Bird (and nature) News Archive # 34
July 1 to Dec. 31, 2020
Old Bird News XXXIV

Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
sps. - species
(ph.) = photo obtained
ad.=adult; imm.=immature; ma.=male; fem.=female; juv.=juvenile
odes=Odonata = dragonflies and damselflies; leps=Lepidoptera (butterflies)
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
FOF - First of fall
LTA - Less than Annual
UP - Utopia Park on 1050 just west of 187
UR - Utopia on the River
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia in Uvalde County
 (our yard March 2005 to Mar. 2013)
BanCo - Bandera County
UvCo - Uvalde County
WU = Weather Underground (sometimes local station readings referenced)

Bird News Archives Index

Bird News Archive XXXIV (#34) ~ 2020: July 1 - Dec. 31

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

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!

July through December 2020

Read from bottom up to view in chronological order.

~ ~ ~ July summary ~ ~ ~

It was dry until the last few hours of the month when we got 1.75" of rain finally. Flowers were shot and all but non-existent for most of the month. Frog-fruit was the one thing going well. A comet, NEOWISE, gave a great show mid-to-late-month. Twice this month I saw a Great Plains Skink at the house.

Butterflies were 53 species, so up a few from June and the high monthly total for the year so far. Ornythion Swallowtail was the best rarity seen, in the yard July 3. The only other LTA - less than annual species, was a Laviana White-skipper. Did see a Nysa Roadside-Skipper. Lots of little stuff was on the Frog-fruit, a clear invasion, mostly blues, hairstreaks, skippers, and some crescents. At least a couple Ctenucha moths were seen which have been missed the last several years. Mestra numbers are good with 5 at once on one little Frog-fruit patch.

Odes were 25 species, up a couple from June. But numbers are way down overall, they are hard to find and scarce in general. Best was the continuing male Comet Darner from late June at the golf course pond by the Waresville Cmty. A couple Red-tailed Pennant were around which are barely annual, just a few per year. Only saw a couple Widow Skimmer.

Birds were 82 species that I saw, all locally breeding species. Little Creek Larry had a Spotted Sandpiper late in month which is likely a migrant from elsewhere. A duck sps. that flew over July 3 was something good that isn't supposed to be here. It was not a Wood Duck or Whistling-Duck. Saw Poor-will twice this month which is great. Four juvenile Audubon's Oriole together late in month was great, and more current breeding evidence.

~ ~ ~ end July summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

July. I wouldn't expect a lot here the next month. A continuing male Comet Darner (first was one on 27th of June, two on 28th) at the Waresville golf course pond was seen July 5, 11, and 19. After the dry June lots of breeding birds seem to be winding it down now, and not going another round as in wet June years. Be prepared to melt if out and about after about 11 a.m. or so! There was record breaking heat here July 12, 13, & 14. Most days are mid-90's with higher heat index. A rare here Ornythion Swallowtail was seen July 3. A Great Plains Skink was in the yard July 15 and 17. A very nice comet in mid-July was a totally chaseable stake-out that showed very well. Late July four juvenile Audubon's Oriole together is interesting. The biggest rain in two months was the evening of July 31 (today!), at least 1.5" here. I saw in ebird in late July over toward Uvalde reports of a Gray Flycatcher which is most excellent, and a more expected but scarce Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

~ ~ ~ end update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 31 ~ Low was 75F, with some low gulf stratus for most of morning. But hot in the afternoon. A front is supposed to be inbound later afternoon or early evening. Just after 3 p.m. I saw KRVL in rain at 82F, those lucky bastards, we are bone dry in upper 90's. Water is barely going over the spillway at the park. Not sure how safe it is to swim when the water is stacking up and barely going over, but it doesn't seem to concern the visitors.

Another small group of Orchard Orio through yard early, which will be a near-daily phenom the next month plus. Like the odd Gnatcatcher or two. Daily. When I was in town on the errand run Kathy had a male Orchard at the bath, plus a Yellow-throated Warbler, and a Red-eyed Vireo was in the tree over it. I have never seen a Red-eye at a bath. They never go to it. Bunch of buntings around, at least 10 or 12, Indigo and Painted.

At the park on the island up in the woods there was a Blue Jay and an Audubon's Oriole. Great combo of birds in the same place and time. One juv. Painted Bunting up in woods. Two Green Heron were around the park pond. One Common Grackle in willows at south end of island looked like a juvenile just starting to molt into first basic (winter) plumage. No odes, whaddup with that?

The front got here, outflow boundry was about 7:15 and 30-35 mph. A bunch of Chimney Swift were on it, trapped for who knows how long. The band of storm cells is over 100 miles wide east to west and has been marching for a about a hundred miles. They were just steering. I presume it is an aerial plankton smorgasbord for them. By 7:30 the rain hit and in an hour we had 1.5" of sweet holy rain! OMG! That is more rain as we have seen in 2 months. The temps went from 92 to 72 in an hour. OMG! And the people danced and sang... But the lightning was bad so we have to unplug everything, hence the tardy update upload. It was a two hour event, still raining as I do this. The Barking Frogs are the only thing thrilled as me about it.

July 30 ~ A low of 71F felt great. The gulf stratus got here shortly after sunup and kept it bearable for the morning. A small group of Orchard Orio went through yard early, and one Gnatcatcher. Another coon climbed the fence and ransacked the tub-pond. I guess you have to wear a mask when you are always sneakin' around screwing other people's stuff up. A thickish mid-level layer of stratus parked over us for the afternoon and kept it cooler than planned, 87F much of afternoon on front porch. Supposed to be getting a weak front washing out in the area tomorrow and Saturday, some rain is predicted. Pray, dance, sing, drum, whatever it is you do for rain, now is the time to do it. Saw two ad. male Black-chinned Hummer still here.

July 29 ~ Low was 70.5F, and felt great. A Flock of at least 4 Orchard Oriole went over early, high and fast, passage migrants on the move. We played hooky at the office here until 2 p.m., going to Lost Maples SNA this morning, finally, for a get out and hike. I am about a dozen trips short for a normal spring and early summer this year. We had been unable to get weekend entry as they are only allowing half normal traffic, and so are booked weeks in advance, before we can tell if we can sneak away for half a day. So we did it during the week. There were very few people and it was great, like the old days. We saw no one once we were past the ponds.

Due to the lack of rain it is very dry, there are hardly any flowers, and very few bugs, including butterflies and odes. Most of the breeding season seems over for the birds. Lots of stuff is gone already. In 5 hours going up to the high-water spring on Can Creek a mile past the ponds (about 4 miles total), we did not see or hear any Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Ash-throated and Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Indigo Bunting or Blue Grosbeak, Chat, White-tipped Dove, Green Kingfisher, or Audubon's Oriole. Lots of stuff is gone already. Feeding stations are closed down and un-serviced.

