For those who want to skip the rambling part and just view a list, scroll down....

It's so exciting in and around Gaddy these days. I hear, see and feel the birds on the move.  Today, the large number of Fox Sparrows were still present and furiously foraging as were the Juncos and White-throated Sparrows.  Song Sparrows and Tufted Titmice and Chickadees kept up their bit.  Two Brown Thrashers were skulking on the mulch path, with occasional intermittent flights to the tops of whatever tree/shrub/twigspot suited their fancy to vocalize loudly.  

I love the exactness of their repeated phrases and pauses.  I especially like it when I hear them growl and "chak."  (Don't you just love birder's made up wrods for bird talk?  Maybe when I am upset next time about a post, I will send a "chak" in response or maybe a common scold or alarm call - like a wren makes? I sure the brevity of that would appeal to many, eh? )  I am assuming the male and female both do this, or is it the male? The Towhees were also still loud and very present. 

I saw double the number of Phoebes that I've been seeing - I saw at least 8 today.  The Golden-crowned Kinglets have increased in number from a few to at least 12 at various spots around Gaddy - or is that me looking more closely for them?  Two Turkey Vultures were flying over Gaddy, as were the Red-Tailed and Cooper's Hawks.  The Red-tailed Hawks are still working on their nest just outside of Gaddy. Could they be sitting on eggs?  Dare I even ask that question? (Joking with a birding jester and his sidekick one afternoon, I said I was thinking of wearing a little ladder on a chain around my neck - the jester said, "no, an albatross is more appropriate" I think he said.  Oh, the jesters in my life.  Glad they help me joke about the hard stuff.)  The Coopers are working on a nest at the Southeast corner of the park at Arsenal and Grand.  And there are plenty of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Phoebes and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Red-headed Woodpeckers,
 etc. at that Southeast end as well.

In Gaddy today, I paid particular attention to two male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.  That stunningly vivid red on their throats and head - it has this magnetic quality. (I think they are using ketchup for color but I didn't get close enough to get a whiff.) I don't seem to want to take my eyes off it.  I am not sure if it is brighter than usual, but I did notice that the one male seemed to be a bit fatter and molting and following the other around. They don't seem to mind a bit when I ogle them greedily as they bathe, either. The sunlight was showing off the yellow wash on their bellies that they get their name from. The female kept a bit more distance.

Yvonne was out and about Tower Grove today and told me about seeing a Ruby-crowned Kinglet - and sure enough, it was foraging in the shrubs on the perimeter of Gaddy. Thanks Yvonne.  That was my first Ruby-crowned at Gaddy this year.  And a Yellow-Rumped made an appearance at the bubbler, too. That was a surprise.  I'll have to look at my notes, but I think that is the first I have seen in Gaddy this year, although I have seen many other places this year.  It all feels very exciting.  

There are so many Brown Creepers that you hardly have to turn to another tree trunk before seeing one. Does anyone ever get a long enough look to see if we are getting on of the variations other than eastern - I see that in Sibley's, he notes a Mexican, Brown and Gray adult.  The difference in calls sounds difficult to discern as well.  The Great Horned Owlets have successfully flown quite a distance and the parents are hiding them well...well enough for me to only have refound them once in the past few days.  

Many other common birds are present in large numbers - Robins, Grackles, even Rusty Blackbirds.  The Flickers are so numerous that almost any sudden streak across the sky is bound to be one. I have seen at least 7 at one time. 

The Hermit Thrush is continuing his bold presence - not a shy guy, not this one.  Such delicacy in manner.  I love the way he sits so still and takes his time.  He holds his own with the bathing Blue Jays, indeed he does.  He just hops away a short distance when they try to crowd him out. Thrushes have always impressed me that way - patient, persistent, watchful, still, stealth.  The Hairy Woodpecker continues his presence as well as the Downies, Red-bellieds and Red-headeds.  Lots and lots of Red-headeds.  It's wonderful.  

The birds are so busy and in constant movement.  You can watch the plants growing, I swear; the quickening of Spring is happening so fast.  So many of the tiny spring flowers I can't identify properly are underfoot, carpeting the earth. I have a wildflower prairie in my backyard, but knowing how to identify them is no help with all these itty-bitties. 

Even an Eastern Comma made an appearance - or was it a Question Mark?  I am working on butterflies slowly - and my trees and shrubs.  On a recent walk with some birder friends, I failed an embarrassingly large number of tree identification questions...and called a shrub a bush, oh my, tee, hee.  But I got Witchhazel correct! These two fellow birders only failed one identification question - and I threatened to report them to the authorities that there were master naturalists in the park unable to identify a plant.  I am what I call a  bitonist - I know a bit of this and a bit of that when it comes to most flora and fauna - except birds.  

And for those who want to skip the reading part and just view a list, here are some highlights from in and around Gaddy today:

Turkey Vultures
Red-tailed Hawks
Cooper's Hawks
Great Horned Owls
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglets
Blue Jays
Mourning Doves
Rusty Blackbirds
Northern Flickers
Brown Creepers
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Red-headed Woodpeckers
Northern Flickers
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
White-throated Sparrows
Song Sparrows
Fox Sparrows
Tufted Titmice
Brown Thrashers
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
Hermit Thrush

Chrissy McClarren
St. Louis South City
[log in to unmask]

P. S.  Speaking of roadkill (from other posts), it's been disturbing to keep seeing that dead deer off Wise Road at Riverlands...It's sunk half in and half out of one of the fist mudflats.  I don't know what counts as roadkill, but I am assuming that was the cause.



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