Bird (and nature) News Archive # 32
July 1 to December 31, 2019
Old Bird News XXXII

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)
FOY - First of year - 1st one seen this year
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia
in Uvalde County - our yard March 2005 to Mar. 2013.
Ode - Odonata (dragonfly or damselfly)
Lep - butterfly
BanCo - Bandera County
UvCo - Uvalde County
ad.=adult; imm.=immature; ma.=male; fem.=female
WU = Weather Underground




....in reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.



Bird News Archive XXXI (#31) ~ 2019: January 1 - June 30

Scroll to bottom and read up to read in chronological order.
BIRD & NATURE NEWS 2019


Notes without location cited are in or from yard which is a couple miles south of town at edge of the river habitat corridor. If it doesn't say where it was, it was in or from the yard. Often a few daily yard notes is all the drivel you get. Ready, steady, go!

To repeat since commonly used:
sps.=species; FOS=First of season; FOY=First of Year; FOF=First of fall; LTA=Less than Annual; UP=Utopia Park; UR=Utopia on the River; (ph.)=photo obtained; ad.=adult; imm.=immature.; ma.=male; fem.=female; juv.=juvenile; odes=Odonata = dragonflies and damselflies; leps=Lepidoptera (butterflies), town=Utopia; the park= Utopia Park at SW corner of town. WU = Weather Underground (sometimes local station readings referenced) ~ ~ ~ ~


2019 bird news archive #32 (XXXII)





July through Dec. 2019 (to Aug. so far)

Read from bottom up to view in chronological order.



~ ~ ~ August summary ~ ~ ~

It was hot and sticky, but fairly dry for precipitation. About 2" for the month is below normal. Getting fairly parched out there. High temps averaged 5-8dF above average, and lows ran 3-5dF above average. Decent Persimmon crop ripening, some Hackberries and Pecans on way, but not a bumper crop year for either. Unfortunately we did not make it up to Lost Maples this month. Too dang hot, and too busy. So missed a few things for the month in birds and dragons in particular, but probably a couple butterflies too.

Butterflies were 54 species, down a handful from last couple months. Best as a Laviana White-Skipper, they are less than annual here. Next best were a Crimson Patch, a White-striped Longtail that was around 10 days or so, and a Dotted Roadside-Skipper. The rest was the expected. No Zebra so far this year. Three good moths were seen. Best was a LUNA MOTH Kathy spotted on Aug. 27. The stuff dreams are made of for westerners. A Black Witch in the woods at the park on the 23rd was great. So was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth Sphinx moth (Aellopos sps.), likely clavipes or titan.

Odes were fair, but not as active as earlier in summer. Or was it me? I saw 27 species, and nothing rare or unusual. Orange-striped Threadtail, Comanche Skimmer, Black-shouldered Spinyleg, a few Thornbush Dasher maybe were the better amongst them. Surely working at it one could have rustled up another half-dozen or more species without much effort save being brutalized in the heat.

Birds were good with some migrant action picking up by the end of the month. Best bird was the Common Pauraque that was around our yard into early Sept. so far. What a treat getting to hear it call repeatedly. A Verdin showed up late Aug., which may well be a 3rd year returnee (!). A total of four Rufous Hummingbird in yard for the month is great, two of which have stuck into early September. An Olive-sided Flycatcher was my early date on Aug. 24. Good numbers of Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler passing through, both hitting double digits on best day, and probably a hundred or so of each, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher went through yard in August. A juvenile Acadian Flycatcher in our yard on the 25th is a very rare find as a transient in fall here. Looks like about 90 species of birds locally. A handful were missed by missing Maples. I saw a few ebird reports in early August of Golden-cheeked Warbler still there the first week or so of the month.

~ ~ ~ end August summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ partial update header (June-July) archive ~ ~ ~

July is hot and sticky season here. If lucky there are some low clouds from the Gulf in the mornings keeping it fairly bearable until noonish. Many birds are still singing and breeding, many are done and departing. Tons of baby birds out there. An imm. ROSEATE SPOONBILL was seen at a private pond 4-5 mi. SSW of town on July 7 (Leslie Calvert), a great bird locally. A BLACK WITCH (moth) was also seen the 7th. A Belted Kingfisher flying downriver on the 17th is my early 'fall' date locally by a couple weeks. A cold front arriving overnight July 22-3 is as rare a bird here as anything. Lows in the 60's not being rain-related, with dry northerlies and highs in upper 80's the 23rd-4th is amazing. The morning of the 25th we had 57dF, Kerrville had 55 and Rock Springs 52dF! These are record lows for the date. Outstanding on July 28 was an adult PEREGRINE FALCON right at the corner of 187 and 360. Also saw one (last of the year probably) Golden-cheeked Warbler at Lost Maples the 28th. July 31 our first of fall RUFOUS Hummingbird showed up, a nice adult male, still present Aug. 2.

June highlights... June 29 three juvenile Grasshopper Sparrow were on a W. Sabinal Rd. fenceline just west of the Jones Cmty. Rd. intersection. This in Bandera Co. where I had been watching them. Still begging Golden-cheeked Warbler getting fed at Lost Maples June 29 as well. Late late evening on June 19th an actual fall migrant flew over calling southbound in the dark, a Long-billed Curlew! A fall migrant 5 minutes before the last day of spring. Had Bushtit here at the hovelita on June 16. Breeding season is going hot and heavy, lots of begging babies appearing, so finding the breeders is relatively easy. There are also post-breeding wanderers moving around already too, some of the earliest nesters are done. Black-n-white and Golden-cheeked Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and White-eyed Vireo are a few of the things I have been seeing off breeding territories moving about now. A couple cormorants were seen at Utopia Park June 26, surely Neotropic, rare birds here. July is primetime for rare hummingbirds. Was a Mexican (Green) Violetear at Reagan Wells a month or so.

~ ~ ~ end June-July update header archive ~ ~ ~

~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~

Aug. 31 ~ Finally it is here, the end of August and climatalogical summer. Three more weeks for astronomical summer to end at the equinox. Ran about 74-92dF, hot and sticky. I was supposed to go rustle up some new butterflies for the monthly list, but passed. It is whatever it is. Too dang hot. The few bearable hours early there is less than great butterfly activity. Mid-morning here a Texas Powdered-Skipper landed right in front of me. A male Roseate Skimmer dragonfly has been around for days, especially when Kathy sprays water. A couple females were around for about a week.

About 4-5 Yellow Warbler around yard in morning, all hit the bath. No other warblers though, these may well be holdovers from yesterday. Also there was a fresh fledgling Common Ground-Dove, Chat, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, a Dickcissel, and all the usual gang. Nothing new and different. Only saw the usual two Rufous Hummingbirds here now, the ad. male owning the office feeder and the ad. female using one of the front porch feeders. No ad. male Black-chinned, two immatures was it. Must be a few to several dozen Ruby-throated here now. The salmon below 1st summer male Painted Bunting was on the patio, a couple greenies (imms.) were around still. Did not see an Indigo today though.

lunamoth
This is the Luna Moth pumping up and drying out just after
emerging from pupae on Sept. 2. They are 4.5" across!

and a mandatory bird pic
leastflycatcher
Here is the Least Flycatcher that was pigging out on termites as
they emerged after the rain, occasionally foraging from ground.
I had no idea you could fit that many termites in one of these.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 30 ~ Low of 76dF is not very. Great Horned Owl calling at dawn. The bath had a little action around 8:30. Maybe three Yellow and what looked the same male Wilson's Warbler came in. A juvenile Baltimore Oriole got a drink and split quick. Saw a juv. Orchard Oriole and female Summer Tanager. Two Rufous-crowned Sparrow took long baths allowing some good shots. Pics look like it was an adult and an juvenile. There are many fewer Yellows here today than yesterday, so a bunch bugged out. In the morning it was 3, in the evening it got up to 5.

Lots of Pecan leaves are turning yellow and lots are falling. The bees hit the sap first thing at daylight, the best tree humms. They seem to not be there in the afternoon. Maybe the sap gets hard or too dry. It appears the Yellow Warblers are gleaning bugs that get stuck to the leaves in the sticky sap. An Eyed Elaterid (the big click beetle) was on the patio at dawn when I tossed seed about. Heard an Audubon's Oriole early in the morning. Both Rufous Hummers still here, do not see any ad.male Black-chinned, a few imm. Black-chinned continue. Rubies now must number in the few dozens.

Town run fer shtuff. No migrants at the park. Wish I could have seen it yesterday since we know it was a big movement day. Can't get away from the desk on Thursdays. Heard Blue Jay and Green Heron, that was it. Little Creek Larry said he saw Inca Dove feeding two young this week. He also saw a Ringed Kingfisher at the park this morning. I saw a DOR (dead on road) Roadrunner on 187 just above the UvCo 360 turn. DOR was the first acronym I learned in life, at about four or five years old. There was a Eufala Skipper on the yellow Lantana at the Sabinal Cyn. Museum, new for the month.

About 4 p.m. a cloud shield from rain cells 25 miles west of us blocked the sun. Dropped from 93 to 87 in a half hour of no sun. From icky to bearable. So that is the dang problem, that friggin' sun thingie. A second male Rufous Hummingbird showed up late p.m., it was tussling with the adult female out front and flew off, I ran straight to back and the one guarding the feeder there was on his perch. So, three here right now, and number five for the fall so far. About 5:p I went out driveway and a male Orchard Oriole flushed out of the Texas Persimmon at the gate. Wish I had seen it first. Then after 7 p.m. a flock of 8 Orchard and 1 Baltimore Oriole flew over the yard from the draw. Bet they were in the Persimmons over there all day. Reminds me there is a camping area in Garner St. Pk. called Persimmon Hill, covered in them. It is in the northeast area, it can be good for birds in September when crop. Should be birdable after this weekend. Did not hear the Pauraque at dusk, saw about 4 or 5 Firefly. Saw a Northern Cloudywing butterfly by cottage today.

Aug. 29 ~ A sticky start with a low of 75dF, a few scattered clouds off and on over the morn. Both Rufous Hummers are still here. I am not seeing any adult male Black-chinned, only a very small number of immatures. Ruby-throated now far outnumber them. Lots of ad. male Rubies showing up now, besides imms. Heard a Blue Grosbeak, surely an imm. or female now. Three greenies (imm. Painted Bunting) around still, interesting was late in day a first summer male was at the millet tube with reddish salmon underparts. Noonish there was a very worn adult female Indigo Bunting with a begging just-fledged juvenile! This is a very LATE DATE for begging attended young for me here. Maybe this is why the molting male has been staying around? It was out there later.

The birdbath exploded with activity about 9-10 a.m. There were a number of Yellow Warbler around the yard first thing. On the bath I had 5 at once, was looking at 7, and estimate there were 10 total. So if all of yesterday's stayed, they were joined by as many more this morning. It was a full blown party. Besides all the Yellows, a male Black-and-white Warbler came in that was likely a first summer male. A male Wilson's Warbler came in, with orange in lores and forehead, a western type. A female Orchard Oriole came in (couple more in trees), a first year male Dickcissel came down, probably the one around yesterday. One Field Sparrow came in. Male and female Summer Tanager took baths.

Photo'd all of the above, but only managed four Yellows in one frame though. Saw three Chats in the Pecan over the bath. After it had sorta quieted down Kathy spotted the FOS male Baltimore Oriole there! It bolted right away before I could get a shot. It was the fastest I ever took 113 photos. Had to swap batteries. You will see some 'film at eleven' I'm sure. It seems a fair number were likely things that were here yesterday. It also seems like they ate for the first couple hours of light, and then all went to the bath for drinks and splashes. Of course the whole time there were Cardinal, Carolina Wren, Black-crested Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch, etc., coming in and out when all this was going on. It was a few dozen birds at least, maybe four dozen, in an hour or so. It was an incredible parade. Who knows what we miss, the bath is not where we can always watch it.

The Verdin was around again. Sure would like a pic of it. Heard the Pauraque in the pecans out front at dusk. Right at dark I heard my FOS Upland Sandpiper, finally. Barred Owl called later over at river. Saw three Firefly at once, so the fall flight has begun. Some years it can be pretty good in September.

Aug. 28 ~ About 75dF for a low, a little better than yesterday. Some migrant motion in the yard early too. There had to be 5 Yellow Warbler around, I got a pic at the bath with 3 at once on it. Heard a couple Orchard Oriole go by, a Summer Tanager is singing still. Great was hearing a FOS Wilson's Warbler a bunch of times doing the dry chit they do. Better was a Black-throated Green Warbler that came into the bath. I got some shots but early it is dark where the bath is so have to jack up ISO to 800 often. Regardless still get usable shots for illustrative purposes. The Yellow-breasted Chat took two long baths, giving lots of good photos. A couple juvie Painted Bunting came in to drink as well, one pretty streaky below (ph.). The usual two DOZEN Cardinal scaring things away often as anything.

