ASCM March Nature Walks

Thanks to our Nature Walk Leaders for these reports on our March Nature Walks!


Saturday, March 21st started out crisp (35 degrees F) and sunny. Eighteen intrepid nature lovers showed up at the Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary in Mt. Airy for a two-and-one half mile walk. It was still a little early for the Spring migrants to appear, but several interesting birds were spotted nonetheless. The lack of leaves on the trees made for easy sight lines to the birds that were present. By the end of our walk, temperatures rose to 45 degrees F.

Some of the walk highlights included a flyover of a pair of Great Blue Herons, a perched Belted Kingfisher at the pond, the first Tree Swallow of the spring, and Red-tailed Hawks taking advantage of the numerous thermals over the grassy fields. Both Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks were busy searching for prey. A flock of American Crows were harassing a suspected Barred Owl that uses the pine trees on the hill overlooking the northeastern corner of the sanctuary. The owl kept hidden from our view, although we tried to spot it from the fields below its perch. It finally flew away out of view to the north away from the crows for some privacy. Still around because of the recent cold spell were many White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A good spot was the White-crowned Sparrow on the western side of the sanctuary. The characteristic songs of abundant Field Sparrows were a welcome harbinger of spring. In addition to the birds, we saw a White-tailed Deer and a Woodchuck.

A list of the birds spotted this day follows:

Great Blue Heron Carolina Wren
Turkey Vulture Eastern Bluebird
Canada Goose American Robin
Sharp-shinned Hawk Northern Mockingbird
Cooper's Hawk European Starling
Red-tailed Hawk Eastern Towhee
Mourning Dove American Tree Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker Northern Cardinal
Eastern Phoebe Dark-eyed Junco
Blue Jay Red-winged Blackbird
American Crow Rusty Blackbird
Fish Crow Common Grackle
Tree Swallow Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee House Finch
Tufted Titmouse American Goldfinch
White-breasted Nuthatch House Sparrow
Brown Creeper  

Thanks to all participants!

Ron Polniaszek


Five intrepid (addicted?) birders defied the weather forecast and walked the Audrey Carroll Sanctuary for two hours without getting wet. We saw 28 species, including Bluebirds galore (such as three males feeding together on the ground in all their blue glory) and a Flicker with its golden shafts blazing. Good views of Towhees, a song from a Meadowlark, Wood Ducks and a Great Blue Heron flying overhead – a lovely way to get our exercise.

Odds are that the weather will be friendlier for our next walk on Saturday, April 20 at the Fred Archibald Sanctuary near Mt. Airy.

Elaine Pardoe
2009, 2013 - The Audubon Society of Central Maryland

Updated: 03.29.13