Field Observation 2: Physiology

On March 3, a Sunday, at about 3:30 PM I left my apartment to head over to Salmon Hole for my birding excursion. The weather was really nice that day. It was only partly cloudy with no chilling winds. The temperature fluctuated around 30 degrees fahrenheit. I was heading to Salmon Hole which consisted of woods, a coastal area, and a river. The area I intended on focusing on was the coastal area, because it bordered both the wooded area and the river. My excursion consisted of mostly walking along the Winooski river and observing any birds I came across until roughly after 5 PM.
Right as I walked towards the wooded entrance of Salmon Hole, I saw an American Crow perched up in a deciduous tree. I observed it calling for a while, stretching its neck and folding its wings in a peculiar manner. Just as I came in range to snap a picture it flew off towards the river and then across. After that I entered the wooded part of Salmon Hole. There was not any distinctive signs of birds that I came across, however I stumbled on the tracks of possibly a martin or mink. Right as I exit the woods, I witness some type of waterfowl fly just above the water’s surface. The bird looked ducklike, had white, black, and brown plumage, a black bill, and dark head feathers that matched the bill. Later I tried searching for the specific species on Merlin, but I am still unsure on what it could’ve been. It possibly could have been either a male Common Goldeneye, a male American Wigeon, a male Northern Pintail.
As I wandered around the now icy river side, I noticed some snags and nice tree hollows. I decided to pick up a stick and check them out. Had no luck finding any birds doing this, but I definitely heard birds as I walked around the area. One distinctive call that I could make out came from a Black-capped Chickadee. Though throughout the excursion I did not see any of the chickadees I heard. I noticed that the areas I heard the most chatter were areas with snags and shrubs still bearing berries. My hypothesis is that the song birds in the area frequent these shrubs for foraging and retreat into the snags when they are ready to rest or when a threat approaches.
For a while I went around harassing the snags in the area with my stick. I only stopped when I was approached by the pitbull of two girls who were also birding in the area. It was kind of unfortunate that the pitbull was there, because it scared off the mallards I saw swimming and wading in the river. Continuing my walk along the trail I saw a Downy Woodpecker scaling a pine tree and foraging for what I assume are grubs hidden beneath the tree bark. I was not able to get a clear picture of the bird due to how fast it was scaling the tree, but I tried my best.
At the end of my excursion around 4:45 going on 5 PM is when I saw the most birds. At this time it seemed all the crows in the area were returning from somewhere and for as long I was there, there was at least one crow in the sky. As that happened, I was able to get closer to the Mallards that had previously been scared off by the Pitbull and also the mystery waterfowl I observed when I started. I also witnessed a woodpecker I believe to be the same individual I saw before fly into a snag I had previously checked. Since I saw it return there and not come out for a while, I decided to leave it as that and end my birding excursion for the day.

Posted by david4561 david4561, March 09, 2019 04:57

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