Great was noonish hearing and seeing a VERDIN in the pecan over the bath. Probably just missed it there. That confirms what I thought I was hearing across the road the last few days was indeed a Verdin and not a juvenile Lesser Goldfinch, which can make a very very similar single piercing metallic chip note. While I was trying to get a pic of the Verdin saw a Blue-fronted Dancer (damselfly) at my feet. A Least Flycatcher was out front after noon. Heard an Inca Dove. Had a Questionmark (butterfly) over by the cottage (ph.).

In the afternoon the Yellow Warblers seemed to spend the day in the yard but I never saw the Black-throated Green again, nor the Wilson's. However a Black-and-white showed up late afternoon or early evening. It was a whopping FOUR species of migrant warblers here today. So with the Yellow-throated still here on territory that was around alot, FIVE species of warbler in yard today, amazing. In the afternoon an imm. Dickcissel was in the brushpile by the bath, don't know if it got a drink or not.

Then at dusk I guarded the driveway. Saw a Firefly, which is a fall firefly. Heard the Pauraque briefly call a few times upslope behind us. A Common Nighthawk flew over low and 2 Chuck-wills-widow were goofing around the yard. No Luna Moth though. Three Caprimulgids at once from the driveway is fine by me.

Aug. 27 ~ The low was a ridiculous 77dF, the warmest low of the year so far. There were some mid-level debris clouds from washed-out outflows that sheilded lots of sun and it only got to 92dF, a good 5dF cooler than yesterday's burner. Some few birds in yard early, a few Yellow Warbler, a couple Orchard Oriole, and a Gnatcatcher. At least it was migrant motion. The Yellows seemed to stick all day, at least three of them. Ran to P.O. so checked park quickly, some Common Grackle, a Green Heron, and a Spinybacked Spider, white and black carapace type, but my photos were all out of focus. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo around yard. Saw on the Frog-fruit an Orange Skipperling.

The highlight of the day was at dusk when Kathy was spraying some water around and asked if I wanted to see a big yellow moth. I asked if it was an Imperial, sorta hesitant to walk though grass in sandals and risk chiggers for one. She didn't know, so I had to go. There it was on the fence sorta, underside towards us. LUNA MOTH!!! The Holy Grail of moths! Big, bright green above, long tails, it is fancy as you get. It came in to the water. It was just sitting in one place seemingly on a broad vine leaf on the fence that was covered in water.

It is my first locally, though I have heard of a few reports. Still a rare bug here. I ran back to house, grabbed flashlight and camera, barely any light in sky, went through corral gate behind the cottage to get uppersurface. I grabbed some crummy fuzzy flashlight photos, but at least got some docushots. It was low just above the ground, so had to hold flashlight in one hand, camera and other, and pray to the pixel gods. I had to jack the ISO up to 3200 on top of that. Left the porch light on for hours hoping it would come over but never saw it. On porch I could have put 6500k daylight on it.

Aug. 26 ~ Low of 73dF, a few low stratus clouds for a few hours early. A couple Yellow Warbler around the yard. Way way more Ruby-throated Hummingbird showing up. Still some ad. ma. Black-chinned, but few. The ad. ma. Rufous retains the office feeder out back. There are at least a couple newly fledged Bewick's Wrens following adults around, as are a couple new Carolina Wren fledglings with theirs. Heard a Gnatcatcher or two go through in a.m., a pair of Yellow Warbler were around, the Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo were both about the yard. Thought I heard a Verdin again.

Was sitting on front porch mid-morn when I heard the doves and everything flush off the patio. Turned to see a Zone-tailed Hawk climb up from patio, fly across yard, and up through the opening in pecans, with a dove in its talons. It was 40' away below eye level when it came into view. It circled low twice, but had seen me, so headed away with its prey. Had I not been there it would have landed in the front pecans with prey as it has done before. It was too fast for photos. Won't see that one for a couple days. They must be sooooo fast... you don't really think of Red-tailed or Red-shouldered Hawks taking doves, but Zone-tailed do it all the time, and White-wings. A lot of it must be the element of surprise, but some must be sheer speed and deftness.

It was almost 95dF on the cool shady front porch at 3 p.m., meanwhile Del Rio was at a record 106, their old record was 102 in 2002. At 5 p.m. Del Rio was 108! Hondo and Uvalde were 102, we were 97dF in the cool shady. Another Rufous or Allen's Hummer showed up out front. Later I got a look to sex or age it, it is an adult female, so surely not the bird gone for the last two days, a new arrival. Rufous Hummingbird number four for the fall so far. Did not hear the Pauraque at dusk again for the second day. Could be that I missed the narrow window when it gives a few measures, and then it shuts up.

Aug. 25 ~ Low stratus and a low of 74-5dF so muggy. Heard a hummer giving real soft Selasphorus chips that sounded a Calliope, got up from desk and went to check feeder out dining room window and as soon as my head got a line of sight on it, a tiny small hummer shot off. I hate when that happens. Never got any kind of look, but of size, which was Calliope, and which matches calls I just heard. The ad.ma. Rufous is still guarding the office feeder. More Rubies are showing up. Four greenies (imm. Painted Bunting) were on the patio early. Whadyaknow the male Indigo Bunting in heavy heavy molt is back out on the patio and out back. Missed it for a couple days but by molt I can tell it is him. What a mess he is. It is the ugliest male Indigo Bunting I have ever seen.

Thought I heard a Long-billed Thrasher early first thing, the sharp click notes. Shortly before noon I heard real full calls, there is a LbT over in the big Mesquites across from the gate. Probably a dispersing juvenile this time of year. They have shorter bills than adults and some pale in base of lower mandible, so can be confused with a Brown Thrasher much more easily than adults. Heard it calling again at last sun. Very cool, wish it would find the bath. Also thought I heard a few Verdin chips at one point in the day, from over Mesquite way. Did have a Bell's Vireo singing in the Mesquites. About a dozen big old trees about 20' tall, right across from the gate, is just enough of a patch to draw the Mesquite lovers in.

Outstanding was a juvenile Acadian Flycatcher in the yard. New yard bird! I came within a second of getting a photo. It is exceedingly rare to detect away from breeding grounds in fall here. I have seen about 3 maybe, all in the last 6 years, all in August, all along UvCo360 but which is likely just a function of time spent. My first ten years here I saw exactly zero in fall away from a breeding territory.

Went for a peak-heat swim to beat it, was quiet over at the river. A male Goatweed Leafwing has been hanging around yard, saw a couple Cloudless Sulphur, Queens are picking up. Did not hear the Pauraque at dusk to dark, and did not try to entice it to call. It was a 10-day bird as of yesterday, my longest duration record here.

Aug. 24 ~ A second spritz of rain occurred pre-dawn, just another tenth of an inch or so, but which puts us at a good solid quarter-inch with yesterday's shower. Some folks upvalley had 1.5", further north in southwestern Kerr Co some had 2.5-4+"! Low was 73dF, about 3:30 p.m. it was 90, the humidity holding temps down a bit. I did a dump run and so a lookabout for a couple hours around noon. Best was my FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher along Jones Cmty. Rd. in BanCo. Looked at about 10 miles of fence and power lines and saw 3 Scissor-tails total, they seem mostly gone. Far fewer Vermilion Flycatchers too, though our pair remain as do the last two young they fledged. Saw a Mournful Duskywing (butterfly) on flowers in BanCo. Saw one Green Heron and heard Common Grackle at the park, that was it. But for a pair of Orange-striped Threadtail damselfly in tandem.

Saw a nice patch of purple Eryngo in full roar, what a weird wild plant that is (ph. with some native black and white bees). Still two Rufous Hummers here in the morning, but only the ad. ma. in the afternoon. There were 5-6 Field Sparrow together in the weedy area by a stick pile I keep. Build the habitat and they will come. First flocklet of fall, likely local breeders gathering up. Male Yellow Warbler came to bath late, was a female around early. Despite some sprinkling the Pauraque called about 8:30, heard from the office, just uphill behind us where the big ancient live-oaks. Later about 11 p.m. I heard the Barred Owl calling over at the river.

Some outflow hit us from nearby rain cells in the later afternoon. Garner to Concan and Dry Frio area looked like they got it good, and a cell was just east of us too, towards Seco Creek and Tarpley. We were in the infamous Utopia Dry Slot. We got a trace to a tenth, but was in the 80's for the afternoon instead of the 90's. At this point in summer you take any kind of breaklet you can get. Sure could have used some of the rain though. Did have a Desert Checkered-Skipper on the Frog-fruit, and a Clouded Skipper on the Lantana. Thought I mighta heard a Verdin across road in Mesquites. Aug. is when sometimes they show up. From where? Nearby in the brush country?

edit:
Was a fuzzy Luna Moth flashlight pic here but since got a better one (above), so removed this one.

blackthroatedgreenwarbler
Here is the Black-throated Green Warbler at the bath. They are the
cousins to our endemic breeding Golden-cheeked Warbler, but only occur here
as migrants passing through. Note the tinge of yellow at flank, which
continues around vent area between legs. All Black-throated greens show
this, Golden-cheeked are snow white throughout posterior underparts, always.
birdbath
Here is the birdbath showing a little action. A milk jug over it
with pinholes provides a drip. On the left is an imm. Dickcissel,
on the right a male wilson's Warbler, and 3 Yellow Warbler between.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 23 ~ A balmy 75dF low, got up to mid-90's. One female Yellow Warbler hit the bath early. Did not see the male Indigo Bunting. Saw a bright imm. Bell's Vireo out front by the gate. The Texas Persimmons are purple now, should be Baltimore Oriole here any day. The ad. male Rufous Hummingbird is still out back, and a second bird has shown up out front, an imm. or female without gorget. Still ad.ma. Black-chinned here, and of course some Rubies. Nice to see something besides the Black-chinned we spend May through July flooded in. The pecan leaves are all shiny and sticky with sap, which mists off as they grow nuts.

Did a park check since an errand run to town. A female Indigo Bunting there is a transient. A female Ringed Kingfisher is the first I have seen in a while. Was a bit messy below, either an adult in heavy molt, or a one year old first summer bird. Saw what was surely a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron fly up from a dark swampy part of the island into the Cypresses and out of view. Durnit. Saw Orange Bluet damselfly. Flushed a Black Witch moth which flew over to the island so no photo op. One of those metallic gold Dicerca sps. Buprestid beetles landed on my leg (ph.) A Southern Broken-Dash was on some blooming Boneset Eupatorium in the woods. A Zone-tailed Hawk was over town amongst a bunch of Turkey Vulture.

Kathy spotted an Empidonax in the afternoon, about an hour later I saw a Least Flycatcher out there. Which is FOS though an Empi sps. I saw Aug. 20 was surely one too. Late afternoon a rain cell or two gave some water mostly up valley around town and northward, and another over in the Frio drainage. We got the outflow boundry after 5 p.m. and it took the sizzle off the heat anyway. About 6:30 we got grazed by the corner of the cell, maybe .15-.2" here, but up at town and north they got an inch. We got the cool down though, it quickly dropped to 71dF when the light rain hit. What a break, 20dF cooler than most days at 7 p.m. lately. Heard the Pauraque a few times before 8:30 p.m.

Aug. 22 ~ Back up to 74dF for a low, a few low clouds a couple hours of the morn to stave off heat. About 92 in cool shady. Saw the male Indigo Bunting, the male Rufous Hummingbird still guarding the office feeder. A couple Yellow Warbler zzeets in the pecans, two females were seen at the bath over the morning. A Gnatcatcher came in to the feeder action to check it out, must be a juvenile. Landed on the rope the sunflower feeder hangs on to see whaddup whilst chickadees and titmice going back and forth. Both Yellow-throateds, Vireo and Warbler, were around, and a White-eyed Vireo. A couple each ad. and imm. male Ruby-throated Hummers are here, still a few ad.ma. Black-chinned around too. Heard a couple Blue Grosbeak, which went unseen. Saw a Funereal Duskywing on the Frog-fruit flowers. Heard the Pauraque at last light. Did not want to bother it so I was silent.

Aug. 21 ~ A 71dF low felt great, what a difference a few dF makes. Saw the male Indigo Bunting early morning. A female Yellow Warbler was in the yard, until the Yellow-throated Warbler saw it. Ran it out. Chased it tree to tree and seemingly out. Must view it as a food competitor and is still in a very territorial mood. An hour or so later a male and female Yellow Warbler went to the bath together (ph.). Ground-Dove was at the bath again. Heard Gnatcatcher and an Orchard Oriole. Caracara went over. Maybe only hit 92dF on the cool shady front porch, so it dialed back a couple dF on the heat. Probably due to ground moisture from the rain. Yellow-throated Vireo singing around yard, as is a White-eyed still. A Zone-tailed Hawk circled over in the afternoon (ph.).

The big events of the day were at dusk. First I spotted a Sphinx moth at the Snow-on-the-Mountain so grabbed camera and got some shots. Sun was down had to use high ISO, but it was one of the Aellopos (hummingbird hawkmoth types) species, either clavipes or titan I suspect. It seemed greenish so probably titan, but will have to send pix to experts to see. I have seen a few of these types here over the years, obvious for their white band on adbomen, and hovering at flowers looking much like a tiny small hummingbird, which they have been reported as. I just love this dusk on the driveway thing.

