Sunday, April 12, 2009

Post-storm Birding

As I was watching the weather radar this morning, waiting for the last storm cell moving north from San Antonio to pass over us, when my neighbor on Perthshire Steven McDonald gave me a call. He was already out birding Lake Creek Trail near the parking lot at the end of Braes Valley, and he was seeing lots of migrating birds grounded by the weather. He was seeing Summer Tanagers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and a single Louisiana Waterthrush. I got out there and joined him as fast as I could. It was a fun, long morning of birding that finally ended at 2:00 PM after we jointly found 68 species, just 1 less than my personal record for 1 outing in the neighborhood.

The first picture I took this morning was of a butterfly. I believe it is an Orange Sulphur that was on the flood plain property near Braeburn Glen.

We found 9 species of sparrows. The most numerous were Savannah Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, and Clay-colored Sparrows. I was most surprised to find a neat group of sparrows hopping around on the asphalt right at the edge of the T&C parking lot at the end of Meadowheath. There were Clay-colored, Savannah, and Vesper Sparrows in this group. And we were delighted when a single deep blue Indigo Bunting joined them, at one point perching right on the parking lot barrier cable. This was my favorite moment of the morning. I couldn't believe we found birds like these literally in a suburban parking lot!

On the creek we saw Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Great Egrets, and a single Great Blue Heron. There were both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, a single Pectoral Sandpiper, a single American Coot, and this Spotted Sandpiper. This is the only time of year when we get to see Spotted Sandpipers with their spots. Their winter plumage does not have them.

The only ducks we saw were about 30 Blue-winged Teal, scattered up and down the creek. I got this picture of 2 males and 1 female near the last dam.

Nearby we found a Bronzed Cowbird, the first I've seen this year. And on our way back we ran into a group of Lark Sparrows on the ground. As we approached they flew up to a tree and I got this picture of 2 of them.

There are lots of birds moving through the area now until Late May. So keep your eyes open for unusual birds, and get outside as much as you can!

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