Current Bird (and nature) News
Rufous-capped Warbler

Rufous-capped Warbler - Basileuterus rufifrons jouyi
at Neal's Lodge, Concan TX, March '06

MOST RECENT UPDATE: December 2, 2022
(prior updates: November 25, 18, 11, 4, October 28, 21, 14, 7)

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FOS - first of season - for the first one back.

First a short version of highlights of the month as we go.

December ~ A FOX Sparrow on the 1st started the month with a bang. First one in a few years here for us. Apparently a GULL swam around the park pond Nov. 24-26, which was thought to be a Bonaparte's.

November ~ Nov. 1 another Golden-crowned Kinglet was heard after the first of fall on Oct. 31. A FOS Blue-headed Vireo was at the park the 4th. A flock of Blue Jay was seen flying over this week. A single was at our place Nov. 5. Our FOS Robin (one) was here the 8th, mid-morn the 9th there were a dozen. Winter got here Nov. 11 when a very strong cold front arrived. It brought a FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a FOS Hermit Thrush was seen at the park. My FOS Brewer's Blackbird were on the 12th. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was just off Main St. in town the 13th! A FOS American Goldfinch showed up the 14th. Both Merlin and Gadwall were reported about the 15th or so. I have been hearing a Junco since the 15th at our place, yet to be seen. At the park the 18th were 25 Ring-necked Duck. My FOS Vesper Sparrow were two on the 24th. I saw my FOS White-crowned Sparrow Nov. 26, finally. The three plus inches of rain Nov. 19-26 was amazing. My FOS Cedar Waxwing were 10-12 on the 27th.

~ ~ ~
splish splash I was takin' a bath!

male Golden-cheeked Warbler

This page has the current bird and nature news from the area around Utopia, the Sabinal River Valley (SRV), and occasionally elsewhere in the area, such as Uvalde, Concan, Lost Maples, etc. Often unusual sightings will be in CAPS. There will also be occasional mention of butterfly (lep) or dragonfly (ode) sightings when they are out and about. Or anything natural history of interest, bats to beetles.

In general for current Lost Maples sightings ebird seems to be the place most folks put them. Go to ebird and search Lost Maples SNA in Bandera Co., Texas. Same for Garner St. Pk. but which is in Uvalde County. Often reports there do not include specifics about where a bird was seen though. There is a Lost Maples reports page here on the site, but which is not often real useful for the latest current news. I post my walk notes there often. But we have not been going there as much the last two years.

Pro Tip: Ignore the ebird Chihuahuan Raven reports at Lost Maples, they are mis-ID'd Common Ravens which are common residents. You would think with so many reports, ONE could be proven. Guess again.

A quick note about Utopia Park. There have been some changes in management and rules. It is now $10 per person per day to enter No charge for Utopia or Vanderpool residents. Been gently suggesting we need a one hour or two hour birder rate. They are receptive to the idea but no action yet on it. They said if you parked outside the gate and walked in only without using tables, swimming, and just birded they would not charge.

You may want to scroll down to the date of the last update you read, and scroll or read UP day-to-day to read in chronological sequence, some references might make more sense that way. For repeat offenders there is a link just below to jump straight to newest update. There is a broken line of tildes (~) to denote prior update breaks, usually with a photo to make it easy to spot. Sometimes the 'quick take' highlights header above is archived within body of news as well since it changes. Seperated by tildes as well, as are monthly summaries.

For visiting cell phone users, often only AT&T works here, or Concan, and many local areas Sabinal to Leakey, etc. Often around Hwys. 10 or 90 (Hondo, Uvalde) you can get other signals. Then wi-fi is available at the Utopia Library, the store in Vanderpool had a sign saying they have it there too. State Park headquarters may have it? Don't tell them I told you.   ;)

Please holler if you see something good locally! THANKS!  :)  (local 830 Utopia landline WON~2349)
E-dress clickably linked at bottom of most pages: mitchATutopianatureDOTcom

Note on navbar at top of this page and the home page, and somewhere around the chat picture below is a link to a new LINKS page that is a quick handy way outta here. Who loves ya baby? It is a collection of some of the links I will publicly admit to using, though a couple with no small amount of trepidation. Space, weather, bugs, birds, blogs, bird cams, and other stuff...   Enjoy!

I have been fairly good for several years now about posting the weekly update Friday evenings. Since night life is so exciting here. Usually this is just minor local (often yard) notes from nearly every day. Some daily notes of what is going on with birds, or butterflies, dragonflies, fish, flowers, reptiles, triops, cerambycids, buprestids, or bombyliads, and so on. Anything might get mentioned. Usually just yard notes. Unless you got to be stationed at the park all day, one site of observation locally is about as good as another. The big picture only becomes amazingly fascinating by filling all the little details in, one tiny bit at a time. I have a strong interest in bird behavior and often will discuss some aspect of that which I observed.

If you're in the area and see something, please don't hesitate to let us know. For instance, we would be happy to post Lost Maples SNA, or any bird news, if it were reported to us. I love hearing from locals when they see something of interest. Perhaps other visitors might better know where to look for something of interest. E-mail link in next (pale yellow) box, and at bottom of most pages. Local (eight-three-zero) landline WON~2349. I can be at the park in 10 minutes, 8 if I was dressed with shoes on, 5 if it is a Sabine's Gull, but I might not be neatly dressed.

Some rudimentary maps of the area are at the bottom of the "site guide" page, if you need help locating any of the places mentioned.

There are now 19 (!) years and growing worth of nature notes here, mostly in the bird news archives (Old Bird News) pages linked at the bottom of this page in 6 month segments. You can fairly easily check 10 fall or spring periods, etc., and get a good idea of what goes on when, where, or how weak migration is here.   :) If you're coming in April, you can check several years out and see when different species arrive.  For instance for Painted Buntings not till later April, earliest numbers about the 18-20th, later is better, some years not till the 21-22 are the first back locally.  Often a few days earlier down in lower altitude brush country (earlier still down on the coast) etc. Adult males mostly depart territories and the area the first week of August.

Be sure to check out the Bird List page, which is updated (2021) with seasonal status and abundance for each species. It lists all 350 plus species (!) known from the upper Sabinal River drainage.

The BIRDING SITES, HUMMINGBIRDS, BIRD LIST, LM REPORTS, SPARROWS, BRUSH COUNTRY, WARBLERS, HAWKS, and the RARITIES pages have all been recently updated! Most have lots of new pics added in the last year or so. The photo pages named by the year are the weekly update photo break photos and text for each year. They may be birds, bugs, flowers or a snake, though mostly birds. Since 2017 the last four years have bigger better improved images, and lots of the unusual or interesting stuff encountered.

With apologies, I am not interested in photos from other areas for identification. Please please please do not send unsolicited out of area photos. Contact your local Audubon Society if you have pictures of a bird that you would like identified, every area has one. From Houston to Travis to Ft. Worth, Big Sky, Llano Estacado, no matter where you are there are other local folks interested in your local birds, and since you are (to have a pic that you want ID'd) you should want to know them.  :)  Thank you in advance.

Back to Top
Here are links to some new pages added in the last couple years:

Here is a master index page of 'Old Bird News' links:

Bird News Archives Index

It has links to all the 'Bird News' pages, in 6 month increments. It is the 18 year plus bird news archive file.

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***  This is the page for visitors with ideas, links, phones, contacts, etc., about where to stay locally.

Where to Stay

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***  Here is a page which compiles 18 years of observations at Utopia Park. It is a long discussion about the how and why of birds at Utopia Park, and is the home of the park bird list.

The Birds of Utopia Park

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Here are assorted links of all manner, and a handy way outta here.

Mitch's Links

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Bird Photos

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Here is a new page of recent ode photos the last few years.

New Ode Photos (2.5mb)

~ ~ ~ finally, current bird news from the greater and lesser Utopia area ~ ~ ~

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. Usually a few daily yard notes is all the drivel you get. But you never know what that can lead to. Ready, steady, go!

Commonly used ABBREVIATIONS are:

To repeat since commonly used:
sps.=species; FOS=First of season (can be any season); FOY=First of Year; FOF=First of fall; LTA=Less than Annual; UP=Utopia Park; SLC=So. Little Creek Rd.; dF=degrees Farenheit; (ph.)=photo obtained; ad.=adult; imm.=immature.; ma.=male; fem.=female; juv.=juvenile; odes=Odonata = dragonflies and damselflies; leps=Lepidoptera (butterflies), town=Utopia; the park= Utopia Park at SW corner of town. WU = Weather Underground (sometimes local station readings referenced) BanCo = Bandera Co.; UvCo = Uvalde Co.

Black-capped Vireo

Black-capped Vireo at Lost Maples

Just to have this handy again for reference, recent prior updates:
November 25, 18, 11, 4, October 28, 21, 14, 7, September 30, 23, 16, 9, 2

Each week's update break is marked with a bad (often bird) photo.
You may want to scroll down to said bad photo (last prior update)
and scroll up to read in chrono order day to day.
~ ~ ~ and now for the news ~ ~ ~

Here is a new page where moth photos will be tossed.

Moths of Utopia

And now for something completely different ...   support page

Dec. 2 ~ It was about 48F around midnight, and about 53F by dawn. Foggy and misty all night, a tenth of an inch of precip. Nothing different here in the morning. Some Robin and Waxwing but could not find a Fox Sparrow. Town run and a park check. Three Myrtle Warbler and a Golden-crowned Kinglet were around the island and woods at the park. Also saw my FOS Gadwall, a single bird. One Belted Kingfisher and a Great Blue Heron. Little Creek Larry saw a gull on the park pond last Friday to Sunday, Nov. 24-26. He said it was dinky small and thought it a Bonaparte's. No photo so no positive absolute ID though and will be relegated to hypothetical status. He said it is the first gull he has seen on the water ever here. The Cypresses along the river are near peak, flaming rusty orange. The planted Maples around town are also around peak, lots of nice color here right now. For the teeny mini-fall we get anyway. The Pecans largely de-leafed this last front and week.

December 1 ~ Three weeks to the solstice and shortest day! Was upper 30's F around midnight warming to about 40 by dawn. Foggish. A few dozen Robin and a couple dozen Waxwing came into the birdbath, Junipers, and Hackberries. Looked like four Am. Goldfinch, first flocklet this fall. Kathy saw a FOX Sparrow coming into the bath! First in a few years here, they are far less than annual so always a great find locally. She also saw and I heard later the White-crowned Sparrow. Then I heard the Fox Sparrow give a call. Did not see it though. Great bird here.

~ ~ ~ November summary ~ ~ ~

It was a wet one, with 3.50-3.75" of rain here! Others locally got more and less as is Texas rain. A great November total. We may have kissed freezing on the cheek but there was no real freeze yet. There were some prolonged wet and cold spells. The poor Pecan crop is gone, the poor Hackberry crop will not last long, neither will the weak Juniper berry crop. Seed crops are weak as well, as expected when much of year spent in D4 exceptional drought. Currently we are D2 and water is about 18" from going over the spillway at the park pond.

Not much to see in odes, a few Variegated Meadowhawk and a Green Darner or two was about it. They are done until next spring. Butterflies were fair and remained the main action, at the few flowers we have left blooming. Which is a few Blue Mistflower (Eup.), a last burst of Lantana blooms, and a decent bit of Tropical Sage scattered about. Numbers were low and nothing rare, but since a bad year for butterflies (and bugs of all manner), October's leftovers were still great. Some Cowpen Daisy was going in the corral, nothing like good years though, a wee bit of Maxmillian Sunflower along the river in a couple spots. Saw almost no blues, hairstreaks, or metalmarks, and hardly any skippers. No small stuff. A Mexican Yellow was visiting yard most of the month. On the 28th finally a Clouded Skipper showed. An Elada Checkerspot and a N. Mestra were here early in month. It was 34 species, good considering this years poor monthly diversity showings.

Birds were weak as can be in November. Best bird was the Am. Woodcock Morris saw at his office just off Main St. the 13th. Mostly Nov. is the arrival of some of the wintering species, unless you get lucky with a stray or tardy migrant. We see wintering Nov. arrivals, like N. Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Vesper and White-crowned Sparrow, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, Am. Goldfinch, Am. Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Brewer's Blackbird, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Myrtle Warbler, some Cranes or Geese heard overhead. You get to see old friends again. I saw about 53 sps. by accident, and heard of 8 or so more species seen locally this month.

~ ~ ~ end November summary ~ ~ ~

Nov. 30 ~ A dry cold front blew in overnight. Low about 39F (KERV had 37F), sunny and breezy. Didn't see anything different on the bird front. Windy most of day with the post-frontal blow. Might have hit 60F briefly but never felt like it. Heard that Junco again. Saw the Myrtle Warbler. Saw a Field Sparrow amongst the Chipping. The Cypresses are bright rusty along the river now, maybe at peak orange. The Hackberries are yellow, and the Mulberry is bright yellow. No leaf falls off it and makes it through the night without a deer vacuuming it up. Lots of Pecan leaves falling finally too. Looking more like fall, with winter coming soon.

Nov. 29 ~ We flatlined about 64F all night. Foggy at sunup. Eventually warmed to 75F or so. Birds looked the same gang. Some Robin and a few Waxwing. Three butterflies I did not see among the 14 sps. yesterday were Common Checkered-Skipper, Pipevine Swallowtail and Sachem. Seven Gulf Frits at once on the Lantana, still the Mexican Yellow around. Saw an American Goldfinch at the bird bath after noon. Saw a male Cooper's Hawk go over. Heard Cranes going over mid-day. Belted Kingfisher was rattling over at the river near dusk. One single Red-winged Blackbird departed in the afternoon.

Nov. 28 ~ Another clear cool 34F low, 5dF below the official predictions. KERV had a 32F, 7F below progged low. The record hi-low temps this date are 21-91F! That is quite a temp range possible. At least 50 Robin were here early, as well as a few Waxwing. A Yellow-shafted Flicker stopped for a sunrise preen in the top of the big Pecan. Kathy saw a Golden-fronted Woodpecker at the bath with the Robins in the morning. She saw a Mockingbird there in the afternoon. The 74F or so warmth made another good butterfly day. Best was a Clouded Skipper, first one this month, and only a few all fall. Good was a Mexican Yellow that is probably the same one here before the cold wet spell. At least 6 Gulf Fritillary, a dozen Sleepy Orange, about 5 each Vesta Crescent and So. Dogface, two Fiery Skipper, the rest mostly the same as yesterday. Single Red Admiral, Lyside, Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, a Queen, but a Dainty Sulphur, and a few Little Yellow. Fourteen species, won't be much more of totals like that. One more warm day tomorrow.