Only heard two E. Wood-Pewee and two Summer Tanager so those have mostly bugged out. Heard two Hutton's Vireo. Somewhere high up over the parking lot at the trailhead was a begging Zone-tailed Hawk. We saw two Olive Sparrow, and an ad. and juv. Rufous-crowned Sparrow. There were still numbers of Red-eyed (8+) and White-eyed (10+) Vireo, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Heard a few Canyon Wren but did not lay eyes on one, as fairly usual. Heard a few Ladder-backed Woodpecker, saw a few Common Raven, a Red-shouldered Hawk, lots of Titmouse (Black-crested), a few Carolina Chickadee, lots of Carolina Wren, a few Bewick's, good numbers of N. Cardinal, a very few E. Phoebe, some Barn Swallow, Turkey and Black Vulture.

In butterflies there was little. A few Sleepy Orange, a Gulf Fritillary, a Dun Skipper, four E. Tiger Swallowtail (3 dark-form female, and 1 yellow), three Spicebush Swallowtail, a few Snout, it was between dreary and dismal. No Sister or Red-spotted Purple, or Two-tailed Swallowtail, no Amblyscrites (Roadside-skippers), I did not even see a single Pipevine or Queen. The Buttonbush was the main blooming attractor. It had bumblebees on it wherever it was in bloom. Odes were not much better. Best were 4 or more Comanche Skimmer, but no Neon, Flame, or Widow Skimmer. Some E. Pondhawk and Blue Dasher, a Red-tailed Pennant, a Wandering Glider which bolted and left the main big pond heading into orbit, a few Swift Setwing, a Green Darner, and one Leaftail that was likely Five-striped. Seemed really weak for the date. Damsels were a few Kiowa Dancer. Pitiful.

In herps: saw 3 lizards, single Six-lined Racerunner, Four-lined Skink, and Texas Spiny Lizard. No snakes. A few turtles slid away in the ponds, which amazingly were Pond Sliders. Amphibs were one yearling Red-spotted Toad, some Blanchard's Cricket-frog and a Leopard Frog. Fish were Mexican Tetras and the Notropis shiner at high-water spot. I love those MexiTets, some were 3" long and fat! Below ponds a Bluegill is the first I have ever seen there, with dark in the soft dorsal. In a pondlet I check the sunfish at all the time. The usual Bantam and Red-breasted Sunfish, the latter in spectacular breeding colors presently.

Plants are stunted from lack of rain, the Frostweed save some in the creekbed is half the height it should be, same for lots of stuff, like the Senna. The flowers I saw a few of were Lindheimer's Senna, Cedar Sage, Mountain Pink, Snapdragon Vine, but Buttonbush was the only thing really going well. If you are up at dark-thirty, Venus is the 'morning star' in the east before dawn, whilst red Mars is near zenith almost straight up. Should have gone up on the hill behind us with scope and nabbed Mercury, which is in Gemini right now, low in East before dawn.

What is weird is how there are more Indigo and Painted Bunting in our yard than at Lost Maples now, and the same for Audubon's Oriole. Afternoon was warm back here at the casita, got up to mid-90's or better. Kathy spotted orioles at the bath, I got the bathroom window open, and heard them as I took some pix, it was the troop of juvenile Audubon's Orios! Only 2 can fit in the bath at once if you were wondering. Three could fit, IF they would stop fighting. Got a few shots but missed some great fighting action that was too fast. Three Hooded were at the hummer feeders here. A group of rain cells went by later in afternoon, all we got was the outflow, but which was great, for cooling us down to 84F or so before 6 p.m. when it was 94.

July 28 ~ A 72F low was great. Common Nighthawk went by about 6:40 a.m. or so. Just a bit of gulf stratus, warmed up fast, and got to the upper 90's F. Hear one Blue Grosbeak and one Indigo Bunting still singing, half-heartedly. Chat is calling but not really singing, Summer Tanagers around but just calling, they seem done. Vermilions seem to be working on another clutch the way the male chased a Phoebe out of an area in the corral. Did hear four vireo sps., the three regulars still singing, plus a Bell's, but no Hutton's. Heard a Scissor-tail which seem to be done for the most part too. Only passage bird was a Gnatcatcher late in the day. Still only Black-chins for hummers and almost all are immatures, only two adult male left at most.

July 27 ~ The gulf stratus got here and kept it balmy, 74F was the low. Dawn chorus is no longer. Just a few things singing, and not very much. It is remarkably quiet before sunrise already. A dry June means a very weak July breeding session. Most has given up. A troop of Audubon's Oriole went through early, a Martin or two overhead, one Gnatcatcher went by southbound. The cool shady front porch was 90F around 3 p.m., pretty toasty in the sun. Neat at last light was a migrant Great Blue Heron up at 1000' (obviously not local movement) dropping down looking for a place to roost.

Two great departures I have been forgetting to mention recently... first, the cowbirds are gone. Last week they bugged out. The daily flock of white millet eating ad. male and female Brown-headed and Bronzed Cowbirds, have not been around for most of a week now. Good riddance. The odd hatch-year juvie still around, but the ad. flock of nest parasites is gone. Surely they can tell stuff is not re-nesting. The other departure was that bastard Ash-throated Flycatcher that spent a week terrorizing everything in the yard, I presume after the female left, is finally gone. All the birds in the yard were glad to see it go.

July 26 ~ A spritz of rain from a band of Hanna went over right around sunup. We might have gotten about .15 of an inch. That was it, but which was great, at least something. The rain-cooled low was 71F which was also great. Deep far south Texas got lots of rain, some areas a foot! And it is flat down there. Will probably fill Falcon Lake. We got a couple day break from the oppressive heat and a couple dust-free days. High was about 90F again. A couple Orchard Oriole went through yard mid-morn but that was it for migration motion.

We went to the park noonish, everyone must have left due to the rain forecast, which then didn't happen. Great to see it soooo empty on a Sunday in summer. Had one Green Heron below the dam. Heard a Purple Martin overhead. Up in the woods there was one Black-and-white Warbler, a transient. One Common Grackle was in the willows at the island. Collected some Maxmillian Sunflower for the tub pondlet, and a few Gambusia (Mosquitofish), still need to get some Ludwigia and other things.

July 25 ~ 'Nother balmy 75F low. Now Hurricane Hanna is set to go much further south than original forecasts a couple days ago. Deep south Texas will get some much-needed rain, we will be lucky to get any. Winds were off and on E to ENE from the circulation, and lots of clouds, so we barely hit 90F, which is 10dF off the recent highs and a treat in itself. Be nice if one of the bands would throw a rain cell our way. Great being in 70's for the evening instead of the 80's. The little things...