Then as it got almost dark, the Pauraque started calling from in the pecans in the front yard! It was flopping around over top of the shorter ones 25' up. Kathy came out of office since she heard it. It was calling and flying across the yard. So to test and see what kind of Pauraque this was, I did my patented call again. Is this a real Pauraque, or is this a Russian Pauraque? The bird flew directly at me and got so close, I flinched, I think at the same time it did, but honestly had taken my eyes off the ball. It was a real Pauraque. It promptly plopped down on the driveway 8 or 10 feet from us and went to yukking it up with the intro calls. It would jump up and do that Pauraque flop, up and down a foot or two so at a time moving slowly away up the driveway. Gave a couple great full calls. Flew around the yard right past us, we saw the white outer tail feathers well. It flew right overhead another pass and against the last light in the sky we saw it was missing all of its inner primaries, on both sides of course. So it is in heavy wing molt right now. It landed back on the driveway, flopped around and yukked it up more, it was about 10 minutes of an incredible show. I grabbed the camera and got a few seconds of an mp4 with the lens cap on just to document the call with poor quality audio. Alas, my 20 year old faithful Sony Palm-corder cassette unit (used with a small 8" dish mic) seems to have finally given up after years of abuse. I can't believe it did that to me. Just like my guitars.

Aug. 20 ~ A 75dF low is a drag. But there were a couple migrants in the yard this morning to make one forget about it. An Empidonax flycatcher was my first of the fall. Looked a Least. An imm. Orchard Oriole, a female Yellow Warbler, and a White-eyed Vireo with a nice white eye (ad. - ph.) came into the bath mid-morn. Yellow-throated Vireo singing around yard, and I heard the Red-eyed over in the usual far part of corral singing! It must have moved a couple days out of earshot to the other area it spent time this summer just past the corral, but is back still going at it as usual again. The male Indigo was around and is in heavy molt (ph.) now, doing it here on the breeding grounds apparently. He is looking ratty for all that beautiful blue. Caracara went over.

Many of the same butterflies were on the Frog-fruit including the Laviana White-Skipper, a False Duskywing, a Rounded Metalmark, and a Southern Skipperling. All the other more common stuff was there too. Late afternoon peak heat I saw 92dF on the cool shady front porch, whilst KRVL showed 97dF. Only Rocksprings up at 2300', a thousand feet higher, showed cooler at 91, Boerne was 93. Most local areas showed several dF hotter than we are, we run close to the coolest temps in the hills. I call that a win but it is still way too hot for my old carcass.

At about 8:35 and 40 the Pauraque called several times. Then the Chuck-wills-widow got active, with two young begging flying right by me whilst leaned up against the trucklet in the driveway. One adult and two young, catching stuff right over the yard 20-30 feet away. I could only see silohuettes against last light in sky but saw two young begging chasing after an adult obviously. Finally one gave one good full call, the first I have heard in about 5 weeks since they quit singing in earlier July. It was a great goatsucker show.

Aug. 19 ~ Need I say it was 74-90 something dF? A wee bit of some low clouds in a.m., no migrant bird motion. By noon it was hot. Rufous Hummer still guarding the feeder out the office so I am hearing him all day. Saw at least a couple imm. male Ruby-throated, and maybe a couple adults as well. Still ad.ma. Black-chinned but thinning fast, as are the immatures. Three Field Sparrow around, at least one a juvie, plus new fresh begging young of Lark and Chipping Sparrow still. That dull dull first summer female Summer Tanager is still around. Since she nested she has not molted yet and wow is she beat, worn, and gray. Saw a Titmouse stashing sunflower seeds in ball moss. The first of that this season.

The verges of the road were all mowed last week, as was the corral, so a bazillion flowers are gone. Meanwhile the few patches we have are getting way more butterflies the last several days since the drastic botanical change took place. Around noon checked the Frog-fruit and found a Laviana White-Skipper (ph.). They are LTA - less than annual here. It is a big white skipper from southward, hopefully a harbinger of a good invasion from Mexico this fall. Been a year at least since I saw one locally. Sometimes we have gone years with out one occurring. A couple years of last 16 we had decent invasions of them.

There was at the same time on the Frog-fruit the same three as yesterday probably: False Duskywing, Streaky Skipper, and a Checkered-Skipper - probably a White. Plus a Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, got a pic of a Rounded Metalmark, my first of the month, and a Reakirt's Blue or three. Just kneeling down to look and grab a couple pix and you are dripping. Welcome to Texas in August. Saw the Laviana a couple hours later, it visited again. Couple Painted Lady on the Snow-on-the-Mountain, still a Black Swallowtail on it, and a couple Olive Juniper Hairstreak. In yard Goatweed Leafwing, Giant Swallowtail, Mestra, several Lysides were among other things floating around.

Outstanding was hearing the Pauraque call again. Several times at last light in the sky, about 8:37-8. Straight across the road from the gate on the back side of the big old mesquite patch. Went out a bunch more when fully dark and never heard it again. Still no Upland Sandpiper calls overhead, though I saw a report of some a couple days ago from southwestern Bexar Co.

Aug. 18 ~ About 74-94dF in the cool shade. No migrant movement yet. Thought behind the outflow boundries and rain that was from a washed out front we would get something within a couple days. Still waiting. Kathy saw a male Indigo Bunting in the a.m. briefly on the patio, only sighting all day. About 3 greenie Painted left. Ad.ma. Rufous Hummer still here, Yellow-throated Vireo still singing in yard. We went for a swim peak heat, had a few dozen Barn Swallow in a swirl over the river, above treetops.

Some good butterfly action on the driveway Frog-fruit, and the adjacent Snow-on-the-Mountain. Saw two Streaky Skipper at once (probably a first for me) on the Frogfruit. One Checkered-Skipper looked like a White, not a Common. Couple Olive Juniper Hairstreak, a Whirlabout and a Fiery Skipper, a Clouded Skipper at the Wooly Ironweed early, Painted Lady and Black Swallowtail also on the Snow-on-the-Mountain. One Mestra was putting around, numbers of Queen going by.

Aug. 17 ~ We remain in that 'groundhog day' groove, now playing the summer burner version, like a broken record. Bet you would never guess it ran about 75-95 in the shade here today. The bright side cup-half-full I might have mentioned recently, we are in a large area of southern and south-central U.S. (inclds. most of Texas) which on average has its hottest day of the year between Aug. 6 and 16th. So statistically we should be over the peak heat hump. The last couple weeks of burning should be the worst of it.

Heard a few Orchard Oriole out there early. Did an hour of hard labor yard work before I dropped dripping. The ad.ma. Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummers continue, as do some ad. ma. Black-chinned. Thought sure again I saw imm. ma. Ruby-throated, a couple times. Maybe the same female Roseate Skimmer dragonfly was out front (ph.).

In butterflies saw a Desert Checkered-Skipper, besides a few Common, 2 different Olive Juniper Hairstreak (ph.), besides a couple Gray. A Southern Skipperling was my first of the year probably, unless I had one in early spring. Goatweed Leafwing was out there, Common Mestra, American Lady, the freshest mint Variegated Frit you can imagine (ph.), Julia's Skipper and Celia's Roadside-Skipper, the porch and Turks Cap area Dusky-blue Groundstreaks that won't let me get a picture... Also saw Whirlabout, numbers of Queen, Pipevine Swallowtail, a dozen Lyside, Little Yellow, and others, I was barely paying attention.

Oops, wasn't over. After dinner around last sun on the flowers, lots came out for one last shot of juice. A DOTTED Roadside-Skipper was best, first one I have seen this year, they have been very rare since the drought. They were nearly common 2004-08. Rare since. Was gone when I got back out with camera. Then a False Duskywing (Gesta gesta) came in, first of month and got pix of it. Over at the Snow-on-the-Mountain was a female Sachem and a Black Swallowtail, besides the Olive Juniper Hairstreak, Pipevines, a Syrphid, and some native bees.

Saw or heard no nighthawks, nightjars, goatsuckers, or relatives. There was a big dozer working a half-mile away across the river but it was still too loud. The Screech-Owls called, that was it.

yellowwarbler
Male Yellow Warbler at our bird bath. I am seeing 1-2 daily now
so they are on the move. Nothing like a drip to bring birds in,
works better than food, and they really need water in this heat.
The dark spots on the wing are shadows from water drops.
a bonus pic this week...
hummingbirdhawkmoth
Here is a pic of the 'hummingbird hawkmoth', Sphinx moth
of the genus Aellopos, likely either clavipes or titan. Nectaring on
Snow-on-the-Mountain. They hover just like a hummingbird at flowers,
but often use front legs to steady themselves while feeding.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 16 ~ An amazing rain-cooled low of 69.5dF. Feels so good. Thought there might be some migration motion this morning behind the outflows from the north yesterday. Could not have been more wrong, guess again. Nothing. Didn't even have the usual Gnatcatcher and few Orchard Oriole of late. The Rufous Hummer is on day 9 now, the ad.ma. Ruby-throat still here. Still a dozen or so ad.ma. Black-chinned, but not for long. No ad.ma. Indigo or Painted Bunting, or Blue Grosbeak in yard. Yellow-throated Vireo still singing. Chat getting way quieter. Town run, almost nothing at the park, kinda surprisingly. Only thing was a dozen Common Grackle, over half were hatch-year juveniles, only one ad. male. So likely a post-breeding party of all the local nesters gathered up now. No Martins over town, they are outta here. You might see stray migrants from now until early October, but the locals are gone. One Questionmark butterfly at the park. Saw my FOS flowers on Eryngo, the bizarre purple Thistle relative on roadsides.

Did an hour plus dusk nightjar patrol out on the driveway. First while still sun up there were four Common Nighthawk. It was a family group, presumedly from the nearby knoll a half-mile to north. The female had a couple young trailing it, and at one point the male did a decent booming dive. Great to hear that one more time this year. After watching them a while and sun dipped below horizon, twice I saw a Chuck-wills-widow flying right behind the house up the hill low right over treetops of the big live-oaks. Finally about 8:50 the Common Pauraque flew right over my head! Still enough light in the sky to get a perfect silohuette, straight up, of short rounded wings and a very very long tail. Completely unlike any of our other nightjars. Awesome. A pair of mccallii Screech-Owl were calling, sounded like they were going into the bath.

Aug. 15 ~ About 74dF for a low, no morning clouds, go directly to baking. Heard a few Orchard Oriole out there early, saw the ad.ma. Indigo Bunting, but no Painted around save the greenies. The adult male Rufous Hummer #2 is still here, day 8 now. Still can't get over how lucky I was to get a pic of the back of that first one with the green flecks, so as to know this one is different.

About noon-thirty I had my FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an adult male. Ties my latest fall arrival date, usually they are back sooner. But, it means they were probably breeding, which is good. When things come back early in fall, it might mean they failed nesting. So we have three species of hummers at the feeders today, which has not happened since last fall. The next month is prime-time to snag a passing Calliope or Broad-tailed. After them you are just dreaming, wishing and hoping. But that's OK. It may even help. There is a White-eared out in west Texas now. Saw that Olive-Juniper Hairstreak on the Snow-on-the-Mountain after the rain. One Mestra was around too.

At 1 p.m. an adult female Yellow Warbler took a bath, my FOS. So this little tail end of a system up in the plains brought us our first couple of fall migrants. Should be Upland Sandpipers tonight? We just got the outflow boundries, not the actual front. But it was enough to set off rain with the heat and humidity. Between 1:30 and 2 p.m. it poured, about 2 INCHES! Temp dropped to 68dF! About 3pm it was back up to 72, but holy cow what a break. We needed the water badly, it was parched out there. No dust for a couple days.

Termites went off of course with a hatch, so my Red-breasted Sunfish had some juicy treats. The birds had a feast all afternoon. Some swallows were going over low getting termites, maybe a few dozen Barn, and a half-dozen Cliff, which is rare from the yard. I heard they have already departed the colony at the 1050 bridge over the Frio River for the season, maybe about two weeks ago. Hopefully they got young out.

At dusk after the rain, a COMMON PAURAQUE called a few times from just up the road over the draw. I taped one once here in the yard, Aug. 24, 2014 (present to 26th) so it has been five years since last record for me. Prior to that had at least one, maybe two Seco Ridge records, one was in latest July. These are post-breeding wanderers moving north out of the brush-country. Very interesting. Was a miracle I was out in the driveway to hear the minute window it called. Just love watching and listening from last sun to dark. Went out and listened a bunch more and never heard it again, nor did I hear any Upland Sandpiper going over. Even did my patented Pauraque imitation, hate to brag but it is so good the last one dive-bombed me. This individual however apparently could not have been less impressed. You know, eye (or ear) of the beholder and all... I hadn't practiced in five years, perhaps I was off key. Sounded good to me, made me want to call back to myself.

