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: November 16, 2018
(prior updates: Nov. 9, 2, Oct. 26, 19, 12, 5, Sept. 28, 21, 14, 7

Record early record cold this past week, with 20dF (!) here. Nov. came in like a lion. Hope it leaves like a lamb. Again we have not been able to get out as usual, bad weather or conditions rear their ugly heads every time they see I might be able to sneak out for a few hours. The RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH continues around our place today, since Oct. 30. An EASTERN TOWHEE was on UvCo 359 on Nov. 1. One SPRAGUE'S PIPIT flew over calling Nov. 7. A Rufous-Allen's Hummingbird has been at our place since Nov. 7 (still here today the 16th). One or more usually winter at Judy Schaffer's heated feeders in town. My FOS Golden-crowned Kinglet showed up Nov. 15. A flock of five Audubon's Oriole were in our yard this morning the 16th.

In October we weren't able to get out much with rain almost every day, and muddy everywhere when not. Had first of fall American Wigeon and Orange-crowned Warbler on Oct. 12, Oct. 19 another (different) Ibis at the same Bandera Co. floodpond and a tardy Mourning Warbler at Utopia Park. My first N. Flicker and Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler were Oct. 21. A male-female pair of Downy Woodpecker were at Utopia Park that day as well, maybe first time I have seen a pair together here in 15 years. My earliest ever in 15 falls American Goldfinch showed up Oct. 25. Robin and Cedar Waxwing showed up Oct. 29, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH showed up Oct. 30.

A few of the better things in Sept. were: on September 1 FOUR Mourning Warbler at Utopia Park. On Sept. 7 there was a LEAST SANDPIPER at the golf course, and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was in our yard, plus a seemingly different Yell-bell Flyc. here on the 9th. Also on Sept. 9 there was an AMERICAN BITTERN on S. Little Creek Rd. at the southerly smaller floodpond, but in Bandera County. Sept. 14 there was a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Utopia Park up on the island, and, an adult male MacGillivray's Warbler went through our yard the 14th as well. An ad. male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was at our feeders a bit Sept. 15-17. A White-faced Ibis was in Bandera Co. Sept. 23 at the W. Sabinal Rd. floodpond. A couple Long-billed Curlew flew over southbound Sept. 29. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet showed up on Sept. 24.

Of course I am always looking for a few good bugs... What appears to be only a second Uvalde County record, a Slaty Skimmer was at Utopia Park July 13-14 (ph. below). What looked like a Blue-faced Darner (C. adnexa) was at Lost Maples July 29. Haven't gotten to working with the poor pix yet. An apparent Lassaux's Sphinx Moth was at the porch light for photos Aug. 30. A Twelve-spotted Skimmer was in Bandera Co. at the S. Little Crk. Rd. pond Oct. 5 (ph.).

There is a RIVER! And it is mighty high. We have had repeated rain events for most of the last 8 weeks. Major events Sept. 2-10, and the 15th-16th. Minors in between, it rained most of September, yet no one complained. It has rained much of October so far as well. Many local reports are of in the area of TWO FEET of rain in September. We have had about 7.5" in Oct. so far. So we have a fall flower bloom. But so far few butterflies. It also got cold early with a four day event with highs in the 40's dF last week, three days in the 50's this week, winterish high temperatures. And 80dF today.

So much for that D3 we were at the USGS drought monitor, Couch's Spadefoot Toads were calling. If you can hear them, there is no drought. Oct. 1-2 there was another 3.25" for us here, but it was 5" and more upvalley, all the low water crossings were flooded, locals were calling water levels epic. Then Oct. 15 we got another 2.75", low-water crossings down again. The rain just won't stop. The ground is so saturated it is all runoff at this point. Still some chiggers and skeeters out, that would love to see you.

Golden-cheeked Warbler

The light was bad, but the bird was good.



For some detailed Lost Maples reports see the dated entries below (or at Old Bird News #29 now) for April 1, 9, 10, 15, 29, May 13, June 3 and 24, July 29, Aug. 26, and Sept. 30. Ignore the ebird Chihuahuan Raven reports there, they are mis-ID'd Common Ravens which are common resident breeders.

In news section between May and June entries, there is a chronological list of my local arrival dates for the entire spring from the first arrivals in January. For those that like to see when what arrives roughly.

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.

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 last year (begging juvenile seen and heard).

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 14+ (!) 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 or 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 (2016) with seasonal status and abundance for each species. It lists all 340 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.

There is a page of photos from 2016: 2016 pix

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


There is now a page of photos from 2017: 2017 pix
The pix used for weekly breaks for whole year.

There is also a page of the birdnews photos from 2018: 2018 pix
The pix used for weekly breaks for whole year.

~ ~ ~ finally, current bird news from the greater and lesser Utopia area ~ ~ ~
BIRD & NATURE NEWS 2018


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; UR=Utopia on the River; SLC=So. Little Creek Rd. (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:
Nov. 9, 2, Oct. 26, 19, 12, 5, Sept. 28, 21, 14, 7, August 31, 24, 17, 10, 3
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 ~ ~ ~

***  Note - above are two new links to pages with just the photos used for this bird news page's weekly breaks. 2017 photos, and 2018 photos. Closer to soporific than terrific.

Nov. 16 ~ NOAA had Kerrville at 37dF for a forecast low last night. We had 27 here. Off by a category. They had 29 there. Last three mornings here were in the 20's, and last four froze. The R-A Hummer and R-b Nuthatch were both out there early. There were 6 American Goldfinch, had only been seeing 1-4. Better yet, was a flock of 5 Audubon's Oriole working the yard for a while around 9:30 a.m. Mostly in the Hackberries, and working the ball moss clumps particularly. Wish they would take to a hummer feeder here like the Seco Ridge birds did. Guessing the hummer would not be as excited about that as I. About 10 a.m. I saw my FOS Pine Siskin in with some American Goldfinches on the patio.

Town run. At least two FOS Song Sparrow were at the 360 x-ing. A Zone-tailed Hawk was in a tree just south of town, and a male Green Kingfisher was at the park, but that was it. The hard freeze cooked all the remaining flowers at the various gardens around town. Normally this is a great week or two for vagrant butterflies from the south as we finish the fall bloom, that appears shot now. There were a few things about, mostly singles, and little to nothing to nectar on. Perfectly good flowers nuked. Saw a couple ea. Vesta and Phaon Crescent, one Theona Checkerspot, couple Dogface, couple Large Orange Sulphur, 1 Orange Sulphur, a couple Little Yellow, American Lady and Red Admiral, Pipevine Swallowtail, a Whirlabout, 10 Sleepy Orange, a few Gulf Fritillary. It is fading fast now. One female Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly, one Blue-ringed and one Dusky Dancer in damselflies.

Nov. 15 ~ About 26.5 for a low here, KRVL had 26, Seco Crk WU station, 25dF. Chilly willy. Got up to the lowest 60's at peak heat. The Pigeon spent the night in the big pecan, then fed with the White-winged Doves on the patio early, then took off with some White-winged Dove heading north toward town, to go party with its new friends. I heard back from the American Racing Pigeon Union people, the bird is from Kerrville. At least the owner knows he has a carouser now. It was born this year so still inexperienced. Heard the Nuthatch, and a Hutton's Vireo, saw the Ruf-All Hummer, probably a Rufous. An Audubon's Warbler moved through the yard, looked ad. female. Saw my FOS Brewer's Blackbird when five flew over calling. Then I had my FOS Golden-crowned Kinglet upslope behind us, a couple Ruby-crowned were out there too.

Saw a few butterflies. One Monarch, a couple Gulf and one Variegated Fritillary, a few Sleepy Orange, a Vesta Crescent, a So. Dogface, a Red Admiral, an American Lady. Amazing this stuff can take 20dF! The tomatoes we had left, and covered, couldn't take however cold it got in the makeshift greenhouse. Looks like most have met a premature demise. Not fried, but frozen green tomatoes.

Nov. 14 ~ If there was any doubt winter was coming the record lows this morning should remove that. We had 20dF! Kerrville had the same and the WU station at Seco Crk. reported 19dF! The historical record low for Uvalde for this date is 37dF! Yesterday's low (28dF) and this morning's (23dF), both broke hundred year old records at San Antonio. The panhandle of Texas had 10, 11, and 12dF! It was a killin' freeze. Lots of purple leaves out there. Temps got up to freezing about 9 a.m. Some of our Frostweed stems blew open and froze their ribbons of paper-thin ice, something you usually see in later Dec. or January. We got up to about 55dF on the cool shady front porch, probably near 60 on the sunny south side of the house.

First thing early there were a HUNDRED Robins in and around the yard. First big flock of the season. Hadn't had a full handful yet prior. I heard one Waxwing in with them. All the puddles along the roads were frozen, bird bath was too, had to use warm water on it twice before it quit refreezing. There were a dozen Vesper and a couple Lark Sparrow along the corral early. Canyon Towhee was around. The imm.ma. Rufous-Allen's Hummingbird was out there flycatching after not seeing it the last couple days. So it is still here. Heard the Red-breasted Nuthatch out there. Saw Meadowlarks over on the airstrip.

A few butterflies popped out when it got over 50dF: one male Fiery Skipper (not the female skipper of yesterday), one Red Admiral, one Gulf Fritillary, two Sleepy Orange, two Vesta Crescent, one Clouded Skipper, one American Lady, and late one Queen. The Pigeon looked fine today after being in the cottage a couple days and eating seemingly a couple pounds of seed in two days, so I put it out on the patio. It flew up to roof of cottage an hour, then sat in the Mulberry an hour, then it was gone. I recorded the band info so I can report it and maybe find out where it was from. It was the pigeon people's plastic bands, not a USFW aluminum type for wild birds of course. Dang thing has shown back up now at sundown. I tried to coax it into the cottage but gave up. It is roosting in the big pecan.

Meanwhile Kathy found a barely moving bat on the front porch. We brought it in and warmed it, took pix, took it back out just before dark and it flew off, not particularly strongly. It did not look to be in great shape. I do not know what it is eating these last couple or few nights. Probably starved? Never a dull moment here. On another subject, the deer and horses are sure hitting the fallen Mulberry leaves as annually. They both appear to relish the fresh fallen Mulberry leaves, must be something good in them they want.

Nov. 13 ~ The winds blew all night, still 15-20 gusting to 30, the low temp was 30.5dF here, wind chills around 20dF. Winter is here. An early first fall freeze. Might be some record lows around the area for the date. Winds finally laid down near the end of the day, and you know what that means. Tonight to tomorrow morn, it gets real cold, as in low-to-mid 20'sdF. There goes the last of my Blue Mist Eup flowers. A few Robin here again in the morning. Thought I heard the nuthatch from inside. There was a Sharp-shinned Hawk bothering the seedeaters. Amazing was at peak 45dF heat a skipper (butterfly) was out, a female Fiery or Whirlabout. Only butterfly I saw today, no surprise.

Nov. 12 ~ It was in the low 50's dF in the early morning. That was the high for the day. Mid-morn the northerlies started puffing and were howling by noon, continuing to do so all day, and they say much of the night. So temps dropping from about 9 a.m. on. Was often 15-20 mph gusting to 30. Tomorrow morning will be the first freeze of the season. Early. I did not see the hummer in the morning, maybe it was smart enough to go yesterday afternoon. The little passerine flock was around early before it got bad, and included the Red-breasted Nuthatch (which makes two weeks here now). Of the few I have seen here prior, none have stuck around more than a day or few at most, so this is a treat. Loosely associated with the Bluebirds, Chippies, Myrtle Warbler were 3 Robin and 3 Lesser Goldfinch.

Right after the front started blowing out of nowhere was something I have only seen a couple times from the yard, a Pigeon! As in Rock Dove, Feral Pigeon. Nearly at my feet. A nice fairly natural colored (checkered) type. I caught it, it didn't look real well, put it in the cottage, so it could crap all over in there, it ate a bunch of seed, and is banded! Haven't gotten the number off it yet but clearly it is a pet bird. So, a lost banded pet pigeon makes landfall during intense storm front at a birder's place with large bags of seed and shelter. If you made it up they would say it is too corny. Bet it's glad to be indoors tonight.

Nov. 11 ~ About 45dF for a low, misting a bit early. Chilly. Got up to a smokin' 55 or so for a high, but still drizzly. The R-A Hummingbird was out there early. I heard the Red-breasted Nuthatch right over the shed out back, close, and swear there was a second distant bird calling at the same time. We have to get stuff done here before the big hard freeze next week. The lows Tues. through Thurs. are progged to be below freezing, with mid-20's on Wed. morning peak cold. Likely near records for the date. Every day for the last five, the NOAA forecast is a degree colder for next Tues.-Wed.-Thurs. mornings.

Not a lot of bird activity around the yard though. Racoons and squirrels decimated what pecan crop there was here, and the hackberry crop is weak. Seed crops seem good though, and that is a lot of what most attract to yard feeders. There are four each Carolina Chickadee and Black-crested Titmouse hitting the sunflower tube pretty hard all day. Not even a dozen Cardinal, the Canyon Towhee, maybe 8 Chipping and a few Lark Sparrow, the pair of Common Ground-Dove, a few Mourning and less than 10 White-winged Dove. A female Ladder-backed Woodpecker was on the pole next to the sunflower feeder watching stuff use it, but did not go to it. A few Eastern Bluebird, a Myrtle Warbler, a couple Ruby-crowned Kinglet, heard a Flicker.

Nov. 10 ~ Cloudy in a.m., sunny a few hours late afternoon, temp range of 45-53dF, if you can call that a range. Not much of one. Humid, and chilly. Not much bird action around yard, probably a Cooper's Hawk hiding nearby the stuff has seen. Saw the imm. ma. R-A (Rufous-Allens) Hummingbird at all three feeders over the day, so it is still here. I heard the Red-breasted Nuthatch but didn't run out to see it. When the sun came out and it 'warmed' up I saw 4 butterflies: 2 So. Dogface, a Gulf Fritillary, and a Common Checkered-Skipper. Worked on stuff inside, nearish heat. Hard freeze next week.



Spinyback Spider
This is a Spinyback Spider (Gasteracantha cancriformis) female.
It is about a half inch across, males are little tiny things.


Spinyback Spider
This view gives a better idea of the amazing bright yellow coloration.
There is another color form with a white sheild with red spiny points.
That is a hard protective exoskeleton on these neat beasts.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 9 ~ A few spits of rain overnight as the front arrived but just a trace. Was about 48dF for a low, but with 15-20 mph northerlies on it, gusting higher, it felt more like upper 30's. Birds seem pretty hunkered down. Next week we are supposed to freeze or so a couple mornings. At the park in town there was one Great Egret, and at the island a pair of Green Kingfisher interacting, probably the local breeder pair. A couple Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Myrtle Warbler, heard a Blue Jay, Cardinal, Chickadee, and Titmouse was about it. Didn't bother looking for butterflies, too cold for them. On the way back on 360 there was a flock of a dozen Eastern Bluebird, and an imm. ma. Vermilion Flycatcher. Did not see the Ruf-All Hummer here today.

Nov. 8 ~ About 60dF and soupy again, a little drizzle here and there. Saw the Rufous-Allen's Hummingbird early after not seeing it all afternoon or at last light yesterday. Noonish a little flock was around the yard and in the corral. Was a few Eastern Bluebid, a couple Myrtle Warbler, a handful each of Chipping and Lark Sparrow, a Hutton's Vireo, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Nashville Warbler. I would guess the Nashville is the same laggard I saw two days ago in the corral. Canyon Towhee was out there as well. There was a Desert Checkered-Skipper out in yard too, but only a very few butterflies on the fading Blue Mist due to cool moist air.

Nov. 7 ~ It was cooler at midnight than at 7 a.m. when 70dF, and foggy. Sunny afternoon, 75dF on cool shady front porch, 80 in the sun and at some local stations. A front is to arrive tonight. Heard the R-b Nuthatch again in the early a.m. Great was an imm. Rufous-Allen's Hummingbird in the morning, which I did not see yesterday. So still the odd stray hummer out there migrating that needs a refuel station. Looked like probably an imm. male. A real surprise was a single pipit that flew over, called a couple times, heading for the grassy airstrip it seemed, which was a SPRAGUE'S Pipit. Now is prime-time for them, and any single lone pipit right now is more likely not a Water Pipit. But hearing it call removes any doubt. A Ringed Kingfisher flew upriver high over the cypresses 'chakking', at last sun.

Had a weird pale Duskywing (butterfly) on the Blue Mist for a couple hours. Got a few Mavica pix, hopefull will be enough to ID it. I know the usual regular ones here fairly well after 15 short years, and did not recognize this beast. I guess it could be a very pale worn Mournful, but the trailing edge of ventral hindwing was not typical of that species (no sub-marginal white dots).

