Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cattus Island 5/1--Blue-headed Vireo

After the torrential downpours of yesterday, the marshes at Cattus Island were flooded as high as I've ever seen them--and I was there at low tide!
The high water did not deter any of the waders. The Greater Yellowlegs were feeding in water up to their chests, but didn't seem to mind.
One advantage of the high water is that it discouraged everyone else from walking along the  beach out to peninsula--there was only about 6 inches of  beach in some places. This meant the birds were undisturbed by dogs and I was happy to find 3 Least Sandpipers, a couple of Willets and a Little Blue Heron on what little mud was exposed. 

I stopped at one of the blinds and found skulking in the reeds a Tricolored Heron. You can't pish out a heron, so I just had to wait for it to creep through the vegetation until it was exposed. And then when it realized it was exposed, it flew off, affording the "field guide looks" of its white belly.

Instead of continuing on the path that follows the marsh, I decided to walk through the field where the old Cattus family house once stood and I'm glad I did. There was some bird activity there that attracted me--at first it was mostly common species, but then, almost by accident, I put my binoculars on a horizontal branch and found my first Blue-head Vireo of the year. 

The birds seemed very aggressive today--a Common Yellowthroat chasing away White-throated Sparrow, blackbirds defending their territory, and most spectacular of all, I watched a Bald Eagle steal a fish right out of the claws of an Osprey

I started the month off with 42 species at the park:
Canada Goose  5
Mallard  7
Bufflehead  9
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  6
Little Blue Heron  1
Tricolored Heron  1
Osprey  10    Most on nests
Bald Eagle  1    
Greater Yellowlegs  11
Willet  2
Least Sandpiper  3
Herring Gull  5
Forster's Tern  2
Mourning Dove  6
Belted Kingfisher  1    Heard
Downy Woodpecker  1    Feeder
Northern Flicker  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  2
Fish Crow  5
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  5
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
American Robin  1
Gray Catbird  1
Brown Thrasher  1
Common Yellowthroat  10
Pine Warbler  1
Eastern Towhee  2
Chipping Sparrow  1    Heard, parking lot
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  4
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  25
House Finch  2
American Goldfinch  5

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