The frogs went off after the rain. I heard a few Barking Frog, saw one and heard other Blanchard's Cricket-Frog, caught a Red-spotted Toad, and the Rio Grande Leopard Frogs were roaring. About midnight a pair of Great Horned Owl were calling across the road.

Aug. 14 ~ Ran 75-96dF and the meltdown continues. Town run early first thing so a look at the park. So great to be the only one there again. It has been a zoo most of the summer. Still singing were 2 Yellow-throated Vireo, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a couple White-eyed Vireo. All may well still be nesting. A couple interesting transients were heard, a Great Crested, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher, both of which have been gone from many local breeding areas for a month. Saw Green and Great Blue Heron, heard a Green Kingfisher. Summer Tanager and Yellow-throated Vireo were at the park but only called, no singing. Heard some new baby begging Blue Jays in town.

Saw the Indigo Bunting male early, but not late, and no male Painted Bunting, or Blue Grosbeak. A couple Field Sparrow around. Yellow-throated Vireo still singing. White-winged Dove singing a very little. Saw some three hundred feet up, practicing for Sept. 1 no doubt. The male Rufous Hummingbird continues. An outflow boundry at 6 p.m. brought a cool breeze taking us down to 90dF in a few minutes. Terrible when 90 is a cool breeze. Got a little leaf-washer and dust buster a half-hour later, maybe a tenth of an inch. And which dropped us down to a chilly 82dF before sundown! And the people were happy. Two Audubon's Oriole went through yard at last sun.

Aug. 13 ~ Just another day baking, ran about 74-96 in the cool shady. Saw the male Indigo in the morning and evening. Might have glimpsed a male Painted late as it flushed out back. About a half-dozen greenies continue. The 2nd male Rufous Hummer continues. Gnatcatcher in a.m. and another late afternoon, several Orchard Oriole went through early and a few late. Saw a Barn Swallow feed young right overhead. A Field Sparrow around. We get back down to about 90dF as soon as the sun goes down, then it is a real slow drop from there to about 82 by around midnight. It ain't fer sissies.

Aug. 12 ~ Unless we get a 'cane, August weather is mostly a sub-tropical high that wavers a bit but overall is a whole bunch of sameness. It was still 82dF at midnight last night. Just under 76dF for a low. Early there were a couple Gnatcatchers, and a few Orchard Oriole as is the case lately nearly daily. The Orios came to the bath! The male went right in like a boss. May have been showing the young what a puddle is for. Very cool. Nothing ever wore black and brown better. An hour later a sharp black-bibbed first-summer bird (roughly a year old) came in quickly. Their wings are in bad shape at this point, in dire need of replacement. Dang Cards scared it off. Saw Chats and a Yellow-throated Warbler at the bath briefly too.

Heard the Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireo still singing as on territory this morning. White-eyed still going of course. Still some adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird around but most have left and immatures predominate now. Between 6-7 p.m. one ad. male Painted Bunting and one male Blue Grosbeak hit seed out back. Maybe a half-dozen greenies left. Few Orchard Oriole late p.m. are probably different from this morning's birds. Finally saw the Rufous Hummer about 7:30 p.m., day 5 for this one. Got usable pix of three purple beauties: Tube Tongue, Wooly Ironweed, and Purple Bindweed flowers. There were two Clouded Skipper on the Wooly Ironweed this morning.

Aug. 11 ~ It was 75-96 in the shade, same as it ever was for August. Four Orchard Oriole went through in morning. At least a couple Chats were at the bath in morning, got some pics. Heard the Rufous Hummer first thing early. Saw the male Indigo Bunting first and last thing. There were two adult male Painted Bunting after 7 p.m., only sighting all day, and first time I have seen two at once in a week at least. Saw one of the salmon below types of first spring-summer male Painted Bunting.

Weird was the first juvenile Cowbird being fed I have seen in the yard this summer, a Brown-headed, late for them here. The incredible part was it was being fed by a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. I don't know of a nest nearer than a half mile at best.We went for a swim in the peak heat late afternoon. A .75" Horse Fly bit me, wouldn't leave me alone, a first for that here. I had to go frogman and go underwater and depart the area I was in. In butterflies on the Frog-fruit in the driveway there was a pair of Phaon Crescent, a couple each of Reakirt's Blue, Gray Hairstreak, and Checkered-Skipper and a male Whirlabout (ph.). Lots of other common stuff around yard.

Aug. 10 ~ Ran 75-95.5dF in the shade for a temp spread. Had to be a hun in the sun. Hid inside mostly. Did some yard work early, doesn't take long to get drippy. First thing before sunup I saw one each ad. male Painted and Indigo Bunting. Eight greenies (imm. Painted) hit the patio first thing with them. These ads. are the same last two holdouts fattening up on white millet the last week. Did not have the adult ma. Rufous Hummer in the a.m., but it showed up at last call. Saw a male Blue Grosbeak late out back. Heard a few Orchard Oriole and a Gnatcatcher in the morning. Kathy saw a Roadrunner on the patio. I saw a Chat at the bath. Saw a Kiowa Dancer (damselfly) on the front porch. Got pix of an Olive Juniper Hairstreak, these late summer types sure look different from the spring flyers to me. Saw a Mestra, an American Lady, and a Whirlabout in other butterflies. In dragons, one Wandering Glider was out in heat of afternoon, and a Pale-faced Clubskimmer was, uh, skimming, with its club, around the front yard at dusk. Screech-Owl calling at dark.

orchardoriole
Male Orchard Oriole at our birdbath, there were several juveniles right
above him in the pecan. He went full submarine. It was early, dark and
overcast with very low light, had to use a high ISO and so a bit fuzzy
and dark, with apologies. One of the sharpest looking birds in America.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 9 ~ Ran about 76-96dF for a temp spread, these are the dog days. In the morning I saw both male Indigo and Painted Bunting, heard the draw Blue Grosbeak singing. Heard a Bell's Vireo which might be the one I saw coming into the bath mid-morn. Also had a Rufous-crowned Sparrow at the bath this morning (ph.). The bath is a Cardinal traffic jam lately. Anything else is lucky to sneak in edgewise. The male Rufous Hummingbird was still here in the a.m. as well. Heard a Gnatcatcher go through early.

Town run. Saw the Green Heron up on the island, surely they have a nest in there somewhere. Heard a half-hearted Yellow-throated Warbler song, same for Eastern Wood-Pewee. Saw a Red-eyed Vireo which do not nest there, a post-breeding wanderer leaving the breeding grounds. Heard Blue Jay. Saw an Orange-striped Threadtail damselfly. Below the spillway was a Comanche Skimmer dragonfly, which is rare at the park. Saw a number of juvenile Starling in some Fig trees in town. So I grabbed a couple Figs. It is an empty lot.

Aug. 8 ~ Low was 75dF but we had some Gulf low stratus to keep us sun-sheilded for several hours of the morning. Was 94dF in the shade about 4 p.m., lovely, come on down. Heard a Gnatcatcher early, the Red-eyed Vireo is still singing, was in the yard mid-morn. Saw a male Painted in morning, but as of afternoon, no Indigo yet. Saw one male and heard another call, Blue Grosbeak. Pretty sure it was 'the draw' male. A Canyon Towhee was around in a.m., and used the bath in afternoon.

Great was another adult male Rufous Hummingbird, which photos show to be different than the one here July 31 to mid-day Aug. 3. If I had not bothered to get a back shots of both birds we would only guess they were different because of the four day lapse with no sighting. But you might wonder if it was at neighbors feeders, etc. Nothing like some documentation photos to study, these two are absolutely not the same bird. The Indigo Bunting came in to the patio millet at last sun briefly. Got one more BlueMistEup caterpillar today, I think 219 now removed.

Aug. 7 ~ A 74dF low, a few clouds for a couple hours kept it in 70's for a short while. The male Indigo was giving just the first couple notes of usual song, but three of them, repeatedly with an abrupt end, as if it started to say something and stopped. Saw the male Painted out back early. Any day now will be the end of these here for the year. Sure has been a great four months them. Heard a few Orchard Orios in the morn. Great was one of those real colorful imm. Bell's Vireo, in the morning. Probably from a local nesting.

A couple good butterflies came in to the water sprayed about late morning. The White-stripe Longtail was still around, and better a CRIMSON Patch stopped to drink just off the back porch (ph.). What a beauty! In the yard! In afternoon I saw a still with streaks below juvenile Field Sparrow, I suspect was a very local nesting, maybe from one we have been hearing sing. Begging Chippy still out there too. Late afternoon one male Blue Grosbeak hit the sunflower seeds I throw in the bushes out back. I think the male that has been up the draw. The yard alpha male has not been around a few days now. Thought I might have had an imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, sure had a long tail.

Aug. 6 ~ About 73-94dF temp spread in the cool shady. It dries out in the late p.m. heat so you lose the humidity, in news from the 'cup half full' department. Gnatcatcher and some Orchard Orioles went through in the morning. Just Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the feeders now, where is that first Ruby-throat? No Blue Grosbeaks detected today. Late at 7:30 p.m. one male Painted Bunting was on patio eating seed, and at 8 p.m. the male Indigo Bunting showed up. Both were MIA all day. Seems only the one male Painted since about Aug. 1. Yellow-throated Vireo still singing, but not hearing the warbler. Chat still going, as is White-eyed Vireo. E. Screech-0wl (Tex-Mex mccallii) right over bath right as it got dark, it couldn't wait to hit the water after a hot day.

Aug. 5 ~ Low was about 75dF, not very. A trace of sprinkles went over just after 8 a.m., saw a rainbow briefly. Saw the ad.ma. Painted Bunting first thing before sunup, and about 8 greenies hit the patio at the same time. Heard Gnatcatcher, some Orchard Orioles, and a Red-eyed Vireo in the pecans in front yard early morning. Male Indigo Bunting around later in day. No male Blue Grosbeak for second day though, the alpha male left the night of the 3rd after that spectacular spiral display flight. Some nearish spritzes and showerlets in afternoon sheilded us from the peak solar burn, but we didn't get anything. An odd orangish grasshopper was on the Turks Cap (ph.). Kathy pointed out calling Common Nighthawk before dusk. A just-fledged Chipping Sparrow is being fed on patio.

Aug. 4 ~ A sprinkle or two overnight, we got a tenth or so. Up near town some areas got a quarter to a half inch. It built into something more after it got south of us, looked like Sabinal got some. Low was 72dF, and some clouds kept it bearable for a bit. Yesterday while weed-whacking I got a puncture through the old sneakers, far deeper than I prefer, into foot from a big thorn I presume, probably a Mesquite. So I am a tenderfoot today. Hope I don't have to run from anything.

Gnatcatcher out there early, Yellow-throated Vireo and Chat singing, do not hear a Blue Grosbeak. Saw one ea. still continuing last ad. males of Indigo and Painted Bunting. A few Orchard Oriole early, better was two Audubon's Oriole that went through the yard about 9:30 or so. Did not see the Rufous Hummer this morning, or late at last call last evening, so it probably left late yesterday afternoon. Four day bird, nice for an ad. male. It was great to hear that wing whistle again. Most here are females or imms., which have no whistle in their wings, poor things. Cooper's Hawk got a White-winged Dove out back noonish.

Went for a swim late afternoon to cheat peak heat since that works so well. We finally had a Green Kingfisher fly by at eye-level while we were in the water. First one we have seen go by during weekly swims in a couple months so a treat. Was an immature with one green breast band. Saw a Black-shouldered Spinyleg dragonfly again. In damsels, over a dozen Am. Rubyspot, no Smoky. They are upriver where it turns to running creek, and not so much riverine. Lots of Stream and Double-striped Bluet, saw one Neotropical Bluet which is my first of year. Tons of Dusky Dancer, they are the predominant species. Can you tell there weren't many birds out in the heat?

Nearing last sun a begging Painted Bunting appeared with mum and was being fed for some time before it got the hint and flew down to patio and seed. At this point I do not think there is any male around helping. They seem to depart before the last baby is out of the nest on what is likely the third set of young. I have seen this before.

Aug. 3 ~ About 72dF for a low, was 92 on cool shady front porch at 4 p.m. Had some clouds though for a few hours in the a.m. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo still around yard and singing, one each male Painted and Indigo Bunting left, are not singing, Blue Grosbeaks have gone quiet too. Caught one of the Rufous-crowned Sparrow leaving the bath in the morning. It got them to stick around just to bathe again soon! A couple Gnatcatcher and a few Orchard Oriole went through in the morning. The ad.ma. Rufous Hummingbird is still here. Saw the big imm. fem. Cooper's Hawk.' Field Sparrow around the yard in afternoon. New begging being fed juvie Lark Sparrow just out of nest.

Neatest thing was a different type of Blue Grosbeak flight song, I suspect the departure display song. Several species of birds here I have noticed go bonkers singing and or calling right before they leave the territory for the season. For songbirds it is a day to three and noticeable because they have been in a comparatively silent period molting after getting rid of the last set of young. All of a sudden they explode in song, and then disappear. Typical Blue Grosbeak flight display song is like Chat or Orchard Oriole, Lesser Goldfinch, and most songbirds, a fairly horizontal affair across the territory.

