Eight folks joined me this morning for the monthly group walk. We met in front of the Parmer Village pond and I photographed this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher while I waited for people to arrive.
It was a fun morning! We ended up spending two and a half hours on the trail and recorded 35 species of birds. By the creek bed near the pond we enjoyed watching Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers chasing insects and themselves. As we made our way upstream we heard a Red-shouldered Hawk vocalizing but only got brief looks at it as it flew over the treetops. We also saw four American Crows react to its calls and briefly chase the hawk. As usual, when we reached the last dam on the creek we waited there awhile to see what might show up.
We were not disappointed. While waiting on the south side of the creek I started to hear a Broad-winged Hawk calling. Mike Pfeil found the bird, and everyone got great scope views of it. Most range maps for Broad-winged Hawks show their western-most breeding range reaching only east Texas. But for the past few summers I have observed them nesting in our neighborhood, and based on talking with other local birders I believe they nest in other parts of town too. The bird we saw was immature, and I assume it emerged from a nest somewhere nearby this summer. Here's a photo I took by holding my iPhone up to my spotting scope:
Other fun birds we saw or just heard this morning included Green Heron, Snowy Egret, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Inca Dove, and Black-crested Titmouse.
I've finally gotten kind of serious about learning dragonflies, and the trail was full of them this morning. On our way up the trail to the playing fields I pointed out a few to the group, including Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Roseate Skimmer, and the extremely bright red Neon Skimmer. I was most excited to find a member of the Clubtail family (Gomphidae). These distinctly shaped dragonflies are less obvious than most other families and this was only the second one I've found on the trail. I took a few photos of it and identified it at home. It turned out to be a Broad-striped Forceptail. You can see the little "forcep" at the end of the tail in this photo:
On the playing fields I was hoping to find a Bronzed Cowbird, and we did briefly see one, but it flew away before everyone got a good look and I could not relocate it. Here's our complete bird list and here are a few more photos. Despite the heat, everyone enjoyed the walk!