Bird News Archive XII
June 1 2009 - Dec. 31 2009





Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for
1st spring or fall migrant to show up locally)
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia
in Uvalde County.
Ode - Odonata (dragonfly or damselfly)




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Here, we have June 1 to December 31, 2009.


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We'll pause briefly for a numerical intermission and 2009 wrap up.

I added a couple lists up I kept this 2009, one a green year list.
The birds I saw without using any gas, walking around the
yard, house, property, wherever I went without burning fuel.
If I had a bike, I'd have rode to town (the river), and surely
then could get much better diversity.  But, for being
too far from the river to see the avian traffic using that
highway, up here at 1500' in a juniper patch with oak/grassland,
I think it was a good total, 147 species.  All seen from
the yard in 2009.  You don't have to run all over the place
to see a good number of birds.  But learning birds by call
and in flight will make a big difference, some were only detected
as nocturnal migrants!

I saw about 245 species in 2009 in Uvalde County, which is
funny because the TOS county year list reporting threshold is 250.
A regular average birder should not be ashamed of a 200 Uvalde
county year list.  So the TOS reporting cutoff may be reasonable
for coastal areas, or places with large rivers and lakes, but
obvioulsy one size does not fit all counties as a yearlist threshold.
Try getting 250 in a year in Bandera or Real Co..

If one lived in Uvalde near the water hotspots I'm sure one
would get another 10 or 20 more species, but the average
birder might find 250 tough in a year in UvCo.  In a
*outstanding year* with *weekly skilled effort*, 275 may be possible
in a year in Uv.Co. with multiple days per week birding effort.

Now my all time Uvalde County (UvCo) list by the most strict
count is about 323.  There are a few things I've seen that
wouldn't count if officially submitted, like Gray-breasted Martin,
Aplomado Falcon, heard Yellow-green Vireo and White-collared Seedeater,
a Gray-crowned Yellowthroat I didn't report (no photos), etc..

The 323 is the bare bones.  That is 6 years and a couple months
worth, without chasing anything, even if I wanted or "needed" it.
It is right about what I had after 3 years in Bexar Co. in the late 1980's,
with its big deepwater lakes, gulls and shorebirds and eastern warblers.

My Bandera Co. list is now about 232, and of course covers
only about the <3% of that county that is the Sabinal River Valley
and canyon Utopia to Lost Maples.  An incidental by accident total,
I do not go around the county looking for birds, it is what I've
seen birding locally in my patch.  I have had 210+ years ('04)
in my few % of Bandera Co., but didn't keep track this year.

The butterfly list for the year was about 89 species locally
around Utopia.  With the rains since fall, we can expect
next year a better season than this year's dismal offering.
It was the first year here I did not see a Crimson Patch!
The library garden list only grew by about 3 species this year
and so remains stuck at 99 species until 2010.  Two of them
were outstanding though, Clytie Ministreak and Dingy Purplewing,
neither one photographed, but seen well at point blank.

I guess the biggest mark hit in 2009 was my 300th species of
bird (a flyover calling Marbled Godwit!) in the Sabinal River Valley.
That is roughly a mile wide on average and less than 20 miles from
Clayton Grade to Lost Maples, with a river that would be
called a creek in most places and no significant lake.

In the Ode world, I found three new Uvalde County records this
year, with certainly the Swamp Darner my Utopia area highlight
of 2009, but there were a number of exciting discoveries.
I got the first ever photos of Marl Pennant for the county at the
fish hatchery in June, and finding the first ever Spot-tailed Dasher
in UvCo at Cook's Slough was pretty exciting too, in August.

The last couple years there are some new guys getting into
Odes here in UvCo and of course being near all those great
waterholes in the dry country, they are finding lots of good
new UvCo stuff.  They've pushed the UvCo Ode list to 99 species,
quite respectable in the Ode world for a county list.  No doubt
2010 will bring Ode species # 100 for Uvalde County.


End of brief 2009 numerical update and appreciation pause.


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End of 2009
Bdbdbdbdbdat's all folks!

WEEWOW glad that's over with!! Hey next year can only
be better, right !?!? I hope you had a good year, and
We wish you all the very best in 2010 !!

Dec. 31 ~ Best was at Utopia Park I saw the Black-and-white Warbler,
which scores for count week, the 3 days before and after count day,
which we'll do in a day or two, so at least we have it for the week,
and it shows its presence.  Which is spectacular as the first
overwintering Black-and-white Warbler on the plateau last year,
to have returned for a second winter. Quite a rare known instance
hereabouts, where there are very very few proven records of vagrant
passerines returning multiple winters.  No Kingfishers though.
Did have a Canyon Wren upriver in the giant cypresses again.

Dec. 30 ~ A Merlin here was the first I've seen this winter
around Utopia.  There were at least four Audubon's
Oriole about, probably 5.  Stunning was a DAMSELFLY
here at SR, seemed like a teneral GREAT SPREADWING!!
It had it's wings spread when I found it, but closed them
when I took the picture, and it flew off quickly.
There were a few Bushtits that passed through the yard.
An Eastern Screech-Owl was calling after dark.

Dec. 29 ~ WOW Sleet !! turned to rain shortly but there were
piles of white ice pellets about here on SR around 9 a.m.!
It sure looked like snow for all intents and purposes!
It was probably a whopping quarter inch of preciptation.
Over 50 White-winged doves, 100 Chipping Sparrow hit the seed
we toss about.  Still 16 Juncos including 3 Oregon and
2 Pink-sided, 3 Spotted Towhee, 2 Rufous-crowned Sparrow, a very
few Cardinals, a pair each of Carolinas, Wren and Chickadee,
pair of Bewick's Wren, a peanut, peanut butter, and sugar water
feeding Orange-crowned Warbler believed to be a returnee,
for perhaps its 3rd or 4th year now (!), and 3 Audubon's Orioles
is most of it for now. Oh a few House Finch, and occasionally a
couple Lesser and American Goldfinch.  Maybe a Myrtle or
Kinglet (Ruby) will drift by once a day or so, and the Hutton's
Vireo about weekly will be around a couple days.

Dec. 28 ~ another 25 deg. morning.  Did a Uvalde run and
some more brush country and fallow ag field birding.  We saw
4 MOUNTAIN PLOVER south of Sunny Clime Farms.  There were
some scattered Lark Buntings, hundreds of Vesper Sparrows, a
hundred White-crowned, lots of Savannah, some Lincoln's and Lark.
100+ American Pipits, 12 Fuertes' Red-tailed Hawks, a Say's Phoebe,
and it seemed like a hundred Mockingbirds.  There were over
30 at once just around a tank south of Knippa!  Over at the
fish hatchery there were lots of ducks, several hundred, mostly
Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Shoveller, Pintail, and some
Blue-winged and a Cinnamon Teal.  Two Ring-necked and
10 Ruddy Duck, 2 Bufflehead were good diving ducks at the hatchery,
and the Neotropic Cormorant continues since early Dec..

So do the 51 Great Blue Heron in the bare dirt field to the west.
We saw 2 Greater Yellowlegs and 25-30 Least Sandpipers, Verdin,
Pyrrhuloxia, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned and
Myrtle Warbler, and amongst sparrows, Song, Savannah, Field,
and a rarer in winter Clay-colored, and especially a CASSIN'S
Sparrow there.  There were a few hundred cranes over WSW of
Knippa, and a few over the hatchery, no geese, or longspurs.
A couple Harris's Hawks were along Old Sabinal Rd., one on a
dumped (poached) deer carcass.  A Merlin WSW of Knippa.
Lotsa Western Meadowlarks, good numbers of Loggerhead Shrike,
Some Caracara, and a couple non-fuertes Red-tailed Hawk.

Dec. 26 ~ A little warmer, 32 felt nice.  3 Audubon's Orioles
at least, a couple Lesser Goldfinch, and the rest of the regulars.

Dec. 25 ~ Wow about 25 deg. F again here on SR in the a.m.!
It's almost cold enough to be Christmas!  HO HO HO :)
Merry merry happy happy joy joy.

Dec. 24 ~ We got about a half inch of much needed rain!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Dec. 23 ~ A very sweet treat was a singing FOX SPARROW here
at SR, the first I've noted in a couple years or more here,
since one wintered here a few years ago.  There were
two Starlings outside the park.

Dec. 22 ~ A N. Harrier was coursing the grasslands on the juniper
covered slopes of SR.  At the park a quick look yielded
only one thing of note, a calling RINGED Kingfisher upriver.
At SR a sub-ad. Audubon's Oriole bathed in the bath.
I ran into Syd Cheney and he said there are still two
GREEN JAYS sometimes coming into his place south of town.
Did they attempt breeding, is the $64k question.  There is
no record ever of them breeding on the plateau, so the
idea of them having stayed the year is most interesting.

Dec. 21 ~ Three Audubon's Orioles (at least) coming in
daily now here at SR.  Best though was a heard only
bird flying over at 8:30 a.m., a RINGED KINGFISHER!
It was so high I couldn't pick it up against the sky.
Just kept hearing that slow measured 50 caliber chak! note.
I've seen them going over the house before, so not a new
yard bird anyway, but I'm at 1550', and a couple miles
from the river, so it never ceases to amaze me.  One
Lesser Goldfinch here was the first in a while.

Dec. 20 ~ Around the park and town we saw about 20 Myrtle
Warblers, but nothing else.  A Belted Kingfisher was
at the county line road crossing (UvCo 356).  Some
Vesper and Savannah Sparrows were out West Sabinal Rd.,
and a hundred Meadowlarks that are probably Westerns.
On Spring Branch Rd. at the West Fork crossing we caught
a bit of a drinking frenzy with 200 Cedar Waxwings, 75 Robin,
a few Eastern Bluebird, a Pine Warbler, two Pine Siskin,
and an Audubon's Oriole.  On one of the roads out
thataway we had a Say's Phoebe.

Dec. 19 ~ Hutton's Vireo about the yard, as well as all the
regulars.  Early in the a.m. 175 Robins went by SR,
and about 40 Cedar Waxwing.  A Variegated Fritillary
(butterfly) was sps. #11 for the month here.

Dec. 18 ~ 3 Audubon's Orioles at least here at the SR yard
peanut and hummingbird feeders.  The herd of Juncos and
Chippies continue.  A major wave of Myrtle Warblers
hit sometime in the last few days since Monday.  Around
town and at the park I had 50 (FIFTY) of them, the biggest
warbler movement of the year, or nearly so.  There were
a dozen plus around the library garden, joined by an Orange-
crowned Warbler and an adult White-eyed Vireo.  Then at
UP there were 35 Myrtles, a couple Audubon's Warblers, another
Orange-crowned, the wintering adult female Black-and-white,
and new were 2 PINE Warblers.  Other things there were
a returning (same hole) adult female Yellow-shafted Flicker,
2 HY (hatch-year) Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, plus a heard
Sapsucker, Green Kingfisher, Blue Jay and Black Phoebe,
Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird.

I must say it was amazing seeing 5 species of warblers today at
the park!  That is counting Audubon's Warbler as a seperate
species, which it is.  Sometimes AOU loses their way and
mistakenly lumps things they later go back and resplit (fix their
mistakes) like Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles.  Such will
be the case eventually with Myrtle and Audubon's Warblers.
Consider their digestive tracts are so different only one can
digest the wax myrtle berry, allowing them to winter in much
colder climates (without insects).  Guess which.

A couple Dogface (butterfly) today were local species #10 for Dec.

Dec. 16 ~ 16 Junco for sure. Photo of 12 in one frame.
Will try to get pix of some of the funky ones.

Dec. 15 ~ At least 15 Junco now in the daily flock hitting
the seed with about 75 Chipping Sparrow and a couple or few
Spotted Towhee, maybe 4 Cardinal.  3 of the Junco are
good Oregon, most are various flavors of Slate-colored
including western ones with beige sides (females), and a
couple are big black-lored good pure Pink-sided Juncos.
One mucky Slate-colored shows two decent wing bars.

Dec. 14 ~ A Queen (butterfly) was the first of the month.

Dec. 11 ~ A quick look around at Lost Maples was our first
visit since the major cliff collapse at the day use picnic
area.  WOW !!  I would have loved to been there
and seen it happen!  Not many birds as usual in winter, but
a few American Goldfinch.  The Lacey Oaks were in very
good color, yellows and golds mostly, and a few Buckley Oaks
were still in good color too.

Dec. 10 ~ Both an adult and an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk
are stooping on the seed eaters daily here now.  The
White-winged Dove flock still numbers about 45.

Dec. 9 ~ The Junco flock hitting the seed daily remains
10 birds, with 2 Pink-sided, 2 Oregon, and 6 Slate-colored.

Dec. 8 ~ About 30 Robins came in a roosted at dusk.
Chorus frogs going bonkers again tonight.  Lovely!

Dec. 7 ~ The only thing of note today was the Chorus Frogs
still chorusing away, as if it were spring, and it wasn't
20 deg.F two mornings ago!  How do they do it, anti-freeze?
I asked Kathy that and she said maybe that's why they're green!
There were 3 Spotted Towhee calling here at SR, the meow cat-call
that sounds like a Catbird, of subspecies arcticus or montanus
methinks.  The Chipping Sparrow flock is 75 birds now. 

Dec. 6 ~ A Uvalde supply run, and we took the slow way down
Old Sabinal Rd. to look through some brush country and barren
fields, which were unfortunately, barren of birds too. 
Lots of sparrows along some of the roads.  A couple hundred
Vesper, a hundred plus Savannah, 50+ each Lark and Lincoln's and
50+ White-crowned too.   Two different times I had quick
looks of what looked like Harris's Sparrows but they got away.
A dozen Lark Buntings were SE of Knippa, 60 American Pipits,
a couple dozen plus Pyrrhuloxia (more than Cardinals), and
10 Say's Phoebe at various fields along the way.

We had great views of a PRAIRIE FALCON soaring right over us
for 5 minutes, south of Sunny Clime Farms.  No Longspurs,
Mountain Plovers, Sprague's Pipit, only 10 Geese (White-fronted),
and about a hundred Sandhill Crane.  At a tank south of Knippa
there was a beautiful male Wood Duck, a flock of 20 Ground-Dove,
an immature male Vermilion Flycatcher, and lots more sparrows.

Over at the fish hatchery SW of Uvalde we saw an adult Peregrine
Falcon which at one point stooped on a Snipe, which flushed but
knew all it had to do is keep climbing, which it did, so the
Peregrine gave up quickly when it saw the Snipe knew its way
out of that threat.  Lots of ducks are in now, there were
5 male Cinnamon Teal, gobs of Green-wings, bunch of Blue-wings,
Gadwall, Wigeon, and Pintail, and 3 Ruddy Duck which are good here.
The best duck we got scope studies of, a GREATER SCAUP, the first
I've seen here in over 6 years now.   It flushed so we got
to see the white wing stripe that extended nearly to the wing tip.
There were 7 Greater Yellowlegs, 10 Least Sandpiper, 1 Solitary
Sandpiper, 3 Killdeer, and 5 Snipe.  Then there were 14
Double-crested and 1 Neotropic Cormorant, an amazing 50 (FIFTY!)
Great Blue Heron standing in a barren ploughed dirt field west
of the hatchery, and a few score of Coots.  Landbirds
about were Verdin, several Common Yellowthroats, Orange-crowned
Warbler, some Myrtle Warblers, Marsh Wrens, Am. Pipit, Song
Sparrows and Black Phoebe.

Finally, just leaving town I saw a Merlin, again near mega-mart,
so completed a falcon slam with a boatload of Kestrels, the
Peregrine, Merlin, and the Prairie Falcon.  Along the way
we saw at least a dozen Fuertes' Red-tailed Hawks, one non-Fuertes.