Right before last sun, I heard a bzzzz flight note and looked up to see the male Blue Grosbeak climbing nearly straight up but in spirals, whilst immediately bursting into explosive song. He climbed vertically like a U-2, going up a spiral staircase, like an airshow stunt pilot, belting out with everything it had. Everytime it came belly to me the dark blue glowed in the sun. When it got over a hundred feet up it went into parachute mode, wings and tail in full fan, a little bit of quiver at first, and spiraled back down the staircase as song faded away. It only did it once. I said to myself, that bird is leaving. I have never seen that flight display, I watch them every day all breeding season. It was making one last proclamation, and taking one last look around.

goldencheekedwarbler
One last peek at a Golden-cheeked Warbler from this spring at Lost Maples SNA.
At this point, I will not likely to see another until next March.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 2 ~ A 70.5dF low was nice, we need to cool down after these scorchers, of which today is supposed to be another. The ad.ma. Rufous Hummer is still here. Kathy spotted two Rufous-crowned Sparrow at the bird bath. Probably been a year since we saw one in the yard, maybe two. They nest very nearby, a third mile or so, but hardly ever occur here. The last little rocky slope ends right at the back fence line. The drip got 'em. The looked like a pair of very worn adults, but were soaking wet so was hard to tell. Wish they would stick. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo still singing over in corral. Also heard some Purple Martin over the yard early. That won't last, they are about outta here for the year.

Town run and quick park check. Saw a Zone-tailed Hawk over town, heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee singing at the park, they must still be nesting. Little Creek Larry said he saw at least a couple Green Heron at the park this morning, maybe 3, and a group of 3 Common Grackle. Both probably local family groups. Back here after Rosie's tacos, about 1 p.m., there was another Zone-tailed Hawk, low right over the yard. It would take me at least several lifetimes to stop getting excited about them.

Saw one of those Peach or Fig Scarab beetles flying around yard. Better an Eyed Elaterid landed on the big pecan and I got a shot of it, was a dark one. At peak heat in p.m. (about 93dF in shade) a White-striped Longtail came in to water again, surely the same one as last week. Great to keep seeing it. Kathy saw the male Indigo Bunting on the patio nearing dusk. Like the ad. male Painteds, it will be gone soon. Eastern Screech-Owl calling 25' out office window after dark.

August 1 ~ The low was 69.7 or so, just a frog hair below 70dF. Hopefully a sign of a cooler month ahead, but a few days of burners are on tap. The ad.ma. Rufous Hummer is at the feeder first thing. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo still singing over in corral. A Gnatcatcher went through yard early, a bit later a group of Orchard Oriole (could be a local family group) were moving around. Painted Bunting have gone silent and some adult males seem to have already left. Not seeing as many, were 5 at once a week ago, not any more. Ten greenies (imm. or fem.) were on the patio at once in the morn. Saw a Pepsis Wasp. One Eufala Skipper (which I missed locally in July - only saw it down at Uvalde) so it did not take a day to see a butterfly species I did not see the month prior here. Another Gnatcat nearing dusk.

~ ~ ~ July summary ~ ~ ~

It was a hot one, and dryer than average, just over 2" of rain was it, mostly in two quick events. By the end of the month the river is on the low side of average. Spring to summer flowers mostly fried over the course of the month. Some summer stuff is starting to show, but we need some rain! Cherries and Pecans look to have a weak to poor crop underway, same for Hackberries where I have looked. Texas Persimmon has a spotty but very good crop overall, lots of branches are boughed over from the weight of the still green fruit. Birds and deer are already hitting them.

Butterflies were 57 species locally, one more than June, and a good showing for July. Nothing rare, just mopped up most of the likely contenders. Maybe best was not counted for total since at Uvalde, a Rawson's Metalmark. Here, a Common Sootywing was best since first IN yard. A Tropical Checkered-Skipper IN yard was only 2nd or 3rd here. A White-striped Longtail came to water on the patio for a couple days. No Arizona Sister, no satyrs, no Metalmark locally. The first Ceranus Blue and Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak showed up as usual. Saw the six usual expected swallowtails.

Update added: I photographed and collected an unknown-to-me large caterpillar July 9 which was pupating at the base of the big native pecan right off front porch. Hoping to get an emergence, it failed in pupation. However subsequent research has identified from the photos that it was a LUNA MOTH! Then August 27 we saw a Luna in the yard, another September 2 drying out on the same tree, then a pair mating on same tree September 4!

Odes were about 33 species locally. Still decent activity but clearly down from June. The early spring fliers and flight are done. The first few migrants show up as usual though, Spot-winged and Wandering Glider, Green Darner, Red, and Black, Saddlebags all were here in multiples if not small groups, heading south, by late in the month. Amongst the dozen sps. of damselflies were lots of Stream and a few Orange Bluet, Citrine Forktail, Orange-striped Threadtail, Springwater and Powdered Dancer, nothing rare. Not counted in local total above were a half-dozen different things I saw in Uvalde, best being a male Pin-tailed Pondhawk.

Birds were mostly just the breeders and lots of babies, which is great to see. Many things seemed to get second and third sets out. Surely the wet spring was a boon. There were flowers and bugs. Some things are still going at it. Others like Black-and-white and Golden-cheeked Warbler are done and all but gone from the area for the season. The first two long-distance migrants showed up the last few days of the month, a Peregrine Falcon on the 28th, and a Rufous Hummingbird on the 31st. Fall migration begins in July. A Belted Kingfisher on the 17th is my earliest ever fall return. Best bird locally was a Roseate Spoonbill on July 7 about 4-5 mi. SSW of town, seen (ph.) by Leslie Calvert at her pond.

I saw about 89 species locally over the month, all but two were breeders. A few to several more are around, I am not pounding the bushes, but a working stiff. Saw another dozen or so brush country species in a couple hours Sabinal to Uvalde area.

~ ~ ~ end July summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~

July 31 ~ Wow last day of the month, another blasts past. About 71.5dF for a low, not much for low stratus to keep it at bay. And so we enter the dog days of summer. Heard a Gnatcatcher go through early morning, and another late. Mid-morn a small group of Orchard Oriole went through, late evening a few more. Just after 10 a.m. I had an adult male RUFOUS Hummingbird at the front porch feeder. Got pix, it has a little green flecking on upper back, which is OK for them. Nothing like a nice long-distance migrant for a great sign of fall. There are less than a hundred Black-chinned here now. We are under a quart per day consumption, for a few days now. Male Indigo Bunting still hitting patio millet. Saw another Eyed Elaterid. Saw two Firefly at dusk.

July 30 ~ About 74dF for a low, and some low Gulf stratus kept the sun at bay a few hours. Got up to about 94 or so though. About five more weeks of this in store now. Birds were the regulars. Still singing (and nesting) on territory are Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler, Cardinal, Carolina and Bewick's Wren, White-eyed Vireo, Chipping and Lark Sparrow. Painted Bunting ad. ma. barely sang today. An imm. male Yellow-throated Warbler from this year was trying to sing a bit. Can't be but 2-3 months old. Heard the Nighthawk boom at dusk. No Fireflies. I see a Snow-on-the-Mountain with flowers open in the yard. We have about a half-dozen pop up ever year which I weed-whack around just to have a few. Have seen a few good butterflies on them.

July 29 ~ No Gulf flow and low clouds, a sunny start today with easterly winds. Low was 73dF. The south breeze got here mid-day, but no low stratus. Hot and sunny. Counted 8 greenies (imm. or female Painted Bunting) on the patio at once. There are likely well over a dozen around. A few adult male were present at the same time. It was all the usual regular gang and nothing new or different. Which won't last, August and September are two of the biggest movement months here, and though diversity is low without waterbirds, turnover is high. The Black-chinned Hummers have really thinned out already. I wonder where they go? The Brown-headed Cowbirds are mostly gone now too, finally, departing over the last week.

July 28 ~ Did not cool down last night, the balmy Gulf flow is back. Was 74dF this a.m. But the clouds stuck until 11 a.m. or so, at least up at Lost Maples, keeping the morning cooler a few hours. We even had some mist around Vanderpool. We were up before 6, which is before the birds nowadays. Dawn chorus is over. A few things singing early, but not anything you can call a chorus. It is fading fast. We left for Lost Maples just before 8.

On 360 east of the river along the pastures where a couple small mesquite we had a family group of Orchard Oriole, adult pair with three young. At one point the three begging juvies were on the fenceline shoulder to shoulder, luckily autofocus selected a tree way behind them. !*(#^%^%! Got over it pretty quickly when right before we hit 187, I said 'what is that?' to Kathy as I grabbed bins. It was big pale adult female PEREGRINE FALCON which blasted past quickly. Great early fall migrant date. That is surely a long distance migrant, our first for sure this fall. Save a June Long-billed Curlew, which I would call a short-distance migrant. So before we hit the highway we had ad.ma. Orchard Oriole feeding young and a Peregrine, and I knew it was going to be downhill from there as I pulled out on the highway first thing in the morning...  I marshalled onward anyway of course, as the eternal optomist does. Ahead was my last chance to see one more Golden-cheeked Warbler until next March.

In town across from the post office on the usual powerline, there were 20 or so Cave Swallow sunning just after 8 a.m. Just a bunch of Blackbuck on the way up 187, and lots of baby Lark Sparrow. The usual couple Inca Dove at Lost Maples HQ. On the drive into Lost Maples between HQ and the trailhead parking I heard an Olive Sparrow. The trailhead feeding station had one White-tipped Dove first thing, besides 10 White-winged. A couple just-fledged begging juvenile Painted Bunting were nearby and so surely they nested in the park this year. They don't always.

We did the usual walk up Can Creek a mile past the ponds to the highwater spring. What a great walk. We made it to the pond at 10 a.m. and were only ones there, plus there was still overcast. No insects on way up as it was too cool. As it gets to the later part of summer it is always very interesting to see what is still there and what is gone. Black-n-white Warblers are gone already for instance, we did not see one. Did not hear a Yellow-throated Vireo, though our yard breeder is still here singing today. Only heard one Yellow-throated Warbler call, no singing. Only heard one begging juvenile Acadian Flycatcher. No Ash-throated Flycatcher, and no Scrub-Jay.

Great is seeing some things feeding young still, which for most is likely third broods at this point. Besides the Painted Buntings, and Chipping Sparrow of course, we saw begging and being fed juvenile Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Summer Tanager. We saw one juvenile female Golden-cheeked Warbler just below the highwater spring, right over the trail. It never made a sound, got one poor pic. Love getting a later date for them, and a thrill to see one, one more time this year. I only have a couple August sightings, both near Utopia. I had a couple birds fly into a tree I thought were warblers, and maybe Golden-cheeks, but they shot off before I could binoc them.

Heard at least three maybe four White-tipped Dove along the trail. Heard a handful of Canyon Wren, one Rufous-cronwed Sparrow, one Black-capped Vireo distantly, one Hutton's Vireo, still fair numbers of Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo, lots of Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Wren, a few Chickadee, a handful of Louisiana Waterthrush still there, but none seen well enough to age. Got to hear that husky grating zzeet flight note a couple times. Still some Indigo Buntings seemingly going, and heard begging young a couple times. Heard a few Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Did not see or hear Blue Grosbeak, ours here at the hovelita are still underway. No hawks but one Red-tailed, no Orioles, no Raven, and no Green Kingfisher.

Odes (dragonflies) were nowhere near as abundant as in late June. Must be in a lull between flights. A couple American Rubyspot, a few Springwater Dancer, a Violet and some Dusky Dancer, some Green Darner, a few Black, and a Red, Saddlebags, but it was weak. No Flame, Neon, Commanche or Widow Skimmer, no Prince or Dot-winged Baskettail. And so it went.

Flowers are also in a lull, the late summer and fall stuff is not going yet for the most part, and the spring to early summer stuff is over. Some good Cedar Sage patches still, a few Snapdragon Vine and Green Milkweed Vine still in bloom, one or two Boneset Eupatorium, several Texas Milkweed. Did see the first few Frostweed flowers. Saw a huge old Escarpment Cherry, and a Walnut tree, both lost in the last month. Way over hundred year old trees. Bigguns. Both with crops on them. We just keep losing the major canopy trees. A real bummer when they are fruit or nut producers, key wildlife forage. The Cherry crop overall is sorta stunted this year, they mostly still look like big Hackberries, the Persimmon crop looks OK to good though.

Butterflies were kinda weak with the flowers. Three Spicebush Swallowtail, and about the same number of Bronze Roadside-Skipper were highlights. A few Celia's Roadside to boot. Three Eastern Tiger and one Two-tailed Swallowtail, a few Cloudless Sulphur and Sleepy Orange, one Dun Skipper, some Variegated and Gulf Frits, one Buckeye. No Arizona Sister or Red-spotted Purple. One Six-lined Racerunner lizard was it for reptiles, heard a few lizards get away in the leaf litter, usually Four-lined Skinks. A few Leopard and (Blanchard's) Cricket- Frogs were seen. We were done about 1 p.m., did four miles of trail but the way I zigzag back and forth for every bug, double back for heard birds, etc., it takes me 5 miles to go 4.