Nov. 27 ~ A low of 34F here was almost a category lower than progged. NOAA had KERV for 42F and WU had us for the same. I said to Kathy at 11 p.m. last night it was already that and going to get way colder. KERV had a 33F! I totalled my precip notes and since the 19th when the last 8 days of mostly overcast with drizzle, showers, fog, and mist, started. We are over THREE INCHES at 3.25" here! Incredible. That is a good November here as winter is (historically) our dryest season. The afternoon got up to a smokin' hot 75F! Got to open up and air out (warm up) the house and cottage. Saw the White-crowned Sparrow again. Kathy heard something being taken by an accipiter uphill behind us. I saw a small group of 10-12 Cedar Waxwing, which are my FOS. Heard that single American Goldfinch again. The rest was the expected usual suspects. There were some butterflies out to greet the heat though. Single Large Orange, Cloudless and Lyside Sulphur, a Little Yellow, 3 So. Dogface, a Red Admiral, single Comm. Checkered-Skipper and Fiery Skipper, a few Vesta Crescent, a Queen, one American Lady, a Snout or two, and a few Gulf Fritillary.

Nov. 26 ~ Awoke to clear skies after it raining lightly for several hours overnight. I saw 38F on the front porch before 7 a.m., though it could have been the breeze and evap on the wet thermometer. About 3 cm of rain (1.25"!) from after dark yesterday evening until when the skies cleared here in the wee hours. Amazing. It has been a great week plus with precip. Nice to see the sun though! Got up to maybe 60F in the afternoon. First thing there were some Brewer's Blackbird up in the big Pecan. The best excitement for me was finally a FOS White-crowned Sparrow. Always great to see that first one. Was an adult leucophrys (eastern type, our default here). There were some Robin around a bit. Heard that Junco flush again today, it sure is ginchy. In butterflies saw a Snout, a Southern Dogface, and a couple Sleepy Orange. Blew from the west most of the day finally relaxing near dusk. It will be chilly in the morning.


The Cypress are around peak color now and the river looks great.
This pic from a prior year.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 25 ~ Still sprinkling and drizzling, low about 52F. A front passes tomorrow, so about 24 hours more of this to go. It has been cloudy with drizzle for ten days, but at least we got some precip on the plants. It is back to chilly and damp, yesterday's warmup is gone. We are just hunkering down for the holiday here, thankful not to be out in it.  ;)  It is a work day at the desk anyway. An operator is standing by if you need a Lined Gem Tang, or somesuch. About 10 a.m. or so the precip stopped and it appears .75 overnight (18-19mm) and in the a.m., which is great of course. There were some Robin around and at a flush event I estimated 35-40 birds, at minimum. So, most at once so far this season, and great. We are supposed to get one more shot of rain overnight before this clears out. We might have hit 54F, about 15 dF below averages for now. Rain started again after dark, will wait for a total in the morn when it is all over.

Nov. 24 ~ Happy Thanksgiving turkeys! Light showers or drizzle all night, and much of the day totalled 15mm or about five-eighths of an inch more of precip since dark yesterday evening. We have over an inch from the last 4 days now. Maybe 1.1". Outstanding, if a little wet (ok, saturated) out there. Was in the mid-rising-to-upper 50's over night. Great not to be chilly. Wet is better than cold and wet. Right before noon the warm-sector air arrived and it went from mid-50's to mid-60's in 15 minutes. The Chipping Sparrow are up to 80 birds here now. Around noon a brief moment of sun that lasted 15 minutes brought out a few butterflies. I saw a couple Sleepy Orange, a Pipevine Swallowtail, and an American Lady. First ones in days.

Made a quick run to the park, to little avail. Saw a couple Eastern Phoebe, heard Bluebirds. Upriver of the island two ducks flushed but did not get an ID look due to trees, and skill level no doubt. Might have been Wood Duck. One Cooper's Hawk out front by entrance sign flew right over a Raven on the ground and didn't even think about it. Neither did the Raven. They must already know each other.

Back here where water collects in the road by the corral a hundred yards down road from us there was a bit of a bathing scene. Great was a Blue-headed Vireo, only the second I have encountered this fall. There were a couple FOS Vesper Sparrow, several Field and lots of Chipping. Some House Finch and Cardinal were the rest. And a couple E. Phoebe in the corral. I wonder why?

Nov. 23 ~ Drizzle and mist all night, low about 48F, warmer than most of the last four days. So wet, but not with the chill. Got up to a flamin' 55F, which was great. With the overnight and all day drizzle added about 3 more tenths of an inch of precip. So a half-inch or so in last three days. There were a dozen or so Robin in the big Pecan first thing at 7 a.m. They sure squawk at you when you walk out of the house. Look, human! Heard the Junco again out back and uphill. Quick run to town for a couple items, besides Rosie's tacos. Little Creek Larry said he counted 30 Ring-necked Duck a couple days ago at the park. None at noon, but there were people around the spillway. One Golden-crowned Kinglet in the small group of Titmouse and Chickadee in the live-oaks. The remarkable quiet locally continues.

Nov. 22 ~ Still cloudy with drizzle and mist. Low this morn about 47F, higher than the high temps the last 3 days, so a nice break from the chill. Got up to about 54F, warmer than the last four days. Another tenth of an inch of precip. Birds remain shy and skittish, I presume due to accipiter. Did see a Kinglet (Ruby). Heard a Caracara over in the corral. Otherwise nothing different except at the last trace of light when I heard a flock of ducks bolt over. They were bigger with lower pitched wingbeats than small ducks like teal or Ring-necked, so were probably Wigeon, Shoveler, or Gadwall maybe. It sounded like about 40 birds, a good-sized flock.

Nov. 21 ~ Low about 42F with drizzle on it. Still gray, chilly, and wet, so I will be working inside guarding heaters. Maybe got up to about 47F. Near another tenth of an inch of precip. Here is what is out there daily: N. Cardinal, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Chipping Sparrow, House Finch, and some White-winged and Mourning Dove. Those are the only things of which there are more than a couple or few. Then in the one or two each category, add Carolina Wren, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, maybe an Eastern Phoebe or two, and a couple or few Common Raven, not sure how many Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawk, most days I hear a Golden-fronted Woodpecker and a Bewick's Wren. Been one Myrtle Warbler and a Kinglet (Ruby) or two daily or so. Some days a Field Sparrow or two. There are more pigs and deer around than birds.

Nov. 20 ~ The cold damp overcast continues. Lows in the upper 30's, high about 44F maybe. Birds were the same gang. No butterflies. An accipiter or two are hanging around watching the seed, which shall we say, kills activity here. I am not in the mood to go out in the wet cold to go look for things, so working at the desk. A few brief periods over the day the Chipping Sparrow flock is out there, as well as the Cardinals. The Chickadees and Titmice are around, but it is slow. Might have heard a Pyrrhuloxia. I think when we have these bad drought events the birds largely just keep going and pass on through. There are not the normal usual food crops available. This is one of the worst years for Hackberry crop I have seen here. Seed crops seem fairly poor as well. Nuts are gone, save the two-legged hominids.

Nov. 19 ~ Cloudy, wet, and cold. Low in upper 30's F, high maybe 42F. Got a couple tenths of an inch of precip in the morning. A cold rain. We take any precip we can get here these days. I counted 60 Chipping Sparrow, so their numbers are still increasing. Did not see anything else amongst them. Much of the day there was nothing around, I presume due to an Accipiter as always seems the case when everything hides or goes elsewhere all day. Not up for going out in the cold and wet, will wait for warmer dryer days. Oddly it seems like there are more green leaves still on trees than usual for the date.


This is Blue-eyed Grass, which is actually a tiny Iris.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 18 ~ Overcast, low about 45F, high maybe 54F. About 10F below averages for now. I heard that Junco again this morning, and this afternoon. Absolutely what it is, but sticking to the cover at fenceline and uphill behind us. Did a Woodcock walk at the woods in the park, which means looking for one, not walking like one. People would laugh. Nothing in the woods. A couple Kinglet (Ruby), some Chickadee and Titmouse. Best was my FOS Ring-necked Duck, 25 of them. Little Creek Larry said he had a couple Gadwall there early in the week, and a few days ago a Merlin at his place. He also saw a Ringed Kingfisher at the park, this morning. Ringed and Green have been rare as hen's teeth here since spring. I had one Belted Kingfisher at the park.

Nov. 17 ~ Overcast and cool, was about 40F at sunup but was in upper thirties overnight. Heard a Kestrel out there early. Glimpsed what was likely a Lincoln's Sparrow sneaking away. Confirmed by call later in day. Swore I heard a Junco again out back. A Myrtle Warbler and a few Robin around. Can't help but wonder if it is the same male Myrtle that wintered here last year. Working the same routine. Goes through yard in the morning southward, and back through northward in the afternoon, every day. Some Eastern Bluebird are probably not local birds but winterers from northward. A bit after noon Kathy spotted a Gray Fox working just outside the fenceline. Now that it is not hot, they are out hunting in the day.

Nov. 16 ~ Low about 38F, KERV had a 35F, NE winds 10 mph picked up from the back side of the departing last front. High about 58F. We have reached the wintry portion of fall. A couple dozen Robin were at the birdbath early, washing down Hack- and Juniper berries no doubt. Little Creek Larry has commented on how few Hackberries those trees have this year. Drought. Key winter forage for lots of stuff, especially birds. Pretty quiet out there and the butterflies are fading fast, diminishing numbers of the same 6-8 species mostly now. Soon there won't be anything to write about. We need some birds. Thought I heard a Junco again.

Nov. 15 ~ Winds slowed down overnight, but still light, and probably what held it at 33F quelling a freeze. Not much motion out there though. Kathy had some Robin at the birdbath. I heard a Golden-crowned Kinglet uphill behind us in the live-oaks. A bit after 1 p.m. I heard and then saw an American Goldfinch. Just one, but certainly absolutely what I heard yesterday, and will give the 14th the FOS date. Later afternoon had a or the Myrtle Warbler. Only a few butterflies came out to brave the 55F peak heat. We have near-freezes slated for the next 5 mornings with high temps in the low-to-mid 50's F. Sorta wintry. Thought I heard a Junco again.

Nov. 14 ~ Low maybe 47F or so, and drizzling. Maybe a tenth (.1) of an inch of precip, keeps the dust down. Front arriving this afternoon around 3 p.m. Last warmest day for a week or more methinks. Got up to 68 or 70F (some local WU stations). Nothing different on the bird or butterfly front save something heard only, otherwise was the same gang. One Monarch stopped. Heard single Field and Lark Sparrow. Windy from late afternoon on with a post-frontal blow. In butterflies, saw a or the Julia's Skipper, a Sachem, a couple dozen Vesta Crescent, one Elada Checkerspot, Queen, Gulf Frit, Sleepy Orange. Mid-day thought sure I heard an American Goldfinch call a couple times, tut-tut-tut.

Nov. 13 ~ I saw 33F just before 7 a.m., not sure it got any colder. KERV was 30 or below for about four hours. The local WU station I looked at flatlined at 33F, as we did here. Might have gotten up to 58F at peak afternoon heat. At least two dozen Robin were here this morning. Chipping Sparrow are up to about three dozen. Here they come. Great was getting a call from Sydney Killough about Morris just photographing a bird at his office on Main St. in town! She e-mailed the pic and it was a WOODCOCK! Awesome bird! Looks like 2019 was my last one here, I have seen about 5 in 19 years here. It flew off after a bit. The woods and swampy area at the park is where all but one of the ones I have seen were. It is the Killoughs for the win today! THANKS for sharing the great news! One was in a yard in Alpine a week or so ago. Now is the time to be looking, as the ground freezes up north. Here in the afternoon it was dead silent, then I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly off.

Nov. 12 ~ A low of 35F is the coldest since March probably. Winds still 10-15 mph which is likely what stopped the freeze. Winds let up over the morning and afternoon warmed to 60F. A very typical winter temp spread here. In the morn a small group of Brewer's Blackbird flew by, my FOS. More than a dozen Robin were around much of the day, eating Hackberries and visiting the bird bath to wash them down. Nice to see again, those males are beautiful. Might be a couple dozen Chipping Sparrow here now. A couple Kinglet (Ruby) were around, one Myrtle Warbler. Had biz work to do here so was busy. A few butterflies about when it warmed, the same gang and fewer of them.


Here is a phone photo Morris Killough got of the
American Woodcock at his office on Nov. 13. Always
a great find here. This is cropped of course. I
have 5 records in 19 years here. They are a forest
woodland shorebird (sandpiper), not seen at the shore.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 11 ~ Low about 68F which was the high as a strong cold front is arriving at daybreak. Great was in the morn I saw a woodpecker that did not look like the regulars on the nearest power pole. Too big for a Ladder-back and head was flatter than Golden-front. It was sitting right on side at top where G-f sits. Light was terrible, just a silohuette. Came in for bins, and then saw my FOS Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. One Robin and one Myrtle Warbler out there too. Town run, a quickie park check. Little Creek Larry had a FOS Hermit Thrush there this morning. The strong winds of the front hit whilst I was in the woods and that was the end of that. A 10dF drop in 10 seconds. But it felt like more. There was one Golden-crowned Kinglet there, and later had one at yard here. It poured briefly when I was in town waiting for Rosie's tacos. That big steel open-air covering she put up is great. We did not get half the rain here as the downpour in town was. But a bit found us later in afternoon. Looks about 14mm, around nine-sixteenths of an inch. Outstanding. Most of the day from noon it dropped through the 50's F, with 15-20 mph winds gusting to 30 mph. The wind and rain should clean the Halloween TP out of the town's trees anyway. As the sun went down it felt like the upper 30's. Couple chilly mornings ahead.

Nov. 10 ~ Low about 67F, still the warm moist Gulf flow with low stratus. Last warm day before the front arrives. Looks like it is going to actually cool down after passage. Saw a Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly in yard, exploding my monthly ode species list up to one. Last shot at some butterflies methinks. Saw a Northern Cloudywing early, new for the month. One each Monarch and Mestra. A small med. brown skipper got away, either Julia's or Celia's. One Texas Wasp Moth. Late afternoon a Mexican Yellow seemed to hit every Salvia flower still open. It appeared a new different individual and has been a week since I last saw one, but I can't be absolutely sure. Always great to see though.

Nov. 9 ~ Low about 69F, some streamer showers they call them pre-dawn. Precip was a bit over .10, maybe an eighth of an inch. Keeps the dust down and I don't have to water. There were at least a dozen Robin in the big Pecan about 9:30 a.m., after the single FOS last night. A Myrtle Warbler and a couple Kinglet (Ruby) went through, an Eastern Phoebe is around. Still lots of Vesta Crescent, a couple Pearl Crescent, one Monarch, and new was a summer form (black hindwings) Questionmark. Seemed pretty fresh looking, maybe got fooled by the 80F warmth?

