10 June 2013

Audubon Outing at Fontenelle Forest Enjoyed by Many

There were twenty people that enjoyed a morning outing among the hills of Fontenelle Forest, during a field trip sponsored by the Wachiska Audubon Society of Lincoln, Saturday, June 8th.

The area hiked was the north uplands and Child's Hollow, because this was where there was the most likely chance to see Kentucky Warblers and the Hooded Warbler which had been resident for a time during spring.

Birders on Wachiska field trip getting a close look at a pair of Scarlet Tanagers.

One of the earliest highlights was a pair of Scarlet Tanagers, with the male only a few feet distant from the boardwalk while it moved about the tops of some adjacent trees. Summer Tanagers were seen elsewhere. Another significant event was noticing a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird being cared for by a pair of Eastern Towhee.

The "pizza" bird was enjoyed, and its method of singing well conveyed by Justin Rink, of Omaha, who led the group.

Northern Cardinals, House Wrens and Red-eyed Vireo were represent the more prevalent species.

Some wonderful views were provided to some of the birders of a pair of Kentucky Warblers, busy about a small portion of the forest, and more than likely associated with their season's territory and nest associated with some fallen trees.

The tally of the day was not especially magnanimous, but there was attention given to each of the birds noticed, whether it was via listening, looking through binoculars or a spotting scope, and in some instances those participants with cameras and significant lenses were able to capture an image.

This is a list of species, which includes a few notations from the floodplain parking lot, where the group gathered before transitioning to the nature center along Bellevue Boulevard: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, American Redstart, Kentucky Warbler, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole and American Goldfinch.

There were, notably as discussed on a bridge across the middle of Childs Hollow, no cuckoo's heard nor seen. Certainly a Mourning Dove was around, but none of them were seen.

A significant rainfall held off until the group was a short distance away from the Bellevue nature center. Cell-phone radar indicated what was being shown by radar means.

The outing was organized by John Carlini and Sheri Schwartz of the Lincoln group. Among the participants was a minister from central Massachusetts, who asked for and received a ride from his temporary abode at the Old Market to and from the forest bird outing. He'd never been further west than Chicago, and was appreciating an opportunity to add species to his list for Nebraska. His first view of the Peregrine Falcons at Woodman Tower, occurred while Rink gave him a ride back to the downtown area. One of the pair residing at this city building was in the aerosphere as we drove nearby, and was obvious from the street. It was an easy mark to add to his list!

Other activities underway at the forest on Saturday included the second annual Bioblitz which started before dawn (and being intent on denoting all species of birds would certainly have a larger list) and perhaps they recorded a Prothonotary Warbler about Hidden Lake. A hike by the Omaha Walking Club started on the floodplain trails, and meant an initial separation early in the morning. The club members all seemed to have "four legs" because a pair of "walking aids" seemed to be requisite because they all appeared to have these aids.

There were no "relics of the morning" taken away from my time among the morning outing. Any ticks or chiggers were left where they more suitably belonged.