Monday, July 3, 2017

Birding on Broadmeade Walk

Six people joined me yesterday morning for the monthly group bird walk on Lake Creek Trail. We met at the Braes Valley parking lot and spent almost 3 hours covering just about half a mile of trail. (I often joke that birding is not good exercise!) Often we kept seeing birds just standing in one place. Right where the power lines cross the creek we stopped to look at dragonflies in the tall grass. I was excited to find this female Gray-waisted Skimmer, a species near the northern edge of its range here in Austin, and one I've only seen once before on Lake Creek Trail:

Gray-waisted Skimmer Female - 2

While we were looking at this dragonfly and a Spot-winged Glider dragonfly, the birds seemed like they were taking turns to fly up and perch on the wire above the creek for us to see them.
We were visited by Northern Cardinals, Western Kingbirds, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, two Green Herons, and two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Herons. Here's one of the Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in its juvenile plumage, but already with red eyes:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Juvenile

This time of year there are many juvenile birds around, some still begging from their parents. From the footbridge we saw two juvenile American Robins and I got this distant photo of one of them:

American Robin Juvenile

We crossed the footbridge and spent some time by the Meadowheath Town and Country parking lot. With a much larger view of the open sky we watched Barn Swallows, Purple Martins, Chimney Swifts, Western Kingbirds, three soaring Red-shouldered Hawks and three soaring Mississippi Kites. I was excited to see the kites. They breed near Austin but I usually only see them as the migrate through. I wondered if these were post-breeding wandering adults. (All had adult plumage.) Here are a couple photos of these elegant birds:

Mississippi Kite - 1

Mississippi Kite - 2

Mississippi Kite - 5

Before we turned around to head back, we heard and then saw two Eastern Bluebirds. Here's one of them singing:

Eastern Bluebird - 1

I assume this bird is a male, since males sing much more often than females, but it seems a little drab. This might be because it has started molting. I was disappointed to see that a small tree across the creek that bluebirds have been nesting in for the past few summers is now broken.

On our way back we found another Gray-wasted Skimmer dragonfly, this time a male:

Gray-waisted Skimmer Male - 2

We ended up finding 35 species of birds. Here's our complete list on eBird.

And here are a few more photos on Flickr.

1 comment:

Susan Andres said...

Gray-wasted Skimmer, beautiful portrait shot!