Monday, November 1, 2010

More Winter Birds

I spent almost 4 hours Sunday morning birding the neighborhood. It was absolutely clear and beautiful. I think bird activity slows down pretty fast when conditions are so completely clear, and there's a big swing in temperature between dawn and noon. I left the house just before 8:00 and things seemed significantly slower by 9:30. It almost wasn't worth looking for birds by 10:30. Most of the interesting birds I saw were during the first hour and a half. Right across the street from my house I encountered a large mixed-species foraging flock that had many Carolina Chickadees, a few Black-crested Titmice, many Ruby-crowned Kinglets, one Orange-crowned Warbler, and one male Black-throated Green Warbler, high in the canopy. At the corner of Stillforest and Chester Forest I found a single immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker working on a row of holes high up in an elm. These woodpeckers only occur here in the winter and this was the first one I've seen this season. I got this poor photo of it.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This morning was the first time I've seen significant numbers of some of our common winter birds...
I counted 18 Ruby-crowned Kinglets and 7 Orange-crowned Warblers, mostly along Broadmeade, Stillforest, and Meadowheath. I also counted 7 Yellow-rumped Warblers along Lake Creek Trail. These winter warblers prefer more riparian habitat so I usually see more along the trail than among our houses.  There was lots of activity by the Lake Creek Trail footbridge, and that's where I got this photo of an Orange-crowned Warbler.

Orange-crowned Warbler

It seems like all over the state, including in central Texas, birders are reporting Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, and Red-breasted Nuthatches right now. Unfortunately I didn't see any of these yesterday. I usually record a few Golden-crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers in the neighborhood each winter, but Red-breasted Nuthatch would be a first. I'll have to keep looking!

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