Bird News Archive VIII
July 1 - Dec. 31, '07
Commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
SLC pond - pond on South Little Creek Rd.
LC - along Little Creek
UP - Utopia Park off 1050 just west of 187
TC area - area of Thunder Creek Rd.
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for the first
spring or fall migrant to show up locally)
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia
in Uvalde County.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dec. 31 ~ A freezing sunup for the last day of the year turned into an
amazing 75 deg. F by 2 p.m.. A front hit about 4:15, and by 9 p.m. it
was 45 deg. F and falling fast with 20 MPH winds on it. Talk about
going out in a blaze of glory! :) There was Merlin and Sharp-
shinned Hawk at SR, as well as 2 Audubon's Orioles, which again hit the
feeders and then bathed. Green Kingfisher and Black Phoebe at UP.
The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was around quite a bit, as usual
Dec. 30 ~ We went over to Garner S.P. to look for winter landbird flocks.
We could not find one really. An Orange-crowned, two Kinglets, a
Bewick's Wren, and a Hermit Thrush with a couple Titmice and a Chickadee
was the only "flock" we found. Oddly quiet as in winter usually
even in the afternoon "heat" you can find a bluebird flock (with the
hangers-on cohorts) and a few Titmouse/cohorts flocks but nothing.
We spent a couple hours looking all over the place there. Nada.
Not a single Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen or heard. Amazing.
The only dependable place in Uvalde County for Common Raven is the
cliff face at the very south end of the park, and adjacent environs.
There may be a few other cliff faces that hold them, but they are
few and far between. By Concan, its Chihuahuan as nesting residents.
Lots of Mockingbirds along the road right-of-ways. At Bear Creek Pond
just east of the 1050 pass there were 27 Green-winged Teal and 5 Gadwall.
At the pond a couple miles west of the 1050 pass were 13 Ring-necked Ducks.
Dec. 29 ~ Another 25 deg F or so a.m. here. It's REALLY winter this year!
Had to run to Uvalde for a couple things so checked some ag fields
SE of Knippa. About 400 Sandhill Crane were taped calling overhead.
Lots of sparrows and such in the fencelines with hedgerows, mixed
with Cardinals and Pyrrhuloxias. One area had 400-500 LARK BUNTING,
a couple hundred Vesper and a hundred Savannah Sparrow, plus a bunch
of White-crowneds in the brush. At least 10 Say's Phoebes were seen
along various roads. A couple Harris's Hawks, Verdin, and one probable
HARLAN'S Hawk. Good numbers of Common Ground-Dove and Caracara. Lots of
W. Meadowlarks and Shrikes, but no Mountain Plovers or Longspurs were found.
A quick look at Ft. Inge in Uvalde produced a couple Green Kingfisher,
and a large darner that looked like a Turquoise-tipped Darner to me.
A number of Damselflies were out along the lower Leona River there,
including a Rubyspot and Powdered and Violet Dancers. Birds were sleeping.
Dec. 28 ~ Hutton's Vireo, 2 Orange-crowned Warbler, 1 Ruby-crowned
Kinglet in the "daily flock" but the Vireo is sometimes AWOL.
The Orange-crowneds love the peanut feeder. Pair of Chihuahuan Raven.
Dec. 27 ~ A flock of 28 Cedar Waxwings flew over SR in the a.m..
The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird continues as does a Mocker,
which we've never had winter in the "yard", so is nice. It is very
tame compared to the summering Mockingbirds here. A pair (adult female
and immature) of Audubon's Orioles came by as sometimes happens
on the coldest days. They raided the Sunflower tube, the peanut feeder,
and the sugar water at the hummer feeder. Mr. Broad-tail was none
too amused about that. I went out to the shed out front (the Orioles
were in back) and since I was hidden the Orioles flew down to the bath
not 15' away. Both jumped in and had a splashfest, facing each other,
seemingly trying to get the other wetter. With bills closed, they
mock pecked at each other as they did this, with an occasional
"aarnk" at each other. This went on for about two minutes.
Intimate behaviorial observations such as this are the ultimate
"birding experience". Touting lists pales by comparison.
Dec. 23 ~ A chilly 24 deg. F this a.m. at Utopia (21 in Kerrville) !!
At least the wind quit, so we went out in the 55 deg. afternoon heat
to see what birds might be out. It is always interesting to see
"what changed" after these fall and winter fronts pass.
Here at SR there were 13 Cedar Waxwings, 9 Pine Siskin, a few
American Goldfinch, and a nice male Yellow-shafted Flicker
sunning on a close Bailey Oak snag at sunup. It was 10 degrees colder
at UP at 2 p.m. than it was up here on SR. Still 2 Pied-billed Grebe
there. A couple Myrtle and Orange-crowned Warblers but no Pine yet.
Around town were 4 more Cedar Waxwing, and a few more Pine Siskins and
American Goldfinch. Decided to see what was at Utopia on the River
and hit a flock there with the regular residents plus Chipping Sparrow,
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Myrtle, Audubon's (HY female), and Orange-crowned
Warblers, TWO (at least) Brown Creepers, and a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER that
was a HY (hatch year - or immature) bird, and may be the same one that
was at UP a couple weeks ago. A Say's Phoebe was on their fence out front,
and at the river crossing was a Killdeer. Another Say's Phoebe was
along 354. There was a big seedeater flock (sparrows and such)
a mile out 354 where the road is between two nicely hedgerowed fencelines.
There were at least 150 Vesper Sparrow, 25 Savannah, 10 White-crowned,
5 Lincloln's, and an amazing TWO DOZEN PYRRHULOXIA, plus 10 Cardinals.
TWO MERLINS fought over whose group of birds it is to hunt!! Another
Pyrrhuloxia was on Lee St. right in town before the first jog east of Main.
Dec. 22 ~ Frontal passage at dawn came with 25-35 MPH winds
with gusts to 45 (!), and it blew till midnight by which time
it was freezing of course.
Dec. 21 ~ A flock of geese flew over SR early in the morning.
About 37 White-fronted Goose, but, ONE was a "white-cheeked"
Goose (Canada or Cackling) that to me appeared to be a CACKLING.
It was smaller than the White-fronts, with a very fast wingbeat,
dark breast, and head and bill seemed small (they were low).
A Lincoln's Sparrow is at the seed now that it is cold.
The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird is about as well.
Dec. 20 ~ Butterflies outside were a fresh Gulf Fritillary, a Mestra,
a Snout, Red Admiral, Sleepy Orange, and an Arizona Sister.
Three Common Ground-Dove were at the seed today.
Dec. 19 ~ The Slate-colored Junco flock at our seed spread is now 7 birds.
Three Hermit Thrush at least are around out front. One each Green and
Belted Kingfisher were at UP.
Dec. 18 ~ Warmed up to 75 in Uvalde where we stopped at Cook's Slough
for a quick walk. There was a male Canvasback there, and an Eared Grebe,
and a good compliment of a couple hundred winter waterfowl (ducks).
Also there was Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Verdin, Pyrrhuloxia,
Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat. Amazing was all the dragonfly and
butterfly activity considering how it has all but died up here on the hill.
There were Cloudless Sulphurs, a Mestra, Dogface, Little Yellow,
and an amazing TWO DOZEN Western Pygmy-Blue for butterflies.
Amongst many dragons were some Green Darners, 18 Variegated Meadowhawks,
and lots of damsels including an ovipositing pair of Desert Firetail.
One Merlin was 5 miles N. of Sabinal, and an apparent HARLAN'S HAWK
was just west of Sunny Cline Farms turnoff on Hwy. 90.
Dec. 17 ~ 11 Pine Siskin, 12 House Finch, and 6 American Goldfinch at
the sunflower tubes, besides the Titmice and Chickadees.
Dec. 16 ~ A chilly 27 or so up on SR, was probably about 23 or 24 deg. F
down in the valley/in town. By noon and 50 deg. F I saw Buckeye and
Red Admiral (butterflies) out flying and at 2 p.m. and 54 deg. F, an
Arizona sister. A few American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin were at the
sunflower tubes this cold a.m.. Mr. Broad-tailed Hummer was tending
the sugar water closely too. At UP there were 2 Black Phoebe, Easterns
were scattered around, and a Say's Phoebe was on West Sabinal Rd. for
a 3 Phoebe day. W. Sabinal also had 2 male Lesser Goldfinch, rare here
in winter, lots of Western Meadowlarks, an Audubon's Warbler, some
Common Ground-Doves, and there and on Jones Cmty Rd., there were lots of
Savanah and Vesper Sparrows. Just north of town on 187 there was a pair
of Chihuahuan Raven, and a male Northern Harrier. At UP there were a
few dragonflies that made the freeze: 4 Autumnal Meadowhawks, and one
male Variegated Meadowhawk (ph.), but no damselflies were seen.
Couldn't find a "winter passerine flock", just a few stray Titmice.
Dec. 15 ~ Major frontal passage just after sunup, with winds at 20-30 MPH
and gusts to 40. A bunch of Black Vultures and 4 Chihuahuan Ravens
seemed to be loving it though at SR. Pair of Common Ground-Dove
continues sneaking around outskirts of seed tossed about.
Dec. 14 ~ The 2 Pied-billed Grebes continue at UP present over a month now.
A few American Goldfinch were there as was an ad.female Yellow-shafted Flicker.
Heard the north end of a southbound Crane flock at dusk.
Dec. 13 ~ Audubon's Oriole whistling a bit outside in a.m..
Dec. 12 ~ The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird hangs out a lot
as long as its cold out. An immature Sharp-shinned Hawk keeps diving
on the Chipping Sparrow flock.
Dec. 11 ~ Caught a weird small yellow (butterfly) with tails at the P.O..
Also vouchered a few trout at the park. Heard a Winter Wren on the island
at the north end of the park. Back up to 79 deg. F at 5 p.m., and then
61 deg.F and rain and thunder by 8:15 p.m..
Dec. 9 ~ A few butterflies were out: Red Admiral, Buckeye, Snout,
and Variegated Fritallary in the 78 deg. F heat at 5:30 p.m..
Then the front hit and it was 47 by 9 p.m..
Dec. 8 ~ Odd was a single female Red-winged Blackbird flyover at SR.
There were two Hermit Thrushes bathing at the drip at dusk.
