Monday, September 26, 2016

Northern Waterthrush; Other Warblers at Lake Kittamaqundi

In spite of its name, the northern waterthrush is a warbler species. I found this one (photo above), my first one, foraging in the Little Patuxent River next to the lake on Saturday. Its habit of bobbing its tail made it hard to get a sharply focused photo. Perhaps, the related Louisiana waterthrush is passing through the area also. I saw and heard my first Louisiana at Marriottsville in the county last spring.

Local birdwatchers are looking for "fall warblers" now -- warblers passing through the area on their way south for the winter. Lake Kittamaqundi isn't rich in warbler species, but I've seen some of the more common ones. We get the yellow-rumped warbler and the palm warbler, and the common yellowthroat spends the summer here. Last fall, I came across a black-throated blue warbler foraging in trees along the shore around the north end of the lake. I note that in eBird, somebody reported a northern parula here one morning this summer. If I want to see more warblers, I must go to places like the Howard County Conservancy, where I recently saw my first prairie warbler and black-and-white warbler. But I still keep my eye on the area around Lake Kittamaqundi. You never know what could turn up, like that northern waterthrush.

/// What are they foraging or hunting for? Warblers are usually after insects or other small invertebrates. I'm not aware that they feed on berries or seeds, but I understand that you're not going to see them at feeders generally because of their diet. ///

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Counting the Birds; Sharing the Path; Seeing the Ibises

The Howard County Bird Club held its annual Fall Count yesterday. Naturally, I volunteered to count around Lake Kittamaqundi. I had a good day and spotted some summer residents which have not left yet, although I heard remarks later that it was a slow day for birds. Fall warblers have begun to appear, but some exciting recent uncommon birds disappeared before the day's counting -- the trumpeter swan which has spent the summer on local ponds; a pair of immature white ibises which entertained birdwatchers for the past week at Rocky Gorge Reservoir. Above: a line-up of typical birds at Lake Kittamaqundi, including an immature and an adult double-crested cormorant.

The great egret was still here for the count -- and the lake is full of algae and invasive aquatic weed now.

One of our local dark-form eastern gray squirrels at the lake.

I tried to get my counting along the lake path done before the start of the announced Bike About event. I was almost successful but tarried to confirm something for my list on eBird. Everybody was quite civil!

Near the lake a northern flicker, one of a pair, enjoys some wild grapes.

 One of my shots of the young white ibises foraging at Rocky Gorge Reservoir earlier this week. As of the bird club's Tally Rally last night, the ibises were not known to be at the reservoir during yesterday's counting.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dragonhunter the lake today. This is a large dragonfly known to prey on some of the larger butterflies, including tiger swallowtails.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Morning at the Lake; Two Egrets Observed

A couple of snapshots of Lake Kittamaqundi this morning as the sun was appearing. 

I recently mentioned that I have seen only one great egret show up at the lake. This morning, I had two in view. If you can see the white specks in the first two photos in this post, they are the egrets (one in each photo). I only had the compact camera with me. Third photo is a better view of one of the birds still roosting when I walked around the lake. If you're interested, see the "eBird: Lake Kittamaqundi" link in the blog margin for more details of the egrets and latest bird reports at this location. (Follow the links in that eBird view for reports from bird-watchers at other locations. Join eBird and make your own reports!)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reckless Juveniles on Bikes / Police Contacted

People on the path around Lake Kittamaqundi recently may have encountered a gang or gangs of youths on bicycles riding at high speed and doing dangerous moves (the "wheelie") close to them. I met four or five of these kids first on Sunday evening. I had to pass them a second time on Sunday as I returned along the path back to my street when two of them did the wheelies, one just inches from me. I decided it was just high spirits before the start of school, but yesterday around 5:30pm (Tuesday, August 30), I encountered about six of them coming down the path as I approached the lake. I was crouching on the verge beside the path to tie a shoe lace as they passed me, and I was hit in the face by a plastic cup of ice and water. No damage, and I wasn't too wet, as the cup glanced off me, but it was a nasty shock and could have been worse. They were gone before I could react, but I followed them toward Little Patuxent Parkway and its intersection with Vantage Point Road. A couple I met had seen them and noticed them crossing toward Wilde Lake in rowdy fashion (more wheelies).

I hung around on the path for a while, hoping to find the kids on their return trip and get photos. (I finished my walk to the lake and carried out my original intention of checking on the great egret for an entry in eBird.) When I got home around 6:00pm, I called the police non-emergency number and reported both yesterday evening's incident and Sunday's. I'm hoping the police bike patrols on the path system can put a stop to this behavior before something worse happens. Meanwhile, the police are interested in seeing any photos I (or anyone) manage to take of the miscreants.

There are safety concerns, and maybe some parents will find out about this conduct and take care of the situation.

Addendum: I also contacted Town Center Community Association, and they have been very responsive. They have coordinated with other authorities responsible for safety on the paths and at the lakefront.

Below: The egret yesterday evening, preening in the shallows and oblivious of these incidents. Perhaps, soon my camera will capture the idiots in action.