Current Bird (and nature) News
Rufous-capped Warbler

Rufous-capped Warbler - Basileuterus rufifrons jouyi
at Neal's Lodge, Concan TX, March '06


MOST RECENT UPDATE: June 14, 2019
(prior updates: June 7, May 31, 24, 17, 10, 3, April 26, 19, 12, 5)


It is just the breeders now, we are 3-4 weeks past spring passage here. It was sure nice while it lasted. Talk about a brief flurry of excitement. Breeding season is hot and heavy though, lots of begging babies are appearing, so finding breeders is relatively easier. There are also post-breeding wanderers moving around already too, some of the earliest nesters are done. Black-n-white and Golden-cheeked Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and White-eyed Vireo are a few of the things I have been seeing off breeding territories moving about now. The next almost 6 weeks or so the bird list is the same as it ever was, like the movie groundhog day. I understand if you find something interesting to do. I watch the breeders, trying to see who is doing what where and how well. Dragonflies are picking up and should be great for the summer.

May highlights... It started with a bang with 6 Mississippi Kite and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK over the house May 2. A FOS (first of season) Catbird was at the park May 3. After the big rain on the 3rd (4.5") there were lots of FOS species May 4th during the rain-induced grounding event. Water was not the only thing that preciptated out of the sky. Yellow-headed Blackbird, Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Green and Tennessee Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Warbling Vireo, and Great Egret were all my FOS. May 5 they were all gone, but a FOS Northern Waterthrush was at UP. The short story on migration is here today gone tomorrow. I had a fly-bye of a cuckoo with no rufous in wings or color in bill, surely a Black-billed May 7. Another Rose-breast (both were females) was in our yard May 8. May 9 a pair of Cassin's Kingbird were in our yard, again. May 10 saw my FOS Eastern Kingbird (5!) and Mourning Warbler, a second Catbird, and a tardy American Pipit. May 11 there was a pair of Mourning Warbler at the park, my first female, another Northern Waterthrush there, and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE at the big (north) S. Little Crk. Rd. ponds. May 12 finally produced a Wilson's Warbler for the spring, and an Olive-sided Flycatcher, both at Lost Maples. A Mexican (formerly Green) Violetear was being seen in or near San Antonio, holler if you see a big shiny green one locally please. Finally got my FOS Common Nighthawk on May 15, way late. Lost Maples had a couple Chestnut-sided Warbler ebird reports on the 16th. May 18 another each male and female of Mourning Warbler were seen. And that was about the end of passage here. Another Mexican (Green) Violetear is being seen at Reagan Wells, Texas Chase Birds group at Fbook has info.

My FOS April arrivals were: Firefly (4th), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (6th), Cassin's Sparrow (7th), Yellow-breasted Chat (8th), Red-eyed Vireo and Bronzed Cowbird on the 11th, and an early Great Crested Flycatcher on the 12th. Good thing I waited until dusk before posting the update (12th), a Chuck-wills-widow is calling out there, my FOS. Western Kingbird and Solitary Sandpiper showed on the 13th, Bullock's Oriole on the 15th, it is poppin' now. My FOS Painted Bunting was on our patio the 18th, another down the road. A Cassin's Kingbird was in our yard on the 18th as well, which is a minor rary here, I have had it about 5 springs of 16 now. FOS Yellow Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo all showed on April 23. On April 26 I saw my FOS local Dickcissel, Blue-headed Vireo, and Swainson's Thrush. It is really birdy out there now folks. April 27 had FOS Least Flycatcher, Spotted Sandpiper, Brown-crested Flycatcher, and a rare here Sedge Wren. April 30 my first local Orchard Oriole. There be action Jackson.

Golden-cheeked Warbler

The light was bad, but the bird was good.



For some detailed 2019 Lost Maples reports see the dated entries for March 17, 30, 31, April 21 & 28, May 12 and June 2. For 2018 check the Old Bird News pages (#29 and #30 now) for reports from April 1, 9, 10, 15, 29, May 13, June 3 and 24, July 29, Aug. 26, Sept. 30 and Dec. 2.

Pro Tip: Ignore the ebird Chihuahuan Raven reports at Lost Maples, they are mis-ID'd Common Ravens which are common residents. You would think with so many reports, ONE could be proven. Guess again.

There is a new page up with a long discussion, called "The Birds of Utopia Park," which includes the park bird list. If you can't sleep it may be just the ticket. It will be getting some fixes and changes still, but the basic is up. I have been making corrections here and there, and will likely add to it as time goes on, but for now it gets some info out there.
The Birds of Utopia Park

A quick note about Utopia Park. There have been some changes in management and rules. It is now $5 per person to enter, during the off-season. Peak, from spring break until Labor Day it will be $10 per person to enter. No charge for Utopia or Vanderpool residents.

Note we also have a fairly new 'where to stay' page, with contact info, links and names of many of the local lodging options. It is linked at top above in the NavBar under the Sites and Misc. section, and below in the link section just above the current bird news.

You may want to scroll down to the date of the last update you read, and scroll or read UP day-to-day to read in chronological sequence, some references might make more sense that way. For repeat offenders there is a link just below to jump straight to newest update. There is a broken line of tildes (~) to denote prior update breaks, if you are lucky with a photo. Sometimes this header is archived within body of news as well since it changes. Seperated by tildes as well, as are monthly summaries.

For visiting cell phone users, often only AT&T works here, or Concan, and many local areas Sabinal to Leakey, etc. Often around Hwy 90 (Hondo, Uvalde) you can get other signals. Then wi-fi is available at the Utopia Library, the store in Vanderpool had a sign saying they have it there too. State Park headquarters may have it? Don't tell them I told you.   ;)

Please holler if you see something good locally! THANKS!  :)  (local 830 Utopia landline WON~2349)
E-dress clickably linked at bottom of most pages: mitchATutopianatureDOTcom

Note on navbar at top of this page and the home page, and somewhere around the chat picture below is a link to a new LINKS page that is a quick handy way outta here. Who loves ya baby? It is a collection of some of the links I will publicly admit to using, though a couple with no small amount of trepidation. Space, weather, bugs, birds, blogs, bird cams, and other stuff...   Enjoy!

This page has the current bird and nature news from the area around Utopia, the Sabinal River Valley (SRV), and occasionally elsewhere in the area, such as Uvalde, Concan, Lost Maples, etc. Often very unusual sightings will be in CAPS. There will also be occasional mention of butterfly (lep) or dragonfly (ode) sightings when they are out and about. Or anything natural history of interest.

If you are a frequent flier scroll down past the Rufous-backed Robin sketch and a few 'recent' highlight photos below that, and you'll quickly be at the most recent news. Or hit the " jump to bird news " link just above. Entries are in reverse chronological order, with most recent day, date, and weekly post at top.

I have been fairly good for a few years now about posting a weekly update Friday evenings. Since weekend night life is so exciting here. Usually it is minor local (often yard) notes from nearly every day. Some daily or near-daily notes of what is going on with birds, or butterflies, dragonflies, fish, flowers, reptiles, triops, cerambycids, buprestids, bombyliads, and so on. Anything might get mentioned. Usually just yard notes. Unless you got to be stationed at the park all day, one site of observation locally is about as good as another. The big picture only becomes amazingly fascinating by filling all the little details in, one tiny bit at a time.

If you're in the area and see something, please don't hesitate to let us know. For instance, we would be happy to post Lost Maples SNA bird news, if it were reported to us. Perhaps other visitors might better know where to look for something of interest. E-mail link in next (pale yellow) box, and at bottom of most pages. Local (eight-three-zero) landline WON~2349. I can be at the park in 10 minutes, 8 if I was dressed with shoes on, 5 if it is a Sabine's Gull, but I might not be fully dressed.

Thanks and enjoy! Some rudimentary maps of the area are at the bottom of the "site guide" page, if you need help locating any of the places mentioned.

Anyone birding the area should get a copy of June Osborne's neat local birding guide, "Birding the Concan Area." It is an invaluable reference for birding the local area. It covers Uvalde to Concan, Sabinal, and the Utopia area. If you're not familiar with the area, it will show you lots of the productive local roads and spots to check. Neal's Lodges has it, as well as lots of birding stuff at their store. We do have some informational stuff on the local birding sites page.

There are now 15+ (!) years and growing worth of nature notes here, mostly in the bird news archives pages linked at the bottom of this page in 6 month segments. You can fairly easily check, 10 fall or spring periods, etc., and get a good idea of what goes on when, where, or how weak migration is here.   :) If you're coming in April, you can check several years out and see when different species arrive.  For instance for Painted Buntings not till later April, earliest numbers about the 18-20th, later is better, some years not till the 21-22 are the first back locally.  Often a few days earlier down in lower altitude brush country (earlier still down on the coast) etc. Adult males mostly depart territories and the area the first week of August.

Be sure to check out the Bird List page, which is updated (2018) with seasonal status and abundance for each species. It lists all 350 plus species (!) known from the upper Sabinal River drainage.

The 10th (!) winter bird count totals are up on the Bird Count Page

A newer page is the butterfly rarity photos: Rare Butterflies

NOTE: The FOS (First of Season) dates given are for the Utopia area. That may be the first of spring, first of fall, or first of winter, etc. In spring for example, for many species (birds, butterflies, flowers, etc.) Concan may run a week or more earlier, and Uvalde 1 to 2 weeks or so, earlier than the Utopia area does for some spring arrivals sometimes. In any given year some species will be "early" and others will be "late," compared to averages.

And here's something else.......
Sometimes I may be available as eyes and ears for hire. Send an E-mail if you desire professional expert level birding guide services while in the area. Take out the spaces around the at if you copy this instead of clicking it: mitch @ utopianature.com

Or check out the Bird Guide page.

The BIRDING SITES, HUMMINGBIRDS, BIRD LIST, and LM REPORTS, and RARITIES pages have all been recently updated!

With apologies, I am not interested in photos from other areas for identification. Please please please do not send unsolicited out of area photos. Contact your local Audubon Society if you have pictures of a bird that you would like identified, every area has one. From Houston to Travis to Ft. Worth, Big Sky, Llano Estacado, no matter where you are there are other local folks interested in your local birds, and since you are (to have a pic that you want ID'd) you should want to know them.  :)  Thank you in advance.

Commonly used ABBREVIATIONS are:

"in or around town" - refers to Utopia
UP - Utopia Park off 1050 just west of 187
UR - Utopia on the River grounds (2 mi. S. of town)
LM - Lost Maples SNA
SRV - Sabinal River Valley (Clayton Grade to Lost Maples)
  the upper Sabinal River drainage biogeographic area.
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for the first
   spring or fall migrant of that species locally)
FOY - First of Year, usually used in winter and spring.
Odes - Odonata - a dragonfly or damselfly
Leps - Lepidoptera - usually butterflies
UvCo - Uvalde County
BanCo - Bandera County


First a 2011 highlight ...

Rufous-backed Robin

This is a sketch of the Rufous-backed Robin that Kathy and I saw at Ft. Inge Uvalde on Feb. 19, 2011.




Broad-winged Hawk   Broad-winged Hawk

This is a begging juvenile Broadwinged Hawk at Lost Maples SNA
the first nesting in Bandera Co. and likely the furthest southwest
nesting ever for the species. Taken August 1, 2015 through binocs.



Some things from 2012 ...

albino House Finch

This albino House Finch complete with red eyes was in our yard in July and August, 2012.



Cerambycid

This Cerambycid (Long-horned Beetle) on Sept. 9, 2012 was
a beauty, and the first of this type I've seen,
Tragidion coquus, thanks to Mike Quinn for the ID!
It seems this is kind of a mega rary here in Texas.
The blind acorn occasionally finds the squirrel.



Finally..... a good (and favorite) bird.....
American Woodcock

American Woodcock (Timberdoodle) at Utopia Dec. 15, 2012



Something from 2013 ...
Texas Coral Snake

Texas Coral Snake ~ Do not handle! Thanks to Nancy Walling for her photo.
Red next to black is a friend of Jack,
Red next to yellow will kill a poor fellow.
This was at Lost Maples, April 26, 2013.



Ringed Kingfisher

Ringed Kingfisher is surely breeding locally now, this a male at Utopia Park on January 23, 2015.





Two-tailed Swallowtail

Two-tailed Swallowtail at Lost Maples April 27, 2014.



Texas Blind Snake

Texas Blind Snake was the longtime common name for Leptotyphlops dulcis,
aka Worm Snake, but now is called Plains Threadsnake. They only have
vestigal (mostly non-functioning) eyes, you can see it is wormish, but
is scaled. They eat ant and termite larvae in particular and come to
the surface mostly in spring, often after rains. May 12, 2014.


Zebra Heliconian

Zebra Longwing (or Heliconian) on Texas Thistle, in yard June 2014



Louisiana Waterthrush

Apparently the first ever documented over-wintering Louisiana Waterthrush on the Edwards Plateau, present at Utopia Park from early December (at least) to March 11 at least, this pic taken Jan. 25, 2015. The bird returned for a second winter Nov. 2015 remaining present at least to Feb. 27, 2016. It has returned again for a third winter so far, this in Sept. of 2016 and was seen to latest December.



Rusty Blackbird

A Rusty Blackbird, adult female, which is a returnee wintering for its second year around UvCo 360 south of town. This photo taken in our yard December 24, 2014, the bird continued to early March. This bird returned Nov. 2015 for its THIRD winter (we know of) so far, and was still present March 9, 2016. It returned again Oct. 2016 and was present through Feb. 2017, for her fourth winter here.



Cedar Waxwing

See der waxwing? OK, Cedar Waxwing. See anything? Let us know! :)
(e-dress above the photos)



Back to Top
Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat

Here are links to some new pages added in the last couple years:

Here is a master index page of 'Old Bird News' links:
Bird News Archives INDEX
It has links to all the 'Bird News' pages, in 6 month increments.

And now for something completely different... I will probably make some changes yet, I was looking for some more pix, but anyway meanwhile at least the basics are up... Here is a new page with some photos and discussion of hybrid Cliff x Cave Swallows: Clave Swallows
~ ~ ~ ~
***  Here is a new page for visitors with ideas, links, phones, contacts, etc., about where to stay locally.
Where to Stay
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
***  Here is a major new page I have been working on for half of last year, and which compiles over a decade of my study at the site. It is a long discussion about the how and why of birds at Utopia Park, and the park bird list.
The Birds of Utopia Park
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Here are assorted links of all manner, and a handy way outta here.
Mitch's Links


The photos used for the weekly breaks are compiled in one place for each year (just for the last few years).
2015 pix
2016 pix
2017 pix
2018 pix
2019 pix

~ ~ ~ finally, current bird news from the greater and lesser Utopia area ~ ~ ~
BIRD & NATURE NEWS 2019


Notes without location cited are in or from yard which is a couple miles south of town at edge of the river habitat corridor. If it doesn't say where it was, it was in or from the yard. Usually a few daily yard notes is all the drivel you get. But you never know what that can lead to. Ready, steady, go!

To repeat since commonly used:
sps.=species; FOS=First of season; FOY=First of Year; FOF=First of fall; LTA=Less than Annual; UP=Utopia Park; SLC=So. Little Creek Rd.; dF=degrees Farenheit; (ph.)=photo obtained; ad.=adult; imm.=immature.; ma.=male; fem.=female; juv.=juvenile; odes=Odonata = dragonflies and damselflies; leps=Lepidoptera (butterflies), town=Utopia; the park= Utopia Park at SW corner of town. WU = Weather Underground (sometimes local station readings referenced) BanCo = Bandera Co.; UvCo = Uvalde Co.



Black-capped Vireo
Black-capped Vireo at Lost Maples


Just to have this handy again for reference, recent prior updates:
May 17, 10, 3, April 26, 19, 12, 5, March 29, 22, 15, 8, 1
Usually each week's update break is marked with a photo.