Nov. 6 ~ A low of 52 and sunny. Just right. To the east where more humid was a fog advisory, it didn't make it here. Got up to 80dF in the heat of the afternoon. Saw a Julia's skipper on the Blue Mist Eup, and a dozen Queen. Heard the Red-breasted Nuthatch go through the yard again, wish it would spot the chickadees and titmice at the sunflower seed feeder. The rest was the expected. Late afternoon I took an hour walk through the Huisache Daisy patches in the corral for butterflies. Not as warm tomorrow and rain chances, so strike while the iron is hot. The bummer of the day was while trying to shoot some butterflies, the camera lens malfunctioned and the SX40 seems bricked until I can get it to a Canon repair shop. Major bummer. Lens won't go in and out, apparently came out of the track. Scat. No it was not banged. It had happened a couple times and moving it in and out it got back on track.

Heard the nuthatch over by the river, saw a few Vesper Sparrow, and best was a very late Nashville Warbler, maybe my first November Nashville, and two American Goldfinch. A couple new butterflies were a Checkered White, and a few Whirlabout. Otherwise it is amazing how much things change in a couple days since I was last there. Here is a list. At least 30 Pipevine and 2 Black Swallowtail, single Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, 60+ Sleepy Orange, 60+ Dogface, a few Little Yellow, one Lyside, the Checkered White (missed it in Oct.), 20 Gray Hairstreak (no Mallow Scrub-), 1 Dusky-blue Groundstreak, no blues, one Fatal Metalmark, 20 Theona Checkerspot, 50 Bordered Patch, at least 500 Vesta, 15 Phaon, and one Texan Crescent, 4 Red Admiral, 1 American Lady, 35 Monarch, 20 Queen, 1 No. Mestra. For Skippers it was 15 Sachem, 12 Fiery, 3 Julia's, 1 Dun, 3 Whirlabout, 4 Eufala, and 10-20 un-ID'd were mostly Sachem or Fiery types. Single bushes had dozens of butterflies on them, it is an outstanding show.

Also a few metallic green native halichtid bees, and some of the black-n-white bees, and some bicolored red-n-black Sphecids. A couple of the 1.5" black with pale yellow bands on rear sides of adbomen scoliid wasps. A pair of mating Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae), that gold Meloid (blister beetle) that is common in fall on sunflower types. Tons of flies (Diptera) of various sorts I try to ignore.

Nov. 5 ~ Only 58dF for a low, overcast and humid, the southerly Gulf flow is back. The Red-breasted Nuthatch came through the yard again in the morning. Same route as before, Mulberry to kitchen Pecan to porch big Pecan, toward river via a Mesquite across the road. Same bird, now since Oct. 30, makes a week. I have heard more 'nyets' in the last week than in the prior several years. What a great little bird they are. I heard it again about 11 a.m., and again about 1 p.m. it was in earshot. Otherwise it was just the regular suspects over the day. It only takes one good bird to make your day. If it is good enough it can make a week or month.

Some butterflies on the Blue Mist, Salvia, and flying by. A couple Monarch, 8 or so Queen, a dozen each Dogface, Sleepy Orange, and Vesta Crescent, some Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, another crab spider (#5), Pipevine Swallowtails, a Mestra, nothing unusual, but some stuff to watch. The Texas Powdered-Skipper showed again, a Fiery Skipper stopped briefly, as did a Common Checkered-Skipper. The flowers are past peak but at least some are still going bringing things to the porch.

Nov. 4 ~ A dry front passed, we had northerlies for most of the morning, then easterlies, it finally laid down late afternoon. Heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Hutton's Vireo, a couple Myrtle Warbler, saw the Ground-Doves and Canyon Towhee. No hummers again, the last two left Friday Nov. 2 after the morning sometime. We worked on stuff here until peak heat and took a walk through the Huisache Daisy (an acre's worth total) patch mostly at the far end of the corral for butterflies. Saw a pair of female Ladder-backed Woodpecker goofing around real close. Also 5 Vesper and a Lincoln's Sparrow, an ad.ma. Vermilion Flycatcher, 50 Black Vulture, no Turkey Vulture they are gone for the most part. Two Red-tails were the local breeder ad. Fuertes, and probably their young they fledged, but which is not welcome in these parts any longer. I heard one loud 'nyet' that surely was the Red-breasted Nuthatch, but it never called again so I let it go.

Butterflies were pretty good for limited diversity. At least there are numbers of a few things. Interesting how some are amazingly fresh, mint condition, and others amazingly worn, within any of the species we saw. Vesta Crescent is the most abundant with 300++ of them still, saw 1 Pearl Crescent and maybe 15 Phaon Crescent. Very nice was a Texan Crescent, which I did not see in October! Fifteen Pipevine and a pair (male and female together) of Black Swallowtail. A few Large Orange Sulphur (saw Cloudless at the porch Salvias today). One Lyside, 10 Dainty and 1 Orange Sulphur, 8 Little Yellow, and at least 75 So. Dogface. Great was a GREAT PURPLE HAIRSTREAK, first one I have seen this year I think, was a female (ph.). Probably 20 Gray Hairstreak, a Dusky-blue Groundstreak, no metalmarks or blues. A couple American Lady and a couple Red Admiral, 3-4 Buckeye, a No. Mestra, 40 each Gulf, and Variegated Fritillary, 2 Theona, (both ph. - one all orange type), 20 Bordered Patch is a big increase in them, 7 Monarch (another 5 in yard and went by over day), and 30 Queen. In skippers there were 10 Common Checkered-skipper, 1 Clouded, 2 Eufala, 10 Sachem, and 16 Fiery Skippers, and one Orange Skipperling. One White-tipped Black moth was my first of the fall (ph.), not a sure thing annually, and a pretty bug.

Off to a roaring start for November butterflies since I got to look at flowers little each of the last three days. You have to get all you can quick and early as when the first hard freeze hits, it is all but over until next spring. The Texas Powdered-Skipper was on the Blue Mist Eup at porch today again. A whopping 40 species for the month now, on the 4th. Amazing. But which means I won't be adding many more. There were a dozen Queen at once on our Blue Mist when we got back from our walk. No Firefly tonight.

Nov. 3 ~ We had 40dF for a low here, so chilly. Got real breezy out of the south early though, 15+mph. Warmed to about 74 or so. I went to town earlyish for the annual town craft fair (I think always first Sat. of Nov.) but at 9:30 a.m. the jelly lady was already out of Agarita. This is second year in a row of very poor crops for them and supplies are short. Especially for people at my part of the totem pole, the part below the ground. Got a couple others... and I gotta say I had no idea there was jalapeno everything jelly. Made off with a breakfast Taco from Rosie and went birding. Went to stop for more for lunch on the way home but the line was too long. Saw a Painted Lady in town on Judy Schaefers white (Boneset?) Eupatorium, among many butterflies.

At the park there was a Green Kingfisher and a Blue Jay. It was still coolish but on the flowers out front at entrance another Theona, 12 Phaon, 20 Vesta Crescent, and one Fatal Metalmark. A couple Dainty Sulphur, a Little Yellow, one Yellow-margined Flower-Buprestid. Too windy at the garden at north end of town. Went out W. Sabinal Rd. for a bit, to sneak a peek in Bandera County. At the wet spot by Haby's my FOS Merlin landed and was walking over to the water, no doubt to bathe. Just as I got my camera up and out a Kestrel stooped on it and flushed it away. Near Roy Heideman's place on the Fisher Rd. section there was my FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the trees along the road with a group of Chickadee, Titmouse, Myrtle Warbler, Cardinal, and I thought sure I heard a White-crowned Sparrow or two. Also heard one loud 'nyet' contact call of a Red-breasted Nuthatch but never could find it. At the Fisher gate there were a couple (FOS) Northern Harrier hunting in the pasture there.

Drove a couple miles up W. (Lower) Sabinal Rd. to the crossing where there was a Texas River Cooter. Just a few of the regular expected things: E. Bluebird, N. Cardinal, Car. Chickadee, B-c Titmouse, Bewick's and Carolina Wren, numbers of Mockingbird. Heard a Western Meadowlark sing from a pasture. On Jones Cmty. Rd. just south of W.Sab.Rd. there was a small group of Meadowlark at least one of which looked Eastern. On 360 just west of 187 by the corrals there was an ad. ma. Vermilion Flycatcher, the first of that age-sex class I have seen in a couple weeks. Neither of us saw a hummer here at the house all day. None at closing time yesterday either. They are gone. First day without a hummer here since March 2. We will keep at least one feeder up through the winter in hopes of Audubon's Oriole or a stray vagrant hummer.

northernharrier
Nothern Harrier, formerly called Marsh Hawk, often drifts slow and low over pastures and fields
dropping quickly on anything tasty. They have a white rump or uppertail covert area above.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 2 ~ Probably the coldest morning since early April if not March. We had 39dF here, I saw KRVL had a 37 and the Seco Creek WU station a 38! Chilly, but sunny and warming up to 70dF or so. Saw two hummers in the morning, might be the only ones left. Around 9:30 a.m. I was outside and heard a distant Red-breasted Nuthatch calling repeatedly. The Russians are coming! Nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet. So either the one from two days ago is still around, or another one is. Then 10 minutes later I heard an Audubon's Oriole. Is this utopia or what!?! A great combo, sub-tropics, meet coniferous. Generally where one of them is, the other is not. Its like getting Scorpio and Orion together. About 10:30 the Nuthatch went through the yard, again hit the Mulberry, the kitchen (N.) Pecan and the big Pecan off front porch, got a docushot. Same route the one two days ago took, probably the same bird. When it flew across road over the gate it then landed in a Mesquite. They sure look funny in a Mesquite.

Town run, park had a Ringed and a Green Kingfisher and that was it. Couple Myrtle Warblers around town. At the garden at the curve at north end of town was a Theona Checkerspot and a Metalmark that looked Rounded, I'll have to study pix to ID. A few Monarchs were seen floating around, and we had two on the Blue Mist here for a while. Also here at the porch were single Dun, Clouded, and Julia's Skippers Not seeing any hummers this afternoon or at the evening last chance time, those last two might have split today. Almost forgot, near the golf course entrance a Canyon Towhee flew across 187 in front of me on the way home. The individual here in our yard was present as well.

There WERE two new crab spiders that showed up on the blue mist and took a couple butterflies, a Sleepy Orange and a Vesta Crescent. They eat on them for a while, drop 'em, and go back to set-trap position. When there is a week or two of food in the one they just killed and dropped, ate for an hour and now its not fresh enough? If I wasted food like that it would cost ten thousand dollars a month to feed me. I don't know what they thought I was running here but this is a butterfly refueling station, not a spider smorgasbord. With apologies to my spider expert friend.

redbreastednuthatch
Docushot of the Red-breasted Nutchatch in yard Nov. 2.
So pale below not a male, I would guess female, maybe an immature.


November 1 ~ Clear and cool after the frontal passage yesterday evening. Low was about 44dF with 10+mph northerlies on it, chilly. I had a quick town run before noon, went out the back way to UvCo 359 and 1050. Just south of that intersection on 359 a female Eastern Towhee flew across the road right in front of me. First one I have seen in a couple years at least. They are pretty scarce here, Spotted outnumber them about 100 to 1. You can easily go a few years without seeing one locally. Whereas Spotted are common in winter. So a great bird. A Ringed Kingfisher was at the park. Nothing but the regular residents in the woods. Saw a few Monarchs but did not have time to look at the flowers and it was still pretty chilly. Nothing through the yard either. Did see one Monarch, a couple Queen, few Dogface and Vesta Crescent, no skippers. There were about 4-5 Ruby-throated Hummingbird still here in the a.m., but I only saw one late in day, so they probably mostly departed today on the northerlies.

~ ~ ~ October summary ~ ~ ~

Another wet month, we had 8 inches of rain at our place, others around more and less an inch and two, pending how lucky you got with the biggest cells. More than double average Oct. rainfall. After a two foot September. The river is running high and mighty. A Coral Snake and a 6' Indigo Snake were a couple highlights of the month for me.

Butterflies picked up with 52 species and so the best month of the year for diversity. It was almost all invaders from southward, and so far this years' fall invasion has been rather limited in species diversity compared to really good years. Nothing fancy rare, but when everything is scarce, anything is good to see. Saw an Imperial Moth caterpillar at the park (thanks Lou). The bazillion kagillion Snout flight of the last week of September thankfully faded away in October, but numbers were still good early in the month.

After the Snout flight, the most common butterfly was Vesta Crescent. I saw over 400 in less than an acre of Huisache Daisy at once late in the month. No big Monarch flight this year but over 125 in the same Huisache Daisy patch late in month for a couple days was nice. A couple Western Pygmy-Blue were nice, but most obvious was all the stuff not present. Just a few Bordered Patch, almost no blues, no metalmarks, very few hairstreaks, only a few Phaon Crescent and barely any skippers, big or small. Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur made a fair showing this fall. Mestra were here but in low numbers. A couple Ailanthus webworm moths, one Texas Wasp Moth.

Odes were pitiful. All the bad weather made it rough for them. I saw only about 16 species the whole month. They are all but crashed for the year. A few Autumn Meadowhawk showed up late in month as expected. Best maybe was a Twelve-spotted Skimmer in Bandera Co. (ph.) where rare. I saw what looked a male Ivory-striped Sylph on Oct. 30 floating around yard but it disappeared when I got back out with camera.

twelvespottedskimmer
Here is a docushot of the Twelve-spotted Skimmer in Bandera Co.,
taken from 75 yards, at least, maybe 85 yards. It is surely my
longest distance dragon docushot. Pardon the pixels. Oct. 5, 2018

Birds were fair, nothing real rare though. It was about 82 species for me locally this month, tying a weak August. The 106 species in between, in September, shows what a movement month that is here locally. Too much rain and work to make it to Lost Maples this month so missed a few sps. there. Bird of the month was a Red-breasted Nuthatch in our yard Oct. 30. The second Ibis of the fall at the W. Sabinal Rd. wetspot was good Oct. 19, 4 Greater and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs there were even better. Two Coots together at the S. Little Crk. ponds was interesting. In general some wintering type things seem a bit slow to arrive, but an American Goldfinch was record early Oct. 25. A pair of Downy Woodpecker at the park was the first time I have seen a pair here. A juv. Broad-winged Hawk is rare to see in here in October, especially on a roadside fencepost. Am. Robin and Cedar Waxwing both showed up early, Oct. 29. A late Mourning Warbler on Oct. 19 was very nice.

~ ~ ~ end October summary ~ ~ ~

Oct. 31 ~ And there goes another month! I guess them flying by is better than the alternative. About 68-75dF temp spread, overcast, mist, drizzle, a showerlet early afternoon. Hearing thunder about 4 p.m., by 5 we had rain, by 7 or so it was .75 of an inch. Another band or two just spritzed us, maybe .80 now. Once the front passes this evening we are in for northerlies and cooler temps.

Nary a nuthatch to be heard today, it was here until dusk last night so I was hoping it would stick. Heard the Hutton's Vireo out there. The fairly small but big highlight of the day was a Spinyback Spider (Gasteracantha cancriformis), a nice yellow form female. What an awesome animal, amazing structure, I don't see many here. If any of my shots turn out will post one. Had another crab spider on the Blue Mist Eup, which I can assure you was not the one yesterday that had the Vesta Crescent.

Oct. 30 ~ About 65-75dF for a temp spread, overcast in a.m., sunny in afternoon. Bird of the day was a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH in our pecans mostly, in the late afternoon for over an hour. Great to hear that call! Sure glad I was out on the porch stringing the whacker. Second time around an hour after first encounter I got a docu shot of it. Pretty sure Putin must have sent it, as it kept saying 'nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet'. Those Russians are everywhere, even in my Nuthatches!

Also great was a Dusky-blue Groundstreak butterfly, first of the month at end of month, with rain predicted tomorrow is likely the last new one for October. Saw the Texas Powdered-Skipper again. Otherwise had a few Myrtle and the Orange-crowned Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and the rest was the regular usual. But a new butterfly for the month and a nuthatch makes a great day! Four or five Firefly at dusk. I heard Hackberry pits raining down on the carport for over an hour after dark. The Ringtail is up there again...

Oct. 29 ~ Low was low-mid-50's and overcast, a bit of mist in morn. It is getting yellower of leaves out there. Lots of pecans have no leaves along 360, the Cypresses are mostly rusty along the river, Sycamores are mostly dropped already. Looks pretty fallish. There are still a half-dozen Ruby-throats around the feeders. Heard the Hutton's Vireo, and Canyon Towhee. A few Myrtle Warbler stopped by. The big surprise was first hearing, then seeing a FOS group of 4 Robin and 1 Cedar Waxwing up in the big pecan. They went over to a juniper with berries just over the north fence. There does seem to be a fair juniper berry crop this year.

