Sunday, October 10, 2010

Autumn Birding

With an unexpectedly free Sunday morning, I decided to use my Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve membership for only the second time in 2010 and take a birding jaunt on a sunny October day. With the temperatures in the mid-70s yesterday, I was unprepared for the very chilly temps in the mid 30s this morning, so I did not bring gloves or dress in enough layers. Walking briskly through the woods to keep my core temperature above freezing, I listened to squirrels rooting around in the dry leaves and woodpeckers banging on the trees. Crows and blue jays provided the only bird noise for quite a while. It was too cold to stand still and look for warblers. As soon as the sun came up, tufted titmice and chickadees added their voices to the din, but I was still the only human in the entire preserve. I was going to die of hypothermia all alone and no one would find my frozen body for hours.

Even the Bowman Hill cactus were shivering.
Walking across the bridge over Pidcock Creek, I stopped to scan the trees hoping for something warbler-ish. I was rewarded with red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatch and golden-crowned kinglets. Butter butts (yellow-rumped warbler), flocks of goldfinches (almost as many as an irruption - if they were the breed that irrupts) and wood thrush made for a rewarding morning and took the chill off. Red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers were in abundance. Fly over blue herons, turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks rounded out the day.
Two and a half hours later, fingers numb with cold, nose running and ears tingling, I packed it in for a cup of hot coffee and the Sunday New York Times at the local diner.
Log cabin at the Preserve

I haven't been spending enough time birding lately, but am looking forward to the Cape May Autumn Migration Festival at the end of October. Not only will I get to bird at the height of migration in the migration capital of North America, but I will see my blogging friends (Susan, Laura and Delia) as well as pay my respects to the newly hired president of the American Birding Association and friend, Jeff Gordon. I plan on bowing in supplication and calling him "Your Highness" just to watch him blush. Seriously, it will be a wonderful way to spend my 46th birthday (Sunday October 31st) - with friends and with birds. What more can a birder ask for??

Wooded (and chilly) path through the Preserve

1 comment:

dguzman said...

AWESOME! Can't wait to see you there! I got my packet today from CMBO! I'm so pumped!