Dec. 5 ~ WEEWOW about 20 deg.F here on SR this morning!!! It
was down to 18 in JCT and KVL, and 22 in HDO!  It's warmer in
Massachusetts!  A surprise was flushing a CASSIN'S Sparrow this
morning from a patch of 2'tall dry grass outside that I purposely didn't
weed whack all year, to see if something like this could happen.
The patch is only about 15' by 5' or so.  It is the first winter
record I have up here in the hills.  Also interesting was
the first insect to move of the day,under the searing 1 p.m. heat
of 45 deg.F, a male Variegated Meadowhawk (dragonfly).  They
must have anti-freeze in there somewhere.  I did not see the
Selasphorus hummingbird today, hope it made it through the night.
Down at UP there was Song Sparrow, 3 Pied-billed Grebe, 125 Black
Vulture, a few Myrtle Warblers, a Spotted Towhee, and a Blue-headed
Vireo, perhaps the one that I saw Nov. 10.  At the hackberries on
Cypress St. there were 6 more Myrtle and 2 Audubon's Warblers.  Also
4 Lesser Goldfinch were there feeding in the weeds with Bluebirds.
I had to hit the brakes to miss a Roadrunner that jumped out right
in front of me on SR.  2 Audubon's Orioles about the hovel.

Dec. 4 ~ In the morning there was a solid 20 minutes nearly with
SNOW flurries! Temps to drop in afternoon, and hit about
20 deg.F by tomorrow morning, the first hard freeze of the year.
What appears to be the Nov. 25 Selasphorus hummingbird is back
at the feeders, since it seems to be an adult female (Rufous or
Allen's) with the same exact pattern of gorget color.

Dec. 3 ~ One lone American Goldfinch was at the sunflower tubes,
the rest was the regulars.  Still a bit chilly.  A spectacular
report on Texbirds was a photographed Northern Goshawk in Kerrville!

Dec. 2 ~ The Junco flock here at SR is now 10 birds, with one
good pure male Oregon, 2 good pure Pink-sided, and most of the rest
Slate-coloreds of various flavors, perhaps one good female Oregon.

December 1 ~ A 1/4" or so of cold rain over the day, with a high
temp of 40 deg.F!  2 Audubon's Orioles and Hutton's Vireo at SR.
I keep forgetting to mention, there is a strange absence of Cardinals
here for over a month now.  A male or two, maybe 2 females, and
that is it!?!?!?!  We've never, not had, a dozen plus at this
time.  So the question is, "Is there an abundance of native food
locally that they are capitalizing on, or are they gone?"
Notice the use of the double negative?  It can be done!  :)

Some November wrap-up....
November totalled 42 species of butterflies, so-so, its been
60 in good years, but was a surprise since it was the best
November flower bloom I've seen in 7 Novembers here.  The
timing of the drought-ending rains made everything sprout,
and the lack of a hard freeze in October made for a great
flower show, comparitively, into November.  But due to the
drought, there just weren't many butterflies out this year.

Some of the flowers blooming in November were Tropical & Mealy
Sage, Gay-feather, Navajo Tea, Parallena, Yellow Wood-Sorrel,
Eupatorium havanense, an Aster (White?), Zexmenia, Blackfoot
Daisy, Fireweed (Lobelia), Shrubby Blue Sage (Mejorana),
Black Dalea (early Nov.), Turk's Cap, Slender-stem Bitterweed,
Brickell-Bush, several sunflowers, and a bunch of other stuff.

It appears we made it into December without a hard freeze.
Amazing methinks?  I heard the Maples weren't all that great
this year, but the Buckley (Spanish) Oaks were outstanding as
always.  They are the real color show here, and you don't
have to fight the fall Lost Maples crowd to see it.  Drive any
road across the divides between drainages Thanksgiving weekend.

The Ode (dragonfly and damselfly) season is all but over now,
until next March.  Oh there will be a few more leftovers
still in Dec., and a few will emerge in February, but even in
March it is just barely starting.  Hope ya had fun this
season!  Uvalde Co. added I think about 10 species to its
official county list this year, and now sits at 99 species of
Odes known from the county!  The entire state of California
has 113 known species to compare Ode diversity.

One report posted to Texbirds of interest was a Green-tailed
Towhee at Concan I think over Thanksgiving weekend.  This
species is surely far more common in Uvalde Co. than reports
indicate.  Someone else had a Summer Tanager there too!


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Nov. 30 ~ A couple Audubon's Orioles were about in the cold
drizzle and showers, maybe a quarter inch of rain, not much.
More supposed to be on the way, and cold too.  At UP
there was a Zone-tailed Hawk roosting in a big Cypress.
I haven't seen one locally in two months at least, and they
seemed way down this year, presumedly due to their prey
being less numerous due to the drought.  I took a
quick cruise around town and saw four Lesser Goldfinches
at the Schaeffers feeders.  A few will winter at feeders,
but for the most part, the wild-food feeding individuals
have departed now.

A couple add-ons from the prior two days I forgot to mention.
First, on the 29th before the front hit in the near 70 deg F
warmth, a couple Poor-will were calling right after dark.
Then on the 28th, there were 2 immaculate PINK-SIDED Junco
here on the seed pile.  That makes at least 3 of them
so far this season, a high total already.

Nov. 29 ~ A surprise was a Giant Swallowtail in the yard, the
first I've seen all month, butterfly species #42 for this Nov..
We just went out quickly in the afternoon as much to see the
color in 1050 pass as anything, and it was not disappointing.
The Buckley (Spanish) Oaks are stunning as ever, yellows,
oranges, reds, maroons, the hills are beautiful.  These
oaks are a much more dependable color show than the maples,
you can count on these being stellar every Thanksgiving weekend.

Not many birds about, perhaps tucking in ahead of the front
expected just after dark.  Amongst some Vesper Sparrows
on UvCo 354 a mile SE of town, there was a GRASSHOPPER Sparrow.
This is the first one I've seen in winter up here, and
a bright fresh plumaged beauty it was.  Note Poor-wills
calling this date noted above, and, Chorus Frogs are still
going good too!

Nov. 28 ~ A mid-day check of a few spots about town....
At the library garden there was a Spotted Towhee, Carolina,
and Bewick's Wren, probably eating butterflies.  At UP
there was a heard only FOS White-throated Sparrow, a FOS
first winter Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (finally), and a FOS
Song Sparrow below the dam.  Sure nice to see water
running over it, even if I can't just run out there in my
shoes anymore.  There were a number of Variegated
Meadowhawks, a couple Autumn Meandowhawks, 1 Green Darner,
and 1 Blue-ringed Dancer about the park for Odes.
Note Pink-sided Junco (2) note above for this date.

Behind the P.O. there were some sparrows including Field,
Vesper, Savannah, and Chipping.  Down at the UvCo 360
crossing area a couple miles south of town there was a little
action as usual, with 2 Pyrrhuloxia and a Checkered White
(butterfly species #41 here for the month) being highlights.
At least 10 Myrtle Warbler were in the area plus the regulars.

Nov. 27 ~ Audubon's Oriole back again.  The duskywing
butterfly I saw late yesterday was about quickly again today
and is not a Funereal, but rather looks Horace's or Juvenal's.

Nov. 26 ~ Second a.m. at about 33 deg. F and an Audubon's Oriole
has shown up for peanuts and sugar water.  They'll get
regular in numbers real quickly now as it gets cold.  There
were a hundred Robin and 30 Cedar Waxwing around SR.  Also
here were 55 White-winged Dove still, Northern Harrier and Caracara
went over, Hutton's Vireo and Ruby-crowned Kinglet about yard.
No hummer though so must not have snagged the Selasphorus yesterday.

Nov. 25 ~ Amazingly another Selasphorus Hummingbird showed up
this afternoon, looked ad. female to me, and a Rufous/Allen's type,
which is #12 for the fall this year!  In the front yard
I flushed a Savannah Sparrow out of the tall grass!  A lone
Pine Siskin was on the sunflower tube.  I heard FOS American
Goldfinch at the Library Garden in town.  A Lesser Goldfinch
was at UP, as was Great Blue Heron and White-eyed Vireo.  A
Reakirt's Blue and 3 Fatal Metalmark were at the library garden.
Here in the yard a Dainty Sulphur and an Orange Sulphur each
selected fairly matching yellow flowers of Slender-stem Bitterweed
and roosted in the flower for the night (ph.).  Pretty smart,
besides the camo, you eat until its too cold to move, and first thing
in the a.m., you eat as soon as your body can move again.

Nov. 24 ~ A Common Raven took aim from above a small circle of
4 soaring Black Vultures. It closed its wings and began a stoop
from several hundred feet above the circle of vultures. I think
the technical term for its speed as it approached the lunking,
slowly climbing vulture cirlce, is "haulin' @$$".
Just before it hit the center of their circle at Mach 2 it
turned upside down, and tucked wings tight against back, so as
to appear as un-vultureflight-like as possible for them.  For
maximum effect as it pierced the mathematically exact center of their
circle, at Mach 2, upside-down, it loudly croaked several times,
which roughly translated meant "bet you can't do this".
The raven after some distance upside-down flipped over, and
continued on its way as if nothing happened.  The vultures
all seemed to be looking at each other saying "what happened?",
and then began casting espersions about the ravens parentage.

Nov. 23 ~ The immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird continues
here at the feeders on SR, day 5 for him.

Nov. 22 ~ At UP the White-eyed Vireo continues, and might be a
winterer.  There was a 5' Indigo Snake in the woods there.
Down at the big Red Turk's Cap patch right before Clayton Grade
there were a couple Cloudless Sulphur, a Large Orange Sulphur,
and a beautiful female Orange-barred Sulphur, the only one I've
seen this fall.  Interestingly, absence seems to be typical
for many species after a previous year that was a record-setter
invasion for them here.  A bunch of Pipevine Swallowtails were
on it too, and Dainty Sulphurs were in the many dozens on some
other ground cover.  Up on the grade itself at the cut, in the
Eupatorium (Thoroughwort) and Mejorana patch, what wasn't buried
by TXDOT, there were mostly Snouts and Dainty Sulphur, and lots of
nectaring Diptera (flies).  A couple Painted Lady, Red Admiral,
more Pipevines, lots of Sleepy Orange were everywhere.  A new
different (to me, here) Cerambycid was on some Sunflowers (photo).

The removal of so much of the tree and hedgerow habitat along the
road just north of the grade, across from the former Montana Rocasa,
where all the trees and hedgerow have been removed, seems to have
vacated much wildlife too.  I did not hear Olive Sparrows as
usual.  Or anything else.  Up on top of Clayton Grade I
consoled myself with some Lindheimer Morning Glory, and a few other
flowers, besides a Common Buckeye, the first I've seen this month.

Then at the library garden there were four new different things
that were the first of the month for me here.  Ceraunus Blue,
Orange Skipperling, 2 Mallow Scrub-Hairstreaks, and 2 Western Pygmy-Blue!
Also confirmed a couple Tropical Checkered-Skippers amongst the
throngs of Common Checkered-Skippers present.  An Orange-crowned
Warbler was in the bushes picking butterflies off before I could
ID them!  Several Fatal and two Rounded Metalmarks were there.
There were about 3 Clouded, 1 Eufala, 5 Sachem and 15 Fiery Skippers.
I think it is about 40 butterfly species for the month now, and
still no true freeze yet. I saw 33 species today in a couple hours!

Nov. 21 ~ Heard Golden-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Robin,
Myrtle Warbler, while doing some always sooo fun car work. 
Had to test the job and somehow, by some fluke miracle, I
ended up at the butterfly garden, can ya believe it?
Clearly it didn't freeze here, no burnt leaves or flowers, but
good numbers (157 total) of the regular expected 24 most likely
species of butterflies at 2:30 p.m. peak heat (ca. 70 deg.F).
Interesting was a Blue-headed Vireo there in the live-oak.
Butterfly killer.  :)

I must have fixed it good because when I was coming home,
all by itself it seemed to pull right into the park.  Amazing!?!

At UP the water was running (dripping) over the dam in a few
spots on the lower spillway, the ponds above and below the dam
were full, and there was water running below the dam to the
highway (1050).  Audubon's and Myrtle Warblers up in the
live-oaks, but nothing different, presumedly it all blew out
with the storm.  Water was muddy like the Rio Grande,
and Green Darner and Variegated Meadowhawks were the only
dragonflies flying.  Lots of the meadowhawks were in tandem
and ovipositing, more than a dozen pairs.  Several types
of damsels were about, though I couldn't ID them all.  The
only one of interest for sure for me was a late date here on
a Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) that I watched catch and
then eat a mosquito (ph.).  Lesser Goldfinch still in the
sunflower patch.  Heard the Black-and-white Warbler.
Heard Sandhill Cranes southbound over the park.

Nov. 20 ~ Started a little light showers overnight, maybe an
inch by 7 a.m., but a real cold front hit with temps dropping
by 9 a.m. and over a couple inches of rain fell in a few hours!
It was at least 3.5" by the morning lull, and then there was
another 2/3" in the afternoon, for over FOUR INCHES total today!!

This was the biggest rain event here I think in two years,
at least, since before the drought started in fall 07.  WOW !!
For the first time since spring when water quit running over
the spillway at the the park, water ran over it!  For the
first time all year I heard a major chorus of Chorus Frogs!
In late Nov.!?!  And the Ruby-throated Hummingbird stayed
quite close to the feeders all day.

Nov. 19 ~ At SR there was a single Cedar Waxwing, a lone Robin,
1 each Myrtle and Audubon's Warblers, a Golden-crowned Kinglet,
2 Hermit Thrush, and no hummingbirds for the third day, UNTIL
3 or 4 p.m. when an imm. male Ruby-throated showed up!  I
can't believe it, I thought we were done, and they were gone,
and another one finds the place!  A Dainty Sulphur in the
yard was not one of the 16 species I saw here yesterday.

Nov. 18 ~ NO Hummers for the second day in a row here at SR!
Was even colder but still didn't freeze here, though was
32 in HDO, 30 in KVL, and 26 in JCT!  An Audubon's Warbler
flew over southbound in the a.m., and a male Northern Harrier
later.  I saw 16 species of butterflies in the yard
this coldest morning since March. 

Nov. 17 ~ Was 28 in JCT, 30 in KVL, and probably 35 here on SR.
Maybe it neared a freeze down in town, but probably missed.
There were NO hummingbirds here today!  There were about
50 White-winged Dove, a flock of 25 Robin, a migrant Monarch,
and a few of the regular butterflies.  Ken Cave said he
saw 11 Caracara together at the south end of the valley near
Clayton Grade mid-day.

Nov. 16 ~ A front hit pre-dawn a.m. with 20-30 mph winds, gusting
higher, high of 60 maybe and a near-freeze tonight.  There
were two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds here in the a.m., but I did
not see them in the p.m. and they probably rode the wave on out
of Dodge for the winter, finally.  Odd was a duck that flew
over SR after dark, sounded like a Gadwall to me.

Nov. 15 ~ At SR was my FOS Pine Siskin, two at the sunflower tube.
Also at least 2 imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds continue.
A couple Monarchs passed.  A few Lesser Goldfinches still about,
and the Chippy flock is about 50 with a Junco or two as well.

Nov. 14 ~ Here at SR early in the a.m. there was again a single
Cedar Waxwing, and a Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Did a Uvalde
run and hit Ft. Inge, Cook's Slough has a closed sign hung on it.
There were no Scissor-tailed Flycatchers anywhere along the highway
there and back for the first time this fall.  At Ft. Inge we
heard Green Jay, and saw Winter Wren and Swamp Sparrow, a Neotropic
Cormorant, a couple Rock Wren, Verdin, and White-crowned Sparrows.
We were not there early so birds had already quited down a lot.