You may want to scroll down to last prior update and scroll
up to read in chrono order day to day.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ and now for the news ~ ~ ~

June 14 ~ Made it down to 67dF, so good. The entire second week of June with lows in the 60's is unheard of here. A Black-n-white Wobbler was singing a bit first thing at sunup. Methinks the first-summer troller moving around that we keep seeing. A male Indigo Bunting hit the white millet on the patio early. Got 11 more cats off the Blue Mist Eup first hour of light before they dive back down out of the heat for the day, now at 85 of them. Not pulling them, in a week or so there would have been nothing left of my magic fall flower patch. As it is the top of every stem has been chewed off, they killed the spring bloom but for two stalks. A White-striped Longtail (butterfly) came in to the water Kathy sprayed about mid-morn, first one I have seen this year.

Town run day. There are a couple just-fledged Red-shouldered Hawk at the park right over the playground area. Tame and lots of folks getting to see them and parents very close. Very neat. Also had a couple just-fledged Blue Jay there. Nothing but the usual stuff otherwise, one E. Wood-Pewee was singing, maybe nesting there again. One Springtime Darner dragonfly is getting late for them. Little Creek Larry said he had baby Whistling-Ducks at the SLC pond. Even better, he saw a Texas Gopher Tortoise! I have never seen one up here in the hills, just down in the flatlands brush-country as at Uvalde. Nice to know some are still around here.

June 13 ~ A 65dF low was great, I can't believe this stretch of low lows in the 60's at these dates. The thrill of it all. Got 4 more Eup cats and 3 got away this morning. So 72 removed and at least three to go. The couple years it was shredded to stems I pulled in the high 70's and high 80's off, so I should be getting close to having them all now. Two more removed in the afternoon, 74 and counting. Late afternoon there was a Two-tailed Swallowtail floating about the yard briefly.

Mid-morn saw a Zone-tailed Hawk circling low from the front porch. Late afternoon I saw a Black-n-white Warbler over in the corral. Only saw about 85dF peak heat in the afternoon. Totally tolerable. Did we ever cheat the heat this week. The rest was the regulars. Saw a 1st summer male Painted Bunting on the feeder, besides at least a couple ad. males, a female or two. Might have had a juvenile on the patio. Got some new front brakes put on the trucklet today. The rear were still nearly new. Near last sun a group of three Chimney Swift were feeding low, just over treetops here, which was surely an adult pair with their just-fledged young. If you can see a trio now, that is likely the deal. Two were in secondary molt (adults), one not (the juvie).

June 12 ~ An amazing 60dF for a low, so either my calendar or the thermometer must be broken. Unbelievable, sure is a treat while it lasts. A couple male Painted Buntings were disputing which gets to hit the white millet feeder first. Blue Grosbeak on the patio first thing too. I had a town run early. The Indigo Bunting toward the crossing is surely nesting as it just sings from the same few trees all the time. The Red-eyed Vireo too remains in the same patch for over a month now, and I suspect nesting. Just spun through the park. Lots was on the ground going after the termites that emerged. Saw a juvenile Scissor-tail running around amongst the Lark Sparrows and a female Summer Tanager on the ground.

Took 8 more cats off the Blue Mist Eup today, 68 were at. Found a crab spider guarding its egg sac on some Am. Germander. It had tied a few leaves together with its silk for shelter in the rain and from sun I suppose. It was one of the brown marbled ones, as in the 'ground' types, not one of the yellow or colored flower types. Got a better pic of a Shining Flea Beetle, they jump like fleas as you get near with camera so harder to get than I would have thought. The Am. Germander is nearing the end of bloom, but the leaves are shot full of holes due to these leaf-chafers. Have seen them all over Frog-fruit before, but they are not touching that here.

June 11 ~ A few sprinkles overnight, maybe a tenth or two, and a 65dF low again. Still some light mid-level northerly flow. Amazing for the date. This morning I pulled 30 more of the Blue Mist Eup eating caterpillars, so now at 60! Gadzooks! Hoping I can save it still, but it looks bad. They wiped out the patch at the library garden last year, it was 10 times bigger than our 2 little patches and it was completely eaten but for maybe 2 flower heads. Heard a Black-n-white sing a bit early, likely the local troller. Lots of baby House Finch out there now. Another hour or so of rain in the afternoon, another half-inch, so today was about .65 total here. At 5 p.m. it was an amazing 65dF! Astounding to spend the day at or below 70dF at this date. Heard the Common Nighthawk booming nearing last sun.

June 10 ~ A nice 68dF low was great, seeing 2" of much-needed rain fell overnight was even better! I am guessing strong cold fronts as late as June 9-10 are not a normal thing. I don't recall one like this in the last 15 years. Abnormal is the new normal. Had a quick town run. On Friday I saw two sparrows out 378, the stub at NW corner of town that looked like Grasshopper, went back and had a glimpse again of what looked like one but again only in flight. Lots of Larks there but this obviously not that. I think they nested in the pasture off the north side, which is in UvCo. Nice group of about 8 or 10 Chimney Swift were feeding on something low, at times flying two feet past my head. It was awesome.

Then ran up to the intersection of Jones Cmty. Rd. and W. Sabinal Rd. in BanCo to check that pasture and had Grasshopper Sparrow where they have been 6 weeks plus now and so are certainly nesting. This is the first nesting I have found in the area locally. Eight more cats removed from the Blue Mist Eupatorium, now at 30 pulled. I see our Red Turks Cap is opening its first flowers of the year. Something eating their leaves too.

June 9 ~ Only 71dF for a low, today is supposed to be the hot day and a cold front hits later in the evening. Heckofa date for a cold front. We need the rain though. I got 6 more of the Blue Mist Eup eating cats this morning, now at 22 removed in four days, no wonder it is getting shredded again. A juv. Black-n-white Warlber came in to all the feeder action to see whaddup. It landed on the clothesline, wish I had the camera for that. It worked over to the pole, and was nearing jumping for the sunflower feeder when something flushed everything. A bit later Kathy heard one singing, which was not the juvie I saw, so two in the yard this morning.

Worked inside to avoid the heat. Was looking at NOAA reports, Brownsville was 98 with 118 heat index! Once we hit 92-4 the moisture cooks out and humidty drops to about 35 pct. so we don't have the heat index issue more than a dF or two usually, once you hit near mid-90's dF here. Port Lavaca was cooler air temps than us, but heat index was 106 due to that Gulf humidity. Dripping.

About 4 we went for a swim to beat the 95dF in the shade heat. I went upriver a third mile or so in the water. Had two Black-n-whites, they are moving now. Great was a male Orchard Oriole which is likely nesting nearby. A few of them that are annual at specific locations locally are absent this year, so nice to watch one leisurely feeding in the Cypresses. The rest was the regular usuals. In odes, one Eastern Ringtail was my FOY, lots of Dusky Dancers, an American Rubyspot, several Violet Dancers, a few Swift and Checkered Setwing.

Late just before dusk another Gnatcatcher moved through. An unseasonal cold front is bearing down on us, supposed to pass tonight and be cool tomorrow and day after. Whoohoo! About 9 p.m. the outflow boundry hit from the line of thunderstorms and took 10dF off the top in about a minute. That is how I spell relief. Still no rain here by 10, but we should get some. Watching the radar the bats seemed to leave the Frio cave and quickly dive back in as the outflow boundry hit.

June 8 ~ Another coolish morning at 65dF was fantastic, no one complained. The yard was all the same stuff. Weed whacked our path to the river so we can walk five minutes, jump in and cool off to beat the heat. It is that time of year again. Nothing like being in 72dF water up to the neck when it is 95 out. While on my back on my floaty board I saw: a few Yellow-throated Warbler, one or probably two Black-and-white Warbler (they don't nest very locally here - so post-breeding dispersal), Summer Tanagers, a couple Eastern Wood-Pewee, Chickadees and Titmice feeding young, at least two Eastern Phoebe, heard Blue Grosbeak and Chat singing as well as a Scissor-tail. The Red-tailed Hawk flushed from its nest in a Cypress letting us know its discontent as it went. No kingfishers.

In odes a couple each Swift and Checkered Setwing, lots of Double-striped Bluet ovipositing, numbers of Violet Dancer, one Dusky Dancer. All the aquatic vegetation was stripped in the flood events and it seemed fewer odes than usual. Some lilies were the only veg. Good numbers of Texas Shiner (N. amabilis) though, over a hundred in one school. One Guadalupe Bass was nice, even if only 6" long, which looks like an aquarium fish to me at that size. Several smaller Largemouth Bass, but one three pounder looked good enough to eat. A couple dozen Longear Sunfish. One Texan Crescent and Celia's Roadside-Skipper were around the porch.

dickcissel
Dickcissel are numerous here this year after being absent last year.



~ ~ ~ spring weather header note archive copy ~ ~ ~

RECENT SPRING WEATHER:
We had hard freezes early in March on March 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and Lost Maples froze the 17th. Wind chills were in the 30's March 31st! We froze again here at Utopia the morning of April 2! I have seen freezes in latest April and earliest May, but we are likely out of the woods for that now. Average last freeze is March 20-21, first day of spring. Pending where you were locally, about 2-3" of rain fell April 24. And no one complained. Another 2.5" fell overnight May 2-3, .75" overnight 5-6 May, 1.5" by 8 p.m. on May 9, and it just keeps coming. The South Little Creek Rd. pond in Bandera Co. still has water and so always worth a look if here. The big one is less than a mile south of BanCo 470.

~ ~ ~ end weather note archive ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

June 7 ~ We had wonderful 65dF for a low, cool, and even comfortable. A real treat for the date. The Yellow-throated Warbler was singing in the big pecan early, love hearing that. A Red-winged Blackbird (male) came to the seed on the patio, which never happens in the summer. Saw another Harlequin Flower Beetle but when I got back with camera it was gone. Was a different one than the one a few days ago.

Town run so park check. Only a female Green King for something to watch. In damselflies saw Orange Bluet, Violet, Blue-ringed, and Kiowa Dancers, my FOY Rambur's, and a Fragile Forktail. Saw FOY Black Setwing, plus several Swift Setwing. Saw an Catacola cf. obscurus Underwing Moth, which reminds me I saw one of the red ones a few weeks ago and forgot to mention it methinks. Also saw a Clouded Skipper. It got hot in the afternoon, 92dF in the cool shady, and it will be worse the next couple days they say...

Thirty years ago today, 6-7-89, I saw one of my most-wanted birds in California, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Got a couple photos in the 5 seconds I had, sent them to the Calif. Bird Record Committee. Found out 8 years later they rejected my photographic record. They hid from me that they accused me of lying about where I took the photos. Because that is how honest men do that. I was branded a bird record cheater by a group of bird record cheaters: Jon L. Dunn, Kimball Garrett, Paul Lehman, Matt T. Heindel, Michael A. Patten, Brian E. Daniels, Richard Erickson, and others in the socal record wreckers gang of bird record bullies. They committed ornithological fraud bearing false witness to a photographic record of another birder. Whilst saying they were assurring the accuracy of my record. So it was just plain old fraud too. They have continued to tell other false stories about other reports since they had to quit telling their Scissor-tail lies. Proving they lied and cheated on a report did not change a thing. They still do it today. If you hear a story that I cheated on a bird record in California, it came from one of the above named, all of whom spent 8 years lying about my Scissor-tail photographs.

June 6 ~ Some occasional northerly flow overnight brought a low of about 68dF which felt fantastic. What a difference a few dF makes. I saw KRVL had some rain and 64 for a low! Had a singing Black-n-white Warbler early about 7 a.m., sang a good standard song so not sure if it was the one that was around the last couple weeks. Mid-morn heard a warbler seet (flight) note and looked up to see a Golden-cheeked fly from the Mulberry to the live-oaks out back. Looked like a male. Had a quick P.O. run in the afternoon, heard a Red-eyed Vireo singing in the big pecan in the field out front of the park where the Scissor-tails nest. I presume another trolling bird. Then at the 360 xing right down the road here that Red-eyed continues singing, it may be mated as it stays in one place. Same for the Indigo Bunting there, those two I think have mates and nests there. Sure is a great Firefly show at dusk.

June 5 ~ Ran 72-92dF for a temp spread, and sticky. I see our Blue Mist gregii Eupatorium has some leaves being eaten. Found and demolished a couple of those caterpillars that demolished it for a couple years. Saw the Celia's Roadside-Skipper on the Am. Germander. Later afternoon I heard some Scissor-tailed Flycatcher ruckus up in the pecan, there was likely the local pair there. The Scissors departed and a Great Crested Flycatcher flew into the top of the tree and gave a round of calls for a few minutes. As soon as the Great Crest left the nesting Ash-throat flew around like it is boss. The Vermilion on the low fenceline ignores them all, the nesting Eastern Phoebes are the only thing it watches for. Heard the Barred Owl over at the river late evening.

June 4 ~ A small group of rain cells formed overnight in Mexico and worked from Del Rio to Uvalde Co. slowly. All the main major models missed it, only the Texas Tech showed it so NOAA mentioned that yesterday as an aside. It was the only correct model. It dumped 2.5-5" of rain along the way. Most of it was south of us along Hwy. 90 by time it went by us noonish or so. We only got about .35 of an inch. But it kept our temps about 73dF all morning, and was still only 75 at 3 p.m. as the cells got to Bexar Co. and we came out the backside of the rain sheild into the sun. Dodged the heat for the morning and a bit of a dust buster. There was one weak area with only moderate rain in it, and that was what we got. We needed the water though.

Heard a Black-and-white Warbler first thing early, I presume the one I had a week ago, and a week prior, and a trolling first-summer male, since it sang the same non-normal song. Saw it about noon on a tree in the corral. Harvested 4 new unwanted chiggers between my morning and noon tosses of seed out back. Hope I don't get any more on the afternoon toss. Mid-afternoon saw a Harlequin Flower Beetle (Gymnetis thula) which I softly swatted to the ground where it played dead. I ran for camera and got a couple docu shots before it flew off. Haven't seen one in a few years. Saw a big Eyed Elaterid click beetle a few minutes later.

This evening I did confirm a tailess barely flight capable Lark Sparrow fledgling being attended by two adults still, out along the fenceline. So this thing made two nights out in the yard on the ground. With all the coons, I have no idea how. There are a couple dense patches of Mexican Hat which I suspect is where it is hiding overnight. It did actually have a 10 foot level flight between the Persimmon and a Pecan by the gate, but still crashed off the limb it was trying for. Tomorrow we will see if it made another night. Still a couple days from real proper powered flight. It jumped wayyyy too soon.

June 3 ~ Maybe about 72 for a low, very humid. Some rain was nearishby and we got some nice rain-cooled air for the whole morning. Mid-80's and mostly cloudy in p.m., sticky. The little Treehole skeeters are out in force. Saw my FOY Pepsis Wasp. Dang dillo dug out a Eupatorium (white - Thoroughwort type) I had transplanted because deer were eating it. Dillos are real cute until you lived with one and tried to grow anything whatsoever, have a flower bed, etc. Skunks are a dream by comparison. Birds were the breeders, I sure love listening to them all day. There are almost always a couple or few species singing at any given time, often several. Did not hear the Indigo here the last couple days, but a couple were singing a third-mile down the road.

Last night about an hour before sundown a Lark Sparrow fledgling in a nest 15' up in the big pecan made a premature ejection from said nest. Went down like a rock, stood no chance whatsoever of powered flight. I tried to put it in a small pecan below it and it would not stay in it. Then I put it in a big brush pile where it would be safe. It would not stay in it. I don't know how it made the night, but it seemed like the parents were going down out in the yard and I thought I was hearing it begging. I didn't want to pressure it so did not persue, but it seems it made the night, on the ground out there.

June 2 ~ We got up sorta early and went to Lost Maples for a walk. Dawn chorus is going at 6 a.m. now. At 5:45 it was only Chat and Chuck, but by 6 Summer Tanager and Cardinal had started and it short order lots was going off. Low was about 72dF, some low stratus, which thickened up at higher altitude and kept heat at bay for a few hours.