Nov. 8 ~ Rinse and repeat. Low about 68F, some barely mist early from the low stratus the Gulf sends. Mostly the same stuff and less of it. Send new birds. Late in day Kathy got us our FOS Robin, a single up in the big Pecan. Saw one Monarch, and at least 50 Vesta Crescent today, many on the Tube-tongue which some is flowering again. There was one pair of Pearl Crescent. I forgot to mention when in town Friday, since it was just Halloween, bits of course got TP'd by our finest youth. Including a good job on the town square park. Where oh yeah, the annual craft fair was this past weekend. Oh those kids...

Nov. 7 ~ Low of 68F, maybe, and the Gulf flow so humid NOAA called it 'air you can wear'. A bit of mist earliest morn. Sounds lovely, eh? Got up to about 82F. There was a bit of sun in the afternoon. Heard the Hutton's Vireo and a couple Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Myrtle Warbler, and a Belted Kingfisher over at the river. The rest was the same gang and without the Blue Mist going, far far fewer butterflies. More Vesta Crescent though. Mostly now it is the Pierids on the Tropical Sage. A half-dozen each of Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, two Lyside and a Dainty Sulphur, maybe 18 Sleepy Orange.

Nov. 6 ~ It was clear and 50F at 7 a.m., overcast and near-fog at 60F an hour later. That was when the warm moist Gulf low stratus got here. Couple Kinglets (Ruby) in the morn, 10 or 12 Chipping Sparrow, an imm. Cooper's Hawk, some Eastern Bluebird, and general slowness continuing. In butterflies at front porch a female Whirlabout, a Gray Hairstreak, and a Buckeye were new for the month. The rest were the same gang. A guy in Austin had a Ruby-spotted Swallowtail today! Found one entry point under the fence hogs are using so a couple new tent stakes holding that bottom strand down should disappoint them tonight.

In the afternoon 82F heat We took a walk over into the corral to check the Cowpen Daisy, which is a fraction of a good year for it. But lots of butterflies, of not many species. New for the month were a couple pairs of Fiery Skipper, a couple Sachem, and a Checkered White. In Crescents there were a hundred Vesta, no Phaon, 2 Pearl, and 1 Texan. At least one Elada Checkerspot, a few Buckeye, 6-8 Variegated and 20 Gulf Fritillary, a few Pipevine Swallowtail, a few dozen each of So. Dogface and Sleepy Orange, one Orange Sulphur, 5 Dainty Sulphur, a few Little Yellow, one Com. Checkered-Skipper. No blues, hairstreaks, metalmarks, and less than 10 skippers. A couple Eastern Phoebe and some Chipping Sparrow was about it for birds.

Nov. 5 ~ Only light NW flow but bringing some cool air from the frontal passage and the 45F low was great after that 70F yesterday morning. Such is fall here. Clear and dry, I saw a 15 percent humidity reading at KERV in the afternoon. Great was Kathy hearing a Blue Jay over in the draw, we have not had one here probably in a couple years at least. It sounded like it was alone though. A day after Larry said he had a flock go over. For singles locally I get the feeling they are dispersing local young. The invasions of northerly migrants are usually small groups (family?) that stick together. Some migrant Chipping Sparrow are showing up, their numbers are up, maybe 10 or 12 here today. Thought I was seeing a few more the last few days. One Clay-colored Sparrow was with them at the bird bath. Butterflies were active in the 75F afternoon warmth. New was a Dainty Sulphur. Saw both the Elada Checkerspot and the Pearl Crescent again, at least a half-dozen Vesta still here. One Mestra was about briefly, and a Common Checkered-Skipper. What looked a Red Admiral blasted by quickly, too fast to count. The rest was the same gang, mostly Pierids.


Lost Maples, Dec. 2, 2018. I just saw a pic on a park page
in which these exact Maples looked like this, right now.
The park is generally booked weekends all this month.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 4 ~ It flatlined at 70F all night, with that warm moist low stratus deck from the Gulf. Front supposed to pass this evening, but dry here. Might have hit 80-82F peak heat. The yard has been very slow for birds lately, which continues. Had an Elada Checkerspot mid-morn, species number 20 for the month. Town run so a park check. A couple small Titmouse and Chickadee flocks in the trees. A few Myrtle Warbler, couple Kinglet (Ruby), and best was a FOS Blue-headed Vireo which was quietly singing. Otherwise not much activity. No odes. Saw some Cowpen Daisy going, which have to check in the afternoon when it warms. Some stunted Maxmillian Sunflower along river edges is the only other thing I saw blooming that wasn't planted. River is less than 2' below spillway at park pond, maybe 18-20". Cypresses getting lots of rusty orange color, looking nice. Little Creek Larry said he had a Coyote on other side of pond at the park one day this week. A great sighting at the park. One day this week (I think at his place) he also had a flock of Blue Jay fly over! We do not have a flock worth as local residents, so it is likely this is a flock from elsewhere, probably from some distance. They have flight years whence lots move, perhaps almost a decade since we had the last flight here.

Nov. 3 ~ Low about 66F. We are back in low Gulf stratus season. A regular thing here, especially in Nov. when not northerlies, is near-fog. The low stratus from the Gulf is thickened up by the orographic (lifting) effects of the warmer moist air hitting the first step of altitude increase at south edge of the plateau just south of us. Heard a Kinglet (Ruby) but that was it for the morn. Heard Flicker and Kestrel nearby. Kept checking the Blue Mist for butterflies, to no avail. I hate to see it go, it was soooo good the last two months. Kathy saw a Monarch go by.

Nov. 2 ~ Low about 55F and made it up to about 75F. Partly cloudy, very light of wind, so nice. Coyotes got something about dawn not too far away, the pack went off nutso as when they make a kill. No bird movement though. Heard a couple Kestrel early. One Myrtle Warbler went through in morning. Kathy counted 16 White-winged Dove and 5 Eurasian Collared-Dove at once. Butterflies continue their fadeaway, but since the 2nd, seven new ones for the month I did not see in yesterday's dozen species. A Monarch, a Mestra, the Mexican Yellow (day 4 for the third one of the fall), a Common Checkered-Skipper, a or the Pearl Crescent, a Painted Lady, and best of all, a Texan Crescent, which I did not see in October.

November 1 ~ Low about 58F, partly cloudy. Forecast is for rabbits on the white millet birdseed and squirrels in the Pecan trees. Pigs must have punched another hole in the hog fence, they are tearing the yard up, no doubt digging up the nuts the squirrels bury. Coons ravage the trees all night too chewing off the end two feet of branches with nuts. Deer stand on hind legs and get anything low. We will be lucky to get one nut to split.

Saw a Coyote over in corral first thing early. Heard Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Hutton's Vireo mid-morn. Then heard another Golden-crowned Kinglet before noon. Yesterday was the first of fall individual. A couple Myrtle Warbler chipped through southward over the day.

Great was after 5 p.m. out front when a Flicker flew into the big Pecan whilst I was at base of it. It immediately began wika wika wika calls yukking it up. It had orange wings, it was a tweener. Then another came flying in, with red wings. I moved to get a better angle and it flew, followed by the orange-winged bird, and then followed by a Yellow-winged bird! There were three at once in the big Pecan. A yellow-, a red-, and an orange- winged bird. That explains all the noise.

Butterflies started the new month with 12 species. Singles of Julia's Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, and Lyside Sulphur, two or three each So. Dogface and Vesta Crescent, a few each Snout and Gulf Fritillary, about 5 each of Pipevine Swallowtail and Large Orange Sulphur, ten Cloudless Sulphur, and 15 or more Sleepy Orange. After 5 p.m. finally saw a Phaon Crescent. Was about 74F then. At least one Texas Wasp Moth is still here.

~ ~ ~ October summary ~ ~ ~

There was some rain, about 3" where we are, others had more and less locally. But in that area. There had been almost none since the big event in late August so it was badly needed. We are in D2 stage drought. The river has come up a bit, still not going over spillway at park, but coming up. Temps were likely around average, maybe on the warm side of average. No freeze yet.

Odes were 13 species as they fade away for the year. Only two sps. were damselflies, the rest dragons. Nothing unusual or odd, they were the most likely to occur. A Red-tailed Pennant early in month might have been the best thing, then an Eastern Amberwing. Shows how weak it was. This was a very poor year for odes here.

Butterflies were slow, but still the biggest action and excitement. Thanks to some flowers we planted we got to see them without having to go anywhere. It was 49 species at the front porch this month. Which will make Oct. the top species diversity month of the year no doubt. As October often is. There was some big Snout movement SW to NE, but the bulk of the southbound Monarch passage missed us this year. I never saw more than 40 in a day, and that only once. It was low single digits most days. The rare items were the first Tropical Buckeye in a few years (on the 2nd), an Orange-barred Sulphur (on 4th), three different Mexican Yellow, and a second White-patched Skipper (on 23rd) for this fall. A few Mestra were around. Overall numbers were wayyyy down. Especially the small stuff which was largely absent.

Bird activity dropped wayyyy off this month. The big month of movement here is September. Most of the migratory breeders depart by September if not earlier and the winterers are not here yet. Some wild food crops like nuts, seed, or fruit also disperse local residents so they are more scattered foraging naturally. The bird of the month got away, it was a heard only Green-tailed Towhee (23rd). That smarts. The three best seen birds were all at our bird bath. Mourning (2nd) and Black-throated Green (27th) Warbler, and a Catbird (8th). Seems like about 65 species or so for me this month. I know Little Creek Larry had at least a handful I did not.

~ ~ ~ end Oct. summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

October ~ A great FOS on the 2nd was a Mourning Warbler in our flower beds. Also the 2nd, a FOS Greater Yellowlegs flew over high calling. The 2nd and 3rd Lincoln's Sparrow of the fall were early morn Oct. 5. My FOS Belted Kingfisher was on the 7th. Oct. 8 there was FOS Catbird and House Wren, and an orestera (Gray-headed-Rocky Mtns.) Orange-crowned Warbler. Oct. 15 I saw my FOS Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a Great Egret. The 16th finally a FOS Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, and a FOS N. Flicker was heard a few times. A cold front and about 2.5" of rain on the 17th felt autumnal, as did a single FOS Sandhill Crane flew over the 17th late in day. Heard a flock of cranes go over on the 20th. Also autumnal was a low of 42F a couple days after the front on the 19th. The 23rd I heard a Green-tailed Towhee but did not see it. The 26th a low of 38F was the first of the 30's F this fall, and in six months. On the 27th our FOS Black-throated Green Warbler was here. The 28th there was a FOS pair of Wood Duck above the island at the park in the river. The last FOS of the month on the 31st was a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

There is some bit of southern butterfly invasion going this fall, minor, but some scarcer things are showing up. Oct. 2 a Tropical Buckeye was here. On the 4th a female Orange-barred Sulphur and a female Mexican Yellow. Recall Sept. had White Peacock and White-patched Skipper, so clearly some few good butterflies arriving with the flow from the south. The 13th I had 25 species on the Blue Mistflower and Tropical Sage around front porch. On Friday the 14th there were small numbers of Monarchs about, 10 on our Blue Mist and over 30 in the park woods. A second White-patched Skipper of this fall showed well on the 23rd-24th. The third Mexican Yellow of the month and fall was here Oct. 30-31.

~ ~ ~ end archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

Oct. 31 ~ And there goes another month! At least we had some rain. Low was 48F, with some thin clouds. Only two months to do all those things I was going to do this year!?! Got up to about 76F in afternoon, but partly cloudy. After having a Ruby-crowned Kinglet early, late morning I heard a FOS Golden-crowned Kinglet around the yard. Finally something new after the front, and a real 'winter bird' here. OK, late fall to early spring to be technical. Near dusk a Kestrel was noisy uphill behind us in the live-oaks.

Butterflies are fading. Saw the Orange Skipperling and a few Vesta Crescent but that was the only small stuff. One Monarch, five Queen, a few So. Dogface, saw the Mexican Yellow again, a half-dozen each Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, 15 at least Sleepy Orange, and a couple Pipevine Swallowtail. One Texas Wasp Moth. Tomorrow starts a new month list so will be trying to muster everything I can quickly before its all gone. November is a good time for rare stuff though. My Two-barred Flasher, Ruby-spotted Swallowtail and Band-celled Sister photos are all from November.

Oct. 30 ~ Low of 44F was half a category lower than progged. At least the wind finally stopped. Dry, cool and clear is fine. Still no bird movement. I thought after the front there would be something by now. Nada. Not a darn thing. In afternoon at the fast-fading Blue Mistflower there was a pale morph female Orange Sulphur, a new species for the month, always greatly appreciated on the 30th. Then the third Mexican Yellow of the fall was on the Tropical Sage (Salvia) and seemed to end up diving into a thick patch of Blue Mist to roost. A couple Lark Sparrow and Lesser Goldfinch still. White-winged Dove are about 15 per a Kathy count. They fairly disappeared after Sept. 1 when dove season opened. Much of which is the population moving south to spend the winter where warmer anyway, just perhaps with a little gunblast diplomacy incentive to get going.

Oct. 29 ~ Low about 50F and might have made it to 70F at peak heat. The post frontal northerly winds continued much of day until late afternoon. So though in the 60's F it barely felt like it. Besides one flyover Myrtle Warbler, did not see anything different in birds. Did I mention it was windy. Not many butterflies either. The Blue Mist at front porch is exposed to northerlies, so was cooler there all day. Did see the Orange Skipperling and a couple Phaon Crescent. Not at the flowers were a Painted Lady and a Questionmark. The rest was the same gang. The butterfly action is fading fast. All the animal activity has been very surpressed due to the drought. So the little bit of flowers we have get an oversized result in response (and appreciation) since not much else out there now.


A current photo of the tub pond. In case you were
wondering how big of a marsh you needed to bring in
a Common Yellowthroat. This is 50 gallons. There is
a lily and some other aquatic veg besides the cattails
and Gambusia (mosquitofish) of course.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 28 ~ There was a quick pre-dawn passing line of rain from a cold front. Was 65F until dawn whence shortly after the north wind arrived and it dropped to upper 50's F. It was about 15mm, .6x, or five-eighths of an inch of precip. We are still at D2 level drought, so anything is great. Not to mention a dust-buster. The post-frontal blow lasted most of the day, it might have clawed its way back just past 65F in the late afternoon. Town run fer stuff. Great was a FOS pair of Wood Duck above the island at the park in the river. One Orange-crowned Warbler was the only passerine migrant I saw in the trees, in a small group of Titmouse (Black-cr) and Chickadee (Caro.). River water level is rising. Lots of Cypresses are getting real rusty. Little Creek Larry said he heard small group of Cranes going over a few days ago. Probably be some behind this blow.