The big excitement was the dragonflies there at peak heat of the day.
There were about 5 male Coryphaeschna adnexa Blue-faced Darner.
These were discovered here a couple months ago, and are only known
from a few places in south Texas (besides Florida).  I almost
caught one, but it got away, though I did catch a Blue-eyed Darner.
There were still lots of Hyacinth Gliders about with their electric
purple thorax.  A Histerid beetle was an odd find (photos),
which I only know what it was due to Mike Quinn and Mike Overton
giving me an ID from the photos.  There were both Cloudless
and Large Orange Sulphur at Ft. Inge (one each) too.  There
was a Merlin over the supermegamart parking lot for a bit, and
finally, there was a Black Witch moth hit, flopping still, on Hwy. 90,
on the way back.


Blue-eyed Darner
Blue-eyed Darner - Aeshna multicolor
at Ft. Inge, Uvalde, TX, Nov. 14, 2009


Nov. 13 ~ Friday the 13th, so I thought I see if I could get lucky
at the park with the adult female Black-and-white Warbler, and
sure enough it continues there, and is surely the same bird that
wintered last year, when it also arrived in October.  Also
there was a White-eyed Vireo, perhaps the first there in a few
weeks.  Usually the last migrants are in the 3rd week of Oct..
There was also a Hermit Thrush, a few Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 8+ Myrtle
and an Audubon's Warbler, and I thought I heard a Pine Warbler again.
Also the regulars like Black Phoebe, Blue Jay, Green Kingfisher,
and Golden-fronted Woodpecker were seen.  A Chihuahuan Raven
passed over too.  There was a Theona Checkerspot at the library
garden, first one I've seen all fall. Also a couple Monarchs
nectared (migrants).  Finally, at SR there was another (!)
Selasphorus hummingbird, which appeared to be a Rufous, imm. male.
This is the 11th probable Rufous here this fall!  A record total,
having had 10 one fall in the last 6 years, average is 6 per fall.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird continues, no sign of the Broad-tail.
Spotted Towhee and a couple normal here Slate-colored Junco of the
odd flavor with partly beige mid-sides (western ones) continue.

Nov. 12 ~ Amazingly the Ruby-throated Hummingbird was still about
today, but I did not see the Broad-tailed!  4 Monarchs passed
over the day.

Nov. 11 ~ Got some pix of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird today,
but the Ruby-throated wouldn't let me get near it.  It is
always amazing how quickly they become ingrates.  Been here
fattening up for a week or two for a few hundred mile flight,
and can't sit still for one little picture for late date proof?
At least the Broad-tailed was cooperative (see below). Not
much but the regulars otherwise today.  22 Sandhill Crane.
Heard two Barn, 1 Screech- (Mexican), and 1 Great Horned, Owls.
And a Poorwill, plus lots of nocturnal passerine flight notes.


Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Immature Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Nov. 11,
the fourth one here this fall.


November 10 ~ Good for the yard was a FOS positive visual
on a PINE WARBLER, so close at the tip of a juniper I was
next to, I almost could have used my reading glasses on it.
Then besides the imm. male Ruby-throated I confirmed there
is another hummingbird here, an imm. BROAD-TAILED !!  The
fourth one this fall!  Amercian Pipit also flew over SR,
as well as the first flock of Robins, 40 of them going NE.

Then I had to run to town so stopped by the library garden where
there was a Great Purple Hairstreak, but not much else.  So
over to UP, where there was a small passerine flock of resident
Titmouse and Chickadee with mostly Myrtle Warblers (5+), a couple
Audubon's, a couple Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a FOS BLUE-HEADED VIREO,
and spectacularly, a CASSIN'S VIREO.  This is the first one
of them I have seen in 6 years here now, my first in the county.
It was at times in the same tree as the Blue-headed making for
a great comparitive study.  This seemed a first fall bird,
since the head was the same olive as the back, and coupled then
with fairly regular wing-flicking, generally they appear more
like a Hutton's Vireo than a Blue-headed, save the big bold
spectacle and whiter underparts.  Heard cranes over the park.

November 9 ~ 40 Chipping Sparrows at least now here at SR.
One Ruby-throated Hummingbird continues, and maybe I heard
something else.  The regular passerines for the days:
some Myrtle Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hutton's Vireo,
Orange-crowned Warbler all about the SR yard.

November 8 ~ At least one Ruby-throated Hummingbird was
still on the feeders today, and we got a half inch of
still much-needed rain from morning to afternoon.

Every night for the last week there have been passerine
migrants calling as they pass overhead, much sounding like
sparrows such as Savannah, White-crowned, Vesper, but some
stuff I'd love to have seen, flight notes I am not familiar with.

November 7 ~ Town was packed with the craft fair, and I
didn't see any different butterflies at the library garden.
At UP there was an American Coot (photos), and the water from
earlier rains are filling up the pond still.  You can
probably get a boat upriver again now, though since the
Black Vultures are using that big cypress to roost in it may
be dangerous to go under that tree.  You better hope they
flush before you get there or you may be wearing some stinky
processed road kill.  A male Northern Harrier flew south
over SR late in the p.m.. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
were still present on the feeders most of the day.



Black Vultures
Black Vultures roosting in cypress just
upriver of the park.


November 6 ~ The week of chamber of commerce weather with
lows in the 40's and highs in the 70's under beautiful blue
skies, and with low humidity has been quite appreciated.
At least two Ruby-throats are still hanging out fattening up.
Audubon's Warbler passed over SR southbound, calling.
Spotted Towhee still sneaking around the brush and seed pile.
Oregonish Junco still here.

When I heard the alarm notes and saw the now 30 bird strong
Chipping Sparrow flock flush, I knew there was an accipter
about, either Mr. Sharpy or Ms. Cooper was doing its daily
pass.  Then the Sharp-shinned popped up over the trees,
up to 25' to clear the power lines and head down the draw.
It was then I saw the motion high to the right, I looked
up and saw one of the hummingbirds that was here still, an
immature male Ruby-throated.  It was climbing, and
must have been at 100' up when it bent it over and went
into a full speed power dive, directly at aforementioned
fiercesome accipter.

From out of the sun I don't think the sharpy ever saw it
coming. It was like a cartoon as the hummer built up an
impressive head of steam, powering all the way to the bottom,
and was at nearly mach 1 when it hit the middle of the back
of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, as it bent out of the photon
torpedo power dive.  I saw the feathers move and
become disheveled on the back of the Sharpy.  It
parlayed the ricochet into a 60+ mph escape, and was gone
as fast as it happened.  The Sharpy had to break stride
and hesitate to shake itself out to correct misplaced feathers.
I think I heard the hummingbird say "and stay outta here"
as it blew the Sharp-shinned Hawks feathers out.  Nice to
see the hummers using that sugar we buy for maximum effect.

November 5 ~ 2 Ruby-throats at least are still here.
Myrtle Warbler moving S. past SR.  Eastern Bluebirds
going over near daily too, both north and south, high.
Heard a flicker but didn't see it to know what type.

November 4 ~ Still 3 Ruby-throats, Hutton's Vireo, Ruby-
crowned Kinglet, the Oregonish Junco.  Poorwill and
Eastern (Mexican) Screech-Owl still calling regular.

November 3 ~ At least 3 Ruby-throats still here, and early
there was a SOS - second of season - Golden-crowned Kinglet
out front, besides two Ruby-crowned, a Hutton's Vireo, and
a mostly Oregon Junco.

A stunning shock was at 10:40 a.m. looking up off the back
porch and seeing a little "V" of white birds.
I ran in the house grabbed bins, got back out and saw them,
SNOW GEESE !! Flying south over SR !! And one of them was
a ROSS'S GOOSE!  Clearly smaller with a faster wingbeat,
there were 6 SNOW, and 1 ROSS'S GOOSE! My first seen for the
Sabinal Valley.  Very interesting is that there is a
record (1 of only 6 for the whole plateau as of 2000) before
of ROSS'S GOOSE nearby.  It was seen flying overhead
with Snow Geese (!) at Lost Maples (!) in Nov. (!) 1999!
Small world, but I'd hate to have to paint it. 
Makes 216 for the yard list, 304 for the Sabinal River Valley.

Sometimes the excitement of birding is having the data to
know when it is almost lightening striking twice, ten years
apart, on the same ridge, someone looked up at the right
time in a few seconds window, as a migrant flock of southbound
geese passed over, that knew what they were looking at.
WEEWOW!! KAPOW ! Data! Dots to connect, that I must say,
fit rather neatly and well in this case, as it usually does.

November 2 ~ A FOS Cedar Waxwing flew over calling this a.m.
at SR.  I heard a FOS Hermit Thrush down the draw too.
There are still 4 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds here at the
feeders, the first November I've had them in 6 years now.
Hasn't frozen yet, so they're fattening up to go I'm sure.
Audubon's Warbler passed by southbound, calling, at SR.

I'm hard pressed to explain the begging as if just fledged,
looking just fledged Lesser Goldfinches (2), attended to
by an adult male, acting as to just fledged young, other
than to say they are just fledged fledgling Lesser GF's.
A guy in SAT just reported feathered nestlings a couple
days ago, so there were probably some late nestings.
Amazingly late, taking advantage of a late "spring"
this fall after the rains finally came and everything bloomed.

November 1 ~ At SR early in the a.m. was a FOS American Robin.
The numbers of leafy lookie-loos at Lost Maples in fall, can
make birding there very difficult, if not nearly impossible.
Just the sheer din of footsteps is enough to often keep
the animals away from the trails.  But it is a great time
to go to Garner St. Pk., as the crowds have left there.
So we did, and it was fairly nice, though we just skimmed
it quickly for a few hours.

We saw 26 species of butterflies, many at the garden at
the visitor center (old entrance), including a White Peacock
which is a good animal up here in the hills.  Up the
Wild Horse Canyon trail there was a latish Red Satyr and a
FOS Winter Wren.  Near there at the edge of the Shady
Grove area there was a little flock of passerines that had
6 Carolina Chickadee, 4 Black-crested Titmouse, Hutton's Vireo,
some Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and surprisingly 3 warblers moving
together. A Nashville, a Black-and-white (ad.fem.), and most
remarkably, a hybrid HERMIT x TOWNSEND'S Warbler.  These are
regular on the west coast, but it is likely the first one of
its kind to be reported from the Edwards Plateau.  I hear
there are a couple sightings in the state of Texas at Big Bend.
We got great close looks, I saw it 6 times in the open over 6 mintues,
at close range in full sun.  I'll post a sketch on the
oddities page shortly.  There were only a few scattered
Myrtle and Orange-crowned Warblers, and I may have heard a Pine,
but no big "winter" flock was found.

One of our former favorite great places there was butchered in
the tree trimming job.  Which I guess they consider it
improved, but from a habitat standpoint I can assure you it was
destroyed.  Wasn't a single bird where there used to
always be many, one of the best spots, completely butchered.
Complete and total alteration of a habitat that is
*hundreds of years old*, likely for no real good reason,
is not a sign of human intelligence.


Black Rock Squirrel
Black Rock Squirrel is perhaps most easily seen locally
at Garner St. Pk., around the rental cabins in
the live-oak grove near the south end of the park.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

October butterflies totalled 52 species, up over the last
two months, but not particularly impressive, and numbers
overall remain way down, undoubtedly drought related.
The Monarch migration was west of us this year and we
only got a few per day instead of the major wave we get
some years.  Nice article on Monarchs in the TPWD
Parks & Wildlife magazine in the October issue.



Black Vulture
A prehistoric dinosaur for Halloween.
Black Vulture


Oct. 31 ~ Wow, 5 Ruby-throated Hummers in the a.m. at SR.
Another was at the library garden working the flowers.
Three migrant Monarchs were nectaring there, but best was
a Dusky-blue Groundstreak, my only one of the month.
At UP Kathy found a FOS dull immature Golden-crowned Kinglet
high in the crown of one of the big live-oaks.  Also
there were 5 Pied-billed Grebes now, and at the Sr. Ctr.
Lantana was a Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak.  Back at
the seed pile here on SR there were 2 adult White-crowned
Sparrow.  I think it was upper 30's deg.F in the a.m..
Orange Bluets photo'd in wheel at UP.

Oct. 30 ~ Probably at least 3 Rubys still on the feeders.
A juvenile White- crowned Sparrow was at the seed. At the
park (UP) was 4 Pied-billed Grebe, and the best bird was
a bug, a Carmine Skimmer dragonfly, quite rare up here on
the hill.  There were at least 3 FOS Autumn Meadowhawks
as well.  Also there were some butterflies on the
Maxmillian Sunflower like Vesta Crescent, Checkered White,
and Bordered Patch.  Over at the library garden there
was a Soldier (Eresimus) which has been nearly absent this year,
50 Queens, 10 American Lady, several Red Admirals, 2 Lyside,
and some of the regulars.

Oct. 29 ~ The 4 Ruby-throats continue, as does Spotted Towhee
skulking at the perimiter brush piles.  Was almost 80 deg.F
just before noon when a cold front hit, dropping it 10 deg. in
10 minutes, then blew 20 mph till midnight.

Oct. 28 ~ There are still four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds here
at the SR feeders.  A couple migrant Monarchs passed by,
and a Texan Crescent stopped on some Zexmenia flowers.

Oct. 27 ~ A nice chilly 40 deg.F this a.m. felt good.
A flock of 4 House Sparrows circled high overhead calling,
and moved on.  These country birds sure aren't anything
like their city breathen.  I bet their DNA is changing too.
Down SR I finally saw an FOS White-crowned Sparrow.  There
were at least four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the a.m..
An Audubon's Warbler called as it flew over southbound.
An Orange Sulphur and a Phaon Crescent were at UP.  There
were about 85 Queens and 2 Monarchs at the library garden, and
a few other migrant Monarchs passed by, 1 fem. Whirlabout, a
couple Bordered Patch.  Odes were dismal at park save
bluets out over the water, probably Familiar.

Oct. 26 ~ Rain early in the a.m. to morning was probably
an inch or so, of still much need wet stuff.  There
are still at least 4 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, seeming
like most left Sat. and Sun., and now these are stuck
until it clears.  The high temp was at 12:01 a.m.,
and the front hit at 6a.m. or so so it dropped from
65 to below 50 by time ya got out there early, and stayed
that way with 20 MPH winds on it, drizzly all day.

Oct. 25 ~ There were a couple male Cinnamon Teal at the
fish hatchery in Uvalde, one Merlin, one Osprey, one
Harrier, one Greater Yellowlegs, a few Common Moorhen, a
hundred Coot, the last dozen Black-bellied Whistling Ducks,
two FOS Ring-necked Ducks, Yellowthroats and Marsh Wren,
500 Barn Swallow, 2 Plegadis Ibis, Vesper and Savannah
Sparrows.  A female Red-tailed Pennant (dragonfly) took a mating
pair of bluet damselflies.  There were 3 Thornbush
Dashers there too.  At Cook's Slough there were a
couple Osprey, some Kiskadee, good numbers of Wigeon
and Teal, Yellowthroats and Marsh Wrens, Green Kingfishers,
a Black-crowned Night-Heron, Harris's Hawk, and a few migrants,
or winterers like Myrtle Warbler, Kinglet and Gnatcatcher.
Oops, some Water Pipits were at the hatchery.

Along the roads were numbers of Meadowlarks, presumed Western,
one looked Eastern, a dozen Scissor-tailed Flycatchers,
a half dozen Caracara, numbers of Shrikes and Mockingbirds.
Had at least two dozen migrant Monarchs on the day down there.
Lots of Phaon Crescents at the hatchery on the Frog-fruit.
Later p.m. on the way back there was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
just south of town, and N. Harrier was below 3 mi. bridge, and
one was over town.

