This morning I planned to bird on the McEachern Greenway near Downtown Concord. When I got to the parking lot, I decided to change plans and explore the area on the other side of the park, near where construction is beginning on the Downtown Connector Greenway. The vegetation has been cleared out for the connector, but no work has been done yet on the actual improvements. I saw this as an opportunity to explore the area before it becomes heavily trafficked.
The weather this morning was perfect, low 60's, no humidity, clear sunny sky. The birds obviously thought it was pretty great as well, because they were active, vocal, and surprisingly congenial. I was getting great looks at numerous species, including Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, American Redstarts, and throngs of Carolina Wrens. In one of the deepest parts of the woods I saw a raptor fly out and across the clearing above the path. I looked up and got a great view of my third owl of the year, a Barred Owl. He was gone within a matter of seconds, but his markings and shape were unmistakeable, so I feel confident in the ID. It took me long enough, but I finally added all three of the area's common owls to my Big Year list.
There is no really exciting conclusion to this story . . the owl's pretty much it. I did, however, get a couple of good photos, so I figure why not share them. Ok, so the one of the Black and White Warbler isn't exactly a "good" photo, but photos of warblers are so danged difficult to get that I feel obligated to share them. As always, click the photos to enlarge. In order, they're Downy Woodpecker (male), Black-and-White Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Common Yellowthroat (female), and Northern Cardinal (duh, male).