Our three-hour guided bird walk at Connemara Meadow Preserve yielded good views of ruby crowned kinglets, American crow, red-shouldered hawks, flocks of cedar waxwings and Eastern bluebirds, kestrel (sparrow hawk), house finches, goldfinches, cardinals, tufted titmouse, Northern flicker, red-bellied woodpecker, gull, mallards, Canada geese, mockingbirds, Carolina chickadee, robins, cowbirds, and starlings. This was my first ever bird hike with binoculars, and I got better as the morning went on. It was a dark, cloudy, windy, damp morning, so it was difficult to see bird colors. The temperature stayed near 37 degrees.
More experienced birders also saw Carolina wren, yellow-rumped warbler, ring-neck ducks, widgeons, and identified sparrows. After squishing through the swampy part of the lower meadow, we were blue-footed shiverers, but our best sightings were made in the pecan woods and the land conservancy area near the tree farm.
My companions were overjoyed with the flock of Eastern bluebirds flitting in the young trees. My most exciting views were the ruby-crowned kinglets at very close range in the brush by the road, and the tufted titmouse with its pinkish tummy.
The walk was a wintery attitude adjuster, and I feel more ready to tackle Christmas projects at home and with my students. A pleasant visit in the Market Street coffee shop was nice for warming inside and out.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder