows and a very dull Pine Warbler last week. The field was empty except for bluebirds perched on the dried milkweed. Even the hedgerows seemed empty, so to entertain the crowds I had them look at the moon with their binoculars, which was silvery against the blue sky.
We entered the woods and were treated to the cry of a Pileated Woodpecker. Becky’s sharp eyes picked out one and then another, but they were very odd, hanging on tulip tree flower/seed heads – looking like black sacks in the tree. American Robins and Cedar Waxwings soon chased them off the seed heads and the pileateds flew to tree trunks where woodpeckers are supposed to be.
We finally found a few sparrows near the end of our walk and were treated to a Fox Sparrow hanging out with White-throated Sparrows – it hopped up to give us all good views. A couple of other notable sightings included a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker fly-by, and at least two different Sharp-shinned Hawks – both hunting. Quite a number of deer were seen, all avoiding hunters.
Two hours of walking only scratched the surface of this property, but even so, we enjoyed a few distinct types of habitat – field, hedgerow, young forest, mature deciduous forest, coniferous woods, river edge, and floodplain. Not a bad way to spend a Monday morning. Thanks to Ron Sinclair for the photos!