Oct. 27 ~ Low about 50F, maybe a click lower after I looked at 7 a.m. Late morning Kathy spotted a Black-throated Green Warbler at the birdbath. Finally, thought I was going to miss it this fall. Was an imm. female. Also there at the same time was an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Hutton's Vireo, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It was two minutes of feathered flurry and fini. Nothing else different all day and overall numbers remain way down. Couple Lark Sparrow and Lesser Goldfinch still. Butterflies were the same, the Fatal Metalmark was still here early morn, as well as the Phaon and Pearl Crescents, and the Julia's Skipper. A new different from the one last week Giant Swallowtail was briefly about the Blue Mist. Still a handful of Texas Wasp Moth.

Oct. 26 ~ A low of 38F is the first thirties we have seen in 6 months. Welcome back! Nice quiet night without 20-30 mph gusts all night. At midnight last night there were three Great Horned Owl calling, a pair towards the river, and one behind us uphill in the live-oaks. This morn had one Myrtle Warbler go over, and a N. Flicker calling from the Cypresses at river. Back to butterflies. Which were all the same, except a Fatal Metalmark, which is the first metalmark I have seen this fall. Celia's Roadside-, Orange Skipperling, and Julia's Skipper all still here. Was too busy at the desk as Wednesdays are here. But not much activity out there currently. Without the planted flowers it would be pretty dead out there.

Oct. 25 ~ Blew like heck all night. Around midnight there were gusts at 30-35 mph. I did not follow up on those numbers overnight. It was a very noisy night. Low was about 50F, and finally the wind was laying down in the mid-morning. Mostly the same few birds, the only different thing was a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher stopped briefly in the big Pecan, gave some bik notes while up there. The rest of them are all gone, and been so since the last prior front almost a week ago.

Mostly the same butterflies on the Blue Mist and Tropical Sage. The Blue Mist is crashing fast now. Gonna miss it. For the first time all fall there were crab spiders on it today (3!). I have been looking for them. One had a Vesta Crescent, another with a Sleepy Orange. Hard to love 'em. In skippers, saw the Julia's, the Celia's Roadside-, and Orange Skipperling again. One Monarch, maybe 20 Sleepy Orange, still single Phaon and Pearl Crescent. Saw a big male Sceloporus lizard on office window screen but looking into the sun light was no good so no ID. Probably an E. Fence (Prairie) as I have never seen a Rose-bellied on a window screen (or house), only on trees.

Oct. 24 ~ A balmy low of 70F, overcast but no rain yet. Have a couple chances today but most Rosyln remnants are already well north of us. Seemingly just a couple Lesser Goldfinch and Lark Sparrow around still. We are in that nadir of avian action between the breeding and wintering populations presence. Still some butterflies though, including the White-patched Skipper now on day 2 here, and a Pearl Crescent on day 3. One or two Monarch. Butterfly numbers are clearly decreasing, and fast. They will be done soon. For all the rain talk for today for the last five days, you would think we would have seen more than a couple drops. Mostly sunny, 85F. It was at 70 percent chance, then 50, this morning 40, and it has been sunny most of the day. Last hope is for a squall line when the actual cold front gets here tonight. Update: that was a wash here, we had a dry passage, but it blew up to our northeast. This front has a big blow behind it. Which got here around dark, and proceeded to howl all night.

Oct. 23 ~ About 64F for a low, overcast and humid with Gulf flow. Was clear at midnight. Had a heartbreak of a heard bird here this morning. I heard it call at least four times, and knew what it was but did not see it. Came in for bins, back out, looked all around house, nothing. It was the thin hissss note of a Green-tailed Towhee. Which would be my first one here in 19 years. I have not seen one in the county, though they occur in the west part in very low numbers (1-2, maybe a few in a good year) probably annually or nearly so. I don't bird over westward much the last decade. It is probably the most regular occurring species in the county that I have not yet seen. There have been a bunch in the last 20 years, but I don't chase birds that others find for a tick on my UvCo list. It would have to be pretty darn good. As such I am reluctant to add it to my yard or county list as a heard bird. It will be relegated to hypothetical status. One Ruby-crowned Kinglet was the only other transient detection.

Much lower butterfly numbers today, they are fading fast. Great was the second of this fall, White-patched Skipper (Chiomara georgina). Since LTA - less than annual, always a treat to see. The Phaon and Pearl Crescent were both still present among the Vesta. One Mestra, a Monarch, and in skippers the Julia's and Desert Checkered- both continued. The rest was the same gang. Later afternoon some thick higher clouds showing up that are from a spun off band of Hurricane Roslyn that made landfall in Nayarit, Mexico this morning. It has travelled half way across Mexico by afternoon and the remnants moisture it leaves will meet an approaching cold front and cause rain here tomorrow if we get lucky. I hope San Blas is OK in Nayarit.

Oct. 22 ~ Was clear at midnight, low about 62F around 3 a.m., and by 4-5 a.m. was about 64F with low overcast and Gulf stratus. Not much for bird movement out there. At least a couple Lark Sparrow. Keep hearing alarm notes from Chickadees, Titmice, Cardinals indicating accipiter attack, and getting occasional glimpses of an imm. Sharp-shinned Hawk working the edges of yard. No hummingbirds, now for five days straight. At least there are still some butterflies to look at. Great was TWO Elada Checkerspot at once. New was a Phaon Crescent, the Pearl Crescent was still here, and of course at least a handful of Vesta. Saw the Tawny Emperor sunning on the big Pecan trunk again mid-afternoon. One Mestra still, a tiny small Queen again that was here yesterday, a Julia's Skipper was still here too. First in a while was a big female Pepsis Wasp which briefly landed on a fading Frostweed flower.


This is a Sphinx moth I found dead. Kathy took the pix.
No ID yet but I see these regularly here. It is a smaller
type near a couple inches long with maybe 3" wingspan.
So do you think you would spot that on the tree?

A preliminary search suggests this may be Erynnyis oenotrus.


Underside. Note the hindwing color barely shows on the
underside (ventrally), but on dorsal (upperside) is a
nice saturated burnt orange color.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 21 ~ A low of 45F was over half a category colder than predicted. Not complaining. Clear and dry, more C of C weather. The Goldenrod in the river is 2-3 weeks past peak and nearing done, but the Fireweed is still going. Water has come up a bit, likely due to all the pastures stopping irrigation for the season. The Cowpen Daisy is going in one spot across river, and has butterflies, will have to give it more than a quick glance this weekend. Did see a couple Phaon Crescent on it, the rest mostly a bunch of what we have around the porch. But needs going through. Also the deco garden in front of park has some blooms and flowers now, so needs looking at. There were no migrant birds at the park. Deadsville. A few Green Darner, some Bluets out over the water were probably Familiar. A pair of ovipositing Variegated Meadowhawk are the first of them I have seen this fall. Little Creek Larry said he saw some Pied-billed Grebe after the front Tuesday, but they blew out right away. Here at the hovelita, I saw a Southern Skipperling on the Blue Mistflower today, after squatting to squint at a dozen, it finally paid off. First one of the month. After 4 p.m. a few good butterflies showed up. The Elada Checkerspot from yesterday showed back up. Then a Pearl Crescent was the first in months, and a nice big Tawny Emperor was sunning on the trunk of the big Pecan.

Oct. 20 ~ Low about 45F or so, I saw KERV had a 42F. Clear, cool, and dry, very nice. A Myrtle Warbler flew over chipping early at dawn, and a Kinglet (Ruby) out there. Heard some Sandhill Crane going over southbound midday. In butterflies the Mexican Yellow was still here, and a Southern Broken-Dash which I had not seen the last several days, likely a new one. Still a Julia's Skipper though. Late in day an Elada Checkerspot showed up. Saw 7-8 Texas Wasp Moth at once. Good year for them. Too busy in the office and having fun with plumbing. Great duetting from the pair of E. (mccallii- TexMex) Screech-Owls right over the shed at dark. Third day with no hummingbirds.

Oct. 19 ~ A low of 42F was a cheap thrill. We haven't felt that probably since March. Maybe early April at the latest, about six months. Sunny and dry. Chamber of Commerce weather. Not seeing signs of post-frontal bird movement yet. Ravens coming into yard hunting Pecans. As the squirrels are. Got up into low-mid 70's F so butterflies were out. Most the same, but 5 Dainty Sulphur after the first one in weeks yesterday is a wave. A second of fall Mexican Yellow was great. Couple Monarch went by, Mestra still here, as was the Mournful Duskywing, and now 2 Orange Skipperling. Besides a Common, a Desert Checkered-Skipper is nice. Still Julia's, Dun, Fiery, Sachem and Whirlabout in skippers.

Oct. 18 ~ Northerlies and cool air got here last night after the rain moved south and east. Low was 53F! Outstanding. Only bird I saw in the morn was a N. Flicker with yellow wings that landed in the big Pecan. Probably a good Yellow-shafted, which is the most common type of N. Flicker here. But a good number of Red-shafted, and intergrades, so wing color is not enough to call one a proper '-shafted' as if confirmed pure of type. Heard a Kinglet (Ruby) but pretty quiet out there today. Amazing was neither of us saw a hummingbird today! First day of that since early March. Seven months. Now we do the five without them. Hopefully we will get a passing stray or two yet.

Some butterflies back out in the upper 60's F warmth in the afternoon. One new one, a fresh Mournful Duskywing, was nice. Saw the Giant Swallowtail again, and confirmed it a Giant. About a half-dozen Pipevine Swallowtail. In Sulphurs, a few each Large Orange and Cloudless, one each Lyside and a Dainty, over 15 Sleepy Orange, a few S. Dogface and one Little Yellow. Numbers of Snout heading SW. Couple Gulf Fritillary, 2 Gray Hairstreak, 4 Vesta Crescent, and the one N. Mestra. In other skippers (besides the duskywing above) there was the Orange Skipperling, a Julia's, couple or few Whirlabout, Fiery, Sachem, and a Eufala. About 21 species, but numbers noticeably down. Wait until after that 40F morning tomorrow.

Oct. 17 ~ RAIN! Started about midnight when 75F still, the main event was ending around 10 a.m., with about 6 cm, or two and three-eighths". Then another quarter inch at noon, totalling about 67mm, or 2.6" or so. A perfect slow-soaker to boot. Temp at dawn 64F but some WU stations were below 60F before 11 a.m. as the cooler air arrives. We had only had a half-inch of precip in the 6 weeks since the big 6" event the last two days of August. It was parched out there. A flock of ten Lark Sparrow was odd since I have not seen more than 2-4 for a couple weeks or more. Cannot help but wonder if they are migrants arriving from elsewhere. Heard Hutton's Vireo. After not for several days, I heard a couple Scissor-tails later in afternoon, they will depart tomorrow is my guess. Only one or two Ruby-throated Hummingbird still here. About 4 p.m. I heard a FOS Sandhill Crane overhead and looked up to see one lone Sandhill Crane beating tracks south on the northerlies. A few butterflies poked their heads out around 3 p.m. peak heat at maybe 62F now. Five species was a bit short of the 25 sps. yesterday.

Oct. 16 ~ Low only 70F, hopefully the last of that for a bit. The second decent front, but the first real bigger cold front (with actual real cool air) of fall is inbound tonight. Ahead of it this morning at dawn my FOS Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) landed in the big Pecan and chipped a few times. To me always a great sign of fall arriving. Lots of years, but not this one, I get a few Audubon's type (western) Yellow-rumps in late September, much earlier than Myrtle ever arrive. Heard a Kestrel across road toward river in morn. Thought I heard a Flicker in the morn, just before 3 p.m. one was calling toward the river, a FOS. Heard a Belted Kingfisher calling over at the river nearing dusk.

For butterflies, this is the last warm day for a few and I expect a major drop in activity post-front. Had a brief look at a Swallowtail that was a Giant or better, showing up and leaving in a few seconds. The rest was the same gang, dwindling in numbers as the Blue Mist fades past peak. Our patch must have been over 400 stalks with flower heads, on about 35-40 sq. ft. of it combined, on either side of front porch steps. It was a fantastic show for a month. I saw a Lady sps. that could have been a West Coast though all are American or Painted here until proven otherwise. Certainly that bar along leading edge toward apex was orange and not white as in Painted and American. In Skippers continuing were the Orange Skipperling, 2 Julia's, the Celia's Roadside-Skipper, besides the common ones. A Mestra, at least 3 Monarch over the day, did not see the Bordered Patch though. Managed to muster 25 species again at the porch today. Good enough for not starting the car anyway.

Oct. 15 ~ Low about 66F, overcast, balmy, waiting for real fall to arrive on Monday. One FOS bird early in morn, a Sharp-shinned Hawk. No songbird migrants in yard all day. A few Ruby-throated Hummingbird continue. At dusk a Great Egret flew upriver, the first one I have seen all fall. So it's back to butterflies. A Desert Checkered-Skipper was new. Continuing are a Celia's Roadside-Skipper, an Orange Skipperling, and the torn and frayed Bordered Patch. Two different Monarch first half of day. A pair of Buckeye were on the Tube-tongue in yard. A Clouded Skipper was maybe the third one this fall. Saw Southern Broken-Dash, Whirlabout, Fiery Skipper, some Sachem. We will see a precipitous decline in action after the cold front gets here. And hopefully a new set of birds.

Thanks to the nice lady that shared these great bat photos!


This appears to be a pair of copulating Red Bat.
This was above Vanderpool, Oct. 12.


Same pair as above.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 14 ~ Low about 66F or so, overcast and humid. Waiting for that first big front, now Sunday eve arrival methinks. Just a few Ruby-throated Hummingbird left, a handful maybe, all imm. males. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet went through in morning. Not much moving out there. Two Lark Sparrow. Waiting for the front. There were 8 Monarch on the Blue Mist first thing, so they roosted in the Pecans last night. A few went by overhead as well. First day with more than two this fall. At the park in the woods there were over 30 just starting to stir. Larry said he had a few go by as well. Mid-Oct. is usually peak here, but a good big flight is very rare. Lots of Bluet (Enallagma sps.) damselflies out over the water, looked Familiar but too far. A few Green Darner and some Blue Dasher for dragons was about it. They will be all but done when that front hits. Forgot, oops... On the way to town, just across the river on 360 there was a flock of 13 Common Raven in a pasture. But no Scissor-tails, and have not heard them the last couple days, methinks they departed.

