My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Terrific Day at Tifft

Published October 27, 2012
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Tifft Nature Preserve, Northern Mockingbird, Hooded Merganser, Grebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher

Cold and rain were both headed our way, with temps predicted to drop significantly during the night. Not birding on this sunny and almost 80 degree day (Friday) was simply not an option. I worked hard for a few hours and got things in good order - then I grabbed my backpack and camera - and out I flew some time shortly before noon.  I headed to Tifft Nature Preserve hoping for a few more birds than the paltry few I found at Spraguebrook State Park late Thursday afternoon.

The day turned out to be a great day: full of birds and two lifers!

Right by the entrance, I saw TWO Belted Kingfishers: a male and female. They were touring the pond area, much to my delight!  I didn't think I'd see a kingfisher again until spring, so I stopped to watch, always enamored by this species.

After that, inside the preserve, I saw a Song Sparrow chirping sweetly in a tree by the creek. The couple of photos I got were too badly backlit to post, but I felt encouraged having seen a nice little sparrow early on.  Right after that, I heard a Carolina Wren. I swear, I hear them way more than I see them! I searched for awhile, his very loud song getting louder - and I DID see a bird flush as I broke into a little clearing - but I never did definitely ID it as the wren. I love those guys; I wish they weren't so elusive.

Just standing still in the clearing brought a LOT into view: Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, American Robins, Black-capped Chickadees, and Northern Cardinals. The chickadees were literally flying right up to me, fluttering in the air, maybe looking for seed. I can't believe I forgot seeds for the chickadees again!

I hiked all around the preserve, ending at Lisa Pond, where I saw the two lifers: a Northern Mockingbird and a Hooded Merganser. I've been looking for a mockingbird for a long time now. Birders' posts to the list serve mention them often and I've been frustrated for a long time, wondering why I've never seen one!  Today was joy! The Hooded Mergansers were also a great sighting. Those are very cool looking ducks.

Other sightings in addition to what I've mentioned: Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, American Crow, Blue Jay, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron (I was thrilled to sing one fly over!), Pied-billed Grebe, Canada Goose, Mallard.
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Female Belted Kingfisher
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Female Belted Kingfisher
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A Male and a Female Belted Kingfisher sitting in a tree...
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The Black-capped Chickadees were looking for handouts, I'm sure!
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A very friendly and tame White-breasted Nuthatch sat down just 18 inches from my hand.!
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White-breasted Nuthatch
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Golden-crowned Kinglets were everywhere
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Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Brown Creeper hanging upside-down
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Brown Creeper
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White-throated Sparrow
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White-throated Sparrow
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A male Downy Woodpecker flew over to check out the hole in this trunk
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He REALLY checked it out!
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Hooded Mergansers - a life list addition!
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Hooded Mergansers
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A female Hooded Merganser, just back from the beauty parlour, I'm guessing
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Pied-billed Grebe
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A Northern Mockingbird; I can finally add this to my life list!
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Northern Mockingbird
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Northern Mockingbird
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Northern Mockingbird
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Waiting for a Belted Kingfisher to show up, I noticed this turtle sunning itself...
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I almost missed this doe watching me take pictures of the mockingbird from behind a tree!
Reply from: Jack on 11/16/2012 9:13 AM
 saw a different kind of bird today at 4:00pm.We live near Creston, BC.The bird was ornage and black, had a black beak, not short, head was striped and down the neck, with bright ornage and black, speckled with ornage and black, cannot find a picture of it.Do you know what kind of bird it would be?
Reply from: Sue on 11/18/2012 7:45 AM
 Hi Jack, Recently, there were a couple of reports of a male Baltimore Oriole that was seen in the southtowns areas. Normally, they migrate in August, so his presence was unusual. Perhaps this was another occurrence in your area. He may be an immature bird, given the streaking. I'm finding immature birds are hard to ID in a lot of species. If he comes back, try getting a photo of it; I'd love to see him. ~ Sue