Yesterday, I decided to do my Great Backyard Bird Count counting along the trail in our neighborhood. I left at 3:15. The weather was early-spring perfect, and a welcome treat after the previous day’s drizzle and rain.

I spotted a few mockingbirds, including this one:

Northern Mockingbird

I love listening to them sing; it’s like having all the other birds wrapped up in one. I guess they’re like the ipod of birds, set on permanent shuffle.

Often, I’ll follow a bird’s song only to find a mockingbird, but this time, there was a little chickadee bouncing in the tree. The number of dee’s in their call gives their assessment of any threat. I only rated one dee.

Carolina Chickadee

As I walked down the trail, I saw both turkey and black vultures spiraling overhead. I saw two hawks, but even with the binoculars, I couldn’t ID them as they were too far away. I suspect they were red-tails, though, since most of the hawks around here are.

At the bottom of the hill, the trail opens up into a kind of grassy meadow along the creek. A crow sat on the highest tree calling out to anyone who would listen. While studying the trees around the meadow, I saw a great blue heron glide past, slowly flapping its great wings.

Walking back up the hill, I heard a number of other birds chirping in the trees. I caught glimpses of chipping sparrows and even a blue jay, the first one I’ve seen since August.

Up near the trailhead, I ventured into a meadow where a small creek runs narrow and quiet beneath thick undergrowth. Looking up, I noticed a woodpecker clinging to the tree and apparently feeding or depositing something in a hole. He was either a golden-fronted or a red-bellied woodpecker, but he hopped into the hole before I could get close enough (even with binoculars) to figure out what he was.

I did get this shot of his head, as he sat there surveying the woods around him.

Mystery Woodpecker

It’s not enough to ID him for sure, though.

And, here are my “official” counts for the birds I could ID:

  • 2 Northern mockingbirds
  • 2 Turkey Vultures
  • 1 Carolina chickadee
  • 1 American crow
  • 1 Great blue heron
  • 1 Black-crested titmouse
  • 3 Black vultures
  • 2 Chipping sparrows
  • 1 Blue jay