We walked Can Creek a mile past the ponds to the high water spring. About two miles each way, in about 5 hours total. I go slow and easy at this age in the hot and sticky. We saw 3 groups of Golden-cheeked Warbler with two juveniles each, being fed by adults. Which made for great viewing. Heard a number of and saw a few others. Pretty easy to see today. We heard about 4 Black-capped Vireo along the trail, I got a glimpse of one. Heard Olive Sparrow, 3-4 White-tipped Dove (glimpsed one) along canyon, heard Audubon's Oriole singing at the pond.

Only heard one Black-n-white Warbler, they seem to be mostly gone already. Heard a couple and saw one Louisiana Waterthrush. Four singing Yellow-throated Warbler still, one group of fledged begging juveniles. Saw Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo splash bathing, and several of each. Heard a Hutton's and a couple Yellow-throated Vireo. At least 3 Acadian Flycatcher, only heard one E. Pewee. One Broad-winged Hawk was good, they are likely nesting in the area again. No Zone-tail at Maples, but one south of Vanderpool on the way home.

Heard what must have been a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, but giving an odd call, way up the canyon. The rest was the usual suspects like Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo and Painted (down in main canyon) Bunting, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, a few Summer Tanager, Canyon Wren, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Chipping Sparrows with juvies, Titmouse, Chickadee, Cards, a few Inca Dove, Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, etc.

Saw one Greater Earless Lizard right where Kathy had a probable a couple weeks ago. A few Six-lined Racerunner were out once it warmed. Saw a dead Ox Beetle in the path. The flowers were still great. There was lots of Lemon Beebalm aka Purple Horsemint by the big pond, and tons along 187 on way. Pearl aka Green Milkweed Vine is going well too. In lower canyon some Buttonbush was blooming but not up around ponds yet. The first few Texas Milkweed were opening. Lots of Indian Blanket and Coreopsis still, Prairie Fleabane, Snapdragon Vine, one Larkspur still had flowers, both Thistles, etc.

Butterflies were good, but no AZ Sister, one Red-spotted Purple. Two black form female Easter Tiger Swallowtail, one yellow form Tiger, 2 Two-tailed Swallowtail, a Giant, few Pipevine, one Black, and several Spicebush Swallowtail. Six species of swallowtails in a walk is great to me. I got pix of my FOY metalmark (Calephelis sps.), on which VFW (ventral forewing) pattern is clearly Rawson's. And which I had there last year in June as well. Saw my FOY Bronze Roadside-Skipper, and saw both types, the unmarked underwing with checkered fringe (standard), and the lightly marked with pale spots type (as Kaufmann shows as 'AZ type'), but with uncheckered fringe. I did not see any Monarch cats on the few Antelope Horns I saw.

Odes (dragonflies) are really getting going well, providing some great action as it got hot out. One interesting one was photo'd poorly, I will see if an expert can ID it. We saw about 7-8 Widow Skimmers around the ponds, when they are chasing each other it is a sight. What a beauty. There were a couple Comanche Skimmer which were my FOY, as were a couple Neon Skimmer. Saw one Flame Skimmer up by the usual highwater spot. Some Banded Pennant, a Red-tailed Pennant, Red Saddlebags, Prince and Dot-winged Baskettail, no gliders. A bunch of damsels I did not spend time on, but good numbers of Springwater, Duksy, Violet, and Blue-ringed Dancer.

June 1 ~ About 71dF for a low, cloudy until mid-day, got to 86 or so at peak heat, and very muggy. Worked on stuff here since the migration party is over. I should be checking the SLC pond still a time or two the first week of June, but am about out of steam and time. I fall behind every spring for migration. My life motto has arguably been "will fall behind for good birding". It was just the regular gang today. Neat was a couple cuckoos around lots, and lots. Must be feeding young very nearby, I presume over in the well-treed corral. They love hunting the big-leafed pecans. I love hearing them call all day. A Swift Setwing (ode) late in day was my FOY.

goldencheekedwarbler
Only a month or so left to see these here this year. I'm startin' to panic.
They can be fickle after mid-June. Often a few are around and findable to
mid-July. This past weekend we saw three sets of 2 fledglings being fed.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ May summary ~ ~ ~

It was a wet one with about 7" of rain for us here, almost all in the first third of the month, only a couple tenths in last two-thirds. Temps were only up to lowest 90's a few days, mostly was in the 80's, so sorta beat the heat for May.

Butterflies were OK with 47 species, but which was 5 less than April. For the most part it was the most likely 47 species, spring is not when rarities or vagrants show up. There were a last couple Monarchs early in the month. Elada Checkerspot is always good. No Metalmarks yet, and only Reakirt's for Blues. Red Satyr and Red-spotted Purple are always good to see. There are some Crimson Patch on private property near the 360 crossing, on the knoll to the SW. Must be something they use as foodplant there.

Odes were 28 species, up a half-dozen over April. Like butterflies, spring is not the time for rare vagrants in general. It was a great Band-winged Dragonlet show at the ponds on S. Little Crk. Rd., and the smaller southerly pond was loaded with Plateau Spreadwing again. A Great Pondhawk at the south pond May 4 was the most (only) unusual thing seen. One Wandering Glider was good for early May then and there as well. I just snuck Orange-striped Threadtail in on May 31 at the park when I saw the first ones of the year flying.

Birds were spectacular, April and May are the two biggest diverstiy months here. I saw about 125 species locally in May. Warbler migration was lackluster, I think the 16 species I saw over the whole spring is my average here. But it was scraping: one Tennessee, one Black-throated Green, two Wilson's, one No. Parula, and so on it went. No Redstart! Four Mourning Warbler was OK though. Six Mississippi Kite were nice on May 2. Again there was a pair of Cassin's Kingbird in our big pecan, May 9!

A Northern Goshawk on May 2 might have been the best bird, hopefully the powers that be will accept my poor docushots, at least I got a couple. A male Wilson's Phalarope at the SLC ponds May 11 was the other rarity seen. The ones last year were the first BanCo records. May 10 an American Pipit in breeding plumage was my first May record here. Several folks reported Catbirds in first half of May, and I had a couple. I had 7 Eastern Kingbird including 5 at once together, just south of town which is a great spring showing. Dickcissels were all over the place after being completely absent last spring and summer.

A Tree Lizard at Lost Maples was something I had longed to see and been missing. Had a Spotted Racerunner there as well. Saw a couple Velvet Worms around the house. A 2" Robberfly (Asilid) was neat, if only I could figure out what it was. Saw a couple Eyed Elaterid click beetles. Flowers were fairly spectacular from all the rain, most things seemed to have a good bloom. Which makes for good bug and seed crops. Everything is connected.

~ ~ ~ end May summary ~ ~ ~

May 31 ~ Weewow another month hath shot by. Another spring migration passage is over too. Heck spring is over, climatological summer starts tomorrow. It went out with a bang, a group of rain cells nearby last night gave us a 65dF low to start the day with. Awesome. Was still below 78dF at 2 p.m.! How come I get the feeling we are going to pay for this mild May? Saw a Velvet Worm on the patio at sunup this morning.

On the way to town, just down the road a quarter mile or so I heard a bunch of begging baby Yellow-throated Warbler, so some of them are out of the nest now. Checked the park because I went to town, there was no good reason to do so, other than living a 'Groundhog Day' type of birding life. Just a few of the usual regulars, did see just-fledged dark-eyed White-eyed Vireo out of the nest. Barred Owl called and I thought I heard a young beg.

Saw my FOY Orange-striped Threadtail (damselfly), at least a half-dozen, finally. Over a dozen Blue-ringed and a few Violet Dancer. Lots of bluets out over the water, did see some Double-striped Bluet. One Red-tailed Pennant was out over the water. It seems they might have bred here last year and these are on-site emergences. It was always just a late summer to fall visitor, and less than annual at that, until the last couple years. Now it seems we are hatching our own.

Went out to the S. Little Crk. Pond because I am a glutton for punishment, nothing there. Still has water but only the far part. Just a small puddle or two at the small pond to the south. Lots of Band-winged Dragonlet at the big pond with water still flying. A few dozen at least. Along Little Crk. where UvCo 354 hits it there was my FOY Widow Skimmer, finally, a favorite beauty.

I hit the post office just right and ran into Judy Schaeffer and Sheila Hargill. Sheila said they had a male Black-headed Grosbeak at their feeder a couple weeks ago. I haven't seen one in a few years, but was seeing them every other year or so for a decade. That male is a pretty bird. Judy said she had a Catbird a couple weeks ago at her place. Little Creek Larry said he had a Catbird this week at Little Creek. Always great to hear of scarce passage migrants others are seeing locally.

May 30 ~ A front is washing out in the area, there were a few spritzes overnight and in the morning. Low was about 71dF. An actual wind change with light northerly flow was neat for the date. Later in afternoon it went NE. Way fewer hummers around, the majority of the last batch of young are gone now, so it is back to almost just adults. Surely another set of juvies is on the way soon. Heard an Audubon's Oriole first thing whilst on my first cup of coffee in bed. The Red-eyed Vireo is still singing out front across the road, sometimes in yard out by the wellhouse.

In the afternoon another Blue-gray Gnatcat went through yard, sounded like a juvenile. Just-fledged juvie Lark Sparrow being fed on patio now. After 7 p.m. an outflow boundry from a good thundercell hit us and dropped it 10dF from 86 to 76 in 10 minutes. We only got a spritzing, but the cooloff was great. An area of 2-4" of rain was 30 miles south, and Concan to Uvalde area got over an inch, we were just spit on here, maybe a tenth from all of it, but we got the big cooldown.

May 29 ~ Low 70's to upper 80's dF, and which is the forecast every day for the 10-day currently. Varying rain chances in low-end. Bearable cloudy breezy mornings, hot and sticky with occasional sun in afternoon. But, still not the 90's yet, only a few days hit that all month, so we beat the heat this May. Now we are down to just 3-4 months of brutal, pending how Sept. plays out. When in drought cycles it can be 90+dF April to October with 6 months of summer. A number of local residents (hominid) go to the Ruidoso NM area or Colorado for the summer, the lucky so and so's.

If it weren't for the amazing set of breeding birds and the incredible insects, I probably couldn't stand it. It is the heat and humidity that make the bugs that make the birds so good. Most of the action and excitement is the migratory insectivores, stuff that winters from Mexico to South America, and is just here a few months to breed, and eat 'bugs and worms'. Of which Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo are two flagship representitives. More-seen things like Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Vermilion or Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Painted Bunting are better known examples by non-birding locals.

Meanwhile its Wednesday for me, so like Thursdays I am stuck at the desk all day, save my hourly 5 minute lookabouts. Ten if no one is watching. During migration I may disappear longer during brief periods of mystery or intrigue. Never any months or year-long thing like Audubon did though. I was told a long time ago there won't be any of that.

Some of what includes the yard in their territories so the things seen and singing daily are: Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, Summer Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Great Crested, Ash-throated (in a box), and Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, White-winged and Mourning Dove, Ground-Dove, Lark, Chipping and Field Sparrow, Cardinal, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Eastern Bluebird (feeding young in a box now), Eastern Phoebe, and too many Black-chinned Hummingbirds.

Seen half of days the last month are a couple trollers (unmated singing males moving up and down river habitat corridor), Indigo Bunting and Red-eyed Vireo. The Red-eye now is on day 5 or 6 out front right now. They will be around a few days, then not, then back, repeat. Overhead daily are Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Chimney Swift, and Red-tailed Hawk. Weekly or so I see Cooper's and Zone-tailed Hawk, both nest not too far away and hunt the yard regularly. At dark the Chuck-wills-widow are going bonkers now, maybe 3 close and 3 more distant. Hearing Barred Owl nightly over at the river. I see or hear Scissor-tailed Flycatcher daily, but they are not nesting closer than a quarter-mile, he complained.

About 5 p.m. an Eastern Wood-Pewee was in the yard, probably an unmated bird. Heard a FOY cicada then too, so second day after the first Katydid. Saw a Questionmark butterfly today, besides the regular stuff.

May 28 ~ Hit 70dF for a low, big difference a few dF makes. With the low stratus overcast, we might make noon before 80dF. The mornings are still nice and bearable. Ran to the P.O. so checked the park. Heard a Green Heron which is the first I have had there this year. These birds arrive so late I can't believe it. Same every year, usually late April to late May, often later May arrival here. Whilst at Uvalde the City Park nesting birds there arrive in later March. Two months difference. There was a female or young male Red-tailed Pennant up by the island at the park, my FOY locally.

A couple light rain cells went by in the afternoon, we had a tenth of an inch or so, just enough to hold some dust down. We'll take it. About 7 p.m. there was a Black-and-white Warbler singing out front. Never got a look so could not age, I suspect an unmated troller. Song sounded a bit off in the same way the one did that went through a week or two ago. Some Chimney Swift at dusk feeding over the river habitat corridor with a number of Martins. More Katydids tonight, maybe 4-5, and the Barred Owl called again.

May 27 ~ The low was 69.5dF, that felt great. SOShtuff, low clouds, humid, some occasional sun. No holiday here, just another work Monday. A Chimney Swift shot over low at 7 a.m., must be a nearby chimney in use. The dawn chorus is still going well, but you can tell not as strongly as it was already. The Red-eyed Vireo is still out there trolling. The Great Crested Flycatcher gave a Titmouse hell chasing it. I wonder if it is not mated this year like a few things around seem to be. Some just-fledged juvie Cardinal on patio being fed.

Kathy saw a Two-tailed Swallowtail, surely the one I saw around yesterday. Over the day had two Blue-gray Gnatcatcher go through yard, one early, one late. I suspect these are fledged juveniles in post-breeding wandering. Already, in late May. Their voices are a bit higher and thinner, a little more squeaky than adults. Heard my FOY Katydids tonight, just a couple, barely chuggin'. Katydid tonight, cicada in a day or two.

May 26 ~ The 71dF low felt better after about four days with just 74. Low stratus from the Gulf. It is great hearing Great Crested Flycacher in the yard a bunch. I guess the Ash-throats know they have to tolerate it. When it moves through they are pretty quiet, and it is typically noisy. After it goes, they get noisy again. Pretending they are all that. Found a FOY tick on my leg mid-morn, all I had done was toss birdseed in the usual couple places out back. It was still wandering and not plugged in yet. I usually see only one to a very few each year. Locals say it was the Fire Ants (imported non-native) that took them down.

About 11 a.m. we took a spin around the wildlife easement we're on to check the knolls. The two high spots can have some different stuff. The south knoll had its usual singing Olive Sparrow and Black-capped Vireo, saw neither though. Nice to know they are there doing their thing. Also in that category was two Crimson Patch. There is a population on the knoll, I do not know what foodplant they are using, there is no Flame Acanthus there. What a stunning beauty they are. A few Gnatcatcher around, which nest there, a couple sounded like begging babies. Heard a couple Rufous-crowned Sparrow, they nest there too. Heard Hutton's Vireo.

All the Agarita bushes were stripped where we collected berries a week ago. Gone. Over on the north knoll we found a couple bushes that still had some and got a cup of berries and some poked fingers. So we get a wee bit of Agarita jam anyway this year. While we were picking them I heard a distant odd song. After a few listens I said to Kathy I gotta go find that. Sure enough, a male Golden-cheeked Warbler. Not full blast singing, and mostly a 'B' type song with the trill on the end. I saw no green in the back or crown, it looked like a full ad. male. I doubt it is on territory there and suspect it is a done breeder wandering around already. Will check the spot again soon to see. Also there was a Plains Clubtail dragonfly, and a big fancy Robberfly (Asilid), got photo so will work on ID.

