Sunday, November 14, 2010

Travis Audubon Bird Walk

TAS Beginners Bird Walk on Lake Creek Trail - 2This morning I co-led a second November bird walk on Lake Creek Trail. Shirley LaVergne organized and co-led a Beginners Bird Walk for our local Travis Audubon Society. 8 people participated and we spent over 3 hours on just half a mile of the trail between the Braes Valley parking lot and the footbridge. Despite conditions that turned cold and windy, we found 37 species of birds. Here are some highlights...


A Blue-headed Vireo made an early appearance near the parking lot. I played a recording to lure it back, and it flew in right over us so that everyone in the group got a good look at this dapper winter-resident species.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were quite numerous, moving between trees in groups of 5 to 10. Sometimes you could look up into the tree canopy and see small birds moving in almost your complete field of view, and most of them were these newly returned winter warblers. Other species were quite active as well. At any time during the walk you could hear or see at least 2 of these species in addition to the Yellow-rumps: Northern Cardinal, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Carolina Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler.

We had good luck with hawks. First a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over us. Later 2 Cooper's Hawks flew over us vocalizing, and we watched a flock of European Starlings fly near them and group tightly together like a school of small fish near a shark. Near the footbridge a Red-shouldered Hawk was perched on a wire over the creek and let us get pretty good looks at it before flying off. I got this mediocre photo:

Red-shouldered Hawk

On our way back Shirley found a Hermit Thrush and, using a recording again, we were able to lure it and a second thrush out into the open briefly. Most folks got decent looks at this often hard to see winter-resident species.

My favorite bird of the morning was a little later. While we were searching through a large mixed flock of mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers, a single bright male Pine Warbler came into view. This winter-resident warbler is much less common than Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned, and I think it was just my third record of this species in the neighborhood! I got one decent photo:

Pine Warbler

What a fun morning!

I'll do some shameless self-promoting now. If you enjoy my blog and maybe even consider it your favorite "Hyperlocal/Neighborhood Blog", please nominate it in that category for the Austin Blogger Awards. Thanks!

2 comments:

SimpleCityLife said...

Thanks for posting. I found you on Austin Bloggers Metablog. I was just thinking the other day that I'd love to know more about birds. I need to find you on FB and twitter!

Mikael Behrens said...

Hi, SimpleCityLife, glad you found my blog and I hope it helps you learn about our local birds! You can find me on Twitter at @mikaelb.