We went for a swim here in late afternoon to cool the hike off. Saw a Five-striped Leaftail dragonfly over the water but that was about it of interest. Lots of Texas Shiner minnows. No Firefly at dusk. There should be a fall flight which should start fairly soon. The spring to early summer flight lasted longer than usual, the last few in last week of July. The individual numbers peak however was not as good as last year.

July 27 ~ One last cool low at 65dF here before we get back to the standard summer 70's for lows. What a treat! Did more yard work early since cooler. Had to pick hit the P.O. in town, and Big Ern was finally there with his Bar-B-Q. The fact that the all of the pork ribs even make it home, whilst I am tortured smelling them, is a miracle, not to mention a testament to incredible dicipline. The chicken is not under threat like those pork ribs. Park was packed with people, nothing in a quick check of the woods but heard Common Grackle.

So checked the golf course pond by the Waresville Cemetery. One Common Grackle was there in the reeds with the Red-winged Blackbirds that nest there. No Martins around the house, which needs repairs badly. There were about 4 Thornbush Dasher dragonfly, my first up here (saw at Uvalde 10 days ago) in the hills this year. A dozen Green Darner was my first gang of them. Some Red, and Black, Saddlebags were in tandem and ovipositing. Saw a big female Eyed Elaterid flying around the yard. No Firefly at dark.

rufoushummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird, adult male, July 31. The iridescent gorget
feathers in throat usually appear an orangish red, but at some
light angles they can appear gold or green.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 26 ~ Another record low, we had 60dF here, and dry, what an event. KRVL was mostly 59. Three days with high temps at least 5-8 dF below normal due to a cold front. Lows 10-15 dF below normal. Two days of record lows, yesterday and today. What an event in late July. At the same time Paris, France recorded its highest temperature ever at about 110dF! London had 99.9, their second highest ever. The Arctic is record hot, and on fire. One could almost maybe wonder if the climate is changing?

Heard a Gnatcatcher early first thing. The rest seemed the regulars. What little I could look. Town run fer shtuff. I saw a Spot-winged Glider (ode) over the driveway when I left. At the park, still Martins overhead, best were a couple odes, damselflies in this case. A male Citrine Forktail was the first one I have seen this year, and several Orange-striped Threadtail were flying. Little Creek Larry said he had the Green Heron there early in the morning. Late afternoon here I heard the Field Sparrow singing. Saw a Mournful Duskywing come in to the water puddles here. About 7 p.m. saw a female Painted Bunting with a couple new just fledged young in one of the Mexican Hat patches I have left. I think these are from the alpha male that nests in the thicket right across road from gate.

Shortly before dusk I heard an odd cheeping from the grass in the front yard. Spotted a Bewick's Wren fledgling that was out of the nest too soon. It was not flight capable yet. Then looking around over where nest was in broken off branch stub, I hear the two parents over in the corral, with a baby. So as often the older ready-to-go young does the bolt, and others not ready try to, to follow parents and other young. It was as if they forgot about it. I grabbed it and put it in the brush pile under the nest branch. Finally the parents heard it and came back over. They spent 5 minutes trying to get it to fly up into the lowest pecan branches just a couple feet off the ground. But it is not flight ready. Hope it makes the night in the brush pile. Saw one Firefly.

Rantlet warning. I forgot to mention since I saw it a couple weeks ago, but today I did not even bother checking the butterfly garden at the library. It is so over-butchered, again, I can't believe it. Hardly any flowers there. By now this garden should be self-sustaining. The biggest reason more new plants keep having to be bought is OVER-cutting. It is a bad idea to have the people that bill new plants out, manage the cutting. In this case it seems obvious to me watching it for over a decade the people cutting are not horticulturists (one would never do that to a Thoroughwort Eupatorium), but just need a big pile of cuttings to show for the hours and billing. When you over-cut a flowering shrub 5 or 10 years in a row, it will die at some point along the way. As many there have that I watched. This is what is often happening. End of rantlet.

July 25 ~ A record low of 57dF here, I saw a 55 at Kerrville! I heard of reports of 52dF at Rocksprings! Incredible. I think Austin had a record low as well. Probably the first time I have seen the 50's dF in July in the last 16 of them here. Did some yard work early while cooler out. Heard the Bell's and Red-eyed Vireos singing, still trolling. A couple more Orchard Oriole first thing early. That makes 10 between late yesterday and early today. It's fall migrants. Eastern Bluebirds might be going a third time in their box. They have been around the box, even hanging at entrance.

The one still going good patch of Frog-fruit along the driveway is the best yard butterfly draw now. One check noonish and I saw Phaon Crescent, 2 Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, a Desert Checkered-Skipper, Fiery and Dun Skipper, a Sachem and a Reakirt's blue. A couple Celia's Roadside-Skipper still around the porch, as are a couple Dusky-blue Groundstreak mostly on the Turk's Cap. Which is also very eaten. Got another Blue Mist Eup cat (218) today, after a few days of not seeing any, but something is still skeletalizing the leaves.

Best bugs of the day though were a couple dragonflies, that surely came in because of spraying some water around. First around 11 a.m. there was a male Widow Skimmer hunting from a short dead Mesquite snag. Great to see in the yard. Better was a GREAT SPREADWING, which is new for the yard. We saw one in April or May at Lost Maples, so this is the second one this year, and in many years, they have been absent since the drought set in. I got an ID shot overhead when it hung up in the pecan but I lost it when it moved. Saw one of the big metallic green Peach or Fig Scarabs. Only saw one Firefly at dusk, heck I saw more Armadillo (2).

July 24 ~ A great low of 64.5dF was a thrill. Dry too. Feels like Utopia. Birdsong is really getting dialed back out there now though. Even the stuff that is still breeding is not singing as much. A Dickcissel went through the yard in the morning, which could be a migrant though maybe more likely a local disperser. One Gnatcatcher in the a.m., another at last sun. Chats much quieter today. Not sure we hit 90dF at peak heat, and did I mention it was dry. What a break.

In butterflies, great was a White-striped Longtail that came into water on the patio. Also had Orange Skipperling and Phaon Crescent, a couple Dusky-blue Groundstreak, several Julia's Skipper, a few Queens hitting the two BlueMistEup stalks with flowers, some Lysides going by, one Cloudless Sulphur, a Buckeye, amongst the more common stuff. Saw a small Praying Mantis on the BlueMistEup. Wish it would take out all of whatever is destroying it. Have seen a couple tiny baby lizards, maybe 2.5" total including tail length, of both Anole and Eastern Fence Lizard.

Nearing last sun in the treetops, a group of 4-5 Orchard Orioles worked the big Pecan and big Hackberry before moving uphill, following that 'last sun in the treetops' they love. I went out in the driveway and another group of four Orchard Oriole followed them uphill after working the blooming Mesquites across the road and the pecans. It was at least 8, which means migrants if you ask me. Saw a couple Caracara go by, a couple Chimney Swift were feeding over the river habitat corridor at last sun.

The sundown song session was noticeably quieter today. Much of what is still nesting has been singing a good session or two nearing last sun. Not all at once like dawn chorus, more spread out, seemingly almost taking turns, each species has a time before last sun when they have one last bout of song for the day. It is like a birdsong jukebox to me. Tonight not very many records played. Didn't even hear the Summer Tanager. I saw the main alphamale Painted Bunting fly straight from the millet feeder across yard and road 160' and shoot right into the hole in the wall of bushes he uses to enter nest area, so he is still feeding young.

July 23 ~ The front is passing this morning, no cold air yet, 73dF, but northerly flow. So far the little bit of rain missed us though I can feel the air drying out. Northerlies from a cold front in July is mind-boggling. Heard a Gnatcatcher first thing. Otherwise the usual gang. Saw a Northern (Common) Mestra out back when tossing seed.

Had to go to town in the afternoon and leave car at the shop an hour and a half so walked to the park. Saw Little Creek Larry, he said he had a Downy Woodpecker at the park this morning. I had two items of intereset, my FOY Powdered Dancer damselfly, a nice pale male, pretty neat looking beast. Was below spillway on sand at edge of water. A few butterflies were there, Common and Desert Checkered-Skipper, the Desert new for the month. Best was a Mournful Duskywing puddling at point blank, since I didn't have camera. This neat trick always works. Seems like every patch of bushes I drove by has calling young Painted Buntings now. Saw a Texas Powdered-Skipper on Junior's Yellow Lantana in town. Heard the Nighthawk boom once at dusk. Barred Owl calling over at river after dark.

July 22 ~ Low of 73dF, not much for morning clouds. It is said to be the last very hot (above avg. mid-90's) day of this heat spell. A cold front is still being advertised to arrive tonight. A cold front at beginning of the last third of July. Perfectly normal isn't it? No worries, the Arctic is record hot. Nothing to see here, move along.

A couple Gnatcatcher went through over the day. Southbound. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo singing over in the corral, a Bell's singing in the Mesquites out front, a Hutton's Vireo called from up in the big Pecan and Hackberry out front. The White-eyed and Yellow-throated were both singing. Another five species of vireo from the yard morning in vireotopia. The Indigo Bunting is still singing but without the vigor of a week or two ago. Just giving a short-song now, the first half maybe of the normal full series. Chat and Blue Grosbeaks still going strong but in bursts with longer breaks.

Later morning a male Orchard Oriole went through yard moving south. Which could be a local post-breeding dispersant, but it could also be a fall migrant from further afield. We are at that time when we start seeing the first fall migrants from elsewhere. Common Nighthawk went over at last sun. Maybe 3 or 4 Firefly was it for them.

July 21 ~ A 70dF low felt great. The low Gulf stratus didn't get here until 8:30 and only lasted a couple hours. Gonna be a scorcher. Supposed to be a cold front on the way tomorrow evening or so. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo and the Indigo Bunting both singing still. Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler are both still singing, but the White-eyed Vireo is barely going, maybe between nest cycles? Did some yard work early when the clouds were here and still in 70's.

A couple Gnatcatcher went through yard. The rest was the regular gang. We went for a peak heat swim to beat it. Saw one of those ugly Grass Carp. Some Clammyweed is now in bloom, what a fancy flower! The first couple Maxmillian Sunflower also were open. Maybe it was the heat, but way less birdsong over there than there has been. I was mostly there for the 75dF water anyway. Late afternoon single Red-tailed, and Zone-tailed Hawk, flew over the yard. Right before dusk a Field Sparrow flew over calling, seemed it came out of the shorter pecans out front.

July 20 ~ a 73dF low, and low clouds for a few hours of the morning. Went to town briefly late morn. Heard the Eastern Wood-Pewee at the park, a female Common Grackle flew out of the island. Several Orange Bluet damselflies by the island. One Wandering Glider out over the pond. Here at the hovelita in the afternoon I saw a small accipiter which this time of the year had to have been a tiny male Cooper's Hawk. Man it was small. Three Turkey over in the corral as usual lately. Only a handful of Firefly at dusk. No Chuck calling for a few days now, since the dusk of the first evening after that last rain.

I keep forgetting to mention some of the imm. male Black-chinned Hummingbirds are getting their first dark gorget feathers. I first saw the first one the first week of July, a couple to few showed it the second week, now several are showing them. The earliest nests are last half of March, so young are out last part of April. So around 60-70 days or so after fledging, the earliest imm. males start showing dark feathers in the throat. Then, any imm. males fledging now will be gone for the season before they get any dark throat feathers. Only a handful of Firefly at dusk. No Chuck-wills-widow calling for a few days now, since the dusk of the first night after the last rain.

bluewingedteal
Blue-winged Teal (male, or drake) at Utopia Park April 7, 2019.
bobwhite
Bobwhite (female or hen), the second before she bursts into the air.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 19 ~ A 73dF low, and some clouds for the morn. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, and the Black-and-white Warbler all sing early, still trolling for mates. An Eastern Wood-Pewee was in the yard early, a transient, looked like a juvenile from the quick look I got. Town run day. At the park there was a female Green Kingfisher at the island, and a couple begging young Common Grackle with an ad. male appearing to feed them. So I guess a pair did nest there this year after all. Still some Purple Martins around. Saw four Viceroy (butterfly) at the park, around the Willows of course. One male Whirlabout (lep) was the only thing on the yellow Lantana at the Sabinal Canyon Museum. Saw a Mestra somewhere. Pulled one BlueMistEup cat, 217 removed now. The two un-eaten stalks both have flowers now. Should be 200 stalks with flower heads. Still trying to save it for a fall bloom. One of the yearling Armadillos has found the birdbath and thinks it is something you roll on your back in, after getting all the dirt off its underside.