Oct. 24 ~ Finally saw TWO FOS Spotted Towhee while I was
tossing seed around the brush pile.  I bet it was
them I heard a few days ago.  Going down SR near
Morris' I saw a nearly 5' Indigo Snake cross the road.
By some miracle I got it just at the right angle to the
sun, and it lit up bright neon indigo iridescent all
along the back.  Like a curving moving s curved
tube of neon dark indigo.  It was stunning, breath-taking.
I've seen a bunch of Indigo Snakes and have seen the bluish
tint on the sides once maybe (they usually look black),
but this was actual iridescence with it between me and
the sun at just the right angle, and it was bright blue!  WOW!!

At UP there was finally the first vagrant butterfly
from the south of the year, a White-patched Skipper,
Chiomara georgina (photos).  The Maxmillian Sunflower
is pretty active now.  In the oaks there was a flock
of passerine migrants.  With Titmice and Chickadees
joining them there was Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned
Kinglet, 6-7 Myrtle Warbler, 2 Audubon's Warbler, and one
other warbler chip that sounded like a Pine to me. Also
there was an adult female Black-and-white Warbler, which I
bet is the same bird seen in earlier October, and is the
same bird that wintered last year, and is attempting to
winter again.  Spectacular if so.  Time will tell.
5 more Monarchs.

Oct. 23 ~ A chilly 45 for a low this a.m.!  WEEWOW!!
The FOS Slate-colored Junco showed up today at SR.  At
UP there were 4 Blue-winged Teal and an Audubon's Warbler.
Between there and the library garden in an hour and change
I saw 22 species of butterflies, with nothing unusual amongst
them.  Less than half the diversity of prior years, an
effect of the drought.  At SR there were at least 20
Chipping Sparrow, and at dusk to dark Poor-will and Eastern
(Mexican - mccallii) Screech-Owl called.

Oct. 22 ~ Still a dozen Ruby-throats because rain moved in
in the late p.m. yesterday, and overnight we had a much needed
over 1.5" by mid-morning here on SR.  an Orange Skipperling
was on the Zexmenia out back.  2 Migrant Monarchs passed.
The OREGON and PINK-SIDED Juncos continue.  At dusk a
flock of 26 Sandhill Cranes were my FOS locally.  The first ones
can be counted on to ride the first big post-frontal blow down.

Oct. 21 ~ I SAW TWO Juncos today, so I DID hear them yesterday.
Even more amazing was that one was a bright dark OREGON,
and the other was a beautiful PINK-SIDED!!  Both of these
more western types are truly scarce here.  I got to study
them for 5 minutes at 10' through the office window in the binocs.

Oct. 20 ~ A dozen Ruby-throats continue and Selasphorus sps.
probably Rufous #10 of the year came in late in the day.
I heard a Flicker call, and I heard a FOS Junco but did not
see it to confirm.  I also heard what I thought sure
was a Spotted Towhee which would also be an FOS.  The
Black Swallowtail is still about.

Oct. 19 ~ The avian event of the day was at dusk when a flock
of 400 Barn Swallows swirled overhead and then headed down towards
the river, presumedly to roost.  It is the largest concentration
of migrants I have seen of them locally.

Oct. 18 ~ Turned out to be the last day the two Tricolored Herons
were seen at UP.  14 bagworm moth cocoons on a cypress at the
edge of the river.  One Ceraunus Blue below the dam, and since
the first cold snap dragonfly populations are crashing.  Nearly
a shocking difference, and other than bluets (Enallagma sps., mostly
Familiar -civile), nothing was numerous.  At the library garden
there were TWO Great Purple Hairstreaks (Atlides halesus) which are
nothing short of stunning every time.  another Monarch, 1 Ocola
Skipper, 20 Queens, a Fatal Metalmark, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth type
of Sphinx that was not Hemaris diffinis, and one Ruby-throated
Hummingbird.  At SR there were a dozen Chipping Sparrows meaning
the FOS returning winterers are arriving as there had been 6 since
September.  At dusk a FOS Flicker flew into the "perching snag"
a hundred yards from the porch, and scope views showed it to be a
pure RED-SHAFTED.  A Black Swallowtail was about the yard, and
a dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbirds continue at the feeders.
Ended up with 5 Monarchs for the day.

Oct. 17 ~ My FOS Sharp-shinned Hawk was about today.  Way early
sightings posted on the web in August from Uvalde are erroneous.
There are more Ruby-throats than feeders here so a problem, since
not enough more to break down their territoriality issues, the
mean little &#@!*&@#.  Probably more than a dozen including
one adult male.  The Selasphorus (Rufous?) is still slugging it
out with them too.  Move the 8 feeders all together, spread them
all apart, repeat, repeat, I give up.  Two Orange-crowned
Warblers bathing at the bath were new arrivals.  Most hummers
left by late afternoon.

Oct. 16 ~ Several more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds showed up today,
with all 8 feeders being guarded by afternoon, and more birds around.
The Selasphorus (Rufous or Allen's, probably an immature male) was
guarding one feeder all morning into the early afternoon, until enough
Ruby-throats showed up that it coulnd't hold them all off.
It was a pretty good wave of that came in during the afternoon,
with perhaps over a dozen here by late in the day, including a new
adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird showing up at about 6:15 p.m..
Interesting wave, since Oct. 11-12 there were NO Ruby-throats here.
A migrant flock of about 35 Turkey and 10 Black vulture showed up
to roost on the back (west) knoll of SR just before 7 p.m..
There was a FOS winter form Question Mark butterfly about the yard
with more orange instead of black hindwings.  A Barn Owl passed
over SR southbound at 10 p.m..

Oct. 15 ~ In the a.m. there was the Selasphorus hummingbird, plus
two imm. male Ruby-throats, and two more Ruby-throats showed up
in the afternoon, apparently riding the front wave down.  It was
a toasty 92 or so in the afternoon with the front hitting about
5:30 p.m. or so.  A couple cooler days allegedly ahead.
More Vultures streaming over southbound, but nothing else.

Oct. 14 ~ It seems two imm. male Ruby-throats are here now, and
one adult female or imm. male Selasphorus, probably a Rufous.
Two warblers were in the live-oak out the kitchen window in back
this a.m., an Orange-crowned and a Black-throated Green.
Some more Black and Turkey Vultures are streaming over southbound.
The imm. male Indigo Bunting continues.  The pair of Scott's
Orioles were in once briefly late in the day.  They'll be gone
any day now, and the Hooded are gone already.  A Julia's Skipper
was on some Zexmenia (flowers) as was a Funereal Duskywing.

Oct. 13 ~ A new immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird showed
up, after a couple days without any present.  But I don't
see the Broad-tailed which was present seemingly too late yesterday
to have left, and may mean it was predated.  One adult
Swainson's Hawk went over in a kettle of Turkey and Black Vultures.
The imm. male Indigo Bunting continues.  A spectacular beetle,
Plinthocoelium suaveolens, a large metallic green Long-horned
Beetle (Cerambycid) flew right by me down the road here on SR.
There is a picture of one on the critters INSECT photo page.

Oct. 12 ~ A bright very green backed eastern Warbling Vireo
was in the live oak out back today giving great views for 5 minutes.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird continues, as the only hummer here.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet and House Wren were about.  The
Cooper's Hawk flushed the dove flock for a good count,
75 White-wings remain here still.  Pair of Scott's Orioles
continues, no male Hooded for almost a week now.

Oct. 11 ~ A Uvalde run so checked Ft. Inge and Cook's Slough,
despite the mist and drizzle there were some neat birds about.
At Ft. Inge where we looked most, we saw some migrants including
a late Mississippi Kite that Kathy spotted, 10 Indigo Bunting,
2 Baltimore Oriole, 5 Great Kiskadee, a few Couch's Kingbirds
and some Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, a Solitary Sandpiper,
lots of Lincoln's Sparrows, some Common Yellowthroats, a few
House Wrens including one good singer still going at it,
a hundred plus Northern Rough-winged Swalows, a couple dozen
Barns and some Caves. Also one Audubon's Warbler, a couple
Nashville, and an Orange-crowned Warbler.  A warbler with
a zeet flight note flew by with bold wingbars and tail spots,
that looked most like a Blackpoll, but it got away.  Most
interesting were two Chaetura swifts, that were very stubby-winged,
never stopped flapping, or called, with distincly contrasting very
pale rumps.  They looked to me to be Vaux's Swifts, not Chimney.

Over at Cook's Slough we had a flock of 23 FRANKLIN'S GULL
circle but they could apparently tell it wasn't really bathing or
drinking water as they only dropped down so far, and then
climbed back up, circled over towards the hatchery, returned,
and then moved off southward without coming down.  It is my
first fall sighting of the species here, where it is normally
only a spring migrant.  There were good numbers of
Scissor-tails (35) and Vermilion Flycatcher (4), and a couple
Couch's Kingbird gorging mostly on some fat caterpillars in a
field there.  An Empi whit seemed too soft for Least, but I
didn't get to see it.  A couple Swainson's Hawks passed
over with some southbound Turkey Vultures.  Ducks included
a pair of Pintail, a Gadwall, a dozen Wigeon, 2 dozen Blue-winged
Teal, and a couple dozen Coots were back as well.  Good numbers
of Cave Swallows continue and there were at least 4 Bank Swallows
still present at the slough.  A Great Pondhawk was a good
dragonfly (ph.), only the second I've seen of this hard-to-find
species in the county.

Along the way there were dozens of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers,
good numbers of Shrikes, and some Meadowlarks starting to show up.
Over 100 Barn Swallows were a mile south of the 3 mile bridge
south of Utopia coursing the fields there.  On SR, 32 Eurasian
Collared-Dove in a single flock on the wire on the way out in the
a.m. was not interesting except in a "wonder how they taste" way.
Glad they're not at my place, where of course they can't sit around
like that, and know it.  Clearly they are increasing here,
and I wonder what they will displace?.  An imm. male Indigo Bunting
was at the seed here at SR.

Oct. 10 ~ A FOS Audubon's Warbler flew south over SR early in
the a.m..  A FOS Vesper Sparrow was down SR a bit. 
There were 6+ Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the morning, and
the Selasphorus, which is a Broad-tailed, my third this fall.  All
the Ruby-throats left over the first half of the day or so, and
only the Broad-tailed was left in the afternoon.  After dark,
at about 10 p.m. I heard a passerine migrant call a flight note
as it passed over that sounded like a Green-tailed Towhee to me.
Major Snout (butterfly) movement with peak of 1000/hr. going
East over SR.

Oct. 9 ~ Perhaps only 6-8 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds left, but
a new immature female (?) Selasphorus showed up that I didn't ID.
A lone Barn Swallow passed southbound.  A frontal passage
early pre-dawn brought about 3/4" of rain, and cool temps.
Probably birds too but I couldn't leave the desk.  I heard
an Indigo Bunting outside, besides Kinglet, Gnatcatcher, and Orange-
crowned Warbler.  It's that time when the insect eating
migrants are about gone, and it's more the wintering birds
arriving now, the 2nd half of fall migration.

Oct. 8 ~ At UP a warbler or two got away, and I saw one Nashville
Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, 2 Tricolored Heron, Great Egret,
the 7 Blue-winged Teal, and now 3 Pied-billed Grebe there.
Hutton's Vireo around the yard, the pair of Scott's and male Hooded
Oriole still here.  Today was the first time this year I've
seen Snout butterflies passing at 100 per hour or more.
Still just 6 Chipping Sparrows present which appear to be the
breeding pair and their young of the year.


Tricolored Heron
This is one of the immature Tricolored Herons
that spent most of the fall here at the park.


Oct. 7 ~ Amazing was a CATBIRD out back this morning with the
frontal passage.  Very rare here in fall.  There were a couple
Gnatcatchers and Kinglets that passed through too.  Male and female
Scott's Orioles, and a male Hooded continue at the sugar water.
Lyside Sulphur butterflies are passing southbound in moderate numbers.

Oct. 6 ~ At UP were the 2 continuing Tricolored Herons, 7 Blue-winged
Teal, and an adult female Black-and-white Warbler.  That is interesting
in that it could well be the female that wintered last year returning,
and is not necessarily a migrant.  Time will tell.  There were dozens
of Green Darner dragonflies at UP, many ovipositing pairs and singles.

Oct. 5 ~ 4 Barn Swallows passed over southbound, Ruby-crowned Kinglet
and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers continue to pass too.  Finally no
adult male Ruby-throat today, probably not again now until late March.
(the above proven wrong about 10 days later when a male showed up Oct. 16)
A much advertised major rain event for the weekend failed to materialize,
and we had fog/mist, and a trace each day for the last 3, so plants
got a little.  There is a great early October bloom going on,
with even a very few Plateau Agalinis, and good Thyrallis showing.

Oct. 4 ~ About a dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbirds still here, and
one adult male still.  Seems some left in the day.  A few more
Stenaspis Cerambycids were about, and a Hutton's Vireo at SR.
House Wrens scattered about, and at Utopia on the River there were
a couple Warbler sps., 1 Orange-crowned Warbler, and 2 imm. male
Vermilion Flycatcher.  At UP there were just the regular birds.
A couple Red-tailed Pennant dragonflies continue and one Twelve-spotted
Skimmer was there too.  When we got home on SR another 12-spot was
guarding the 4' kiddie pool pond!  A Neon Skimmer female was
ovipositing in it earlier in the day.

October 3 ~ At UP there were 3 Ringed Kingfisher, my local high count.
Also the two Tricolored Heron continue as does the Great Egret, and
there were 4 Blue-winged Teal.  On the frontal passage there were
four new species with it that were FOS - first of season.  There
were two FOS's below the dam: 4 Common Yellowthroat and 2-3 Lincloln's
Sparrow.  Then first at SR, and then everywhere I looked there were
FOS House Wrens, I saw 6 in an hour or so.  Finally, heard the FOS
Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  This fairly well certifies fall is here.
At UP there was an adult male Green Kingfisher with a juvenile that
looked freshly fledged, all buffy below, like when they just come out.
A damselfly that Kathy spotted I got a couple pix of before it dis-
appeared was later ID'd by Tony Gallucci as Fragile Forktail (Ischnura
posita).  We don't see many here.

Around the north end of town was the annual fall buildup flock of
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, I counted 50 birds at least.  They'll
soon be gone until late March next year.  A zeet note got away at UP.
An imm. male Indigo Bunting was at SR and the one adult male Ruby-throated
Hummingbird continued in the a.m. at least, with about a dozen or so
immature males still present.  Male and female Scott's Oriole
still hitting the feeder, and ad. male and female Hooded, but I'm not
seeing the young of the year anymore, for perhaps all week.  White-
winged Dove flock still about 50, and 6 Inca in yard today.  There
were 2 mating pairs, and a few singles of the beautiful Cerambycid
(Long-horned Beetle) Stenaspis verticalis insignis but my floppy
malfunctioned so I didn't get any new pix of them.


Sept. 30 ~ Still about a dozen immature male Ruby-throats, and an
adult male showed up for a bit too.  The Rufous was not seen after
last Sunday.  Fortunately I had to run to town so got to stop
by the park briefly.  The two Tricolored Herons were still
there, and the Great Egret, 21 Blue-winged Teal, 2 Indigo Bunting
immatures, but best of all was TWO Ringed Kingfishers interacting.
First time I've seen two together there at once.  At SR there
are still a few Scott's and Hooded Orioles, a male of each came in
together and traded places on their favorite feeder.  Seems
odd how they travel together, but they sure do.  An un-ID'd
skipper of some sort got away at the Library Garden, I don't know
what it was but good and different.

Sept. 29 ~ A few passerine migrants were about the yard including a
male Wilson's Warbler, immature Indigo Bunting, and a Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher.  One Hutton's Vireo was around too.

Sept. 27 ~ The Rufous Hummer was still present, with about a dozen
Ruby-throats, but the ad. male Ruby-throat was not seen.

