Seeing Red

Spring begins 2 weeks from today, but for me it began this weekend because I was seeing red: Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins! These two species are the harbingers of spring and I saw them at both Boundary Creek and Strawbridge Lake this weekend.

Yesterday I went to Boundary Creek for the first time in a few weeks. It was quite busy. All the grasses in the meadow were cut, so robins could be seen running across the fields in large numbers. Other birds we saw in the meadow were a Tufted Titmouse singing his little heart out, some European Starlings, a Song Sparrow, a Northern Flicker and many Blue Jays. The Blue Jays were screaming loudly as usual. It turns out there was a Cooper’s Hawk slinking around in the trees by the creek. I guess the Jays were trying to blow his cover.

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Tufted Titmouse
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Song Sparrow

When we arrived at the creek we hear a loud conk-la-ree! It was the moment I was waiting for.  Red-winged Blackbirds were out in the creek and in the trees calling out to each other. I missed their call! The Mallards and Canada Geese were busy swimming around, the Belted Kingfisher was calling from his usual tree, and Ring-billed Gulls flew across the sky. There were a few Carolina Chickadees zipping through the trees. At one point a large flock of crows flew over head. It was a beautiful morning. Here’s a lovely robin looking for a meal.

This Red-winged Blackbird was having a conversation with another blackbird in a neighboring tree:

Today I returned to Boundary Creek in the morning to see who was around today.It was quieter but we did see Canada Geese, Mallards, Carolina Chickadees, American Robins, and the Belted Kingfisher. We found the Cooper’s Hawk hanging out in a tree not far from the creek. It’s an adult Cooper’s and here it is adjusting its feathers.

3-6-16 cooper's hawk

We also saw a pair we didn’t expect to see today: wood ducks! The male and female were hanging out near some preening Canada Geese in the creek. We haven’t seen them here in awhile, especially the male. Last year a pair of wood ducks (maybe the same one?) had two broods of chicks. We would see the family swimming in the evenings on the beaver pond.  I always get excited when I see the wood ducks, they are so beautiful. We took some pictures but unfortunately we were slightly too far away to get a good shot. (We are looking into getting a nicer cam that’s better for birding soon, suggestions appreciated!)

Another surprise visitor was a mink! This is the second mink we’ve seen this year. The other was at Palmyra Cove in January. This mink was running through and on top of the beaver lodge. (I will tell you about the resident beavers some other time.)

In the afternoon we went to Strawbridge Lake. When we went to Boundary earlier today it was cold, overcast, and windy. By the time we arrived at Strawbridge it was sunny and a little warmer. It was very busy. Some highlights: a flock of 30 American Crows flying overhead, a Carolina Wren calling from a branch, and  a Great Blue Heron relaxing on some branches.

Great Blue Heron basking in the sunlight

An older gentleman approached us as we were watching the heron and we started talking about some of the birds we’ve seen at the lake. He asked us if we ever saw the Bald Eagle and we replied no. After talking for a few more minutes we parted ways and what did we see? The Bald Eagle! It was an adult because it had the bright white plumage on its head. The Eagle was high up on a branch, observing all the activity on the lake like he was a king looking out over his domain. What a majestic and beautiful bird.

3-6-16 bald eagle

As spring approaches I’m looking forward to seeing more birds arriving to the area. The next few days are supposed to be warmer (between the high 50s and low 70s!) so we’ll see what shows up!

Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily go birding in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but love to travel. I am currently a biology student with interests in conservation biology, ornithology, and environmental sciences. My dream is to go birding in all 50 states.

2 thoughts on “Seeing Red”

  1. Sounds like things are heating up in your area! Still eagerly waiting for migration to properly start here but we’re seeing more and more. In terms of cameras i just recently went through the process of upgrading and in all my reading and research I went through a process of learning and identifying the features I needed and the brands that consistently top the list. One piece of advice I can give is to put hard thought into the ever important question of DSLR or compact and then go from there!


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