Date: 10/10/18 12:44 pm From: Kathy and Mark Haas <kathyhaas...> Subject: Mimids on the Move in Bollinger County
Yesterday I went to the Dark Cypress Unit of Duck Creek CA. I was hoping to repeat the waterfowl and shorebird action Mike Taylor had there last week. This unit, managed for waterfowl hunting, is mainly wetland pools and grassy sparrow habitat, with a few brushy areas and stands of mature hardwoods.
When I arrived before sunrise, I was immediately met with calls and sounds of Gray Catbirds and Brown Thrashers in some tree tops. I continued on my customary route-a 1.2-mile gravel road that runs down the middle of the area, eventually leading to the best of the wetlands. Along the way, thrashers and catbirds flew back and forth across the road. Others vocalized from the trees. I believe I heard every different sound a thrasher can make. And that's a lot. A few were even singing. At times I could see 3-4 mimids in a single tree.
I stopped at a woodlot to try for warblers. I played the screech-owl call. Sure enough, a mixed flock of warblers appeared at the woodland edge. They were joined by vireos, cuckoos, and so many mimids in the tree tops that all the distraction made it difficult to key in on a single warbler, which is difficult enough when it's just them.
I managed to get positive looks at Black-throated Green and Golden-winged Warblers. Others I could not ID. The mimids were such a nuisance! Sometimes 5 or 6 were moving about in a tree at once. My tally for this trip was 14 catbirds and 18 thrashers reported to eBird, which was a conservative count. They could be seen or heard almost continuously on this entire route. Easily the most I've ever seen at a single location. On a typical summer trip here, you might encounter one or maybe two mimids.
And what about the waterfowl and shorebirds? When I finally got down to one of the best wetland pools, I walked off the road and through some trees, giving me a view of the entire pool. I nice rim of mudflats bordered the water all around. I scanned the pool with my binocs. There were no waterfowl, shorebirds, or waders of any kind to be seen. This was somewhat disappointing until a Peregrine Falcon swooped in low over the water, giving me a very nice look. Not a bird I see every day.
Still itching for some waterfowl, I went over to the main unit of Duck Creek and drove the six-mile road that runs the perimeter of Pool 1. Unless you count coots and grebes, waterfowl were very scarce there as well. However, I managed to spot two Common Gallinules near the road, allowing for a decent pic. Talk about a bird I don't see every day!