The Audubon's Oriole juveniles went through yard and I counted 4 all-green and yellow hatch-year birds as they moved from the big Hackberry over the shed to the Mulberry over the cottage. The single note begging call is not unlike the chuck note of an Orchard Oriole. Deeper, not as sharp, longer of duration, and with perhaps a wee bit of a bleating aspect to it. Always great to see they had nesting success locally. Maybe it could be two sets of two young that joined up and not one clutch of four? I do not see any adults.

I have been looking at the male Indigo Buntings for molt the last few days. What could have easily seemed one bird at a glance is at least three different males based on different molts. One missing a patch on left side of head, another with sheathed feathers all over the head, another with a big gray area on one side. Then after all that hard work over a few days, about 8 p.m. there were FOUR males at once on the patio! I have only been seeing one at a time. Sure makes it easier when they all show at once.

Had a Zone-tailed Hawk fly by and over in afternoon. You can barely see the comet now, with the moon near first quarter the sky is washed out with too much light. It still looks good in binocs, but is fading fast, and nothing like it was a week ago when no moon. This cosmic show is all but over. Just catch it next time if you missed it. It's only 6800 years until it returns.

This appears to be... an excellent photo quiz picture.
Tail is spread, left wing spread, head shows well. It is
always great to get any shots of this little-seen plumage,
and acquire more breeding evidence as well. If only I
could see the brows, squirming, and page flippin'.  ;)
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 24 ~ 75F is as low as she goes presently apparently. No morning clouds and occasional easterly winds. Afternoon upper 90's F with low 00's heat index. We are hoping for some rain tomorrow or Sunday from the system (Hanna) in the Gulf and wish they would quit bending the forecast track south. Meanwhile here the drone of the cicadas do not make it feel any less like the dog days of summer when it is in the upper 90's. Some local WU stations showed over a hun here today.

There was a Hutton's Vireo which sat on edge of birdbath early this morning. Two or three Hooded Oriole visiting feeders but no ad. male. Great was the family group of Audubon's Oriole that was in yard a bit. Looked like at least two, probably 3 juveniles, and 2 adults. They were in most of the yard trees over 15 minutes or so. Lots of calling. A great show. Mighta got a shot of a juv.

Town run, Rosie was gone so no tacos today, Friday just isn't the same. Little Creek Larry said he had a Spotted Sandpiper on the dam at the park this morning. This is undoubtedly a fall migrant, right now is the time the first ones return from nesting. Fall migration for shorebirds is in full swing in July. Should have Upland Sandpipers going over any night, I have been listening just after dark but not heard one yet. There was one Hutton's Vireo up on the island at the park, but that was it. Otherwise slow, the park is packed with hominids.

July 23 ~ Low of 75F or so, you take what you can get. An Eastern Wood-Pewee was in yard early in the morning. A herdlet of Orchard Oriole went through yard early, a half-dozen or so, first morning with more than a single or two. A few Hooded Oriole were around as well, a pair consisting of first summer male and female were on a feeder together multiple times, indicating they are still nesting. A lone juvenile was also around. A, or the, Yellow-throated Vireo came close to going to bath, which they virtually never do. Once a juvenile came in to it a couple years ago. An adult White-eyed Vireo came in and besides splash-bathing several times, it actually sat on rim of the bath a few times. It was in very heavy molt, of head, body, and wings, and is the most disheveled WEVI I ever saw.

Later morning an Audubon's Oriole or two went through, so 3 sps. orioles this morn. I heard a FOS Least Flycatcher out on the fenceline but it was gone when I got out there with binocs. Hear the Bell's Vireo singing a bit over in the corral, so 4 vireos by noon since the Red-eyed is still singing. Heard a Great Crested Flycatcher. Nearing noon when looking for the Least Flyc. I saw a FOY Laviana White-Skipper at the Frog-fruit. In the afternoon I saw 8 Chimney Swift heading south down the river habitat corridor. Hope they weren't leaving already. Still heard a few Martins overhead, they will be gone soon. Couple Nighthawks at dusk, heard one boom. Eastern Screech-Owl calling. Heard some weird call about 11 p.m. that maybe was a cuckoo. Comet still showing well, but dimming fast. Still a great binocular view object.

July 22 ~ A 76.5F low, headed for mid-90's and again a slight chance of a shower, so good and humid. Saw a Questionmark butterfly early in morning. Bath was busy early too, everything comes in to fill up on water first thing. An oriole seen briefly looked an Orchard. Chat came in, a juv. Summer Tanager took a bath, the stream of Cardinals seems endless. Kathy saw the Yellow-throated Warbler on the portable shade gazebo we have on the patio. A juvenile Yellow-breasted Chat came into the birdbath in the morning. Only saw one ad. male Black-chinned Hummingbird today, guarding the office feeder. Should be a Rufous around any day now. Bird of the day was nearing dusk, when a Poor-will flew by, whilst still light out! Nighthawks do so regularly, but this was tiny, round-winged with no white band. Either a juvenile or a parent with young to feed. Have only had a very few from yard in 7 years, though they a present within a mile on the rocky knolls.

July 21 ~ Low of only 76F is not very. Have a slight chance at showers they say, will believe that when I smell rain. In the morning had Gnatcat and Orchard Oriole go by. Dang coon climbed a garden fence and got in the new tub pond. On one side the fence is lowish (4'), so will have to raise that. Maybe run a hot wire to it, wait and watch with the switch in hand? Heard Audubon's Oriole out there in the morning. Some Chimney Swift went over in afternoon. There were some small scattered showers semi-nearish in afternoon. Not close enough to smell, was hot and sticky. More Gnatcats in afternoon. Comet still showing well, but still dimming fast, seems another magnitude less tonight. Still bare-eyeable if you know what to look for and where to look. No Chucks calling, they have fallen silent. If it would rain they would call, and so would I. Great to be losing a minute a day now, a month after the solstice.

July 20 ~ A 72F low was good. No low stratus from the gulf, so sun out of the gate and gonna be a hot one. First thing a Titmouse was over at the pond and went to the branch I stuck in it so anything can crawl out. Always the first bird to check anything new out, the titmouse. The Chickadee watched and went to fence noting it. Early morning had Gnatcatcher and an Orchard Oriole go through yard, and another gnatcat or two over the day. For both, their southbound passage should pick up steam the next few weeks. Saw a real rusty female Indigo Bunting on the patio, there has only been a male showing up, they probably have a nestful of young over in the draw near where he sings. The first few immature male Black-chinned Hummingbirds are showing dark feathers in the throat now. There were some off and on easterly winds over the day, due to a low in the NW Gulf of Mexico. Saw the comet from the driveway at dark. Looks great, and is seeable with the bare eye, barely. Interesting is that it obviously is not as bright as it was last night. Amazing to be able to see that difference in dimming in one day. No chucks called. The Texas Powdered-Skipper was on the Frog-fruit in the afternoon.