May 25 ~ Ran 74-89dF or so today, mostly cloudy, some p.m. sun, breezy. No migrants, just the breeders. In the afternoon I checked the pond on the golf course by the Waresville Cmty., hardly any dragonflies, a couple Red Saddlebags and a Common Whitetail was it. Nothing at the Martin house, maybe they are just out feeding? The park had nothing but people. A Zone-tailed Hawk was over town. When I pulled back in driveway a Cooper's Hawk flushed from the patio area, empty fisted. Hummers are much fewer, the hoarde of juveniles have been departing for a week and change now. Thankfully. Surely a new batch on the way. Photo'd one of the Zopherus Ironclad Beetles out front.

wilsonsphalarope
Here is the Wilson's Phalarope on May 11 in BanCo, at
the So. Little Crk. Rd. pond. Tough bird to get locally.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 24 ~ Low of 74dF, strong SE Gulf flow, low stratus overcast, muggy, sunny and muggy in afternoon. Rinse and reapeat until September. Kathy set a mouse trap last night and this morning the trap had, well, we can't find the trap, but when we do I will let you know. Country living is like living a cartoon. I heard a Red-eyed Vireo singing across the road. Like the male Indigo Bunting it is trolling up and down the river habitat corridor, but which means they are unmated still. Nearing last sun there was a Chimney Swift, and a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher around for a bit.

Town run day, getting busy with the Memorial Day weekend. As I was getting gas I watch some citiot with a big truck and trailer pull into bank and head back out the other driveway to head back down Main St. As he is getting near exit I think, he has to wait for those next cars, and he pulls right out in front of them, they all have to stop for his citiotness. If they had kept speed they would have creamed the trailer. The Memorial Day Morons have arrived. We will be hiding out where no one goes. The park got a new road, looks nice, is black and will be hotter. No migrant birds there. At the S. Little Crk. Rd. ponds, only 2 probable breeders: Killdeer and Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Lots of dragonflies though, a few dozen Band-winged Dragonlets, and some teneral damselfly I will try to ID from pix.

May 23 ~ The strong gulf flow and winds have not abated, it is still 15-20 mph, gusting higher, for a few days now, and forecast for a five more. Oh to have had this in late April or early May, we'd have been covered in migrants. It is just too late, its too late baby, now its too late. All together now. Nothing goin' on but the breeders. I am even beginning to wonder if there is going to be an empi or few, or not. Usually there are some at the very end. I have not seen any Traill's type (Willow or Alder) Flycatcher whatsoever yet. Much less a Yelly-belly.

Got a few chiggers though. They are finally making a showing, Kathy hit the wrong clump of grass a couple days ago and got a bunch for free. More than I get weed-whacking an acre of tall grass, which up to a week ago was maybe one or two. Methinks they have popped. The Firefly show sure has gotten to pretty sparkly. Skeeters are out too, the park up by the island has lots now, the price for all that rain.

May 22 ~ A low of about 73dF, the Gulf flow won at some point overnight. It was dropping into the mid-60's with the dry air and northwest flow, the Gulf won. So windy and muggy, cloudy morn, sunny afternoon. Winds were 15-20 mph gusting higher. Heard a Yellow Warbler and a Dickcissel out in yard, the rest was the breeders. At least a couple baby chickadees being attended by the adults is neat around the yard. Lots of Bordered Patch butterflies moving around, I saw 5 at once from the back porch, must be tons of them around. Don't know how many you get to the ton. Saw one Tawny Emperor, first of the month. One male Fiery Skipper. One Queen was around the Blue Mist Eupatorium which has a couple stalks with flowers open. The ultimate Queen magnet here. The Am. Germander (aka Wood Sage, but not a sage) is getting going, it has a nice sweet scent. Heard the Barred owl again.

May 21 ~ Didn't cool down much until a squall line arrived about 6 a.m., we got maybe .2 tenths of an inch of precip and it dropped to 64dF. A Pacific front was behind it a couple hours and we had NW winds briefly, and very dry air, in the afternoon KRVL was 16% humidity. Awesome. Hit about 85dF peak heat in the sun, which in dry air is completely bearable. Wish I could have gone out and run around to check some trees. I heard a Yellow Warbler singing a couple times over the day, that was it. The rain arriving right before light is the perfect timing we want, but when passage is at peak roar early April to mid-May. Great Firefly show at dusk now. The Barred Owl still calling at river.

May 20 ~ A low of 73dF is not very. Balmy, was a bit of fog and a mist or two. The wind from the SE is blowing hard, 15-25 mph with gusts to 35! It is exactly what you need for good migrants here, from early April to about May 15. A bit too late now to do much good for us. Heard one Yellow Warbler in the yard, that was it for migrants here. Monday back at the salt mine, so can't go check the treed spots. In the afternoon I heard a dove flushing event, looked out the office window, and saw a Zone-tailed Hawk climbing up out of the yard, but with nothing in talons. It is back to the breeders now, the migration passage party is over. Saw what methinks was a Cuckoo Wasp, it looked like an overgrown huge metallic green halichtid.

May 19 ~ Overnight low was 70dF. Foggy, and some mist. Get used to it. First thing early before sunup there were 3 Common Nighthawk low over house and yard. Heard a Yellow Warbler sing early. Later morning I heard a Black-and-white Warbler singing out back. I presume an unmated troller. Noon went to park for a quick look, only passage migrant was a female Common Yellowthroat. One Green Kingfisher at island. Out to the pond on S. Little Crk. Rd., nothing but the 5 B-b Whistling-Duck. Checked the 354 pecans and no migrants there either. The passage of migrants will soon be just a memory. There is about one last week to get a stray straggler or two.

About 5 p.m. we took a walk up the hill behind us to see if any Agarita (aka Texas Holly) crop this year. Lots seem eaten already, but there are some berries. We picked a cup or so. Those are some well-protected fruit. In the process I flushed a female Common Nighthawk from the ground. I did not see exactly where from and did not see any eggs. I got a binoc view on a horizontal live-oak branch it landed on, but it flushed as I went for camera. Great close look anyway though. Probably a nest there. Those Agarita thickets are a pretty safe space. I once saw a Painted Bunting nest in an Agarita. Might as well be in a cactus. Saw a Zone-tailed Hawk fly by later in afternoon from the front porch.

May 18 ~ Balmy low of 68dF or so, a bit of mist early. A showerlet mid-morn to noon. No migrant motion in yard. Checked the 354 pecans since missed them yesterday, nothing, singing Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo might nest there. Dickcissels still going in pasture on north side of road. No kingbirds on fencelines. Utopia Park had a male Mourning Warbler not there yesterday. The Swainson's Thrush were gone. One Ringed Kingfisher was the first I have seen in over a month, they have been gone nesting somewhere along the river. Nothing at the SLC pond, but lots of Band-winged Dragonlet flying. On the way home right at the cattle guard a quarter mile from our gate another Mourning Warbler, this one a female!

About 4 p.m. a line of thunder cells moved over, up-valley got it good as that cell rained itself out around Lost Maples and Love Creek. Our cell ran from SE Real Co. along the Bandera-Uvalde Co. line and fairly clobbered town here, have to see what they got. We were at the edge and in a half hour got an inch of rain. And hail, up to a little over an inch across, most pea to nickel sized, but lots quarter sized. As the cell approached it sounded like fighter jets way high up, a roar, constantly for a half hour as the cell went by and over. It was the hail up in the cell, a loud roarl. I thought it was a wall of water coming down the river at first. It went from a muggy 78dF to a cool 66dF as the cell went over. Fist pumps.

After it went by it lurched south and hit Sabinal and Hwy. 90. The sun came out and all the birds went to singing as they often do after a rain. It was great all over again. Nearing last sun 3 Chimney Swift went over a couple times, wish our chimney wasn't sealed. At dusk the Firefly show was at least 3 dozen, yard is getting pretty sparkly again. Very nice. Heard Barred and Great Horned Owl over at the river.

mourningwarbler
Mourning Warbler, female, at Utopia Pk.

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May 17 ~ A little mist early, low about 68dF, summer is coming. Mostly overcast all day, just got to lowest 80's dF. Not bad for the date. No migrants through yard in morning, the party is about over. Town run, but forgot to check the 354 pecan patch on way in, and had tacos on way out so did not check it darn it. No Kingbirds on the magic fenceline. At the park there was one female Common Yellowthroat for passage migrant warblers. Two Swainson's Thrush were the only other migrants I saw. In the Mulberries of course. A male Green Kingfisher was tenderizing a Dollar Sunfish. Ran out to S. Little Crk. ponds and had 5 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, that was it. Heard a Yellow Warbler here at the house in the afternoon, and an Orchard Oriole 'chucked' around the yard for a bit. A couple male Blue Grosbeak were really going at it at the front of the yard out where I leave some wildflowers along the fenceline.

May 16 ~ Overcast early, cleared mid-day, sunny afternoon, a very standard pattern here, ran about 67-80dF. I did not see or hear any passage migrant species here today. The big girl is starting to warm up. At least there is a great set of breeders to watch and listen to daily in the yard. Saw Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting on the patio, Vermilion and Great Crested Flycatcher in pecans, the Summer Tanager pair at the bath, Chat, Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, heard Yellow-throated Warbler and Field Sparrow singing, Chippy and Lark Sparrow on the patio, Caracara went over, hear a juv. Red-tailed Hawk begging. Indigo Bunting still singing and sneaking in and out. The weirdest thing was one lone begging Starling that flew over calling. I do not know of any nesting besides a few pair in town. Two FOY critters today: an Eyed Elaterid, the big click beetle with the false eyes on the thorax, and a favorite bug, and early about 7 a.m. I saw a FOY Velvet Worm out back. The velvet slugish appearing beast.

May 15 ~ Low in 60's dF and overcast, a spritz of mist around 8 a.m. as I ran to town. The park had no passage migrants whatsoever. When I got back at 9 Kathy just had a singing male Wilson's Warbler here. At the pond on S. Little Crk. Rd. there was a Spotted Sandpiper, a drake Blue-winged Teal, and 2 drake Shoveler. Has to be my latest local date for Shoveler. A Mexican (was Green) Violetear is at a feeder in the SAT area (Bexar Co. methinks). Another Dickcissel was around yard in late afternoon. Otherwise just the breeders, fine assortment that it is. Hearing birdsong all day is a wonderful thing. At dusk I heard the 'booming' of my FOS Common Nighthawk. Finally, my latest ever FOS for them. Little Creek Larry said he had some a couple weeks ago. Our local breeders have been absent. Heard the Barred Owl at the river after dark. The Chucks are goin' nuts out there after dark.

May 14 ~ Low back to the 60's again, sure was nice the four prior days in 50's. Too busy with work, but not much migrant motion here. One singing Yellow Warbler was around the yard most of the day, and an Orchard Oriole trolled through for about 5 minutes. In the afternoon a Least Flycatcher was out front. At dusk a couple Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flew over, and a couple Chimney Swift. Otherwise it was the yard area breeders. Migration ends quick and early south of 30 deg. N. We are past peak and it is fading fast. The biggest bulk of birds is likely 500-1000 miles north of us already. We are at the, uh, tail-end of it already here, and there is no 'vagrant season' here as much of the west has in later May to early June. Some begging baby Lesser Goldfinch are out of the nest now.

May 13 ~ We were about 56dF for a low, I saw KRVL was 51! Four days in a row with lows in the 50's in mid-May is a big treat. Heard a Dickcissel call in the yard in the a.m., and a Yellow Warbler sang. Still hear Turkey gobbling. Clear and calm last night, I suspect there was movement. But that was all the motion I saw here from back at the salt mine. Saw about 3 Funereal Duskywing around the yard. Lots of butterfly action out on the wildflowers early, of the common stuff. Vesta Crescents by the dozens. Saw one worn Queen. Later a Monarch stopped on the one Blue Mist Eupatorium flower. Saw 9 Cedar Waxwings up in the big pecan.

I am not seeing any Ruby-throated Hummingbirds for the last week. Many years a very few stay through May, some breeding. This year I am not seeing any after the first week in May. That first tidal wave of Black-chinned juveniles fledging in latest April and early May numbered a couple or few hundred, it was likely too much for them. Those young are still thick and haven't seemed to left the area, unfortunately. Too much riff-raff for the Ruby-throats. We are way over a gallon a day now, through 3 feeders.

May 12 ~ An amazing low of 53dF, with some high thin clouds. It was clear and calm at midnight last night so I suspect all the grounded birds bolted. We did a slow roll to Lost Maples, got there about 10 a.m., saw a couple or three Yellow Warbler along the roads on the way. Nothing was at Haby's wet spot on W. Sabinal Rd. but the Grasshopper Sparrow are still singing in the pasture SW of its intersection with Jones Cmty. Rd., in BanCo. An Orchard Oriole was in the Hackberry row just west.

The only Inca Dove we saw at Lost Marbles were at the HQ feeders area. The main big great feeding station at the trailhead parking lot has apparently had its seed discountinued. As they do in May for some mis-guided ill-conceived 'reason'. What they do is get a bunch of birds hooked on the seed, the birds start nesting, and then they take the seed away. Because of some date on the calendar. Not because they care about the birds or park users. But because of some ridiculous 'reason' that has nothing to do with the birds they are managing. They should not feed them in the first place if they are going to remove the food source shortly after nesting has begun for its users. What is the 'blind' and feeding station for? At least keep it filled through the first nesting cycle of its users, which means the end of May or early June. The tools are there to turn people on to nature and birds, and they are not used. End of rantlet.

We hiked the couple miles to the highwater spring a mile behind the ponds. Getting there late lots of birdsong had quieted already. There were occasional Golden-cheeked Warbler singing, but none gave good views. Heard at least four Black-capped Vireo going up the canyon, one gave views just downslope from the big pond. Another gray-naped black-headed bird. Heard a few 'begging warbler fledgling getting fed' events, Black-and-white, or Golden-cheeks, the rapidfire juvie bk bk bk bk notes are identical. Yellow-throated Warbler were about 3 singing birds, Lousiana Waterthrush maybe 5 singers. Exciting as it was pitiful was my only of spring so far, so FOS, Wilson's Warbler way up the canyon. Do you know how far off the wing-beaten path you have be to barely scrape up a Wilson's for spring? Oh, but you ought to see my spring Nashville total. Have a Nash day! Best warbler was a tardy female Myrtle Warbler.

An Olive-sided Flycatcher was my FOS, and a Warbling Vireo only my second this spring. We saw one Olive Sparrow well, and the way it was chasing Cardinals around had a nest in the immediate area. Heard about 3 White-tipped Dove, no Orioles or Scrub-Jay. A White-eyed Vireo singing was doing a great Scrub-Jay call note for its first note of song. Good numbers of White-eyes and Red-eyed Vireo, fewer but some Yellow-throated and about 5 singing Hutton's. BTW, did hear a Bell's Vireo as we left town on county line road. So for vireos it was 7 species today, 6 were at Lost Maples. It's like vireotopia man. Heard 3 Acadian Flycatcher, only two territorial E. Wood-Pewee. Heard a couple Painted and several Indigo Bunting, good numbers of Blue Grosbeak, heard a Roadrunner bill-clack up the slope above the pond. Heard an Ash-throated Flycatcher, a couple Ladder-backed Woodpecker, a couple Rufous-crowned Sparrow, a few Canyon Wren, and of course the regular set of the common stuff.

In odes there were lots of damsels I didn't look at, but saw Aztec, Dusky, and Springwater Dancers. Great was a Great Spreadwing at the highwater spring, the first I have seen at LM, the first I have seen locally in over a decade, since when the drought just got going. It moved off before I could get a photo. For dragons there were 3+ Flame Skimmers, 3 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, a pair of Roseate Skimmer with female ovipositing, a clubtail that was probably Plains, finally some Prince Baskettail (they were flying 6 weeks ago at Sabinal down off the plateau), over a dozen Dot-winged Baskettail, a Red Saddlebags. It is starting to get going. It was too cool the first couple hours, until after noon.