Saw a couple Monarch hit the Blue Mist, one Orange Skipperling was nice, only 2nd this month, saw the Celia's Roadside-, and the Julia's, Skippers. A big dark skipper flew by, either Cloudywing or Duskywing. That hurt, any duskywing would have been new for the month. A few Firefly at dark. Heard a Great Horned Owl calling at dark before dawn.

Oct. 28 ~ A crisp 48dF for a low was nice, KRVL had a 45! Blue skies, clear and dry. Like fall. Finally a couple sunny days in October. Too much to do though now before it gets cold. Heard a Hutton's Vireo, a Myrtle Warbler, and the Orange-crowned Warbler, but no migration motion. There are still 4-6 Ruby-throated Hummingbird here, all imm. males. The Blue Mist Eup. had a couple Monarchs on it for much of the day, 8+ Queens, and a dozen Vesta Crescent. What looked the same Texas Powdered-Skipper was here again, three days out of last four.

We took a late afternoon mile walk through the Huisache Daisy patches in the corral for butterflies. Saw my FOS Vesper Sparrow (2). The following estimated numbers are very conservative and surely undercounts. There were well over a hundred Monarch nectaring, maybe 125. Probably 50 Queen. The most common butterfly was Vesta Crescent with 400+ at minimum, probably 500. Only saw a dozen Phaon and no Pearl Crescent. At least 50 Variegated and 25 Gulf Fritillary, 4 Buckeye, 1 Red Admiral, 1-2 American Lady, at least 100 So. Dogface, a dozen Pipevine Swallowtail, one No. Mestra, 20+ Gray Hairstreak, no blues, 10 Sleepy Orange, 2 Orange Sulphur, 4 Dainty Sulphur, 3 Little Yellow, a couple Cloudless and one Large Orange Sulphur flew by, 10 Fiery Skipper, 4 Common Checkered-Skipper, 1 Sachem, and 1 Bordered Patch. It was probably a thousand butterflies, in an hour, of a couple dozen species. Mighta gotta coupla shots. I lived and worked in N.Y.C. and north Jersey a couple years so can legally talk like that.

Oct. 27 ~ Another 50-80dF temp spread and mostly sunny skies, just about perfect. Heard a Kinglet and a Myrtle Warbler early, and the Orange-crowned Warbler which I think has mostly been one bird, one that wintered last year. A small bit of Monarch lift-off going on as soon as it hit near 60dF. After 10:20 or so, 5 in a couple minutes, then 5 more in a few more minutes. Most movement I have seen all fall here. All thermaling gaining altitude to fly for the day. Noonish we headed out to look at some flower patches.

The single most loaded spot was a patch of Huisache Daisy at the far end of the corral adjacent to us. There were well over well 100 Monarch, probably 125+, nectaring on it. Saw one Buckeye (ph.), lots of Vesta and small numbers of Phaon Crescent, Gulf and Variegated Frits, Queens, but very few small types, mostly big stuff. One Black Swallowtail. Heard and glimpsed what seemed a White-crowned Sparrow there too. On the way back from town right near that patch of daisies, a female Indigo Bunting flew up off the ground, getting late.

Around town we checked all three of the deco gardens, one each at north and south ends of town, and the one at the park entrance, plus the library garden and woods at the park. Only thing at the park was a 6 foot Indigo Snake sunning. Very nice. It shook its tail at us, that real fast quiver, for making it move out of the sun methinks. At the entrance garden there was an Orange Skipperling, which is new for the month, yesterday's Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak was still there, as was an all-orange (where color) Bordered Patch. A Western Pygmy-Blue might have been the one of last week at the other garden two hundred yards away? Must have been 50 Vesta, and 25 Phaon Crescent, just at the park garden, about 100 and 50 for totals. A couple Ceranus Blue were nice. A couple dozen Dogface at the park garden, a few dozen more at other patches, we probably had a couple dozen go through our yard as well. Lots of Variegated Frits especially at the south end of town garden with the windmill, and the corral, total was 45 or so, many were very fresh.

Monarchs were at all stops and often going by as well. A few dozen were seen besides the herd in the corral. Saw one fresh American Lady, two Orange Sulphur, several Large Orange, and several Cloudless Sulphur, Dainty Sulphur, Little Yellow, Sleepy Orange. A few Reakirt's Blue, 10 Gray Hairstreak. In skippers there were some Fiery, a Whirlabout, Eufala, Julia's, Dun, and Sachem. Nothing rare but nice to see several hundred butterflies finally. We saw about 35 species in a couple hours and change. Mostly the common bigger stuff, very few of the smaller things. Library garden was dead, that orange-ish yellow smallish sunflower composite is what most is on at the deco gardens, or Huisache Daisy if you can find or access a patch. One more Yellow-margined Flower-Buprestid too.

broadwingedhawk
Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, wondering why I just have
to take its picture when it is all wet and trying to dry out...

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 26 ~ Low 50's and fog early, but getting sunny by mid-morn. Heard a Screech-Owl at 7 a.m. before sunup but getting light out. Got warm in the afternoon with local reports of 79-82dF! And the people were happy. We need to dry out. Town run, so a stop or two around errands. OK, more like 5 stops around 4 errands, but we shouldn't quibble. As I turned into the park a small buteo flushed off the entrance sign which looked like a juv. Broad-winged Hawk, but it got away, never saw it again. The park had one Gnatcatcher, one Myrtle Warbler, and a huge green caterpillar I hope to get an ID on (ph.). Lifer cat for me whatever it was. Nothing in the woods, but a few male FOS Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies in the slough. Must be autumn.

A big uptick in butterflies though, at the entrance garden. A Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak was my first of month, but most amazing was 40 Vesta, 10 Phaon and 2-3 Pearl Crescent. A crescent invasion. Also there was Reakirt's Blue, Gray Hairstreaks, lots of Dogface, couple Variegated Fritillary, Eufala and Fiery and Common Checkered-, Skippers, Dainty Sulphurs, Little Yellow. I'll have to check all the flower gardens tomorrow when hot and I have time to goof around without a to-do list and time constraints.

The W. Sabinal Rd. pond had two Caracara walking around knee-deep in the water like a couple goofy waterbirds, but they moved away before I got camera up and out. The S. Little Crk. Rd. pond had the same 3 Pied-billed Grebe, a couple Killdeer, and 50 Barn Swallow. Little Creek Larry said he heard Geese (White-fronted) calling overhead in the dark yesterday morning before sunup. In total driving around I saw a half-dozen Monarch scattered about.

The Blue Mist Eupatorium around the porch here was pretty good again. Nearing late dates for Julia's Skipper and Celia's Roadside-Skipper, the rest was more of the same as yesterday, including the Clouded Skipper and the Texas Powdered-Skipper. It musta been a dozen Vesta Crescent, and a dozen Dogface.

Oct. 25 ~ Near 60dF for a low, 5-10mph northerlies, some fog early but cleared by 10a.m., revealing what I think is blue sky and a bright object, perhaps the sun. We are alleged to dry out for a week or so, which we now need as badly as we needed rain two months ago. I am starting to mold. About 30-32 inches have fallen in 8 weeks now. Which used to be the average annual rainfall here. Welcome to our brave new all-or-nothing world.

Birds were few, single Myrtle and Orange-crowned Warbler, a Gnatcatcher and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet were about it for transients. But one FOS flew over calling, an American Goldfinch. I actually thought I heard one a couple days ago, but didn't see it, was only one measure of calls. I let it go. This is 3 weeks earlier than average fall arrival. My prior earliest ever was Nov. 2, next earliest Nov. 10, and 11. So this is a week earlier than my prior (outlier by a week) early date.

It got into the low70's dF in the afternoon, man that felt great, and the butterflies thought so too. Had Clouded, Fiery, Julia's, Dun, and Texas Powdered-, for Skippers on the Blue Mist Eup. Some Queens, a Red Admiral, Gulf Fritillary, some Dogfaces and Sleepy Orange, Pipevine Swallowtail, a half-dozen Vesta and one Pearl Crescent, Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, and one metallic green Halichtid (small native bee). Next couple even warmer days should be great at the flowers.

Oct. 24 ~ Light rain off and on overnight, about a third of an inch, so we have an inch since yesterday. Temp range for the day low to high 50's dF. Some days it is better to be stuck inside working at the desk at the box o'bolts. By the end of the day it was 1.25" now for the last couple days of light rain. So we are about 7.5" for the month. Because 24" wasn't enough in Sept. Saw a few Firefly at dark.

Still a half-dozen Ruby-throated Hummer around, and the Canyon Towhee. Did not see much else though. Ran to town late and quick about 6 p.m. On the back way out nearish 359 I saw my first two Yellow-shafted Flicker on the ground under a live-oak. Heard my FOS Sunday the 21st, these the first I have seen, so nice. At the park there were 2 Cave Swallow feeding low over the water, nothing in the woods, an imm. fem. Vermilion Flyc. at the entrance area, and about 35 White-winged Dove in town. That is all.

Oct. 23 ~ Cool and damp, occasional mist and drizzle. Another gray day. From late yesterday to this morning there was about two-thirds (.65) of an inch of precip to add to the total. The main event ahead is tonight and tomorrow, then we are alleged to see the sun and dry out. The highlight of the day was my first flock of Yellow-rumped Warbler in the yard of the fall. We saw some Sunday, but had yet to have one in the yard. Ten fed in the pecan with the most nuts for a half-hour, darn near silent. If I had not been out there, they would have been un-noticed. There were 8 Myrtle, 1 Audubon's, and one hybrid Myrtubon. Which was a neat one with a snow white throat, the shape of an Audubon's throat. Have seen this before and pretty neat if you ask me. Also among them was a Gnatcatcher, and one tardy Nashville Warbler, which will likely be my last for the fall. Hutton's Vireo and Canyon Towhee were in the yard. Still maybe 6-8 Ruby-throated Hummer here. They will blow out as soon as it clears, Thursday methinks.

Oct. 22 ~ About 55dF for a low and not going up too much, NOAA mentions possible record low highs for the date today. Heard a Ringed Kingfisher at dawn over at the river. Which is still high, but cleared up fairly well now, at least for their fishing. A tardy Indigo Bunting called from the yard early morning. Had 3 silent Ruby-crowned Kinglet in just half of the crown of the Mulberry. I didn't know you could get 3 of them together at once and not hear a 'chiddit'. By afternoon the light rain was making it to the ground, it had to moisten up the atmosphere to make it down, took most of the day. They say we will have a dry spell, and are even threatening sun, starting Thursday, but rain the next couple days. What a surprise. In the a.m. counted 11 Queen and 1 Monarch on the Blue Mist. A few Firefly still.

Oct. 21 ~ About 52dF for a low, cloudy but a drier atmosphere. Had two Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at once together in the a.m. so some movement happened. Was broken clouds, stars, and light northerlies last night. Had a glimpse of what seemed a Sharpy (Sharp-shinned Hawk) shoot by, and heard and glimpsed what seemed a White-crowned Sparrow out back where seed tossed. Heard the Canyon Towhee out back, maybe a half-dozen Ruby-throated Hummers around still. We went out for a mid-day couple-and-a-half hour roll around the area to see how things have changed since the big chill this past week. Saw on the Lost Maples webpage all the trails there are closed right now, so just the mile of main canyon bottom area where driveable is open.

At Utopia Park we saw no landbird migrants but a pair of Downy Woodpecker is the first time I have seen two together here in 15 years, and a pair at that, is pretty nice. I heard that flush call Wood Duck makes whilst hearing a or a couple ducks flush, up in the woods by the island. Missed seeing it or them. Saw one Barred Owl there. Saw only two Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, those at the golf course where also an ad. ma. Vermilion Flycatcher. We had a group of 6 FOS Myrtle Warbler around the county line crossing bridge. Another imm. male Vermilion Flyc. was at Jones Cemetery. There was a little group of birds at the entrance road turn into the cemetery, with a couple Orange-crowned and a few Myrtle Warbler, a Gnatcather, some Chipping Sparrow and Eastern Bluebird.

The only bird at the W. Sabinal Rd. floodpond was a Pied-billed Grebe, the first time I have seen one in that shallow mudhole there. The ibis, egret, and yellowlegs were gone. Over at the S. Little Crk. pond there were 3 Pied-billed Grebe, and 1 Coot. Maybe 40 or so Barn Swallow. Nothing at the library garden, the hot spot was the garden at the southwest corner of the 187 x 1050 junction. There were 3 first-of-month species (all ph.): Phaon Crescent, Western Pygmy-Blue, and Desert Checkered-Skipper. At least 8 Vesta Crescent, one probably Pearl Crescent, a couple Common Checkered-Skipper, a few Little Yellow with one a pale morph female (ph.), Fiery Skipper and Whirlabout, Cloudless Sulphurs, Pipevine Swallowtails, a Gray Hairstreak, a Sachem, a Mestra, a Variegated Frit, a Monarch and some Queens, one Yellow-margined Flower-Buprestid (ph.).

At the old Preston Place another Phaon and a few more Vesta Crescent were in the Frostweed patch, but no birds. At the golf course pond there were 3 Red-winged Blackbird, nothing else but another Monarch. We heard our FOS N. Flicker out on the course somewhere. The golf course entrance garden had a Buckeye, a couple Sachem, a Giant Swallowtail and more of the same butterflies. Over the couple-and-a-half hours and about 10 mile loop were maybe 10 or 12 Monarch total. Another was here on the Blue Mist Eups with a dozen Queen when we got back. More Vesta Crescent here too. A few Firefly at dusk.

Oct. 20 ~ Maybe a 55-67dF temp spread for the day. Lots of threat, but no rain. Had the Canyon Towhee after it not being around the last 5 days during the cold and rain. Or at least not being seen nor heard. Which is not like them. Did not hear White-eyed Vireo, but the Orange-crowned Warbler was around. No migrant motion, seemed kinda dead so worked on stuff here. Tomorrow supposed to be nicer so will give it a day to turn over. Some butterflies finally came out. Six Queen on the getting beat up Blue Mist eupatorium. Saw three Crescents together at once, two were Vesta, one a Pearl. A few Pipevine Swallowtail, a Gulf Frit, couple Dogface and Sleepy Orange, Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, but in total individual numbers, that 4 days in the 40's with chills around freezing on a couple of them took a toll. Same for odes, many fewer dragonflies around now. I did see a half-dozen Firefly at dusk though, a few of them made it through it.

coralsnake
Texas Coral Snake is a stunning beauty. Always remember there are a dozen
harmless snakes with red, black, and either white, cream, or yellow bands.
They are all but one, harmless and beneficial. On all but one the red bands
touch black bands. The only dangerous one is also beneficial as it is beautiful.
It is the only one where the red bands touch yellow bands. It is only dangerous
if you pick it up and play with it, as their mouths are too small otherwise.
So look but don't touch. And remember the old saying:
Red next to black is a friend of Jack,
red next to yellow will kill a poor fellow.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 19 ~ A quarter inch of rain overnight, but low in 50's dF so an improvement in temps. In a.m. .75 counting yesterday, now 3.25" for the last 4 days, 6.25+ for October so far. It is a mucky mess out there. The afternoon saw temps in the 60's, we had 67 (!), the warmest it has been since last Sunday. Finally, a few butterflies even came out briefly. The 360 x-ing was a too dicey for me in our small truck and no weight on back wheels. It had 5-6" roaring hard and fast over it, while the next three crossings northward (1050, county line, and Fisher (couple miles north of town on 187) were all dry. The 360 should have been raised a few inches more when it was raised. It is often marginal when those three are dry.

Saw a FOS Lincoln's Sparrow along the corral as I was leaving, and another along county line road just NW of town. Also had a glimpse of what was likely a White-crowned Sparrow on county line. Did not see any Scissor-tail or Vermilion Flycs along the roads. The park is a muddy mess along the river, especially the woods. I only saw one bird in them, but it was good, an adult female Mourning Warbler, which is surely my latest fall date for one. Still no Yellow-rumped Warbler. Then over to the floodpond on W. Sabinal Rd. by Haby's, in Bandera Co., which was great. A different Plegadis Ibis than the one prior was there, this an adult, the prior an immature. White-faced is the default here and out of breeding plumage it is a dicey ID to make. Also there was one Cattle Egret there, and best, 4 Greater and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. Wow man, BanCo shorebirds on the ground in fall. Awesome. Hard to come by in the west end of the county or the upper Sabinal drainage.

