Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Walk in the Park: Guilford Downs, Thunder Hill

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk

Earlier this week, I made another visit to one of Columbia's Open Space areas in the Thunder Hill neighborhood. Some maps indicate it as Guilford Downs, and it is labeled with that name as a hotspot on eBird. (A 2008 edition of the ADC map book for Howard County indicates a Guilford Downs neighborhood adjacent to Thunder Hill but on the other side of Route 29.) It's a beautiful park with a variety of wildlife habitats. On a previous walk, I heard wood thrush and eastern wood pewee and saw a pair of great crested flycatchers, all species that thrive in a generous patch of woods like what this park offers. The pond here is very small but picturesque, attracting lots of dragonflies and butterflies and supporting marsh and water-loving birds like green herons and red-winged blackbirds, and there is at least one good-sized snapping turtle in residence.

For visitors from outside the Thunder Hill area like myself, I've found it best to park at the Thunder Hill Neighborhood Center on the corner of Thunder Hill Road and Log Chain Road, then walk southward on the path system starting from near the community pool. A pizza place at the center might be a good stop for lunch in a future visit.

On this walk, as everywhere else at this time of year, recently fledged birds were a feature in the bird-watching. I have indicated young and adult birds in my photo captions.


Young Red-bellied Woodpecker

Green Heron -- immature to adult? -- at the small pond in the park

Another Green Heron at the Pond -- heavy streaking indicates a younger bird born this year

Young Cardinals

American Robin, Adult Male, Bathes in a Stream

In a Stream at the South End of the Park (with litter, sadly)