Sunday, April 4, 2010

NASWC Bird Walk

Despite misty overcast conditions and it being Easter morning, there were 11 of us for this month's bird walk. We started at the Parmer Village model homes and spent almost 3 hours covering about 1 mile of the trail. We ended up finding 50 species of birds, including a few first-of-the-year sightings for me. Here are some highlights.
  • Starting at the model homes parking lot we saw this Great Egret in the drainage pond. It was a good day for egrets and herons. We also saw Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, and at the end of the walk we found 1 Little Blue Heron in the same pond.
  • It was a good morning for swallows too. By the Parmer Lane bridge there were dozens of Cave Swallows in the air, with a few Cliff Swallows and Purple Martins mixed in. Along the creek we found several Barn Swallows. And we saw 2 of the swallow-like Chimney Swifts, the first I've seen this year.
  • In the marshy area by the bridge we saw several singing male Red-winged Blackbirds, and heard a single briefly Sora vocalizing from somewhere in the reeds.
  • On the creek there were 3 species of ducks: Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, and American Wigeon. They let us get quite close and we got great looks at them.
  • In the woods by the creek we got a close look at a singing White-eyed Vireo, and most of us got pretty good looks at a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher too.
  • Along the trail through the T&C Playing Fields 1 hummingbird made a brief appearance, and I could not tell if it was a Ruby-throated or Black-chinned.
  • On our way back we must have seen at least 10 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in the tall grass along the creek bed. These were the first I've seen this year and it's always fun to see this exotic-looking bird returning from its central and south american wintering grounds.
  • Near the end of the walk a single Ring-billed Gull flew over. They are not uncommon in the Austin area, but I only occasionally see one fly over our neighborhood.


Annie in Austin said...

What a list, Mikael! My husband & I have seen Scissortails only twice in nearly 11 years - awesome birds!

Are you still seeing the Cedar Waxwings? I thought they were migratory, but some are still showing up in our garden at least once a day. I caught 25 seconds of them in the birdbath with the video mode on my point & shoot. Not great quality but fun.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mikael Behrens said...

Hi Annie,

Yes, Cedar Waxwings are migratory and we do not see them here in the summer. You can see from this eBird link that we usually see them through the end of May, and then not again until late October.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers can be quite common here in the summer. Especially on the edge of town or outside of town. Look on the roadside wires for birds with very long tails.

Annie in Austin said...

Thanks Mikael - in the past we've only had fleeting glimpses of waxwings in neighbors' yards, usually for just a few days each spring. Until this year we had no idea they did more than pass quickly through our neighborhood.


Cheryl said...

We had a wonderful time Mikael! Thank you for loaning Denali your specs! Thank you so much!