With that, a detour, and back to town via the S. Little Creek floodpond. It had a Belted Kingfisher, a Great Egret, a Great Blue Heron, two Pied-billed Grebe (accidental there), and 2 Coot. Also a hundred Barn Swallow, at least a few Cave in with them. Another hun or two of Barns were scattered over pastures around the area. Then right where 355 hits (or leaves) Little Creek at the 90 deg. corner, there was a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk on a fence post at road's edge! I stopped just in time, got a couple shots through the window, it flew to the dead snags over the floodwater just west of that bend, along the live-oak treeline. Got a few more shots with the window down now. I virtually never see them here in October, much less on the ground. Great bird. Never did stop drizzling the whole couple-and-a-half hours I was out.

Oct. 18 ~ About 49dF for a low, very humid, light breeze, so chilly. Late afternoon and early evening about a half-inch of rain fell. Puts us at 6" for the month and 3" for the week. Not much bird action out there. Have not seen or heard the Canyon Towhee all week, which is quite off considering the cold and rain. Hope a Cooper's Hawk didn't take it. Saw a dozen or so each of Cardinal and Lark Sparrow out there, the pair of Ground-Dove. Orange-crowned Warbler around, and heard White-eyed Vireo still.

The ad. ma. Ruby-throated Hummer is still here with a half-dozen immature males. Waiting for a break to bolt no doubt. It is important to keep feeders up, especially when extended rains in fall, as their main food source, bugs, are not available as usual. This allows them to still build reserves to burn, and keep the tank full and be able to go when they get a chance. We have hundreds of Black-chinned here all summer every year. None ever stayed the winter despite the feeders being there. I have no records Nov. - Jan., only a few records in October, earliest returns are latest February. We have hundreds of Ruby-throats here every fall, none ever stayed the winter Nov. - late March, despite feeders being there.

Having feeders out does NOT keep migratory birds from migrating. This is a myth. They all go, every time, all the time. None of either have ever wintered here. Just like no American Goldfinch or Pine Siskin summer at your feeders here. If one didn't migrate, there is something wrong with the migratory bird. Other hummers have shown up in fall and wintered, cold hardy types (Rufous, Broad-tailed, Anna's), but neither of the two abundant ones that are most commonly present have ever stayed. Despite the free bottomless sugar water special we offer, at your choice of four well presented easy-to-use feeders. By the thousands they leave the feeders every year, like clockwork. To migrate. Because they are migratory birds. It is what they do. See what happens when I can't get out to bird enough?

Oct. 17 ~ Still chilly, damp, and gray, but at least the wind laid back a bit, and we spent much of the day in the lowest 50's dF, so warmer than the last two days. No rain today, but more is inbound. Lots of flooding up on the Llano and Guadalupe Rivers to our north where the rain bomb that hit drained. Also southward on the Nueces below Uvalde it was flood stage from the Real and Edwards Co. rains. Couple rough days out there. Avg. high in Hondo this date is 90dF, today it was lowest 50's at best.

Saw the flock of Lark Sparrows again, and the ad. male Ruby-throat is still here, but I think some hummers took off in the break yesterday. There are fewer around today. Maybe 6 or so it seems. Third day now without a butterfly, dragonfly, or even just a fly. Since I have heard it mentioned, yes there is a lull in the numbers of birds around right now. All the migratory breeding birds are gone for the year. The wintering species have not generally showed up yet. The resident species in fall often leave the feeders for wild food crops. Fall is when fruit, seed, and nut crops ripen and so the birds key in on these at this time. Things like Cardinal, Chickadee, and Titmouse, all regular feeder users, are around far less than normal now. I saw a flock of 75 Lesser Goldfinch on a wild seed crop recently, none at the feeders. Usually it means good food crops and it is not cause to worry. Actually them being at the feeders now would be.

Oct. 16 ~ Stayed in the low 40's dF over night, and we had another rain, and more is to come. I see 2.5" now here, in 24-30 hours. We are at 5.75" for Oct. so far. There was and-or is, some flooding along Nueces and Guadalupe Rivers where they had 5-8" and more. Yesterday later in day Vanderpool and Lost Maples areas were listed for minor flooding (low water crossings out). Likely more of that ongoing with the overnight addition. The river is a lot louder this morning than it was yesterday. We have had 30" of rain since Sept. 2, close to the annual average, in 6 weeks. All I am seeing outside is hummers at the feeders. Had a good count of 14 Lark Sparrow at once on the seed out back. Since I haven't been seeing but a very few, for weeks now, as if the local birds weren't around, I can't help but wonder if these are from elsewhere.

Oct. 15 ~ The front arrived about 1 a.m., light rain and stronger winds. By dawn it was 42dF, with 15-25mph northerly winds, chill factor was about 33-34dF. A big drop from that 85dF yesterday afternoon. I heard of some upper 20's chills up near Vanderpool. It was 32 or so up in the pandhandle early, by 11 a.m., upper 20's dF! Rocksprings was 37 with 15-20 mph winds in rain. Incredible. The record low for Hondo this date is 54dF, so we are over 10dF below the record. Average there is 90dF for a high this date! This is WAYYYYYY early for such an event. At 3:22 p.m. peak heat, Leakey was 39dF with a 31 chill factor. By about 5 p.m. we had .85 of an inch of precip so far. Not much. Must be a dozen Ruby-throats as one feeder is packed (8 ports), the other three seem to be being guarded. Don't know if I will see much through the foggy windows today. Had to find some long pants, moccasins, set up heaters in the fish tanks, and will have to relearn which knob it was in the shower that has hot water.

Oct. 14 ~ Still balmy, which will end late tonight when the front arrives. Last warm day in front of it, and last chance to get anything done to prepare for cold, wet, and windy. They are talking chill factors in the 30's dF tomorrow! This is way early for a few-day period of high temps in the 50's dF. No birds ahead of the front it seemed. The Orange-crowned Warbler around the yard the last 3 days is likely the same bird. Heard the White-eyed Vireo still out there. Had to do a bunch of stuff to get garden and house cold ready so didn't get out. At least a dozen Ruby-throated Hummers around, and saw the ad. ma. in a.m.

Got up to 85dF or so. Watching the Blue Mist Eup I saw a Celia's Roadside-Skipper, a Clouded Skipper, 24 Queens and finally late in day a Monarch, a few Sleepy Orange, Dogface, and Gulf Fritillary, Giant and some Pipevine Swallowtail, a few each Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphurs, and a Vesta Crescent (ph.). A male Little Yellow flew by. At 11:30 p.m. the winds were still out of the south here and no rain yet, but it is coming. Radar showing leading edge of rain and front at northern Bandera Co. and Real Co. nearing Lost Maples.

Oct. 13 ~ Still balmy, low 70's to low 80's dF for a temp spread. A few spits but no real rain as advertised, so far, and they have backed off of chances for tomorrow. Had the Orange-crowned Warbler around yard in morning. Heard a chup that sounded a Black-throated Gray Warbler but could not find it. Had one Nashville. Went to town for a look around. The park had one Common Yellowthroat, nothing else, but a real squeaky alarm note I wish I could have seen the source of, out on the island. The corn field out on Jones Cmty. Rd. just past the cattle guard had 700-800 Barn Swallow over it. Nothing at the W. Sabinal Rd. pond. Nice to see some Shrikes and Kestrels around. Saw the male and female Vermilion Flyc. on the E. side of 360 again, and a few Scissor-tails around.

The pond on the golf course by Waresville Cmty. had at least 5 Thornbush Dasher dragonfly around it, 2 Common Yellowthroat, and one Red-winged Blackbird. At some flower patch stops saw a couple Bordered Patch butterfly, had only seen one this month, a Tawny Emperor (ph.), a Red Admiral, a Eufala Skipper, and a first of month (or three) Common Checkered-Skipper was great, lots of Noctuid (False Underwing) moths. The Clouded Skipper was still on our Blue Mist Eup here (+ 2 doz. Queen). A Vesta Crescent was in the yard late in day as well.

In the afternoon there was a notable uptick in Ruby-throated Hummer numbers here at the hovelita. It was well over a dozen here, maybe 16 or 18, when it had been 4-6. One was an adult male, so clearly new since none in prior 4+ days. A pair of adult Caracara were feeding their single still begging young in a far corner of the yard late in latest afternoon. That red face can really incredibly bright when they are in the mood, or food. Great Firefly show at dusk, which will be over when the cold front hits tomorrow night. So I am taking skeeter bites to enjoy the last couple days of it until April. After the weak flight and early flameout in spring (late May-early June), and almost none all summer, it was great to have a good fall flight in the yard.

Harris's Hawk
The camera dial had moved off of my standard settings so the image is messed up, sorry.
But I liked it anyway for what it showed. This is a sub-adult Harris's Hawk.
I love tweener plumages. The barred feathers are those of an immature. The solid
colored ones (rufous and brown) are those of an adult bird. Tweeners allow you to
see how the molt actually progresses (taken Sept. 7, 2018). And taking photos
gives you a chance to study it at length, leisure, and detail not possible in a
flyby view. Sure there were imm. and ad. feathers, but which was which specifically?

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 12 ~ Low 60's for a low, rain in forecast daily for the next week. A real cold front progged for Mon.-Thurs. keeping temps in the 50's dF! Town run fer stuff. The only thing at the park was a (Texas) Coral Snake, which is as pretty a beast as there is, my first in the park. I got a shot or two, but its head was already hidden. There was nothing at the W. Sabinal Rd. pond but cows. At the S. Little Crk. Rd. pond there was a Green Heron (definitely a migrant there), my FOS American Wigeon (1 male), and a Great Egret. Little Creek Larry mentioned a week ago he had seen a Great Egret around. Lots of pastures had swallows over them. In total I estimate 400-500 at least, and all I saw were Barn. There was a male and female Vermilion Flycatcher on E. 360 over nearish the former Utopia on the River. On W. Sabinal Rd. there were 4 male Scissor-tails together near the pond. About 3 p.m. or so I had my FOS Orange-crowned Warbler in the yard, finally. Heard an Indigo Bunting out back, where seed tossed. Monarch and a couple dozen Queen on the Blue Mist Eup., one Clouded Skipper. The great Firefly show continues, still about 50 going off in or adjacent to yard last half hour of light.

Oct. 11 ~ Low about 60dF, KRVL hit 56! Cloudy in morning, sunny in afternoon, about 76dF or so for a high. Feels like fall. River quieter, but still pretty noisy this morning, after the last couple days of roaring. Maybe by tomorrow the 360 crossing will be usable. At least we have a 'back way' out of here for that. One Hutton's Vireo in the big live-oaks upslope out back, and one Gnatcatcher went through in morning, another in the afternoon. A handful of hummers is all that remain, all imm. male Rubies, in other words, fighters. Some few Turkey Vulture going over southbound. One Monarch, 24 Queen, single Fiery and Clouded Skippers, 2 Mestra. The Firefly show continues at dusk.

Oct. 10 ~ A fantastic low of 57dF with clear dry skies is great. Feels like fall. Ran up to town early, had to go out the back way, the 360 crossing is not doable now. Nothing at the park. The 1050 bridge was obviously covered yesterday, flood debris on edges still. In the pasture with all the cows on Jones Cmty. Rd. south of W. Sabinal Rd. there were 6 Cattle Egret. Nothing on the W.S.R. pond but it looks great again for a couple more weeks. There was a FOS group of 6 Meadowlark, at the north end of town, which looked Western to me. As I pulled back in here shortly after 9 a.m. there were three Nashville Warbler in yard, and about 10 I heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. So there is some migrant motion, it set my migrant motion detector off. But alas it is Wednesday, whence I am hitched to the box o'bolts all day.

Got up to about 78dF in the afternoon, warmish. Saw one Monarch, a couple dozen Queen, a couple Celia's Roadside-Skipper, one Julia's, a Fiery and a Dun Skipper, one male Black and a couple Giant Swallowtail, the Snouts have finally relented. Saw one of the sphinx moths with burnt-orange hind-wings, smaller than a White-lined, not sure of type, and it would not stay anywhere long. It briefly hit the Blue Mist Eups, but was more interested in the Wood-Sorrel. There were maybe a half-dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbird here today, all imm. males. Most of the time there were not any at the feeders. Seems dead out there now. Checked a number of times for some hawk flight behind the front as can happen, I saw nothing. A few Turkey Vulture was it.

Oct. 9 ~ A few little showers overnight off and on, but some real rain arrived in the morning. We got 2.5" in just over an hour. We had .75 since yesterday, so now 3.25" for about 24 hours. There had about 5" or more upvalley around the Sabinal River headwaters and Lost Maples area according to the radar totals. The river was already roaring, but about 11 or noon the water got here and it was major. Out of banks, the 360 crossing down, the river was 100 yards across in spots it is normally 10. Amazing. The front passed by earliest afternoon, skies cleared, dry air filtering in, and wonderful.

The only avian action though was the hummingbird departure. There were three to four dozen here in the morning, and not a dozen in later afternoon, maybe a half-dozen at sundown. They blew out. The northerly winds did not much turn around with frontal passage until much later, after dark. It just cleared, and the southerly flow stopped. They left anyway. I knew they were just tankin' up waiting for the moment to make the move. And they did.

Oct. 8 ~ Some light rain in morning, about two-thirds of an inch. Camp Wood 30 miles west had 5" overnight. Around Lost Maples they got 2-3 inches this morning. One Gnatcatcher in yard. In the afternoon fairly quickly the river got very loud, a rush of water from the rain upvalley this morning was moving downriver. It got way high, a neighbor called and said the crossing was out of the question. We had less than an inch, but the couple or few they got upriver is still mostly all runoff at this point, and many low-water crossings upvalley were not passable obviously. Heard a Ringed Kingfisher over at the river in the late afternoon, probably complaining about the water levels and speed making fishing hard. Great Firefly show at dusk. One Monarch and 25 Queen on the Blue Mist. Snouts finally relenting, only a hundred today. Ad. ma. Ruby-throated Hummer still here with a couple dozen immatures, mostly males.

Oct. 7 ~ Threatened to rain all day but didn't, 70-85dF temp spread. Finally 5:30 or so a near-enough cell gave us a good outflow cooldown, and a couple spits. In the a.m. no migrant motion through the yard. A FOS Swainson's Hawk moved south down the ridge to our west. We walked to the crossing and up the other side of river a bit checking flowers since there weren't any birds, save one male Vermilion Flycatcher and a couple Scissor-tails at south end of corral and at airstrip. No butterflies either. Saw one Eryngo bloom, and a Palafoxia. Lots of Zexmenia, Mealy Sage, Huisache Daisy, Frostweed, and almost nothing on any of it. Heard a Field Sparrow later afternoon. The great Firefly show at dusk continues, at least 50 in yard going off for 20-30 minutes.

Oct. 6 ~ About a 70-85dF spread again, and no migrant motion here in yard, or at the park in town. The Rufous Hummer is not here this a.m., so it did depart yesterday afternoon some time. Canyon Towhee still around out back. A Gnatcatcher went through yard mid-morn. Great was a Two-tailed Swallowtail here on our Lantana in the morning, a Northern Cloudywing too. By the Med. Ctr. at the north end of town was a free roaming male Blackbuck! I was trying to sneak up on it for a photo, but it would have none of that. It ran at times jumping with all four legs in the air at the same time, boing, boing, boing, bouncing along making amazing progress, appearing as if it belonged in a Dr. Suess cartoon. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was awake and not seeing things. Then I remembered, I was in Utopia, where you see crazy shat all the time.

Not a dang thing in the park but heard a warbler chip I couldn't find that was interesting. Sometimes that is all you get. Something to make you say "boy I would really like to see that" in a real serious fightin' words kind of tone. In other words frustration. But no one does it for that...  Not hearing any Yellow-throated Warblers along the river for a week or nearing two now. W. Sabinal Rd. pond had nothing, but the flock of Lesser Goldfinch was still where it was yesterday, 60 at least at once that I saw today. There were also 75 Barn Swallow feeding low over the corn that is now trying to grow in a field by the W. Spring Branch Rd. turn.