Dec. 7 ~ I could count all the butterflies left at the Library
garden on my fingers. But there was a Tailed Orange that sat
for pictures. It's close to over for the year folks.
A male Green Darner dragonfly was at the 1050 bridge.
It was an amazing 79 deg. F for a high temp today!
A tardy Monarch was heading West or WSW. Been a few stragglers.
Dec. 6 ~ At SR Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Hutton's Vireo,
Myrtle and Orange-crowned Warblers. 1 AZ Sister.
Chihuahuan Raven still daily, at least one or two.
Dec. 5 ~ Neatest was at dusk when a flock of 52 Sandhill Crane
flew over low calling. One was making some high whistles
like begging young (or a Caspian Tern). Probably begging
them to stop flying for the day! Sun was down already.
The Cardinal flock at the seed pile has 10 adult males.
Dec. 4 ~ A beautiful female Orange-barred Sulphur flew right
around me outside, with mostly orange hind wings, a beauty.
A pair of Variegated Meadowhawk (dragonflies) are still
hooking up outside, especially if I spray water around.
The Broad-tailed Hummer is still sucking sugar water.
American Goldfinch still sneakin' around. There are now
FOUR (4) Kestrels all roosting together on the power pole
and adjacent wires. Sometimes they meet there for a while
before moving to a Spanish (Bailey) Oak to roost in it together.
Pair of Common Ground-Doves still about the seed pile.
Dec. 2 ~ Highlight was a HY (immature) RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER
studied closely at UP, sort of hanging with a passerine flock.
This is the 3rd consecutive year to have the species there.
This is about as far southeast as it occurs regularly at a
given site (seen 6 here). Must have missed it the first year.
There were a few types of damselflies in the heat of the day,
including Neotropical Bluet, and Violet, Blue-ringed, Blue-fronted
and Dusky Dancers. Also 6 Autumnal Meadowhawk dragonflies were there.
A single Pine Siskin flew over calling "geeee!".
December 1 ~ DECEMBER !?!?!?! A Merlin was roosting at UP
late in the afternoon. 4 American Goldfinch were in a Sycamore.
Nov. 30 ~ In Uvalde at the Nat.Fish Hatchery was a Least Grebe,
and a Ringed Kingfisher flew over Hwy 90 at the city park downtown.
One Scissor-tail was at the very east end of Uvalde.
Nov. 29 ~ As always in Nov., a Great Spreadwing damselfly was
out front after watering a bit.
Nov. 28 ~ There were 5 Slate-colored Junco at the seed pile
today, and 4 Pine Siskin on the sunflower tube. Also heard
an American Goldfinch. A Pyrrhuloxia was outside as well.
The adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird continues.
Nov. 27 ~ I was outside when I heard a familiar call I'd heard
a thousand times, but not in these parts. I looked up and saw
a small finch plummeting out of the sky towards me. It sort
of circled the yard and landed on the power line out back.
I ran inside and grabbed wife, telescope and digital camera
and luckily got photographs of a female CASSIN'S FINCH. There
are only about two prior documented records from the Edw.Plateau.
It seemed to fly down towards the sunflower tubes with the
House Finches, but we never saw it again, besides five minutes
in the scope on the wire. It called a bit more while it was
sitting on the wire.
Nov. 26 ~ Froze down in town, but not up here on Seco Ridge.
A dragonfly was out at 11 a.m. at about 56-57 deg. F., and a
Red Admiral (butterfly) was out at 1:30 p.m., at 60 deg. F..
Nov. 25 ~ Big 1 degree warmup, so today we had a spread of 37-44,
of course with more drizzle so it's 100% humidity. :)   One of the
Spotted Towhees that sounds like a cat was outside (montanus or arcticus?).
Nov. 24 ~ Now still only 43 for high, but with the lovely addition
of constant drizzle. :) Good day to bird from the house,
throw out extra seed, and watch the feeders.
Nov. 23 ~ A Vesper Sparrow was feeding in with the Chippys
right out the window in the yard.... any port in a storm.
Common Ground-Dove pair still around. High 45, low 35 !!
Nov. 22 ~ Woke up to about 37 deg. F with the wind blowing 20+MPH.
No bugs in the cold, and there were two Kestrels and a Merlin outside
diving on the Chipping Sparrow flock, which is about 100 birds now.
Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks also dove on them during the day.
The cold drove the ad.male Broad-tailed Hummingbird back to the feeder.
Two Slate-colored Junco are in the Chippy flock. 2 Lesser Goldfinch
were at the sunflowers. High temp was 46, with wind on it!
Nov. 21 ~ Near record heat of about 87 deg.F at 3:30 p.m. preceded the
arrival of a major front when the winds turned 5 minutes later and
started cooling down. By 5 p.m. it was 64 and blowing 20-30 MPH.
In the heat before it hit, there was a good bit of butterfly
activity. At SR there were both Zilpa and White-striped Longtails.
At the Library garden was a STATIRA Sulphur! It circled me several
times closely so I got good looks, but it didn't stop for pictures.
There was also another Powdered Skipper there.
Nov. 20 ~ The butterfly of the year for me was a RUBY-SPOTTED SWALLOWTAIL
at Johnny's magic Lantana on Sycamore St.. It is the first ever
found in Uvalde Co.. Luckily I got a few photos. There were an amazing
three (3) Laviana White Skipper at the Library garden, and an Orange-barred
Sulphur, male, plus a Monarch.
Nov. 19 ~ In the yard at SR was a Wandering Glider (dragonfly),
another RED RIM (butterfly), and a Pine Siskin flew over.
Nov. 18 ~ At the Corneilius crossing we saw TWO Zebra Longwing
(Heliconian - butterfly) flying along the river. Cypress Hollow had
the winter passerine flock. There was Hermit Thrush, White-crowned
and a FOS White-THROATED Sparrow, a FOS Brown Creeper, two FOS
Song Sparrows, 6 Myrtle and 1 Audubon's types of Yellow-rumped Warblers,
White-eyed Vireo and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2 Pine Siskin, plus
the resident Chickadees and Titmice. Nicely birdy. On W.Sabinal Rd.
there was a small group of 5 Common Ground-Dove. Things are
really winding down at the Library Garden, with perhaps less than
20 butterfly species there now. A Crimson Patch and yet another Sickle-winged
Skipper were nice. Both Rubyspots were at the 360 crossing still,
and there were at least a dozen Autumnal (Yellow-legged) Meadowhawk
dragonflies at just a couple stops, including a pair in wheel, a pair
ovipositing, which was a first for me, and lots of males.
A real surprise was a snake out back here at SR!
Nov. 17 ~ An immature White-crowned Sparrow joined the adult,
which is nominate Eastern type with black lores and pink bill.
A flock of a dozen Eastern Bluebird went over going west in the a.m..
A Monarch thermaled westward late in the p.m..
Nov. 16 ~ An adult White-crowned Sparrow showed up at the seed.
At least two Juncos (Slate-colored) are in the "Chippy" flock.
A Field Sparrow has been with it too, but no Clay-colored.
Twas a chilly upper 30's maybe 40 on the ridges this morning,
the coolest since sometime in spring, probably April.
Chihuahuan Ravens daily last week, or three.
Nov. 15 ~ It does appear the pair of Kestrels here at SR
are returnees, in for another winter. A real treat late
in the afternoon was a PEREGRINE Falcon overhead!
I thought sure I heard the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird!?!
Nov. 14 ~ A flock of 50 Sandhill Cranes passed over SR at 5 p.m.,
a half hour ahead of the front and northerlies. Earlier a
White-tipped Black (moth) flew across the yard. I had a quick
look at what appeared to be a Yellow Angled-Sulphur in the yard.
Winds at 15-20 with gusts to 30 or so. More Taurid meteors.
Nov. 13 ~ Heard Barn owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, and Poor-will.
Saw about 8 Taurids (meteors) and heard 4 passerine migrants
that sounded like sparrows. Long-tailed Skipper out front.
Nov. 12 ~ Monarch and Queen passed through yard, not as nice
as the male Orange-barred Sulphur that did so though !!
At the library garden were 3 Longtailed Skippers, and
2 Dorante's Longtails, the latter new for the garden list !!
The Anoles there (the "chameleons" of the pet store) have
reaked havoc with the butterflies the last couple weeks,
just hanging out on the blooming flowers eating everything
that lands. You'd have to stand there and get a photo of
anything rare quick, because it will be eaten in no time.
There was a 20", 2.5 pound Channel Cat at UP. He's here now.
Nov. 10 ~ A different Julia Longwing (Heliconian - butterfly) was
at the Library Garden, without a tear in the wing, but it didn't
cooperate for photos.
Nov. 9 ~ Another RED RIM (butterfly) flew through the yard today !!
A male Cinnamon Teal coming out of eclipse was at Cook's Slough
in Uvalde, besides a lot of wintering ducks like Lesser Scaup,
Shoveller, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, a Redhead, and Coots.
Signs of winter on the way. The ducks are returning ! There was
a Harris's Hawk over Hwy. 90 west of Knippa.
Nov. 7 ~ A pair of Common Ground-Dove has showed up at the seed.
Nov. 6 ~ Audubon's Oriole, hitting the hummer feeder on the cooler
mornings. Taped the Hutton's Vireo singing. I can assure you these
recent hill country colonizers (since 1990) are not the west coast
populations from CA or the western mountain ones in AZ. These sound
very different from either of those types. A Field Sparrow klepto-
parasitized a HY (hatch year - or juvenile, by now nearly first winter)
Chipping Sparrow. Grabbing a stem with seeds on it out of its beak,
15' out the window while I was watching it in my binocs ! Very cool
behavior to see. It's called birdwatching for a reason. :):)
Nov. 5 ~ Kathy heard a Barn Owl while star watching. Chihuahuan
Ravens are daily and I keep forgetting to mention it. Pair, singles.
Nov. 4 ~ The Julia was still at the Lantana patch in a front yard
in town, in someone's yard who I am thankful for ! I was the nerd
staring into the Lantanas outside your fence ! Sorry and thanks !!
It was eclipsed by the TWO-BARRED FLASHER at the Library Garden,
the first we've seen locally in four years here. Bain Walker had
one a couple springs ago at Lost Maples, and they get seen rarely
over at Concan, and I saw one in Uvalde last spring, but this one
was nectaring, and posed for pictures !! See below. There was
a Green Kingfisher at UP. The are now 75 Chipping Sparrows now at
the seed pile here at SR, as well as continuing Hutton's Vireo,
and the Audubon's Oriole whistled a bit.
Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) at Library Garden, Utopia.
The blue all glows like the lit up part on the right, in the sun.
Nov. 3 ~ One each Monarch and Queen flew by the yard going westish.
A RINGED Kingfisher was at UP, the first since last winter. Also
there was an FOS WINTER Wren, eastern type by call and colors.
TWO Zebra Longwing butterflies flew upriver (north) in a half hour.
At a front yard patch of Lantana in town was our first JULIA
Longwing (butterfly) nectaring, which obliged for photos.
Two species of longwings here at once in early Nov. is amazing!
Up Jones Cemetary Rd at the 2nd cattle guard there was a flock
of "winter passerines" (landbirds). A dozen Eastern Bluebirds,
Vesper and Savanah Sparrows, a dozen Myrtle and 3 Audubon's type
Yellow-rumped Warblers, and I thought I heard a Pine Warbler. There
were also 4 PINE SISKIN there. Most was coming into the bath at
the house there. Another flock down above the 1st cattle guard
had a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, in Bandera Co. of course. Also
Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-eyed Vireo.
On County Line Rd. there was a FOS SAY'S PHOEBE. At the
1050 bridge there was a Black Phoebe, so with a few Easterns,
all 3 Phoebes were seen today.
Nov. 2 ~ There was a pair of Variegated Meadowhawk (dragonflies) in
tandem (hooked up) out front, and the Great Spreadwing (damnselfly)
continues. Hutton's Vireo still daily too, and a Great Blue Heron
flew over SR.
November 1 ~ NOVEMBER !?!?! Here's a quick review of the fall
FOS dates in the last week plus of October, once a cold front
hits... it's pretty interesting to watch the birds return.
Oct. 30 ~ Bald Eagle
Oct. 29 ~ Golden-crowned Kinglet,
Oct. 28 ~ American (Water) Pipit, Pied-billed Grebe,
Oct. 27 ~ White-crowned Sparrow,
Oct. 26 ~ Pine Siskin, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
Oct. 25 ~ Black-throated Gray Warbler,
Oct. 24 ~ Slate-colored Junco
Oct. 23 ~ Hermit Thrush,
Oct. 31 ~ The most unpredictable local resident, a Canyon Towhee
was near the dump. Exceedingly rare since the freezes of last
winter, a Green Kingfisher was at UP in the afternoon. The
last day in November when I saw 5, now seems more amazing,
since I haven't seen five since then. Chihuahuan Raven daily.
Oct. 30 ~ Today a great yard bird soared over SR, an immature
BALD EAGLE ! About a one year old, which slowly drifted
northeast toward the valley floor. A Pyrrhuloxia was at SR too.
October is THE month they seem to be all over, moving around.
The Hutton's Vireo is still around the yard.
Oct. 29 ~ Today's FOS was Golden-crowned Kinglet in the yard (SR).
An Audubon's Oriole was singing a bit. Got cool, and they're back
visiting a hummer feeder I suppose. Thought I heard the male
Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Chipping Sparrow flock up to 50 now.
Oct. 28 ~ The FOS Pipit was over the Library Garden, where TWO
hummingbirds continue. One bent-bill Ruby-throat, and I think
the other (chased off) was the Selasphorus from the other day.
There were also a couple White-tipped Black Moths there.
A half dozen White-crowned Sparrows were along W.Sabinal Rd.'s
nice hedgerows. Heard Chihuahuan Raven there and at SR today. You
can tell it is Autumn when the Autumnal Meadowhawks (dragonflies)
return. The FOS were 3 males today at UP. A Pied-billed Grebe
was also a FOS there today. Great Spreadwing (damselfly) at SR.
Oct. 27 ~ The FOS of the day in the yard at SR was an immature
White-crowned Sparrow. Hutton's Vireo continues calling lots.
Oct. 26 ~ MY FOS local Pine Siskin flew over calling "GEEE",
this a.m. at SR. A Uvalde run netted ZERO Scissor-tailed
Flycatchers on the wires, but tons of Western Meadowlarks
are back in for the winter. Another FOS was a beautiful
male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Clayton Grade that came
into pishing well.
Oct. 25 ~ At SR a Myrtle type Warbler, the adult male
Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Spotted Towhee, and at dusk
I heard half a dozen chips from a Black-throated Gray Warbler,
but couldn't see it in the dark. They have a flat slow
chip unlike any other warbler. (For the doubters, note
there have been times when my Black-throated Gray counts
lead the nation on CBC's). Heavy Screech-Owl calling.
Oct. 24 ~ Finally saw the adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird,
at the feeders, but there are some crickets with nearly an
identical frequency making detection more difficult.
The FOS for the day (ya gotta love it when it first gets
cold and all the "old friends" are showing up for the winter,
with a new one each day almost) was a Junco (Slate-colored).
A Myrtle type Warbler was around, and 2 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers
that have been on SR since the 15th were still there. The
Great Spreadwing (damselfly) was still in the yard, and an
Hackberry Emperor was too. Poor-will-UP's still shouting.
Oct. 23 ~ 4th day without seeing a hummer at the house. Wow !
Still think I am hearing the Broad-tail though. The new fall
arrival for the day was the FOS Hermit Thrush bathing at dusk.
Have to wonder if it is one of the ones that did it all winter
last year. 5 Chihuahuan Ravens at SR. At the Library Garden was
a stunning male Great Purple Hairstreak, which allowed for photos.
About the 6th Sickle-winged Skipper there this fall and the
curve-billed Ruby-throated Hummingbird (since Oct. 18) remains.
At SR, saw an American Rubyspot and a Great Spreadwing
damselflies), plus still Coyote Cloudywing fly-bys. And wow,
the lows were upper 30's on valley floor, about 40 on ridges.
Oct. 22 ~ Front passed about 3 a.m. or so. Maybe a quarter inch
of rain, but 20-40 knot winds, temps dropping to 40's, with a
high of 60. The first major cold front of fall has arrived.
A few Monarchs and 1 Queen passed late. A or the female
Audubon's Warbler continues around the hovel. 3 Chihuahuan
Ravens today, and after dark two Poor-wills dueled loudly, close
by with their "Poor-will-UP" calls.
Oct. 21 ~ I heard only and did not see a Red-breasted Nuthatch
today at SR. No hummers seen at house for over 48 hours now,
though I thought I heard the Broad-tailed a couple times.
A deformed billed Ruby-throated Hummer continues at the
Library Garden, since at least Oct. 18. Also there was an
Arizona Sister and a Zebra Longwing (Heliconian) (butterflies).
Two Chihuahuan Raven and Hutton's Vireo at SR.
It was a toasty 88 degrees for a high today, and way too humid.
Oct. 20 ~ Of interest at SR was a late immature or female Bunting
that I only saw well in short flight, but it had two white wingbars,
so was a Lazuli (unless a probably less-likely hybrid). At the
Library Garden was the continuing probable Rufous Hummingbird,
a Sicklewinged Skipper, and an amazingly late date for two
freshly fledged (JUST out of the nest) Mourning Doves (ph.).
Eastern (Mexican) Screech-Owl calling lots in the draw at SR.
Oct. 19 ~ The highlight at the hovel on SR was a Long-billed Thrasher,
right out the window, nearly straight down at times. One Ruby-
throated Hummingbird was still present in the a.m., and a female
Audubon's type Warbler moved around. Of interest was at the
Library Garden, a Selasphorus Humming bird, which looked like Rufous,
that is the first *non* feeder (WILD) one I have seen here.
Oct. 18 ~ Only one Ruby-throat seemed to be around the house
now, and two were still at the Library garden. The FOS Vesper
Sparrow was on the tele pole early a.m.. Crimson Patch in the
yard and two at the library garden was a nice showing of this
stunning butterfly. A dozen Monarchs were seen early in the a.m.
but none all day until early evening, when maybe a hundred
passed over southbound. They are a bit tardy this year.
An Audubon's type Yellow-rumped Warbler lifted off at dusk.
The butterfly garden at the library is really hitting stride
finally this year. While the truck was at the shop for an hour,
I walked through and saw at least 39 species of butterflies there.
Best were Zebra, Mexican Yellow, Sickle-winged Skipper, Western
Pygmy-Blue. There were 75 Sleepy Orange, 60 Clouded Skipper,
20 Cloudless Sulphur, to give you an idea of the numbers.
Also a White-tipped Black and a Ctenuca (moths) were there.
I went to UP to try again for that rare Slough Amberwing.
There it was. I climbed out on a cypress root, with my
net handle in a 3/4" piece of PVC to give me a couple more
feet of reach, and after several attempts, caught the beast.
OH BOY in the hand photos to prove it !! I got it out of the
net, got my camera on it and took a shot, and it escaped
my grip. I check the picutre, and the auto focus chose the
ground instead of the insect in between my fingers !! Still,
I think you can see enough marks to prove it. But methinks
he'll be a bit nervous when he sees me and my net next time.
Interestingly there was a female amberwing with it that was
ovipositing on a floating branch that it was guarding so I
think the female was a Slough as well, but it disappeared
before I could get a shot.
Oct. 17 ~ When does this 90 degrees stuff stop? When it freezes?
Another migrant group of Turkey Vultures passed over SR, about
50 birds, with an un-ID smaller raptor with them, which I thought
was probably a Peregrine Falcon. The (?) Crimson Patch flew by
or through the yard twice today.
Oct. 16 ~ Today there were a couple FOS birds: Spotted Towhee,
and Myrtle Warbler both passed through the SR yard, as did
a Crimson Patch (butterfly). The 2 Ruby-throats continue to
fight over the 8 feeders spread out over 3000 sq. feet !
Broad-tail and Allen's continue as well. The Chipping Sparrow
flock is now 25 birds. A southbound kettle of migrant
Turkey vultures passed over (about 30 birds). One Scissor-
tailed Flycatcher was in the yard.
Oct. 15 ~ Back at UP since the rare dragonfly wouldn't come
close enough for my net, I photographed it through the telescope
hopefully showing the key marks (red veins on the wings)
proving the first Uvalde Co. record. A Tailed Orange (butterfly)
was at the library garden (ph.), and an amazing total of
a hundred Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were on the wires about
mid-Seco Ridge. They flock up in fall and winter. Most were
males with full big tails. Also had a FOS Yellow-shafted Flicker,
a pure male at SR in the afternoon. However all of this was pale
in comparison to what happened at 1:30 p.m.. I was outside under
a juniper when I heard Martin type call notes. Of course
Martins have been gone over a month, but it stood out more
than that for the fact that it did not sound anything like a
Purple Martin. I didn't have binocs on unfortunately, but
got a good look at the bird while it soared overhead. It was
in size, shape and structure a miniature Martin. Vocally it
was clearly not a Purple. The calls were muffled, flat,
trilled rolls, quite unlike anything I've ever heard from a
Purple. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was another
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN. Without audio tape of the call I don't
know how you would get one passed by the rare bird experts.
It would likely be suggested it was a runt, but that wouldn't
affect vocalizations, which is what you need to prove this,
unless you find one perched for photographs (not likely).
I went to our local swallow magnet, UP, and drove around for
a couple hours and couldn't come with anything. I did hear my
FOS Barn Owl late in the evening.
Oct. 14 ~ Still Hutton's Vireo here, and the 3 hummingbird
species. A Sickle-winged Skipper was new for the yard on the
Eupatorum. Also new for the yard was a fly-by Zebra Longwing.
At the library garden was a Longtailed Skipper, and at the Sr.Ctr.
Lantana were 2 White-striped Longtails. Kathy found the
Amberwing dragonfly I found 3 weeks ago at UP, and we got some
poor pictures, but the beast is absolutely a SLOUGH Amberwing,
which will be the second hill country record and first Uvalde Co.
record ever, if I could catch or photograph it showing the marks.
Oct. 13 ~ The 3 hummingbird species continue, but only a
couple Ruby-throats remain, but still fighting over 8 feeders!
Oct. 12 ~ Amazingly a pair of Lesser Goldfinch brought ANOTHER
batch of just fledged begging young in today. Late brood.
A Zebra Longwing (Heliconian) butterfly was in front of
Montana Rocasa, and another was at the library garden. Also
there was Coyote Cloudywing, White-striped Longtail, a hundred
Clouded Skipper, a Celia's Roadside-skipper, and at the dam
at the park was a Viceroy and a Prince Baskettail (dragonfly).
Oct. 11 ~ At the same time together all bathing at once
was Orange-crowned Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and the
Hutton's Vireo which splash bathes like other vireos, but
floats for a moment flapping instead of just an instant
splash dive and out. The Chipping Sparrow flock is up to
a dozen now. The Allen's, Broad-tailed, and 3-4 Ruby-throats
continue. Losts of good butterflies around like the
Crimson Patch on our Eupatorum, an Eastern Tailed Blue,
Coyote Cloudywing fly-bys still, 3 Monarch at the Library
garden, where a Ruby-throated Hummingbird also continues.
A male Great Spreadwing was in the SR yard. A Merlin flying
southward in the afternoon appeared to take a dragonfly.
Oct. 10 ~ The big news today is that the immature male
Selasphorus hummingbird present since Oct. 2 did some
display flights. It is absolutely positively an ALLEN's
Hummingbird since it did 3 dives all of which started in
the same exact place. Rufous display dive moves the starting
point of the dive each time instead of returning to the
same exact point to start the dive. Had 5 Swainson's Hawks
going south but diving on dragonflies for food as they went.
Also a late group of 11 Barn Swallows went over southbound.
Some good yard butterflies were another RED RIM, and a
Laviana White-Skipper, plus a Texan Crescent came into the
blooming Eupatorum (white type). In the a.m. there were
only 4 Ruby-throats and p.m. only 2 were left. The adult
male Broad-tailed Hummer continues. A Monarch was at the
Library garden, as were a couple Whirlabouts (skippers).
Oct. 9 ~ A couple Yellow-rumped Warblers called as they flew
over southbound, were Audubon's type. Late-ish were 2 Dickcissels
that flew over southbound early a.m.. A new butterfly for the
yard was a Zilpa Longtail that flew right by and around me.
About 8 Ruby-throats in the morning was 2 by late afternoon.
They are diurnal migrants and often tank up and split early
in the day.
Oct. 8 ~ Still (!) Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passing through.
At dusk pair of Caracara landed in a snag 150 meters from our
porch but seeing me made 'em too nervous to roost. There
was a flock of at least 30 Swainson's Hawks with ten Turkey
Vultures flying south late in the day. Also at 6:30 p.m.
the FOS Sandhill Cranes (14) were seen going south down the
valley. The imm. male Selasphorus, adult male Broad-tailed,
and 2 doz (a.m.) to 1 doz. (p.m.) Ruby-throats continue.
Oct. 7 ~ Yesterday's passerines (little land birds) and
hummingbirds were still around. We met an "old-timer"
(expert) TX lepidopterist Terry Doyle for some butterfly
hunting locally. A few birds were seen of interest at
Cypress Hollow: a Yellow-breasted Chat, a Wilson's Warbler,
and Kathy spotted a Black Witch (6+" moth) we flushed.
Terry found a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar there too.
We had a Belted Kingfisher at the 360 crossing, and
a least a hundred Mestra (butterfly).
Oct. 6 ~ Amazingly the adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird
is still present, as is the imm. male Selasphorus, and a
dozen Ruby-throats. Around the hovel was Ruby-crowned Kinglet,
Hutton's Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Orange-crowned Warbler.
Saw four Monarchs flying due south over the day.
Oct. 5 ~ Heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hutton's Vireo was
singing here at SR. In the a.m. there were 2-3 dozen
Ruby-throats, and in the p.m., maybe a dozen. They are
leaving folks!. We made a Uvalde run, and counted about
75 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers down 187 and on 90, and a
few Shrikes are back.
Oct. 4 ~ The imm. male Selasphorus continues. About 3 dozen
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds also continue. A couple Monarchs
flew by southbound. A White-tipped Black (moth) was in the
Oct. 3 ~ In the a.m. a Greater Yellowlegs flew over
SR calling. A couple of possibly returning wintering
raptors were roosting at SR this evening. A pair of
Kestrels, and a Merlin. Will have to see if they stick,
or were passing through. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was about
today. By this evening it was clear it got something,
with its full crop. Still Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and
White-eyed vireo here at SR. A female Orange-barred
Sulphur (big beautiful butterfly) briefly stopped on some
flowers out back. The Rufous/Allen's is still here, as
are about 50 Ruby-throats, including 2 adult males still.
The Chippy flock doubled to 6 birds. Looks innocent enough.
They got 300 buddies on the way behind them. Last three
days there have been a few Coyote Cloudywings passing each day.
Oct. 2 ~ Astounding was a falcon I spotted as it came in from
the north not to high up at SR. I couldn't figure it out for
the longest time, what seemed an eternity to me, since there are
only 4 choices normally, and I know them inside out. Finally
as it got right overhead I saw it was an APLOMADO FALCON !!
That explains that ridiculously long dark tail, and sickle-shaped
wings. I ran inside and grabbed the binocs, and bolted out
the front door to see it circled, so I got it in my bins,
and watched it stoop, and take a Black Saddlebags dragonfly
right out of the air, and then soar in circles southward
while eating it. We must consider that the remnants of
Hurricane Lorenzo just made landfall in Mexico Friday
(Vera Cruz) and a huge band of its moisture flew off as it
fell apart and hit south and coastal TX Sat. and Sunday,
raining into the hill country directly from Lorenzo moisture,
which was strong enough to cause waterspouts in Corpus Christi.
Whether or not it was a real wild bird, or one from the hacked
population from coastal S. TX is anybody's guess. It was
an Aplomado Falcon. It was downhill after that for the day.
But, there was a Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allen's)
amongst some 50 Ruby-throats which have built up again
a bit. The last days of the last wave. A different
Whirlabout (skipper) was at the Sabinal Canyon Museum lantanas
today. Unfortunate was the hit (roadkill) Hog-nosed skunk
on Main St. today. Canyon Towhee sang again this evening.
Oct. 1 ~ October !?!?! I went to bed with over 91 species of
butterflies on my monthly butterfly list, and woke up with zero! :)
As for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, there has been a little
bump in them the last few days, with at least three dozen birds
present at 8 or 9 feeders, all each guarded by one jerk (immature
males - surprised?), so we have to cluster 4-5 feeders together to
break down territoriality. One adult male was seen still today.
They are packing on their last fat layer to burn for the flight to
Mexico and beyond. Anything that stays until the cold front next
Sunday or Monday, will leave on the northerlies right behind it.
The most unpredictable bird here, Canyon Towhee, sang a bit at dusk.
A note about the September news:
Apologies for all the butterflies mentioned (below), particularly
in September, but as fall bird migration is what I would term
relatively as "exceedingly weak" here, (from having birded falls
on east, west, and TX Gulf coasts), one must get excited about
whatever life forms present themselves to us. Here, the
butteflies peak from August to October. But generally opposite the
situation with birds, they are north(-ish)bound wanderers from Mexico
that create all the excitement with rarities. Each year
different species move north, and no two years will be the same.
That is why it is valueable to record numbers and species
from the same place over an extended period of time. It is
in many ways, the most basic, and rewarding, of field research.
I ended up seeing 92 species of butterflies around Utopia
just in the month of September. On a tank of gas. Plus a couple
un-ID'd skippers. Over at Concan during fall Nature Quest,
Derek Muschalek found about 6 or 7 species I didn't see here
locally, so expanding the area slightly, there were surely
a hundred species of butterflies from Concan to Utopia,
in September, alone. Pretty darn good diversity methinks.
Probably the current butterfly boom is a response to the 4' of rain
and resulting increase in vegetation, flowers, bloom time, etc..
Anyway, now for the September news...
Sept. 30 ~ At the SR yard a Nashville Warbler was in the liveoak
out back this a.m.. Still daily Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, still
White-eyed Vireo. Along 356 in Bandera Co. we photographed
a Dorante's Longtail (Skipper) which will be a 1st Bandera Co.
record, though I've seen many, just never able to prove it.
Ah, that darn science. Have to be able to prove everything.
But that is how it works, and it is for the best. That way
loose cannon reports don't become part of the official record.
