Last August I was introduced to The Swamp by a birder on our local forum. Bounded by a mall and Walmart on one side, a nursing home, two schools, a subdivision and a road, it is an unlikely place for a bird sanctuary within the city limits. It is only a five minute drive from our home so I have dropped in many times throughout the year.
There is no single spot in the region where I have seen more birds and my list here now tops fifty species. This past week I met up with a new birding friend, Cheryl after work and showed her The Swamp. We did not have a lot of time as dusk was falling, but there was so much bird activity going on. Yesterday, The Becka wanted to look for some clothing, so I dropped her at the nearby mall and spent an enjoyable hour watching the water. It was so much less stressful than bathing suit shopping.
The water levels are much higher than last year and the wading birds have moved to different parts of the swamp. The Green Herons were easy to find last summer but I have looked in vain for them this year. I finally found one on the top branch of an old dead tree instead of on the usual logs at water level.
An Osprey hovered above the water. I did not know they could stay in one spot for so long .
I saw my first Wood Ducks here last October. This year a female has been seen frequently with her brood. Here they are lined up on a log. I hope they stay around for a while after the males have their breeding plumage again.
There are many Belted Kingfishers about and they make a mighty racket as they dive into the water for a minnow. They compete for the best perches and aggressively chase away others who venture too close.
I also saw a Great Blue Heron make a noisy fuss when a Kingfisher got too close to the Heron's fishing spot.
Other birds seen this evening included the usual suspects plus a Trumpeter Swan, a pair of Northern Flickers, a Hairy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwings, Kingbirds, a Caspian Tern and Spotted Sandpipers. Shorebirds are moving south and other birds like male Red-winged Blackbirds have flocked together and are leaving. Fall migration is underway. And this swamp is a great resting place for migrating water birds.
The Becka finished her shopping and as I picked her up a lovely rainbow hung above the swamp. Yesterday was a day of sun and showers and the rainbow was the storm's parting gift. There is much to enjoy close to home!