So butterfly flowers it is. The library garden had a Rounded Metalmark and a Theona Checkerspot, plus a Monarch, besides a few regulars. Lots of False Underwing moths (Noctuids) everywhere. The deco-garden at the golf course entrance had Fiery and Eufala Skippers, a Sachem, and a Vareigated Meadowhawk dragonfly. Saw one of the Yellow-margined Flower-Buprestid beetles at the garden at the junction of 1050 and 187. I got a count of 31 Queen at once on our Blue Mist Eup. The patches at the library garden, and the 1050x187 garden are both shot, eaten up like ours was the last two years. Still thousands of Snout out there, but certainly less than there were the last week.
Painted Bunting
Be careful throwing seed out, you might catch one of these.
This is one of three plumages you may see on a first spring
male Painted Bunting. Most, look like females, all green, and
paler below, some of which have molted back into brighter green
as this bird. Then there is a type with some blue in head which
increases over summer, and which are brighter yellow below.
These salmon below types stay this way all summer and never get
blue on head while here. Note the back, scapulars, and maybe
some wing coverts are not the dull original juvenile feathers
like head, wing, and tail, they have been replaced, are fresh, and
bright lime green. Some of this type are more evenly salmon below.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct 5 ~ Still balmy 71dF for a low, clouds in a.m., sunny and warm (85dF) in p.m. No migrant movement around yard. Town run, the park remains remarkably dead. Out Jones Cmty. Rd. past the cemetery and 2nd cattle guard I had a single flock of 75 Lesser Goldfinch going down in some weeds that looked sorta like beggars ticks but weren't. There were also a dozen Chipping Sparrow which seemed like migrants to me, new arrivals. Nothing at the W. Sabinal Rd. pond. The S. Little Creek Rd. pond though had one Greater Yellowlegs, a very good fall bird here on the ground, plus 4 Killdeer. Also there and great was a male Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly, my FOY, and scarce in BanCo. I saw several hundreds of Black Saddlebags while driving around, there must be thousands going by. Finally saw a Hackberry Emperor (lep) on the patio early that was so beat and worn, it obviously wasn't from around here. Queen count on the Blue Mist peaked at 25 at once. There was one new Monarch here, and two at the library garden, where there was also my FOY Texas Wasp Moth. The imm.ma. Rufous and the ad.ma. Ruby-throated Hummer continue here at the hovel, besides a few dozen imm. Rubies, seemingly males. Only thing flying south at dusk was a half-dozen Barn Swallow. Firefly show continues to be great, 50-60 just in the front yard is awesome.

Oct. 4 ~ Maybe 70dF for a low, some low clouds, humid. Great to hear some Scissor-tails calling lots early. But which means they will be gone in a couple weeks. No migrants through yard. Been seeing high-flying southbound Turkey Vultures for a week now, some of which I suspect are migrants. Lots of Black Saddlebags dragonflies still, like hundreds must be going by. A few Red mixed in and the occasional Green Darner. A Green Lynx Spider was on the big pecan trunk (ph.). In the morning I counted 23 Queens on the Blue Mist Eupatorium about 10 a.m. All hail the mighty Blue Mist. Our patch is maybe 14 square feet, on either sides of the steps up the front porch. It has over a hundred stalks with flower heads now, finally, for the first great bloom in four years (but so far in a bad fall for butterfly diversity and numbers). Those dang caterpillars destroyed it the last two years, so we are enjoying this. The Red Turks Cap and Tropical Sage are still going, but past peaks. Lots of Straggler Daisy blooming, and over in corral Huisache Daisy is going well.

One interesting event was a communal butterfly roost. There is a spot with some dead branchlets on a pecan where often Pipevine Swallowtails hang up and roost. I have had 5-10 fairly close together doing this regularly. Nearing last sun, I watched a Monarch fly over to that tree and hang up. Thought it was near where the Pipevines do that so walked over and sure enough in a couple cubic feet was 3 Pipevine Swallowtail, 1 Queen, and the Monarch. So three species hanging up to roost, together. I did not keep an eye on it to see if more Queens went there but saw another spot on a Hackberry where a number of Queen were hanging up.

Oct. 3 ~ Low scattered clouds, humid, 71dF at daybreak. Heard Hutton's and White-eyed Vireo, one Gnatcatcher. Great was a Black Rock Squirrel out back (ph.), what a beautiful animal. Interestingly the locals in general are mostly fairly down on them since they burrow and undermine things like sheds and such. I wish the Fox (tree) Squirrels had the decades of population pressure put on them that the Rock (ground) squirrels have. The tree (Fox) squirrels are the ones living on bird eggs and young all summer, and whose populations are unchecked and out of control.

The Snout flight continues to wane, but still hundreds going by eastward. I counted 19 Queen at once on the Blue Mist Eup, nary a Monarch or Soldier to be seen. Did see a Speckled (marcellina) Cloudless Sulphur, a Red Admiral was new, and the female So. Broken-dash continues, Gulf Frits, the odd Lyside and Dogface, a dozen plus Large Orange Sulphur, a few Giant Swallowtail, a Julia's Skipper (ph.) late in day. Overall though, butterfly diversity is still WAY WAY down for fall, hopefully an invasion of something besides Snouts will happen. We have the bloom goin' now, but few butterflies.

An adult male Ruby-throated Hummer was the first in a couple weeks, a new arrival. The imm. ma. Rufous type is still here beating stuff up. Had one Gnatcatcher, one warbler seet was likely a Nashville, a buzzy one was not a Yellow but got away. Again a couple Chimney Swift went over at dusk. The Firefly show is great, at least 50 were going off in or adjacent to the yard at dusk.

Oct. 2 ~ Still about 70dF for a low, 83 for a high. Dryish in afternoon after some mist and sprinkles in the morning. Nothing moving for birds early. A Gnatcatcher at noon. Canyon Towhee still around, Kathy saw it at the mirror of the big truck out back. Perhaps Narcissus would be a good name? Most of the action was bugs. I saw a group of 50 baby grasshoppers all together on one of our corn leaves, but they exploded off of it as I approached with camera. They were edge to edge like sardines, and half the leaf was missing. When they all jumped all that was left was frass. Hmmmmm.... A Field Guide to Frass. Got a nice ring to it.

Lots of Black Saddlebags dragonflies, like hundreds still. Mostly it was butterflies at the flowers around the porch. Sure great to sit in a chair and watch a show on my breaks outside. Had Monarchs #6 and 10 both continuing, and #11 and 12 went by heading southwest, as all, and any migrant. The Soldier was still around, 13 Queens was peak count, two female Southern Broken-Dash, a Celia's Roadside-Skipper, 2 Dun Skipper, couple Giant, one Black, and a dozen or two Pipevine Swallowtail. Still hundreds of Snout but the flight is easing. Thousands went by over the day surely, but not like it was. A dozen Large Orange Sulphur, a couple stopped on the Lantana, couple So. Dogface, and the usual stuff like Gulf Frit, Sleepy Orange, etc. Three dozen plus Firefly at dusk is a nice show. Eastern Screech-Owl calling after dark.

October 1 ~ Gadzooks it is October!?!?!? The 69dF low felt nice. One migrant early in yard, an Orchad Oriole. We are on the second, or back, half of fall migration. The main bulk movement of neotropical migrants that pass through this area has passed. Things are still good on the coasts, but way inland here August and September are really the biggest months for that sort of movement here. October sees the tail-end of that, but more is the arrival of species that winter this far north or nearly so. The mostly insectivores going way way south, are mostly south of us now. It is a great month for strays though so keep yer eyes peeled and fingers crossed.

Heard White-eyed and Hutton's Vireo. In the late afternoon an imm. male Rufous or Allen's Hummingbird arrived and promptly proceeded to kick 6 Rubies arses off a feeder, apparently it is one of those that likes to drink alone. Two-thirds of a Monarch continues here now on day 5. Then the 10th one of the fall showed up later in afternoon. Saw the female Southern Broken-Dash and the female Whirlabout again today as well, a male Black and a couple Giant Swallowtail, and probably the same Soldier came in again too. Another Danaus trifecta day. Nearing last sun at least two Chimney Swift went over calling.

~ ~ ~ September summary ~ ~ ~

In a word, wet. On average about two feet of rain fell locally in September. Some places were 22", we were closer to 26" at our place. It was a gully washer and drought buster. River is roaring again, there is a fall flower bloom. It is greener than it has been in months. Temps were often in the low 80's dF, about 10dF under average for much of the month. And not one person complained. All the rain beat the summer heat outta here early.

Butterflies were very weak though, partly due to rain, and not being able to get out, me or them. But many common things are missing. No Hackberry Emperor, no Common Checkered-Skipper, no Bordered Patch. Stuff that is usually abundant, is just plain missing. I saw 36 species locally for the month, 2nd worst Sept. ever, only at peak of drought in worst year ever here (2011) was worse.

Same for dragonflies, too much rain for them. I only saw 18 species over the month, way down in diversity. Nothing but the most common expected types too. Variegated Meadowhawk was the one new thing I saw that hasn't been flying here all summer, at the W. Sabinal Rd. floodpond. Fair numbers of the migrants, Wandering and Spot-winged Glider, Red Saddlebags, and most numerous was Black Saddlebags. Some Green Darners too. Orange-striped Threadtail were still flying at the park mid-month.

In birds there were 106 species for me locally. Again, outings were severely hampered by rain events most weekends of the month. But the rain knocked down some very good birds too. An AMERICAN BITTERN was likely the bird of the month, since seemingly a new BanCo record. Second place goes to the LEAST SANDPIPER on a flooded fairway at the golf course. Great birds locally. A Black-crowned Night-Heron at the park was my first ever there. An Ibis, presumed White-faced, at Haby's W. Sabinal Rd. floodpond was great, though actually others have seen Ibis at that pond in fall before. A couple Long-billed Curlew, a Solitary Sandpiper, and a Coot were also all LTA - less than annual - things not sure to see here in fall here so good birds locally. Was my earliest fall Coot date locally by a week.

Warblers have been weak at best so far, still a few Black-n-white, one Northern Waterthrush, some Yellow, Wilson's, and Nashvilles. No vireos but the local types. One sub-ad. Harris's Hawk was nice. A good showing of Mourning Warbler, maybe 7-8, was nice but not out of the normal range of numbers. A male MacGillivray's is only my third fall MacGill here. Probably two Yellow-bellied Flycatcher were in the yard, which is another LTA treat for me here.

~ ~ ~ end September summary ~ ~ ~

Sept. 30 ~ Wow, seems like we just started the month and its over. We went to Lost Maples since we were rained out all month. Checked the W. Sabinal Rd. pond on the way, nothing there, a couple Kestrel and 3 Scissor-tails in that area. Lost Maples was very slow for birds. The migratory breeders are essentially all gone, and the wintering species have yet to arrive, so it is an inbetween time for two of the big groups of birds that use the park, breeders, and winterers. Though it is a great time for a vagrant, we did not see any. Just a few of the residents. Flowers are great though.

We mostly birded the lower parts of the main canyon and did not go to ponds and beyond as usual. We did the Maples Trail and beyond that a ways (where good flowers), the first third mile of the ponds trail, the HQ and Day Use areas, the campground, etc. In fall often birds collect more in lower parts of canyons, upper parts can be emptyish. I did not see any Mayfly hatch going on, which is usually where the best fall action is. The heavy rains probably washed everything away. The feeding station is decomissioned I presume for the season so deader than a doornail there. It was too cool most of the time for leps or odes, mostly it was just a bunch more Snouts. I am sure if you went there from 1-5 p.m. you would see bugs.

Best bird was a fungus. The youngest freshest ones were a shiny bright red looking drippy wet, lacquered, and which was sticky. A look at my Field Guide to Fungus (shroom guide) suggests it was one of the genus Hygrocybe. See a pic below. Saw a nice Green Sunfish at the first crossing past HQ. Maples are still nice and green, usually Nov. for them, but many Sycamores are yellow to brown and dropping leaves. Saw one really good Clammy-weed in bloom. One Northern Cloudywing and one Variegated Fritillary (butterflies).

For birds it was slow. Heard a FOS Common Yellowthroat, had a couple maybe three Nashville Warbler, that was it for warblers. Maybe 2-3 each Summer Tanager and White-eyed Vireo, plus one Hutton's, which was it for vireos. Heard 2-3 Scrub-Jays, a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, saw a Canyon Wren, some Cardinals, Titmouse (Black-crested), Carolina Wren and Chickadee, Bewick's Wren, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, heard Inca Dove, Red-shouldered Hawk, Turkey and Black Vulture, Common Ravens, Chipping Sparrows (some singing), Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, but nothing unexpected. Great to finally be able to get out and walk around without being rained on. A couple miles was much needed. Did not detect Olive Sparrow or White-tipped Dove. They can get quiet after breeding season.

Saw one Monarch on the way home at a Frostweed patch. Back here at the hovelita, the two-thirds of a Monarch is still here. There was another female Whirlabout, and two Southern Broken-Dash. The female was wing-flicking at the male, he was slowly circling her, and then, then, he went to a flower! What a dingbat. If they had ears and could hear I would have yelled at him " can't you see her flicking her wings?!"

Sept. 29 ~ What a surprise, some showers. Before sunup, while still dark out I was on front porch and a skunk (Striped) walks by about 5' away. Part of you thinks you should run away, but I thought jumping up might startle it, you know what could happen. So I froze, it stopped and turned, looked at me, and kept going. But I guess due to the light rain, it STUNK to high heaven. I have had them walk by and barely detected anything. Maybe it had applied a squirt or two recently. Before you know it the smell is inside the house... and doesn't seem to be going away. When the air is saturated with moisture the stink really has some serious hang time, and seems to really stick. If you want to perform a highly technical test to illustrate that complex scientific priciple, go fart in the shower.

Didn't amount to much, maybe .15-.2" or so. Best was at 9 a.m. hearing Long-billed Curlews! It was (at least) two birds calling in light showers heading toward airstrip and pasture adjacent. The valley is mostly pastures so just a matter of them choosing which. I ran out and as they moved south I could tell calls were coming from two not-identical directions. Great bird from the yard here, had one a couple times Oct. 2013 that was hanging out in the area a couple weeks.

Put a half-dozen Blacktail Shiners and a couple Red-breasted Sunfish back in the river. I got to watch a pair of the Shiners I caught last year, spawn repeatedly all summer until they expired, from it, I suppose. I can attest professionally, they were happy fish. I had caught these others going after some Mexican Tetra I missed. Need to keep room open in case those get dumber or I get smarter and catch some. The Sunfish you can only keep one to a tank if males. They are mean as Texas Cichlids (Rio Grande Perch) to each other. Like Bettas, but worse. So I saved the meanest bastard of the bunch and put the others back. But he's real pretty. I was going after Bantam Sunfish when I caught the Red-breasts, and Mexican Tetras when I got the Blacktail Shiners. If a guy was this bad at catching the right thing in a fish warehouse he'd be fired. P.S. I used to work, catching fish in a fish warehouse.  ;)

Took a spin around since I was out freeing Willies at the crossing. Nothing on golf course, nothing at the park, nothing over town, or at north end, at the library garden - nada, and the wet spot on W. Sabinal Rd. - had zilch, zip. Struck out swinging. Best bird was the Curlews from the desk in the morning. Though not one to come home empty handed, I noticed Big Ern's B-B-Q shack was open, because my rictal bristles twitched as I drove by earlier, and sure enough they still had pork ribs. Guess what we are having for dinner. When you got these, you don't need no stinkin' birds. Still lots of Snouts today, especially when sun was out, north of town in BanCo. Many many thousands again. The Monarch #6 which is only two-thirds at best of a Monarch is still here at porch flowers on day 3, and #7 showed up. Saw the Southern Broken-Dash again, and the Celia's too.

Hygrocybe species
Methinks this mushroom is one of the Hygrocybe genus (maybe cf. punicea).


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 28 ~ Another 60dF low is fantastic, oh to feel cool air. Surprised still no real migrant movement after the front. At the park there was one Yellow and one Mourning Warbler. That was it. Nothing at the W.Sabinal Rd. or S. Little Creek ponds, save 2 Killdeer and a Gnatcatcher at the latter. No Vermilions along 10 miles of roads and fences. They are outta here. Best bird was at dusk, now at 7 p.m.(!), three Chimney Swift flew over, luckily one called. Probably migrants from way north somewhere. Heard an Indigo Bunting and a Least Flycatcher out front last light.

Among 13 Queens today was the same worn, torn and frayed Monarch missing half both of its left wings, but no Soldier today. Also had a Southern Broken-Dash, Clouded Skipper, and a Celia's Roadside-Skipper in porch flowers. The Snout flight has calmed down a bit, yesterday hopefully was peak, it and the day before were off the charts. Millions of them had to have gone by. I have no clue how wide or long the movement was, but when it takes three days to pass point x, it was a snotload of Snouts, especially on the windshields and radiators.

Sept. 27 ~ WeeWow we just got on the low side of 60dF, maybe 59.5 or so for a low this morning! Probably the coolest it has been since April, in five months. OMG. KRVL had a 56dF low! If you heard some whoopin' and hollerin' it may have been me. Nice dryer north breeze on it too. Wow. A couple Kestrel flew over northbound, low and slow, they probably just got here. Heard the Hutton's again. No ad.ma. Ruby-throats, about 20 or so immatures that seem mostly or all male. No migrant bird movement. Thought there might be with the northerlies, but before midnight clouded up at altitude so likely shut it down north of us. Maybe tomorrow? Hoped the eternal optimist birder.