Most exciting was a MOURNING Warbler that flushed out of the
Sabinal Canyon Museum lantana patch as we pulled up to check it
for butterflies. We got good looks at it as it worked down
the fence line. Late in the afternoon back at SR I saw a
FOS PEREGRINE Falcon from the front porch, in a hurry as usual.
Probably 2 dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders here.
Finally, at 6:30 p.m., as my butterfly month was coming to a
close, my best ever month for diversity here, I saw something
flopping around from the window. It bounced over to a
juniper and landed... a Common Wood-Nymph !! First one I've
seen all year. It let me get pix on top of that while it sat
and sunned for 10 minutes! What a beauty! I presume y'all
are noticing the Kestrels are back on the wires?
Wow, two individual warblers today, must be fall migration!?!? :)
Sept. 29 ~ Hutton's Vireo calling lots in the yard. At UP there
were 6 of those big Underwing moths with brown hindwings.
A Red-spotted Purple was puddling there. Along 356 from the
crossing into Bandera Co., there were some good butterflies:
Tropical Checkered-Skippers, Common Sootywing lots of Tawny Emperors,
50 Mestra, but the clouds kept things down a bit. At the SCM
lantanas the Long-tailed Skipper was back, and obliged for pictures.
(Look on the butterflies "main page"). One Whirlabout was
amongst many Fiery and other regular Skippers. No migrant birds.
Heard the wing trill of the Broad-tailed Hummer again today.
More Coyote Cloudywings scattered, most seemingly moving on.
Sept. 28 ~ Adult male Broad-tailed Hummingbird still here sluggin'
it out with a dozen plus imm. male Ruby-throats for the sugar buzz.
Many hundreds, and surely thousands of Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)
dragonflies were passing southward over SR today, all day.
Amongst them were 2 Kestrels migrating south, probably living on
them, a Swainson's Hawk, and one Cooper's Hawk. The White-eyed
Vireo is still around at SR. About 4 p.m. I found a Long-tailed
Skipper at the Sabinal Canyon Museum lantanas.
Sept. 27 ~ A couple Desert Checkered-Skippers in the driveway were
neat. More Coyote Cloudywings and Leafwing flying by. Highlight
of the day was an adult male BROAD-TAILED Hummingbird with full
wing whistle. It was chased off by one of the few dang immature
male Ruby-throats left. Hopefully it will return. Have to wonder
if the immature male that wintered last year will return (as an adult)
this year....if so it would be any time now.... There is this one
jerk of an imm. male Ruby-throat that is guarding 4 feeders spread out
over a couple thousand square feet!! Chasing off rarer birds !
A few Poor-wills are still calling nightly. I also heard the
che-dit again this morning, back by the oriole feeder, in the same
place as yesterday morning. Of course it is not likely a Kinglet
would be in the same place near a hummer feeder two mornings in a row.
I went after the sound, and never could find a Kinglet, which is
excellent evidence the source was indeed a Broad-billed Hummingbird.
It is the THIRD one I've heard around Utopia, but never yet been
able to see one!
Sept. 26 ~ Twice I heard a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH outside this a.m.!
I didn't go chasing after it, but there is nothing that yank yank yanks
like them. I also heard a "chi-dit" which is either a Ruby-crowned
Kinglet or a Broad-billed Hummingbird. Couldn't find anything though.
The couple Scott's Orioles are still around, and there are now three
Chipping Sparrows here, 1% of the winter flock. A warbler flew off
that sounded like Orange-crowned, and the female Painted Bunting continues.
More Coyotoe Cloudywings, a Black Swallowtail, a Southern Broken-Dash
were some of the butterflies in the yard, but all was overshadowed
by a GRAY MINISTREAK on the ground briefly, but not long enough for pix.
Shortly after sundown when the moon came up I was scoping at it and
saw a number of migrant birds fly across it, besides the many bats
and large insects. One was a heron or egret, there was a kingbird,
another looked like a moorhen, and another probably a cuckoo. Best
maybe was what was probaly a large gull, like a Herring, or a big
Jaeger maybe. You only get a few flaps in silhouette, but you'd be
amazed what you can see. The first couple hours after moonrise are
best, so you are looking across lots of low altitude sky.
Sept. 25 ~ Wow, more hawk migration! I thought that hawk yesterday was it.
Then this morning an Osprey flew south over SR. And, I saw my first
Sharp-shinned Hawk of the fall too, but it was diving on doves in the trees.
The bird of the day landed in the liveoak right out back while I was
sitting on the porch staring at it wondering why there wasn't a good
bird in it: female WESTERN TANAGER ! First for me in Uvalde Co., or
the Sabinal River Valley area. Called a few times too. Very cool.
It's like seeing an old friend, since I grew up with them.
A couple Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passed through the yard. A Chihuahuan
Raven was near the dump. At the house was a White-striped Longtail,
a Coyote Cloudywing, and 2 Coyotoe Cloudywings were found dead in
the window at Canyon Services. They are abundant now locally. I'm
seeing a few or more every day.
Sept. 24 ~ At SR there were still Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passing through,
a White-eyed Vireo, and for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, 1 adult male,
and about 6 immature males. A Common Ground-Dove was calling around.
Sept. 23 ~ A female Painted Bunting is in the yard here at SR.
We stopped at the park and saw a dozen Orange-striped Threadtails.
Along 356 again working the frostweed patches for butterflies
in Bandera County, first we saw an Orange-barred Sulphur, and then
a YELLOW ANGLED-SULPHUR came in close (8') and circled for a moment.
That would be a new county record if I had been able to photo or net it!
I've seen 4 in Bandera Co., but they are so fast you don't get a chance.
Then at Cypress Hollow I found a male BLUE-EYED SAILOR (Dynamine dyonis)
and got photos, for a first Bandera County record, and one of few for
the hill country, for this rarity from Mexico. That's about as exciting
as it gets butterfly hunting. The dorsal surface is metallic neon
gold-dreen, and lights up like a hummingbird when light hits it at
just the right angle. Like many stunning butterflies, they sit with
their wings closed ! Also there at the wet spots next to the bridge
were dozens of butterflies, including a Tropical Leafwing, which I
forgot to photo while explaining differences from Goatweed. I had
forgotten documentation was still needed for Bandera County !
Over the day we saw at least 25 Goatweed Leafwings, the most ever
in a day, by factors, but only this one positive Tropical.
Up at the Cornielius crossing we had a number
of butterflies puddling (drinking minerals at wet seeps). Amongst
one group of 7 Little Yellows was one MIMOSA Yellow. Just south of
there, we saw a group of 30 late Chimney Swifts, seemingly smashing
into tree limbs, almost like trying to land on them. I could not
detect any feeding type motion or behavior. Never seen anything like it.
Our annual fall hawk migration occurred at 7 p.m. or so, when an
immature Broad-winged Hawk landed on the hill at SR. That was fall hawk
migration here folks. Hope you enjoyed it. :) Corpus Christi gets nearly
a million hawks in fall and we're almost lucky to get any.
Blue-eyed Sailor (Dynamine dyonis) at Cypress Hollow, Bandera Co..
Sept. 22 ~ We saw THREE Red Rims around Utopia today ! One on SR
at the end of the first loop, then another flew across Main St. (!)
and finally I saw one IN MY BINOCS on 356 IN BANDERA COUNTY, a half
mile north of the bridge. I ran after it with net, but it got away.
It is the first time one has been seen in Bandera Co.. See the
picture of one below (on Sept. 13) from Uvalde. The Red Rim invasion continues!
There was black form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail there too.
Right at the bridge we saw an Anole grab a dragonfly as it perched !
Then on SR was my first cooperative GREAT PURPLE HAIRSTREAK of the
couple per year I see, that let me get great shots of
this stunning fancy beauty, finally, finally. Took seeing ten of 'em to get
a single chance for a picture. If you could only see their dorsal surface.
One of America's most beautiful butterflies. At the SR yard today there were
Hutton's and White-eyed Vireo, 2 Scott's Oriole (probably the young
from the local family - the imm. male sang). White-striped and
Dorante's Longtails were in the yard too. There are only two
adult male and about 6 imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds left.
Great Purple Hairstreak (Atildes halesus) at Seco Ridge
Sept. 21 ~ The highlight today was a JULIA Heliconian (butterfly)
in the Frostweed at Utopia on the River. Finally, the first one
I've seen in nearly 4 years here. Didn't get a chance with net
or camera at it though. Then at the Co.Rd. 360 Xing at the river
there was a WHITE-M Hairstreak on some Frostweed. There was a
Yellow-billed Cuckoo that flew over Main St. in town.
At UP was a male SLOUGH AMBERWING dragonfly, that was too far to
photo or net, but I saw it well in my binocs for 10 minutes.
Then out over the pond was a large "Mosaic Darner", that
looked to me to be closest to Turquoise-tipped Darner.
A Coyote Cloudywing flew across the yard late in the p.m.,
and a Nysa Roadside-Skipper was at the Eupatorum.
A couple more Blue-gray Gnatcatcher passed through the yard.
While there were a couple dozen Ruby-throats at the feeders
in the morning, the last few hours of light was a shock,
with only a few birds present. WOW !! I haven't seen this few
hummers here in an evening since last early March. WOW !!
Sept. 19 ~ A Chihuahuan Raven was at SR, and another was on
W.Sabinal Rd.. A Baltimore Oriole was at Cypress Hollow, where
there was also a ZILPA Longtail (butterfly) (poor photo). The
yard had a Mexican Yellow and better a Silver-spotted Skipper.
Seemed like only about 25 Ruby-throats today. They'll soon
be gone till next April.
Sept. 18 ~ A Long-tailed Skipper flew across the yard. Firefly
are still about in numbers... another Blue-gray Gnatcat and a White-eyed
Vireo were migrants passing through. The juvenile Rufous-crowned
Sparrow is now getting a rufous crown, but is still completely
streaked below, but getting less so above with first basic coming in.
At least 3 Poor-will were calling this evening.
Maybe 50 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds still here at SR.
Sept. 17 ~ Twice I saw a CALLIOPE Hummingbird (imm. or female)
at the feeders today. Probably 50-75 Ruby-throats here.
Still migrant Summer Tanager and Blue-gray Gnatcats in the yard.
An American Rubyspot (damselfly) also crossed the yard at SR.
