Saturday, December 9, 2017

A few Ducks and Songbirds

I spent a couple hours on Lake Creek Trail this morning, starting from the Parmer Village end. It was a beautiful cold and clear morning! By the last dam on the creek I was happy to find the first wild ducks I've seen this season. Most species of wild ducks in central Texas are just here in the winter, and we get some absolutely beautiful ones on our creek. Here are two male American Wigeon that were there:

American Wigeon

There were three wigeons and four Gadwalls. Here's one of the male Gadwalls. At a distance they just look brown, but look at the detail up close!


In the strip of woods between the creek and the trail here, I found a nice mix of songbirds including this Blue-headed Vireo:

Blue-headed Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo is a less common winter resident songbird that often joins mixed species foraging flocks. In the winter our neighborhood has wonderful mixed species foraging flocks of songbirds that move around in the canopy of our great mature native trees. Our year-round resident Carolina Chickadees and Black-crested Titmice often form the core of these flocks, with Downy Woodpeckers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Yellow-rumped Warblers often joining them. Less commonly you can also find Pine Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and even Brown Creepers in these flocks. They are so much fun!

Nearby I was surprised to find a group of 5 Eastern Bluebirds, all perched on a single dead tree trunk. A few were inspecting a hole in it.

Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebirds can be found here year-round, but there are more here in the winter. They nest in cavities like this one, and a couple summers ago I found a bluebird nesting in a small hole in a partly dead tree on Town And Country's playing fields. Since then the tree has fallen down and I've been thinking about asking Town and Country if they'd let me put up a few bluebird boxes this winter. Would anyone be interested in a project like this?

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

And here's my complete bird list on eBird.


Anonymous said...

I love it! Keep doing it.

Unknown said...

I think it would be helpful to see what is showing up there, so that if we want to find that bird, we can run out there on our own. Thanks.

cricket said...

Gadwalls! I've been longing to know their name since they started turning up in Barton Springs Pool. The detail is indeed stunning at a close view as is the elegant restraint of their neutral cream/taupe/fawn coloring. Also their curvy tauroid heads, almost like a sandglass when seen directly beak-on. I will keep an eye out for those inspiriting bluebirds!