Oct. 13 ~ Low about 64F is great. A few low clouds early, briefly, then sunny. A Kinglet (Ruby) and the Hutton's Vireo were the only two birds besides a few residents over the morning. Only a very few Lark Sparrow left. Not seeing the Chipping Sparrows that bred either. Butterflies remain the action. Best new one today was a FOS Elada Checkerspot. Always great to see and easy to overlook when a bunch of Vesta Crescent around. A Texas Powdered-Skipper was new, but much seemed continuing holdovers: the same Bordered Patch, an Orange Skipperling, the N. Cloudywing and Funereal Duskywing, 2 Mestra, and so on. One Monarch was briefly here. Still several Texas Wasp Moth. A second different Bordered Patch showed up late. I count 25 species of butterfly about the front porch and magic Blue Mist Eupatorium today. The neatest thing was Shirley from the store sent me a couple pics of what look like mating Red Bat on the ground! She took them night before, will see if I can put one up here. Very cool sighting. Thanks for sharing that Shirley!

Oct. 12 ~ Lows creeping back up, about 67F this morning. A real actual cold front is progged for next Mon. or Tuesday, but we have most of a week of 90F highs until it gets here. On the warmish side in the afternoon. Heard the Hutton's Vireo over toward the draw in the morn. Just a few Lark Sparrow left, most seem to have departed. Kathy said way fewer hummers yesterday as fluid consupmtion went way down, and only a few today. The front next week should usher the rest out. Butterflies were mostly the same gang. A Northern Cloudywing was new. Two Mestra at once is the first of that this year. At least one Monarch in morning, and another in early afternoon. Still 20 Queen and 3 doz. Lyside Sulphur. Four or five each at once of Cloudless and Large Orange Sulphur. Late in day a FOS Bordered Patch showed up, a bit worn and torn. One Ailanthus Webworm Moth. Had one of those big green Scarabs, a Peach or Fig Beetle type, come into my pipe smoke and buzz me a few times.

Oct. 11 ~ Low about 65F with some low Gulf stratus for a few hours. Heard Kinglet and Gnatcatcher first thing, Kathy heard a Hutton's Vireo mid-morn. No migrants all day. Hate seeing some Blue Mist flowers turning brown, passing peak. Hope we get a few more weeks, it has been awesome. Today saw the Orange Skipperling and Buckeye again, a Variegated Fritillary, one Monarch stopped briefly, maybe the seventh of fall, and another (maybe) Mestra was around too. More than two dozen Andromena Moths, they are thick now. Saw the Julia's and Celia's Roadside-, Skippers were both still present.

Oct. 10 ~ Low of 56F, partly to mostly cloudy in morn. Only migrant all morn was a Kinglet (Ruby). Was standing at the Blue Mist patch looking at butterflies and a skipper landed on my nose. How the heck am I supposed to ID that? Clearing by noon. The low 80's are totally fine after summer. Mostly the same butterflies on the magic Blue Mist, but an Orange Skipperling was new. The Funereal Duskywing and Common Checkered-Skipper were both around, after not seeing either yesterday when I was trying to have a run on skippers. The rest here: Sachem, Fiery, Dun, Whirlabout, Julia's, Southern Broken-Dash, Celia's Roadside-, 11 sps. of skippers and missing a couple of yesterday's. At least it is something to look at. A mint fresh Buckeye was on the Blue Mist later afternoon. What a beauty. It was four Texas Wasp Moth I counted at once. Saw a male So. Dogface just barely if over an inch long, smallest one I have ever seen by far. Over a dozen Andromena Moth (aka False Underwing).

Oct. 9 ~ Low about 57F, some mid-level clouds. First thing before sunup I hear the Scissor-tails going off early across the river in morning. Had a bare-eyed look through a windowscreen at what appeared an imm. Mourning Warbler at the bath but when I got outside did not hear or see anything. Keep forgetting to take bins to bathroom in fall. Heard a Kinglet (Ruby) in the morn, another in the afternoon. There is a notable yellowing of leaves happening out there now. The Mulberry is really starting to turn, and some Hackberry and Mesquite are showing yellow too. In afternoon Kathy had a Nashville Warbler at the bath.

Still great butterfly action on the Blue Mist mostly. New was my first Eufala Skipper of the fall, and a Mournful Duskywing was around a few hours. One Black Swallowtail, couple dozen Pipevine. At least a half-dozen each of Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, one pale morph female Little Yellow, dozens of Lyside. Single Monarch and Mestra in the morning. The same skippers all still here: Julia's, Dun, Fiery, Whirlabout, Sachem, Southern Broken-Dash, Celia's Roadside-, no big numbers just one or a few of each. In the prior two days saw 3 other sps. of skippers, so a dozen sps. are around, at minimum.

Oct. 8 ~ About 62F for a low and overcast. About 9 a.m. Kathy spotted birds at the bath. There was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet threatening to come down, four Nashville and two Orange-crowned Warbler. One of the Orange-crowned was a gray headed western orestera (Rocky Mtns.) subspecies. We see a few here, like western type Wilson's Warbler. Then nearing noonish Kathy spotted a FOS Catbird at the bath! Always a great bird to see here. That drip is magic. A Gnatcatcher was out in the Pecans in the afternoon. Weird not hearing White-eyed Vireo. Heard another Kinglet later in day. Late in the afternoon a FOS House Wren was in the flower bed.

In butterflies, still many hundreds of Snout passing. Single moment counts at the Blue Mistflower were 30 again on the Queen, and 40 on Lyside Sulphur. Eight species of Skipper were Common Checkered-, Whirlabout, Fiery, Sachem, Dun, Julia's, Celia's Roadside-, and Southern Broken-Dash. A Mestra showed up late in afternoon, maybe the 6th one this fall.

not current photo - but Monarchs passing through now


This is a Monarch in flight, which would have been
really neat if I had goten the tips of the wings.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Oct. 7 ~ The Gulf flow made it back so it was back to low stratus with humidity, and warmer lows, saw 64F. Still great after all those 74's all summer. One Ruby-crowned Kinglet was the migrant for the morning. Town run. On 360 east of the river there were a dozen Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the pasture fenceline. This is the usual Oct. buildup we get. The park was fairly devoid of migrants save the FOS Belted Kingfisher, an ad. female.

In butterflies, the Monarch spent the night and was out first thing early. The Funereal Duskywing was also still here. Queen count was 30 at once, my high count so far. A half-dozen of the False Underwing (Hypocala) Andromena Moths, the couple Texas Wasp Moth still here too. A second Clouded Skipper was different from yesterday's FOS. Later afternoon a Julia's Skipper, a Sachem, and a Southern Broken-Dash were around.

Oct. 6 ~ I saw 54F before 7 a.m. and final dip. KERV had a 51. Still Ruby-throated Hummingbirds so still fighting at the feeders. I suspect a dozen or so are around. All imm. males best I can tell. A number have a spot or few gorget feathers now showing at bottom center. Best bird was a greenie, imm. or female Painted Bunting briefly at the bath, first I have seen in a week. This is the very end of the window for them. Lots of the same butterflies around front porch and the magic Blue Mist. Five Gulf Fritillary at once were all mint fresh and all looked like females. Great was a Cloudless Skipper, first I have seen this fall of this usually common species. Also saw a Celia's Roadside-Skipper, getting late here for them. One Funereal Duskywing, and late in day a Monarch (No. 6 for fall) showed up. Two small Texas Wasp Moth were on the flowers. Kathy saw a blue of some sort. I had a quick look at a Ruf-All Hummingbird in the afternoon, Rufous or Allen's, Selasphorus sps., which are Rufous here until proven otherwise. Screech-Owls noisy just after dark.

Oct. 5 ~ Low was 53F, before the final dip. KERV had a 51. Some bit of clouds early gone in short order so dry blue skies, quite nice. I heard two Lincoln's Sparrow way out front in the tall grass first thing early. Otherwise no mig motion all day. Had a quick town run early and so a stop at the park. The only migrants were a flock of Turkey Vulture in the vulture roost tree. It was at least 45 birds. They were just starting to lift off, many with wings spread warming up. Wait until they get a mile south of town, there was a string of 5 hit pigs, hatch-year size, maybe 6-8 months old. Which is why we have grill guards on our trucks here. Butterflies were mostly the same. One new item was a worn Painted Lady, my first this fall. A fresh Variegated and 3 Gulf Fritillary were nice. Dozens of Lyside Sulphur. The Blue Mistflower is rockin' for a couple weeks now.

Oct. 4 ~ I saw 56F before the last dip, saw KERV had a 52F low. Still some high clouds from Orlene in a.m. No migrant motion in the morning save single Gnatcatcher and Kinglet (Ruby) passing through. More Bluebird going over high up might have been migrants. Still a Hutton's Vireo out there, and a Lark Sparrow still singing a bit. Bird action is really dialed back. Plenty of Snout and Lyside Sulphur to make up for it though. Outstanding was a female ORANGE-BARRED Sulphur. But which only stopped on a couple Blue Mist flowers and quickly split. What a gorgeous beauty! Have not seen one in several years, they are far less than annual. Later I saw my first marcellina (Spotted) Cloudless Sulphur of the fall, which was also a female, and of the sort nearest in appearance to a female Orange-barred, but in detail not close to my eye. Saw a couple huge Lysides, big as a big Large Orange Sulphur. Then later afternoon a female MEXICAN YELLOW showed up! First of the year! LTA - less than annual, not a sure thing here every year.

Oct. 3 ~ Low about 55F with high overcast. Which is more sheared off tops from Hurricane Orlene which came ashore south of Mazatlan in the dark this morning as a Cat 1. Blocks the sun anyway. As of 10 a.m. two migrants, Kathy had a Nashville Warbler at bath, and I had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in Pecans. Have never seen a Gnatcat at the bath. Bugs are plenty juicy apparently. Heard Ruby-crowned Kinglet number 2 of the fall. Three times I thought sure I heard a Black-throated Green Warbler out front in pecans, but when I finally got bins and went looking there was nothing in the trees. I was too old and slow.

Butterflies continue to be the big show, at the front porch. Great was a Nysa Roadside-Skipper, first of fall. Maybe had one in spring? They have been scarce since the drought. Lots of Snout, Queen, and Lyside. A number of the Lyside were pure yellow form types. One Dun Skipper, Whirlabout and Fiery too. Both Cloudless and Large Orange Sulphurs around in multiples. No warblers in the flower patch today.

Oct. 2 ~ Low maybe 52F, was before the dip, KERV had a 48F! Some high cirrus here being sheared off the tops of Hurricane Orlene in the Pacific off SW Mexico. Only 82F for a high is delightful! No migrant motion in the morn. Did some weed-whacking that was long overdue, what sprouted after the late Aug. rain. Remembered how much I did not miss doing it all summer, the cup a tenth full part of the drought. Need to be able to get out and around all the trees without risking chiggers, in case of bird. Forgot to mention yesterday, a Hutton's Vireo is singing out there. About 4 p.m. or so I heard a FOS Greater Yellowlegs flying over southbound. Called a bunch of times, but I could not pick it up. Late just before dark a line of 5 Turkey Vulture were headed upriver just over Cypresses looking for roost site. In with them was one Swainson's Hawk. Our local breeding TV's are almost all gone before the end of September. These are surely not of local origin, and migrants from elsewhere.

Here is the bird of the day story. Resting in chair on front porch after yard work about 11:30. Heard a rustle to my left in flower bed. Turned to look, the bird flew right by me around front porch, and towards tub pond. My ID only got to Geothlypis sps., it was either a Common Yellowthroat or a Mourning Warbler. In September here Mourning usually far outnumbers Yellowthroat by factors. As it flew by I implored it mentally to call to no avail. I got up and went around corner, there was nothing at the pond area I could see. A Yellowthroat would have gone there into the cattails. After 4 p.m. was out on front porch looking to see the Buckeye (butterfly) again, still lamenting the bird not calling earlier. A bird flushed out of the flower bed to left of porch again, I turned and saw a Geothlypis shooting over to a low-cropped (2') hedge of Junipers at driveway edge. As it flared to dive in, it called. Mourning Warbler! It is a late FOS date for one, but a great save after missing them so far. In fall they are primarily a September bird here, but last week of Aug. to first week of Oct. is the window. So it must have circled back around the house to the Red Turkscap patch it initially came out of when I first heard it fly into flower bed. Which is pretty juicy ground-warbler stuff. The countless Snout surely look pretty juicy. The birdbath is on that side of house too, bet it was there at some point. Earlier in afternoon Kathy said she saw it (olive and yellow warbler) fly out of the Lantana in front porch flower bed. Finally after dinner about 7 p.m. I was looking out front into flowers from inside house, in case of bird in flower bed. One pops up on these little stone supports for the mesquite pillars. Leans over and grabs a bug off the Blue Mist as I get in bins on it. Mourning Warbler! It is an immature with a yellow throat, which figures at this late date. It turned around and showed me those long undertail coverts, awesome. It dropped back down into the flowers. So left it alone to hope it got a couple more Snouts.

Butterflies were mostly the same gang as of late. Lots of Queen, Lyside, and Snout are the big three. Did see a Ceranus Blue and Gray Hairstreak. Different was a Buckeye Kathy spotted that only stuck briefly, and which was a TROPICAL Buckeye. Which I have not seen in several years, maybe 5 or so, since the last half-decent fall invasion. Great bug! We have had a few good southern invasion falls with small numbers, but most years you don't see one. Then there were some moths. On the Frostweed, a couple of those orange and black small ones I think are a Lichen Moth of some sort (c.f. Lycomorpha pholus), an Ailanthus Webworm moth, and what I think is a False Underwing type (c.f. Andremona Moth - Hypocala andoromena). Lots of other moths I don't know as well. On the Blue Mist Eup. was my FOS Texas Wasp Moth.

October 1 ~ Weewow, it's October! I saw a 55F low and KERV had a 54. Only migrant motion I saw was a Rufous Hummingbird in the morning. I think number 5 of the fall here this year. The rest was the same. Very few birds at the seed, I presume there is some wild food crop available now as often so much less traffic. Only a few Lark Sparrow left yesterday, and not seeing the Chipping that summered and bred. Probably going to miss Mourning Warbler this fall as the Frostweed patches they frequent did not pop up this drought year. At least the butterflies have picked up a bit with the immigrants from the south. Today in skippers saw Fiery, Whirlabout, Sachem and Dun. The Gray Hairstreak still here. Lots of Snout, Queen, and Lyside Sulphur.

