Sunday, December 03, 2006

Looking for Nuthatches, Finding Warblers

Late this morning I returned to the Arboretum for a walk and some birdwatching. I picked the meadows around the Capitol columns and the state tree grove as my area of focus, to see if I could find anything unusual there. As I passed along the south side of the meadow, I heard a nuthatch yanking in a nearby stand of pine trees. I went over to see what species was calling; it turned out to be a white-breasted nuthatch. As I was about to move on, a small yellow bird darted into view. I ran through the field marks quickly - yellow eye-ring, olive back, yellow breast with olive streaking - it was a pine warbler! I watched it for a while before losing it in another stand of pines a few yards away. The same tree where I spotted the nuthatch and pine warbler also held a male red-winged blackbird, in full regalia.

In the meadows I turned up lots of sparrows - few fields, a few songs, a few white-throats, and large flocks of juncos. A small flock of eastern bluebirds flew past the columns. I also spotted two eastern phoebes in the same meadows. Elsewhere, there was a red-shouldered hawk in Fern Valley and a pair of hooded mergansers in the large pond. There were also some large sparrow flocks in the boxwood area along Bladensburg Road. They were mostly the same species as before, plus a few towhees.


Hooded Merganser
Red-shouldered Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Carolina Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
American Goldfinch
Pine Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird