Monday, September 6, 2010

NASWC Bird Walk

12 folks participated in the September NASWC Bird Walk yesterday morning. It was 70 degrees when we started at 7:30 and got into the low 80s when we finished at around 10:00. Even though there was little or no wind and we got a little warm towards the end, it was nothing like the heat of the past few weeks. The birding was a bit slow, but we did manage to find a few south-bound migrants and other interesting things -- about 30 species of birds altogether. I was disappointed that after seeing hundreds of Mississippi Kites passing over on Saturday morning, not one was to be found on Sunday. But reports from other birders in central Texas reflected similar experiences. There was a big push of these hawks through our area on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday they were gone! Here are highlights from the walk on Sunday.

Near the Lake Creek Trail parking lot we got to see 3 or 4 female Black-chinned Hummingbirds feeding on what I think was Purple Bindweed (Ipomoea trichocarpa). A few of us got to see a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird as well. And the Purple Bindweed was quite beautiful and all over the place!

Along the trail we saw 2 Yellow Warblers, 2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, heard a White-eyed Vireo, and heard and got a few glimpses of  Baltimore Orioles. On the footbridge a few of us got a brief look at a Bell's Vireo and a possible female or juvenile Painted Bunting. Along the creek through the playing fields we found an Eastern Phoebe and Sukumar Veena got this photo of it, showing its upright flycatcher posture, and its dusky face and light breast.

Eastern Phoebe by Sukumar Veena
Also in the creek bed we found several Least Sandpipers and a single Solitary Sandpiper. Here's a photos I got of the Solitary Sandpiper, showing its white eye-ring.

Solitary Sandpiper

There were some very interesting tiny damsel flies over the water, a few of which had bright green thoraxes with the tip of their tails electric blue. Learning these beautiful insects is on my to-do list! On our way back we got to see about a dozen Barn Swallows lined up on the power lines over the creek, with a few Cave Swallows mixed in making a good opportunity for comparison.

Back across the footbridge on the trail we stopped to look at this bright hot-pink dragonfly which was a Roseate Skimmer.

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly

By this time we had been hearing slow, peaceful, sliding notes from a trombone drifting through the air. It fit our slow easy pace quite well and was a little bit surreal. We encountered the trombone player practicing on a bench and complimented him on his playing. It was a fun and unexpected end to our walk. Gracen Duffield took this great photo of most of the group and I think you can see a little giddiness the trombone playing triggered in us!

9_Group

I'm the fat nerdy looking guy with a beard on the far right. And behind me you can just see the trombone player.

5 comments:

Cheryl said...

and I'm the super nerd with jazz hands! We had a great time as always. So, this morning, I thought I saw a baby hummingbird in the yard...we are looking for a nest! Have a great week!

Mikael Behrens said...

Cool, if you see hummingbirds all summer they're probably nesting somewhere nearby. Let me know if you find one!

Anonymous said...

The trombone player was there Monday as well. Made for interesting birding background noise. -Barry

Dave Manzer said...

Nice blog Mikael. Makes me what to go out for a walk next month. Keep up the great work.

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks Dave!