Butterflies were so-so. Only one big yellow Swallowtail (Two-tailed), a few Spicebush, a Giant, bunch of Pipevine. Best was a Red Satyr, my first of the year. One or two Little Wood Satyr were still flying. The second wave of Antelope Horn is blooming, now mostly covered in Gray Hairstreaks, a few Olive-Juniper, and I did not see a Southern (Oak) Hairstreak. Lots of Reakirt's Blue where wet ground, same for Red Admiral. One big worn pale Monarch. One Questionmark, one Am. Lady, no Duskywings, some Dun Skipper, one Julia's, the only Roadside-Skipper was a worn Nysa, the others are not flying yet, a couple worn Theona Checkerspot were good, a few Bordered Patch, one Texan Crescent, some Vesta. I had a skipperling back here in the yard in the afternoon.

The bummer of the day was when I spotted after 15 years of looking, a Tree Lizard (Urosaurus), and a person coming up the trail unaware scared it up a big juniper with lots of peeling bark and crevices and I could not relocate it. Only have to live 15 more years to find another one, no big deal. Kathy glimpsed a big pale lizard right in an area we have seen Greater Earless Lizard, which is probably what it was. We saw a few Six-lined Racerunner, and saw 1 Spotted Racerunner. Great to see some lizards!

On the way home, on that magic section of fencline just south of town, east side of 187, where I get my Eastern Kingbirds every year, there were two Eastern Kingbird, one allowed photos (below). On the way out in the a.m. there were TWO male Great-tailed Grackle at the north end of town, doubling their population here. Late p.m. back here at the hovelita there was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that moved through northbound. I suspect a tardy far-north nester still on its way. The locals are all on territory a month plus now.

May 11 ~ A nice cool 54dF low, some mist, and breezy northerlies, so almost chilly. Took another look around for grounded migrants since I had to go to P.O. anyway. Total of 4-5 single scattered Yellow Warblers. There were no Eastern Kingbird where 5 on fenceline yesterday. Best bird was a male WILSON'S PHALOROPE in BanCo at the northern bigger pond on S. Little Crk. Rd. Great bird in BanCo, yes I got a docu ID shot. There were about 4 Blue-winged Teal, a pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, and 5 Wood Duck on the water. I presume the latter two species are nesting there. Two Spotted Sandpiper were on the grass islets. A Canyon Towhee was again at the corner of Lee St., or 354, where the genetic engineered mutant deer are farmed.

At UP there was a female Mourning Warbler besides what I presume is a continuing male from yesterday. The female obliged for photos, the male not so much. There was also a pair of Common Yellowthroat there, and a Northern Waterthrush. A Solitary Sandpiper flew over calling, tough in the park. I presume it is the same Catbird as yesterday, sure neat to hear that call. Other things were Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Painted Bunting, Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo, White-eyed Vireo and Summer Tanager, all fun and games. Amazingly empty of people too.

Saw Big Ern's (to go) B-B-Q was open, the car just pulled over there, I guess since it has been a while. A pound of pork ribs and a half a chicken, and I was good-to-go. It is right next to Rosie's taco trailer, on Main St., about every other Saturday during warm season, if you see them open, stop. Great brisket too. After pigging out for lunch here, to wear it off I took a drive. I am sure those two three-point turns burned off 2 calories. With that phalarope at the SLC ponds, I had to check the UvCo 361 flooded pasture. Nothing, but 30+ Dickcissel in a couple miles along the road. So for today, migrants not as many as yesterday, some obvious holdovers, most gone, and some new stuff. That phalarope was not there yesterday and the Eastern Kingbirds were. I love feeling the turnover of passage.

easternkingbird
Eastern Kingbird - May 12 - Seven this spring is a good total, all were
on the fenceline a quarter+ mile south of town, where very few occur
annually in early May. Scissor-tails are fancy-tailed Kingbirds.
When you see long pointed wings, know you have a very good flier.

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RECENT SPRING WEATHER:
We had hard freezes early in March on March 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and Lost Maples froze the 17th. Wind chills were in the 30's March 31st! We froze again here at Utopia the morning of April 2! I have seen freezes in latest April and earliest May, but we are likely out of the woods for that now. Average last freeze is March 20-21, first day of spring. Pending where you were locally, about 2-3" of rain fell April 24. And no one complained. Another 2.5" fell overnight May 2-3, .75" overnight 5-6 May, 1.5" by 8 p.m. on May 9, and it just keeps coming. The South Little Creek Rd. pond in Bandera Co. has lots of water and so always worth a look if here. The big one is less than a mile south of 470.

MARCH ARRIVALS
Some March arrivals were: Barn Swallow and Purple Martin March 1, both in town. Northern Rough-winged Swallow March 5. March 7 two Long-billed Curlew flew over calling after 11 p.m. March 8 besides a yard Golden-cheek, I had my first spring migrant Monarch butterfly from Mexico! Two Yellow-throated Warbler arrived March 10, three Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were my FOS March 13, Ash-throated Flycacher arrived March 14. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush were FOS March 17 at Vanderpool and Lost Maples, March 22 I saw my first Hooded Oriole, Bell's Vireo, Cave Swallow, and Great-tailed Grackle. Its a near-daily parade of new first of season migrant birds for 60-90 days. A Northern Parula sang in our yard the 23rd. March 24 we saw our FOS Grasshopper (6!) and Clay-colored Sparrow at the north end of town. A male Lazuli Bunting was at the trailhead parking lot feeding station at Lost Maples March 30-31 at least.

FEBRUARY: We have entered that time of year when FOS - first-of-season birds might show up any day for the next almost 2 months. Our first arrivals are returning local breeders that migrate away for the winter. Passage migrants that breed far to the north don't show until much later. Since the Turkey Vultures on Feb. 14th, that week two other new returnee arrivals included my earliest ever Vermilion Flycatcher by 8 days, and White-eyed Vireo returned, they have been showing up much earlier than they used to for a few years now. Black-chinned Hummingbird is another arriving almost a couple weeks earlier than it used to, and was back on Feb. 24th.

Of expected but scarcer or local things around, there are the usual: Zone-tailed Hawk, Canyon Towhee and Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Long-billed Thrasher, Ringed and Green Kingfisher. Some few Audubon's Oriole are around, like Bushtit, you could see one anywhere anytime, or nowhere at no time. It's birding!%^*@%! Again some White-tipped Dove and Olive Sparrow have been at Lost Maples, and around Utopia, the new normal. Both nested at Lost Maples probably at least the last two years (begging juveniles seen and heard).

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May 10 ~ A 55dF low felt fantastic. Just a little drizzle overnight, mostly just northerlies. Town run so a little look around. At the UvCo 361 pond there was a breeding plumaged American (formerly Water) Pipit. Surely my only May record hereabouts. I took two quick docushots and it literally disappeared into the grass without flying off. It dematerialzed. Or Scotty beamed it up. Must have ducked under a tuft of grass, and that was that. Nothing else there though. The deeper pond with lillies had a pair of Whistling-Duck, which are probably nesting near it. Heard Bobwhite along the road there today, it is as sure a spot as we have for hearing them here. Took a look at the S. Little Crk. ponds where there were 9 Blue-winged Teal at the bigger north pond, that was it, too cold for odes.

The park had a calling Catbird which gave good views, but autofocus doesn't want me to have a pic of. Saw a male Common Yellowthroat, and better, a FOS male Mourning Warbler. Nothing at the 354 pecans but one Yellow Warbler, and singing Dickcissels. Four other single Yellows were seen along the roads or at stops. A couple dozen waxwings were at the park crapping mulberries in case you wanted to know. Careful standing under them counting...  pro tip: count birds in a tree from the side.

I scanned all the fences along the way, nearly 10 miles worth total, for Eastern Kingbird since we are at their peak week of occurrence (passage) here, and saw nothing. After I did my errands and left Rosie's with Tacos just as I got out of town on the empty fence I had driven by an hour earlier, there were FIVE Eastern Kingbird together! Most I have seen at once here. Grabbed a couple distant docushots, only got 3 in one frame, but oh whatabird. So sharp looking, I love 'em. What a beauty. Here, if you miss them this week, you could well miss them all year. The Scott's Oriole of yesterday here did not show today, so I suspect it was not our returning bird, but a one-minute wonder in passage.

May 9 ~ Low of 69dF, they continue inching upwards towards summer. Supposed to have a cold front pass in the afternoon. Cloudy early, breaking mid-morn, saw no migrant movement. A first for the yard this spring was a Scott's Oriole singing from the big pecan. I hope it found the feeders, or better, is the one that was here last year until a nest failure. They have been back in many places locally after mid-March as usual, but ours left with the female early due to the nest failure last summer and did not return the rest of the season. Been wondering if it would return, missing my daily dose of that song.

Heard a Dickcissel fly over the yard mid-day, and 9 waxwing. Just before 3 p.m. some cool air from the front got here and it was sprinkling. A Kingbird flew into the big pecan calling, a Cassin's! Ran inside for bins and camera, came back out, and a big livestock trailer came loudly clanging down the road just as I got one in bins. TWO CASSIN'S Kingbird flew out of the tree and uphill behind us. Dang trailer. This big pecan tree is a kingbird magnet. Not the first pair of Cassin's KB we have had in it! Besides Cassin's (and a Kiskadee to boot!) It have had Western, Couch's, and Eastern Kingbird, and Scissor-tails are regular. It is the tallest tree around for 200-300 feet in any direction, at about 40' or so. It is a magic tree. That is what the guy that sold it to me said anyway. Just kiddin', its about 250 years old. One of these days I will have to make up my big pecan tree list. Any Mulberry on the coast could whip it of course, but considering the location is everything. There have been some stellar birds in it. Rained in late afternoon and to dark by when we had another 1.5"!

May 8 ~ Another MCS moved over pre-dawn with showers continuing until mid-morning, another 1.125" for the May total. Now over 6.25" for us here, others around more and less. I saw upriver, upvalley in BanCo several miles, it really dumped, like 2.5-3". Then in the afternoon the bulge or bubble of runoff got down here and the river went to roaring all afternoon to evening. There were brief northerly winds behind the passage of the system, the sun came out and hot dry air blew in, getting up to about 85dF in the sun, 80 in the shade on the front porch. You get a lot more weather fer yer money here. Kathy heard an Audubon's Oriole singing outside later morning as it broke and cleared. Mid-afternoon I saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the pecans out front, 2nd this spring, and I miss it some years. Kathy had a few Whistling-Ducks go over at dusk.

May 7 ~ Low about 67dF, dawn chorus sure is great these days with all the breeders back on territory locally. The Chuck-wills-widow are still going at 6:30 a.m. when it is getting going. My alarm clock is a male Carolina Wren, which are rarin' to go early this time of year. Later morning I heard a Dickcissel out in the weedy far part of the yard. At least a couple Chickadee fledged from the nest in the end of a broken pecan branch. At least a couple Titmouse fledglings just got out as well.

Later afternoon I was on the front porch and a cuckoo shot by so close the hummers all exploded off the feeder. It was maybe 5' from me at closest point, at eye level. I saw no color in the bill, and no rufous in the wings. The second second of the look was watching it fly straight away whence I thought, there is no rufous in the wings after seeing both of them fully open on a downstroke. I am sure it was a Black-billed Cuckoo. But am not going to report a two second fly-bye. I have been seeing the Yellow-billed that nest somewhere adjacent, multiple times daily lately, and this was not one. It is much more compactly built. A noticeably smaller package overall (ca. 20% lighter), even if not in absolute length. The bird of the day got away, again.

May 6 ~ A MCS went over in the middle of the night, we got another .75" of rain, so now 5.25" for the month. The 62dF low was nice. Wow. The week-to-10-day forecast is like the last, with rain chances every day, and no 90's yet. We hope to get as far into May as we can before the summer sub-tropical high and heat sets in. Saw an Eastern Wood-Pewee and a Least Flycatcher in the yard, passing through. Otherwise no movement though. Some just-fledged House Finch are begging on the patio. The major action is juvenile hummingbirds of which there has been a flood in the last week. Hundreds of Black-chinned have fledged, we are covered in sugarwater suckers. Over a gallon a day now. The Firefly show is getting better, at least a couple dozen probably more in the front yard at dusk. Barred Owl called after dark from over at the river again.

May 5 ~ Happy Cinco de Mayo! Another 57dF low was awesome. We will miss these soon. Clear last night, and early, so I suspect the grounding of yesterday is gone, hopefully some new things arrived. Saw a Coyote cross the corral early, and I still hear Turkey gobbling at dawn. We went back down to UvCo 361 and still nothing in the flooded pastures but some Spadefoot Toads. Couldn't find the Yellow-headed Blackbirds. At least a dozen Dickcissel singing along the road. The flowers are great there. Heard a few Grasshopper Sparrow again there. Right after you turn off 187 the first Mesquite and brushy area on the north side of 361 always has nesting Painted Bunting and Bell's Vireo, often possible to see from the road. The whole first mile is good, especially if it has rained lots and the pastures before the houses are flooded.

The UvCo 354 pecan patch had a Yellow, a Nashville, and Kathy might have seen the Tennessee, but nothing like the 10 warblers there yesterday. Another dozen Dickcissel singing there, and Painted Bunting. At UP there was a FOS Northern Waterthrush, finally. The E. Wood-Pewee there seems to be on territory, probably the ones that nested last year. Had a Zone-tailed Hawk soaring over town. Went out to S. Little Creek ponds, and nothing there, but lots of odes. Two pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck may well be nesting at the big pond. Lots of Antelope-horn where UvCo 356 meets Little Creek, covered in Gray Hairstreaks, a couple dozen at least.

May 4 ~ A 57dF low felt fantastic. Clear at first early but clouded up shortly. The rain shield was to our east, so some birds probably back-doored behind it in the clear. One first spring male American Goldfinch is still using the sunflower tube. Great was before 10 a.m. a FOS female Rose-breasted Grosbeak approached the feeders to within a couple feet but in a case of bad timing the caballeros truck came through the corral and scared it off. Autofocus did not want me to have a sharp shot.

After breakfast I took a spin around to see what the rain dropped on us. Kathy didn't want to get muddy. Had a Gnatcatcher here. There was flood debris ON the 360 crossing we use, from the downpour at dusk last night. Actually after the last deluge we heard the river roaring for a few hours last night. If we hear it, water is on the bridge. We can cross with 4-6" no problem, even in the trucklet. After that I go the back way out.

Still Clay-colored Sparrows along all the roads, I saw nearly a dozen total, scattered here and there with Lark, Chippy, or Grasshopper Sparrows. Dickcissel were everywhere, I heard at least 50, saw dozens. Every road had single stray Yellow Warbler too. Went south on Hwy. 187 a couple miles to UvCo 361 to check the pastures that flood for shorebirds. There was a big flock of blackbirds of some sort I couldn't tell for sure but there were 8+ male Yellow-headed Blackbird in the group. Later another group of blackbirds had a few female Yellow-headed in it. Only ones I have seen this spring. A couple Grasshopper Sparrow were along 361, one pond had Great Egret and Great Blue Heron.

Then up to the 354 pecan patch a mile south of town. There were a dozen Dickcissel there, a Western Kingbird, a singing 1st spring male Painted Bunting, and a few warblers. Best were FOS single Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers. About 3 Nashville and 4 Yellow were there. A FOS Warbling Vireo sang a bit. Besides the Warbling, I heard Yellow-throated, Red-eyed, White-eyed, and Bell's at the same time there. Also a Gnatcat there, where they have nested.

Then to Utopia Park. A FOS Common Yellowthroat, female, was nice. Though I thought sure I heard one chip a few weeks ago. A tardy singing Orange-crowned Warbler was a good later date. A couple more Yellow Warbler. River is high and very muddy and now. Went up to W. Sabinal Rd. to check the wet spot, still nothing for shorebirds. But lots of Green Darner and FOY Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies that were not there yesterday. Lots of Lark Sparrows, a few Grasshopper and Clay-colored, carpets of Coreopsis, and some beautiful yellow Square-bud Primrose amongst tons of flowers.

