From Crystal Cave Trail
Garner State Park Reports
May 2, 04
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
70-75 degrees F., clear skies
First, there were few insects, likely due to the upper 40 degree temps. last night with the passage of a late
season cold front and consequent cool temps in the day.
"The best bird of the day always gets away" is one of my favorite sayings. Today it held true when
I saw a bird fly down river, high up. I believe it was a Neotropic Cormorant, but could not call a
positive ID on it.
Birds seen better were: Swainson's Hawk, Black, and Turkey Vulture, Spotted Sandpiper, White-winged Dove,
Black-chinned Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe,
Vermilion and Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Bell's and Yellow-throated Vireo,
Western Scrub-Jay, Barn and Cliff Swallow, Carolina Chickadee and Black-crested Titmouse,
Canyon (nest at Crystal Cave), Carolina and Bewick's Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Nashville,
Black-throated Green (3), and Black and White Warbler (feeding young out of nest!), Summer Tanager,
Clay-colored, Chipping and Lark Sparrow, N. Cardinal, Painted Bunting, Common Grackle, Hooded Oriole,
Lesser (Black-back) Goldfinch, and gadzooks, House Sparrows! Almost 40 species. Very nice.
In the insect department, first Odes, or Dragonflies:
there were lots of Pale-faced Clubskimmers, and a few Powdered Dancer, Familiar Bluet, and a single
Double-striped Bluet. For Butterflies, there were Red Admiral, Lyside Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, a
Two-tailed Swallowtail, and up the Crystal Cave trail lots of California Sister, a Vesta Crescent,
3 Texan Crescent, a Reakirt's Blue, a few Olive-Juniper Hairstreak, and 2 Red Satyr, always a treat.
Surprising was the loud car stereos, car alarms, idling SUV's doing nothing, & people on cell phones
(probably complaining about gas prices) instead of enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Weekend warriors.
Citiots as I call them. Be warned if you can only go on weekends. I hear that it gets worse in the summer.
But note this park is more of a "recreation park" than say a "natural area" as Lost Maples is. It has
miniature golf, basketball and volleyball courts, a restaurant, a store, and lots of "flatlanders" from the
south come up for the cooler temps., less humid conditions and the river for weekends. I don't blame them, but wish
they'd leave their city way of life at home when they come to the country.
My wife and I had to move from a spot we were birding because of exhaust from a vehicle with no one in it!
Also surprising was the lack of availability of a park birdlist! I was told they were ordered in Nov.!
So, they were ordered WAY to late, and it takes WAY too long for TPWD to get them done and to the park.
Boo hiss TPWD! (Who usually does a tremendous job.)
You can hike trails and be in very natural areas that are little disturbed and it IS beautiful, even if a
bit crowded along the river. Try to come during the week. It's a unique place, usually with great birding,
butterflying, 'odeing', and scenery.
March 29, 04
We did a fairly quick, but very productive run through the park. We saw several Vermilion Flycatchers,
Myrtle and Yellow-throated Warblers, Canyon, Carolina and Bewick's Wrens, Eastern Bluebird, White-winged & Inca Dove,
Black-crested Titmouse, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, some male Common Grackles and lots of Chipping and Lark Sparrows.
In the insect department: Odes seen were Bronzed River Cruiser and Pale-faced Clubskimmer, plus a few damsels I didn't have
time to work. Butterflies were good with a male Falcate Orange-tip, Lyside Sulphur, Monarch, and on the beautiful
blooming Texas Mountain Laurel dripping with purple flowers, lots of Olive Juniper Hairstreak, Dusky-blue Groundstreak,
and fewer Sachem, Black and Pipevine Swallowtails!
For a couple of hours, it was a great stop!