July 19 ~ Low of 72F again is wonderful. But boy is it parched out there. We are over six weeks with just an inch of rain since the deluge the last two weeks of May. It's all or nuthin' here now for precip. Heard a couple Gnatcats go through yard, the Indigo Bunting was in a singing mood this morning, Painted are all but silent. Only a very few ad. male Black-chinned Hummers left here now.

Went over the the Waresville pondlet on the golf course. One male Comet Darner continues but again no Least Grebe. Seeming like a miracle I saw it at all. Red-winged Blackbirds still nesting. The Barn Swallows got out of the nest since last week. One female or imm. Purple Martin was on the wire over the pond. Then we checked the 1450 knoll, no Black-capped Vireo. It is so parched and toasted it is hard to believe how lush it was five weeks ago. Heard a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, heard one and saw another Roadrunner, heard a Field Sparrow and White-eyed Vireo, but it was quiet, though getting warmer at noon. No flowers, no butterflies, no bugs. We need rain.

We went to the crossing after dinner at last sun whence I aqua-mogged through the mud and collected a couple cattails and a water lily. We'll see if they make the transplant. But the tub-pond has a couple plants in it now. Saw a couple American Rubyspot damselfly. After dark we went over to the 1500 knoll to our north and had great views of the comet NEOWISE. It was fairly impressive, and much better than last week, higher up in darker skies. We could see it bare-eyed without binocs. That is a long tail it has! Kathy heard an Eastern Screech-Owl. No Chucks called at dusk.

July 18 ~ A low of 72F felt good. The low stratus from the gulf got here around sunup and kept the sun at bay a few hours. There is a disturbance over south Texas where a few scattered showers, some afternoon clouds kept the heat dialed back to 90F. Heard the Hutton's and the Bell's Vireo to go with the White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Yellow-throated, for five species of vireo from the porch today. It's vireotopia. If I could just get a stray Black-capped... at the bath with photos.

Some begging baby Lesser Goldfinch are nice to see since the first set since the hail storm in late May. They showed up yesterday actually. LEGO were wiped out by the hail. There were a few pairs around the house in late May, only one male for two weeks after the storm. Then a female so by mid-June they must have been underway with a nesting attempt, now we have a couple young. Normally there are too many and at least a couple sets fledged by now, instead of their first clutch.

Got the filter going and am filling the tub, soon to be a 50 gal. pondlet. Sure to soon have Marsh Wren, Sora, breeding Least Bittern, and maybe a Sabine's Gull. Have to put a hole in it for overflow prevention, grated so I don't lose Gambusia when it pours. The Wooly Ironweed is sure popular now. A couple nice male Large Orange Sulphur were on it quite a while, as was a Texas Powdered-Skipper, the first one of the month. There are Dun Skipper on it all day. Then a FOY Southern Skipperling was on the Frog-fruit. Saw the Turkeys over in the corral. Late p.m. there were a couple begging baby Yellow-throated Warbler getting fed in the pecans in front yard. These are another set.

One interesting botanical note I have been meaning to mention. Some Pecans have re-sprouted leaf clusters where they were lost in the hail event. There are many bright green fresh leaflets on a number of trees. Not all of them has done this but several have. No Chuck calling at dusk.

It is that time of year again... July, when some
adult male Painted Bunting initiate some sort of
supplemental molt we do not seem to understand.
Some are perfectly fully red below now, others
mottled with light areas, sometimes yellowish. Here
is another variation you won't find well-described
in the literature. I noted this male getting pale a
week plus prior to this pic.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 17 ~ A 76F low does not bode well for the afternoon temps. In the morning I had another look, and a decent if brief one, of the Great Plains Skink I saw a couple days ago. This was a most wanted reptile here for me, so great to see, and better to have it around the house. Sure would love a pic, but they are not the type to sit out in the open and sun. It took 15 years to see a Tree Lizard here, and 16.5 for this skink (had one awful look once). If I was retired of course instead of working often 6 days a week, that time would have been reduced considerably no doubt. Still looking for a Copperhead to photo.

There was an Eastern Wood-Pewee in yard early, getting chased by the Ash-throated Flycatcher. The Pewee is way faster and more agile. It appears to think the Ash-throat is a big dumb lunk of a bully. Indigo Bunting still singing, as is Blue Grosbeak, but the Painted Bunting have nearly shut up. Heard a Hutton's Vireo in the yard again, if I would have heard it yesterday it would have been 5 species of vireo in the yard. Most of the ad. male Black-chinned Hummingbird have bugged out of the last week to two. Very low numbers of them remain. It is overwhelmingly immatures now, but some ad. fem. still present. Roadrunner was in the Bluemist no doubt hunting the Green Anole lizards that hang around front porch (no doubt after my precious butterflies that come in to the flowers).

Did the town errand run and park check. Summer Tanager still singing, ours in yard has gone quiet. Saw the Red-eyed Vireo in the woods, a couple juv. White-eyed Vireo besides some adults. But quiet overall. Heard the RingKing way upriver. No odes. It has been busy and packed with people so is fairly highly disturbed Memorial to Labor Day. We're half way there. Not much mask wearing overall in town. But Rosie has tacos, and it is back to the hovelita and livin' la vida quarantina. Saw an Elada Checkerspot on the Frog-fruit in the driveway. Chuck still going off at dusk.

July 16 ~ A 73F low was as chilly as it got. Some low stratus kept it below 80 until after 11. Indigo Bunting singing briefly early, and then at seed out back later. Painted Bunting include a few males, a few females, and a few juveniles. They will build the next few weeks before the males depart at the end of the first week in August. Heard a Bell's Vireo sing over in Mesquite across from gate, to go with the Yellow-throated, Red-eyed, and White-eyed all still singing. Later it was in the corral along fenceline. Heard the Great Crested Flycatcher, Ash-throat still harassing everything in yard. Besides the ad. fem. Hooded Oriole at the feeders, an Audubon's Oriole went by yard, but none have caught on to the feeders here.

Did my final 50 gal. pond tub cleaning before I place it and start filtering and filling with water. Once you start filling you can't move it. It has to be fenced or deer, coons, and who knows what would ransack it endlessly. Birdbath is mud every morning due to the dang coons. Even with just 40 gallons of water in it, that weighs over 300 lbs., 50 is 400! Have to scrape a bit to make a level spot. The well water has iron in it, which grows algae, so I remove it (carbon). Generally enough macro plants will keep micros from taking hold but no sense in having any algae-grow from the git-go.