Then over to the S. Little Creek ponds just below 470. A Killdeer was the only shorebird but it looks great now and an eye should be kept on it now that it is full again. Wish it wasn't so far from home, maybe 6-7 miles one way. There were just-fledged eastern Bluebird there, besides Chippy and Clay-colored Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Vermilion Flycatcher. Great was a ton of odes out over the water. Most were Green Darner, Variegated Meadowhawk, and Red Saddlebags, but I saw a few FOS Band-winged Dragonlet. Then at the smaller pond another half mile south, there was a Solitary Sandpiper! A shorebird! Second one this spring. It was tired.

Lots more odes and this pond touches road so better views. Besides more of the 3 common ones mentioned above, there were more Band-winged Dragonlets. Better, there was a GREAT Pondhawk, which is rare here, I do not see one every year. Also great were a number of Plateau Spreadwing, this pond is the only reliable place I know for them in the area, and at that they have a very narrow window for a flight period here best I can tell. A Wandering Glider there was an early date for me locally.

Every wet spot I got near, had calling Couch's Spadefoot Toads. I heard more than a couple dozen, at 7 or so wet spots. There were 10 calling at the little pond against the road on S. Little Creek. Try as I might, I could not spot one to take a photo. At times just feet from me calling. went back by 354 pecans on way home, saw the Tennesee again, a male Yellow was chasing it a bunch. The phone guy stopped and asked what I saw since I was there a couple hours ago when he drove by, figured it must have been really good for me to still be there...   LOL

It was 2 p.m. and I was hungry for lunch. The Dickcissels seemed to have not stopped calling and were still going full bore, a couple hours later. It was about 7 FOS bird species then, and surely there are more around. Lots of movement grounded here today. I thought I heard a Baltimore Oriole but never saw it. Did not see the Catbird that was at UP yesterday. Got up to about 80dF at peak heat. A male Yellow Warbler spent all day around the yard, love hearing it sing.

whitetippeddove
White-tipped Dove at Lost Maples. There are several pairs there spring
to fall the last few years with successful breeding occurring. This is in
Bandera Co. at 1800', on the Edwards Plateau! Methinks the furthest
north known nesting station, and probably only known on the plateau.
Pretty for its mastery of sombre subtlety, with which they can disappear
in the shadows like you wouldn't believe.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 3 ~ We finally got some rain overnight, from about midnight to 5 a.m. a light to moderate steady rain fell, looks like about 2.25" by morning. Weewow! Less dust, more flowers. It was about 62dF for a low. Way up north of the plateau, Abeliene to DFW area, a few hundred sq. mi., got around a foot of rain this week! We can handle 6" quickly here no problem, but a foot causes issues. Seems no migrants through yard, I expect nothing could penetrate the rain-shield to get here.

Town run. The 354 pecan patch had three male Yellow Warbler and about 5-6 singing Dickcissel in the field on south side of road. Checked Haby's wet spot but still not enough water there. A male Orchard Oriole was there though. Near the junction of W. Sabinal Rd. and Jones Cmty. Rd., I heard at least 3 singing Grasshopper Sparrow to the SW of that intersection. Did not hear the pair I had last week on Co. Line Rd. At UP there was my FOS Catbird, in the Mulberrys of course. May 3 is my most common spring arrival date for Catbird. Almost all are in the Mulberry trees on the island in the woods at the north end of the park. What a cool bird. No warblers or other passerine migrants. Saw my first Zexmenia flowers out back.

Another line of severe thunderstorms went through about 6:30-8:30 p.m., another two inches of rain! When very electrical cells, we shut down and unplug here since the power lines seem to be lightning rods. Over 4" here today. Some spots just a few miles south of us where the cells were worse had about 6"! We got our average May monthly precip today. Maybe we will have some flood ponds for shorebirds tomorrow.

May 2 ~ Same as yesterday, overcast with occasional mist or showerlets, in the 70's dF, supposed to rain. Mid-morn there were 6 Mississippi Kite floating over the house for a few minutes. Always a thrill to see, and easy to miss here any given spring. A minute after they disappeared an unusual raptor was moving north that caught my eye for its weirdness. It looked like a buteo, big, Red-shouldered sized or so, with big broad long wings that it flapped like a buteo. When I saw it was not a buteo due to the very long ridiculously thin stovepipe of a tail, I knew to just aim camera, point and hope, and grab a couple shots as it moved over northbound fast. Barely seemed to be moving its wings and it was blazing fast. It was a NORTHERN GOSHAWK! Another one! In spring again! I have had a number of them here, several in spring moving north. There is much we don't know.

A Yellow-billed Cuckoo called from out in the yard a few times. Saw a male Painted Bunting with a female. One Yellow Warbler was around, but no major passerine movement here as far as I can tell. Has been good for warblers to our east the last few days. Unfortunately for us, San Antonio and Bexar Co. is the western edge of the 'eastern warbler' migrant corridor. West of that they get real sparse real fast. By time you get here, it is scraping for Redstarts and Tennessees.

May 1 ~ Last month of spring migration, and really only about 3 weeks of it here, if we are lucky. It has been rather lackluster so far, but often May is when the fancy stuff shows. Said the eternal optimist. It was another balmy overcast occasionally spitting day, but the rain never happened. Was in the 70's dF all day. Be a fool to complain about that on this date here. Saw a Nashville Warbler go through, and a Yellow Warbler was around all day, thought I heard a Least Flycatcher too. But was too busy Wednesdays. There was a sure female Painted Bunting here, which is my FOS, and another, different, first spring male which is fairly salmon pink below. Want of pic of him. Plus a couple ad. males. Still hearing the male Indigo singing across road, it and the Blue Grosbeaks sneaking in and out of the seed out back under cover. The Field Sparrow is still singing too and I think it must be nesting right across the road this year.

~ ~ ~ April summary ~ ~ ~

It was a wet one with 5-6" of rain in most areas locally, pending how lucky you were. Avg. is nearly 4". Flowers were good in general, and temps were mild. Like March much of April is mostly about the returning migratory breeders arriving back on territories, and the rest of the trees sprouting leaves.

Butterflies were good, about 52 species, though the expected types. Spring is not when rarities show up as a rule. The Red-spotted Purple and Arizona Sister just snuck under the wire on Apr. 28 at Lost Maples. A great show of big yellow and black swallowtails (E. Tiger and Two-tailed) at Lost Maples, there were many of both. Little Wood Satyr was also very common there this spring, plus I got only my second sighting in the yard here. The last Henry's Elfin was early in the month. The Monarch passage was great. From March 8 to the end of April, I had about 54 big worn pale (migrants from Mexico) Monarch go through all heading NNE or so.

Odes were 22 expected species, a big jump from March, but many were just one or two individuals the last few days of the month. Overall there was not a lot of activity. It really doesn't get going well here until May. A couple each Pronghorn and Sulphur-tipped Clubtail are always nice to see, as is Springtime Darner. Springwater Dancer at Lost Maples are neat too. The first few Am. Rubyspot were out the last few days of the month.

Birds were 122 species locally, in the upper Sabinal River drainage, Lost Maples to Clayton Grade. I am sure lots more went by I did not see, I only watch the yard most days. Especially in migration when so much is on the move and only passing through. Best couple things were probably the Sedge Wren at the golf course pond by the cemetery, and another Cassin's Kingbird here at the casita. It is only my 3rd spring Sedge Wren here, and maybe 5th or 6th Cassin's KB. Grasshopper Sparrow made a great showing with at least a dozen, lots of singing. Cassin's Sparrow is a good spring snag here too (in BanCo Apr. 7). One Red-breasted Nuthatch staying until the 15th was great. Lots of Golden-cheeked Warbler and fair numbers of Black-capped Vireo at Lost Maples, where also small numbers of Olive Sparrow and White-tipped Dove, and a few Audubon's Oriole are around.

~ ~ ~ end April summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to our regularly scheduled drivel ~ ~ ~

April 30 ~ Weewow, another month hast shot by. Balmy and very breezy, low was about 69dF, threatened to rain, just spit a little instead. We got a good solid trace. It is a great dawn chorus going out there now, but you have to be out at 6:30 to hear it all. Actually earlier, it is roaring by then if sunny, runs later if heavy overcast. But not really light enough to see stuff until about 7 at the very earliest, later if heavy overcast. Finally had my first local Orchard Oriole of the spring singing in the pecans today. They were on territory down at Uvalde ten days ago! Great Crested Flycatcher back around quite a bit, Ash-throats are daily too but haven't chosen a box yet.

Apr. 29 ~ About 66dF for a low, summer is coming. Very breezy and overcast all day. Had a Nashville and a Yellow Warbler in the yard, another of each down at the 360 xing. Also down there a green Painted Bunting but which looked like a first spring male and not a female. So two of those so far and still no female. In the afternoon a Yellow-billed Cuckoo called from across the road, only the second I have heard this spring so far. I saw a report of a Short-tailed Hawk in Bexar Co., keep yer eyes peeled. Saw some Frog-fruit flowers. Saw my first juvenile Black-chinned Hummer of the year.

Apr. 28 ~ Ran about 60-82dF, absolutely bearable. We went to Lost Maples but in no hurry and got there just after 9 a.m. Heard a Nashville here in the yard early, and one heading down the road along river as we left, so thought there might be migrant movement. Only one at LM which was the only passerine migrant I saw there today. We walked Can Creek a mile past the ponds to the high-water spring. There was lots of activity though a few birds seem down in numbers. Four miles or so roundtrip, but without the climb up the steep hill to the top of the bluff into Black-cap Vireo country. Just the moderate part. Very few people there, it was wonderfully quiet.

The great thing about being interested in other things besides birds is that you get to stop more often. Besides the fact that the more you stop and listen, the more birds you see. When butterflies, odes, herps, fish, flowers, are all of interest, besides the birds, you can darn near rest your way up the hill. Spent years perfecting my techinque. Couple steps, oh look at that (rest), few steps, lookie here (rest). Oh look, don't have a pic of that, must stop.

Out of shape pro tip:   Unless you are in great hiking shape, even on a slight incline, a hiking pole helping makes a huge difference 5 hours on when it gets hot and you have 4 miles on your legs.

Heard about a dozen Golden-cheeked Warbler, saw a few well, had one begging baby get fed by an adult, first one out of the nest I have had this year. I see lots of the males in the prime territories are first spring males. Last year there were a couple, this year a bunch. Usually all the main canyon floor prime territories are held by full adult males. I'd say more than half are first spring males now. Which I don't suspect is good.

Had quick looks at Broad-winged and Zone-tailed Hawk as they moved by in the canyon. Heard a few White-tipped Dove, heard and saw one Olive Sparrow, didn't hear any orioles, only ONE Eastern Wood-Pewee is weird, only two Acadian Flycatcher, NO Ash-throated Flycatcher. Saw a couple Canyon Wren well since I didn't have anyone with me really wanting to see them badly today. Good numbers of Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak, one male Painted Bunting, one Clay-colored Sparrow, one texana Scrub-Jay, several Black-n-white Warbler, a few Louisiana Waterthrush, maybe 4 Yellow-throated Warbler singing on territory, only a couple Yellow-throated but lots of White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireo, heard one Black-capped Vireo not far up the trail from the parking lot, some Summer Tanager, but not a lot.

In butterflies saw a dozen big yellow and black swallowtails, several were Two-tailed, a few were E. Tiger, and all were very pale and worn. Several Spicebush were still flying, and single Giant, Black and Pipevine went by. Three FOY sightings were about five Southern (Oak) Hairstreak, three Arizona Sister, and a Red-spotted Purple. All favorites I have been waiting for. Only saw one Little Wood Satyr, far from dozens a month ago. There were numbers of the regular common stuff like Sleepy Orange, Red Admiral, American Lady, etc. Only one Dun Skipper.

In odes, dragons were: was what was likely a Pronghorn Clubtail (got pix to study later), several Common Whitetail, a Blue Dasher, a Pale-faced Clubskimmer, several Dot-winged Baskettail but still no Prince yet, an Eastern Pondhawk, a Red Saddlebags, and as usual at the highwater spring where we have lunch, at least a couple maybe three male Flame Skimmer. For damselflies, a number of Springwater Dancer incl. photos of a pair in tandem, at least one Aztec Dancer, several American Rubyspot, a Violet Dancer, and bunches I did not stop for. Some looked like Dusky and Kiowa Dancer. Finally picking up some though.

No herps, and flowers were weakish along the creek, a bit of a lull, the next round will blast in a couple weeks from the big rain last week. Flowers were great along Hwy. 187. Coreopsis, Englemann's Daisy, Mealy Sage, Indian Blanket, and Lazy Daisy, all creating carpets in areas. Besides the few odes and big butterflies, other insects seem way down. Very few other bugs. Hoping it is just a late spring. It was great to be able to lollygag at my heart's desire. Got a few flower shots I needed since I had time to stop and change all the settings as digital tech 'progress' now requires, but which also does involve resting, all but one thumb.

Apr. 27 ~ Upper 50's for a low, clear and sunny, a little bit of breeze as usual. A FOS Least Flycatcher was che-bek-ing in the front yard pecans in the morning. Couple Nashville went through. At least two male Painted Bunting here now (once chased other off millet tube) but still waiting to see first female. Male Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting back on patio daily, some of the best bird seed I buy all year as far as I am concerned. Got a bearable shot of the Indigo out back mid-morn (below) from inside the office.

Took a quick trip to see whaddup with migrant movement. The couple Dickcissel were quietly calling on 354 but the warblers were gone but a Nashville. At the park there was a Nashville and a female Myrtle that looked like yesterday's. Generally it seemed as it all blew out on the southerlies with clear skies last night. Checked the pair of Grasshopper Sparrow on Co. Line Rd. and the male was up singing where the pair was looking like breeders yesterday. Will keep an eye on this.

Went to the pond on the golf course at the Waresville Cmty. and glimpsed a Sedge Wren, heard it call a few times. I have two prior local records, both at UP, both on May 12. There are some Martins at the house there but it needs repairs. There would be more of them if the funnel roofs were not broken (leaking) on a few of the pipes. In odes there saw a Red Saddlebags and a FOY Roseate Skimmer. The park had my FOY Blue Dasher.

Back here at the hovelita in the afternoon the Least Flycatcher was still out there. I saw my first green Painted Bunting of the year, but the way one of the two males on the patio acted toward it, it was a first year male, not a female. He could tell even if I couldn't, that was no lady bunting. It was on the yellow side below for a female. Later nearing last sun two male Blue Grosbeak were on the patio at the same time, at opposite corners mind you.

indigobunting
Male Indigo Bunting.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Apr. 26 ~ About 56dF for a low feels great, clear and dry for here. A few Nashville Warbler went through early. Town run day. Checked the 354 pecans where there were a couple FOS singing Dickcissel, a couple singing Clay-colored Sparrow, a few Nashville and a Yellow Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, and across road in line of Mesquites, Bell's Vireo. Preston Place had a couple Nashville and four Chipping Sparrow. The park had more Nashville Warblers, one female Myrtle Warbler, my FOS Blue-headed Vireo and FOS Swainson's Thrush, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatcher, and something good that got away which was likely a Kentucky Warbler. Barred Owl pair was duetting. In total over a dozen Nashville shows some migrant movement. I will get out tomorrow.

Behind the general store a Sulphur-tipped Clubtail dragonfly flew right by me! Which reminds me there was a Carmine Skimmer at the park, FOY of course. Last hour of light I ran up to Haby's Wet Spot on W. Sabinal Rd. to see if a pond and shorebirds. Just a little puddle, but at least it is holding water so the next rain should hold better. There were a couple suspicious acting Grasshopper Sparrow on Co. Line Rd. just east of the river, one singing, moving around together, acting like a pair. A couple spots had sparrow flocks on the verges with Lark, Chipping and some Clay-colored Sparrows. At least 15, maybe 20 Firefly out tonight at dusk, best show so far this year. Heard the Barred Owl over at river just after 9 p.m. Barking Frogs are going, but not as much as the Blanchard's Cricket-Frog

Apr. 25 ~ Got down to about 48dF for a low, clear, dry NW flow, most excellent. Around 9 a.m. at least 4 or 5 Nashville Warbler were in the yard, and for two hours a Red-eyed Vireo sang around the yard. So there is a push the first clear day behind the passage of the system. Of course it is a Thursday so I can't get away from the desk, monitor and phone. Saw a male Indigo Bunting sneaking around the various seed piles. The Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting are nowhere near as shy, at least here. In the afternoon Kathy saw a Yellow and a Nashville Warbler at the bath. I heard a Barred Owl after dark calling from over at the river.