July 18 ~ Low of 74dF, low stratus from Gulf kept heat at bay a few hours. Heard the Black-n-white singing early again. Another Gnatcatcher went through yard early. By time I get back up to Lost Maples they will be gone. Too busy Thursdays at the desk so not much chance to see anything but the regulars. Only standout was a brief look at a Tropical Checkered-Skipper, one of which I just saw and photo'd at Cook's Slough in Uvalde a couple days ago. I have only had a couple of them in the yard, and those were in fall when more typical, so, good bug. Had a Wandering Glider dragonfly among about 10 Red Saddlebags.

July 17 ~ Low of 75dF is not very. Gulf clouds got here though so keeping sun at bay a few hours early. Feels like vacation not getting up early and hitting the road. Chat still doing flight song first thing. Amazing was an early a.m. Belted Kingfisher flying high over the river Cypresses southward. Sure glad it called. It is my earliest 'fall' return date. My prior Aug. 1 earliest date is three weeks anomolous. Other earliest return dates are last week of August, often not until September do I see one back. Saw a Common Mestra butterfly, first one in a couple months.

If you look closely you can see the adult males of species primarily red are getting much duller lately. Noticeable on the adult male Painted Bunting, the Cardinals, male Vermilion Flycatcher, and Summer Tanager. They are all dulled up at peak wear, and now many have begun to molt. Heard the Hooded Oriole out there, saw the male Indigo Bunting. Heard a Gnatcatcher go through. Got a pic of a imm. White-eyed Vireo at the bath. Wasn't old enough to know yet that vireos only splash bathe, and though it did that, it also perched at edge of bath a few times long enough for me to grab a shot.

July 16 ~ Got up early as we had to go to Uvalde to do some paperwork. Hummers are at the feeders just before 6:30 a.m. now, right about civil twilight. Around Sabinal there was standing water on the ground from recent rains. Some Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird along the ag fields in that area, last year we saw none. We took Lower Sabinal Rd. to Uvalde. A couple places that were great for birds had huge rows of Hackberries and hedgerows clearcut and removed. Whilst we actually should be planting trees.

Fair numbers of Dickcissel along the roads, they seemed to have a good year, as did Red-winged Blackbird and Lark Sparrow. Heard Cassin's Sparrow singing at a couple spots, Verdin were everywhere, heard an Olive Sparrow, saw one Pyrrhuloxia, a couple Long-billed Thrasher flew across road in front of us, saw a pair of Bobwhite, Mocker numbers are high as usual, saw a couple Red-tailed Hawk, a few Caracara. As you arrive in Uvalde the first thing you see is a bunch of Great-tailed Grackle.

After a couple biz stops we did quick run-throughs at Cook's Slough and the fish hatchery. It was already dripping at 10 a.m. Much still seems to be nesting at both sites, surely due to the spring rains continuing. Orchard Oriole were singing at both sites. Couch's Kingbird at both as well. Three Neotropic Cormorant were at the slough, looked like the same three there in April, two first-summers and a second summer bird. Saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Olive Sparrow, Bank Swallow, among regular stuff at the slough. A Tropical Checkered-Skipper (lep) was nice there, so was a Pin-tailed Pondhawk dragonfly. At the hatchery there were a few adult Common Gallinule and at least 4 older juveniles, so they nested successfully. A pair of Coot there had no young, they usually depart for the summer.

Perhaps most interesting was at Cook's Slough, hearing the cicada that sounds like a jet engine idling. The F-14 Cicada. I used to only hear these when I went way down south on the Rio Grande below Falcon Dam along lower part of river. Clearly they too, like many birds, are moving their ranges northward.

Saw a couple Great Egret and one fresh juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Lots of baby Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at the hatchery. Heard were Bell's Vireo and Cactus Wren over in the Mesquites along north border. Lots of dragons flying, a few Thornbush Dasher and one Forceptail that looked like a Broad-striped. Did not have time to work the place, just a quick hit-and-run-through. At the city park on Hwy. 90 there were a couple Carmine Skimmers besides the Roseate, and some Eastern Amberwing. It got stinkin' hot fast down there, and of course the places with the action, the slough and hatchery, have humidity that makes saunas envious. Still no Bare-throated Tiger-Heron though.

By time we were driving the hour home it was over 95dF down there, and about 90 here, maybe 88 on the shady front porch, when we got back. About 5dF, and you can feel the difference. One BlueMistEup cat pulled this a.m., at 216 and counting. A Common Nighthawk flew over just before dusk. A male Blue Grosbeak gave some nice flight song at dusk. Male Indigo Bunting still out there on patio.

July 15 ~ Stayed at the 73dF the rain last night dropped us to, all night. A very humid 73. Sure great to have that Black-and-white Warbler singing out there first thing every morning. This is the second time we have had a first summer male go territorial here. In both cases the daily bird bath usage seems a major factor. No doubt without the water source there would be many fewer birds around the yard. I suspect several dozens of individual birds use it daily.

Great was a (Southern) Pearl Crescent (butterfly) sunning early in the morning on the (finished blooming) Am. Germander. Have not seen one in a few months. A Clouded Skipper stopped briefly, and got a pic of a Celia's Roadside-Skipper. There is one stalk of BlueMistEup that the cats missed which is a foot taller than all the shredded rest, and now has an open bloom atop it, with a Queen on it of course. There would be 20 sq.ft. of that if it were not for these cats from hades.

July 14 ~ The 69.8dF low felt great but didn't last. Yard was the same gang. Can't wait until the Cowbirds leave, should be soon. Barely a half-gallon per day of sugar water usage now so a couple hundred plus birds around, still all Black-chinned here so far. Rufous will show up shortly, but would prefer something fancier. Got hot, nearing a hun in the sun, 92dF on the cool shady front porch so we took a peak-heat swim to reset body core temperatures. Did not see anything but the expected suspects at river. One Dolomedes sps. fishing spider was on a lily pad 6' from shore. It walked there. Here at the hovelita in leps saw Hackberry Emperor, Goatweed Leafwing, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, and Celia's Roadside-Skipper, among the more common stuff.

From about 10 to 11 p.m. we had a rain cell blow up out of nowhere just north of and over town and very slowly moved south, dropping an INCH of rain! And the temp to 73dF. A sister cell went down the Frio where Garner and Concan got some. Puts us a hair over 2" for the month. We had 10" in May and June together, so at a foot in the last 11 weeks. We could be parched and instead are good and green with lots of flowers showing well. Yet for over a week now, not even half-grown pecans are being shed like gangbusters from the big native tree in particular, green a half-inch to an inch long. The tree is giving up on them for this season, which I do not understand with plenty of rain.

July 13 ~ An amazing 66dF low was fantastic. The NE flow continues from the back side of Barry in Louisiana. Kerrville had a 64 and 65dF briefly! Two BlueMistEup cats pulled, 215 and counting. Heard the Field Sparrow sing, which I haven't for a while, maybe they will nest again too. One good bird today was maybe my first landbird fall migrant, an Orchard Oriole. Sure it could be a local disperser, but it could be from further away too, especially with the NE flow we have had.

Best two birds were bugs, late in the day on the big pecan (native - not a graft) right off front porch. First I spotted a something zipping around which when landed and seen closer was a Neoclytus sps. Longhorn (Cerambycid) Beetle. One of my favorite genera of Longhorns, ran for camera and got a couple shots before it flew off. Which was like a rocket. It went the first 60' faster than a hummingbird departs the feeder. A second or two. Most impressive. Then within a minute in the same area of the tree I spotted one of the metallic gold Dicerca sps. Buprestid Beetles. It was beetle heaven. Auto focus could not grab the Dicerca though, only got one poor shot before it bolted, also like a rocket. Was a miracle I happened to be sitting in the dang chair on the porch smoking my pipe like an old man, watching the bark grow on the tree, and two spectacular beetles should crawl out of it before me. How much we must walk by.

~ ~ ~ early July daily yard and vicinity breeders ~ ~ ~

For birds here is what has been around the yard daily the first third of July, virtually all still breeding, or at least singing on territory in the yard or immediate adjacent vicinity. The daily yard birds are: Summer Tanager, Painted and an unmated trolling Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-throated and an unmated trolling Black-and-white Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Lesser Goldfinch, Lark and Chipping Sparrow, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Carolina and Bewick's Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, No. Cardinal, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, Vermilion, Ash-throated, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (see or hear daily), Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo, Wild Turkey, Common Ground-Dove, Eur. Collared-Dove, Mourning and White-winged Dove, Black and Turkey Vulture. Chuck-wills-widow and Common Nighthawk have been regular. Purple Martin and Barn Swallow have been daily overhead, Chimney Swift weekly or so as is N. Rough-winged Swallow. Black-chinned Hummingbird are ridiculously abundant. House Finch nearly so. Brown-headed and Bronzed Cowbird are also unfortunately daily. Have seen a few young, but all dispersants, none begging or being attended by our local birds. Almost daily is an unmated trolling Red-eyed Vireo, and the last week a Bell's Vireo.

Seen every few days are Zone-tailed and Cooper's Hawk. Recently departed due to fledging young so were present daily all June but not now are Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Red-tailed Hawk. Every few days I hear Barred, Great Horned Owl, and once a week lately Eastern Screech-Owl. Once or twice a week I see Caracara go by, they nest nearby. Roadrunner a couple times in last week. Red-shouldered Hawk weekly. That makes about 54 species breeding in the adjacent vicinity. For which the yard is within their territory. Hutton's and Black-capped Vireo nest very nearby, as does Rufous-crowned Sparrow but all are out of daily earshot.

Some strays the last week were Olive Sparrow and Canyon Towhee. Not to mention the Spoonbill a couple miles SW of me. Daily passing through yard is Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, post-breeding departers, and almost every day a transient Black-and-white goes through, most getting acosted by the trolling 1st summer male on the way. A 1st summer Hooded Oriole has been visiting a feeder occasionally. So about 95% of the daily and weekly list in early July is the same as June, and actually May as well.

~ ~ ~ end early July local breeders note ~ ~ ~

whiteeyedvireo
White-eyed Vireo, a rather messy one, perhaps an immature (iris is gray)
just molting from juvenile into first basic (winter) plumage.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 12 ~ Even better this morn with a 70dF low. The difference between that and 75 feels like a lot more than the 5dF spread. Was dryer due to the weird NE flow. All the birds were the usual. One BlueMistEup cat pulled off, 213 removed now. Heard a Gnatcatcher go through yard early. Town run and park check, nothing different for birds there, one Green King up on island, a Common Grackle in the willows, heard a Green Heron, and an Eastern Tiger Swalllowtail was nice. Best was a Red-spotted Purple which is probably my first for the park butterfly list. Some Martins still calling overhead there, not for long though. Saw two Ceranus Blue butterfly, my first of the year.

Back here at hovelita, heard the Cooper's Hawk calling like it hopes it is going to nest again. I hope not. Probably sees all these juvenile birds here and figures there will be plenty of food. We are covered in juvies. Probably three dozen from a dozen species.

Just after 4:30 we had a miracle, a nice rain shower from a stray rogue cell. Took 10dF off the top in 5 minutes. Rained .85 of an inch in a half-hour. Got down to 72dF about 5:15, Kerrville was reading 92 at the time. I was on the front porch absorbing the cool when a lightning strike hit only about a quarter-mile away. One thousand one, one BOOOOM!

About 5:30 after the rain of course there was a termite hatch happening. Saw for the first time in a while Common Nighthawks overhead. Been wondering why so quiet with them. There were three over the yard whilst a male was booming over the knoll where they nest just NW a half-mile, so four recorded. Over the yard it appeared two juveniles and one ad. female, which one juvie was begging at incessantly. So I'd say they got two young off this year, outstanding.

About 8:30 p.m. as last sun showed, the two adult Yellow-throated Warbler were in the yard with three bob-tailed just-fledged juveniles in tow. So they got another set out, and a good one. I don't know how the adults can find food as when they fly from tree to tree, three clumsy ones crash into the tree around where it landed. There were two nice bucks in the yard, they are in velvet now. The 3 Turkey were over in the corral again. The Chuck-wills-widow was thrilled enough about the rain to give a decent blast at last light. Maybe 10 or so Fireflies still.

July 11 ~ An outflow boundry hit at midnight, mostly a little wind, but cooled it a few dF and a tracelet of big drops fell, noisy but we missed the rain. Made for a nice 71dF low though, what a difference a few degrees makes. Saw a male Blue Grosbeak with a juvie in one of the patches of Mexican Hat I left to grow in the front yard. Starting to look a bit ratty now since post peak bloom, but the Painted Buntings also love them, taking their young to them first thing out of the nest as well. Heard the Black-n-white singing early, later photo'd one in the bath. But which I think was a female. In the afternoon we actually had north to northeast winds! Methinks unusual for the date. It is from the back side of the rotation from the low in the gulf just off Louisiana, not a front. Two BlueMistEup cats, 212 removed now. Hope I can save some of the patch. Saw a juvenile Golden-fronted Woodpecker.

July 10 ~ A 75dF low, and another hot day. No morning low stratus from the Gulf, so a cooker in the works. It was 89 at noon, so 10dF hotter than when the morning low clouds. I saw 95dF on the cool shady front porch. Had to be a hun in the sun. If your shoes come untied you will be dripping by time you get back up from retying. A cloud sheild from some rain to the northwest took 5dF off our temps before 6 p.m. so we had 90, while Kerrville was reading 97 with a heat index of 106.