We are now at a kagillion Snouts. Blew right past a zillion, and a bazillion, to a kagillion. There are a couple or few thousand in the yard. I watched one dragging tongue across and probing at the pecan leaf, clearly attempting to imbibe the sap (ph.) the leaves secrete. It was forging around walking leaf to leaf repeatedly probing with proboscis. In the afternoon among a dozen Queens on the Blue Mist Eup., I finally saw my first Soldier of the year (ph.). A female Black Swallowtail was on the Lantana. In the afternoon two Monarch showed up, #5 and 6 in five days now since the first. One was in good condition, one horribly worn (ph.) missing almost half of left fore, and hind wings, and some of the rights. So had a Danaus trifecta with all 3 milkweed butterflies here today: Monarch, Queen, and Soldier. Got some more yard work done late.

Sept. 26 ~ A balmy 73dF for a low, supposed to rain later. Got up to 85dF or so in afternoon. Today is an anniversary of sorts, it was 15 years ago today I rolled into town, 3 days after leaving L.A. Three because I birded a few hours each morning on the way, despite having told my wife I was coming straight here. It was really weird how when I got up each morning I was at some awesome amazing birding place, in late September. What was I to do?  ;)   Leased the N. Thunder Creek 'hay house' today, 15 years ago. It was another month before we got here with the big truck, but this was the day we knew where we were going to park it. Time sure flies out here. In the big city it goes slower because you are watching the clock so much, waiting for the bell to ring. So you can go get in line some more again.

Couple Nashville Warbler went through in morning, heard a Hutton's Vireo toward the draw. A couple warbler seet notes went through I missed. Probably more Nashville. No male Vermilion, it is gone. Sure was nice since March. Still Scissors flying back and forth daily calling often, but these are not local breeders, they are a fall staging population that comes in from elsewhere. Three ad.ma. Ruby-throats in the morning, saw none in p.m. Though with the afternoon frontal arrival seemed to be a wave of new immatures and maybe 18 or so are out there again.

Still a bazillion Snouts going by. Vector is a little south of the due east of yesterday. The front got here about 2 p.m. with a nice outflow boundry, a couple spits of rain, and breezy NE winds. Monarch #4 (in four days) was here an hour in the afternoon, nectaring on the Blue Mist Eup and the Lantana, but passed on the Frostweed. Two Giant Swallowtail were out there, and a male Black. The porch flowers are working. Ten Queens. More yard work before last light. A couple dozen firefly made for a nice show at dusk. Since the spring flight was weak and burned out early, very nice.

Sept. 25 ~ Gulf flow and moisture returned for a balmy morning again. Today is the hot day ahead of another front. The only movement in yard in a.m. was Snout butterflies, lots of them. Hundreds as soon as it started to warm, and it seems yesterday's flight will continue. They are rain chasers. They are moving around lots on the pecan leaves, I presume they are getting some of the sap on the leaves. Which are quite sticky and even drip during nut grow-out.

The other thing out there is a couple begging just-fledged Cooper's Hawks, often following an adult. So they got a second brood out this year. Though the first was just one. I heard one yesterday, but this is likely why there are fewer birds around the yard the last few days. Had some kind of flycatcher fly by when I was out there about 11 a.m., maybe an Olive-sided. Also had a quick look at what surely was a Merlin as it shot by, but not enough to give it the FOS date. Surely it was one.

Turned out a major Snout flight day. Many tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands. One time Kathy watered the patio (not to grow it) and hundreds were on it nearly immediately. Hundreds on the pecans appearing to be trying to imbibe some of that sticky nectar off the leaves. Clouds of Snouts. Monarch #3 for the fall (in last 3 days) was on the Blue Mist Eupatorium among 8 or so Queens. It hit a Lantana as well, as did a nice male Black, and a Giant Swallowtail. Celia's Roadside-Skipper still around.

At least a dozen Firefly last night and tonight, which is nice considering how weak the spring flight was, and how quickly it burned out. I turned the porch light on for an hour and half at dark. Got two small uninteresting moths and a Mirid. Give me a break. OK, there were some gnatish things, a Snout butterfly and two little tiny scarabs. It is amazing you can turn on lights outside at night and not get covered in bugs. I wish someone had a good explanation for me. It has been like this most of the summer. Nothing compared to usual. Most of the avian insectivores left early too. For bugs, turns out the good old days were just a few years ago.

Sept. 24 ~ A nice dry low at 67dF felt outstanding, northerly flow. A wee bit of movement in the a.m., a couple or few Yellow Warbler went through, a couple seet notes got away, a Gnatcatcher, an imm. Indigo Bunting and about 10 a.m. the nervous excitement of fall arrived, in the form of a FOS Ruby-crowned Kinglet! A way down south, you know it is fall ... when you hear an RcK chididitting for the first time in months. Not hearing or seeing my male Vermilion today though, it might have departed. That is why it was singing a lot the last few days. They increase it after a fairly quiet period, the last few days before they leave the breeding territory for the season. Lots of birds do this.

Probably a dozen or so Ruby-throated Hummingbird left, at least one is an adult male. Cooper's Hawk diving on stuff, probably why it is a bit slow at the seed lately. Just a few Lark Sparrows around, and a few House Finches, and a fair number of Cardinal (a dozen plus), and the doves have been mighty skittish.

In leps a female Whirlabout was on a Lantana here today, first of the month, there have been very few skippers around. Celia's Roadside-Skipper was on the Blue Mist Eupatorium, as was a Texas Powdered-Skipper. In the afternoon a thousand plus Snout went by, west to east. Giant Swallowtail was around, a few each Orange, and Large Orange Sulphur, a Lyside, couple Vesta Crescent, Gulf Fritillary, a Mestra, a few things anyway besides the Queens on the Blue Mist. Fair bit of sun, dry, pretty darn nice out. Late afternoon a very beat and worn Monarch was around briefly, second one of the fall after the first yesterday.

Sept. 23 ~ Overcast and northerly flow, but it did not get down into the 60's as advertised. River still roaring. A couple Yellow Warblers early. About 11 a.m. I went out to check a few spots. Right out the gate in front of the corral there were a couple FOS Clay-colored Sparrow right on time. A couple Indigo Bunting in the grasses there too, and several Orchard Oriole. Heard Least Flycatcher, the male Vermilion sang a few, and a Scissor-tail also called.

At the park there were no migrants. Little Creek Larry said he had Belted Kingfisher yesterday at his creek. At the pond near Haby's on W. Sabinal Rd. there was an Ibis, which are default White-faced here until proven otherwise. Good bird here. There was nothing at the S. Little Creek Ponds but a small group of Chipping Sparrows there may have been migrants, instead of the locals. At some stop there was a FOS House Wren calling jee-jee-jee, and at the bend on 355 at the deer farm a pair of Canyon Towhee again. Nothing on the golf course. At the Frostweed patch at the old Preston Place there were 3 Nashville Warbler, and a Yellow-throated Warbler was in the big Cypresses. Plus my FOS Monarch butterfly, finally. No early ones this year.

Since it is roughly the equinox, I went out Seco Ridge to the magic Evergreen Sumac bush and sure enough one of the metallic green and orange-red Cerambycid beetles was on it (Stenapsis verticalis insignis). Checked a number of them, they seem past peak bloom already, nothing on 'em but bees. Which were also all over the Bee-brush (aka Kidneywood) which is going full bore since the rains. While I was gone Kathy had a couple Nashville, a Yellow, a Wilson's, and a Black-and-white Warbler go through the yard.

Sept 22 ~ Happy Equinox! I had everything in perfect balance for at least a minute or two. There was a half-inch of rain here overnight, and the river is roaring again, so up-valley must have gotten a good cell. I heard later Sabinal 20 mi. south had 4" from it. The actual front got here this morning. It was 72dF all night until 6 a.m., and by 7 it was below 70, at 9 it was 65dF with 10-15mph northerlies on it. It feels like fall!

But no migrants. They must have been grounded north of us. All I had was a Yellow Warbler and a Least Flycacher that are likely ones that have been here. That means tomorrow there should be a push behind it said the eternal optimist birder that is usually wrong predicting migration events here. Got some yard work done though.

Outstanding was a photographed Piratic Flycatcher at South Llano River St. Pk. near Junction. This is a mega-rarity vagrant from Mexico or further south. I thought I had one once out on Seco Ridge, and a buddy and I saw one at Falcon Lake St. Pk. in early August about '96. It is a species I actually mention on the Utopia Park bird list page, as an idea for something super mega-rare that maybe could possibly occur.



Stenapsis verticalis insignis
One of my favorite Cerambycids (Longhorn Beetles)
Stenapsis verticalis insignis on Evergreen Sumac
on which they meet to eat flowers and mate in September.
But only certain special "magic" chosen plants that
they use year after year, generation after generation.
Body and antennae each are nearly 2" long.
Sorry about having to shoot against white sky.
You take these any way you can get them.




~ ~ ~ archive copy of update header - partial ~ ~ ~

Things change fast all fall. By the end of August the Black-chinned Hummers have blown out, and have been replaced by Ruby-throated which were thick a couple weeks but have mostly departed already. Blue Grosbeak and Yellow-breasted Chat also mostly depart in later August. Some long-distance migrants arriving or passing recently are: Yellow Warbler and Upland Sandpiper (Aug 11th), and Least (Aug 12th) and Willow (Aug 15th) Flycatcher. Birds are on the move. These can only be termed 'fall migrants'. They breed far to our north and winter far to our south. A Broad-winged Hawk was here on August 30. Blue-winged Teal was reported Aug. 29th. On September 1 there were FOUR Mourning Warbler at Utopia Park. Sept. 3 I saw three first of fall sps.: L. Shrike, Spotted Sandpiper, and two Wilson's Warbler. My first Nashville Warbler showed up Sept. 6. On Sept. 7 there was a LEAST SANDPIPER at the golf course, Blue-winged Teal at the S. Little Creek ponds, and a Harris's Hawk on 187 at the golf course entrance. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was in our yard Sept. 7, and seemingly a different one on the 9th. Sept. 9 there was an AMERICAN BITTERN on S. Little Creek Rd at the southerly smaller floodpond, in Bandera County. Sept. 14 there was a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Utopia Park up on the island, and, an adult male MacGillivray's Warbler went through our yard. An ad. male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was at our feeders a bit Sept. 15-17. Solitary Sandpiper and Northern Waterthrush and a Coot showed up on Sept. 21. Clay-colored Sparrow, White-faced Ibis, House Wren showed on the 23rd. A big (for its size) sign of fall was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet Sept. 24.

~ ~ ~ back to the regularly scheduled drivel ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 21 ~ Still on the balmy side, come on cold front. Not much for migration motion in yard, seems like a blowout last night and nothing new. Maybe 50 Ruby-throats out there, but less than half that at once. Town run fer shtuff. Did not see the swallows at the north end of town, they could have been out feeding. At Utopia Park there was an imm. Green Kingfisher, a Green Heron, and my FOS Northern Waterthrush. At Haby's W. Sabinal Rd. wetspot there was my FOS Solitary Sandpiper, and at the bigger pond on S. Little Creek, there was one single Coot, my FOS, and an early date for them.

South of town along road was a group of 20 Turkey, a couple hens and the rest poults, young of the year, now well-grown. Heard a Least Flycatcher out front later in afternoon. A group of 5 Scissor-tails flew over northbound about 4 p.m., methinks the fall birds that stage here for a month, and which are from elsewhere. Lots of pecan trees are turning yellow and many have dropped lots of their leaves already. Looking more and more like fall out there, and just in time, it starts tomorrow. Still waiting for the advertised rain. A minor front, but a front, is supposed to arrive tomorrow morning now. Might be good for birds out there when it hits.

Sept. 20 ~ Another 71dF warmish low, can't wait for the 60's to return, they say next week a weak cold front should bring them. Slow in the yard, yesterday was the movement day. One Yellow Warbler, the same Wilson's on day 9, a Gnatcatcher, and a Scissor-tail were around. The male Vermilion still here, and it sung a few measures at dawn. Canyon Towhee still out there. Maybe 50 Ruby-throats left, though I only saw a couple dozen at once, tops. There were a half-dozen Turkey in the corral, saw a Chimney Swift (called) at last sun. Flushed an Obscure Underwing moth. Saw the Pearl Crescent I saw yesterday again today in yard, they are a beauty. Better was a Dusky-blue Groundstreak of which I haven't seen one in a couple months.

The Blue Mist Eupatorium is starting to get going, several Queens out there already all the time. We planted patches on either side of the steps at the front porch. The bloom the last two years was shot due to a caterpillar of some sort devastating it. I hand-picked 150+ of the little bastards off it those two years and barely saved the two patches. So the last good bloom was 4 years ago, and it is finally looking good-to-go again. It is magic butterfly honey. A couple dozen Large Orange Sulphur went by over the day. Been seeing a couple Orange Sulphur here and there. Hopefully we will get a good fall southern invasion from Mexico this year, last year there was none.

Sept. 19 ~ A balmy 71dF for a low, low stratus and humid. Last sunny warm day before another rain event is set to start for the weekend. Which will continue the streak of every weekend this month. And lots of between. There was migrant movement last night, wish I could go birding. Wed. and Thurs. are pretty well out of the question for me, I have to be at the desk and computer.

Heard the male Vermilion sing a few measures, and a Scissor-tail gave one measure of song. Early there were Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, a couple Gnatcatcher, and all at once in the kitchen window pecan, 2 Nashville, 2 Wilson's, and a Yellow Warbler. One of the Willys was the same half-capped bird, still here, day 8. Mid-morn a Dickcissel. Heard the Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos. Saw a Pearl Crescent butterfly.

In morning no hummers but Rubies, after not hearing either the Rufous or Broad-tailed in the afternoon yesterday (only heard the Rufous in the morning). The Broad-tail must have left the afternoon before. There was a huge major departure today. After a fair number left yesterday and the day before. It is not 400-500 anymore of this past weekend, was maybe only 300 yesterday. This morning it was about 250, and at the end of they day it wasn't 50. A couple hundred departed today. It is as if someone turned on a Ruby-throat vacuum.

Sept. 18 ~ Still in drying out mode here. Nice to get a break, supposed to get a few more days of rain this coming weekend. Better than 95dF anyway, was about 85dF today, not bad, but humid. Same migrants: Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, the first fall Wilson's Warbler on day 7 here, a Gnatcatcher, Least Flycatcher, and best was hearing a Blue Grosbeak. Our local breeders have been gone a few weeks now, so a transient. A couple Field Sparrows I have been seeing or hearing nearly daily the last couple weeks may be local breeders. Saw one of the big black Caterpillar Hunter Carib beetles. Saw a male Black and a Giant Swallowtail, Orange and Lyside Sulphur, a Celia's Roadside-Skipper and a Texas Powdered-Skipper. The Rufous Hummer was here early, but not the Broad-tailed, neither were here in the afternoon. They are gone. And so are many Ruby-throats. Depatures are underway.

Sept. 17 ~ No rain today, finally. River still roaring, and over some crossings, like ours. A great showing of Wood-Sorrel has popped from the precip, and some Crow-poison is going too. The whole yard came up in Straggler Daisy which is a great leafy little ground cover. Tropical Sage is blooming well now, and the Frostweed is going. Birds were about the usual same. Amazing is that half-capped (probably a first fall male) Wilson's Warbler is still here, now on day 6! Heard the Yellow-throated Vireo. Male Vermilion still here. A couple Baltimore Oriole, a couple Yellow Warbler, a couple Gnatcatcher, couple Least Flycatcher, seems like the Orchard Orioles have mostly passed, the Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummers continued. Some Rubies are leaving, numbers going down. Some Upland Sandpipers at dusk taking off for their night flight, I wish I could find the pastures they go down in for the day.

Saw two and got fuzzy photos of the neat black, red, and white, Opilionids, which are Harvestman, aka Daddy Longlegs. Which are not spiders though most think they are. Note they have one body segment, head to abdomen is all one piece. True spiders have a cephalothorax (thorax with head as one piece) and an abdomen, two body segments. Insects have three body segments, head, thorax, and abdomen (and six legs instead of the eight of arachnids).

Sept. 16 ~ Another half-inch of rain overnight. More to come today they say. We are just over 4" for this event so far, from late Friday evening to early Sunday morning. And we are now at TWO FEET of rain for September, so far. We can hear the river roaring, so will have to go out back way to get out. A few birds were around the yard mid-morn. Single male Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, a couple Yellow Warbler and Least Flycatcher, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, an imm. or fem. Indigo Bunting, heard the Yellow-throated Vireo so it is still around, just being quiet in all the rain. The ad.fem. Rufous Hummer is out there. Finally about 3:30 p.m. I heard the male Broad-tailed Hummer out there. Guessing over 450 Ruby-throats out there.