Sept. 26 ~ Uvalde had a Zone-tailed Hawk over Hwy. 90 near downtown.
At Cook's Slough there were few migrants as the day after frontal
passage, everything leaves on the tailwinds. 1 Indigo Bunting,
1 Dickcissel, 1 Yellow Warbler was about it for passerine migrants.
A couple Common Yellowthroats and 3 FOS Lincoln's Sparrows were new.
A Pied-billed Grebe with traces of juvenile plumage on the head
was present; they generally are not here in the summer so odd.
There were a couple Tropical Least Skippers there, and a couple
Mosaic Darners that appeared to be Blue-eyed Darner but I didn't
net them or see what I need to for making a positive ID.  A few
have been seen around lately, so I base the presumptive ID on what
experts have said about some that others have seen and photographed.
In any case after 6 years here this is the first time we've had
them show up at the slough, or in the county, clearly an invasion.
There were also 2 White Peacock butterflies at the slough.
A few Monarchs were about nectaring, some presumedly migrants.
Kathy heard a Great Horned Owl early in the a.m. at SR while still dark.

The hatchery has new hours so pay attention to the gate. 
We got locked in despite being there during open hours, and had
to go find someone to get out.  There was another Tropical
Least Skipper there too, so perhaps we have a bit of an invasion
going on for them.  Interesting was watching a Least Grebe
eat a Green Darner!  There were 7 Common Moorhen, a few Coots,
2 Gadwall, a Shoveller, 1 FOS American Wigeon, amongst a couple
dozen Blue-winged Teal, a Cassin's Sparrow, a FOS Savannah Sparrow,
and one Least Sandpiper.  Too much water in all the ponds as
has been the case for most of the last year plus for shorebirds.

Good numbers of Shrikes, lots of Mockingbirds, and some Scissor-tails
still, were along the roads down in the flatland brush country.

Sept. 25 ~ About 50 White-winged Doves remain present hitting
the seed daily. At about 11 a.m. when the low cloud deck broke
a great (for here) movement of migrant raptors passed over,
southbound, after being held down by the weather for a few days.
There were: 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Mississippi Kite, 3 Cooper's Hawks,
4 Red-shouldered Hawk, 1 Eastern Red-tailed Hawk, 2 Broad-winged Hawk,
(adults), and 2 Swainson's Hawk, one was a dark (chocolate) morph,
and a few Kestrel.  Several small groups of Black and Turkey Vultures
also appeared to be migrants moving south.  At UP there were
12 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Tricolored Heron, a Great Blue Heron, 1 Osprey,
a Nashville Warbler, and all together feasting on ripe Virginia Creeper
berries were a Summer Tanager, a female Bullock's Oriole, 1 Indigo Bunting,
and a Couch's Kingbird that took 3 or 4 berries.  Also today
at SR there was a FOS Say's Phoebe.  There were definite migrant
Monarchs passing over, not many, maybe 8, but high fast flyin' migrants.

Sept. 24 ~ An FOS Orange-crowned Warbler was about the yard.
Sparrows were Clay-colored, Field, Lark, Chipping, and Rufous-crowned.
At UP there was an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Least Flycatcher, a
Wilson's Warbler, 19 Blue-winged and 2 Green-winged Teal, one
continuing Tricolored Heron.  At dusk there were FIVE Kestrels
together at once (photo) on a branch or two of the Buckley Oak
pre-roost gathering site they use sometimes, 2 male, 3 female.
One Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was in town.

Sept. 23 ~ Another .2 of rain this a.m. with a high in the mid-60's.
I remember in 2005 late September record breaking 105-107 deg.F.!
2 dozen Ruby-throats and the imm. male Rufous continue. A male
Wilson's Warbler was out the office window, a Clay-colored Sparrow
was on the seed.  There were 3-4 each of Scott's and Hooded
Orioles, and 1 male Bullock's Oriole.

Sept. 22 ~ First day of Fall finally !!  it blew in with a cold
front, and we had 1.5"+ of rain with a high of about 70 deg. F.!
I estimated two dozen Ruby-throated and probably the same Selasphorus,
which looked like an imm. male.  What seems likely the
regular Kestrel male was back on the wire and his normal late afternoon
tele pole perch, and the Buckley Oak it uses too.  At 11 p.m.
a large group of Upland Sandpipers passed over, at least 10 called
as they flew southbound.

Sept. 21 ~ Maybe a dozen plus or two Ruby-throats, one adult male,
no Rufous, maybe I missed it.  I thought it an immature male.
At UP there was a female Wilson's Warbler and an imm. male
Indigo Bunting, but that was about it.  Continuing were,
the Belted Kingfisher, two Tricolored Herons, and Great Egret.
A widely advertised cold front is supposed to hit tomorrow, with
hoped-for rain and cooler temps on the first day of fall.

Sept. 20 ~ In the yard was juv. Orchard Oriole, White-eyed Vireo,
Nashville Warbler, and the Selasphorus looks like a Rufous.
At UP there were 2 Tricolored Heron, so both still around,
a Belted Kingfisher, a lateish Yellow-throated Vireo, but not much.
At Utopia on the River a couple Yellow Warbler was it, and
at the 360 crossing there was Orange-striped Threadtail
(Protoneura cara) and a pair of Twelve-spotted Skimmer.
Multiple male and female 12-spots were below the dam at UP too.
At Co.Line crossing there were a few Yellow Warblers, one
Yellow-throated Warbler, a Green Kingfisher.  Cypress Hollow
had a Least Flycatcher and a little more water in it.
Barely 20 Ruby-throats left.  Blue-gray Gnatcat in the yard.
Saw a 4' Indigo Snake at 360 x-ing that dove into river.

Looks like some Evergreen Sumac is blooming already, as is the
Poverty Weed (Baccharis).  Lots of late flowers have
popped out after the rains, besides the carpets of fall rain
lillies.  Blackfoot Daisy, Angel's Trumpet, Zexmenia, Navajo Tea,
Parralena, Rock Flax, Lindheimer's Senna, Sida, Buffalo Burr, Prarie
Fleabane, and others are making a last showing.  The Snow-on-the-
mountain seems to be blooming well, though Frostweed seems quite reduced.
Not too late for some rain to influence a better bloom from them.

Sept. 19 ~ Audubon's Oriole sang out front, then a male Baltimore
and a male Bullock's Oriole showed up, besides the regular Hooded
and Scott's made for a good oriole show in the yard for the a.m..
At UP there was the Great Egret and Tricolored Heron, a Belted
Kingfisher, Wilson's Warbler, one probable Alder Flycatcher.
At the Snow-on-the-Mountian patch below 1050 in the river channel
there were a number of Monarchs nectaring, 8 maybe, a female Twelve-
spotted Skimmer, a Beezlebub Bee Eater (giant Asilid) robberfly,
of which we saw another hunting bees on some blooming Kidneywood.
Some Painted Lady migrants were seen also, a couple Southern
Broken-Dash, Giant Swallowtail, a few Queen, Gulf Frit, and one
Ocola Skipper.  Also one of those 2" black and red hornets,
and a 2"+ all metallic blue Pompelid or Pepsid.  An Osprey
was at UP, my local FOS.  Maybe only 2 dozen Ruby-throats left.
Somewhere we had a Common Streaky Skipper, I think below the dam.
There were at least a dozen Chimney Swift over town still.

Sept. 18 ~ Caracara for 4th evening in a row out front.  Less
than 50 Ruby-throated Hummingbird left, perhaps only 30 or so.
The Selasphorus continues.

Sept. 17 ~ The Clay-colored Sparrow continues on the seed outside.
A male Baltimore Oriole was nice again.  Surely less than
100 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds left, about 5-10 adult male, the
rest immature male, and 1 Black-chinned immature.  Late in
the p.m. a Rufous/Allen's type Selasphorus showed up.  Lucky
Bob Rasa in Uvalde was out with a visitor at Cook's Slough that
spotted a Painted Redstart, which Bob got a picture of.

Sept. 16 ~ The Indigo continues, and a Yellow Warbler passed through
the yard.  A major sign of fall is the FOS Clay-colored Sparrow,
which was in the SR yard today.  Another FOS of the day was at
11 p.m., a Barn Owl.  Amazing was a chorusing of the over 2 dozen
Lesser Goldfinches here on the sunflower tubes, at least a dozen males
all going off full blast all at once, with all their mimicry thrown in,
it was astounding. One does a great Great Crested Flycatcher and
Yellow-throated Vireo very well.  Another does Vermilion Flycatcher
flight song perfectly.  Down at UP in the late p.m. there was a
Tricolored Heron still, a Green Kingfisher, a Mourning Warbler, and
the best bird, was a BLACK WITCH moth.

Sept. 15 ~ Still the Indigo bunting imm. male, but no Broad-tail Hummer.
So the Broad-tail spent 9 days here fattening up for the next leg.
The Mini Red Satyr was still about too. A Caracara flew by in the late
p.m., and Kathy had a high-flying Monarch making tracks.  Hummers
are leaving in droves, the annual "blowout" is in progress.

Sept. 14 ~ The Broad-tailed Hummingbird continued in the a.m. at SR,
but was not seen in the p.m..  The Indigo Bunting continued, as
did the local Cooper's Hawk, another one of which was a migrant was
very high up southbound, with a Swainson's Hawk.  A Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher passed through, and there are probably 400 Ruby-throated
Hummingbirds, with a couple imm. Black-chinned still present.
A pint-sized miniature Red Satyr was about the yard, half normal size.

Sept 13 ~ Went to Uvalde but it was pretty muddy and wet from the
rains, so we didn't walk around much.  Saw a Wood Stork
leaving Cooks' Slough & at the hatchery watched a Long-billed Curlew
fly off.  Osprey, 7 Moorhen, 4 Least Grebe oddly surface skimming
feeding, and 5 Shoveller were also there.  An Eastern Kingbird
was near Sabinal, and a Harris's Hawk north of it a ways.
Via a post at Texbirds, we found out of an unknowingly photographed
Tropical Parula (warbler) at Cook's Slough.

Sept. 12 ~ I finally got a spread tail shot of the immature male
Broad-tailed Hummingbird that continues at our feeders on SR.
Note the limited rufous in the bases of outer rectrices (tail feathers),
and narrowly white-tipped 3rd where imm. female is broadly tipped
white on that feather.


Broad-tailed Hummingbird


At UP there was a different flock of teal than yesterday's
35 Blue-winged.  An eclipse male CINNAMON TEAL stood out (ph.),
and Kathy picked out a Green-winged, which led me to another,
plus 20 Blue-winged so clearly a different flock from yesterday.
Then she also picked out a Solitary Sandpiper.  There was
Great Egret continuing, and one Least Flycatcher across the dam.
  At the Sabinal Canyon Museum there was an Ocola Skipper,
the first I've seen this year, and a Yellow Warbler in town.
A couple Upland Sandpipers flew over southbound at 11 p.m..

Sept. 11 ~ At UP there was a continuing Great Egret I keep
forgetting to mention, and one Tricolored Heron.  There were
35 Blue-winged Teal, a Belted Kingfisher, and Judy Schaeffer
reported seeing the RINGED Kingfisher there, and 2 Rufous
Hummingbirds at her feeders.  A warbler got away from me
in the woods I think was a Wilson's.  No change in water
levels from the rain though.  Barking Frogs were calling
after dark again.  An imm. Indigo Bunting was about the
hovel on SR.  We got about 5/8" more of rain.  Keep it coming.
An IMPERIAL MOTH was at UP, it lost a piece of wing to a
White-eyed Vireo, but made it away OK.

Sept. 10 ~ It rained off and on lightly overnight, and in the
a.m. we got a good downpour, all totalled aver 2", maybe 2.5"
of more than badly needed precipitation finally.  I did
see one adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird amongst the over
200 Ruby-throated at the feeders.  A few juv. Black-chins
are still here though.  The pair of Inca Doves have two
fresh fledglings with them the last couple days.  A Yellow
Warbler went through, and a kettle of 60 Black and 30 Turkey
Vultures passed over in the late afternoon after the rain.
I finally got photos of the imm. male Broad-tailed Hummingbird.
A Blue Grosbeak was sneaking around the brush piles for seed.

Sept. 9 ~ We got about a quarter inch of rain over night and
in the morning.  Send more!  The immature male
Broad-tailed Hummingbird continues at the feeders.  There
was an Olive-sided Flycatcher out front, and another down SR.
At UP there were 15 Blue-winged Teal and 1 Tricolored Heron.
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher passed through the yard and the
Hutton's Vireo was still about as well.  The rain was
enough to get the Barking Frogs calling tonight!  It's only
the second time this year I have heard them.

Sept. 8 ~ The Selasphorus hummingbird here is a BROAD-TAILED,
immature male.  White-eyed and Hutton's Vireo were about.
I estimate 250 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders,
and a couple immature Black-chinned are left, the adult males
are all but gone now.

Sept. 7 ~ We took a mid-day hike up Can Creek at Lost Maples.
Best was a Twelve-spotted Skimmer we saw at the pond.  There
is no Bandera Co. record officially because I haven't been able
to photograph any of the two dozen I have seen in that county.
There were many migrant Summer Tanagers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.
Some of the Summer Tanager males were even singing, but local
birds have been gone some time.  A couple Spicebush Swallowtail
were seen, and there are some flowers along the trail at least.
There were two Tricolored Heron, a Least Flycatcher, and some
migrant Summer Tanagers at UP in the morning.

Sept. 6 ~ White-eyed Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher passed
through yard.  One Tricolored Heron was at UP.  Late in
the afternoon I saw a suspicious looking Selasphorus hummingbird.
Not that it was sinister or crafty appearing, but that it did not
strike me as a Rufous or Allen's, however I only saw it briefly.

Sept. 5 ~ At UP there was an immature Mourning Warbler, Belted
Kingfisher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Spotted Sandpiper, and the
two Tricolored Heron continue.  At Utopia on the River there
were migrant Summer Tanagers, 2 migrant Great Crested Flycatcher,
and a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, very rare here in fall.
There were about 6 Yellow Warblers at the various stops.
Baltimore Oriole and Hutton's Vireo continued in the SR yard.
A flock of swallows on the wires by the rodeo grounds were
15+ Cave and 5 Barn.  20 Starling were there too.

Sept. 4 ~ More of the same migrants passing through the SR yard:
Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and White-eyed Vireo.

Sept. 3 ~ The Baltimore Orioles continue at the feeders, male,
female, and immature.  I heard a Painted Bunting outside,
and there was a White-eyed Vireo and the imm. Cooper's Hawk around.

Sept. 2 ~ The same two Mourning Warblers continue at UP in the woods.
1 Yellow Warbler, 1 Tricolored Heron.  At SR the Baltimore
Orioles continue, as do at least 6 Hooded, 8 Scott's, and a couple
Audubon's.  passing through were Yellow Warbler, Dickcissel,
White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.


Here's the pretty bird of the week.....
Baltimore Oriole Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
adult male Baltimore Oriole

Sept. 1 ~ Audubon's Oriole sang, besides the Hooded and Scott's,
plus the Baltimore are still around and I got some poor pix of
that drop dead gorgeous male.  Migrants passing through the
SR yard were Dickcissel, Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher,
White-eyed Vireo, and a rarely still singing Yellow-throated Vireo.

Aug. 31 ~ This morning there was a beautiful male Baltimore Oriole,
besides some females.  What a stunning bird!  This is
the best time of year to see one here.  Dickcissel flew over
early, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Yellow Warbler, migrants again.
Had to run to town so a quick check of the park was had. An adult
Little Blue Heron was new, Dickcissel there too, and in the woods
there was a Yellow-breasted Chat, and two Mourning Warbler, adult
female, and an immature.  Two Monarchs were nectaring on some
frostweed.  Odd, multiples here now.  In the afternoon at SR
I saw a male Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly, heading east into the wind.