Apr. 24 ~ Rain! From 7-11 a.m. we got about 1.5"! At 9 it was a chilly rain-cooled 56dF! Another group of cells went over around 1 p.m., by time they were done and gone another 1.75+"! So a total by 5 p.m. of about 3.25"! A real dust-buster and gully-washer, we needed. Flowers are gonna rip May to June. I saw it get up to about 62dF at peak heat. Nothing for birds but the local breeders hitting feeders between downpours. Lots of pecan flowers down, seemingly prematurely, probably lost some crop, but mostly on the earlier blooming natives, not so much on the grafts.

My legs are darn near recovered, so thinking about when to do Lost Marbles again. Some birders might have a streak of masochism. You don't have to have this to be a birder, but it might help. Maybe With a side of light OCD. In fact if you like a little masochism with your light OCD, birding may be just the hobby for you. If looking for things that are not there or won't show sounds like fun... call now, operators are standing by.

Apr. 23 ~ Today it is my calves, yesterday it was my thighs. I hear the male Painted Bunting singing up in the big pecan again, music to my ears. Like the Blue Grosbeak and Chat across the road. The sounds of summer. Had a quick run to town for the P.O. so had to brake for a bird break on the way. Checked the 354 pecans and the old Preston Place across from them since it was empty. Between the two patches of pecans there were 4 FOS Yellow Warbler, 6-7 Nashville and 5 Myrtle Warbler. So, birds down!, birds down! Red-eyed Vireo sang at both spots, but may be arriving breeders. All the birds were in the flowering pecans. The park live-oaks were dead, no migrants in them.

There was my FOS Eastern Wood-Pewee on the island at park, where also a Green King, and a Great Crested Flycatcher was at the north end of the woods. Wish I had time and access to more pecans right now. They, and we, are at the week or two of peak for spring migrants. Two Monarch in yard over the day makes 54 for the spring so far. A fresh summer form Questionmark was nice. My last FOS of the day was at 11:15 p.m. when a Yellow-billed Cuckoo called from across the road. At least half of my FOS dates for them are birds heard in the dark.

Pro tip: banging together as if claves, with proper cuckoo rhythm, a couple footlong 2x2 or 2x4 offcuts will usually get a cuckoo to reply. Any old sticks might work if big enough to have proper cuckoo resonance and timbre to elicit response. A couple small pebbles can work to click up a Green Kingfisher. So yeah, that might be rocks in my pockets. Quarters can work if you cover most with fingers to deaden the metallic ping and flatten that note out. Once I called up a Green King with 50 cents, and got to keep my quarters.

Apr. 22 ~ Happy Earth Day! Oh my achin' legs. Apparently I OD'd on earth yesterday. It was likely 7-8 miles the last two days, which would be no big deal on flat ground, it is that climb to the top of the bluffs that is rough on these old legs that have a million miles on them already. Felt like a vacation being here at the desk working. Saw the male Painted Bunting on the millet seed feeder, welcome back to your summer home buddy! Kathy saw it there yesterday. A few Nashville Warbler through yard. Did note a couple female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which are the first females I have noticed this spring, but have been way too busy to work the cloud of hummers here. Saw one Monarch (52) late in day.

Apr. 21 ~ At Lost Maples at 7 a.m. meeting Cliff, Susan, Glenn, and Mary Ann for another day of punishment looking at birds. It was cool early, very windy, and damp as can be without actual misting. Finally after noon the clouds started breaking and it got warmish. We walked up Can Creek to the two ponds, and then up the hill from hell to the blufftops. We heard a few White-tipped Dove but didn't see any. We did see an Olive Sparrow and I heard about 4 more. I heard a couple Scott's Oriole and one Audubon's Oriole sang for a bit in the manner of a nester, we saw neither. We saw a few Golden-cheeked Warbler, I heard about 10. Heard at least 4 Black-capped Vireo up above the ponds. Would have a usable shot of one were it not for !&*#%)!*$! autofocus. You ought to see how sharp the juniper branch is behind it. I might post it just so you could cry or feel sorry for me. Sixty years I worked to position myself for that shot...

I had a quick look at a Black-throated Sparrow, we saw a few Rufous-crowned, Lark, and Field Sparrow. Kestrels there now are interesting passage migrants since the local winterers are long gone. We heard one Acadian Flycatcher, but no Eastern Wood-Pewee yet. Had most of the usuals, Blue Grosbeak gave great views, as did an odd orangey Summer Tanager (probably an older female), heard an Ash-throated Flycatcher, saw Yellow-throated Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warblers, a few Nashville and a couple Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Raven, Carolina Wren and Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, heard lots of Red-eyed, White-eyed, and a few Yellow-throated Vireo but saw none, heard Indigo and Painted Bunting. We missed feeding time at the feeder station early and had not seen a Scrub-Jay by time I had to go.

There were a fair number of butterflies but mostly they and the odes were just coming out as we were coming back down. Saw single Spicebush and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, both sexes of Common Whitetail, Dot-winged Baskettail, but I mostly just glanced at a few things on the fly. The Satyrs were over compared to latest March. At home in the afternoon I saw my FOY Celia's Roadside-Skipper.

On the way home I saw a pair of Scissor-tails giving a Caracara pure T hell as they rough-rode him out of Dodge. A quick check of the park because 5 miles hadn't killed me yet, found only a Green Kingfisher up by the island. Was peak heat, it was bird quiet, unlike the Easter hominid crowd. Kathy had a female Black-n-white and a Nashville Warbler at the bath here today.

Apr. 20 ~ Off to Uvalde at 7 a.m. with a couple fine couples, Cliff and Susan from Houston, and Glenn and Mary Ann from Denver. It was very nice and cool early (a 42dF low!), clear and dry, wonderful weather, but it did warm into mid-80's mid-day. We had a great day down in the brush-country, where flatlanders live. The Fish Hatchery is not open on weekends any longer in case you don't know, weekdays only 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., I was informed when I called yesterday. There seems to have been some activity at my secret Lesser Nighthawk spot in Uvalde just off Hwy. 90, the birds were not there that I could find, after over a decade of never missing them. Bummer.

We took Old (or Lower) Sabinal Rd. (OSR) from Sabinal to Uvalde and there was a lot of activity along it as usual. The flowers were great all along 187 and OSR too. On the Co.Rd. south from Hwy. 90 (just west of Sabinal) to OSR we had a Long-billed Thrasher. On OSR we had scope views of singing Grasshopper and Cassin's Sparrows, quite a few Cassin's were along the road often singing from a perch, not skylarking. Also saw a Gambell's White-crowned Sparrow, a Vesper, lots of Lark, some Chipping and Clay-colored Sparrows. Heard my FOS Dickcissel. Had good looks at a pair of Curve-billed Thrasher, fair numbers of Scissor-tailed and several Vermilion Flycatcher, a few male Bullock's Oriole, heard a few and glimpsed one Bobwhite. Saw a Blue Grosbeak somewhere.

Only a Green Heron at the City Memorial Park downtown Uvalde, but heard a couple Nashville Warbler and a Yellow-throated Vireo. Lots of Chimney Swift just south of the HEB parking lot, great views are easy. Main event of course is Cook's Slough, and it was pretty birdy. We had a couple Swainson's Hawks right at the first ponds, a light and intermediate morphs, both first spring birds. Heard a few Olive Sparrow, but no Long-billed Thrasher, saw 3 Kiskadee which put on a great vocal show at lunch, Couch's and Western Kingbird, Yellow-breasted Chat, heard some Nashville Warblers, saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Painted Bunting was singing, a singing House Wren was nice, heard a Red-shouldered Hawk, a dark morph Swainson's Hawk flew over. Saw one Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, a pair of Ruddy Duck, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, a few Coot, a Black-crowned Night-Heron, and 3 Neotropic Cormorant. One had a fish another was trying to pirate. Verdin were all over, but no Bell's Vireo was weird. Add-on Note: a Brit we ran into there and then at Lost Maples the next day said he had a Green Jay at the slough this day). A Sulphur-tipped Clubtail dragonfly was nice but way fewer odes flying than I expected, it still hasn't popped down there yet either. One male Common Whitetail, one Eastern Amberwing. Lots of Hackberry Emperor butterflies.

Then we went out UvCo County Rd. 202 to the Nueces River a couple miles west of town into the drier more deserty habitat. We had a group of singing male Painted Bunting which all got to see, at least 3 were singing close to each other. Saw a couple Roadrunner. At the river crossing there was a Black Phoebe, an Osprey, Brown-crested Flycatcher gave scope views, a couple male Orchard Oriole were singing and showed well, saw another Chat, heard Bell's Vireo, it was pretty birdy for being after noon. Saw a Pale-faced Clubskimmer there. One muddy spot on 202 had 25 Reakirt's Blue butterflies puddling. Somewhere we heard some Ladder-backed and saw a few Golden-fronted Woodpecker, one Fuertes' Red-tailed Hawk, some Western Kingbirds along roads, a Shrike or two, lots of Caracara everywhere, no Harris's Hawk but a driveby Zone-tailed was just north of Hwy. 90 in Uvalde, just east of the Leona River (behind pawn shop) flying into 'upper' Memorial Park.

The flowers were amazing in many places down there in the lowlands. Standing Winecup and Indian Blanket made for some nice displays. There were dozens of species in bloom. On the way back we stopped at 8 mile bridge - the high bridge on Hwy. 187 over the Sabinal River you guessed it, 8 miles south of Utopia, to check the Cliff Swallow colony out, which seems to be going quite well. At least one Cave Swallow was seen among them, as usual. Probably a pair or two of them there again. One nest was certainly a Cave nest.

grasshoppersparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow, April 7, just NW of town,
from car with cheap crappy equipment.



~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Apr. 19 ~ Nice brisk 46dF low, clear and sunny, wonderful weather. But I think the northerly flow kept migration motion minimal. A couple Nashville Warbler in the yard was it. Heard another Bullock's Oriole. The park in town had about 15 Myrtle, 1 Audubon's, 6 Nashville, and an Orange-crowned Warbler, plus a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Which I think has been stacked up a couple days now, not newly grounded stuff. One glimpsed bird looked like a Tennessee Warbler but it shot off before I could be sure. The rest was the local breeders. Still a bunch of Common Grackle there in the live-oaks, which is where the warblers are now, they must have bugs or worms. Bell's Vireo still singing by the sign at park entrance, and the one at the NE corner of the Post Office parking lot is also still going strong, hopefully they attracted mates. Saw a Monarch in town (51), the one in the yard here early was likely the one yesterday late and already counted. Late afternoon I saw my FOS female Blue Grosbeak on the patio. After I posted the update I heard Barred Owl over at the river.

Apr. 18 ~ About 55dF for a rain-cooled low, clear, calm and sunny early but it didn't last. The post-frontal blow set in by 9 a.m. and 15-20 mph gusting higher was the program. We got just a hair under an inch, so are at about 4" for April so far. Which is a good whole month total, and great for the greening of spring, not to mention May flowers. About noon I heard some weird tyrant type squeaking outside, went out and saw a Kingbird fly out of the top of the big pecan, loop all around the yard and then lost it over the corral. It was a CASSIN'S KINGBIRD. There was a Scissor-tail up in the pecan as well, I presume they were having a talk. I had a pair of Cassin's together in the same tree in 2014, a single just down the road in 2015, and a pair in 2016 a half mile from here at the crossing! Some sort of alley for them here.

About 2:30 p.m. I looked out onto the patio and next to a male Blue Grosbeak was my FOS male Painted Bunting! Yeah baby, eat that white millet, I have enough to last until August. Ran down to the crossing and a second male Painted Bunting was there. A 5 min. check of the woods at the park had a Myrtle and 5-6 Nashville Warbler, but wind was howling still. A couple Chimney Swift and Purple Martin there too. Another Monarch in yard is number 50 for the spring so far. Later, about 11 p.m. at least a couple Chuck-wills-widow were calling, a Barn Owl flew over calling, and a Barred Owl called from over at the river.

Apr. 17 ~ Low only in 60's, we are on the warm side of an approaching low, so breezy southerlies too. Got up into the mid-70's. Early a good warbler landed in the pecans and chipped several times before I watched it fly over the house and uphill behind us. Looked and sounded like a Kentucky Warbler, but cannot claim an absolute positive ID. The chip note is a weird loud flat note very unlike any other warbler to my ear. Bird of the day always gets away. One male Indigo Bunting chased another away, so likely one that was territorial here last year. Saw one more Monarch (49). The big line of thunderstroms got here about 10:30 p.m., it rained a couple hours.

Apr. 16 ~ About 62dF for a low, cloudy, southerly flow and breezy, the usual. Heard a Nashville Warbler early. Thought I heard a Yellow Warbler again too, but didn't see it. Outstanding was a Little Wood Satyr butterfly, of which I can only recall one prior sighting in the yard, Apr. of 2014. Saw a male Indigo Bunting on the seed out back, and a male Blue Grosbeak took a bath, which we virtually never seen them do here. A Scissor-tail was out front late morning. I see some Mourning Dove feathers, one got taken. Saw a Ground-Dove. At the bath late p.m. there were 2 Lark Sparrow, a Nashville and 2 Orange-crowned Warbler, a female Summer Tanager which is first female in the yard this spring, probably our returning breeder, and a Lincoln's Sparrow. Saw another 3-inch baby bunnylet (Cottontail) whilst weed-whacking in yard (had one yesterday too).

Apr. 15 ~ Low about 45dF, clear and crisp, wonderful out. After 9 p.m. a FOS male Bullock's Oriole flew into the big pecan whilst I was out in driveway. Then a male Blue Grosbeak flew in very close and sang. Bullock's run a week-to-two ahead of Baltimore here. Of course these Bullock's are arriving in a breeding area, whereas the Baltimore are on their way much further north (where still snowing!). Thought I heard a Yellow Warbler sing. Saw a Zone-tailed Hawk fly by, glimpsed an Indigo Bunting, a couple Nashville Warbler went through, one Myrtle, saw the Red-breasted Nuthatch, and an imm. Sharp-shinned Hawk is still here terrorizing.

Saw two more Monarch (48 now). Great was one of those metallic forest green bees, big as a honey bee, dark oily greenish, beautiful bee, was on the Mealy Sage, which put out its first flowers a couple days ago. A few Coreopsis are open now, saw my first one yesterday. Some Rain Lily, and lots of what I think is Lazy Daisy is going well. Had a bad tire so ran to town to get a couple new tires put on the front of the trucklet. Stopped at park, heard a Green Kingfisher, saw a couple Nashville and Myrtle Warblers, and my FOS female Summer Tanager, but was heat of the day. Nice to hear Chimney Swifts over town. Saw a Western Kingbird on a fenceline on the way back.

Apr. 14 ~ Wind finally stopped, was clear, dry, and ran 42-72dF for a temp spread, Chamber of Commerce weather. As guessed, no migrant motion. Did hear two Blue Grosbeak singing, one from yard pecans sometimes. Saw a Texan Crescent butterfly. Worked on stuff here including spring yard and garden fun. Barred Owl called after dark from over at the river again. The real excitement of the day was at 8:30 p.m. when the power went out. A while later when Bandera Electric called they said 34 places were out, but not up in town. A couple hours later the guys were going pole to pole in the dark looking for the problem. I hear it went back on about 1:30 a.m. or so. Five hours, clear and calm out, never heard any sirens.