From Sept 14-16 ~ Nature Quest notes ~
Some other things found on Nature Quest on other walks included
some great butterlfies by Derek Muschalek, mostly around
Concan or at Garner St. Pk.. The Frostweed is really roaring
now so keep eyes on it especially. He turned up over a few days
of concerted knowledgeable effort: JULIA and ZEBRA Heliconians,
MALACHITE, 5 RED RIM (at Rancho Estrella), Two-barred Flasher,
Zilpa Longtail, Mimosa Yellow, Common Wood Nymph, and a number
of other goodies amongst about 65 species in 3 days.
Up at Big Spring Ranch Tony Gallucci had still singing
Louisiana Waterthrush Sept. 15!
Sept. 16 ~ Another Nature Quest walk, this at the Uvalde National
Fish Hatchery. We got decent looks at the Paddlefish there.
Also had 3 Baird's Sandpipers, a Black-necked Stilt, and a few
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. But most amazing was 2 BLUE JAY
in the mesquite (!) which I got an obscured but ID'able
digiscope of one of the birds. First hatchery record. Lots
of Dickcissels, an imm. Painted Bunting, a Nashville Warbler.
Then a quick drive through Ft. Inge yielded another 4 RED RIM
butterflies, Curve-billed Thrasher, Long-billed Thrasher, Verdin,
Cactus Wren, Couch's Kingbird, and Olive-sided Flycatcher.
Sept. 15 ~ A walk at Cook's Slough with Nature Questers saw plenty
of nature. 5 RED RIM butterfly were a standout, as was a Merlin
that dove on Cave Swallows. A Tree Swallow, a nice migrant Oriole
flock, and the large Common Grackle flock (a hundred birds) were
also seen. One Little Blue Heron, a Lark Bunting, and FOUR
Groove-billed Ani were seen by all. As I was leaving House Pasture
I briefly saw a GOLD-SPOTTED AGUNA at their ornamental zinnias!
(See below for a picture of the Red Rim).
Sept. 14 ~ An afternoon stop at Cook's Slough to help Ken Cave
with Nature Quest, I netted (literally) a STRAW-COLORED SYLPH
(dragonfly) which was photographed in the hand. A rarity very
scarce in the U.S., and I saw a number of others there. We
also saw a Groove-billed Ani and a large flock of Common Grackle.
A stop at the Sabinal cutoff pond a mile N. of Hwy. 90 yielded
3 Least and 2 Barid's Sandpipers, 2 Wilson's Snipe, and Blue-wing Teal.
Straw-colored Sylph (Macrothemis inacuta) at Cook's Slough
Thanks to Tony Gallucci for help with identification.
Sept 13. ~ Amazing was a RED RIM (Biblis hyperia) butterfly that
flew across the yard at SR. It is a very fancy black butterfly
with a red bar across the rear wings (but none on the forewings
like the common Red Admiral found here). There is a northward
invasion this year. You can never tell which species will move
in any given year, and these are as fancy and rare as you can
Red Rim (Biblis hyperia) in Uvalde Sept. 07
Sept. 12 ~ Still a couple Upland Sandpipers calling as they head
south at daybreak. Still Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passing through,
still an immature Black-chinned Hummingbird, but different was
some Cave Swallows flying over going north. And an Audubon's Oriole
was singing some. 3 Red-shouldered Hawks were southbound migrants.
There were also southbound Monarchs (for the 4th day in a row)
and lots of southbound Black, and Red, Saddlebags (dragonflies).
A few Green Darners and Wandering Gliders mixed in too.
Perhaps a hundred Ruby-throats today, with a very fall-like
low of 65 and high of 84.
Sept. 11 ~ A juvenile Canyon Towhee was around out front, looking
just as surprised as they always do. Probably the bird of the
month say within 25 miles as the kite soars was at Big Springs
Ranch north of Leakey on the Frio this morning in the drizzle.
Tony Gallucci found a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE perched in a Cypress
along the river! I put them with albatross as a flier, one
that will make the uninitiated realize how cool birds are.
Sept. 9 ~ A walk up to the ponds at Lost Maples found a few
warblers: single Yellow, Wilson's, Nashville, Orange-crowned,
and a Waterthrush of some sort (prob. LA). Also Hutton's Vireo
and Olive-sided Flycatcher. For butterflies there were 3 Red-spotted
Purple and a nice Systasea (Powdered Skipper). There was a
significant hummingbird departure today. FAR fewer at the dusk
melee.... not even a melee anymore for the first time in months.
The dearth of Odes (dragonflies and damselflies) still is shocking
at Lost Maples. A few species of dragons at the pond where there were
over a dozen easily findable the last 3 summers. I believe they were
literally washed away (all the aquatic larvae) in the floods.
Sept. 8 ~ We took a 2 hour look around town and Co.Rd.360, and saw
41 species of butterflies and a Least Flycatcher.
Fewer hummingbirds at home at dusk, must have been a departure day.
Sept. 7 ~ Well I must have missed them the other day, as I saw
2 adult male and 1-2 immature Black-chinned Hummingbirds today.
400-500 Ruby-throats are present.... a half gallon + of sugarwater.
Saw 18 species of butterflies in the yard without trying, so
things should be picking up for them real quick. The fall is
BY FAR the best time for butterflying here with lots of things
from the south pushing north to our area.
Sept. 6 ~ Four green Painted Buntings continue at the seed pile,
as does the imm. male Rufous Hummer at the sugar water.
Best was a moth: a White-tipped Black in the yard.
Sept. 5 ~ Wow a day without rain ! Maybe we'll dry out !
Counted 4 juvenile Painted Buntings at the seed today.
They'll be gone soon. Didn't see a Black-chinned Hummingbird
for sure, for the first time since March. 400+ Ruby-throats.
A TAILED Orange was a rare (lately) butterfly in the yard.
Sept. 4 ~ An amazing FOUR inches of rain today at SR !!
We have to be over four feet for the year now! 400+ Ruby-
throated Hummers at the feeders, and an imm. male Rufous
continues. I thought I saw the imm. male Broad-tail briefly.
At least a couple Black-chinneds continue, but not many.
Sept. 3 ~ 3 juvenile Painted Buntings today and a bit of rain.
At 11 p.m. I heard a small flock of Long-billed Curlews go over,
heading south. Poor-will and Eastern Screech-Owl still singing.
Sept. 2 ~ The immature male Broad-tailed continues but was overshadowed
by two other Selasphorus species: a FOS Calliope put in a brief show,
and an immature male Rufous (getting rufous on back) sat around a lot.
Still a few Black-chins, but 98+% Ruby-throated now.
September 1 ~ SEPTEMBER !?!?! My how time flies when its not a hundred!
Was I the only one up watching the Aurigid Meteor shower before sunup?
Last one in our lives so I figured it was worth a try after the weak
Perseids. It was brief, but a few excellent showings were worthwhile.
There was a good fireball at 5:15, but the highlight during the 10 peak minutes,
at about 6:10-20 a.m., was a triple, which was three consecutive meteors
on the same trajectory (path). Looked like a scene from a space movie.
The daylight highlight was at UP when Kathy spotted a ZEBRA HELICONIAN
(the black and yellow striped butterfly) moving north along the river.
It was the first we have seen here locally in three years, since the
big invasion of 2004. At 11 p.m. I heard a small group of
shorebirds going south I am certain were Black-necked Stilts.
There was a Baltimore Oriole at SR, and a FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher.
A few (5) Yellow Warblers were scattered about town and around.
August 31 ~ Imm. male Broad-tail and Rufous/Allen's still both here.
At least 300 Ruby-throats, and less than 50 Black-chins, maybe only 25.
A Yellow Warbler (wow - a fall migrant warbler!) was on 357. A male
Robin was at the corner of Cypress St. and 1050, right where that
one was in July... weird. Has it been around and not seen? I've been
by there dozens of times and not seen it, and it is early for a migrant.
Has anyone had a Robin around town this summer? We had over an inch
of rain in the afternoon. So that warmish couple weeks was summer? :)
This is a good time of year to watch for migrant birds against the moon,
as we saw a couple/few this evening.
August 30 ~ Still daily jv. Summer Tanagers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers,
Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Screech-Owls, Upland Sandpipers, but the
Black-chins are really thinning out. A dozen males left maybe? There
is an adult male Ruby-throat with R2 and 3 (tail feathers) snow white.
symetrically on both sides. The immature male Broad-tail still here.
August 29 ~ An imm. male Rufous/Allen's Hummer showed up, and the imm. male
Broad-tail continues, but I don't see the female anymore. A dozen
Black-chins and hundreds of Ruby-throats. Driving from town (Utopia)
to the back of SR just after dark and a shower, the road was SOOOO
covered in frogs and toads it was nearly impossible to miss them.
Swerve from one and hit another.
August 28 ~ On 470 in Bandera County, between Little and Seco Creeks,
I saw a family group of Common Ravens, adults with 3 young of the year.
Both Broad-tailed Hummers continue at SR, and a real surprise was a
very late (by date) outburst of call from a Chuck-wills-widow.
August 27 ~ Amazingly an immature male Broad-tailed Hummingbird
showed up, whilst the tailess female continues, so 2 Broad-tails
at once which methinks is pretty good hereabouts. Had a FOS big male
Orange-barred Sulphur (butterfly) fly across the front yard.
August 26 ~ Key excitement was provided by a Red Rim (butterfly)
that flew by late in the afternoon. It is the first I have seen
of this species locally, though a number have been seen in Uvalde.
There seems to be some good butterfly movement underway with
finally some of the annual invaders from the south moving up.
The Mestra numbers are highest in 5 years. Heard a couple Upland
Sandpipers going over southbound at 11 p.m..
August 25 ~ Besides the stuff below, late in the afternoon there was a
Broad-tailess Hummingbird at our feeders. That is a Broad-tailed Hummingbird
without a tail. I got one decent docu shot for evidence.
August 24-25 ~ Both days, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and, Upland Sandpiper again.
One juvenile Painted Bunting remains, as does the male Blue Grosbeak,
and juvenile Summer Tanager. Carolina Wrens still around. 8 Scrub-Jays
in the yard are the adults plus their 3 broods worth of young this year.
The first being "white-wing" which is still present, then a clutch of 2,
and another clutch of 3. Cardinals also have young from 3 nestings here.
Eastern Screech-Owl and Poor-will both still calling nightly.
But, my local nesting flock of Common Nighthawks are gone.
No more booming until late next April. I'll miss 'em.
