Sunday, September 8, 2013

Birds, Dragonflies, and More

Yesterday morning I birded the entire length of Lake Creek Trail, starting at the Braes Valley parking lot. I was hoping to observe some of the increased fall migration activity recently reported by Chuck Sexton and Barry Noret here, but since there hadn't been a recent weather event, bird activity was relatively quiet. Still, here and there, I managed to find a few migrants. The only one I manage to photograph was one of three or four female or first-year Baltimore Orioles in the eastern end of the Town and Country playing fields:

Baltimore Oriole

Other migrating birds included a few Yellow Warblers and Wilson's Warblers, a single Yellow-breasted Chat, a few empidonax flycatchers, and a heard-only Summer Tanager. I recorded the tanager with SoundCloud, and online tool increasingly being used to record nature sounds. Here's its diagnostic call:

I briefly saw a Tricolored Heron along the creek. These are coastal birds, but immature Tricolored Herons commonly wander inland during the summer. We've had them on Lake Creek in past summers, but this was the first I've found this summer.

I made some interesting non-bird observations on the trail.
I found this Hispid Cotton Rat in the tall grass near the line of willow trees by the Braes Valley parking lot. I was standing still watching the trees and giant ragweed for movement, when I saw some grass and twigs twitching near the ground. I looked a little closer and found this guy:


I was excited to find a new (to me) dragonfly species on the trail. Right in the middle of the playing fields, sometimes on the sidewalk, a very dark dragonfly was hunting from the ground, making short flights. I photographed it and later identified it as a Filigree Skimmer -- a southwest species that only rarely occurs in the Austin area. Two things that struck me about this dragonfly were the almost completely dark wings and the crazy vertical stripes in its eyes!

Filigree Skimmer - 1

There were many other dragonflies along the trail. The most common was the Common Green Darner. They were almost constantly in flight, so I was pleased to finally see one land and get this photo:

Common Green Darner - 2

Here's my complete bird list.
And here are my iNaturalist observations.
I hope this summer heat ends soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very nice photography!