The Frog-fruit was active. Saw Tropical and Desert Checkered-Skipper, besides some Common, for the Pyrgus trifecta. A Dusky-blue Groundstreak was new. A Ctenucha (diurnal moth) finally didn't care and let me get pics, finally. Lots of all the regular stuff I have been mentioning. It could take 10-15 minutes to get away from the patches before you ID everything on it. Late afternoon there were 5 Mestra on it at once. The Olive-Juniper Hairstreak show up most at peak heat, 6 at once, at least. Heard one Chuck-will's-widow gave a fair session of calling at dusk. They will be done real soon. I am surprised he is still going.

July 15 ~ Low was about 72.5, a couple hours of low stratus before it gave way to the sun. Kathy heard a Nighthawk before 7 a.m. Ran to town early so a quick look in the woods at the park, nuthin' happening. Getting quiet out there folks. Back here I saw the Long-billed Thrasher sneakin' around where seed tossed. An adult female Hooded Oriole came in and took a bath. So mom and a juvie here now, sure wish the male would show. Still a few Martin overhead, Indigo Bunting barely still singing. A few male Painted around, one took a bath early. Late in day at least 2 juvenile Painted Bunting were on seed out back, besides a couple ad. fem. types. Heard a Hutton's Vireo.

After spraying water around a male Roseate Skimmer was out there a bit. Kathy saw a Smoky Rubyspot in the yard, but I couldn't find it. I have only seen one in the yard before. Usually the Rubyspots are fairly tied to waters edge here, a beast of the streamside vegetation. Spraying water around is magic though, for odes and for butterflies, it can get nearly instant results. During these hot dry spells it clearly is something they are looking for and needing. Late near last sun a male Common Whitetail was patrolling the Frog-fruit for a last meal. For being common, they are pretty spiffy with that bright snow white abdomen.

Besides the daily butterflies, there was a Nysa Roadside-Skipper on the Bluemist Eup late in day. The Celia's on the Wooly Ironweed is a fairly regular visitor. There was one Horace's Duskywing puddling on some wet mud. One Giant Swallowtail went by. Saw what surely was a Tropical Checkered-Skipper on the Frog-fruit. Common and Desert are regular. Saw my FOY baby Six-line Racerunner (lizard), just a few inches long, and wow are they neat looking. Had a quick look at what surely was a Great Plains Skink (Plestiodon (was Eumeces) obsoletus) out back. It is the first one I have seen in 16+ years here in Utopia. It has been high on my 'wanted' list as it is should be present here. They are diurnal but very secretive as I understand it. Also saw a FOY baby Anole (lizard) that was not 3" long yet, counting the tail.

July 14 ~ Low was 73F and felt great, a respite, if only brief. Several local area stations were at 102F in the afternoon. Uvalde hit 104 and Del Rio 109. I guess we are lucky it is not 128F like Death Valley was a few days ago. Which is actually a wonderful place I spent a fair bit of time exploring. Though generally avoided it early June until later September.

There was a Ribbonsnake in the house which ducked into a place where we couldn't chase. Hope it finds its way back out the way it came in! They are harmless, more or less our version of a Gartersnake here. Though we do have a Black-headed Garter found locally, scarcely.

Ringed Kingfisher flew right over house in a.m.. A few Black-bellied Whistling-Duck followed shortly after. Heard an Audubon's Oriole over in corral and uphill behind us in the big live-oaks. There was a female or imm. Hooded Oriole at the hummer feeders in the a.m., have not been seeing one around so nice. Saw it again later out office window, it is a juvenile Hooded. Heard the Red-eyed, Yellow-throated, and White-eyed Vireos all singing, the Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Grosbeak still singing. Heard a Rufous-crowned Sparrow out back, and later afternoon heard the Long-billed Thrasher smacking in the Mulberry.

A female Common Whitetail dragonfly was in yard a bit. Trying to decide where to put a 50 gal. tub for a dragon pond. Since easy access to some lillies and cattails, Myriophyllum, Gambusia, etc., what the heck with that presently unused heavy duty tub. Shoulda done it a long time ago. Maybe I could get a yard Sora? How many cattails would it take? Worked this a.m. trying to shade some tomatoes that are still trying to make it in this brutal heat. One Chuck was calling a bit at dusk.

At twilight we went over to the 1500' knoll just north of us for some altitude hoping to see the Comet NEOWISE. On the dirt road on way over a Poor-will flushed from the side of the road. Then Kathy saw something bigger, so either a Chuck or a Nighthawk, briefly as it flew off, habitat is Nighthawk. We did see the comet, which was neat, but no Hale-Bopp (the last 'great' comet, in '97). Great comets are those you can see with the bare eye. This you need binocs to spot. As it gets higher in darker sky over the next week viewing should improve. We could see it with 7 and 8x binocs, better in the 20x scope, but I forgot the 25-45x zoom eyepiece which I will dig out for next time.

July 13 ~ Low of 72F felt great, lowest temp in a week, which is a cryin' shame. It was record hot at SAT and Del Rio, presumedly here too. It hit 90 before noon, 97 by 1:30, several local stations were reporting 102-103F at 3 p.m., before peak heat. Humidity was down to 20 percent or so early afternoon. At 5 p.m. KRVL hit 105F and 11% humidity (!), DelRio hit a 112F (!), it was 101 in the shade on the front porch. So had to be 105 in the sun, a couple local stations had 107-8F, likely in sunny spots. We are about 10F over average highs. Junction, Castroville, Hondo, and Uvalde all hit 108F! Gadzooks! Holy thermality heat man! Who left the oven door open? At midnight it was still 85F.

Birds were at the bath all day trying to cool off. What I presume is the male Ash-throated Flycatcher is terrorizing everything for a week plus now. What seems to have happened is that the female left after their third failed attempt and abandon. He is left and pissed off, taking it out on everything in the yard smaller than himself. Constantly harrassing everything, being a mean tyrant of all things, this tyrant flycatcher. Mean as a California Bird Record Committee member.

Kathy spotted a Black-n-white Warbler out front mid-day, female or immature. Early evening after 7:30 Kathy spotted the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the bath! They never come in, save very rarely when it is over a hundred. It is the first time I have seen it at the bath here. Only twice in 16 years have I seen one come into water, both times it was 104 or 105F. Luckily the bathroom window was open so through my magic screen I got a shot. I have a feeling you are going to see another cuckoo pic.

In butterflies saw a nice yellow morph Lyside Sulphur. Saw the Tawny Emperor cross the yard again, the Mournful and False Duskywing were both around again as well, besides the usual Funereal. Lots of the little stuff still on the Frog-fruit. Hairstreaks, skippers, and mostly Reakirt's Blues. Some Mestra, a few Queen and Sleepy Orange. The Dun Skippers love the Wooly Ironweed, which is in good bloom now, a great dark purple fuzzy flower.

