Around the Bend

4.19.2006, 145-230, 300-415 pm
North Crum loop, Wister Forest

Sneaking out of Plant Bio lab, I made a quick trip into the north Crum, which I hadn’t really explored this semester. Specifically, I was looking for Blue-headed Vireos, as several were reported from Ridley Creek yesterday afternoon, and also for breeding swallows at the Wallingford Rd. bridge. Heading straight for the bridge, only two swallows were seen high in the air, but neither were bridge residents. Since it was almost time to check back in on my still-running experiment back in Martin, I headed back, but at Wister bend I suddenly ran into some exciting birds, with two species new to my Crum list and three species new for the spring. I will never tire of seeing Pileated Woodpeckers, ever.

Blue-headed Vireo. Formerly considered a subspecies of Solitary Vireo along with the drabber Cassin’s Vireo of the Pacific coast, and the mostly gray Plumbeous Vireo of the Rockies and Great Basin.

After the surprisingly successful lab, Ben Ewen-Campen and I headed out to see if we could relocate any of the birds. The two Palm Warblers were still in the same location, but otherwise things had quieted down significantly.

  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker – female, Wister bend.
  • 2 Palm Warbler – scrub pile in Wister forest. Both individuals very brightly plumaged, with obvious rufous cap. Were very active, constantly tail-pumping, close to the ground.
  • 1 Blue-headed Vireo – Wister bend. Very obvious white spectacles.
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler – Wister bend, in bright breeding plumage.
  • 1 Hermit Thrush – Upper Wister draw. Thrush species with light spotting, no spectacles, and not light enough to be a Veery. That leaves Hermit and Gray-cheeked/Bicknell’s, and due to time of the year and general abundance, I’ll call this a Hermit.
  • 2 Swallow spp. – High above Wallingford Rd. bridge, probably not Barn Swallows.
  • 2 Belted Kingfisher – reported by Ben Ewen-Campen in the hemlock bluff area.
  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk – immature, in cypresses outside Mertz

Also, a few days ago, I went to check out the Oxbow Swamp on the other side of the creek, under the railroad bridge. It wasn’t close to being a ‘marsh’ as outlined by the Natural Lands Trust, but it looks like decent habitat that could yield some interesting stuff. I’ll swing by again when I have some extra time on my hands.

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