The weather is nice and I really needed to get away from the office for a few minutes, so I headed over to nearby Woodland Trails West Park at lunch today. It's a neighborhood park bordered on one side by a large wooded area, and it backs up to a bayou and sunken field used as a run-off area after hard rains.
It was high noon when I headed over, so I didn't really expect to see much in the way of birds. But for a quick fifteen minute excursion, I certainly can't complain with the results.
My arrival at the park was announced to the world by this Blue Jay, not that my presence seemed to bother him in the least. Once I'd been promptly and soundly told off, the disapproving jay dropped down to the grass a mere twenty feet away and started hunting for his lunch.
I had only been there for a minute or two when I spotted my first woodpecker of the day, this male Downy Woodpecker. (The little red cap on the back of his crown identifies him as a male.)
I followed the downy for a bit, then veered off for what turned out to be a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
As I moved slowly toward the rear of the park, another flash of red caught my attention. After angling in to get a better view, I spotted my third woodpecker of the day: a male Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Watching this bright red-capped fellow, I discovered a second red-bellied woodpecker following in his wake, pausing near each place he had stopped. The white crown on this one distinguished her as female — possibly his mate?
Walking through the park, I heard but never spotted at least two mockingbirds and a dove. I also followed two little yellowish-greenish birds that flitted from branch to branch so quickly I could barely keep up. These are the best two images I could capture — they were just too fast for me.
(Click either image to enlarge, although the quality doesn't improve with size)
I assume from the size and coloring that these were warblers of some kind ("confusing fall warblers," as labeled by Mr. Peterson), but that's as far as my inexperience can get me. And I can't even guarantee they are warblers. Kinglets, perhaps? I dunno.
UPDATE: Ruby-crowned Kinglets, identification courtesy of KatDoc and Christopher. Thanks, y'all!
When I got to the bayou, I accidentally spooked this Great Egret into flight.
Taking that as my cue to leave (plus the fact that programming bugs still awaited my attention back at the office), I headed out. But I have to admit, I was in a much better frame of mind after that twenty minute birding excursion than when I started.
All in all, not a bad catch for a spur-of-the-moment lunchtime getaway.