Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sparrows and Wrens

I spent about three and a half hours on Lake Creek Trail this morning, starting at the Pamer Village pond and working my way upstream about a mile. The best photo I got was of a Clay-colored Sparrow. These small delicately patterned birds are still moving south through our neighborhood in good numbers. Dickcissels are still moving through as well, and there was a mix of these two species in the tall grass alongside the creek and in the creek bed. Here's the photo of the Clay-colored Sparrow:

Clay-colored Sparrow

The biggest change from last week was the appearance of House Wrens...
These drably colored wrens are winter residents in central Texas. They can be found in the same tall grass areas, but also in dense undergrowth. They usually stay hidden and are often much more easily heard than seen. They can be recognized by there chattering or rasping calls.

I found a female Belted Kingfisher perched near the last dam on the creek. One unusual thing about this species is that the female is more colorful than the male. In addition to the blue and white colors, the female has a narrow band of reddish brown across its belly. Belted Kingfishers can be found here year-round, but they are more common in the winter. Here's the photo I got of this female:

Belted Kingfisher

I walked to where the trail crosses the creek in the Town and Country playing fields. There I was pleased to find a group of Clay-colored Sparrows (and it's where I got the photo above). I was also happy to find my first Song Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow of the season -- both are common winter residents in the tall grass and dense brush along the trail. I found the Lincoln's Sparrow in a patch of sunflowers. It stayed too hidden to get a picture of it, but I got this nice photo of a male Lesser Goldfinch in the same patch of flowers.

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinches are year-round residents here, and soon will be joined by the slightly larger American Goldfinches which are only here in the winter. Here's the complete list of birds I found this morning.

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