Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bird-A-Thon!

I led a short version of a Bird-A-Thon this morning on Lake Creek Trail for our local Travis Audubon Society. Six of us met at 7:30 AM at the west end of the trail and we spent the entire morning walking its 2.4 miles and seeing how many species of birds we could observe. We recorded 59 species! Here are some highlights.

We got to briefly see and hear a singing Brown Thrasher (probably the same bird observed on the last group bird walk). A Bronzed Cowbird made a brief appearance just beyond the footbridge. While we stood next to the creek bed we got great close looks at a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and two similar migrating shorebird species: Solitary Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs. Here are the shorebirds, both only seen here during migration. First the Solitary Sandpiper:

Solitary Sandpiper


Then the Lesser Yellowlegs (one of the four that flew in while we stood there):



Lesser Yellowlegs


Near the east end of the playing fields we walked out on the creek bed to look downstream. My goal was to see more shorebirds there, but we also got great looks at a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds and four American Goldfinches in breeding plumage. Here are two of the goldfinches. It was so fun to see the bright yellow and black males because most of them leave Texas before they sport this striking breeding plumage.

American Goldfinch


Further downstream we got great looks at three Double-crested Cormorants perched in a dead tree. And by the last dam we watched a Great Blue Heron that didn't mind how close we were as it slowly hunted. Twice along the trail we heard and then saw groups of Franklin's Gulls flying north, always an exciting sight during spring migration.

The group I led was made of former students of Travis Audubon's Beginning Birding class. It was great fun showing them our neighborhood trail and sharing their enthusiasm for the birds and other wildlife we observed this morning. Here's our complete bird list.

3 comments:

Shey Wicklund said...

Had an awesome bird walk for a good cause. Thanks so much for being patient to new birders like us. :)

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks for coming, Sherry!

Karen said...

We had such a good time. You were patient and helped us get "on bird" easily. I can hardly wait to go again.