Monday, June 8, 2015

Double Trouble SP 6/8--Black-billed Cuckoo

I went to Double Trouble with, appropriately, 2 goals: to get in a long walk and to see if I could gather in the Acadian Flycatcher for the county list. Both goals accomplished. I walked out onto Gowdy Road and just before it intersects with Hooper Lane (quaint how what amount to levees are named) I heard the explosive "Pizza!" I waited, heard the bird call about 10 times clearly but pretty deep in the woods. I knew this one wasn't going to show, but with that part of the mission achieved, I proceeded to walk what amounts to 3 different loops around the bogs.

Across from the bog along Sweetwater Lane I heard a Veery, flagged as rare for the county in June, but I always hear one at Double Trouble, though this particular spot was an odd place to get one. It was while I was walking along Mud Dam Road, the more customary area for this bird (and where both I and another birder have already listed it there this year) where I was listening hard, if such a thing is possible, that I heard my year bird for the day, a Black-billed Cuckoo. It was pretty far up the road, but I clearly heard the repetitive "coo-coo-coo-coo." I've heard BB Cuckoos sometimes incessantly repeat the coo-coo." This bird did it in 2 sets of about of 10 coos each then shut up. Black-billed Cuckoo was not a bird I was thinking about today, so that was a happy surprise.

Walking around the loudest and most common bird that I heard was Ovenbird. They seemed to be anywhere there were woods. I finally saw one along Mud Dam and then, walking a little one-way path that goes down to the creek I came upon a crowd of them, very vocal and visible. I think I had 4 or 5 of them zipping around the branches around and above me. You hear 10 Ovenbirds for every one you see, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of one.

Here's an arcane reference: Doesn't the bird in the bottom photo look like Jerry Colonna? All those who know who Jerry Colonna was, raise your hand. (Hi Mom!)

While making my 3rd and final loop, which takes me out to the lake and then back to the parking lot, I saw another cuckoo, briefly. Really, I only saw a part of the bird, enough of it to know that it wasn't a dove. I figured I'd have to let that one go as a "spuh" until, on my way back I made a minor loop of the graveyard (I believe the original owners still have an easement to bury their family in the park) when I heard the "gowp," very softly of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Looking up, I saw it quite clearly, though it refused to stay still and hopped up the branches of the tree it was in then flew and landed in a few different trees, each a little further away. But I did see all the field marks, so I it was a two cuckoo day and 3 county birds. And a little over 3 miles hiked.
32 speciesGreat Egret  1     Lake
Turkey Vulture  3
Cooper's Hawk  1     Mud Dam Road
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1     
Black-billed Cuckoo  1     Heard Mud Dam Road
Northern Flicker  1
Acadian Flycatcher  1     Heard Gowdy Road
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  3     Heard
Eastern Kingbird  3
White-eyed Vireo  1     Heard Mud Dam Road
Yellow-throated Vireo  1     Heard Mud Dam Road
Red-eyed Vireo  5
Blue Jay  2
Fish Crow  1     Heard
Barn Swallow  4     Nest beneath bridge, customary spot
Carolina Chickadee  2
Carolina Wren  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
Veery  1     
Wood Thrush  2     Heard
Gray Catbird  25
Ovenbird  20
Black-and-white Warbler  2     Heard
Common Yellowthroat  20
Pine Warbler  5
Prairie Warbler  6
Eastern Towhee  5     Heard
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard
Red-winged Blackbird  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  2     Heard
American Goldfinch  2


  1. OK, my hand is firmly down, but great ovenbird photos.

    1. Click his name and the link will bring you to a page about him. You were one of the people I was thinking would not have her mind cluttered with such trivia.

    2. Love it! Had no idea, my mind is cluttered with trivia, just not that trivia...