August 23 ~ A couple dragonflies were highlights in the yard at SR.
I digiscoped a Band-winged Dragonlet, which was chased off by the
first Thornbush Dasher I've seen in the yard. Male Blue Grosbeak still
around and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Upland Sandpiper passing daily too.
A couple Chuck-wills-widow called just after dusk briefly, one with brief
song, the other probably a juvenile begging "gowl" call, both probably the
last time I'll hear them till next April. They'll be gone any day.
We got about a half inch of rain from Hurrican Dean down in Mexico.
August 20 ~ Another (?) juvenile Bullock's Oriole moved through the yard.
Red Satyr continues. Mestra numbers are really increasing quickly.
The FOS Brazillian Skipper was also the first in the yard on the wild
Morning Glory (I think it is) late in the p.m.. Adult male Black-chin
numbers continue to decline, while Ruby-throat numbers increase, and are
now more numerous. Still Blue-gray Gnatcatchers daily.
August 19 ~ I flushed a Black Witch Moth off the back porch this
morning. A huge 6.5" beast of a mostly all dark chocolate giant moth.
Maybe some of y'all have been seeing some too? They might be
found under your eaves. I have rotten banana bait out which
is why I am sure we were lucky enough to attract one here.
It was more butterflies today, over on 356 in Bandera Co. in
all the frogfruit along the road there were at least 20 Skipperlings,
mixed Orange and Southern. One False Duskywing (ph.), a Celia's
Roadside-Skipper (ph.), Clouded Skipper on Scarlet Clematis (ph.),
and a Chihuahuan Raven.
Band-winged Dragonlet (dragonfly) were at the South Little Creek
ponds, and another was on 357 at first turn, on barbed wire fence.
They could show up anywhere. Amongst the nightly flow of dragonflies
flying south was a Four-spotted Pennant, the first I've seen here
at SR (have had a few at the park pond), but clearly moving south
with the flow of other dragonflies. Had some Bushtits too.
August 18 ~ Butterflies are finally starting to pop! Finally!
A Sickle-winged Skipper was at the "dump acacias" and
on the Snow-on-the-mountain around the corner had Ceraunus Blue
and Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak. Texas Wasp Moths are back out.
Pale form female Large Orange Sulphur was there too.
Over on 355 there was a Northern Cloudywing, and the first
Autumnal Meadowhawk (dragonfly) of the year was early. Back at SR
there was a White Angled-Sulphur, and a Nysa Roadside-Skipper.
August 17 ~ Down to a pint of sugar water (hummer food) daily now,
with most of the feeders being gaurded by jerk immature males
and only a few are communal. A number of male Ruby-throats
and lots of immature male Ruby-throats are around, while
numbers of adult male Black-chinneds is way down, and now
most of them are immatures. Should be some storm blown birds around.
A Soldier (Eresimus) at the Library garden was the FOS for me this year.
August 16 ~ Tropical Depression Erin passed over, with a nice
not too hard but steady 3" or so of rain they said in town.
I thought it was more like 4" up on the back of Seco Ridge (SR).
At least two Audubon's Orioles passed through the yard calling.
August 15 ~ The Selasphorus (Rufous/Allen's) Hummingbird remains.
More Ruby-throats showing up, and Black-chins departing.
A Caracara flew over low, eliciting alarms from the Scrub-Jays.
Tropical Storm Erin is forcast to bring rain next couple days.
August 14 ~ Finally I heard the FOS Upland Sandpiper going over
this morning, way tardy for a FOS in fall. Besides the juvenile
Hooded and Scott's Orioles, this morning there were at least
2 fledgling Bullock's Orioles on the feeder! They couldn't
have hatched too far away by the looks of them... where is the
nearest big extensive mesquite patch...south of town a bit I guess.
that 70 deg.F or so this morning sure felt good ! At least it cools
off at night here !
August 13 ~ A rather disappointing Leonid Meteor shower, though
some excellent fireballs appeared, show didn't meet hype here.
Juvenile Hooded and Scott's Orioles at their feeder. The adult
male Scott's is coming less and less now. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
still daily. Only a couple juvenile Painted Buntings remain.
Immature male Allfous Hummingbird still present. Today was the
HOTTEST day of the year so far here...about 98 deg.F ! A scorcher!
August 12 ~ An alternate (breeding) male Orchard Oriole came in to
the bath. Never get tired of them either. What a beautiful bird.
Immature male Rufllen's Hummer still here.
August 11 ~ The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is still calling and so still
nesting underway.... I would figure young would be out any day,
but it started late.... still gets up here in the junipers
on the slope..... especially if I pound a nail into a 2 x 4.
The adult Chipping Sparrow sang a bit today.... At dusk
an immature male Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allen's)
came in to the feeders. Rump appeared solid rufous, with no
green, and solid green back.
August 10 ~ Astounding is to be down to a pint of sugar water
consumption today. Maybe a hundred birds or so. So few the
8 feeders are being largely guarded by punk immature males.
Had to cluster them all at the porch to keep them communal.
Common Nighthawks still booming right overhead....awesome every time.
The Chuck-wills-widow burst out with a minute plus of call
for the first time in a week. Once they get quiet they get
hard to detect. You can still hear them grunt/groan late though.
August 9 ~ Amazing was a BAND-CELLED SISTER (rare butterfly)
(Adelpha fessonia) that circled the opening out back a couple times.
It came within a few feet of me allowing views looking down on it.
It was torn and frayed, but obviously a Band-celled. Recall I
photographed Spot-celled (basiloides) here a couple years ago
(pictures on brushfoots on Bfly photos page). I didn't get a
photo as it flew off too quickly. I have seen and photographed
the species before, and I have seen it prior around Utopia,
but still lack a local picture. It is a rarity from the
Lower Rio Grande Valley and southward in Mexico. Like birds,
it only takes one great butterfly to make your day! The male
Painted Bunting came by and posed for through-the-window pictures
today, which turned out to be his last day this year. Stayed
a few days longer than last year, which was a few days longer
than the year before. Likes fattening up on those white millet seeds.
See ya next April 22 or so !! Have a good winter ! Watch out
for those dang accipters......
Painted Bunting taking a last look at me till next year
August 7 ~ Carolina Wrens duetting out side..... must be a new
"pair" since they haven't been resident more than temporarily here.
The juvenile Hooded Oriole has been hitting the one hummer feeder
that the orioles can easily get into. (They have an elipitcal hole
not round, which is slightly raised). Finally an adult male
Ruby-throated Hummingbird is here, demanding respect as always.
In town at twilight it was an amazing firefly show, with literally
hundreds along Cypress St. near the park. Beautiful !
August 6 ~ The male Painted Bunting still sings. An Audubon's Oriole
flew by the front yard in the evening. Red Satyr continues daily,
as does Arizona Sister. It was a great relief to see we only used
a quart of sugar water today !! A half pound of sugar, down from 2
pounds daily just two weeks ago. A couple hundred plus instead of a
thousand hummers. They seemed fat and mean as could be before they left!
August 5 ~ It was a a real battle of color when the male Blue Grosbeak
jumped right on the male Painted Bunting, displacing it physically,
apparently knowing the Painted is always right on the good seed pile.
Late in the afternoon I saw the FOS immature male Ruby-throated
Hummingbird here at SR. It's fall migration! They are about a
week late, but were so in the spring too, probably weather related.
We went to Lost Maples for an afternoon sauna walk. Surprisingly
few dragonflies, the regular butterflies, and the nesting birds
that remain were all there. Of course Golden-cheeked Warbler,
and Black & White Warbler were gone already. A couple Louisiana
Waterthrush were still present as expected. Check the Lost Maples
reports page shortly for some notes.
August 4 ~ At least 6 juvenile Painted Buntings are fattening up on
the millet, besides adult male and female and 2nd year male....
Begging juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks were at UP. The hummer blowout
(departure) became evident when today we only used around a
half gallon of sugar water, or only a pound of sugar. Half the
consumption of the last two months! FINALLY !! 500 instead of 1000 !
A FOS *juvenile* Chipping Sparrow showed up today, probably locally born.
August 3 ~ The Hooded Oriole was still around in the a.m., so maybe
it did figure out how to get the sugar buzz. A sign of fall migration
was a Dickcissel out back. At least the ad.male Painted Bunting
is still singing. Mockingbirds are moving with passage birds clearly
moving through. A Zone-tailed Hawk flew over SR. They have been
more scarce this year. A Chuck-wills-widow gave a good 5 solid minutes
of call, the best series in weeks. Lots of Common Nighthawks,
including begging young, and males still booming. Poor-wills and
Eastern Screech-Owl calling too. In the day there was a male
Widow Skimmer feeding (perching) out front, and a male Pondhawk
went by too. Then on an outflow boundry of a thunder cell about
500 dragonflies went by in 5 minutes. The same species mix as what
is flying over daily, mostly southbound. Most numerous were
Spot-winged Glider, then Wandering Glider, then Black and Red
Saddlebags and Green Darner.
August 2 ~ A juvenile Hooded Oriole was on a hummer feeder....
I hope he figured it out! A "natural color morph" Rock Pigeon
(domestic pigeon) circled SR a few times. Very rarely seen here.
Really seems like hummers are decreasing. Especially adult males.
August 1 ~ AUGUST !?!?! The adult Chipping Sparrow is still around.
July 31 ~ A Red Satyr was sunning out back. A Mournful Duskywing was at the
dump Acacias. Painted Buntings are present in adult male and female, second
year male, and juvenile plumages. Adult males will be leaving in a week.
The Rufous/Allen's Hummer tanked and left in the a.m.. A five day bird.
July 30 ~ Rufous/Allen's Hummer continues. so does rain, with another inch!
We are at 40" or so, best I can figure, at the moment! I keep forgetting to
mention Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are one per day for a while now. A nice juvenile
Summer Tanager has been hanging around with neat crisp pale edged remiges.
Also an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flew by, and nearly scary was a giant
3" no kidding Sulpugid (Sun Spider) in the bedroom. He got a free trip outside.
July 29 ~ Another inch of rain in the moringing, because we haven't had
enough ! The FOS Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak of the year was across from
the dump on those super sweet smelling Blackbrush Acacia flowers. Also
there was oddish variant Bordered Patch and Dusky-blue Groundstreak (both ph.).
