Thursday, December 12, 2013

Oak Flats-A Great Birding Location

Oak Flats is only 8 miles east of Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  Just like Boyce, I've had only been to Oak Flats once prior to December 6th, 2013.  It was the same day Troy Corman and I went to Boyce for the Rufous-backed Robin, and we made a quick stop at the flats.  On this most recent visit to the area, I had planned to visit Oak Flats after Boyce, especially to look for Fox Sparrows, which I didn't have one for 2013 yet.  I didn't find that Fox Sparrow, but the location was great and so were the birds.  Fellow birder John Saba joined me for the expedition, and we birded Oak Flats for over two hours, and the birding was awesome!

John and I phished a lot and had a lot of birds come in close.  If the Ruby-crowned Kinglet was bigger, I think I would have a good reason to be scared of him.  The more his red shows, the madder he is.

Canyon Towhees come into phishing a lot too, but they tend to keep their distance.  As you can see, this Canyon Towhee is very passive, but also very curious.  I guess curiosity though will never kill the Canyon Towhee.

We also found this loner Say's Phoebe.  They do have a sad sounding song don't they?  It probably doesn't help the bird much if it's a loner.

John and I were having a lot of luck, despite there not being any Fox Sparrows.  We heard Crissal Thrashers calling in the area, and large flocks of Bushtits made their way close to the road.  A Townsend's Solitaire also made an appearance.  John then started to play his Screech-Owl tape in an attempt to bring numbers of birds in.  It worked out really well, and some birds I wasn't expecting to show up gradually made there way into the area of the "Screech-Owl". 

I was glad to see that a Canyon Wren was coming in to the call!  Canyon Wrens are always fun to see, and this particular wren was extra curious.  He literally came roadside to where John and I were standing.

Things got even better when he perched on man made items, such as signs..

After the Wren finished up with the sign, he then started hopping on the ground again and eventually made his way over to where an underground pipe was.  He went down into the area.  I walked over expecting him to be sitting by the entrance of the pipe, but I didn't see him.  I was confused and then thought, "does he live down there sometimes, in the underground pipe?".  My I-pod then went down the pipe and I played the call of the wren.  A few seconds later, the wren came hopping out of the pipe, and sat two feet in front of my face.  My hand could have reached over and grabbed the bird it was so close.  The wren sat there curiously, and my camera wouldn't focus on it because it was so close.  I had to shrink the 300 mm to 75 mm.  

The wren then got a little upset and told Saba and I to get lost.  And we then called it a day at Oak Flats.

There was also great scenery at Oak Flats to be enjoyed!

1 comment:

  1. Ah just crushed that Wren, really flattened it! Great photos Tommy, and neat location.