We woke up to a break in the chilly, cloudy weather this week and hurried to take advantage. While still a bit cool the beautiful blue and cloudless (for a change) sky, and the bright sun sent us outdoors to hike at a local park.
We used to visit this local park, Key Vista Park, frequently. Over the years we visited it so much we felt we ‘knew’ it and went on to other discoveries, stopping by only occasionally. Recently the county opened a multi-use trail with this park as one of the stops so we decided to walk that trail. We pulled into a parking spot, got out of the car and looked up to see an American eagle directly over us in the tree. Several osprey flew back and forth, one with nesting material, and we saw a juvenile eagle fly over the adult in the tree. So much for the new trail, we decided to hike into the park itself and save that for another day.
We walked the trails we knew, pointing out to each other the changes. Birds sang, chirped, and flew everywhere. An eagle zoomed overhead, being chased by an osprey. The eagle perhaps ventured too close to a nest. Two fellow hikers near us watched the chase and asked about the birds. Karl explained what they were, and what was likely happening. We told them we have watched eagles chase osprey that just caught fish and harass them attempting to get the osprey to drop the fish.
We walked into one section full of small, fast darting birds mostly hiding in the foliage. Most flew too fast across the trails from one tree to another, so we walked slowly stopping frequently to watch the activity. This Carolina chickadee finally landed in view so we could see it.
As we left, we heard the cat-like cries of one of my favorite birds, the Gray Catbird. It came out briefly, looked around, and flew away. The Gray catbird arrives in our area sometime in autumn and stays through the winter, leaving again in spring. I listed 20 birds for the day, not all we saw but I am just starting to get back in the habit of taking field notes so I consider it a good start.