Noonish I was out front and had in a half hour at least 6 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a different fem. Indigo Bunting, an ad.fem. Baltimore Oriole, one of those beautiful brightly colored imm. Bell's Vireo, and a Nashville Warbler. After lunch we took a spin around to check the flood ponds. The main 360 crossing was not doable, went around the back way. Park pond is fullest I have seen in a long time. Only the highest spots on the island are above water. The northerly bigger of the two S. Little Creek ponds is over 10 acres now, pushin' 20, but had nothing but two Cattle Egret on a dead tree on far side. The golf course had bluebirds, a couple Baltimore Oriole, and a Yellow Warbler.

About 4: to 6:p.m. we had another torrential downpour as another band of INVEST 95L moved over. At one point we got an inch in a half-hour. By 6 it was 1.75" more! Gadzooks! So 26" and counting for the event now, and 6" for this weekend, from a different system that caused the 20" in the 10 days prior. At dusk to rub salt in a wound, after looking at hundreds of acres of pastures as we drove around today and seeing no grasspipers, at least 3 single Upland Sandpipers called from low and clearly were just getting up to fly for the night. They were out there, I just couldn't find them.

Sept. 15 ~ A little bit of light showers overnight, some real showers mid-morning were over an inch, then more in the afternoon. Yard had a couple Least Flycatcher, and a Yellow Warbler but that seemed it. Ran over to golf course noonish while rain was light, nothing there. On way back though on 360 out front of the former Utopia on the River there was my FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher on a powerline. By 4 p.m. here we were at 2" of rain for the day, minus the quarter-inch that was there from yesterday. What a surprise, another wet one. Now at 22" for the month here at our hovel.

At 4 p.m. I repeatedly heard a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird around the feeders and Turks-Cap. Feeders are hung in the worst way for observational lighting so I only saw it fly off a couple times, but with that great cricket trill of flight, there is no doubt what it is. The cloud of hummers (Rubies) when the rain lets up is amazing. Hundreds, it sounds like a B-25 bomber is on the porch. Probably nearly 500. The Rufous or Allen's is still here, I saw the throat patch well, it is an adult female. Here, default is Rufous until proven otherwise.

Another band of rain came in around 7 p.m. and by time it was past 1.75" MORE had fallen. So 3.5" for the day, and 3.75-80 counting the evening prior's quarter-inch plus. This weekend's rain is a tropical wave that tried to gain circulation before and after it made landfall. A week ago it was off Yucatan, crossed the Gulf over the week and had it been going 5-10 instead of over 15mph it would have been a named system, instead of INVEST 95L. Spiraling bands of heavy winds and rain at times looked just like the hurricane logo-icon. A lot of the central coast got 4-8" from it.

Oak Hairstreak
(Southern) Oak Hairstreak

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 14 ~ Scattered showers around, as of 4 p.m. we had only a brief passing one. Yard had a couple Yellow Warbler, Kathy saw the same male Wilson's Warbler here its third day now. I saw it later, and heard it again, it does not have the usual dry dchit note for a call but something nearer a Myrtle Warbler. No Yellow-throated Vireo or Warbler, they may have departed. Heard a Least Flycatcher and a Hutton's Vireo. Did the town run errands thing. There were 6 Common Grackle that flew over town, and which may be migrants from elsewhere. The 80+ swallows at the north end of town appeared to be gathering grit, just NW of the gas station. Half each Barn and Cave.

Checked the wet spot on W. Sabinal Rd., one Cattle Egret was there (ph.), nothing was at the S. Little Creek ponds. Little Creek Larry said one day last week after the rains he had 75 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck there. At Utopia Park there was an ad. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (ph.) which is a new park bird for me, and the list. I had a few once in spring at Utopia on the River a decade ago. Yellow-crowned is the default Night-Heron here. Saw my FOS Kestrel on W. Sab. Rd.

Shortly before 2 p.m. I was outside and heard a warbler a few times, went in for binocs, moved back out toward where I heard it. A warbler pops up off the ground into the lowest leaves of a Hackberry about 4' above the ground. A beautiful male MacGillivray's Warbler! Big bold thick white eye crescents above and below eye, well broken fore and aft of eye, nice black patch across breast. Wow! Only the third fall record I have here, they are more regular (nearly annual) in spring. Great yard bird! Gnatcatcher and Least Flycatcher out there as well. Here is a rain cell is about 7 p.m.... add another quarter inch and change.

Sept. 13 ~ About 68dF for a low this morning. Clear at first, then clouds showed up shortly after sunrise. At least a couple Yellow Warbler in the morning. Two Wilson's Warbler also, one was the male from yesterday, the other a female. Heard a bunting that sounded Painted but didn't see it to confirm. A few Baltimore Oriole, one nice ad.fem. right out office window eating Hackberries. One Rufous or Allen's Hummingbird showed up in the afternoon, and quickly is slugging it out with a few hundred Ruby-throats. Either an ad.fem, or imm. male. After it is done feeding, it picks a fight or two on the way out. Methinks an immature male?

Two Least Flycatcher were disputing hunting rights in the pecans out front. At noon, and again later we had a couple showers totalling about a centimeter, or three-eighths of an inch of precip, just to keep the humidity up. Seemed like it was about to drop below 90%, the rain got here just in time. It has been so wet, seeds have sprouted on a backporch carpet remnant mat I wipe my feet on it to not bring seeds into the house after I have been out tossing it, especially when the ground is wet. This is how wet it has been, algae and sprouts on a carpet remnant outside.

Sept. 12 ~ Low about 69dF, was clear all night until right at sunup when gulf low stratus got here. At 6:43 a.m. the first bird to call was one measure of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher song. Haven't heard it in weeks here, the local birds have been gone. Quick early check of the park had nothing. There were 80 swallows sunning on the powerlines across from post office, just north of gas station. Half each Cave and Barn. Three Scissor-tails along the roads are likely newly arrived migrants from elsewhere. Four Blue-winged Teal were on the W. Sabinal Rd. wet spot pond.

Here at the casita it was slow, a couple Yellows, a couple Orchard Oriole, heard a couple Baltimore, but no major movement. In the afternoon a Hutton's Vireo was out there, later Kathy found a Wilson's Warbler in the pecan out the kitchen window. NO greenies today, first day without a Painted Bunting here since April. WOW. Heard a Ringed Kingfisher over at the river. A small short-winged Chaetura swift buzzed upriver just before last sun. Chimney until proven otherwise here, but it sure didn't look like one to me. Date is all wrong for a vagrant Vaux's, but I never thought Chimney at any moment watching it. After dark I heard a Green Heron over at the river, a tough to get bird from the yard.

Sept. 11 ~ Well we made it through a night with just a trace of precip, and no waking to booms. NOAA for KRVL showed a 66dF and WU at Seco Creek a 67dF low, we were more like 68, maybe it was cooler earlier. But some dryness. Saw a couple Baltimore Oriole early, and a couple Yellow Warbler in the morning. Afternoon added a few Orchard Oriole. Slow compared to the rain days. Saw a Zone-tailed Hawk go by. The mesquites are being denuded by leaf-cutter ants. Under many of them is a pile of freshly cut leaves. Nothing else is being hit like the 'squites right now. Drive down the road and there are a dozen of them fairly denuded with a shadow of fresh-cut leaves on the ground under the canopy. One greenie imm. Painted Bunting left here. Was one at the park too. Still several Couch's Spadefoot Toad calling. There is a new just-fledged begging and being attended Lesser Goldfinch.

Sept. 10 ~ A 67dF low, and you won't believe what happened overnight. It rained. Again. By time it let up around noon we were at 7 cm, or 2.75", putting us well over 19", probably 20", in 8 days and still raining. Forecast shows it lightening up in afternoon, and lesser chances through the week, but still chances, and more next weekend. Talk about snapping out of summer. We have not reached 90dF since the afternoon of Sept. 2nd. Been raining ever since.

Slow around yard except for Ruby-throated Hummers which are off the charts. Hundreds. Used almost a gallon of fluid today, so likely 350-400 or so. Saw one adult male Black-chinned, which is the first adult in over a week, so a migrant on the move. For passerine migrants in a.m. saw a Yellow Warbler, an Orchard Oriole, and a Gnatcatcher. The skeeters are making a showing now, on day 8 since the rains started for those keeping score at home. On the flipside, it mostly killed the flies which were getting thick.

In the afternoon as the skies broke and cleared a bit there was some activity. A half-dozen Orchard Oriole included 2 males, a couple imm. or fem. Baltimore Oriole, probably 5 Yellow Warbler, 1 Nashville Warbler, couple Field Sparrow, a Least Flycatcher. Saw the ad.ma. Vermilion Flycatcher, the Canyon Towhee and the Yellow-throated Warbler all still here, and the Yellow-throated Vireo finally sung for the first time in 3 days. I got a call about a flock of a few dozen smaller raptors over toward Little Creek. Great time for Mississippi Kite now. I went out several times as it cleared and scanned skies, nothing my way. Heard a Great Blue Heron repeatedly calling, or croaking, which apparently landed up the slope in a live-oak as it was stationary.

Sept. 9 ~ 69dF low. A bit of rain overnight, .75" or so, so with the quarter over the day yesterday, adds an inch to the event total since yesterday morning, which is now 16"!!! Since late late last Sunday evening when it started. A week. Amazing. Kathy saw two Canyon Towhee this morning, so a second bird has showed up. Light showers continued through morning, no migration motion. River still roaring. Another quarter inch by 2 p.m., just light constant, enough to make ya wet.

In the morning about 11 besides a Yellow Warbler, I saw some movement across road from the gate, I was on the porch. With bins, as it is that time of year. Male and female Orchard Oriole were great, male still in great breeding plumage. Then an ad. fem. Mourning Warbler was in a Texas Persimmon, moved to a Juniper that went to the ground. I got great looks of it on open branches, if a bit distant. Awesome, from the porch.

About 3 it finally let up for the most part and we took a spin around to see whaddup. The 360 crossing (our usual) was flooding a foot over the bridge at least, and roaring. So we went out the back way. One male Baltimore Oriole on 359. The 1050 bridge was fine, but at some point water was over it. We went to the golf course to check for grasspipers, it had none. Some Vermilion Flycatchers and Eastern Bluebirds, a Yellow Warbler, and another Baltimore Oriole was it, and lots of Black-tailed Jacks.

I decided to try the South Little Creek ponds first, and then to the W. Sabinal Rd. wet spot. Yellow Warbler along 355 on way out of town. We hit the jackpot at the smaller wet spot on S. Little Creek Rd., the one right against the road just north of the Thunder Creek Rd. turnoff about a half mile, and in Bandera County. An AMERICAN BITTERN! Out in the open, only bird there, and yes, photos. Incredible. That is why you go check the wet spots when it rains. After getting home and checking ebird, it shows no report ever of one in BanCo, so it may well be a first county record. Awesome. My first upper Sabinal River drainage record. In other words a new bird for the local area list. A local mega. It is very rare in winter at Uvalde where marshy ponds as at fish hatchery and Cook's Slough. This date is very early too, my couple Uvalde sightings are in Nov. and December.

The bigger north pond another half mile up the road looks fantastic but there was nothing at it. There will be. Wish is wasn't so far from our house, ca. 6 miles one way maybe, less than 5 in the air. When we lived on N. Thunder Creek I checked it all the time, when it was wet. It will hold water and pull birds down for weeks as it is now. We tried to get to W. Sabinal Rd. but the river was a foot deep and moving at Fisher Crossing (the first crossing north of Utopia on 187). So we went back to town to see the county line bridge and Jones Cemetery Rd., it was worse of course. Then to the park. It has been washed out and will be nice and clean when it dries. No migrants in the woods but 2 imm. Pied-billed Grebe were my FOS and appeared to be wondering what the heck was going on. Had Gnatcatcher and Hutton's Vireo on the west end of 360 coming home in the back way.

Late afternoon here were a couple Yellow Warbler, a couple Orchard Oriole, Yellow-throated Warbler, and a Gnatcatcher. Later more Yellow Warbler and Orchard Oriole, and best, another YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER! I say another as it does not look like the one here Friday (2 days ago), and I worked the yard a lot on Saturday and did not have it. It is virtually certainly a second bird. Couch's Spadefoot Toad calling from within the fenced garden right outside the office window! Awesome soundtrack!

Sept. 8 ~ There is a front bearing down on us, NOAA could not say when it would pass, overnight or today. It was clear at midnight last night. We were awakened by some very close lightning, like blown out of bed close at 4 a.m., which took out electricity. It had been pouring, and continued to do so, it was the last big bolt of the cell. Called Bandera Electric and went back to bed. Then got up late since we could see no clocks, at 8. Was 68dF. A check of rainfall showed 3 more INCHES overnight! And over the next couple hours, over an inch more, so at least 4" so far today! Which makes 15 INCHES this week, the last 7 days! Another quarter-inch fell over the day. Since the ground is saturated though, it mostly just ran off, and the river is roaring again.

It seemed everything bolted on the clear skies last night as there wasn't much for migrants in the yard today. A Yellow Warbler was it, and likely a new bird. The male Vermilion is still here but I haven't heard the Chat in a couple days now. Is it the rain, or is it gone? Canyon Towhee was out there, just 2 greenies (imm. Painted Bunny), Yellow-throated Warbler. Would like to go check for grasspipers but I think maybe wait and take a chance and do it tomorrow. Give another day for things to move and maybe collect. The 360 crossing was over the bridge and not safe for a while. When we can hear the river roaring, it is not doable, we have to go out the back way and hope 1050 bridge is ok. I saw a few trucks turn around to do just that. Take the long way around. Likely well over 100 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders now. They are packed with more waiting.

OMG, a big bonus break this week with TWO whole pictures!
Both of these birds were certainly brought down by the rain event
last week. They were at high magnification, so a bit fuzzy, sorry.
When documenting something rare or unusual, it doesn't matter.
Can you ID it?, is what is important when rarity documentation.


Least Sandpiper
This is a juvenile Least Sandpiper, only the 2nd Least I have seen
here (the 1st juv.), on a flooded fairway at the golf course Sept. 7, 2018.
Likely the first photo of one in the upper Sabinal drainage.


American Bittern
Maybe the first American Bittern ever documented in Bandera Co.,
on Sept. 9, 2018 at the flood ponds on S. Little Creek Rd.
Normally in a patch of reeds where nearly invisible, it usually
takes a pro to spot one. But not this one, which was a drive-by.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 7 ~ Just a trace of precip overnight. We need to dry out a bit. About 72-82dF for a temp spread today, and the 82 was probably the humidity too, it was dripping. Birds moved though. It cleared last night, by 11 p.m. it was all stars so I am sure there was migrant movement. Early there was an Upland Sandpiper flying around low calling and looking for a place to go down. Looked like maybe over at the golf course, or pastures to south of it. It was right over yard at one point. Will be checking on my roll to town. In the a.m. here in yard there were 4-5 FOS Baltimore Oriole, finally. Ruby-throats and Baltimores, it's fall! There were a couple Yellow Warbler that were flighty as in just came down from flying. A Yellow-throated Warbler was an imm. male with buffy flanks. An interesting Empidonax got away. Inca Dove in the driveway.

Town run, so looked over the golf course on the way. At the entrance a totally far out sub-adult Harris's Hawk flew up off a pole and circled over 187. It had both adult and immature feathers in the wings, body was adult. Great plumage! Could not find an Upland Sandpiper, but on a flooded fairway there was one juvenile LEAST SANDPIPER, which is wayyyy rarer, a mega here. It is only my second record here in 15 years, the first juvenile. An early July adult is my only other, at Utopia Park. To give an idea of rarity here, locally in the last 15 years I have seen more each of Short-tailed Hawk, Green Violetear, Tropical Parula, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Clay-colored Robin-Thrush, than Least Sandpiper here, to put it in perspective for you. I had a mess up with the camera and the pix of the hawk and piper are not right. The dial rotated off of A or P either of which would have been fine, and I was on some setting I don't know or use. Give me my dang Exacta or Miranda back. A Gnatcatcher was the only passerine migrant I saw at the good tree patch with Cedar Elms there.

Then just north of the 354 turn, a half-mile south of town there was a FOS for me Eastern Kingbird on the fenceline. Three good birds before I got to town! I went out to W. Sabinal Rd. and checked the wet spot, nothing there but has water, and looks good. Then over to the S. Little Creek ponds. They looked fantastic, very well flooded. Saw one Killdeer and my FOS (22) Blue-winged Teal. Little Creek Larry had some over a week ago at his creek. The (muddy) water was going over the spillway at the park, the pond is at bankfull and we have an island again. Only bird in the woods was an ad.fem. Mourning Warbler. Aw shucks. Like our yard, you have to be there over hours to see what is really going through. A spot check is a very hit or miss proposition at best in migration. But you can get lucky anytime. Rosie's Taco trailer had an Inca Dove and 3 Chicken Fajitas.

