When I last visited Bear Creek Park, three weeks ago, there were downed trees and branches everywhere. Most of the site was covered in mud, and large pools of standing water were hosting scores of wading birds.
Yesterday morning I returned to the park and found that the site's physical condition had changed very little. However, the wading birds had disappeared - I saw one Great Blue Heron and five White Ibis - and the park was generally quiet for birds.
When I say "quiet," I am not referring to noise: I don't think there as a minute that wasn't punctuated by the calls of American Crows, Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, Northern Mockingbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Red-headed Woodpeckers.
The number of birds that I actually saw would have fairly low, except for one factor: migrating American Robins have arrived en masse. One section of the park had scores, if not hundreds, of Robins chasing each other through the trees, feeding in ditches or scavenging around picnic tables.
At the head of the equestrian trail I spotted three deer, and elsewhere the mud was covered with the tracks of birds and mammals.
At the end of my trip, I went along Golf Course Road, hoping to see the Vermilion Flycatcher that Jim Hinson says has returned for the sixth consecutive year. I didn't spot the Flycatcher but I did see a dozen Killdeer, a beautiful male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Eurasian Collared Dove.
Back in our yards, a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker turned up to join the male that appeared a few days ago.
Much more surprising, I'm 99% sure that I saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch. These birds are not common in our area but a lot turned up last winter, when we had at least two in our yards for months. As I'm not 100% certain, I'll wait to see if it turns up again before I report my sighting on e-Bird.