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Introduction

The Uncommon Crow Great Backyard Bird Count

Spring Lake Park 09/25/13
eBird

Weather- Partly Cloudy/Clear, start 60.6/end 67 degrees, Wind 6mph, Waning Gibbous moon, Sunrise: 7:45am, Sunset: 7:45pm.

After living in this town for a year, we only just discovered Spring Lake Park. I was searching for suitable birding spots on Google Maps and a few places stood out to me. My boyfriend and I went out to explore. The first place was a marsh located just down the road. It was listed as a birding hotspot on ebird, so I was very curious. Unfortunately, it was not as accessible as I'd hoped, and not to mention it was extremely mosquito-ridden. Definitely prime bird habitat, but not a pleasant birdwatching experience. I was able to see a group of Gadwalls, some ring-billed gulls, rock pigeons, and mourning doves before we called it quits.

Next, we went to Ecology Park. We took a short walk on the trail to watch birds in and around the small river. I saw a number of blue-winged teals, a song sparrow on a fence, and a ring-necked pheasant that flew across the road. There was an American White Pelican floating in the water, exhibiting feeding behavior. A Lesser Yellowlegs was bobbing it's head as it waded through the water. There were other kinds of waterfowl in the water and birds flying overhead that I did not identify. This is a more promising area than the marsh, but the mosquitoes were still pretty bad.

The next day, we sought out Spring Lake Park. I didn't know what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised! We started out on the east side of the larger pond/lake. I counted 33 Canada geese right away, and noticed five ducks, but I was not able to identify them. There was a whitish or light-colored bird with sharp wings that flew into the tall grass in the middle of the lake. It was smaller than a gull, and the calling reminded me of the dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park! There was a small shorebird (Wilson's Phalarope?) on the land strip amidst Canada geese. It had a white belly, brown back, and was much shorter than a Canada goose.

spring lake park

spring lake park

We headed on to the brushy path around the lake. A bird a little larger than a sparrow landed on a small bridge. It was brown and slightly crested. It appeared to be some sort of flycatcher. An unseen bird started singing "pee-her pee-her" continuously in the trees/grassland near the bridge. I noticed a brown duck with a dark eye-line. I am rusty on waterfowl identification these days. A (song?) sparrow swooped by and landed on top of a small bush near the edge of the lake. It was brown with a streaked chest and light belly. It began chirping while flicking its tail. It flew in swooping arcs. There were four gulls bobbing on the lake, two male mallards tipping for food, and two female mallards nearby along the edge of the lake. I also noticed a muskrat swimming.

spring lake park

muskrat spring lake park

muskrat spring lake park

The path goes around the lake and leads to the park and playground area. There were a bunch of robins all over the park in trees and on the ground. A Yellow-rumped warbler darted out of a tree and caught a dragonfly right in front of us. She quickly returned to the tree and sat on a branch trying to kill the dragonfly. The dragonfly escaped her a couple times, but she flew after it and was able to recapture it. I noted the two visible white wing-bars, white eye-ring, and yellow rump. I am trying my best to remember to look for as many field marks as possible. It never hurts to be thorough!

yellow-rumped warbler spring lake park

Spring Lake Park

spring lake park

spring lake park

Next, we checked out the smaller pond, where there were 8 ducks of a rusty brown color. There was a male with a large white patch on its side near the tail. I noticed that white went up the side of the wing, and it had a dark head-stripe. I guessed that it was a Blue-winged teal, but after looking at my photos, they were probably American Wigeons or something else. There were 2 pied-billed grebes, a few turtles, muskrats, and a large frog in the pond as well. My boyfriend saw a pheasant in tall grass in the area between the two ponds.

spring lake park

turtle spring lake park

spring lake park

spring lake park

spring lake park

Finally, we decided to head back to the car, so we could head up the hill. While driving up to the parking-lot overlook area, I noticed a large brown woodpecker on the side of a tree. It had a white rump patch and yellow on its wings. Yes! A new bird for me! The Northern Flicker! It looked like the yellow-shafted variety and was most likely female, as I did not notice a black mustache. We parked atop the hill, and a bird with curved, angled, pointed wings flew overhead. A chickadee flew and landed in a tree near some berry bushes. It made "Dee dee" calls. Before we headed home, we briefly investigated the golf course club. There was a Killdeer in a field.

Spring Lake park

spring lake park berry bushes

spring lake park

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Spring Lake Park