Spring warblers are showing up in breeding colors now. Photos here were taken around Lake Kittamaqundi in the last few days. The most common warbler here is the yellow-rumped, which can be seen often in groups flitting through the trees. They can be found anywhere around the lake (and other places in the area), but I've been noticing how much they like hanging around the spillway stream at the south end. Above: Yellow-rumped warbler poses in full regalia over the spillway. Below: Yellow-rumped shows its namesake rump spot along a path near the lake.
Above: Pine warbler, another common species, in the Kennedy Gardens on the east side of the lake
Above: Palm warbler is almost as common as yellow-rumped now. According to field guides, males and females sport the same breeding colors. This one was along a path near the lake. Below: Palm warbler preens along the shore near the Lakefront.
Above: Not so common, a northern parula showed up at a spot near the lake yesterday afternoon. This is a female in breeding colors. They can show up anywhere, and one was seen at Lake Elkhorn yesterday, too.
If you're looking for warblers, watch for any small birds active in the trees and brush. Warblers could be mixing with chickadees. Right now, with foliage still thin on the branches, the yellow-rumped and palm warblers are particularly easy to spot. Tiny blue-gray gnatcatchers and ruby-crowned kinglets are also present around the lake now. Even when the birds are close, binoculars (or the zoom on your camera) might allow an even closer look without disturbing them.
An evening walk yesterday with just my old Canon ELPH compact camera in hand: I tried it on one of the yellow-rumped warblers at the south end of the lake to see if I could get a recognizable image of the bird. The resulting photo captured many elements of life around the lake. (The bird is in the center of the photo. A separate zoom shot with the little camera did get a better view of it.)
In CA Open Space in the Thunder Hill area of Columbia last Sunday -- In eBird, it's designated as Guilford Downs, which seems to be a "pre-Columbian" name. This pileated woodpecker with roof tops in the background reminds us of the wildlife living among us.
A closer look at the bird shows black instead of red cheek stripe and smaller red cockade -- female. She probably is part of a pair which was in evidence on another recent walk here.
Last weekend (April 7 and 8), a total of five horned grebes were present on Lake Kittamaqundi. According to eBird, five is the highest count for this species on this lake. Three down at the south end permitted close views. The one above was in full breeding plumage. Its two companions in photos below were just starting or almost there. (Male and female grebes have identical plumage.)
The trio at the south end has left, but two which have been here for a couple of weeks and have been in transition to breeding plumage were still present as of yesterday. Below photo is a view of them out on the central part of the lake.
An evening out yesterday: On the way home, the sunset was looking interesting in a more subtle, less fiery way, so I stopped at Wilde Lake. Sunset effects usually can be seen well from the dam at the east end of the lake. I had only my old compact Canon ELPH with me, but it sufficed. It even captured good shots of a bald eagle perching by the dam. The raptor went unnoticed by many people and stayed put for more than half an hour after I first spotted it. An osprey, unseen, was calling from somewhere around the lake, and I spotted what turned out to be three buffleheads out on the water. All this went into an incidental report on eBird. ("Incidental" -- I wasn't there intentionally for birdwatching, but some interesting birds showed up and I wanted to report them.)
Above: This crop of a zoom shot with the compact camera got a decent view of the eagle.
Below: The eagle is visible at the top of the tree as someone passes by below. Other people noticed the bird, and it looked like some cell phone shots were being taken.
Above: I wasn't sure what they were at first, but a few zooms with my limited camera showed an adult male bufflehead with two females or young males. Otherwise, this is a typical Wilde Lake scene with bonus mallard.
Above: I liked the way this shot worked out -- no cropping or enhancement afterwards -- but I later noticed the fishing gear stuck in the upper right tree branch. (It's a hazard to wildlife.)
Back at home, the little back-up camera gets another good snapshot...
Photos were taken this week. Above: One of two horned grebes currently on the lake. I'm hoping that they stay until they are in full breeding plumage.
Below: Great blue heron at the Lakefront
Above: Pied-billed grebes. Five have been present for the last couple of days. I'm used to seeing just two or three of them on this lake during the winter, but we've had more than five here in the past.
Spring warblers are showing up in breeding colors (with snow expected this weekend). Above: Palm warbler.
Below: Two views of a pine warbler foraging in the grass between the Sheraton and the office building next door.
Above: A red-winged blackbird sings next to the Lakefront yesterday.
Below: View of the north section of the lake yesterday with Canada geese sheltering from the wind. Other specks out there are two pied-billed grebes, five hooded mergansers, and a plastic bottle floating on the lake.