Sunday, June 3, 2012
Birding on Broadmeade Walk
Fourteen folks showed up at the Parmer Village demo homes this morning for my monthly bird walk. Before the meeting time this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher briefly perched on a street sign. (I'd love to know the story behind the street names here. My guess is someone flipped through a North American bird guide and picked names short enough to fit the signs, shortening many of them even more.) Around and over the pond were Killdeer, a Green Heron, Purple Martins, Cliff Swallows, and Barn Swallows. We ended up spending almost two and a half hours on the trail. The cloud cover made this early June morning surprisingly comfortable, which was a real treat! Here are some highlights.
Lake Creek Trail east of the Town and Country playing fields is still loaded with wildflowers. It's well worth getting up early to see them soon while they're still blooming.
By the last dam on the creek we found four species of herons. At one point we were able to see all four in one binocular view. I took this poor photo showing all four as well. Click on the photo to see the Flickr notes marking each one.
In the playing fields we found a single male Bronzed Cowbird among all the European Starlings. Everyone got great looks at it through binoculars and my spotting scope. The red eyes, puffed out neck feathers, and iridescent plumage were really fun to see. You used to have to travel to south Texas to find this species in the United States, but it has been gradually expanding its range north. I find them every summer in this area.
Since the weather was so nice I took the group further than usual. We made it all the way to the footbridge just west of the playing fields. Just before we got there we found this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. It was happily hunting in the creek bed, even with the yelling and screaming crowds on either side of the creek watching baseball games!
These herons are common summer residents that specialize in hunting crustaceans and nest in the trees among our houses. I think it's amazing that we can see these large, exotic-looking birds so easily right on our hike-and-bike trail.
Here's our complete species list. Don't hang up your binoculars for the summer. There are still plenty of great birds to find out there!
at 5:14 PM