Cochran Shoals 1/26/14

Last Sunday I visited Cochran Shoals for about two hours. The weather was a chilly 30 degrees and much of the water close to the march trail and around the beaver dam was frozen. The leaves and stalks of many plants also had ice crystals on their surfaces. Some dead plants coated in ice below the boardwalk looked like miniature ice stalagmites. There was a surprising amount of bird activity for this temperature – especially from the dozens of White-throated Sparrows pecking the open ground or tediously scraping away leaves. The highlights included a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds, two outgoing Golden-crowned Kinglets, a lone indifferent Hermit Thrush, a Red-headed Woodpecker, a Blue Jay that imitated a Red-shouldered Hawk (as well as the real thing) and a lifer and nemesis bird – the Fox Sparrow! While I did not see quite the diversity I was expecting – Brown Creepers, House and Winter Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwings, some waterfowl (other than Mallards) – I did get to see a nemesis bird so I guess I can’t complain!

Birds (22 species, 1 lifer):

Canada Goose 75

Mallard 15

Double-crested Cormorant 2

Red-shouldered Hawk 1

Belted Kingfisher 1

Red-headed Woodpecker 1

Red-bellied Woodpecker 4

Downy Woodpecker 1

Blue Jay 15

Carolina Chickadee 20

Tufted Titmouse 2

White-breasted Nuthatch 1

Carolina Wren 10

Golden-crowned Kinglet 4

Eastern Bluebird 1

Hermit Thrush 2

Eastern Towhee 5

*Fox Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow 30

Northern Cardinal 5

Rusty Blackbird 4


Hermit Thrush on a stump


Hermit Thrush on the ground


A “tan-stripe” White-throated Sparrow


Rusty Blackbird