Jan 29, 2017
After walking around the Old Towne Parkway (Rock Creek) for three and a half hours on Sunday afternoon and NOT being able to confirm a sighting of a Hermit Thrush,…and, seeing some Robin’s flick their tail on a branch similar to what I saw the other day,…. and again seeing some lighter colored breasts, (on Robins) I am going to conclude that I probably didn’t see any Hermit Thrushes after all. I think I may have just conflated a few things and later thought I was seeing something I didn’t. Oh well. I’m sure someday I will be able to confirm a sighting.
However, the day was not without some excitement! At one point, lifting my binoculars to track down a kingfisher, I spotted something that made this sound in my head:
Finding the burrow of a Kingfisher has been a long time coming. (years). Yes, that’s what made the music (trumpet fanfare) play in my head, a hole in the dirt.
I had determined, the week before, to concentrate my search in a particular section of the creek. I decided to do this because I had seen, then, a kingfisher fly WITHOUT making it’s typical return of the Jedi sound. At that point I had to ask myself why? Why be stealthy in this area when you want to be seen and heard in other parts of the creek? Secondly, while walking back that day, I started to consider more carefully how I do, more often, make a sighting in this certain segment of the creek.
So, when returning the following week, I had a new plan. Coincidentally, the night before, I stumbled upon a rather thick and detailed piece of writing, on the internet, about Kingfisher burrows. From that, I realized a couple of things. One, they don’t always make their burrows in the banks of the creek or body of water. It depends on the type of soil available. Secondly, their burrows can be and apparently are, higher up, on say a cliff, or somewhere not immediately creek-side. The article described the distance below the ground surface the burrows were, typically. I think it was this, floating around in the back of my mind, in combination with light, and luck, and binoculars that had me finding their holes. I say holes because I ended up finding two. Now, as the article said, sometimes a Kingfisher will build a 2nd hole at a certain distance from the primary nesting site, presumably as a man-cave.. a place to drink beer and eat pretzels without having to share with the kiddos. Apparently this hole/tunnel is only about 3 feet deep as opposed to their primary burrow. I also learned that they don’t always necessarily build a new burrow every year, but may lengthen an existing one instead.
Someday I hope to see one of them emerge from or enter one of these two burrows.
Unlike the Hermit Thrush sighting, I do not believe that this is just “wishful thinking” on my part. The placement, the shape, the soil type, everything, makes it pretty clear, that these burrows do NOT belong to any other animal other than a bird. And the birds nearby, fishing in the creek, are not burrowing owls carrying tiny fishing rods, but kingfishers. I’ll keep my eyes open.
On Feb 5, 2017 I found 2, perhaps 3 more burrows not far from the original 2.