Thursday, 9 June 2011

Back in the saddle...

Literally!  After a family emergency and a persistent out-of-season cold I managed to get out again for the first time since the May species count day.  As usual it was a short after-work bike ride that did the trick and I headed down to Edworthy Park, then back along the south side of the river, through Lawrey Gardens.  There is a decent size colony of Cliff Swallows under the pedestrian bridge at Edworthy.  It was fun to stand on the bridge and have them swoop just a few meters away, although the best views of the nests were to be had from the riverbank (or what's left of it during this peak meltwater time).
Under the bridge - nests visible through the upper circle and at the top of the frame
Zooming in - Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota, in centre
and zooming in again (a bad digital crop)
There were more swallows to be found further along the trail, in this case Tree Swallows perching and presumably nesting in the dead trees along the river bank.  The Cedar Waxwings are back in force now too - I saw 5 individuals today and heard a few more, although neither the numbers nor the noise matched up with the flock in our yard and alley on the weekend.  Yellow Warblers were also vocal and numerous but the real treat of the day came, as is so often the case, just when it was time to head home.

As I was biking along a few hundred metres west of Crowchild Trail there was flash of gray across the trail and, as I screeched to a stop, a Gray Catbird alit on branch by the trail and then disappeared into the undergrowth.  It turned out to be a pair and a likely nest.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their proximity to the busy bike path, they were quite relaxed and cooperative and I had great views and managed to get a couple of decent shots in the shady undergrowth.
Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis 
All in all a nice hour or so of weekday birding and great to be out enjoying the birds on a sunny day again.

No comments:

Post a Comment