July 28 ~ A very late Golden-cheeked Warbler was out back this a.m.,
#18 for the yard this year. They had a good year due to rain = bugs.
The Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird continues. Some uppertail coverts are
rufous with a green tip.
July 27 ~ At the Uvalde fish hatchery were some fall migrant shorebirds.
A Western, 3 Least, 1 Solitary and 1 Spotted Sandpipers. Odd was hearing
an unseasonal Common Yellowthroat sing and chup but we couldn't see it.
The FOS (fall migrant) Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allen's) showed up
at our feeders today. It is a AHY (after hatch year) female.
July 26 ~ Another inch of rain in the a.m.. A Clouded Skipper was
ovipositing out back on a grass blade. In a juniper woodland.
July 25 ~ Finally had a juvenile Texas Banded Gecko outside. Neat.
July 24 ~ still seems to be a hummer departure movement underway.
A Kingbird flew over SR, probably Couch's. Another 1.5" rain in the
p.m., and the tradgedy of a fatal lighting strike at Lost Maples.
Head back when you hear approaching storms.
July 23 ~ There really seems to have been a hummer blowout
(significant numbers departed). We haven't reseen the White-eared.
One of the pictures shows what seems to be a couple
cactus spines sticking out its right side. Not unheard of.
There is a picture of the bird below, and a couple on the
Rarities page in the bird photos section.
Been a few Bushtits around the last few days. An Audubon's
Oriole was whistling a bit outside today.
July 22 ~ Kathy had the White-eared Hummingbird nearly land on
a feeder as she was hanging them at 6:40 a.m.. I didn't see
it all day. It is a pretty rough 'hood with about a thousand total
Black-chins around. Though there may have been less today.
I think since the weather broke and they had been stuck,
they topped their tanks and left during the day.
I did see an imm. male Vermilion Flycatcher and
a Couch's Kingbird go by in the a.m..
July 21 ~ I guess I spoke too soon about the rain ! Here at
SR we got 4-5" of rain from about 2 to 11 a.m.. !! Some places
southeast of us along Seco Creek got 12-15-17" of rain in the event !!
D'Hanis flooded, as did the Sabinal at Sabinal. So we were lucky.
GADZOOKS it can rain here !! I didn't get down to the 1050 bridge
to see if the swallows made it. In the afternoon after it broke,
the hummers were going nuts at the feeders, literally hundreds and
hundreds at once. I spotted one with a bold ear patch so went into
high alert. Fortunately it came back several times throughout the
afternoon and allowed poor "through-the-window" (old, grayed,
doubled window pane) photos to prove irrefutably it was a
female WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD !! First Uvalde Co. record,
and second hill country record. There are about 20 state records total.
It would just about qualify for "mega-rarity" status.
Female White-eared Hummingbird near Utopia 7-21-07
July 20 ~ About an inch and a quarter of rain in the a.m..
Some places east of SAT got 5-10" of rain today ! Near as I
can figure we have within a couple inches of THREE FEET here
so far this year! Canyon Towhee still around. A new damselfly
for the yard was a Smoky Rubyspot, which I got photos of luckily.
July 19 ~ Something new at SR was a Canyon Towhee singing and
eating seed. A little rain in the p.m..
July 15 ~ Main thing today was finally some butterfly action,
as things have been dismal due to all the rain and wetness.
Over at Concan we saw a Rawson's Metalmark and a Streaky Skipper.
Then at a "honey-hole" in Rio Frio on 1050 there were almost
30 species in as many minutes, including a Dorante's Longtail,
a Texas Powdered Skipper, and black female E.Tiger Swallowtail.
The Cherry Creek crossing again produced Filigree Skimmers.
Probably the most dependable place to see that dragon locally.
July 14 ~ Amazing was the first time we have had Common Grackle
on the ground here at SR in the yard, a pair eating seed !
It and the Blue Jay of two days ago are usually strictly tied to
the river gallery deciduous habitats. Odd. Maybe flooded out?
In the afternoon got another bout of thunderstorms with 2.5" more rain !
July 13 ~ After the sun was behind the hill and it was getting
dark out I saw a large dark thing on the feeder the orioles
use and thought it was part of the male Scott's that was mostly
hidden behind the tube. When it flew it was clear it was
a huge (5") all dark (blackish appearing) hummingbird.
Surely it was a Green Violet-Ear. I thought I saw a big
dark hummer a week ago, but it was just a second, so I
blew it off, since I didn't see anything again.
July 12 ~ A shock was an adult BLUE JAY eating seed out back.
Not the common Scrub-Jay, but the purple crested and backed
real deal Blue Jay. Only the second I've seen here on SR.
There are a few pairs along the river, and in town, mostly
in and around pecan bottoms/groves. In the night bird department
the Chuck-wills-widows are quieting down, but still calling a little.
The Poor-wills seemed to have restarted (probably renesting)
due to the rains. Same with Eastern Screech-Owls.
July 11 ~ A male Hooded Oriole stopped briefly out back. Wish
they would discover the feeders like the Scott's and Audubon's!
July 10 ~ 500+ Spot-winged Glider (dragonfly) southbound at SR.
July 9 ~ the local highlight of the day was a BLACK WITCH (moth)
that flew over 187 a mile south of town. They are 6"+ across !
We used 30 lbs. of sugar making hummingbird food in 17 days.
Almost 2 pounds of sugar per day, which equals almost a gallon of
sugar water (4 parts water to one part sugar is best and most exactly
simulates real nectar in flowers). Brent Ortego, hummingbird
expert and bander with TPWD told me it is probably a minimum of
500 birds, more likely a thousand, and possibly 1500. It depends
on how much other food is available which is lots in our case due
to the wet spring, summer, and lots of flowers and insects.
This means there are more, not less, so the THOUSAND birds is
not an unreasonable or exaggerated estimate !!
July 8 ~ a nice pre-dawn thunderstorm dropped nearly 2" more rain.
But several inches fell north of us from Leakey to Lost Maples.
The river got pretty high here from it, to the top of spillway.
Out front of the ballfield in that stock field with the big pecan
where a pair of Scissor-tails raised 4 young. A Brown-crested
Flycatcher attacked a young Scissor-tail, and was driven off
by the parents. Quite the scene. In the Ode (dragonfly) department
there were 200+ Spot-winged Gliders going south at SR. Amongst them
were some Wandering Glider, Red, and Black Saddlebags, and Green Darner.
July 7 ~ Another Golden-cheek out back. The FOS Chipping Sparrow
since they left in May was around. Probably a dispersing local breeder.
An imm. Vermilion Flycatcher is another sign of post-breeding dispersal.
At least 2 juvenile Scott's Orioles are now about the yard with the
adults. At least a hundred Spot-winged Gliders (dragonflies) were
flying southward over SR late in the afternoon... the annual pilgramage
underway. A Prince Baskettail was a good find amongst them, going
north. Hard to get them very far from water it seems to me.
July 6 ~ another Golden-cheeked Warbler in the yard. The juvenile
Scrub-Jay with the mostly white secondaries and inner webs of the
primaries is still successfully begging, 2 months fledged now.
Had a nice large Eastern Fence Lizard out back. 1/4" of rain in p.m..
July 5 ~ For the first time in months (since March) an adult Audubon's
Oriole came in told boldly raid the sunflower tube (a dozen seeds in
a few minutes), and then the hummer feeder for a couple minutes of
sugar water. It was very very worn. But great to see !! A Scott's
was at the feeder within minutes of the Audubon's leaving. They
obviously are aware of each others presence in the same territory,
and it appears neither one could care less about the other. Near
dusk at 8 p.m. the Scott's, a heard Audubon's, and the first seen
Orchard Oriole migrant of the fall were all outside at once. Orioles
always follow the sun across the ridge as it sets, staying in the sun .
as long as possible.
July 4 ~ A Golden-cheeked Warbler was nice out back in the a.m..
A couple migrant blue-gray Gnatcatchers passed by. Still hearing
the cuckoo that is nesting in the live-oak motte 150 meters south.
Eastern Screech Owls calling lots lately. Of course the incredible
firework show at the park is the event of the day... and it was a
tremendous display as expected. I heard Couch's Spadefoot Toads
calling on the way home with the windows down.
July 3 ~ A couple bouts of rain netted another 2.5" of rain today.
Heard the juvenile Audubon's Oriole today. Saw a Ladder-backed
Woodpecker (Crazy Woodpecker I call 'em affectionately) did one of
their incredible loops ~ a full 360 degree circle going upside-down
at the top right in front of me in the opening in the trees
right off the back porch. Amazing agility in the air they have.
July 2 ~ At SR was a begging juvenile Chihuahuan Raven, with a real
high pitched "caw" note. also a pair of Inca Doves is around,
a male Cooper's Hawk flew over, and 3 fledglings Lesser Goldfinches
were about as well. There is a bobtail Gray Fox passing through
the yard yesterday and today.
July 1 ~ JULY !?!?!? Today we had two species of JUVENILE plumaged
orioles in the yard. Scott's of course, was one, the first fledgling
for them I've seen this year. Astounding was the *juvenile* AUDUBON'S
Oriole, FINALLY, the fourth year here with adults and sub-ads., recorded
regularly year-round. Knowing they must be breeding locally is different
than seeing a juvenile. Now we have visual confirmation of breeding success.
Excellent !! Furthest north breeding known for the species, and the
only Edwards Plateau nesting ever known. The species is nesting 200 miles
north of furthest north known nesting just 30 years ago. Global warming anyone?
Bird News Archive XII|
June 1 - Dec. 31, 2009
Bird News Archive XI|
January 1 - May 31, 2009
Bird News Archive X|
July 1 - Dec. 31, 2008
Bird News Archive IX|
Jan. 1- June 30, '08
Bird News Archive VIII|
July 1 - Dec. 31, '07
Bird News Archive VII|
Jan. 1 - June 30, '07
Bird News Archive VI|
July - Dec. 31, '06
Bird News Archive V|
Jan. - June 30, '06
Bird News Archive IV|
July - Dec. 31, '05
Bird News Archive III|
Jan. - June 30, '05
Bird News Archive II|
June - Dec. 31, '04
Bird News Archive I|
and Mar. 31-May 30,'04
Current Bird News
Reports from Lost Maples
Christmas Bird Count
|Critters, Bugs, & Stuff|
|Garner State Park|
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