~ ~ ~ September summary ~ ~ ~

The big rain event at the end of August seemed to be the break in the summer heat we needed as mostly the month was low 90's instead of high, and lots of lows in the 60's instead of the 70's. Even saw the 50's by the last week of the month. There were just a few light bits of rain after that 5-7" event at the end of August. Which however did spur some September fall flower bloom action. River is still 3' below spillway at park pond.

Odes remained severely depressed here. I count only 18 species of dragonflies, of which only two were damselflies. Looking like I missed any Rubyspot this year here. Best was a single male Twelve-spotted Skimmer (at park) which is less than annual for me here. Also a Thornbush Dasher at the park where very rare was good. A few E. Amberwing, a couple Red-tailed Pennant, both of which might not show up any given year so always good. But is was scraping for scraps.

Butterlies showed well with an influx from the south of many species. Fortunately due to August rains there were some few flowers at least for them. Without our watering around the house and flower plantings we would not have seen very much out there. As it was had 40 species for the month, and I can't think of one that was not from the yard. Biggest sps. diversity month of the year so far. One day I had 20. There were the first five migrant Monarchs. There was a BIG wave of Snout, thousands of them latter part of the month. Good flight of Queen too.

A few rarer items showed making it more fun to keep an eye on the flowers. Three good LTA - less than annual - species showed. A White-patched Skipper (Chiomara) on the 18th, a White Peacock the 26th (first in about 5 years), and an Empress Leila the 29th. Though it has been a very limited influx, at least it was something this year.

Birds were good as always in September. It is the big departure month for many of our migratory songbirds, for those that do not leave in August. Fair numbers of our common migrants like Yellow Warbler and Orchard Oriole in particular. Fewer but some Least Flycatcher, Dickcissel, Wilson's and Nashville Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, the other most common migrants. I saw 90 species right here with a few of those at the park. Little Creek Larry saw at least a handful that I did not.

Best bird was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher the 7th, which are LTA - less than annual. There was a four-day Calliope Hummingbird Sept. 5-8. Saw a Broad-tailed Hummer at dawn the 23rd and dusk the 24th, but so had to have been here the 22nd and 25th. A female Bullock's Oriole is a scarce migrant here in Sept. (22nd). A couple evenings as it got dark I counted a couple dozen Upland Sandpiper calling overhead gaining altitude to fly for the night (4th and 11th). Kathy spotted the FOS Ruby-crowned Kinglet the 19th.

~ ~ ~ end September summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

September ~ The 2nd brought a few FOS items. Maybe three Baltimore Oriole were in the yard. A Traill's type (Willow or Alder) Flycatcher was at the park. A fall Firefly was my first since spring at dark. A couple dozen Upland Sandpiper at dusk the 4th means they were in pastures up-valley that day. My FOS Nashville Warbler was the 5th. Thought I saw an imm. or fem. Calliope Hummingbird on the 5th, confirmed it on the 6th, and saw it the morning of the 7th. Also on the 7th was a FOS Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in our front yard. A Couch's Kingbird was in yard on the 10th. On the 11th some Blue-winged Teal were bolting downriver at dawn. At twilight on the 11th there was a nice liftoff of Upland Sandpiper, I heard a couple dozen. My FOS Clay-colored Sparrow was on the 12th. A 62F low on the 15th is noteworthy. On the 18th I saw my FOS Wilson's Warbler. Also the 18th was my FOS Monarch, and a rare White-patched Skipper (Chiomara). The 19th saw my FOS Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Two FOS migrants on the 22nd were an Orange-crowned Warbler and a Lincoln's Sparrow. A Bullock's Oriole was also the first real fall migrant of those, also the 22nd. The 23rd there was a FOS Broad-tailed Hummingbird at our feeders at dawn, and a bit later a FOS Swainson's Hawk. The 24th we had FOS American Redstart at our bath, a fly-by FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher. Late the 24th the Broad-tailed Hummer was here again. On the 26th there was a FOS Common Yellowthroat, and the first White Peacock butterfly I have seen in several years. On the 27th had FOS Kestrel and a thrilling low of 55F, followed by a 52F on the 28th.

~ ~ ~ end archive copy update header ~ ~ ~

not current photos, but of things currently out there...
these are some of the day-flying moths on flowers right now.


There are fair numbers of these moths on the flowers currently.
I think Hypocala andromena - Andromena Moth aka False Underwing.


There are also some of these on the flowers, which I think
are one of the Lichen Moths, c.f. Lycomorpha pholus. The
white flowers blew out the sensor and over-exposed it horribly.


These are out on the flowers now too, the Ailanthus Webworm moth.
Again, the sensor gets blown out by white and overexposes. (Atteva punctella)

This is a Texas Wasp Moth (Horana panthalon texana),
a moth that mimics a wasp. A few of these about now too.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 30 ~ Low about 54F again. Wonderful. I could stand this all year. Got up to 90F, but much dryer, so totally bearable. No migs in the morning. Saw a Northern Cloudywing (butterfly) on the Blue Mist in the morning. In the afternoon a couple Fiery Skipper. No Summer Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, or any greenie Painted Bunting. Three of the last summer holdouts here. Poof! Gone! A couple White-eyed Vireo still here though.

Was a town run day so check of the park. A Hutton's Vireo was in the woods, but that was it for anything different. Great was the male Yellow-throated Warbler still there by the north end of island in woods, but no Summer Tanager. The warbler has been on territory there since March! Little Creek Larry said he had 4 Blue-winged Teal yesterday morning. Some Green Darner, a Black Saddlebags, some Checkered and Swift Setwing, a Red-tailed Pennant, and some too distant bluets was it for odes. Forgot to mention Little Creek Larry said he had some Killdeer this week, which are migrants showing up from elsewhere.

Sept. 29 ~ A very comfortable 54F for a low, which I could get used to. After a summer of 74F lows, and coupled with the dryness, this is outstanding. No mig motion in the morning, save a single Nashville Warbler at bath just before noon. Did not hear a greenie (Painted Bunting), or the males of Vermilion Flycatcher and Summer Tanager. They likely departed. Mostly it was butterflies. Thousands of Snout again, counted two dozen plus Pipevine Swallowtail at once out on the Tube-Tongue patches. Saw the Texas Powdered-Skipper again, a Gray Hairstreak was new. Great was an Empress Leila, one of the Emperors like Hackberry and Tawny, but the rarest of the three here. I saw one last year, but have not seen any in 7 or 8 of the last ten years here. So, a good bug. In Skippers saw Sachem, Fiery, and Whirlabout

The great mystery of the day was a call we heard before sunup sitting in bed with coffee, and then again at dusk just before dark at 8 p.m. I asked Kathy what it was in the morn, she replied, an alien. That is how foreign the sound was. Single notes well spaced mostly but closer together at other times. I thought at first it might be a very distant ambulance. Fairly clearly whistled somewhat low-pitched, and hollow, reminiscent of say Elf Owl chirps. At dark Kathy heard it fly from one calling spot to another in the Pecan over the bird bath. I was out front trying to see something but could not, it was too dark. I think it must be another new and unknown to me call from the mccallii Screech-Owl. Lived with them 20 years and stillk hearing new things from them. I have had individuals that did essentially perfect Saw-whet Owl and Ferrigunous Pygmy-Owl calls. Surely they have never heard either. No other Screech-Owl I know of has this variety of calls.

Sept. 28 ~ I saw 52F before the final dip just before sunup, so probably hit 51 like KERV did. Did not see squat for birds today. No migs. But, the male Vermilion Flycatcher and Summer Tangers were both still here. Butterflies are still active, but the Lantanas, Frog-fruit and Tropical Sage are all past peaks so less is stopping. The Blue Mistflower Eupatorium is going gang-busters though. Must be at least 300 flower heads now. A pair of Whirlabout were nice. A Little Yellow, several each Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, another Mestra (the 4th one maybe), a Texas Powdered-Skipper, hundreds of Snout and a couple dozen Queen. Did see the puff of a Silver-Puff flower. Late in day I found a less-than-inch long Scorpion. Pretty neat looking when so small, which I almost never see.

Sept. 27 ~ A low of 55F was fantastic, the first below 60 since April methinks. About time. Might have hit 85F peak heat. In morning I heard a FOS Kestrel but which when I went out was not there. A big ad. female Cooper's Hawk was up in top of the big Pecan. The Kestrel must have buzzed it. LOL. No migrant motion besides the raptor. Couple dozen Ruby-throated Hummingbird around. Heard the Screech-Owl at dark. Heard some bluebirds going over high in morn, that could be migrants arriving from elsewhere this time of year. Still some Fireflies, but we are past their peak for the fall flight now. At least it got up to a couple dozen at once after the pitiful spring flight.

Mostly just got checks of the butterfly flowers on breaks from the desk and computer. Finally after it warmed up about 11 a.m. or so I saw the White Peacock again, so a two-day record. It must have tanked and split, as it was not seen again after the morning. Black, Giant, and Pipevine Swallowtail, Large Orange, Cloudless, Lyside Sulphurs, a female Dogface, some Sleepy Orange as always, still lots of Snout, a couple Gulf Fritillary, couple dozen Queen, late in day Monarch number 5 of the fall. Vesta Crescent. Some skippers were single Sachem, Whirlabout, Dun, and Julia's the latter first in several weeks here, plus one Southern Broken-Dash. Early morn I saw a Celia's Roadside-Skipper, latish for that. No blues, hairstreaks, or metalmarks. But a whopping 20 species of butterflies around the front porch in a day is better than some whole months were here over the summer. Some falls in good years you can see 40-45 species in an hour just at one good patch of flowers like the library garden used to be, or the deco gardens at park and north end of town.

Sept. 26 ~ Low of 67F. More hummers at the feeders, a big bump in numbers from say last Thursday four days ago. No other migs in first few hours of the morning though. About 4:30 in the afternoon while working at desk all of sudden on the garden fence out the window was a FOS male Common Yellowthroat, which went down to the tub! The cattails are working! They must be about 7' tall now, one little 50 gal. tub full. Plus a water lily and some other aquatic veg besides Gambusia Mosquitofish. Still waiting for Marsh Wren, Sora and Least Bittern. But it is a start! One day have to put a tub list together, since Green Jay and Audubon's Oriole are both on it.

Some butterflies were great. Best was a WHITE PEACOCK. First I have seen in several years here, maybe since 2017 or so? Whatever year was that last good fall butterfly invasion, I think five years ago. Kathy got a good docushot (see below). Saw Monarch number 4 of the fall. Great was a female Questionmark. The sex was determined by watching it lay eggs, on Hackberry. That is a mighty tiny egg. Saw the Southern Broken-Dash again, still numbers of Snout going by. Male and female Cloudless and Large Orange Sulphur, and still Lysides going by. New were a Dainty Sulphur and a mint fresh Variegated Fritillary.

A bit after 7 p.m. just the tops of the highest trees are getting sun. I was walking by the big Lantana out front off porch, and the White Peacock flew out of it. It had gone to roost in it! It landed out in the grass yard. Then 5 minutes later, I heard the Common Yellowthroat in the Lantana. Then I watched the White Peacock fly from the grass over to the Frostweed and after much decision-making, landed to roost in it. Best bug ever so far on the Frostweed, grown from one 6" stalk I dug up and trans-planted. So as I am thinking about how neat this is, the Yellowthroat flies over to the Frostweed. He was watching it too! Now they are both in it! OMG. The bird went from you-are-great to you-better-not in a split second. All of a sudden the Peacock bolts and a nano-second after that, the Yellowthroat lands right where it was. It was going after it! The Peacock shot 15' over back into the Lantana somewhere, the Yellowthroat over to the short hedge of junipers at edge of driveway. Catastrophe averted. How many good butterflies do not make it on the way, due to birds? Last Christmas we lost a county first Teleus Longtail to an Anole!

Sept. 25 ~ Low about 65F, and clear. A front is coming this evening so we are at the hot warmup part in front of that today. Saw about 6-8 hummers at once on the front feeder this morn, all Rubies. But was not out there vigilantly. There is a wave of them showing up right in front of the front. About 8:30 the birdbath had 2 Wilson's and a Yellow Warbler drop in for a sip and splash. Also a Yellow-throated Warbler came down, which was a female or imm. male, not the territorial adult male that continues. A couple more Wilson's Warbler came in over the next couple hours, surely different birds, which made four of them here this morn. A Wilson's wavelet. The third individual had nice orange in forhead and lores so was one of the two western subspecies in fresh basic (winter) plumage, and not the eastern nominate (default here) type. Not every year, but I see very low numbers of these here.

Had a 25 count on Queens in the morning Male and pale morph female Large Orange Sulphur. Fewer Snout finally but still a hundred or more. Still Lysides mostly going by, a couple dozen at least. A Sachem was the first in months. Sure great to see some butterflies! The Tropical Sage is fading, past this peak now. Maybe will go off again in a month or so. The Lesser Goldfinches are nuts about the seeds. Had one greenie (imm. Painted Bunting) still here. Kathy spotted the imm. Cooper's Hawk (from local nest) hiding high in the pecan over the birdbath. A couple brief showerlets dropped a couple hundredths of an inch of precip and the temp to 76F from about 90, which was great. Afterwhich the light winds turned to a NE flow. A pre-frontal sign of the front! The real cool air won't get here until Tuesday morning though.

Sept. 24 ~ Low about 65F, which is fine. And the bird bath says.... there was some migrant motion last night a day ahead of the front. Between 8:30 and 9 a.m. again. Which maybe is when they are actually falling out of the sky? There were TWO American Redstart (FOS), a female and a male(!). The male kept coming back the female not. We had great long views of the male. Whaddabird! Also coming down were a female Wilson's Warbler (first female of fall), a Nashville Warbler, and a female Yellow Warbler. Plus an imm. Chat, which I suspect is a passage bird, but could be local too. Have not seen one here in several days. Then shortly later I saw (in bins) a FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher fly by. Then it was dead all day. Summer Tanager still here.

In butterflies, got a higher count of Queen, of 26 at once. Three new species for the fall were single Ceranus Blue, Phaon Crescent, and a Southern Broken-Dash. The, or the third, N. Mestra was around a bit. Black, Giant, and Pipevine Swallowtail, a Large Orange, still numbers of Lyside Sulphur. Still lots of Snout, a few hundred at minimum.

Late in the day as the last sun was nearing the Broad-tailed Hummingbird came in to the front porch feeder a couple times. Did not see it all day yesterday after my dawn encounter, and did not see it all day today until nearing last sun. Where is it all day? Appears a female or imm. female, no dark feathers in throat. Love that soft chip call. It also made a high thin seet whilst pointing bill directly at a Ruby-throated that was acting a bit uppity towards it.


Here is a docushot Kathy got of the White Peacock on Sept. 26.
Mavica floppy disk pic so not overwhelming of detail, but great docs.

