Birding and Exercise – January 2014 Big Walking Day

If I had planned this better I would have started to get myself in shape in December and done a Big Walking Day on January 1, before the weather headed north.  But I didn’t.  So it came down to doing the first Monthly Big Walk this weekend.   Saturday was out with its snow and 4o+MPH gusts.

Here is the reason I decided to do the Big Walk on Sunday.  Snow blowing Saturday. I had planned to walk the bike trail parallel to the road the car is on. 01/25/14

Here is the reason I decided to do the Big Walk on Sunday. Snow blowing Saturday.  I had planned to walk the bike trail parallel to the road the car is on. 01/25/14

So I headed out the door at 8:45 Sunday morning.

It still wasn’t perfect with the temperature at 20F, winds out of the south at 18, and cloudy.  But it was a heck of lot better than Saturday.  The plan was to walk the Greenway Trail which still had open water, out to Lowes/Walmart Pond with its open water, and then home.  That would be about an 8 mile walk, which is about my limit right now in winter boots.  If all worked out I should see about 35 species on that route.

Upon arriving at the trail the second bird I picked up after White-breasted Nuthatch was a Yellow-rumped Warbler.  One of the birds that was on today’s iffy list.  Continuing down the trail I picked up several woodland species plus a Brown Creeper and the resident Belted Kingfisher flying upstream, both birds on the iffy list.  Towards the end of the wooded part of the trail a Cooper’s Hawk was sitting and watching, which explained the birds being quiet.  The Cooper’s didn’t like my presence so he flew away and then I quickly picked up Northern Flicker and maybe the bird of the day – Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.   A bird I really hadn’t expected to see.

YBSA Greenway Trail 012614

Brown Creeper caught taking flight,  Not sure I have ever seen one in a flight profile. Franklin Greenway Trail 01/25/14

Brown Creeper caught taking flight, Not sure I have ever seen one in a flight profile.
Franklin Greenway Trail 01/25/14

Making my way to Province Park I was seeing many of the local birds but nothing new until a Hairy Woodpecker landed in a tree above me.  It was now time to do the least fun part of the day, the segment to Walmart/Lowes Pond.   I was sitting at 26 species and figured the pond was good for 4-5 more species plus on the walk home a few more might get me to 35.  So I started the 2.5 mile walk.  And as anticipated I didn’t see anything on the segment but European Starlings and House Sparrows.  Plus a Mourning Dove.  But nothing new.

The Lowes/Walmart pond had the usual suspects – Canada Geese, Mallards, Redheads, Common Goldeneyes, and American Coots.  But nothing that hadn’t been there for the last week.  I scanned for a half hour to make sure and then started the walk home.

A few of the Redheads that have been present for a while. Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/26/14

A few of the Redheads that have been present for a while.
Lowes/Walmart Pond 1/26/14

I saw American Kestrels as planned and the other bird of the day – a Killdeer – by a small factory.  Probably the same one I saw in this area 2 weeks ago. But do you think a Red-tailed Hawk was around?  Every time I drive that area I see one or two.  I have seen them on all my walks.  I see them in my sleep. I hear them on every TV show that needs a bird call. But not one today.

Can you see the Red-tailed Hawk?  Neither can I.  There has been one present on this row of poles for the last year.  But not today. 01/26/14

Can you see the Red-tailed Hawk? Neither can I. There has been one present on this row of poles for the last year. But not today. 01/26/14

So I ended up with 32 species and walked 8.6 miles.  Species missed that I should have seen besides the Red-Tailed Hawk were American Tree and White-throated Sparrows, both seen yesterday on a scouting walk.  And I probably could have seen Horned Lark and Eastern Bluebird if I would have walked a few miles into the country.  But that wasn’t going to happen on my tired legs.  But the Sapsucker and Killdeer were both pleasant surprises.

All in all a fun day and I am sure they will be even better as I get in better shape.

 

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