Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birding at Cougar Canyon

I decided to wake early Tuesday morning and head to Delta’s Cougar Canyon. A friend had hiked through there recently and was fortunate enough to see a pair of Barred Owls perched on a low branch near the creek. I was hoping to see them as well. I hiked down to the creek around 6:15AM and they were nowhere to be found. I sat and listened for several minutes before proceeding deeper into the forest.

I hadn’t hiked far when I saw a tiny fluttering in the flowers out of the corner of my eye. I stopped and studied for a moment; it was a beautiful Hummingbird sipping nectar from a flower. I’m unsure as to whether it was an Anna’s or a Roufus Hummingbird but at that moment, it really didn’t matter. I was thoroughly enthralled as I watched it sip from one bloom and then another and another…before flying off. I saw several of the smallest of birds over the course of my hike

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After a few more twists and turns down the path, I hit what felt like the mother load! I heard a knocking in a nearby tree. I crept up slowly and there it was — a beautiful and meaty Pileated Woodpecker, pecking at a dead tree. The woodpecker was so engrossed in his meal that he allowed me to approach and snap quite a few close-ups, and this short video

The treetops were teaming with sounds of Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Song Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, various Finches, Stellar’s Jays, Northern Flickers, a variety of Flycatchers, and many others I failed to recognize. I saw a young Downy Woodpecker knocking on another dead tree too deep in the forest to photograph.

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