July 12 ~ Low was 75F, not much for morning stratus from the gulf. Probably hit 102F or so as a few of the local WU stations reported. Was 97 in the shade on the front porch. Brutal. After about 95F the humidity is cooked out though, so no heat index on it when that hot. We were 25 percent or so this afternoon at peak heat. Saw (and heard) a Ringed Kingfisher flying north upriver in the morning. Later the Long-billed Thrasher was around out back a few times today. Neat since we normally don't have a thrasher out the window. An adult Zone-tailed Hawk soared low over trees and house late morning.

The rest was the usual gang. We went for a swim at peak heat later in afternoon. Water is getting warm in spots, and down a few inches too. Send rain. Wasn't much singing it was too hot. Damselflies way down after last weeks breeding frenzy, just a very few of the same types left. Swift and Checkered Setwings were it for dragons. A few Dolomedes fishing spiders, one bigger rustyish fuzzy one that looked different from the usual D. scriptus, with small pale-ringed dark eye-spots on abdomen. Late near last sun a yellow Swallowtail came into water which was likely an Eastern Tiger. Saw one False Duskywing here in yard which might be a FOY. Did not hear a Chuck at dark. Only a very few Firefly left flying now. It was a great second wave, now we wait to see if we get a good fall flight.

July 11 ~ Low was 75F, not much for morning clouds. Was a roaster, a hun in the sun in the afternoon. A female Black-n-white Warbler bathed in the morning. Too many cowbirds, at least they will depart soon. I have seen 4 juveniles around in the last month or so, none being attended by our yard birds. They all found the place, but were not raised by any of our regular users. About 10:30 a.m. I heard a Long-billed Thrasher over in the corral, about 11 it was outback thrashing all over the place. Got a few docushots. Was very dull on upperparts, perhaps a juvenile.

Quick spin to town, park was crowded so I skipped it. Noonish I checked the Waresville pond at the edge of the golf course. Did not see a Least Grebe, one male Comet Darner continues. Can't believe how much the baby Barn Swallows have grown in a week. One male Eastern Pondhawk was different. A couple male Purple Martin circled over pond and nest boxes. Lots of all the same butterflies on the driveway Frog-fruit here. Numbers continue to build well. One Goatweed Leafwing came in to water sprayed about, a nice male. Two Chucks called at dusk., one over in corral where it seemed to have nested.

How can you tell it is 104F here? That is what it takes
to get a cukcoo at the birdbath. Otherwise juicy worms
(caterpillars) and such provide enough moisture. Only the
third time in 16+ years to see one drink at the bath, all
three times it was 104 or more. Was at 3 diff. yards too.
Ya gotta love those zygodactyl feet! Two toes forward, 2 back.
Note yellow on upper mandible, not just the lower.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 10 ~ A 75F low was a frog hair better than the last couple days. The low stratus kept it bearable all morning, but the afternoon was a burner. Near a hun. The yard was the same stuff as expected now. Late p.m. there were 7 Turkey over in the corral. It was town run fun day. I should say taco run as that is the best part, that last 10 min. stop at Rosie's. No one wearing masks here in town, save a tourist I saw. Numbers of Large Orange Sulphur going by, fewer Cloudless. Still hearing a few Purple Martin.

Did a quick park check, lots of people for noonish. Summer crowds. Water still going over spillway but level is dropping fast. By the island was the ad. fem. and the imm. Green Kingfisher. Still singing in woods were Red-eyed, White-eyed, and Yellow-throated Vireo, Yellow-throated Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, all but the Red-eye likely nesting. The Red-eye I think is an unmated troller, been here 5 weeks or more, and have not seen a second bird. No leps or odes. Little Creek Larry said on his creek there, there are near 70 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, most are young of the year. So several pairs must have nested over there. I saw at least 3 pair at the S. Little Crk. bigger (N.) buffalo wallow where they sometimes nest, when it still had lots of water in early June.

Just in case you haven't heard, there is a comet visible to the NNE at about 5 a.m. right now, and from I think Monday it will be visible after sunset instead of before sunrise. Then it will be between WNW and NW I think. Check spaceweathercom or, or, any will have links with sky maps etc. The first site mentioned has a photo gallery with great pics of it.

July 9 ~ Looked like another 77F low here this morn. Morning stratus, so no immediate sun is a bit of a break in itself. We are progged for another heat wave this weekend into early next week. Birds were all the same. Male Indigo Bunting was on the patio. A male Painted has some major pale areas on underparts now, clearly body molt is going on. Ringed King calling from river last hour of sun. The fem. Ladder-backed Woodpecker is roosting in her hole regularly now. Comes in before last sun and enters. Barred Owl calling after dark.

Butterflies were about the same too, but lots of that fun little stuff on the Frog-fruit. At least a couple dozen butterflies at once, of well over a dozen species makes you momentarily forget the heat. Four Olive-Juniper Hairstreak at once, maybe 6 total, a few Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak at once, 3 Mestra together, a few Vesta Crescent, Bordered Patch, a bunch of Reakirt's Blue (near a dozen), and then Eufala, Julia's, Fiery, Dun, Whirlabout, and Desert Checkered-, for skippers. Lysides, Little Yellow, Dainty Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, and a few others, all on Frog-fruit. A Tawny Emperor flew by back porch in morning.

July 8 ~ Low was 77F, clouds stuck until noonish so still barely 82 then. At least a little break. A very warm afternoon, 94F in shade on front porch. So it was near a hun in the sun. Oh, but it is a dry hun. A hun stinks anyway you measure it. Thought I saw a juvenile Painted Bunting, very gray, barely green. The rest was the same gang.

Frog-fruit had a couple Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Funereal and a Mournful Duskywing, a few Vesta, lots of Reakirt's Blue, Fiery and Whirlabout Skipper, a couple each Mestra and Lyside. Low-end entertainment, but entertainment. Like hearing the Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting, Chat, Yellow-throated Warbler, and other stuff singing outside. At least it is something to look at or listen to. Field, Lark, and Chipping Sparrow all still singing.

July 7 ~ Low was 75F or so. Overcast and muggy. A few drops of rain fell at one point, perhaps when the humidity slipped below dripping for a second. But clouds generally kept the heat at bay for most of the day. Low 90's was it, which constitutes a break at this point. Blue Grosbeak is still going strong with song early. Many things are fading fast. The Indigo Bunting is losing steam for instance. Was a Gnatcatcher around in morning. They are so fast and agile it never ceases to amaze me. Saw a Desert Checkered-Skipper on the Frog-fruit among lots of Reakirt's Blue and Olive-Juniper Hairstreak, one Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, some Whirlabout and Dun Skipper, a few Fiery, a couple Vesta and a Phaon Crescent. At least it is something to look at without going anywhere.

