Feathered Fridays, our monthly birding bonanza at The Nature Conservancy’s Mad Island Marsh, took place this past Friday. Although we didn’t observe a large number of species, we did get excited about some of them.
In the rice field adjacent to Mad Island Slough, we saw a Northern harrier scouting for prey. Two other raptors we observed were an American kestrel and an osprey with a fish in his talons. A Black vulture was chasing the Osprey, in an apparent attempt to cause him to drop his catch. We did see a large number of juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-herons on the south side of Mad Island Slough, while we were scouting for the American bittern, which we’ve seen at that location numerous times.
We also briefly got a glimpse of a Yellow-throated warbler and a Red-bellied woodpecker along the north side of the slough. Just like last month, we saw few Eastern meadowlarks but lots of Cattle egrets, Red-winged blackbirds, Boat-tailed and Great-tailed grackles. Pintail pond, a created wetland, was full of water. Many birds were taking advantage of feeding/bathing/preening and fussing in the wetland. These included White and White-faced ibis, Black-bellied whistling ducks, Fulvous tree ducks, and many Black-necked stilts.
While we saw no American coots, we observed many Common moorhens, as well as a few juveniles. Scissor-tailed flycatchers were seen on the high lines as well as Loggerhead shrikes. A seasoned birder, who accompanied us, heard a Lesser yellowlegs.
It is migration season. While I haven’t observed many shorebirds except a pair of Spotted sandpipers that hang out on my bulkhead, twittering up and down on the rocks, (and many Killdeer), neighbors and friends have reported seeing Baltimore orioles, some in flocks of twenty, more American kestrels, Arizona woodpeckers, and many Ruby-throated humming birds, some of whom will probably winter in our region. Sara Murphy reported seeing a hummingbird that remains unidentified. It had a blue back, and purple underside.
The next Feathered Fridays event will take place October 16th, 2009. For more information call Cathy Wakefield, 361-404-1198.