Sunday, August 24, 2008


This morning I started birding the neighborhood from the new Parmer Village residential development where Lake Creek goes under Parmer Lane. I got this picture of the edge of some threatening clouds coming in from the north. Luckily the clouds just kept things a bit cooler and I didn't get rained on. I was out for about 3 hours and found a few neat birds. This is only the 2nd time I've started birding from this location and today it yielded my highest ever count of White-winged Doves -- 584! Groups of 4 to 20 just kept flying over, usually headed northeast. I think this is a daily movement. They probably roost in neighborhood trees, fly off somewhere to forage during the day, and then fly back to their roosts in the evenings.

The most interesting birds of the morning were much less numerous. Near the Parmer Lane bridge I heard a single Summer Tanager. I walked a drainage ditch behind the T&C soccer fields and found a Lark Sparrow and these south-bound migrants: 4 Indigo Buntings, 2 Painted Buntings, 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and about a dozen Dickcissels. I was surprised to find the Dickcissels. A flock flew in as I was standing near some willow trees and most of them immediately disappeared into the low dense brush. A few birds stayed out in the open for a bit and I got this picture of one of them. I've heard these birds in the neighborhood much more often than I've seen them. And this is the first neighborhood photo I've gotten of one. Dickcissels are grassland birds, so they only pass through the neighborhood during migration. We don't have any of their breeding habitat.

On the creek there were many Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets. The only shorebirds I found were Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, and a single Spotted Sandpiper. Here's a picture of some of the Least Sandpipers. We have a few of these on the creek almost all year long. There are only a few weeks in June when we don't see them.

I got this picture of a butterfly near the last dam on Lake Creek. My guess is that it's a Viceroy but that's only a guess. If anyone knows for sure, please post a comment!


Michael Ziegler said...

Hi Mikael,
I went to the NABA website and found a photo of a viceroy butterfly. You can see it at:
Can't be sure, but I think the one you shot looks different.
I will continue to look around the web and see if I can get closer.
Mike Z

Michael Ziegler said...

Hello again,
looking further at the website, I believe what you photographed was a Soldier butterfly.
See if you agree:

Best regards,
mike z

Michael Ziegler said...

I don't think the last link will work.
try this one:

You might have to cut and paste the two lines together in your browser.


Mikael Behrens said...

Hi Mike,
I agree, it sure does look like a Soldier butterfly.

Mikael Behrens said...

Well, on closer inspection of my picture and of the species accounts on, now I think this is a Queen butterfly.