Checklist for Field Ornithology, May 1, 2008

Fancy Creek Park and Marina

Black Rat Snake*
Photo Credit - Eva Horne

Canada Goose
Blue-winged Teal 
Wild Turkey 
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk 
Spotted Sandpiper 
Franklin’s Gull
Rock Pigeon 
Mourning Dove 
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker 
Eastern Phoebe 
Western Kingbird 
Eastern Kingbird 
Blue Jay 
American Crow 
Purple Martin 
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee 
Tufted Titmouse 
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 
Eastern Bluebird 
American Robin 
Brown Thrasher
European Starling 
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula 
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Canada Warbler
Summer Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Northern Cardinal 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Eastern Meadowlark 
Common Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Baltimore Oriole 
American Goldfinch 

Species in bold font are first-of-the-season sightings for the 2008 class

* But certainly the most memorable part of the morning  involved a black rat snake that attacked the van. This beast (3-4 ft long) was sunning itself in the middle of the road, so I pulled up beside it and let the class look at it. It seemed lethargic and unwilling to get off the road. Since there was a vehicle approaching from the other direction, and because this snake would certainly be in danger if it stayed on the road, I suggested that one of the students get out and see if they could scoot it off the road so that it wouldn't get run over. Mark grabbed it by the tail and moved it to the ditch on the other side of the road. But it turned around and came back across the road, went under the van, and then proceeded to climb up and wrap itself around the rear axle. It took about 10 minutes of poking and prodding (and hoping that it wouldn't wrap around the hot tailpipe) before we could get it out of there and move it to another ditch where it wouldn't be tempted to head back for that van.