Monday, October 20, 2008

Spring Cypress Park in Tomball

Yesterday was my birthday, and Dee and I had coffee in Spring Cypress Park to celebrate. Although we didn't arrive there until almost noon and stayed only an hour, the birding didn't disappoint us.
As we sat at a picnic table, we spotted two Red-bellied Woodpeckers sparring on the ground and then chasing each other through the trees. A minute later, we were treated to a good view of a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. The same area had several Mourning Doves, Carolina Chickadees, Blue Jays, a Northern Cardinal and a couple of Northern Parula. The latter were particularly welcome sightings because the Parula is a bird I saw for the very first time earlier this year, in this same park.

The distinctive silhouette of a Pileated Woodpecker

The park didn't seem to have suffered too badly from Hurricane Ike, although several trees had fallen or had lost their tops.

As I walked down to the part of the creek near the site of the old Confederate powder mill, ten Black Vultures circled overhead, to be joined by a solitary Turkey Vulture.

The large tree next to the mill monument had been destroyed by Ike and an Eastern Phoebe was flycatching from its shattered trunk.

This area is always good for birds and I soon saw a male Downy Woodpecker, a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Then I was thrilled to see my FOS (First of Season) Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This tiny bird never keeps still and is a real challenge to photograph with a small digital camera. The only photo I managed to get is very poor but at least it shows the bird's trademark eye ring and wing bars.


Birdwoman said...

Happy belated birthday! Love the Pileated picture.

Jeff said...

Thank you.
We had wonderful views of one Pileated for 10+ minutes but unfortunately, when he wasn't silhouetted against the sky, my camera refused to focus on him.