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Sept. 23 ~ Another low about 62F, KERV had 61. Totally awesome. A Broad-tailed Hummingbird was at the front porch feeder at dawn, my FOS. A bit later a couple Mourning Dove flushed from the top of the big Pecan, followed by a FOS Swainson's Hawk coming in to land in it! It saw me below and flared off just as it was going to land. Nice adult light morph. Thought I heard a couple chips from a Black-throated Green Warbler out there. Kathy saw a female Summer Tanager at the bath, of which there have only been two males around for a couple weeks. So suspect it is a migrant from elsewhere.

Town run and park check to make sure still nothing there. One Spotted Sandpiper was it for migrants. Up in the woods the males of Summer Tanager and Yellow-throated Warbler are still present, the warbler gave some song. In dragons, a half-dozen Green Darner, which is more of them, an Eastern Amberwing, two dozen Blue Dasher, and that was about it save some bluets that looked like Familiar. Little Creek Larry has had some more Blue-winged Teal over on his creek, he heard some White-fronted Goose go over, and only has a couple hummers (Ruby) left.

In butterlfies here there was a different Black Swallowtail from yesterday, a Giant and a few Pipevine Swallowtail, a Texas Powdered-Skipper, hundreds of Snout, couple dozen Queen, and at least a dozen Vesta Crescent. Still Lysides going by, the odd Gulf Fritillary and Sleepy Orange. Great Firefly show at dusk, with a couple dozen at least in front yard. Had one greenie imm. Painted Bunting late in day.

Sept. 22 ~ Happy Equinox! I saw 63F before the final dip so surely it hit 62F here for a low. KERV had a 60F! Weewow! The thrill of it all. High temps are per NOAA well above normal, in the mid-90's F. The summer heat just hates letting go. They are talking a dry front next Monday, so cooler is coming, after four more days well above normal. We have spent most of the last four months well above normal.

There was migrant motion! One of my favorite things. Mostly 8:30 to 10:30 or so at or around bird bath was where the action was. A couple Nashville Warbler hit the birdbath first, then a male Wilson's Warbler. Then a FOS Orange-crowned Warbler came in. Followed by a female Bullock's Oriole which came in a few times. It is the first one I can call a fall migrant, as the July birds are locally breeding or bred post-breeding wanderers, not migrants from elsewhere. I would swear I heard a Black-throated Gray Warbler across the road but could not see anything. Then I had a FOS Lincoln's Sparrow in the taller unmowed grass behind the birdbath. All the while a parade of the local stuff was at the bath too, including the male Summer Tanager. Which is fairly gray billed now. What is the deal with horn-ivory pale colored bills, versus gray bills on Summer Tanager. Is it seasonal, e.g. hormonal?

Still some butterfly action. Hundreds of Snout still passing. A bunch of them are barely over a half-inch long, the smallest Snout I have ever seen. New was a female Black Swallowtail on the Tropical Sage, and a male Whirlabout on the Blue Mistflower. At least 20 Queen on the Blue Mist as well. One Little Yellow, about 8 Vesta Crescent on the Frog-fruit, a Reakirt's Blue and an Orange Skipperling. Great to see a few new different things after a dearth of such.

Sept. 21 ~ Low of 67F was fantastic after the last four days at 73. What a difference. Our male Summer Tanager was singing from the big Pecan with the one nearly half-mile away down the ridgelet counter-singing with it. The male Vermilion Flycatcher is still here too. It does almost 7 months here on territory, arriving in earliest March. The female has been gone a month. The tanagers arrive in early April so are at about 5.5 months here now. Heard one Gnatcatcher mid-day. But no migrant motion today, again. Best thing was maybe nearly 20 Lark Sparrow chorusing in the big Junipers along north fence. They went off like I have not heard in months. All going at once, what an incredible chorus. Probably getting ready to depart for the season.

In butterflies, still Snouts going by, but not as many. Still lots of Lyside Sulphur. A couple Lyside were the yellow morph. Saw a or the Giant Swallowtail and N. Mestra both again, as well as the beat worn Olive Juniper Hairstreak still on the Frog-fruit. New on that were at least a half-dozen Vesta Crescent. A wave of immigrants. Then a Dun Skipper was the first in a month or two. Saw 21 Queen at once, still no Soldier. One Funereal Duskywing went by, as did a male Large Orange Sulphur. There were two Gulf Fritillary, some Pipevine, and a couple Sleepy Orange. A couple dozen Firefly at dusk, makes for a nice show.

Sept. 20 ~ Another 73F low, and just some scattered low stratus for the morning. Saw 90F on the cool shady front porch, so a few hotter in the sun. No migrants through yard all day, in stark contrast to yesterday. Still the Summer Tanager and a handful of Ruby-throated Hummingbird here. Some butterflies anyway. Still Snout going by but less than the last couple days. Great was the first Northern Mestra I have seen this year (FOY). Also Monarch number two of the fall was around amongst 18 Queen, and a Giant Swallowtail stopped to sample a few flowers.

Sept. 19 ~ Low about 73F again, getting up to low 90's F now. At least it is much dryer and the days are way shorter. An Eastern Screech-Owl was calling just before 7 a.m. right over shed out back in a big Hackberry. There was motion last night, there were migrants this morning. Five Nashville Warbler at once vying for a spot in the birdbath, a couple more up in trees. A couple Yellow Warbler, the still here male Yellow-throated Warbler came in, then plus some residents like Lesser Goldfinch, Cardinal, Chickadee and Titmouse, all right around and after 8:30. It was party for 10-15 minutes. Then a FOS Ruby-crowned Kinglet came in, but was too fidgety to use the bath. Kathy thought she maybe heard one a few days ago, but only one chidit.

And but (I know, don't start a sentence with a conjunction, but don't two negatives make a positive?-LOL) no Chat. The last 4-5 months that was what started the morning bath parties as often as not. Did not hear one yesterday either, I think they bugged out finally. There were still two rattling around out there a couple days ago. The Summer Tanager, 2 White-eyed Vireo, and 1 greenie imm. Painted Bunting are still here. Very few Ruby-throated Hummingbird left, maybe a dozen? Seems the three feeders are each being guarded by single birds now. Another is on patrol at the Turkscap and Tropical Sage patch. Eastern Screech-Owl calling at dusk over shed.

There were lots of Snout again, still going SW to NE, at times hundreds at once. They hit the ground when you spray water. So we do. One American Lady was on the Blue Mistflower, a Gulf Fritillary was around a bit, a Sleepy Orange, a couple Pipevine on the Tube-tongue, one pale female Large Orange Sulphur on the Tropical Sage, dozens of Lyside Sulphur again as well, and 15 Queen. No small stuff though, even on the Frog-fruit. On that are a couple types of native bees, and bombyliads, and Snouts were on it.

Sept. 18 ~ Low of 73F, some off and on low stratus. Mid-morn at birdbath there was a female Yellow Warbler and a male FOS Wilson's Warbler. Only two migrants I saw all morn. Surely if you went out and beat the bushes you could kick some things up, like a Mourning Warbler. A couple Gnatcatcher went by over the day. Heard one greenie Painted Bunting. At dusk there was the best Firefly show I have seen maybe this year. There were at least 20 in the front yard. Great to see.

In butterflies, lots of Snout going by, surely there are thousands passing. We had hundreds at once coming it to a mud puddle we made for them. They are rain-chasers and we just had a bunch of that a few weeks ago. And here they are. One Large Orange Sulphur, some Lysides, and on the Blue Mist Eup., Queens. I counted 20 Queen at once, and as I was counting first a White-patched Skipper (Chiomara georgina) landed on some Blue Mist right in front of me. They are LTA - less than annual, and a rarity here. Always great to see, but it just hit a few flowers and bolted off. Then a FOS Monarch came in. My first migrant Monarch of the fall!

Sept. 17 ~ Low about 73F, still warm and muggy. Be glad when this is over. No migrant motion in morn. Noonish I went over to the pond on the golf course by Waresville Cmty. for a look. I can't believe the lack of odes. Where are the dragonflies? I saw 4 Black and 1 Red Saddlebags, 1 Green Darner, and 1 Blue-ringed Dancer damselfly. No birds at the pond but the usual fall flock of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher scattered around the course. Checked the 360 x-ing, and saw no odes there either.

The best bird was a fish. I saw a Long-nosed Dace below the crossing, a nice big one, just one. They are regular up at Lost Maples headwaters in small numbers. But I had never seen one way downriver here. Of course with 99 percent of the river private, determining particulars of native minnow species distribution here varies from problematic to impossible. Also at the crossing were some Texas Cichlid, one still in breeding colors, half dark. Mostly it was Long-eared and Red-breasted Sunfish though.

not a current photo

Vesta Crescent

A small wavelet of Vesta Crescent seems to be showing up.
The abundant one right now is Snout, again, but I am seeing
small numbers of Vesta building on the Frog-fruit now. They are
the most common crescent here, but often as immigrants from
elsewhere, such as the Snouts are.

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Sept. 16 ~ The gulf flow returned overnight so a low about 72F, with low stratus and muggy. Those 60's were nice while they lasted. No migrant motion in morn. Town run so park check. The male Summer Tanager in woods there is also still present singing. Was the only thing I had. Little Creek Larry had a Ringed Kingfisher at the park pond this morning. Earlier in week he had a flock of Blue-winged Teal with 4 Shoveler there. Ducks! He says his hummers are about all gone too, just a couple or few left. Saw in bloom a couple open Goldenrod in river, a Sneezeweed, and some Cowpen Daisy in the corrals on 360 across river. Lots of Boneset Eupatorium blooming on other side of pond at park. I heard the Indigo Bunting sing from its Hackberry at last sun, it is still here! What makes some leave to molt elsewhere after nesting, and others stay on the territory to molt? One greenie was still out there as well. A baby Anole took a fly off my foot! You have to be fast to grab a fly with your mouth.

Sept. 15 ~ I think the low was 62F here! KERV had 58F! OMG! What a treat, I needed a sheet. Did not see any mig motion first half of morn. Kathy saw the Yellow-throated Warbler at the bath and the Summer Tanager is still singing. These are both the continuing summering birds that bred adjacent, as is the still here male Vermilion Flycatcher. Some of their kind have departed, some long-departed, but some remain on territory, probably until they nearly complete their post-nesting molt. Mid-morn a female Yellow and a Nashville Warbler were at the bath. An Eastern Phoebe was around yard, a new arrival which now could be a migrant of some distance from further afield in mid-September. This is when the first wintering birds from elsewhere start showing up. Heard a Scissor-tail. Nice to see us improved all the way up to D2 (severe) drought at the new U.S. Drought Monitor map out today. The west half of Bandera Co., and almost all of Medina and Bexar Counties both are still D3 or worse. UvCo is mostly D2 now.

Sept. 14 ~ Maybe 67F for a low, some clouds moving in with Gulf moisture. No migrant motion in morn. Summer Tanager and White-eyed Vireo still singing, a couple Chat still noisy but not really song, Titmouse still singing a little, as are Lesser Goldfinch. A little Lark Sparrow song here and there but they are about done. Kathy had a Hutton's Vireo a couple feet from kitchen window in the Sumac. Had one greenie imm. Painted Bunting. In the afternoon a Yellow Warbler and a Least Flycatcher were around a bit. As it neared dusk a Dickcissel called. There is a plant flowering out back, I presume bird deposited, which is an ornamental favorite of locals, Four O'clock (Mirabilis jalapa). This is not the wildflower found here by that name but a cultivated horticulture species. Said to attract Sphinx moths since open mostly at night. Hmmmm...

Sept. 13 ~ Another 64F low is relished. What a difference it makes cooling the house down. It lasts all day, even when getting to 90F. No mig motion through early afternoon. The last two days prior, I have been seeing what seems like lots fewer hummingbirds. It is looking like fair numbers of hummers rode the minor frontal passage out of dodge. I saw only a few yesterday in the evening and this morning is just plain slow compared to what it was before the slightest northerly flow arrived. Other than the Calliope last week, it has been all and only Rubies for about 12 days or so now. Lots of leaves are falling from the Pecans already, green even. Sorta think due to the drought. The Blue Mistflower is getting another bloom cycle underway. Saw 10 Queen on it at once. All fresh in good condition. On the Frog-fruit in the driveway had a very worn Olive-Juniper Hairstreak, with no olive left. Heard a Scissor-tail over in corral late in day.

Sept. 12 ~ Before the final dip at dawn I saw 64F which was outstanding! Weewow! It surely hit 63 and maybe 62 by time it bottomed out. KERV had 61F! Been way too long since we felt that. Around mid-morn a few migs went through, a Baltimore and a few Orchard Oriole, a Yellow Warbler and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and about 10 a.m. at the birdbath, the FOS Clay-colored Sparrow. They are a real sign of fall here. Still a greenie (or two) and a couple Indigo Bunting. Heard a Bell's Vireo besides the couple White-eyed still out there. The Bell's is a passage transient. Vermilion Flycatcher male still here, not for long though. Hear a seemingly bigger louder begging owl doing a squeal note. Maybe a Great Horned?

Sept. 11 ~ Another 67F low is fantastic. It was only 70F at 8:30 a.m., amazing. First thing about 6:45 I heard the begging baby Eastern Screech-Owl out back. Before 7 a small flock of Blue-winged Teal blazed right over the yard heading south. They are so fast that it is almost that 'by time you hear them they are gone'. Almost. A few Orchard Oriole went by early before sunup, a few more mid-morn. Heard a couple Yellow Warbler go by. Hooded Orioles still coming to feeder. Male Vermilion Flycatcher still here. Got warm though, probably 91F or so. There were a couple spits of rain around 4 p.m. as the 'front' such as it was, passed. One dropped it to 82F for a bit, while raising humidity. Some nearish by may have gotten some precip but showers were widely scattered and few.

At twilight there was a great liftoff of Upland Sandpiper. From just after 8: p.m. until about 8:20 I heard at least a couple dozen. All lowish, southbound, gaining altitude for a night of flight. When I see flocks usually a minority call. So the number of calling birds is likely a fraction of them. There must have been numbers in the pastures upvalley all day. At least now they were green and probably had some bugs. When the sun comes up they will be in Mexico.

Sept. 10 ~ Low about 73F, and a bit muggy. No migrants through yard first half of morn. About 10:30 four went through almost all at the same time. One Yellow Warbler, a Baltimore Oriole, and an odd pair of Tyranids. First I heard a Couch's Kingbird calling, so got binocs. They were together in the big Hackberry left of gate. When they flew together I saw the other bird was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. They flew very close together and landed in top of Pecan on north side of house. Then continued on in a minute. There were migrants for two minutes.

