Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer Birds and a Butterfly

I spent about 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning, and for the first time since March I did not see a single north-bound migrating bird. All the birds I found were year-round or summer residents. I started from my house this morning, which is something I haven't done in awhile. I took Sherbourne to Broadmeade to Meadowheath to Lake Creek Trail. Traffic was light and there were few people mowing their lawns, so birding on the streets was pretty fun. On Sherbourne I found this juvenile Black-crested Titmouse in its nest cavity and I got this picture. See how it has a crest, but the crest is not yet black like an adult's. The hole this bird was in was probably originally made by a woodpecker, and I think it's large enough for European Starlings to use, so I was happy to see that the titmice held onto it long enough to raise a brood.

Later as I was walking down Meadowheath an American Robin flew up to a low branch over the side of the road about 12 feet in front of me. I realized it was sitting on a nest and I got this picture.

We have American Robins in the neighborhood all year long, but I'm not sure if we have the same robins all year. The robins nesting here now might still be migratory and spend the winter further south. We have more robins here in the winter, and I assume that most of these birds summer further north. The species has a very interesting range map here.

On the flood plain property near the end of Holbrook, an unusual butterfly caught my eye and I took this picture. It looked like it had streamers trailing from its wings. It turned out to be a White-striped Longtail, which I've seen in the neighborhood before. These butterflies occur as far south as Argentina, and central Texas is the northern limit of their range. Wow! I love the different shades of brown in its wings, offset by the bright white stripe. It's feeding on a Mexican Hat wildflower.


Susan Andres said...

Cool butterfly. I would love to see this beauty. Certainly can make one's day hiking on a hot summer Texas day.

TexasDeb said...

I have a lot of Mexican hats in bloom currently in the yard. I'll sure keep an eye out for this unusual specimen.

I'm still trying for a great shot of the various finches feeding in our yard. They seem to be extremely shy even though we are out of doors a lot.

Every so often I need to express how I so appreciate your photos and all the information on what is going on in our area. Thanks for all you do!

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks Susan and Deb!

Those finches in your yard are probably House Sparrows, House Finches, and Lesser Goldfinches. Keep me posted!