I also saw a Monarch powering WEST on the easterlies, at full speed ahead,
at nearly 40' altitude (a.g.l.) that must certainly have been a migrant.
No local emergence behaves like that.  I just saw a note on a
butterfly listserv of an early wave in OK about 2 weeks ago, and some
moving in San Angelo recently!  I think it will be near-record early
dates for migrants.  but I don't think it's like birds where there are
a hundred (or more) years of constant solid records of migrant dates
for so many places.  That is why it is important for us to get
them now.  Well you have a couple hours to GET READY FOR
SEPTEMBER !!

Aug. 30 ~ The cooler mornings continue much to everyone's delight
I'm sure.  Here we had an adult female and imm. female
Baltimore Oriole on the hummer feeders, and a new Selasphorus
Hummingbird (Rufous/Allen's) is about as well.  A surprise
was a Yellow-breasted Chat down on the ground appearing to pick
some seed up.  Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are getting thick.

Went to the park since there were migrants at the hovel.
The 15 Blue-winged Teal continue so there must be food in the
water.  Besides Belted and Green there was one adult male
RINGED Kingfisher.  A Solitary Sandpiper was there too.
Great was a Louisiana Waterthrush, my first good visual on one
at the park.  Having completed presumedly pre-basic molt
they are much more peachy buff underneath by factors, now, than
in the spring and summer when they are nesting, and worn their
dullest.  A couple Yellow and one MOURNING Warbler was
there too.  One Willow Flycatcher was seen and heard calling.
Below the dam besides an Eastern Amberwing (dragonfly) there
were 3 male Twelve-spotted Skimmer, one I got photos of.
First of them I've seen around in a couple years at least.
There were also 2 Tropical Least Skipper below the dam, the
first ones I've positively seen locally, or in the county.
Also interesting at the park was a just fledged still begging
and being fed Bronzed Cowbird, proving a very late nesting of
the victim, Summer Tanager.  It had no Tanager young to feed.

Down at Utopia on the River there were 5 Orchard Orioles, a
Least Flycatcher, a couple Yellow Warblers and a NORTHERN
WATERTHRUSH.  The frostweed there is toast and doesn't
look like it will bloom unless we get lots of rain quickly.

I mentioned a few days ago about going out in the early a.m.,
and listening for migrants passing overhead.  I should also
mention going out at dusk and listening.nbsp; Right at twilight,
be out before the stars appear and listen.  Tonight I heard
5 Upland Sanpipers in a few minutes and then I really hit paydirt
when a MARBLED GODWIT called as it passed over southbound! Where
did it spend the day?  Of course it's the first one I've detected
in Uvalde County, but significant to me, for it was the *300th*
species I have found in the Sabinal Valley.   That is, our
corner of the world from Lost Maples to Clayton Grade, what a
mile wide on average and 20 miles long without a lake?
An amazingly small obscure area to have produced 300 species.

Finally, finally, there was a Monarch nectaring on frostweed at
the park.  There was also one there a couple days ago.
These looked fairly mint fresh unblemished like locals, not migrants.
But the local emergences certainly don't have any food plant available
for egg-laying.

Aug. 29 ~ We met Ken Cave in Uvalde and walked around Cook's Slough
where we saw a few neat things.  Best was a dragonfly I found,
a Spot-tailed Dasher.  We got pictures and it may be a new
county record.  In the bird department we saw the expected
regulars and got great looks at Groove-billed Ani, and there was
a juvenile Stilt Sandpiper, a couple Tricolored Herons, but no
sign of the Wood Storks or Roseate Spoonbills there were there a
couple weeks ago.  Lots of migrant Yellow Warbler and
5 Orchard Orioles too.  Really neat was watching an imm.
Eastern Kingbird splash bathe. A couple Wood Ducks were there too.

Then at the hatchery we saw a couple white imm. Little Blue Heron,
5 Least Grebes, a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Juv. and 1 ad.
Least Sandpiper, 3 Baird's Sandpipers, but the continuing imm.
Peregrine Falcon harrassing everything is probably keeping lots
of stuff away.  We watched it chase and rake a Snowy Egret
that dove into Mesquites and Hackberries to get away!  At
various places along the way I saw a total of 6 adult male Bullock's
Orioles, and a couple Loggerhead Shrikes were back on their winter
territories.  Common Ground-Doves were everywhere, and as we
got to Uvalde at least 500 White-winged Doves were flying east.
Oops almost forgot, an imm. Northern Harrier was at the hatchery.
A few green buntings (imm. or female Painted) were at both sites
as were Bell's Vireos that were still singing like it was spring.

Aug. 28 ~ Well we finally got lucky and got hit by a rain cell
in the afternoon.  It seemed about 3/4", maybe an inch in town.
Sure was a nice break from the heat for an afternoon!  As always
after an overdue rain the Common Poorwills and Eastern Screech-Owl
were calling their heads off with excitement at getting a bath.

Aug. 27 ~ Astounding was a Golden-cheeked Warbler in the back yard
this morning for a couple minutes that Kathy and I got to see.
I haven't seen one in over 3 weeks, and they are mostly long gone
by now.  From scrutiny in the binocs it looked like a hatch-year
male to me.  It is a very very late date for the species.
The black to the chin, coupled with the crown and back with
too extensive black to be anything but a male, but there was too
much dark green for it to be anything but a hatch year bird.

Earlier in the a.m. a few migrants went by: an Orchard Oriole,
a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a White-eyed Vireo.  I had to
run to town so stopped at the park for a minute and saw a Spotted
Sandpiper, a small FOS flock of 15 Blue-winged Teal, and one
immature Tree Swallow, quite scarce here.  A couple Purple
Martins came by too, immatures or females.  They too have
been gone for the most part for a couple weeks now.

Aug. 26 ~ The adult female Rufous Hummingbird was here all day.
One Julia's Skipper was outside.  The drought has created
very poor conditions for the butterflies. Just before dark a
flight of 60 Turkey Vulture settled in to roost on the west knoll
of SR (in the second loop). I don't know how many were down
already when I saw it, but a good number of TV's.

Aug. 25 ~ At SR it's an ad. fem. Rufous Hummer, continuing, as
does the juvenile Long-billed Thrasher.  Note their bill is
much shorter than adults and can have some pale at the base,
so other characters are best used for identification.  A
migrant immature Painted Bunting stopped by for a seed fill-up.
One ad. male Blue Grosbeak was around for a bit too.

Aug. 24 ~ The adult female Selasphorus hummingbird was around,
will try again to get an ID tomorrow.  The Long-billed Thrasher
juvenile is still around at the seed, and one green bunting
(imm. Painted) is out there, probably a migrant as I think the
locals have been gone a few days or more now here.

Aug. 23 ~ Heard only a Rufous type hummingbird late this evening.
Went to Lost Maples for a hike in the heat, lost a couple pounds.
There were two migrant birds we noted: one each of Olive-sided,
and Great Crested Flycatcher.  The lack of water and flowers
made for poor butterflying, but the dragonflies were pretty good.
There was a Zone-taled Hawk over Morris' place on SR in the a.m..

Stunning was the news from John Stuart the park superintendent
that a male VARIED BUNTING spent a half hour on the seed feeder
at HQ on Aug. 20 for a very rare fall record.  He also said
some folks reported an eagle diving in the pond and getting a fish.
Of course this would be a "fish eagle", better known as Osprey,
as it is too early for migrant eagles to be around.  For the
average observer an Osprey with its 6' wingspan, is an eagle.

Aug. 22 ~ The Calliope Hummingbird was still here in the a.m..
Down at UP I saw the two Tricolored Herons still there, must have
missed them the other day....  There was also a continuing
Great Egret, a Solitary Sandpiper, Green and Belted Kingfishers,
and in the woods my FOS fall migrant Wilson's Warbler.
Lots of mud from the quickly dwindling pond.

Aug.21 ~ The male CALLIOPE was still here and I got a better pic this
morning with some more light.  What a beatiful bird, for the
smallest one in North America.  Now is the time to start
listening outside in the first hour or so of light (and before
if you're up and out) for migrants passing over.  Even when
a front washes out here, it had power to the north, and birds
take the free ride on the wave.  Ahead of, during, and right
after the front can be good.

This morning for instance at SR in the yard while trying to get better
hummer pix I had a Dickcissel fly over calling, and then unbelieveably
a LONG-BILLED CURLEW flew over calling on its way southbound!!
That is my first fall record here.  Then over in a weedy brushy spot
area there was a MOURNING WARBLER, an early FOS, though late August
is a great time to see them.  There was also a calling Hutton's Vireo,
and a singing Audubon's Oriole or two!  All that by 8 a.m.!
Fall is on its way!  Now if it would just cool down a bit!


Calliope Hummingbird
adult male Calliope Hummingbird at Seco Ridge Aug 21, 2009

Aug. 20 ~ At SR the bird of the day was a male CALLIOPE Hummingbird
at the feeders much of the afternoon.  It is the first male I
have seen here in almost 6 years now, after almost 10 immature or
female types.  I even got to hear it call a bit when I went out
for a couple digiscope docu shots.  A very soft Selasphorus type
chip note, not hard like Rufous at all, more like Broad-tailed but even
softer.  You don't get to hear them much; they are often quite silent.
One adult male Blue Grosbeak is still about the seed pile.

Aug. 18 ~ Astounding was refinding the male KENTUCKY Warbler,
still at UP.  I saw it from 6' at eye-level. What a beauty!
It now stands at a 10 day record.  Amazing for a fall migrant!
Probably a good food supply so fattening up for the flight here.
The Tricolored Herons seem to be gone but there was a Solitary Sandpiper
on the mudflats.

Aug. 17 ~ At SR there was my first local Yellow Warbler of fall.
Also a near-adult now first year male Summer Tanager bathed.
A couple southbound Upland Sandpipers went over in the a.m. early.
One green bunting remains.

Aug. 15 ~ Uvalde supply run so a couple quick stops were made
at the fish hatchery and Cook's Slough.  The hatchery had an
FOS Peregrine Falcon, the Double-crested Cormorant still,
2 Yellow Warbler, lots of green buntings (imm. Painted), Dickcissel
still, Bell's Vireo still singing, an adult Little Blue Heron
that's been around a while.  In the sandpiper department it was
poor due to too much water in the ponds.  They've made a nice new pond
at the NW corner of the property, but it will take a while for it
to have food in the mud for the sandpipers.  There was one Solitary,
one Upland and 2 Least Sandpiper.  Over at Cook's Slough where
there is virtually never any good shorebird habitat there was one
Solitary Sandpiper.  The Little Blue Heron had moved over there,
and there were more singing Bell's Vireo, Couch's Kingbird, and
Kathy found a Least Grebe on one of the ponds.  Rufous Hummer was
still at SR in the a.m., but not in the p.m. when we got back.

Aug. 14 ~ At UP there were TWO Tricolored Heron juveniles (ph.).
Also some of the regulars: Green Kingfisher, Blue Jay, Black Phoebe,
Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and White-eyed Vireo.  At SR there
was an adult female Rufous Hummingbird.

Aug. 13 ~ Some migrant swallows passed over southbound in the
p.m., some Barn, some not, that went un-ID'd.

Aug. 12 ~ Amazing was getting hit by a little bit of rain
in the p.m., totalling about 1/2".  Nice break from the heat!
A Long-billed Thrasher was in the yard, first in a while locally.
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher passed by and one immature Painted
Bunting remains.

Aug. 11 ~ New Chipping Sparrow just fledged out of the nest.
Also some new Cardinal young just out a couple days around.
Last week over near Austin there was a Green-breasted Mango,
which is a fancy hummingbird, not a fruit, though it is from
Mexico, for probably the furthest north in Texas and maybe
first one north of the lower Rio Grande Valley.  And almost
sorta means we could get one here.  Most are immatures
that occur in the U.S..  It's a 5" hummer with a curved bill
and a cinnamon and black line on the underparts.  If you see
something that sounds like that locally, call me (2349).

Aug. 10 ~ Wind blew hard last night so I figured I'd
take a chance while I had errands in town and stop by
the park real quick and look for you know what.
The Tricolored Heron juvenile was still present, and
Well right where I spilled a bunch of stinky butterfly
bait, where there were bugs, it flushed up onto a low
branch, the male Kentucky Warbler!  Still here!
I got a couple docu shots I hoped with the point and
shoot Mavica at 10x, and then ripped off an eyecup from
my binocs and shot a few through them.  It takes
maybe 10 to get one still enough to see the bird that
way, but I did.  I watched it forage for some time
in the area of the tree with the spilled bait and bugs.
Crown looked black enough to only be an adult male.


Kentucky Warbler
Kentucky Warbler at Utopia Pk., fall adult male,
present August 9-18.  (taken through binocs)


Aug. 9 ~ First, early in the a.m. at SR I had a FOS adult
female CALLIOPE Hummingbird at one of the feeders, 6' away.
Then in the afternoon, Kathy and I checked most of the
Sabinal River crossings along 187 up to Lost Maples and back.
We always skip a bunch of them going to LM, so we just
hit them all. Up by Vanderpool the wind was 25 MPH so
looking for things was tough.  It's all hunkered down in
that kind of wind.  I saw one Spot-winged Glider at a
crossing north of Vanderpool, Powdered and Kiowa Dancer,
a Greater Earless Lizard, but not much.  The habitat
destruction that took place for the new crossings should
have grown back in by now, but has not come back, probably
due to the drought.  Lots of nice concrete though.
The overall lack of water is astounding.  Someone
send rain!

About 4p.m. we went to UP so I could paint some magic
stinky butterfly bait and watch a little to see if anything
comes in.  First I flushed a juvenile TRICOLORED Heron
at the pond edge, my first local record, and a new park bird.
After finishing putting butterfly bait out I took a couple
steps and flushed something in the undergrowth.  It
made a different chip, and I saw greenish above and yellow
below, so I thought geez that was a weird Yellowthroat.
It popped up on a low branch and there was a male
KENTUCKY WARBLER !!   There is probably one spring
record, maybe two at most, for Uvalde County.  In fall
it is unrecorded except as an extreme accidental in the
west half of TX (from SAT west).  I backed out and
went for Kathy, but we did not re-see it.  It was in
there somewhere.  We had an Empress Leilia come into
some of the butterfly bait, which is hard to come by, though
present locally.  At least I know the bait works.

Aug. 8 ~ An immature male Rufous is here, but no imm. female
or Broad-tailed to be seen.  At sundown there was a
great display of sun pillars again, especially from the
dam with reflection on the pond.  There were 200
Wandering and 75 Spot-winged Glider dragonflies swarming
at the dam just before dusk.  Then a couple dozen
Chimney Swifts flew in for drinks at twilight, blazing
past at arms length if you are out on the dam.  Fantastic!
Then about 500 bats showed up over the pond.  Which was
great except they relentlessly hit my fishing line. One
was very bright reddish, a RED BAT, probably rarely seen here.

Aug. 7 ~ Immature female Rufous still here in a.m., in p.m.
FOS adult female BROAD-TAILED Hummingbird.  I estimate
10 each of Scott's and Hooded Orioles using the feeders.

Aug. 6 ~ The imm. female Rufous Hummer continues. There was
ONE (last?) male Painted Bunting, and about 5-6 greenies left.
Two male Hooded and two male Scott's Orioles at once.
Can hardldy count the females and immatures.

Aug. 5 ~ Got it, an immature female Rufous Hummingbird is the
un-ID'd Selasphorus of yesterday.  Glad it stuck.
The juvenile Bronzed Cowbird continues.

Aug. 4 ~ A Selasphorus hummingbird was about, Rufous or Allen's.

August 3 ~ Two male Blue Grosbeak at once at seed pile.
Back to the high pressure summer sub-tropical high and its
hundred degree F. plus days.  I don't know how many orioles
it takes to drink 32 oz. of sugar water a day, but that is the
count here.  Probably 8-10 each of Scott's and Hooded, with
occasional Audubon's visits.  Juvenile Brozned Cowbird at SR.

