Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Hour before Work

After the front that came through yesterday I knew this morning might be good for birding. So I got up early and spent about an hour before work birding the T&C playing fields and downstream area. There were lots of birds around and I found 41 species. I covered less than a mile and counted 14 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. Around this time of year these little birds seem to come through in waves like this on their way north. I also saw a White-eyed Vireo for the first time in the neighborhood this year. I got this picture of it in the woods near the last dam on the creek. You can see the distinctive white eye and the yellow "spectacles".

A little further upstream I got closer to a Belted Kingfisher than I usually do, so I took a few pictures and this one came out pretty good. You can usually find a kingfisher somewhere on the creek all year long, although they can get pretty scarce in the summer. On my way back I had a pleasant surprise. At the edge of the playing fields I heard a raucous call and looked up to see 3 Monk Parakeets flying over. A few minutes later I found them perched on a street light near the end of Morris Road. This was the first time I've ever seen them in the neighborhood. I couldn't resist taking this picture of them even though they were too far away for my camera.


Chris Cowan said...

Interesting. Feral parakeets, brings back memories of the documentary, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

I guess it also begs the question of whether the Chicken Hawks prey on them?
Assuming we have them in Texas. It was kind of interesting because in the film, Parrots would use lookouts.

Mikael Behrens said...

Based on their size, I'm sure the Monk Parakeets could be prey to local Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, and maybe even Screech Owls.

I've heard about that documentary -- I need to put it on my Netflix queue!