Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cowbird and Warblers

I spent this morning birding the neighborhood again, this time concentrating on the creek, where it goes through the T&C playing fields and downstream all the way to Parmer Lane. I had a record morning of 58 species -- my previous best was 56. I had 3 first-of-the-year sightings -- Bronzed Cowbird, Northern Shoveler, and Nashville Warbler. As I was standing in the creek bed near the last low water crossing the Bronzed Cowbird flew in and landed at the top of a willow tree. I got this picture. You can see the distinctive puff-out neck feathers and red eye. This bird is a summer resident in small numbers and seems to be expanding its summer range northward. 3 Northern Shovelers were on the creek just upstream of the last dam. They were with a group of Blue-winged Teal, Greater Yellowlegs, and Least Sandpiper. Northern Shovelers are a very common winter resident duck. But with all the construction going on around the creek, these were the first I've seen in the neighborhood all winter.

Like yesterday, native sparrows were in good numbers. Near the last dam I found a mixed flock feeding on the ground that had Vesper, Savannah, Field, Lincoln's, Song, and White-Crowned. I got this picture of a Field Sparrow next to the soccer fields. You can just see the distinctive white eye ring and pink bill. I checked out the marshy area by the Parmer Lane bridge and heard 2 Marsh Wrens. I keep hoping to hear or see a Sora or a Virginia Rail here, but so far no luck! On my way back I went along the outside of the woods next to the creek and found 2 Nashville Warblers high in the canopy. These were exciting to find because they were the first I've seen this year and the first migrating warblers of any kind I've seen this year. Late April and early May is the peak time that colorful migrating warblers move through the Austin area. These bright yellow and green Nashvilles were a nice reminder of that.

This is my 100th post, how about that! Does this mean I'm addicted to neighborhood birding? Or computers? Or both?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uniquely interesting blog; a good read.