August 2 ~ Did an afternoon hike at Lost Maples to see some
dragonflies, and we were not disappointed.  We heard
singing (not very well so surely a juvenile or hatch year, male)
our first-ever in August, Golden-cheeked Warbler, also
my latest record ever.  We also heard a Chuck-wills-widow
calling its repeated "gowlp" call.  In the day at this
time of year, surely a begging young.  Lots of the regular
migratory breeders are done and gone however.  Did see
Green Kingfisher, Black Phoebe, Canyon Wren, Louisiana
Waterthrush, Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo, although
Yellow-throated Vireo was undetected and probably gone.  There
was one Traill's type Flycatcher, and a Yellow-breasted Chat
for migrant passerines.

We saw a Dragonhunter (big dragonfly) catch and eat an Arizona Sister
butterfly.  Also Neon and Comanche Skimmers were seen.
Three Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (2 big dark morph females) were seen,
and the first Monarch I've seen in a couple months. It was
mint, unblemished fresh, so undoubtedly a local emergence,
not a migrant.  Buttonbush is starting to go off so the
next several weeks it should be good.  Kathy spotted another
Clearwing Sphinx (moth), aka Hummingbird Hawkmoth, using it.

At SR at 10 p.m. I heard the first Poor-will calling in a while.
If we'd get some rain, they'd nest again.  About 1 male and
5-6 greenie Painted Buntings left.

August 1 ~ AUGUST !?!?!   It's felt like August for over
two months, and its finally here now!   Saw a couple
migrant landbirds while checking the riverbed of the former
Sabinal River in Bandera Co., north of town.  At Cypress
Hollow, which is a puddle, FOS both Least and Traill's Flycatcher.
Another Traill's was at the Corneilius crossing.  Traill's
means Willow or Alder Flycatcher as the species pair was
formerly known.  Great Blue Heron, Belted and Green
Kingfisher at UP.

July 31 ~ The male Rufous Hummer was still here in the a.m..
At UP in the afternoon was an imm. female RINGED KINGFISHER.
Probably hill country bred.

July 30 ~ A big MCS (line of storms) moved in at 1:40
and we got a much needed 3/4" of rain.  At 1: p.m. in front
of it, I watched a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE fly over the hovel on SR.
I just caught it in time to be able to grab my binocs and
see it well enough to say that's what it was, but it was
making a B-line south in front of the approaching system.
It was likely the same bird Terry Hibbitts had Tuesday,
2 days ago over at Camp Wood.  Unbelieveable!

Earlier in the day we had an adult male Rufous Hummingbird
show up at the feeders, always a bright spot here.  Then I
picked out two FOS immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
There are probably about 150 Black-chins, mostly immatures.
As if all that wasn't enough of a day, at dark, 9 p.m.,
I heard my FOS Upland Sandpiper (2) going over southbound.

July 29 ~ Today's award winning moment was a spectacular display
of sun pillars to the west at twilight.

July 28 ~ A White-eyed Vireo passed through the SR yard.
Amazing was a Swallow-tailed Kite seen by Terry Hibbitts
a mile from Camp Wood 25 miles or so west of us this day.

July 27 ~ Incredible was finding at UP a female SWAMP DARNER dragonfly,
a first Uvalde Co. record, since I got the pix to prove it.
Black abdomen with green rings around it, and blue eyes.  WOW!
1 male Painted Bunting at the hovel, and a Hutton's Vireo.

Swamp Darner
Swamp Darner, female


July 26 ~ Nice to have no water for 6 hours today, makes
for a great day always.  Do the green acres theme song,
and you've got it here, alive and well.  Down at UP
there were 6 Halloween Pennant, 2 LEAST SKIPPER, 5 Blue Jay,
Barred Owl, and Kathy had an Indigo Bunting.

July 25 ~ Uvalde so hit the hatchery of course.  Had one
Tricolored Heron there, a very early FOS Double-crested Cormorant,
a Neotropical Cormorant, the 3 Least Grebes still, a record early
FOS Pied-billed Grebe Kathy spotted, 4 Moorhen, 6 Avocet,
2 Solitary Sandpiper, 1 FOS Spotted Sandpiper, and a
thousand dragonflies.  Best was a blue one that got away but
was surely a Great Blue Skimmer, and we saw a Thornbush Dasher.

Then over at Cook's Slough there were 6 Tricolored Heron,
another Solitary Sandpiper, 2 Neotropical Cormorant, and
a Cassin's Sparrow was still singing.  Then at the city park
on Hwy 90 there was an FOS Belted Kingfisher, 2 Kiskadee,
and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

July 24 ~ Again at SR had a Golden-fronted Woodpecker...
probably a wandering juvenile again too.

July 23 ~ At 7 a.m. I had 5 Mallard-ish ducks circling SR from
the porch.  Got them in my binocs.  They seemed to have
distinct white bars fore and aft of the speculum, so I am reasonably
sure they were Mexican Ducks, or Mexican Mallards, not Mottled Duck.
Another Gnatcatcher passed through, as did a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
2 male Painted and 6-8 green (female or immature) Buntings.
Audubon's, Scott's and Hooded Orioles, the later two by the bushel
with all the juveniles present.

July 22 ~ Only a couple male Painted Bunting left, and lots
less greenies, perhaps 6 or so.  Another Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
passed through the SR yard, as did some Bushtits.  An outflow
boundry hit at 7 p.m. that dropped us from 102 to 82 but no rain.

July 21 ~ Well I found the odes at UP, in the 95 deg. F
heat of the afternoon at 4:p.m.; they are in the
barely wet hole below the dam.  Lots of 'em.  In an hour
I saw 20 species including 5 Halloween Pennants which are rare
up here, 2 Red-tailed Pennant, scarce up here, and a pair
of Leaftails that hooked up into wheel (copulate) landing
right on a live-oak over my head.  Threadtail still present.

July 20 ~ Audubon's, Hooded, and Scott's Orioles all in
the yard at once, seemingly near daily now.  A male
Cooper's Hawk buzzed the doves, from the pair that nests
not too far away somewhere.

July 19 ~ Heading down SR at 8 a.m. I got reaffirmation of
yesterday's adult male Bullock's Oriole as it flew across
the road in front of me.  We went to Lost Maples for
a nice coolish walk up Can Creek and even had some drizzle.
We saw 2 Golden-cheeked Warblers fighting (males) and
heard another.  Fall migrant Painted Buntings were
around the seed feeding stations, as were way too many
squirrels, and even a deer eating the bird seed.  We saw
a Zone-tailed Hawk catch a dragonfly and it was also diving
into the tops of the trees like Kites do to flush Katydids.

We saw Green Kingfisher, Scott's Oriole, Common Raven,
Red-shouldered Hawk, and some of the rest of the regulars
still seemed to be nesting (lots of territorial song):
Black-and-white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian
Flycatcher, Yellow-throated, Red-eyed, and White-eyed Vireo,
Eastern Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned
Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Canyon Wren. Again a
Great Blue Heron was seen and I think they are nesting
in one of the untravelled canyons somewhere not too far away

It was too cool and wet for leps or odes for the most part
but neat was a big male Spicebush Swallowtail right next to
an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on blooming Buttonbush.
Not much else blooming though.  Well, it was probably
our last Golden-cheeks until next March!  One last
peek.  You might get lucky for another week or so.

There was a juvenile Vermilion Flycatcher at SR in the p.m.,
northbound.  Eerily quiet with no Chucks calling at dark.
A juvenile Scrub-Jay did not understand why the Audubon's
Oriole was on or wouldn't leave the peanut feeder, and tried
several times to displace the Oriole.  The jay was chased
off in no uncertain terms.

July 18 ~ The Rufous Hummingbird must have tanked and left
early as it was not around for the day and was here too
late to have left last night.  Hummers are diurnal migrants.
Zone-tailed Hawk on 1050 just west of the bridge again.
A couple Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were at UP on the
muddy river banks.  I heard only a Louisiana Waterthrush
flush up on the island.   Second time I've heard one there
but hate adding it to the park list as a heard only bird.
And hate not having it on the list, having heard it, twice now.

We didn't get any rain, but a good cell just missed by a couple
miles, so we got to cheat the heat again with an outflow boundry
right at peak heat time, which is good as it gets without getting
rain.  :)   There was another bumblebee hawkmoth, at
the library garden this time.  Too fast for photos.

Butterfly activity still weak, but better than odes (dragonflies).
I scanned the pond at the park for 10 minutes and could
count the dragonflies on one hand.  The only good thing
was finally an Orange-striped Threadtail (Protoneura cara),
the first I've seen all year.  A Kiowa Dancer was at SR.
Numbers of Pantala Gliders (dragonflies) are going over southbound.
In the later afternoon I saw an oriole fly away from the porch,
that I was sure I saw a big white wing patch on a black wing,
in other words, an adult male Bullock's Oriole!  That makes
for four species of orioles in the yard today!  The Bullock's
is probably best considered a fall migrant.

July 17 ~ There was a record early for me Rufous Hummingbird
at the feeders this late afternoon to evening, an immature male,
that showed up right after an outflow boundry and rain cell
moved over from a system from the NW.  We had two little bits
of a quarter inch each, so got about a half inch out of it!

Interestingly my 5 previous fall Rufous Hummingbird arrival dates
are two years on July 26, and two on July 27, once Aug. 2.
Keeping dates has the value of teaching me for instance that
by about July 26 or 27 I better be thinking Rufous Hummer
if I haven't seen one yet, and that this one is 9 days earlier
than what I've gotten so far here for fall arrivals.  :)
There has been going on for well over a week now, a blowout
(departure) of adult male Black-chinned Hummingbirds. They
are now far outnumbered by immatures (mostly) and females.

An adult Audubon's Oriole had TWO juveniles begging to it.
The rain dropped the temps 30 degrees to 73 deg. F.!
There were dozens of Spot-winged Gliders (dragonflies)
Pantala hymenaea before and after the rain, all going south.
A few Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) and Red Saddlebags
(Tramea onusta).

July 16 ~ 8 adult male Painted Bunting counted simultaneously
plus at least 12 greenies at same time.  Bushtits about.
Did not hear Chuck-wills-widows calling at dark for the first
time since early April.  An eerie silence it always is.

July 15 ~ The male Blue Grosbeak has a couple begging young
attending it.  3 species of Orioles still.  At the
library butterfly garden there was a very large Black Swallowtail,
with lots of yellow beyond the norm here, probably one of those
"psuedoamericus" types.  another pure yellow Lyside too.
At the musueum there was a bumblebee (Clearwing) hawkmoth
of some sort on the lantana briefly.

July 14 ~ Amazing was watching a juvenile Scrub-Jay that is
only 30 days out of the nest, pounce on and kill a juvenile
House Finch!  Besides the sub-adult Audubon's Oriole
that has been around, there was an adult with a begging young.
Same for Scott's and Hooded so becoming crowded out there.
One of the male Painted Buntings has two just fledged
begging young attending, so still new young being generated.
There was a Duskywing (butterfly) I photo'd which was probably
a Mournful.

July 13 ~ Since I hardly see any at all, ever, in July,
a surprise was an adult male and an immature female
Golden-cheeked Warbler, 4' from me in a juniper while I was
on the back porch.  Hutton's Vireo and Audubon's Oriole
continue.  106 at the Rogers' weatherstation on SR.
There were still 3 Chuck-wills-widow weakly calling at dusk.

July 12 ~ At least 6 male Painted Bunting at once and probably
twice as many greenies (females and immatures).   At UP
there was another fall migrant, a male Black-and-white Warbler.
There were a dozen Common Grackle juveniles along the river.

Astounding is that due to lack of water in many parts of the
Sabinal River a number of the Cypress trees are turning brown,
as if it were October or November, and are dropping their
leaves due to the drought.  Which means they won't be
storing as much emergency extra energy as they would in the
next few months, to make it through winter.  Droughts are
tree killers.

I keep forgetting to mention there is what appears to be some
of that darn dreaded oak-wilt, the fungus, killing some ancient
(500+ year old) live-oaks in the valley.  In particular at the
former Montana Rocasa entrance near Clayton Grade there are some
huge very old live-oaks that were alive and well last year, and
now are dead.  There are some more live-oaks up by Vanderpool
that seem to be dying from it. This stuff is a ecological disaster
in the making.

Unrelated to the oak fungus, a couple Sycamores along the river have
died recently too.  Water your trees during droughts to keep them
strong and more pest and disease resistant.

Amongst the numbers of Lyside Sulphur butterflies around, if you
look closely you can see the occasional pure yellow morph individual.

July 11 ~ A Uvalde supply run netted an hour and change at
the Uvalde National Fish Hatchery.  Fall migrant shorebirds
were back as expected.  These birds have since April
when they passed by going north, likely been to Canada, nested,
and are now on their way south again.  There were just
3 species of migrant shorebirds there: Solitary Sandpiper,
Greater Yellowlegs, and Least Sandpiper, and just one of each,
but it's a start.

Also of interest there was a just fledged juvenile Yellow-crowned
Night-Heron with natal feathers still on the head, which means it
hasn't flown very far from the nest, which proves Uvalde County nesting,
since I got pix of the feathers that wear off in 20 miles.  :)
We saw 3 Least Grebes, the first I know fo locally since the
one one-day migrant we had in April.  Two of these were acting
in a pair-like manner, one carrying vegetation, as if looking
for a place to build a nest.  A good butterfly was on
the Frogfruit, a Tropical Buckeye, only the second I've seen
in the county.

July 10 ~ Weird was a couple House Sparrow out back, probably
from someones nearby un-maintained old Martin House.  Folks,
please remove House Sparrow nests from your old Martin houses,
if you want Martins.  And remember if you want Martins,
they have to have a glide path leading from the box. If trees
grow up and take away a glide path for leaving from the nest,
the Martins will abandon the site.   There were two just
fledged begging Rufous-crowned Sparrows around the yard all day.
Also a Hutton's Vireo, and a Desert Checkered-Skipper, proper for
the 106 deg.F. reading. Amazing was at 8:55 p.m., in the near
dark, long after all the hummingbirds were gone from the feeders,
one of the adult male Scott's Orioles came in.  I could barely
see myself, it was so dark out. Latest I've ever seen it.

July 9 ~ A cooler 109 at the Rogers's station today.  There
was a begging just fledged Red-tailed Hawk screaming over SR
for quite a while.  At least a dozen Painted Buntings are about,
the yard, probably many more, that is just a high single moment
count.  If they are changing at even a fraction of the rate of
say hummingbirds, there are good numbers of them around now.

July 8 ~ I should not have said anything about the heat
yesterday, the Rogers' weather station read 110 at 4 p.m.!
Remember you can scroll down the home/index page and check quickly.
Their place is in a bit of a wind shadow from the southerly
trade winds, so perhaps a couple degrees warmer than exposed
to the breeze sites.  Closest to Laredo though per data.

There was Hutton's Vireo outside again.  All the regulars
otherwise.  At UP there were at least 3 pairs of
Common Grackles each with 2-3 just fledged begging young.
I see a NO SWIMMING sign is up, presumedly due to lack of
circulation and turnover of the water.  It's a stagnant pond.

July 7 ~ Back to 103 at Seco Ridge, and a gaggle of
Painted Buntings.  An adult female Cardinal and an ad.
male Blue Grosbeak had a full blown bug scuffle over a juicy
seed pile.  They went at each other beaks open, flapping,
trying to bite the other and not be bit.  I'd give
2 rounds of 3 to the male Blue Grosbeak.  Zone-tail.
The sub-adult Audubon's Oriole coming by daily now.
3 Chuck-wills-widows calling still nightly.  But still
seemingly like only one pair of Common Nighthawks stayed.

