The MCPA Birding Adventure

by Jeffrey Martin, Ph.D.

Snowy Egret

Our day was very successful with curious eyes magically transforming duck ponds into diverse wildlife habitats. The sun was shining bright as were the bright colors and designs on species such as the Green-winged Teal and the Ruby-crowned Kinglet that provided a rare flash of a widely spread ruby crest.  We spotted, in less than 2 hours together at the marsh, at least 35 different species of North American birds. A special surprise was several dozen Cackling Geese.  These look like “miniature” Canada Geese.”  They often hang out with Canada Geese, but are much smaller (perhaps one third the size) and are a separate species (keep your eyes out in the winter for them).  They are only here in the winter, and only a few.

 Northern Pintail

Birds of prey were plentiful, as two Northern Harriers demonstrated their low flying agility in territorial combat with White-tailed Kite and Red-shouldered Hawk. A couple dozen Black-crowned Night Herons spent their daytime dotting the trees nearby. It was also a stress-free day and fun to hang out with colleagues, just for fun, and it was great to meet families.  And the two fruit salads were a great complement to lox and bagels we shared afterwards.  Special thanks to Dan, a birding friend of Jeff’s who brought a 60 power spotting scope, and a crate for the kids to stand on for a good look! 

Cackling Goose (several dozen)

Canada Goose


American Wigeon


Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal


Ring-necked Duck


Ruddy Duck

Horned Grebe

Eared Grebe

Western Grebe

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Black-crowned Night Heron

White-tailed Kite

Northern Harrier

Red-shouldered Hawk

American Coot

Black-necked Stilt

Mew Gull

Anna’s Hummingbird

Black Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe

American Crow

Marsh Wren (heard)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet — rare display of fanned out ruby crown

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Western Meadowlark

House Finch