Late in day saw a Cuckoo get a Katydid. The Katy dropped like a rock out of the tree when it realized it was spotted and in trouble. The cuckoo dropped right after it, both into tall grass under a smaller pecan. The cuckoo looked around for 10 seconds, spotted it. The end of Katy. Then during my dinner I saw out the side window at least a half-dozen Turkey over in the shade in the corral. A couple Chucks still barely going at dusk.

July 6 ~ The low was not very at 77F. The KRVL stats showed a whopping 6 hrs at or below 79F overnight, hitting 76 for a half-hour. These are some high lows. I looked to see what the scolding scene was about. The Roadrunner was drinking from some holes in the patio that hold water briefly, whilst all the birds around give scold calls and vacate said patio. I am sure they take lots of inexperienced just-fledged baby birds. A mid-morn sprayabout brought in a male Roseate Skimmer dragonfly to the wet shiny patio, and two Funereal Duskywings to a wet carpet remnant outside the cottage. A juv. female Black-and-white Warbler came into the bath mid-morn. About 2 p.m. a narrow band of rain went over, took 10dF off the top for an hour and change. Only a few hundredths here. The cloud debris though kept it from getting as hot as forecast, lowest 90's instead of upper. A couple Chucks half-heartedly singing at dusk. Was shooting some small butterfly pics on the Frog-fruit and later saw I got my FOY Ceraunus Blue.

July 5 ~ Low was 72F, a few local WU stations were showing a toasty 100 in the late afternoon. That was when we were in the river swimming. The water is warming up though. We need more rain. Was 96F on shady porch in the later afternoon, so surely we had a hun in the sun. Brutal heat.

The morning yard stuff was all the same. We putted around to a couple stops 11-1 or so. The pond by the Waresville Cmty. had maintenence work being done, so if the grebe was still there it was hiding. We did see one male Comet Darner still there though. Kathy saw a Widow Skimmer. A second set of baby Barn Swallow being fed are more than a week from fledging still. The Martins seem gone (early) from the house in disrepair.

At the 360 x-ing there were Rubyspot dragonflies, only American but at least 10, finally. Also a FOY Five-striped Leaftail. Neat was a Tawny Emperor which hit the river surface 3 times to get water no doubt. Had a glance at what was surely a Viceroy. Saw Longeared Sunfish and Texas Cichlid. Birds there were Indigo and Painted Bunting, Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Chat, and some more common stuff.

We checked the 1450 knoll. Thought I might have heard a dribble or two of Black-capped Vireo calls. Kathy saw a juv. vireo she wasn't sure of but there was an adult White-eyed in the near vicinity. A good number of Ash-throated Flycatcher, seemed over a half-dozen. Must be young out of nests now. But it was hot already hitting 90F so not prime time for birds. Just a few Zexmenia left blooming, one Mournful Duskywing on them. What was amazing was how the carpet of flowers two weeks ago is brown, dried, and cooked, in the last week plus of high 90's F on that hot SW facing slope. Baked. All of them. It went from a lush cornucopia of color to dry brown toast in two weeks. The June bloom has left the room. It was a good one, surely leaving a great seed crop behind.

From just after 4 to just after 5 we were in the water cooling off. I mostly do the banks for bugs, and listen for birds since can't carry binocs. Lots singing in the heat, which means still nesting. Eastern Wood-Pewee, Blue Grosbeak, Chat, Yellow-throated Warbler, Painted Bunting, Black-crested Titmouse, Summer Tanager, were all very vocal as in territorial singing. Saw my FOY small fish, that is, native fish, which means one of the 'minnows' in our case. Black-tailed Shiners, several dozen, finally. Kathy spotted a nice male Red-breasted Sunfish in breeding colors. A few small Largemouth Bass. In dragonflies just a few Swift Setwings for anything big, the rest was damsels, and they were numerous. Saw my FOY Stream Bluet, dozens of Double-striped Bluet continue. Several each of Blue-ringed, Dusky, and Violet Dancer. A bunch I couldn't see close enough. Thought I saw a Powdered Dancer but it got away.

Saw A couple Dolomedes fishing spiders. One unseen one jumped on my arm as I reached for a baby sword fern on a cypress root, it quickly jumped off onto the tree. It was so fast I didn't know what it was until it stopped on the tree a few inches from my hand. I just knew something jumped on me but my eyes could not begin to catch up to it until it stopped, it was so fast. Nice that it wasn't attacking. It reminded me of how mis-informed our ideas are about so many things, like spiders, are. Most folks are amazingly scared of spiders, with snakes and sharks running close behind, just ahead of anything that buzzes in flight. Everything is not out to get you. Childhood cartoons did more to scare people of buzzy insects than anything else.

July 4 ~ Low was about 73F, and no clouds, high pressure has taken over. Was 95 in the shade on front porch in afternoon, a few local WU stations were showing 99F at peak heat. We do lose the humidity though when it gets that hot. It goes dry. It is the biggest day of the year in town, so we stay hidden and avoid it all. The first-summer Black-n-white Warbler came into the bath early in the morning. Providing good looks and finally a couple weak pix enough to study his state of molt. Otherwise was the about same gang of birds and butterflies. Kathy saw a male Widow Skimmer go over the house, after I saw the FOY just yesterday at the park.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, formerly known as (B-b) 'Tree-Duck'
for their habit of perching in trees. They whistle well too.
A few nest locally, the immatures are duller and have dark bills.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 3 ~ The 73F low was better than 75 the last few days. KRVL had a 72. Perplexing was a duck that flew over the house in the morning. It was not a Whistling-Duck or a Wood Duck, the only two types normally possible in summer. Looked like one of the Aythya group of diving ducks. It was 'one that got away'. Wish I had my bins on when I spotted it. The Red-eyed Vireo was in the Mulberry over the cottage early in morn. The Black-and-white Warbler was singing right out the office window, adding those warbly trills for flourish at the end sometimes. Oh those first-summer singers.

Best thing in the morning was a swallowtail butterfly that was at least an Ornythion Swallowtail, though maybe it could have been something rarer. It was clearly not a Giant which we see daily. Flight pattern was obviously not a Giant, with shallow twittering flaps. It appeared to be almost without hind wings. The dark bar at posterior or trailing edge of forewing absolutely did not cross any other bars and was isolated inwardly by yellow its entire length. It was an Ornythion or better. Broad-banded being the long-shot outside chance and only other possbility, no record in UvCo. Late afternoon saw a Mournful Duskywing on the Frog-fruit.