July 6 ~ The cold front washed out over north Texas, and
we did get a bit of rain in town and to the south, and
at Thunder Creek maybe, but nothing on Seco Ridge.
It was a cool day though, a welcome break from the heat,
and a few times I actually did feel puffs of a northeast
breeze.  Four male Painted Buntings at once in the yard,
plus two SY males, green with salmon underparts, plus
several adult females and a bunch of young.  They are
the most common bird on the ground now, save White-winged
Dove maybe.  The Chipping Sparrows have at least one just
fledged streaky youngster out of the nest now.  The
Mockingbird again used wing flash behavior to flush (displace)
birds from the bath so it could drink.

July 5 ~ A chilly 107 at Seco Ridge today. Worked inside
and watched out the windows. Heard Hutton's Vireo again,
and Bushtit, plus the Audubon's Oriole is still around,
besides the Hooded and Scott's.  Blue Grosbeak, lots
of Painted Buntings, a couple/few hundred Black-chinned
(only) Hummingbirds.  But NOW is the time when the
chances for rare hummingbirds increase.  The White-
eared we had a couple years ago was in July, as was
the one Green Violet-ear I flushed off the porch.
By the end of July we should see the first fall migrant
Rufous Hummingbirds back, and last year, the first couple
of immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were back too.

July 4 ~ A couple Celotes (Streaky Skipper) were at the
library garden, and a Rounded Metalmark (C. perditalis).
Elsewhere, I finally saw my FOS Tawny Emperors (2) today.
The frogfruit along upper Seco Ridge road is quite productive
now, if you can stand the heat coming off the blacktop.
More Common Buckeye than all of last year, finally.
I think it hit 109 at Seco Ridge.

Of course the Fourth of July firework show at Utopia Park
was as over the top as ever.  Y'all really know how
to whoop it up good!  :)    Almost an hour
of whiz bang boom amazing fireworks.  It's a great show!
Another new Scrub-Jay baby is out of the nest.  The first
oldest one is getting blue on the head now (90 days).
There are a few pair of Cliff and one pair of Cave Swallow
nesting under the 1050 bridge.  Most left early in the
season when the river dried up.

July 3 ~ Saw the Roadrunner take a Pipevine Swallowtail.
Wished I could follow him to see if he gets indegestion.
The swallowtail is supposed to be distasteful.  The
Roadrunner went for a drink to wash it down, but seemed fine.

July 1 ~ JULY !?!?!? We're half way through the year!
The highlight of the day was at the butterfly garden
when I flushed a DINGY PURPLEWING (Eunica monima) butterfly,
my first one here ever.  There is an old Concan record
so it is on the Uvalde Co. list, but quite a rarity.
Unfortunately I did not get a picture of it though.
But a good sight record it is.  In flight it appears all
dark with some white spots in the apex of the forewing above.
Figures it flushed out of the shady cool spot there too.
I used to see them in the old days when we watched down in
the lower Rio Grande valley.  Rare at the library too
since they don't nectar, was only my 3rd Arizona Sister there.

Also down in town there were Couch's Kingbirds harrassing a
Common Raven in a manner that makes me think they are nesting
somewhere just north of the museum.  There were adult
Blue Jays were gray-backed fledglings helping mob the Raven.
Two Whirlabout (skippers) at the Museum lantana were the first
of the year for me here.

The afternoon was slightly outflow boundry cooled,
but we got no rain, just barely missing it again.
Late in the p.m. I looked out the window and saw all at
once, males of Scott's Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, and Painted
Bunting.  Geez, it sure is purdy out there!

In June I saw a total of 58 species of butterflies locally.
A couple more were seen in the flatlands at Uvalde, that
were not seen up here in the sorta highlands.  The drought
continues, we are feet behind in rain.  It has been no
pleasure for the second June in a row to be 10 degrees over
normal, in the mid 100's to 110, instead of the normal 95.

June 30 ~ An amazingly cool day, 75-80 deg. F., from outflow
boundries that gave us no rain, but a welcome break from the
over 100 deg. daily scorching.  We had 3 adult male
Painted Bunting at once.  There is one salmon underparted
with lime green upperparts SY (second Year) male, a couple
females, at least 3 juveniles.  The juveniles buzz a bit, and
it seems like adults never do, at least here on the breeding
grounds.  The Painted bzzzzz is wetter and more slurred than the
dry crisper bzzzzz of Indigo or Lazuli.  The Painted's bk metallic
note is also a wetter kiss, much less of a metallic tone, more
like an Audubon's Warbler, tchwip, compared to the dry metallic
quality of the Indigo and Lazuli beek or bik note.

June 29 ~ WOW one of the cells from an outflow boundry hit
Seco Ridge and we got between a quarter and third inch of rain!
Washed the leaves off anyway, and sure cooled us down!
Water is not going over the dam if you haven't looked.
It's bad out there.  We need major rain in a bad way.
A White-eyed Vireo and the Audubon's Oriole were around at SR.
I watched a Cicada Killer (huge hornet) chase a hummingbird
for a while.  Made me wonder if they ever take them.

June 28 ~ Lost Maples for a quick couple hour walk up
the Maples Trail for something different.  It is amazing
how low the headwaters of the Sabinal River are there!
Lowest I've seen it I think.  That main fork always
has Greater Earless Lizard of which we got to see a nice male.
The Buttonbush is blooming and the Wooly Ironweed is just
starting.  There was a black form (females only)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, twice the size of the Pipevines.
An odd Amblyscirtes Roadside-Skipper was seen.  For the
first visit since mid-March NO Golden-cheeked Warblers were
detected.  WOW bummer!  It's over.  14 weeks and
that's all folks.  Until next year.  It was great
while it lasted.  They are some special bird.

There were begging young Black-and-white Warblers still.
The Maples trail has no Louisiana Waterthrush if you wonder.
We saw a White-eyed Vireo on a nest right next to the trail.
Hope it makes it though the holiday weekend OK.
When it is hot, birdsong shuts off like a switch at about
10 a.m., or 90 deg. F whichever comes first, so get there early
when they are still offering clues as to their whereabouts.

There were 3 Common Raven on the dumpster at the dump early.
There were Common and Great-tailed Grackles in town and both
appear to be nesting.  A Zone-tailed Hawk was over the
library, being mobbed by martins.  That is always a good clue,
as martins and swallows usually know the difference and
do not mob vultures.  They do mob Zone-tailed Hawks though.
SR got up to 110 deg. F. in the afternoon! GADZOOKS !!

June 27 ~ Weird was another of those jagless Systasea,
at the Library garden.  Also there was a FOS Soldier (ph.),
and a Calephelis Metalmark, plus a singing male Orchard Oriole
there was neat; it must have nested nearby.  At some
Frogfruit on Seco Ridge road there was a White-striped Longtail,
and Buckeye.  It was a toasty 105 on SR in the p.m..

June 26 ~ A Texas Powdered Skipper was good outback at SR.
Third straight day over 100 here on SR.  Three species
of orioles again, Audubon's, Hooded, and Scott's.  I'd
say another round of immature Black-chinned Hummingbirds
has blown out, the second of the year, the first round of
young blew-out around mid-May.

June 25 ~ Besides the Roadrunner which is singing again,
a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was singing out back this a.m..
I got a good enough look at the all green juvenile oriole,
and it is an Audubon's.  Unattended as usual by now.
There was a single lone Chipping Sparrow out back.
There were some Bushtits moving about, flocking up again.
I heard a begging juvenile Common Nighthawk this evening.
Finally something in the air....been three weeks almost.
At least one pair stayed and got a young out.  Still a
few Chucks-wills-widows are calling lots nightly close by.

June 24 ~ Spectacular was a CLYTIE MINISTREAK butterfly
(Ministrymon clytie) at the Utopia Library butterfly garden.
It is my first good look at one here, but it disappeared
before I could get a picture.  I've had a couple brief
glimpses before.  Hindwing underneath looks like it has
chunks of orange-red rock candy on it.  About 150 Lysides
there, most of the rest the regulars but activity increasing,
though diversity low, less than 20 species still.
It was a blazing 105 or so at SR, with a 110 heat index.

June 23 ~ Two juvenile Hooded Orioles are with the
two adults, and two juvenile Scott's Orioles are with
them.  The sub-adult Audubon's is seemingly alone.

June 22 ~ The Audubon's Oriole bathed today after eating,
and then even sang a few bars.  The most amazing thing
today was the official opening of FALL MIGRATION with
TWO of the most regular early southbound migrants being
seen in the yard here.  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Black-
and-white Warbler, both were moving south, and as usual
are the first two migrants we see in June, done, and
on their way to being gone.

June 21 ~ A real surprise was the first Audubon's Oriole
we've had at the feeders since March, 3 months ago.
It was a sub-adult and seemed to know the peanut feeder.
Of course Hooded and Scott's are daily pigs so a 3 Orio day.
Also a juvenile oriole that was green was seen.
At the butterfly garden there were 100+ Lysides, and
species 94 for my list there, Common Streaky-Skipper,
well described as looking like crinkled up dirty foil.

June 20 ~ A Uvalde run but only one quick stop for
nature nerding, at the hatchery.  A pair of Black-
necked Stilts is interesting there.  Sure be neat if
they bred! 7 Common Moorhen.  Real neat was a couple seen
and one photographed MARL PENNANT dragonfly, probably a
new and first Uvalde County record.  There were lots of
Bank Swallows, among which I saw a swallow I'd give
$20 for another 15 seconds of look.  I'll just say it
was mostly green above and snow white below, without a
white face.
June 19 ~ Richard Treece, the park police officer at
Lost Maples SNA reported he saw a RINGED KINGFISHER today
at Lost Maples up behind the ponds!  I bet it is the
first park record!  They have been over at Big Springs Ranch
over the divide for a few years now, and even are suspected
nesting there.  But they are regular on the larger and
more constant Frio River, and quite rare on the smaller
and often not running lately Sabinal River.  There are
prior Bandera Co. Records over at the city park in Bandera
on the Medina River.  I have seen about 3 around Utopia
in 6 years, one which wintered on the river here.
GREAT find and THANK YOU for sharing your good news!

June 18 ~ Just before dark we had a 15 minute rain of
about .15 of an inch.  Washed the leaves off, mostly.
At the butterfly garden there were 100 Lyside Sulphurs,
and my finally way tardy, and worn, FOS White-striped Longtail.

June 17 ~ An adult female Cooper's Hawk dove on the doves,
but seemed to miss; must be nesting not too far away somewhere.
Zone-tailed Hawk over SR.  Juvenile Field Sparrow out.
Sure weird not to have Common Nighthawk booms nightly already.

June 16 ~ Another juvenile Golden-cheeked Warbler out
back of the hovel here on SR.  An AHY imm. male Painted
Bunting is about, with lime green upperparts and salmon
underparts, one of the prettiest plumaged birds in America.

June 15 ~ At the Library butterfly garden there were a
couple dozen Large Orange Sulphur, a Celia's Roadside-
Skipper, an unidentified Amblyscirtes that was quite
brassy gold dorsally.  Also 1 Theona, a FOS Eufala Skipper,
7 Lysides and 11 Queen, plus a Question Mark, scarce there.
A Julia's Skipper was at SR.

June 14 ~ We did Lost Maples before it got too hot out.
We saw 4 seperate adult male Golden-cheeked Warbler
feeding freshly fledged fledglings.  Didn't see an adult
female though.  There was a Red Rock Skimmer dragonfly,
which is scarce hereabouts, mostly in fall.  Butterflies
included FOS Clouded Skipper, and a Southern Broken-Dash.
There were 3 singing male Yellow-throated Warblers still.
In town there were Common and Great-taled Grackles,
both nesting in town.  At SR late there was a Common
Streaky Skipper (Celotes nessus).

June 13 ~ Roadrunner hitting the bath for drinks in the
heat of the day these hot days.  There was a FOS Strymon
istapa (Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak) butterfly out back,
plus a Northern Cloudywing.  Small numbers of Snouts
and Lyside Sulphurs daily now.  I found a Brown Recluse
spider in the casita here today, ID verified by a top nationally
known arachnid expert from my poor photos.  I understand
they can be common in TX. Another 105 deg.F day.

June 12 ~ About 4:30 it was 104.7 up here on SR!  Brutal.
As if the drought isn't bad enough, we sure don't need
10 degrees above normal on top of it.  River is barely
running.  There was, appropriate in the heat, a Desert
Checkered-Skipper in the yard.

June 11 ~ GADZOOKS it was 102.7 at the Rogers weather
station with a 112 heat index when I looked in the afternoon.
The two male Painted Buntings that have adjacent territories
sure are fighting alot when they see each other here.
A few Large Orange Sulphur are starting to show up,
as usual mostly pale morph females first.

June 10 ~ A juvenile Golden-cheeked Warbler was in the yard.
Always a treat. It or another an hour later too.  Once it
briefly landed on the powerline, which they are generally
loathe to do.  The nearby male Summer Tanager stopped in
for a bath.

June 9 ~ Newly fledged Painted Bunting.  A juvenile
Vermilion Flycatcher passed by SR too.

June 8 ~ A couple newly fledged Scrub-Jays in the yard
begging.  It's getting noisy out there.

June 7 ~ The alpha male Scott's Oriole and Painted Bunting
are both noticeable duller than when they show up to breed.
All that work taking its toll in wear, and of course by
now they don't need their best suit anymore anyway.

June 6 ~ Saw a Gray Fox take a juvenile House Finch
near the bath.  Finch must have not been well.
Eastern Screech-Owl calling.

June 5 ~ Odd was an adult Monarch, haven't had one in a while.
I haven't heard Common Nighthawk booms in a couple days and
wonder if some may have abandoned their nesting attempts due
to lack of prey, which is mostly nocturnal moths.

June 4 ~ First fledgling Lark Sparrows out, and boy are
they loud beggars.  Nysa Roadside-Skippers still around yard.

June 3 ~ I saw the first Common Buckeye butterfly I've seen
locally this year, here at SR.  Scarce in drought times.

June 2 ~ A fairly unpredicted MCS (mesoscale convective
system - a big ol line of storms) blew up on an outflow
boundry that came from Mexico at 10 p.m..  We were
getting lightning before it showed on radar!  In
less than an hour we got nearly 2" of rain, with some
pieces of frozen stuff.  We need the water
so badly, that was the best thing all day.

I will say there have been a good number of reports of
GREEN VIOLET-EAR on Texbirds, with birds near Austin,
Ingram, Fredricksburg, Sonora, and I think 6 so far,
3-4 around right now, some of which had to have passed by.
Please holler (local# 2349) if you get one at your feeders!
I saw one fly off from a porch feeder as I walked out
the door, several years ago, and it never came back.
I hear they are the skittish, nervous, shy types.

JUNE 1 ~ JUNE !?!?!?!?!?!?!

With migration all but over, it's time to keep track
of nesting species.  So far I have seen the following
species as just fledged young being fed by adults:
Golden-cheeked and Yellow-throated Warbler, Louisiana
Waterthrush, and Black-chinned Hummingbird, which are all
early returning migratory species.  Then amongst
residents Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee,
Carolina Wren, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, W. Scrub-Jay,
Green Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, and Ladder-backed
Woodpecker to name a few off the top of my head.
I'm sure some Eastern Bluebirds are out by now too.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Back to the daily grind, now, watching the breeding season.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~













Bird News Archive XX
July 1 2011 - December 31, 2013
Bird News Archive XIX
January 1 - June 30, 2013
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July 1 - December 31, 2012
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January 1 - June 30, 2012
Bird News Archive XVI
July 1 - December 31, 2011
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January 1 2011 - June 30, 2011
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July 1 - December 31, 2010
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January 1 - June 30, 2010
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June 1 - Dec. 31, 2009
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January 1 - May 31, 2009
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July 1 - Dec. 31, 2008
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