Quick Check-in at Turkey Creek

It’s been quite a few weeks since I checked in at the Turkey Creek Sanctuary. Although I wasn’t expecting too much, it was nice to take in the familiar sights and sounds of the place.

I arrived just after sunrise and managed to do the majority of the jogging trail, the boardwalk and the Sand Pine Trail in about three hours.

turkey-creek
The Sanctuary doing its best to look primeval.

I also used this as an opportunity to count birds for my first “official” eBird checklist. I’ve been reluctant to make any checklists on eBird for a variety of reasons. For one, when there are larger numbers of individuals of a species, especially if they are encountered at various points though a hike, I don’t trust my count. I used to carry a notebook around and that might certainly help, but I find that I sometimes get too caught up in following a bird or watching what it’s doing, then I would forget to count the numbers. I realize that seems a bit lame, but I did make it a goal this year to start making an effort to use eBird.

I counted quite a number of Northern Cardinals, which is not surprising – this park is usually overrun with them. I tracked a few Northern Parulas both on the boardwalk and on McKinnon’s Way, and finally managed to get sight of one high in the canopy. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, at first, until I realized the bird had no tail feathers! Whether this was from parasites, molting, or an attack by a predator, I have no way of knowing, but he was singing and foraging like all was well, otherwise.

northern-parula
Tail-less Northern Parula.

There was little else to document, apart from some woodpeckers and Carolina Wrens scattered here and there. The highest concentration of birdlife was near the canal and weir. There were Blue Jays (one of which was imitating a Red-shouldered Hawk so well that it got a hawk to answer its calls from across the canal), Fish Crows, Mourning Doves, and White-eyed Vireos along the jogging path before the weir. At the canal itself there was an assemblage of birds just behind the floating barrier.

2-mottled-ducklings
Two of four Mottled Duck juveniles (I think they are past the “chick” stage here) that were resting with 2 adults.

Along with Mottled Ducks and a few American Coots and Common Gallinules, there were two Green Herons and Two Killdeer probing the mud and vegetation. I was a little surprised not to see any other herons or egrets near the canal.

greenheron
Green Heron.
killdeer
Killdeer.

Here is a link to the eBird checklist:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S23909315

And the species list in the same order as the eBird checklist:

  • 6 Mottled Ducks
  • 2 Green Herons
  • 2 Black Vultures
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 2 Red-shouldered Hawks
  • 3 Common Gallinules
  • 2 American Coots
  • 2 Killdeers
  • 1 Common Ground Dove
  • 3 Mourning Doves
  • 5 Chimney Swifts
  • 2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
  • 2 Downy Woodpeckers
  • 3 Great Crested Flycatchers
  • 3 White-eyed Vireos
  • 4 Blue Jays
  • 3 Fish Crows
  • 5 Carolina Wrens
  • 6 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
  • 5 Northern Parulas
  • A LOT of Northern Cardinals

I expect the situation at Turkey Creek will be fairly stable for the next month or so, with some of the breeding birds raising their young and some fledglings venturing out. Some of the early migration vanguard will start to arrive later in August, but until then things should remain quiet.

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