The way they stayed so close together made me wonder if they were a pair. Scissor-tails are known to hybridize with Western Kingbird, and I am pretty sure there is a record of a vagrant hybrid maybe on east coast, that was a Couch's Kingbird x Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It was not a fully tailed male STFL for sure, but males are growing new ones right now so often do not show a full tail presently. That said, I thought it was a female but only saw it in flight, though at about 50' or less, close. Only the Couch's called and it called alot.

Saw a young Four-lined Skink at the front porch. Around 7 p.m. a rain cell ran north to south just east of us looking like maybe an inch or so in town and out on 187 a mile east. We got about a tenth of an inch (.10). Typical Texas rain. But it did take 10F off the top and dropped us to 80 in a couple minutes. Supposed to be a front arriving from the north tomorrow, mostly dry but some might get rain. It is considered an 'early season' front at this time of the year per NOAA.

not a current photo...


This Northern Mockingbird has molted its tail and a new
one is just growing in. Giving the usually long-tailed
bird a fairly funny bob-tailed look.

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Sept. 9 ~ An amazing 67F low felt fantastic. Heard the Summer Tanager singing, and Kathy heard a Hooded Oriole singing. Locally territorial birds still burning off excess testosterone. No morning migrant movement through yard the first few hours of light though. In the late afternoon here at the hovelita there was an Inca Dove calling. Town run and park check. Saw a few new flowers around blooming: Snow-on-the-Mountain, Boneset (a white) Eupatorium, Buffalo Bur, Lindheimer's Senna, and a couple Frostweed. That rain was a miracle for a fall bloom. Some Mealy Sage going off again as well. At the 360 x-ing there was a Louisiana Waterthrush. At the park pond, water is back to 3' below the spillway. No Night-Herons, Little Creek Larry had a couple Green Heron earlier. Dragons were the highlight at the park, and most were just upriver of the top of the island. Not many but a couple different ones, and clearly some new things. A male Widow Skimmer is getting late, it showed the wear too. One Eastern Amberwing, one Thornbush Dasher (lots of Blue Dasher) were new arrivals, Thornbush very rare at park. There were several Green Darner, but best was a male Twelve-spotted Skimmer which is my FOY and not a sure thing annualy.

Sept. 8 ~ An amazing 68F for a low was fantastic. KERV had 67F! Dreamy. Just a few migrants early, a Baltimore Oriole, couple Orchard, a Yellow Warbler, and a Least Flycatcher. Saw the Calliope Hummer again working the Tropical Sage, yet to see it at a feeder. Day 4 for it. In the afternoon on the seed out office window in back besides a greenie imm. Painted Bunting there was an ad. male Dickcissel. Most of the fall birds I see here are immatures and females, so a treat to have a male on the ground at 15'. Beautiful bird, great colors and patterns, it has it all. New Drought Monitor map shows us all the way up to D2 level now. From D4 two weeks ago. Which is still severe, and we are still a foot behind, but we got some major relief. Some flowers are blooming now in response. I saw a nice male Cardinal Feather so there must be some females around. Lots of patches of Wood-Sorrel coming up a few opening, a few Rain Lily. A couple more Shaggy Cap shrooms, which disappear overnight I suspect to the deer.

Sept. 7 ~ Low of 72F, just occasional low stratus passing early, mostly clearish. Still with NW flow so dryer than the summer sticky regime. I did see the Calliope Hummingbird first thing early. Otherwise no migrants around the yard first half of morn. There was a blowout last night. We were thick with them nearly a week. First as the trough arrived they started showing, got thicker as it passed, and an actual wave followed on that first clear night after it passed. Then it was good for a couple days (the last couple days) and now it is all gone. Migration also means here today gone tomorrow.

Finally about mid-morn a few migrants showed up and broke the silence. Couple Baltimore and a few Orchard Oriole, a Gnatcatcher, a Yellow Warbler, a Least Flycatcher. After noon there was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher sneezing out in the Pecan trees out front. Do not get them every fall so always a treat. Later saw one Nashville Warbler. A big drop in birds since yesterday but one good one, and it only takes one good bird to make your day. Kathy spotted a Northern Cloudywing (butterfly) on the patio porch. I had a quick glimpse at what looked like a Dusky-blue Groundstreak out front. About 5 p.m. a rain cell passed near enough to spit on us and drop the temp from about 90F to 76F.

Sept. 6 ~ Low of 71F, scattered low stratus, no solid deck, sun out early. More Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, and Yellow Warbler, a Dickcissel, and a couple Least Flycatcher. Heard a Canyon Towhee in one of the branch-stick piles. First in a month I think. Mid-morn I was on front porch and spent 5 minutes watching an imm. or female Calliope Hummingbird at 5-10 feet. It seemingly hit every Tropical Sage flower, which are many (a few hundred right around porch). It also hit the Clammy-weed, which has a big drop of nectar. This is the bird I glimpsed briefly yesterday. Got to hear it call several times too, that pillowy-soft chip. Wonderful. Other than the hummer most of the birds seemed to stay around much of the day. Great to have migrant activity around the yard.

Sept. 5 ~ A brief low of 69F, KERV per NOAA had 65F! The clear skies arrived last night and there were migrants today. Morning best of course but much of it was around much of the day. There were 10 or 12 Orchard and 4-5 Baltimore Oriole, a FOS Nashville Warbler or two, 6 Yellow Warbler, 2 Least Flycatcher, a Dickcissel, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher for passage transients. Breeders still here hanging on are Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler, Summer Tanager and Chat. Saw a Gulf Fritillary, first in a bit, more Lysides, couple each Sleepy Orange and Queen, about a dozen Snout. Had work to do here but it looks like it would have been a great day to see some of the few migrants we get. Bet there was a Mourning Warbler or two out there somewhere along the river. In the bird of the day always gets away department, I saw a hummer I am sure must have been a Calliope, but a Ruby-throat chased it from the Tropical Sages. Saw another Firefly at dark.

Sept. 4 ~ Overcast, low about 71F. Damp out. Heard an Upland Sandpiper at first light early. Some Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler early. A couple Baltimore Oriole too. A Caracara flew by. Yellow-throated, White-eyed, and Hutton's Vireo all heard singing or calling. One Least Flycatcher in morning. Chat and Cardinal making song type noises they are so thrilled to see green vegetation and have cooler temps. In the afternoon a Dickcissel was out there, and a couple greenie imm. Painted Bunting.

Yard is greenest it has been all year. The Tube-tongue has burst forth so some ten-foot diameter patches of 2-3 inch ground cover height purple flowers. In a wet year it is 6 inches tall. One major water year I saw some a foot tall with huge flowers, didn't recongize it at first. There is also some Wood-Sorrel blooming now, that beautiful magenta, hardly saw any all spring. Amazing what a half-a-foot of water can do. At the last glow of orange light to the west about 8:15 p.m. over 6 or 8 minutes I heard at least a couple dozen Upland Sandpiper go over southbound, taking off for a night of flight. There must have been a bunch in some pastures upvalley a few miles.

Sept. 3 ~ Low about 73F, some low stratus but not solid, some sun too. In afternoon became overcast, and latest afternoon to early evening some rain cells were nearish and dropped it 84F to 74F, then sprinkled a little just before dark. Birds were the same. Heard a couple Baltimore and saw a number of Orchard Oriole. The Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler continue. A few Yellow Warblers, a couple grayish greenie imm. Painted Bunting. Heard an Upland Sandpiper overhead heading south as it got dark.

Yard is greener than it has been all year. The 4' section of hog fence I put up to protect the deer-ravaged Red Turkscap was knocked down. I heard the commotion last night just after midnight, now I know what that was, I flushed a deer out of the front porch flowerbed. It was no doubt eating the ripe Persimmons. In morn saw everything low on that treelet is gone. Dang deer. There are a boatload of these all over the place. They had to walk up 3 stairs onto front porch to get into that flower bed! I see about 5 of a columnar mushroom I think is Shaggy-cap (Coprinus sps.), or something very similar. There was a showerlet around dark, we had a bit over a tenth of an inch, maybe .15 or so.

Apologies for the poor old shot... which is a
Mavica (floppy disk) digiscope.

Vermilion Flycatcher

This is a juvenile Vermilion Flycatcher. At first they
are streaked on breast and a yellowish-salmon rearward below.
Not sure any of this plumage on site, so filling in holes.
Apologies if I put this up somewhere and forgot it.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Sept. 2 ~ Low about 73F. Some scattered low stratus off and on early. Saw stars last night, which, have not been visible much lately. First thing there were 2-3 at least FOS Baltimore Oriole in the big Pecan and going to the gate Texas Persimmon with Orchard Orioles. Couple Yellow Warbler, heard a non-Yellow call but could not see it. Usually the ones you can not find, are the good ones, it is some cosmic thing. Five very gray greenies (imm. Painted Bunting) is an increase. A couple imm. Indigo too. One Least Flycatcher in morn and afternoon. Kathy saw a male Baltimore Oriole near bath in the afternoon. Did have an ad. ma. Indigo in heavy molt, which I think is that same continuing bird from the draw, now more brown than blue. A couple Upland Sandpiper called nearing dusk. At dark I saw my FOS fall Firefly.

Town run. On way down road to crossing had Yellow-throated Vireo and an Ash-throated Flycatcher. Thought I heard a Mourning Warbler. There was water flowing at the crossing! Not a lot but that was definitely water movement, I remember what that looks like. The park pond about half-filled, maybe 2' from going over spillway now, instead of four. I heard some dry crossings north of town have water again now too. For the main big event I heard 5-7" were the totals, higher were north toward Vanderpool. Water was muddy, only saw a Great Blue and a Green Heron trying to see anything in it. At edge of the woods by start of island there was a FOS Traill's type Flycatcher, either Willow or Alder. Habitat better for the latter.

September 1 ~ Weewow it's September! The start of fall for climatological (or meteorlogical) seasons. Which differ from astronomical seasons. Two-thirds of the way through the year now. Low of 72F. Cloudy, overcast, humid, maybe some stray showers around. Some Orchard Orio and Yellow Warbler early. One Gnatcatcher in the morn, another went by mid-afternoon. Heard the Yellow-throated Vireo again. Orchard Orios hitting the Persimmons. Couple Caracara were walking around in the corral. At last light another Upland Sandpiper called overhead southbound. Kathy heard an Ash-throated Flycatcher. More Lyside Sulphur going by SW to NE, about 20.

I see the U.S. Drought Monitor has moved us up to D3, from D4, on the new map today. Data is crunched on Tuesdays, new map out Thursdays, so it does not reflect the 5" we just got Tues. and Wednesday. We likely will show as D2 when it is updated next Thursday. A NOAA report said that Lake Amistad came up 170,000 acre feet, and 10'! I hear the Medina River bed now has water running in it again as well! Can't wait to see the park pond and river tomorrow.

~ ~ ~ August summary ~ ~ ~

The big news was that there was rain! It was Texas fickle rain so totals varied widely. The last two days of month saw over 5" at our place! Our total for the month is over 7.5"! The wettest month in a year, maybe two. Most of the month we were at D4 exceptional stage drought, until the rains came. A couple nice rounds of Cenizo blooming resulted from the rains. The river is 4-5 FEET below normal bank. Drought stage is D4 (through 29th anyway). Exceptional. Trees are dying and wells are going dry. The park pond is less than half full with lots of exposed bank along edges. The island at park pond has not been for at least a couple months.

Bugs (insects) were weak, due to the drought no doubt. Porch light hardly brought in anything. For the most part no butterfly-type flowers, save where being watered. Butterfly diversity was likely the worst August I have seen in 19 here. Certainly fewest individuals. A Dusky-blue Groundstreak was exciting, sadly, the only one I have seen this year. They used to be abundant. Maybe 17 species of butterflies, a third of which were only one individual seen. Pitiful. Odes were only 13 species. There were a few more overall, as the first fall migrants from elsewhere show up. Not due to more local production. It remains incredibly depressed out there for them. The pond at Utopia Park is amazingly devoid of dragons and damsels. I have not seen a Rubyspot this summer! As the fish are concentrated when water levels get low, predation on ode larvae goes up.

Birds get interesting with the first few species of the early fall migrants starting to pass through. Ruby-throated Hummingbird shows back up as the Black-chinned of summer depart. A few Rufous Hummer pass through. By the second half of month Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler are numerous. You might hear the odd Upland Sandpiper going over in the dark. A couple Solitary Sandpiper were at the park now that it has exposed mud banks again. A few Dickcissel through yard mostly early in month.

A huge part of August is our migratory breeding bird population departing over the month. No more dawn chorus. Adult male Painted Buntings leave the first week of the month. A few interesting things were noted though. A Peregrine Falcon on the 15th was great, though brief, it had a date south of here somewhere. A Black-headed Grosbeak the 18th is my first August record here. Calliope Hummingbird is always good, an ad. male best, one was here on the 19th. There were a few Yellow-crowned Night-Heron reported at Utopia Park over the month, an adult, and a couple immatures at least. I saw an imm. Aug. 12-26 (ph.). I count about 73 species seen locally, within one of July total.

~ ~ ~ end August summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ August update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

August ~ OMG fall migrants! At dusk on the 3rd I heard my FOS Upland Sandpiper of the fall. On the 4th a FOS Least Flycatcher was in our front yard, another was at Utopia Pk. on the 5th. On the 6th had a FOS Dickcissel. On the 8th were the second-of-fall for Dickcissel and Rufous Hummingbird. Two more Dickcissel here on the 10th. Another Upland Sandpiper on the 11th. Orchard Orioles are moving south through yard daily. A couple adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird were reported at Little Creek Aug. 9 and 12. Some FOS Blue-winged Teal blazed down Little Creek dawn the 10th or so. An imm. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was at Utopia Park on Aug. 12 at the north end of the island. Many local areas got a little rain on the 11th and or 12th. The 13th I saw my FOS ad. ma. Ruby-throated Hummer here, and a FOS Yellow Warbler. The 15th a Peregrine Falcon flew by southbound. Bigger on the 15th, there was rain; we had 1.25" at our place. A Black-headed Grosbeak on the 18th is my first August date here. A Calliope Hummingbird was here on the 19th. At least two Yellow-crowned Night-Heron were seen at the park this week, I saw one Aug. 19. Lots of Yellow Warbler and Orchard Oriole passing through now. A Louisiana Waterthrush was at the park on the 26th. The imm. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron continued there that day as well, and an adult was seen earlier in the week. A significant rain event here on the 30th and 31st brought over 5" to float out of the month with.

~ ~ ~ end August update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

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Links to all 18 years of archived bird news pages below.
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