The bird of the day was a bug again. I had to run to town early. Great to be the only one in the park again. Heard the Eastern Wood-Pewee, they must be nesting again this year. Best was when I grabbed the gas pump I saw something on the hose. Which turned out to be a live female DOBSONFLY! Awesome beast. What jaws! Probably an Eastern Dobsonfly (Corydalus cornutus), but there are some similar types. Got some shots, though I hated the background and substrate, a gas pump hose (one below). I pumped my gas and left it there. Not the first time I found a good bug I had to stop and shoot at the gas station here. If I lived in town I would check it every morning early first light. I bet it is great for bugs. Pro tip: going around at night checking people's lights is a real good way to meet your local law enforcement folk.

As a youth, when in the desert southwest, there was nothing like a gas station out in the middle of nowhere at midnight for bugs. It was like candyland, a budding entomologists' smorgasbord. Bug city. In those days people actually might not call the cops cause some people with nets were running around at night under the lights. So if you see a little black Mazda pickup down there late at night, and spot a middle-aged, white, male, balding, slightly overweight dude, bent over looking at the ground, perhaps with net or camera, it could be me. No need to call the law, or funny farm. I'm already here.

July 9 ~ Another 75-94dF day. Clouds kept it bearable for the morning and held some heat back in the afternoon. Heard the Red-eyed vireo and Indigo Bunting singing, and the Black-and-white Warbler. I think all three are unmated trollers. Heard a Great Crested Flycacher uphill out back. Have not heard a Cuckoo in a week, they leave the nesting territory as soon as the young is or are out of the nest a week or so. Here I virtually always only see one fledged young.

Bird bath is having traffic jams it is so hot. Too many baby Cardinals, lots of juv. House Finch and Lesser Goldfinch. The Black-n-white was there, an imm. Yellow-throated Vireo splash-bathed for a bit, the Chats brought their young over and showed them what it was about. Later saw the Black-n-white chase another one away. No cats pulled off the BlueMistEup today, 210 and holding.

July 8 ~ A 75dF low is balmy. Probably got to 95 in the sun. Hot and sticky. Nuthin' sweet about it. Heard the Bell's and Red-eyed Vireo singing out there still, as was the Indigo Bunting. The rest were the breeders. Bird bath action is heavy in the heat. It is an avian parade. Kathy saw an imm. Chat and the Black-n-white Warbler at it between everything else visiting. There was a Canyon Towhee in it for a bath, maybe the one that was here a week ago or so. Chickadees have a new set of a couple young just fledged.

Outstanding was hearing from Leslie Calvert that she had a Roseate Spoonbill at her pond yesterday the 7th! She got an ID shot, it was a pale imm. as seemingly all of our few records are. This is 4-5 mi. SSW of town out the west end of UvCo 361, but nowhere the public can view. We have 4 prior records, 3 are of two together, and all of those three in the last 5 years. Thanks for the great news Leslie! From July on is the time to get coastal waders moving inland, especially the young of the year.

Found a big green caterpillar near the base of the big pecan, on the trunk a foot off the ground. It was weirdly convulsing a bit. I thought it was going to pupate maybe. Next morning was on the ground still pulsing. I think it fell out of the tree and has a parasite inside it that is nearing emerging. Many wasps parasitize caterpillars. I put it in a container to watch what happens. Suprised a bird didn't pick it off, or something overnight.

July 7 ~ Low of 74dF, a little off and on morning low stratus from the Gulf. Saw the Black-n-white at the bath, then heard it sing later, the same 1st summer male. Great was just before 10 a.m., an Olive Sparrow sang a few times from a pecan in the front yard! Hope it had found the seed. Not enough understory for one to stick here. Once one lasted a few days. Nice bird to hear in the yard though, especially considering last weekend we walked 4 miles at Lost Maples and didn't see or hear one. Today is the day most of the weekend warriors evacuate the area. Never did understand people leaving the city to go blare music in the country.

We went for a late afternoon swim over in the river. Saw a couple good bugs. Great was a Black Witch, the 5" plus across all dark brown moth that invades Texas annually in late summer. We do not get them every year here, I have not seen one in 5 years or so. It landed under some Cypress roots and we got a close look. But I didn't take my camera upriver this time (have to waterproof it) so no photos. Just as good was a Dragonhunter dragonfly, also the first I have seen in about 5 years. Best look I ever had, got 2' from it perched, since I had no camera on me. This neat trick always works.

Saw three of the big Dolomedes (Fishing) spiders, two were together touching a couple legs, one of them had an egg sac, so likely a pair. Must have been a thousand Texas Shiner minnow. One foot-long Guadalupe Bass was nice, saw a 2-inch young one too, lots of Longear Sunfish. The damselflies were the half-dozen expected types. Same for the birds, the dozen riverside regulars. Great to beat the heat though, was 90dF on the cool shady front porch when we left, likely mid-90's in the sun. Saw one Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flying downriver, and on a Buttonbush a Texas Powdered-Skipper.

There was a Roadrunner in the back yard hunting birds where we toss seed. It ran after a White-winged Dove! The dove saw it coming and flushed, as did all the small stuff. Everything was alarming when it arrived on the scene. They really go after just-fledged birds that habituate the ground. Here that means mostly Painted Bunting, House Finch, and Lark Sparrow. None trust a Roadrunner.

July 6 ~ Low of 73dF, sunny at first, the Gulf clouds did not arrive until after 9 a.m., then cloudy until noonish. Hot sticky afternoon. Heard Gnatcatcher go through early, heard the Black-n-white Warbler singing. Best was hearing FIVE species of vireo, the Bell's is still around, a Hutton's was right out back in the live-oaks upslope, the Red-eyed still trolling about, while the breeding Yellow-throated and White-eyed continue singing. I should run over to the Black-capped spot less than a mile away.

The Tawny Emperor was back around the back porch, photo of it on the screen door. Bunch of Julia's Skipper in the grass out front. Heard some Martins, they will gone soon. Saw a photo in ebird of a Yellow Warbler at Cook's Slough in Uvalde from the last few days. This is a month earlier than my earliest (Aug. 2 - twice) so I can't help but wonder if it is a post-breeding wanderer from breeding populations in the southwest U.S. rather than a migrant from the north. Great record.

dobsonfly
Dobsonfly, female, on the fuel line at the gas station. Yes
they can draw blood. Larvae are aquatic, called Hellgrammites.
Wingspan is over 5 inches! This is probably Eastern Dobsonfly.
The obligitory bird photo, another head shot...
paintedbunting
You looking for a bird photo here?
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 5 ~ Low of 75dF, maybe mid-90's in the afternoon sun. Hot and sticky, welcome to summer here. Five more cats pulled off the BlueMistEup, now 205 removed. Another Gnatcatcher went through in the morning, they will be daily all month. Nice to hear all the dawn singing still going, means stuff is nesting again. Just heard a couple calls from the Great Crested Flycatcher. I saw a female Black-chinned Hummer gathering thistle down, so they are still going at it! Town is a zoo of hominids, especially the park. On the way to town, just east of the 360 crossing I had a Tawny Emperor (butterfly). Then later in afternoon had a second one here at the house. Later afternoon I had a fly-bye of a Swallowtail that looked like a Polydamus, but it kept going after only briefly loitering.

What looked a different Viceroy from a week ago was at the park. I saw a 12', 2.5" diameter young Mulberry tree on the trail in the woods broken off near the base! Some citiot came to the country and killed a tree I have been admiring for 15 years! I am sure they feel real manly now. We barely have any young regeneration going on with the Mulberries, and this is what happens when it meets the average citiot. I heard from Marsha Jo one of the just-fledged baby Red-shouldered Hawks that has been at the park thrilling many was found dead a day or two ago. I would guess a human-related incident. Probably the guy that killed the Mulberry.   ;)   Heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee, they might be nesting there again this year. The Common Grackles did not nest there this year, though there are some as usual by Feller's place at the Waresville turnoff, and some are behind the storage spaces by that retention pond.

July 4 ~ Happy Independence Day! It is a hominid zoo locally due to the tremendous firework show at the park at dark every year. Highest hominid population day of the year here. So we lay low glad to be hidden on a fairly unused dirt county road. Would like to photo the fireworks, but the crowd so big now you can't just show up at showtime and have a great angle nowadays. It is crazy. The roads out of town sound like LA Freeways about 10 to 11 p.m. when it is over.

Low about 71dF, and was only 82 at 1 p.m. Did some overdue yard work. Eight more BlueMistEup cats pulled, makes 200! Heard a Bell's Vireo singing at the far front corner of yard. The Red-eyed is still trolling around. Yellow-throated still breeding and so singing lots, White-eyed must be between rounds, only barely singing now. So four vireos in the yard today, where is that Hutton's now? Heard Gnatcatcher go through. The same three Turkey were over in the corral. Saw another Streaky Skipper, second one in a week, was not the one a half-mile down the road a few days ago. Chuck gave a little bit of dusk calling, a minute maybe, at half speed and enthusiasm of usual.

July 3 ~ A 72dF low, and some mist so stayed cooler for the a.m. We have skated on a lot of heat so far this spring and summer. Red-eyed Vireo and Indigo Bunting still singing. Heard the Cuckoo and Scissor-tail, and all the regulars of the season. Had two Black-n-white Warblers at once, briefly interacting, one singing was the 1st summer male that has been around, the other a female or juvenile. Heard the Bluebirds early but they have not gotten a third round underway yet. White-eyed Vireo must be between rounds as well, fairly quiet right now for them. A couple Gnatcatcher went through yard over the day. Not hearing the Great Crested Flycatcher much, they probably got young out and are deciding whether or not to do it again. Only two BlueMistEup cats today, 192 pulled now. Saw another Eyed Elaterid flying around. Chuck gave a little about 10 p.m. after skipping the normal 'first dark' blast.

July 2 ~ About 71 for a low, and some light traces of mist kept it cool for the a.m. Only 3 caterpillars pulled off the Blue Mist eupatorium, maybe I am finally getting ahead of them, 190 now. Red-eyed Vireo still singing, Indigo Bunting as well. Blue Grosbeak still on patio occasionally, mostly sneaks around under cover out back. Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler both still singing through yard. Kathy spotted a Black-n-white coming in to the bath, I got a couple shots maybe. Gnatcatcher went through yard.

Bird of the day was a butterfly, a Common Sootywing. Which is new for the yard. Went and looked, #92 in yard! They are common at say Cook's Slough in the brush country at Uvalde, but I have only seen a very few up here in the hills, and none in several years. I photo'd one once over a decade ago at Utopia on the River a mile downriver. By time I got back out with camera it was gone. Was on Zexmenia out back.

Found a dead male Black Widow in the trucklet. Got some pix, males are pretty fancy looking. Nice to know they can get inside somehow. Can't leave the windows cracked a little bit I guess. It probably got in sometime I had them open, and then got cooked when closed and it got hot inside the cab. Glad I didn't spot it crawling on me whilst driving!

Three Turkey were in the corral, two bearded Toms and a hen or young tom. The first summer male Hooded Oriole was at the hummer feeder again. The closest-by Chuck-wills-widow did not do the usual dusk calling session. He is out of steam. A week early. Usually they call for three months, April 7-10 to July 7-10. There will be a little sputtering yet, and begging young, but the intense is over. Less than a dozen Firefly.

July 1 ~ About 69.5dF for a low is nice. Clouds kept it in 70's until almost noon. Heard a Gnatcatcher out there early, and another after noon, heard the Red-eyed Vireo singing over in corral. Amazing hearing the Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting singing at the same time both up in the big pecan right off the porch. Nine more BlueMistEup cats removed, so 187 for a running total, in case you wonder why it looks ravaged. I see the first flowers opening on our Wooly Ironweed. It has a dozen stalks this year, its third since sprouted from a seed I planted. Was 3 stalks the first year, 6 the second, now a dozen. Lots of begging baby Painted Bunting, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, and Lark Sparrow out there around yard and on patio. Fireflies are fading fast, the flameout is ongoing. Maybe saw a dozen.

~ ~ ~ above is July 1, 2019 and after ~ ~ ~




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Links to all 16 years of archived bird news pages below. Broken into 6 month increments. One day I'll quarter it out by season as well, so all years of each season are together, perhaps making say, searching springs easier.

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


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

Bird News Archive XXXI
January 1, 2019 - June 30, 2019

Bird News Archive XXX
July 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bird News Archive I
Winter 2003-04 Summary Notes
and Mar. 31 - May 30, 2004
Go, look, see, take notes and pictures, boldly nature nerd where no one has before. Few things rival the thrill of discovery. Besides having fun and learning, you will probably see some things people won't believe without photos.  ;)
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Read UP from bottom to go in chronological sequence.
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All Rights Reserved.
© M. and K. Heindel 2004-2017
www.utopianature.com