Back here at the house after lunch there was a Least and a YELLOW-BELLIED Flycatcher in the yard. Yell-bell is a good bird here, LTA - less than annual, far from a sure thing to see every year. The Bell's Vireo was still singing here this a.m., as is another across the river near the crossing in a mesquite patch it has been at for a month or two, maybe nesting, or another troller. Three greenies still here.

About 4 p.m. Kathy spotted two Nashville Warbler and an Orchard Oriole in the pecan out kitchen window. Then we saw a few Yellows out there too, and the Least Flycatcher. I think it is the sap on the pecan leaves, it both attracts, and traps, insects. They are gleaning the leaves. Must be a hundred Ruby-throated Hummers here now. That didn't take long, they got thick fast. Maybe a couple dozen a week ago.

Sept. 6 ~ We had more rain last night, just a slow soaker. The total from the .2 yesterday and this .7 overnight puts us at over 9" from the event since Saturday night! Probably near 9.25", and maybe a wee bit over that. And better than 50% chances for the next 4 days through Sunday! The 10 day does not have any 90dF temps for us on it. OMG. Maybe summer is over? Which is essentially a hundred days at a hundred here. Except for any rain events. Which had been scarce as frog hairs lately. The days it doesn't hit 100dF, it still feels like it.

Not much for bird passage early. The rain has been scattered well to our north, best is if it is clear north of you so that stuff is moving, and it hits weather right on you. A Hutton's Vireo was out there, a couple Yellow Warbler. Nearing 10 a.m. I saw my FOS Nashville Warbler out the office window. Nice. A couple Orchard Oriole went by. Bell's Vireo and Canyon Towhee are out there. Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo still singing. Three greenie imm. Painted Bunnies, 11 male Cards out an office window at once.

About 3 p.m. we had another brief but heavy rain shower, and another 15mm, or three-fifths of an inch, and about 9.8" for a running total now. Gadzooks! It is not even a front or a system causing this. Just the Gulf and Pacific sub-tropical or tropical moisture plumes converging because of big strong highs to the west and east. Add daytime heating. A few little tickles from the low level jet stream has been the only forcing mechanism. To look at it, you would think this should not have produced 10" of rain. But that little tiny bit warmer atmosphere holds LOTS more water.

Well it wasn't over. Another cell hit just before dark and it poured, 46mm, about 1.7" more, so about 2.3 or 2.4 for the afternoon to early evening! So we now sit at over 11", likely near 11.5" for the event since late Sunday evening. Holy water rainman! It is all or nuthin' now. Heard an Upland Sandpiper go over as it was clearing up late evening.

Sept. 5 ~ Maybe a tenth of an inch of rain overnight, just a bit. At least another tenth in the early evening. More after dark, will figure it out tomorrow morning. A flock of 22 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks flew over calling before 7 a.m. as I was getting seed and feeders done. It was clear late last night, and seems stuff blew out at the sight of the stars. A few Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler went through, one Gnatcatcher, I am sure they were all new different individuals. There are over 50 Ruby-throated Hummers here at the feeders, and at least two imm. Black-chinned are still here. Had 4 greenies (imm. Painted Bunting) today. Now 10 Brown-headed Cowbird here, surely migrants from elsewhere as our local breeders have been gone over 6 weeks.

The Bell's Vireo was still singing today though after a day of silence yesterday, Canyon Towhee was around too. Both were MIA yesterday. Yellow-throated Vireo, and Warbler both still here, the Chat chattered a bit, it will leave very soon. A nice Eastern Tiger Swallowtail floated by and landed on a hackberry for photos, or maybe to dry out. Too bad the sun wasn't out, but then it wouldn't likely have landed, it was soaking wet. Near last sun a group of 5 Summer Tanager together was 3 male and 2 female, 1 male going nuts singing I think was the yard breeder. A few more Orchard Oriole were loosely associated with them.

Sept. 4 ~ We woke up a few times due to hard rain overnight. Got up to find about 4" since 10 p.m. last night when this round started and the first inch fell. We we are now at 7.5+" for the event since Saturday evening when it started. It was 69dF for a low, and there is RIVER!!! We can hear it! For the first time in months! I could barely hear it at 6:30, at 7 it was more detectable, by 8 there was no doubt, the river was running. Between 9 and 10a.m. it went to a mild roar as the water from very heavy rains upvalley got here. We rolled down to the 360 crossing to have a look (.75 of a mile). The water was 5-6" over the bridge and not safe to cross for a small pickup truck without 500 lbs. in the back. There was a bigger truck on the other side waiting. Too dicey. He had a long wait, it was still coming up.

A touch of irony in that the town was amazingly quiet this holiday weekend, due to the lack of water, and no river or swimming, which translates to no tourists on Labor Day weekend. It was great to be able to go bird the park and not have it be overun this weekend as most years on Labor Day. Now today we are throwing water away, have more of it than we can use at the moment. Until leaf lookie-loo season starting in mid-to-late October this is a great time to visit, the crowds are gone with the higher temps.

And there were migrants around the yard, and on the road to the crossing. Yard in morning had 4-5 Yellow Warbler (4 at once), 4-5 Orchard Oriole, a greenie imm. Painted Bunny, at least one Least Flycatcher, one Empidonax sps., and more of the first three were along the road along corral. Later morning heard a Red-eyed Vireo singing out there, an off-the-breeding grounds migrant, but still has some song left in 'em. But I have to work of course, after the holiday break lots of catching up to do. The Yellow-throateds (Warbler and Vireo) were both out there. Did not hear the Bell's Vireo today.

It rained lightly for a few hours late morning to mid-day adding another 16mm, or five-eighths of an inch to the total, now over 8"!!! In the afternoon there were 3 greenie immature Painted Bunting within a square foot on the patio, I had just thrown white millet down, and was not back in the cottage yet (!), so about 10' away at most. They were just waiting for me to do it and go. Another half-dozen Orchard Oriole went by. Was briefly sunny a couple hours in mid-afternoon, then another spritizing later afternoon.

After 7 p.m. I was on back porch and had 6 greenie imm. Painted Bunting on the patio eating white millet at once. I have only been seeing one, so I think some migrants from elsewhere have shown up. Whereas the dozen-and-a-half Cardinals are surely all the yard birds and their young of the year that are still around. Yesterday the Canyon Towhee was around, fighting itself in a mirror, but today did not see or hear it. Late at last check outside there were FOUR Couch's Spadefoot Toads calling at once! Amazing, I love 'em. Often drowned out by a few Rio Grande Leopard Frogs which are roaring now too. Somewhere in the yard I managed to find a couple chiggers today.

Sept. 3 ~ Happy Labor Day to all who labored. Another line of cells went over from before dawn to early morning, tapering off mid-morn. Another 36mm or so since the 55mm last night. So another 1.35" on top of last night's 2.2", and we are over 3.5+" so far for the event. OMG. And we are progged for rain all week. Yard had Gnatcatcher, Orchard Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Least Flycatcher, a greenie or two (imm. Painted Bunny). A Chimney Swift here was best, and surely a migrant since the ones in town have been gone some time now.

Took a spin around to see if any migrants knocked down. The rain started right at dark and extended north a bit so I didn't expect much. On 360 just west of the river was my FOS Loggerhead Shrike. At the golf course there were some flooded fairways but no grasspipers. One Yellow Warbler, one Least Flycatcher. At Utopia Park there was a FOS Spotted Sandpiper, and 2 FOS Wilson's Warbler, a male and a female. Also two Yellow Warbler, another greenie, heard a Louisiana Waterthrush. Water came up a little bit. Best was seeing a juvenile Green Heron, so they got at least one young out of the nest this year. No water at the W.Sabinal Rd. wetspot, and the S.Little Creek wet spots were dry as well. Little Creek got some water too, but nothing there. Did see a couple Scissor-tails in 10 miles of rolling around, and quite a few Barn and some Cave Swallow.

Saw one of the pinkish brick Summer Tanagers, a molting adult male whence as the red body feathers fall out it goes from bright solid saturated red to a light pinkish brick red due to all the pale feather bases being exposed by all the missing feathers. You can see this in Painted Bunting, Northern Cardinal, Vermilion Flycatcher, and probably any bird with red underparts if you catch them at the right stage of body molt. They don't put the funky ones in the books. Hmmm.... Field Guide to the Funky Birds of North America. That sounds right up my alley, amirite?

Shortly before dusk two Common Nighthawk were beating tracks south down the river habitat corridor. Migrants. Forgot to mention lots of Mockingbirds moving today. They were everywhere. About 10 p.m. another rain cell found us and dropped another inch in an hour. So by time I gave up we were at 4.5" so far for the event, just before midnight. Outstanding was at last look outside, hearing a Couch's Spadefoot Toad calling! Awesome! A several second long braying bleat somewhere between a kid goat and a toy dull metallic buzzer. A call of the wild.

Sept. 2 ~ About 73-93dF for a temp spread, and very humid. Mostly hid from the heat working on stuff here, and waiting for rain. In yard besides residents, saw a couple Yellow Warbler (ph. of male below), a Least Flycatcher, a few Orchard Oriole, one Gnatcatcher, and one juv. Hooded Oriole (a transient). Bell's and Yellow-throated Vireo still singing territorially. Barely heard the Chats. Lark Sparrows are many fewer than they were, either they are departing the area, or moving to a newly available food source elsewhere, as can happen in late summer and fall as seeds ripen. Did have Chat at dusk. At dusk also counted 17 Cardinals at once out back on the seed.

Some rain to the west at Garner, Leakey, etc. about 6 p.m., as it approached I heard an Upland Sandpiper go over about 7 p.m., some outflow hit about 7:20-30 and dropped us from 90dF to 82. That was great. Waiting for rain... it is barely moving, but our way. Oh, there is is. From 8 to 9 p.m we got 1.75"! By 11 it was 55mm about 2.2"! OMG! R-A-I-N is how you spell relief here nowadays. No dust for a week at least now.

September 1 ~ OMG, it is September! Climatalogical summer is over! Sacred bovine, there is hope for it to end! Low was 71.5dF but it got hot in the afternoon. A few Orchard Oriole went through yard early, one Yellow Warbler, two Gnatcatcher. An Audubon's Oriole worked the slope uphill in the big live-oaks just behind the house. Haven't had one in a while here. Noon we did an hour park check. Great without people there on a Labor Day weekend. There is often a rodeo here this weekend as well, this year there is not. Town was uncharacteristically quiet for a Labor Day weekend Saturday. Park pond is stagnant, not enough water to be safe to swim, and lots of the river is dry, so more no swimming at many of the local rental sites, so very few tourists. My holiday started early!

Outstanding was FOUR Mourning Warbler up in the understory of the woods. Two adult female nearly together, and two juveniles at opposite ends of the woods. Amazing, what a haul! Have had at least 3 there at once before. Walked by three of them without detecting them, before I found the first. Then ended up with four! They see you coming long before you see them, duck for cover, and can be more than quite furtive. One flew at arm's length right past Kathy's head. A couple Black-n-whites were there too, plus singles of Yellow Warbler, Orchard Oriole, and Eastern Wood-Pewee. A couple locals were a Field Sparrow, Blue Jay, and heard an Inca Dove, which is tough to get in the park. At least a half-dozen Orange-striped Threadtail damselflies, some were ovipositing (ph.).

Below are some of the recent weekly photo break pix used.
The 2017 or 2018 photos pages have complete sets.


Yellow Warbler
Here is a fall male Yellow Warbler. The streaks on the
underparts are flaming scarlet red spring to summer.





Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting male, waiting in line for the feeder.
We had SEVEN males at once on the seed one day this week.



a bonus pic this week
Painted Bunting
I have replaced the shot I had here with one not taken through screen.
Wanted to show how averse these beasts are to feeders. A copy of this
should be put into every California Bird Record Committee Painted Bunting
record in which a reviewer said "its a male at a feeder" in a disparaging
manner as if it is not a normal natural thing. Same goes for the lack of
pure red underparts as on bird on the left, due to molt, not diet or
captivity. Anyone that suggests these as reasons for one not being
wild is bearing false witness to your bird record. It is not OK to give
bad reasons that good bird records are not valid. It is making up false
stuff up about the bird record. Best I could tell (and I was there)
Jon Dunn was the one that started the mythical preposterous unfounded
notion that there is something amiss about a male Painted Bunting at
a feeder, and that those that are not perfectly uniform red below are
discolored. Both are pure rubbish! They are feeder flies!



Neon Skimmer
Neon Skimmer male



dowitcher and phalaropes
Long-billed Dowitcher and 3 Wilson's Phalarope in Bandera Co., May 4, 2018.
Likely the first proof of either species in that county, at the South Little Creek ponds.
Sorry about the fuzzy, pic taken at max magnification and about a hundred yards.



Blue Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak, adult male



Broad-winged Hawk
Adult Broad-winged Hawk at Lost Maples in April. This
looks like one of the pair that nested the last few years.



Black-capped Vireo
Black-capped Vireo at Lost Maples, pardon my pixels, I figured
you'd give me a pass considering their lovely arrangement.
This is a third year bird and still not a definitive adult.



Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow at Lost Maples on April 1



Golden-cheeked Warbler
Singing "she says I'm so laa-zzeee"



Indigo Snake

Indigo Snake



Vermilion Flycatcher

Pardon the pixels and fuzziness



Common Raven

If you are missing a pecan, call, I may have a lead for you. All the Ravens around here are Common Ravens (and there are no Crows). The ebird reports of Chihuahuan Ravens on the south central Edwards Plateau are best disregarded. I highly doubt anyone can prove any of them. Especially the Lost Maples reports. Common are common nesters and residents locally, which have exploded in numbers in the last decade. Chihuahuan are all but accidental here and should not be considered without diagnostic evidence unless reported by a known Raven expert. These Common Raven here are small and compactly built. Any Raven here is Common until proven otherwise beyond question. Show me the proof. All the hundreds reported and not one has any actual evidence to support it. I have seen photos of Ravens on websites labeled Chihuahuan at Lost Maples which are undoubtedly Common Raven, in which there is nothing whatsoever to support a claim of Chihuahuan .
~ ~ end Raven rant ~ ~

White-crowned Sparrow

Adult White-crowned Sparrow of the usual variety here,
the eastern nominate leucophrys subspecies. Note black
in lores, pink bill, and pale areas in back light gray.



Harris's Hawk

Tight crop of the adult Harris's Hawk in our big pecan.



Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren in default position



Great Kiskadee

Here is a better pic of the Kiskadee at Utopia Park, from Feb. 3.
Last weeks first docu shot was a bit fuzzy and bad light.
Kathy and I went the next day, had great views and got this pic.
Whatabird. It is on a stem of Greenbriar Vine, of which it ate
a berry.



Great Kiskadee

First known Great Kiskadee at Utopia Park, Feb. 2, 2018 was up in
the woods on the island, occasionally calling. The poor light and
angle hide the rufous wings and tail well. It is a big flycatcher
that is a great fisherman, taking smallish minnows and such often.



Goshawk

This is the Northern Goshawk that was over town Dec. 15, 2017
Note the long stovepipe of a tail. This structure is unique.
Apologies for the poor pic, it was the best of 3, at maximum
high (pixelated) magnification after it got high up. Initially
it was quite low, was a nice adult.





Hutton's Vireo

Hutton's Vireo





Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird - male




Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

.

BlueGrosbeak

Blue Grosbeak - male



UtopiaSnow

The great blizzard of 2016, on Dec. 7, was 15 minutes like this, and 15 lighter.



Zone-tailed Hawk

Zone-tailed Hawk



RedBat

Man, they got it all in Utopia, even aquatic bats.
This is the Red Bat I watched plop into the river a few months ago.
Pulled it out and left it on shore...   Bat rescue, how may we help you?


Filigree Skimmer

Filigree Skimmer (dragonfly) - check out those eyes!
I want sunglasses that look like that! You'd be
the coolest one at the dragonfly society meeting.


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, male. Note the tail is in
the 'scissor' position with the sides crossed
just below the base of the tail.



Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher




Green Kingfisher

Male Green Kingfisher at Utopia Park.




Yellow-throated Vireo

I love this lichen on the branch... and oh yeah, a
Yellow-throated Vireo in fresh plumage on Sept. 28.
Yeah I know bad light, but as often as not, that is
how we see birds. Anyone can ID them in good light.


Easter Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Buttonbush


Purple Martin

Male Purple Martin is a beauty, that calls "beer, beer". What's not to like?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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 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
All photographs within this site are copyrighted
and may not be used without permission.
All Rights Reserved.
© M. and K. Heindel 2004-2018
www.utopianature.com