Thursday, 27 May 2010

Oriole surprise

A quick visit to Holden Creek after work this evening was pretty unproductive - the tide was rolling in but nothing was being flushed out of any channels, boggy nooks or, indeed, muddy crannies. At least 5 spotted sandpiper were seen, with some renewed courtship taking place.

I decided to leg it round to Raines Road, to check the estuary from there. I arrived to find the river rising significantly, and the marsh flooding. I scanned around but other than two very distant flying peeps, there were no shorebirds of note. The pair of spotted sandpiper were moving noisily around the place and a pair of killdeer were also present.
Paddling around with the few mallard still in the area, were 9 gadwall and a lingering drake American wigeon.
A bald eagle was taking advantage of the high water levels and grabbing at something from a flooded grassy area by the river (pic).
A surprise came in the form of 3 cedar waxwings that were flycatching from a hawthorn near the viewing platform.

Just before I left I thought I'd have one last look out by the 'bluebird posts'. Glad I did. I spotted a distant, medium-sized passerine flying into a small bush out on the flooded marsh. Through bins at considerable range it looked greenish. Huh?
Keeping my eye on the bush, I erected my tripod and got onto it with my 'scope, just as it flew! I could see yellow on its head and undertail... I found it again as it clambered around in a small crabapple. Oriole! White wing bars, brownish upperparts, pale belly - female Bullock's oriole. Nice one. I watched it distantly for a few seconds as it moved around from small bush to small bush, and I even managed a quick, crap, shot (pic) before it took to the air and flew high in the direction of Holden Creek.  

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