Monday, November 14, 2011

A gorgeous morning of birds in SWAMP

I led a group of students from the Duke Student Association of Wetland Scientists (SAWS), Nicnats and the Duke Natural History Society (DNHS) out on bird walk in SWAMP yesterday.
Awesome people (from left Kai, Katie, Tong, Paul)
The weather and leaves were equally gorgeous and birds seemed especially active as if wanting to make the most of the warmth and sun.  Every dense patch of grass and bushes seemed to be saturated with calling sparrows.  The resident Red-shouldered Hawk cooperatively posed for photos by the dam.  

Red-shouldered Hawk
There was no sign of the usual Belted Kingfisher or Great Blue Heron and I was surprised not to find any kinglets along the trail, but that was probably because we were talking too much about the wetlands.

A flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding in a low cedar tree was an unexpected treat.

They really represented themselves well by giving us good close views of the "wax" on their wings and by stuffing themselves with cedar berries.

I noted 25 species, including a flock of Rusty Blackbirds in a tree by the dam--a new species for SWAMP!  With Randy's recent Savannah Sparrow sighting and the Palm Warbler I spotted a couple weeks ago on a Wetland Ecology field trip, the site list is now up to 96 species. The century mark is so close!

Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy such a beautiful morning and to SAWS for providing coffee and bagels!