Town run day. Nice to see masks being used. Still out of three-quarter PVC. Pretty busy, food store out of some items too. I hear the annual firework show at the park is ON, which is the biggest crowd of the year here, and can be seemingly near a couple thousand people. You won't find us amongst them. Up in the woods at the park there was the juv. Green Kingfisher, a juv. White-eyed Vireo, and a juv. Eastern Wood-Pewee. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo still singing (nesting). Finally saw a FOY Widow Skimmer (dragonfly) but the pond was pretty quiet for odes. A few Fragile Forktail were in the woods as was one Clouded Skipper.

July 2 ~ There was a trace of rain overnight, maybe a tenth, from a system that was said to be dissolving way north of us. Radar shows Lost Maples might have gotten a quarter inch. Low was 75F anyway, and plenty humid. Heard the Ring King flying high over river going north early in morning. In the afternoon an Inca Dove was on the patio. Haven't seen one here in yard in a bit. Male Blue Grosbeak was on the patio. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo over in corral. Saw the female Ladder-back go into the nest hole she dug to roost. This the hole the Ash-throats took over, built a nest in, and abandoned. Just a wee bit of Chuck calling at dark, they are already running out of steam.

A couple new butterflies showed up on the Frog-fruit which I missed last month. At least they waited until the 2nd to show up. A Marine Blue is my FOY, missed getting a pic though. Two Orange Skipperling were out there as well, I saw no skipperlings in June. Those flowers continue to be a hotbed of activity all day though, watch yer Frog-fruit. Lots of Reakirt's Blue, a few each Olive-Juniper Hairstreak, and Mallow Scrub-Hairtreak, several Whirlabout, plus more Dun and Fiery Skipper, a Julia's or two, Funereal Duskywing and Lyside Sulpur, some Snout. Great fun in the heat of the day, and it got hot, probably 95 or 96F. The second wave of Firefly is on the wane, it has peaked here in the yard, far fewer than a week ago. Saw an Eyed Elaterid.

July 1 ~ Hope the first half of the year was not an indicator of the second half. Low was 76F, with low stratus thick enough to mist a bit at one point. Yellow-throated and Black-n-white Warbler singing out front early. A Rufous-crowned Sparrow came in and used the bird bath in the morning. The rest was the same gang, and it is Wed., a busy desk day for me here. Saw 92F on the shady front porch, and it was very humid so felt worse. Always glad to get through the first day of the month without seeing any butterfly species I missed the prior month. A Ringed Kingfisher was calling quite a bit over at the river. Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos singing later afternoon, heard Cuckoo a few times.

~ ~ ~ June summary ~ ~ ~

It was a dry one, I don't think we had an inch of rain total at our place. Just some tenths here and there, a quarter and a third. But it was a slightly cooler one, we had many lows in the 60's F, and highs not in the 90's. So we kinda skated on the heat compared to recent drought regimen temps. The flower bloom was good due to the foot of rain in the last half of May, which kept things going well and made for a good June bloom.

Butterflies picked up after a poor May (worst ever in 16 prior Mays at 33 species). June found species 50 on the 30th. A couple got away, one I thought was a Metalmark, and another surely was a False Duskywing. The last few days of the month there was a significant influx of species that are irruptive here. Mostly little stuff, like skippers, blues, and hairstreaks, but which could indicate an invasion year is in the works. It has been a couple years since the last one, we are overdue, and have had rains. Finally saw an Arizona Sister for the year this month, but still missing a Crimson Patch. Lots of Elada Checkerspot on the 1450 knoll SW of the 360 x-ing. The end-of-the-month surge saw FOY for several species: Theona Checkerspot, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Desert Checkered-Skipper, Eufala Skipper, and Phaon Crescent. The highlight of the month was a Brazillian Skipper on June 23 on the Blue Mist Eup. at our front porch. First in the yard, and my first locally in several years. In moths saw a Virginia Ctenucha and two Texas Wasp Moth but generally night lighting is frighteningly dull and devoid of bugs. Saw a half-dozen Eyed Elaterid.

One of two Comet Darner (Anax longipes), at
pondlet by Waresville Cmty., Utopia, June 28, 2020.
Odes were about 23 species, a big uptick from the woeful May total of 13. Missed Lost Maples so, uh, lost, a few sps. there. A couple COMET Darner (Anax longipes) were highlights, June 27-28, at the golf course pondlet by the Waresville Cemetery. There are only a handful of UvCo records. Over a dozen Thornbush Dasher there, methinks they are breeding there now. I did not see a Rubyspot of any flavor this month, which is odd. Usually our crossing has lots of American with a few Smoky, there were none of either.

Birds were mostly the normal expected stuff, the breeding species are the story in June. The month with the fewest transient species. As in none besides local post-breeding wanderers usually. But this year there was one. A new bird for the local list at that. Likely the first ever reported in the upper Sabinal River drainage, a LEAST GREBE. This at the pondlet on the golf course by the Waresville Cmty. on June 27. The other report of interest was Little Creek Larry seeing what he thought were 4 Spotted Sandpiper tightly together interacting in early June at the spillway in park. Which is far too late for migrants here, these birds likely nested locally, and it was likely two young with adults. A Cassin's Sparrow singing south of town a few miles June 4, is a far less than annual occurrence up here in the hills. Saw Eastern Wood-Pewee feeding a young again at Utopia Park.

Otherwise the big story was the loss of birds from the late May hail storm carpet bombing. There was obviously a huge lack of birds around our place, and a dearth at other spots locally we frequent. Many species were clobbered. Vultures and Lesser Goldfinch in particular. More than the usual number of single trolling unmated birds around. I tally 85 species I saw locally in June, just within 4 miles of Utopia. So maybe 95 are around, missed a few with no Lost Maples this month. All but the grebe are breeders here. This is very high breeding diversity for such a small area.

~ ~ ~ end June summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

June!?! It is time to dig up interesting breeding records. The Downy Woodpecker in May will be hard to top. A tantalizing report was of multiple Spotted Sandpiper at Utopia Park June 3, at least 3, probably 4 birds, which would seem to indicate local breeding, which is unknown. A TROPICAL Parula was reported in ebird at Lost Maples in early June. On June 23 a BRAZILLIAN Skipper butterfly here is a far less than annual rarity. A LEAST GREBE at the dinky golf course pondlet adjacent to the Waresville Cmty. on June 27 is likely the first known in the upper Sabinal River drainage. Two COMET Darner dragonflies at the same place are very rare odes in UvCo.

~ ~ ~ end archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ above is 2020 ~ ~ ~

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Index page with links to all 'Old Bird News' pages ...

Bird News Archives Index

Links to earlier archived bird news pages below, broken into six 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, probably due
to excessive amount of drivel in spring).

Bird News Archive XXXIII
January 1, 2020 - June 30, 2020

Bird News Archive XXXII
July 1, 2019 - Dec. 31, 2019

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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© M. and K. Heindel 2004-2019