Apr. 13 ~ Low about 62dF or so. A couple bands of rain went through just after dawn as the low moved over and NE. About a third of an inch was it for us. Keep the dust down. But the wind turned overnight and was northerly after being southerly at dark, just what you want to knock nocturnal migrants down. A couple Nashville and a couple Myrtle Warbler were in the yard early. Great was a male Indigo Bunting on the patio, and a Blue Grosbeak singing across the road where one nests. Both were my FOS.

Had a dump run so noonish checked the park. A half-dozen each Nashville and Myrtle Warbler, and what was likley the same Great Crested Flycatcher as yesterday. The wind was blowing hard by noon on the backside of the low. About 20 Common Grackle were in the live-oaks and two Green Kingfisher were around the island. On UvCo 363 there was my FOS Western Kingbird on a barbed wire fenceline staying low. Adjacent was a Vermilion and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Then down at the pond on the golf course by the Waresville Cemetery besides a couple Common Grackle was my FOS Solitary Sandpiper. Great bird. Wind blew all day. Northerlies way to the south will likely shut progress down long before it can get here, so I don't look for a big movement tonight.

goldencheekedwarbler
Golden-cheeked Warbler, male.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Apr. 12 ~ About 41dF for a low felt great, we will be missing that all too soon. Heard the Audubon's Oriole here again this morning. Town run day so a look at the park. The northerlies must have impeded movement as there were a few migrants at the park. Mostly Myrtle (15+) and Nashville Warblers (12+), but one Orange-crowned and a mostly Audubon's amongst them. Technically it was an intergrade, or if you prefer, showed signs of introgression. A sprinkler by the house had a great bathing show going on. I heard a Parula Warbler sing but never saw it, sounded Northern to my ear.

Great was an early Great Crested Flycatcher (3rd earliest in 16 springs), and one Ruby-crowned Kinglet was there. Of course all the already-here breeders were there like Summer Tanager, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-throated Warbler, so an amusing assortment of birds. A half-dozen Common Grackle were there as well. The Bell's Vireo was still singing by the park entrance sign, another was still singing at the post office (N. side by the Huisache and big Live-Oak). The Great-tailed Grackle are by the gas station but appear to be nesting in the trees in the bank parking lot across the street. Looks like one male and a couple females, which doubles the number of breeding females here now, a tremendous expansion, from one, to two. Add one more Monarch (46 now) today. Had the Red-breasted Nuthatch late, almost 6 p.m., then at last light my FOS Chuck-wills-widow called! Finally, great to hear that again.

Apr. 11 ~ Yesterday was 15-20 mph warm southerlies all day, this a.m. it is a cool NW wind as the low way up north moves east and we get the backside winds. Low was about 62dF. Looks like the female bluebird is working on a nest in the box, finally, yahoo! Repeated trips with some grasses. Eastern Phoebe are making repeated trips feeding young in their nest over the bathroom window. Saw the big ad. fem. Cooper's Hawk that is the local breeder and bird terrorist. One male American Goldfinch was about half yellow, so looking funky but better anyway. There were two FOS birds in the yard today, mid-morn a Red-eyed Vireo sang in the Mulberry over the cottage, and in contrast not much of a thrill, in the afternoon a Bronzed Cowbird was out on the patio. Two more Monarch makes 45 for the spring. The Red-eyed Vireo was 3rd earliest in 16 springs.

Apr. 10 ~ About 52dF for a low, nice a crisp, clear. The big system snowing in Rockies to plains is sucking hot air up and we got up to 92dF in the afternoon. The warmest day so far this year. A Red-breasted Nuthatch calling in yard as sun came up. Kinda seemed like it musta slept here. Some great dawn chorus going now.

Ran to town early so my battery could die at the park. I have sure been stuck in worse places. Ever been to Tahoka, TX or Tacna, AZ? One thing about Utopia is that if you just hang around a bit someone you know will come by and help you. So after the jump, I went to the Ranch Outpost hoping they had my size in stock. Don'tcha hate having to ask for a quote on a battery whilst having to leave the engine running outside? Glad at I was here among friends. Anyway now I am the proud owner of the most expensive battery I ever bought. And they gave me a deal! Thought I heard a sign of weakness a recent freezing morning, so not really a surprise, just a pain.

There were about 4 Nashville Warbler singing in the live-oaks at the park. First thing early the east (sunny) side of the big patch of trees is best, it gets first sun. Nothing in the woods this time. Back here at the hovel I had a singing Audubon's Oriole, which came in to my whistle-back. What a great combo for the yard in a couple hours, Audubon's Oriole and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Not an easy pair to get in the same tree in a few hours, it's almost like, well, Utopia. Had two more Monarchs (up to 43 for the spring now). Half-a-dozen Brewer's Blackbird flew over at last sun. At 11 p.m. I finally saw a blinking Firefly, my FOY blinker, though I have seen a few in the day (not blinking yet) already.

Apr. 9 ~ Another clear dry cool morning at about 52dF and went up to about 88dF in the afternoon. The 90's, coming soon. Heard a Nashville Warbler sing a see-bit or few. I see the bluebirds back at the box after not being around much a couple weeks. I think they were prospecting the area, and maybe didn't find a better spot, I hope. They have raised multiple broods in it before. There are even a couple other unused boxes around the yard too.

The male has a neat flight display it does. From 150' away from the box, while the female is in it trying to decide, at the entrance hole looking out, the male flies at the box banking the plane of both wings and body 45 degrees to the left, and then the right, repeatedly going from one to the other like a warbird pilot at an airshow (or the immediate post-boom portion of display flight of a Common Nighthawk), while in direct flight toward the hole. Most obvious and impressive when viewed from directly behind the bird as it flies toward the nest. He really wants her to settle on something and to get things going. I know just how he feels.

Saw at least 3 Ground-Dove on the seed. One might have been a juvie. One Pine Siskin flew over calling. A few bugs included a Pronghorn Clubtail dragonfly, and in butterflies a Goatweed Leafwing, 2 more Monarch (41 now) and a Two-tailed Swallowtail. Lots of the more common now usual stuff. One Orange Sulphur, at least 6 Julia's Skipper in the close part of the front yard. At dusk 6 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flew downriver low. About 10 p.m. had a calling Barn Owl flying north way up high (a migrant).

Apr. 8 ~ About 50-84 or so for a temp spread, clear and dry, chamber of commerce weather. Great was my FOS Yellow-breasted Chat, our breeder across the road is back. A dozen Waxwing were around a bit. The Nuthatch came by again, actually got a docu grabshot for April. Does not appear it was the ad. male that was around. Looks like a dove got taken out back. Lots of butterflies moving in the warmth. Dozens of Lyside Sulphur, a couple dozen Bordered Patch, many dozens Vesta Crescent, three more Monarch over the day makes 39 for the spring so far.

April 7 ~ We were awakened around 5 a.m. to the sound of thunder. A well-predicted MCS associated with a low moved out of northern Mexico and marched across Texas. I think we got about 2" of rain, will have to check with neighbors, but it poured, lots of lightning, some very close. Got down to a rain-cooled 60dF. No dust for a week if we are lucky. Was all the same in the yard, a Myrtle Warbler stopped and sang me a couple bars though.

I took a spin around about noon to 2 p.m. to have a lookabout. Kathy skipped the mud birding. The park had a female Green Kingfisher, and 7-8 Blue-winged Teal up by the island in the woods. Saw a couple small flocks of Yellow-rumped Warbler, almost all Myrtle as usual, but one very nice male Audubon's type that looked pure and clean. One Orange-crowned and 1 Nashville Warbler, better was a getting tardyish Hermit Thrush. This is a passage migrant, the local winterers are long gone. At the north end of town more Savannah Sparrow, a Clay-colored or two, and a Grasshopper Sparrow just north of the Med. Ctr. Couple Bell's Vireo singing in the hackberry and mesquite in the area too.

Went out Jones Cmty. Rd. and sparrows were all along it in small groups. A few dozen Lark, a couple dozen Vesper, Chipping, Clay-colored, Lincoln's, a couple dozen Savannah, couple more Grasshopper, and best a FOS Cassin's Sparrow. Which was 15' away on the fence. I was foiled by autofocus again, it wanted the field behind it. A bunch of the sparrows were bathing in the rain puddles. At the Cmty. more Lark, Vesper, and another Grasshopper. Nice sparrow showing, no doubt some knocked down migrants. The wet spot at Haby's on W. Sab. Rd. was a puddle, but it is a start. Saw a few Scissor-tails, including a couple females, some Cave Swallow and Purple Martin, Chimney Swift, and all around town you hear singing Summer Tanager and Yellow-throated Vireo. Two Monarch make 36 for the spring now.

April 6 ~ Threatened to rain all day but maybe a half inch was it all day, cleared and warmed to nice in the afternoon. Worked on stuff here. Heard the Nuthatch again (Red-br.) The big thing was finally my FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and likely a couple at least. Must be nearing a couple hundred Black-chinned around now. About 20 Chippies and near 10 Lark Sparrow. Did not seem to be any migrant motion.

goldencheekedwarbler
A female Golden-cheeked Warbler, note green back.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

April 5 ~ Upper 40's dF for a low ended up in mid-80's for a high in the afternoon. No migrant motion I could detect here, none at the park either save one Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Only prize at the park was a Green Kingfisher at the island. Heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch again in the yard this morning, one still around. Great-tailed Grackle and Cave Swallow at the north end of town. Saw a few Dot-winged Baskettail dragonflies at park, but they were only type flying yet. Odes should start to pop pretty quickly with some heat. Saw my FOY Red Bat circling the pecan tree at dusk as usual.

April 4 ~ More fog mist until afternoon whence cleared at bit, ran about 60-86 for a temp spread, getting warm. Hearing Turkey gobbling at dawn each morning last few days. One Gnatcatcher went through. No other migrants but one Myrtle Warbler. Saw a Firefly whilst still sunny so not blinking that I could tell. Looked at dusk and didn't see any then. Another Monarch late in day, 34 for spring. Summer Tanager and Yellow-throated Vireo singing outside seem to be our local yardish breeders. We get five months at least, six if lucky, of that. Yellow-throated Warbler out there singing too. A pair of N. Rough-winged Swallow were over yard, likely the ones that nest over at the river in Green King holes. Saw my FOY False Duskywing butterfly as well as a female Fiery Skipper, plus a Giant Swallowtail and Reakirt's Blue. At dusk there were a number of Brazillian Freetail Bats which are the first of them I have here seen this year.

April 3 ~ Another gray misty drizzly day, ran about 52-62dF for a temp range. Haven't heard much moving the last couple days, there should be a decent push after this passes and before the next one. Did hear a Gnatcatcher out there, the imm. Sharp-shinned Hawk is still here diving on the seedeaters. Heard a Myrtle Warbler go by. Too many Black-chinned Hummers already, waiting for a Ruby-throat still. Gotta wonder what those 3 Martins were gettin' up there in the drizzle, besides wet. Two Monarch makes 33 this spring.

April 2 ~ Holy cow, a freeze! NOAA for Kerrville said a 39dF low, it hit 32dF there, we had 30dF on the front porch at dawn! Another (!) NOAA swing and a miss by a category here, and an early April freeze. Might have been upper 20's at Lost Maples. Wow. Cold air really sinks into these canyons and valley floors. Great was hearing a Summer Tanager singing up in the big pecan, prolly our yardish breeder back that was at the bath the other day. Heard a Ground-Dove out back, saw maybe a dozen Cedar Waxwing, they have really thinned out, had a couple American Goldfinch and that was it, but maybe 8 Lark Sparrow now back on the patio, likely our local breeders. Heard a Myrtle Warbler go through. Two Monarch went through yard puts us at 31 for the spring. I saw what surely was a Firefly while still sunny out, orange head, black body, but lost it in the tall grass. Then at early dusk I forgot to look until too late and so saw no blinking out there later by time I got out to look.

April 1 ~ Wow it feels like vacation here at the desk working. Slept in to 6:30. Nine miles in the last two days, and my calves wonder what I was thinkin'. It was a long winter with a lot of cookies, but in a feat of amazing discipline only a half gallon of egg nog this year. Obviously not enough hiking though. It was lowest 40's dF for a low at daybreak. NOAA for Kerrville showed it was 36dF at 2 a.m., then warmed to 41 or so by daybreak. So it got cold briefly last night. Cloudy, chilly and gray.

Being April Fool's day, this is the day each year I think about reporting a Great Auk seen flying by a seawatch, sorry no photos. See if anyone goes after it...   Maybe generate some posts about poor directions, delayed report, the special access issues, no gps plot, it probably being an escape, and a couple 'wheresthepatterns?'.   ;)

Kathy heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the yard in the a.m. So one is still around. Several years ago when there was a good passage of them one fall, I had an April one here, but this is likely one of the three winterers is my guess. Saw another Vesper Sparrow on the patio with the Chippies and Larks. Chippies are down to about 20 left now.

January through March 2019 is now at Bird News Archives 31.
Bird News Archive XXXI
January 1 - March so far, 2019


blackcappedvireo
Black-capped Vireo. Note gray nape, not completely black.
This is another third year male, still without fully black head.
Second year male head is mostly gray like females, but have a
few black flecks and small patches of a few black feathers
here and there when return the first time. Definitive
(fully mature) adults have fully black heads with no gray.



The older weekly break bird photos are now at the 2019 photos page. 2019 pix


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To Top of Recent Bird News
Back to Top
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Always read UP from bottom to go in chronological sequence. Weekly or so updates are generally noted with a break.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Links to all 15+ years of archived bird news pages below. Broken into 6 month increments. One day I'll quarter it out by season as well, so all 10 years of each season are together, perhaps making say, searching springs easier.

Odd numbered archives are January through June.
Even numbered archives are July through December.
(except a couple when the split missed, prolly due
to excessive amount of drivel in spring)


Here is a master index page of them:
Bird News Archives INDEX
Index page with links to all 'Old Bird News' pages.

Bird News Archive XXXI
January 1 - June 30, 2019 (to March so far)

Bird News Archive XXX
July 1 - December 31, 2018

Bird News Archive XXIX
January 1, 2018 - June 30, 2018

Bird News Archive XXVIII
July 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017

Bird News Archive XXVII
January 1, 2017 - June 30, 2017

Bird News Archive XXVI
July 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016

Bird News Archive XXV
January 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016

Bird News Archive XXIV
July 1, 2015 - Dec. 31, 2015

Bird News Archive XXIII
January 1, 2015 - June 30, 2015

Bird News Archive XXII
July 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014

Bird News Archive XXI
January 1, 2014 - June 30, 2014

Bird News Archive XX
July 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013

Bird News Archive XIX
January 1, 2013 - June 30, 2013

Bird News Archive XVIII
July 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012

Bird News Archive XVII
January 1, 2012 - June 30, 2012

Bird News Archive XVI
July 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011

Bird News Archive XV
January 1, 2011 - June 30, 2011

Bird News Archive XIV
July 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

Bird News Archive XIII
January 1, 2010 - June 30, 2010

Bird News Archive XII
June 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009

Bird News Archive XI
January 1, 2009 - May 31, 2009

Bird News Archive X
July 1, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2008

Bird News Archive IX
January 1, 2008 - June 30, 2008

Bird News Archive VIII
July 1, 2007 - Dec. 31, 2007

Bird News Archive VII
January 1, 2007 - June 30, 2007

Bird News Archive VI
July 1, 2006 - Dec. 31, 2006

Bird News Archive V
January 1, 2006 - June 30, 2006

Bird News Archive IV
July 1, 2005 - Dec. 31, 2005

Bird News Archive III
January 1, 2005 - June 30, 2005

Bird News Archive II
June 1, 2004 - Dec. 31, 2004

Bird News Archive I
Winter 2003-04 Summary Notes
and Mar. 31 - May 30, 2004
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