I headed over to Lickinghole Creek and Reservoir this morning, and got there around 9 a.m. I hiked the trail long the creek to the reservoir. The low angle, morning sun meant that I was looking most of the time into the sun, and viewing birds at the reservoir was a challenge. When I got to the Bald Eagle nest, I could see two of them at the nest, and, as if on cue, as soon as I picked up my camera to take a few photos, one of them flew into the nest, and appeared to mate with the other. Perhaps it was just moving next to the other eagle, but it was difficult to tell for sure with the sun in my eyes.
I hiked a bit past the small bridge at the end of the marsh area, and then returned. At this point, I had logged 24 avian species, including 2 species I had seen on my way there, but about 1/3 of them were heard only species. As I hiked along the creek, it was easier to see birds with the sun at my back.
I then hiked along Lickinghole Creek on the other side of the creek past where it turned to the south, and along the large grassy field, and added a few more species to my list.
When I got back close to where I had parked my car on Fairwinds Lane, I was up to 29 avian species for the morning. It was now 10:30, and I had already hiked 2.4 miles. Those of you who are aware of my birding druthers and my math background, know that I don't like to end a birding trip/outing with a species total ending in 8, or especially in 9, and will often hike the extra mile to add 1 or 2 species to bring my list total into the next level of 10s. So I decided to hike back to the reservoir now that the sun was higher. Perhaps I would see at least one more species, or see some of the species I had only heard earlier in the morning. Soon after starting on the trail along the creek, a Great Blue Heron flew from the creek to the south - species # 30 for day! But I continued on to see what I might have missed. When I got to the reservoir, I saw a Belted Kingfisher fly away, and that was one of my heard only species for the morning. In the reservoir, I saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers (species # 31).
I continued on to the Bald Eagle nest, but neither one was there, so I headed back. Along the creek, I got better views of a few species that were difficult for me to see on my first trip this morning.
And when I got to my car, a Red-tailed hawk was circling high above (# 32). It was now 11:30, and I had hiked 3.6 miles, so the extra mile got me to the next deka-level and beyond.
When I got home and started processing my photos, I saw an American Goldfinch in one of the photos I had taken on my first trek to the reservoir, but couldn't identify in the field because I was looking into the sun. This made 33 avian species for the trip, and I didn't have to hike the extra mile to get to 30! But I'm not complaining :-)