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: February 23, 2024
(prior updates: February 16, 9, 2, January 26, 19, 12, 5, December 29, 22, 15, 8, 1)
(updated Friday evening)
~ ~ ~

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

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

February ~ The FOS White-fronted Goose was a small V going north morning of 6th. Also the 6th was my first Barn Owl in a couple months.The FOS fresh new emergence butterfly of the year was a Black Swallowtail on Feb. 11. My first native wildflower of year was Whitlow-Grass on Feb. 21. Then the 22nd was Anemone flowers, and the 23rd Yellow Wood-Sorrel. First of year Blanchard's Cricket-Frog was the 23rd as well.

January ~ First mentionable bird of the year is Long-eared Owl, heard again both on Jan. 6 and 9. A lone Sandhill Crane on Jan. 7 is odd locally. One Pine Siskin this winter, on the 15th. Jan. 15-18 we had lows in teens, and low single digit chill factors. Be prepared for the arctic. Up to 40 or more Ring-necked Duck are often on the park pond. A male Lesser Goldfinch on Jan. 22 & 26 is the first I have seen in a couple months. A Say's Phoebe was at the 360 airstrip on the 24th. Incredibly early Rio Grande Leopard Frogs were heard Jan. 29-31 when 70dF days.

Happy New Year!

~ ~ ~
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 (in season). Anything of natural history of interest, bats to beetles, flowers to fungus, may be mentioned.

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. It is a good reference though. I post my walk notes there. But we have not been going there as much since the pandemic got going.

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 above and just below to jump to newest update. There is a broken line of tildes (~) to denote prior update breaks, usually with a low quality photo of some sort to make them easy to spot. The 'quick take' monthly highlights header above is archived within body of news as well since it changes. Seperated by tildes as well, generally after the 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 20 (!) 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 (2022) 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 few years. 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 six 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.  :)  Thanking you in advance.

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

Woodpecker Photos

Vireo Photos

Flycatcher Photos

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 19 year plus bird news archive file.

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

Where to Stay

***  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

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

Mitch's Links

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

Moths of Utopia

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

New Ode Photos (2.5mb)

 * * BIG NEWS * *

The Butterfly Photos pages have all been updated! Finally! Each group's page has new photos. Over a hundred new better higher res butterfly pix have been added to this set of pages. A massive overhaul and improvement that was years overdue, and in the making.

Butterfly Photos

And now for something completely different ...   support page

~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ 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:
February 16, 9, 2, Jan. 26, 19, 12, 5, Dec. 29, 22, 15, 8, 1

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

Feb. 23 ~ Low about 53F, clear and dry. Town run and park check. Nothing there. The ducks have been MIA my last two visits so I think they likely departed for points northward and their winter here is over. Singing Bewick's Wren all over town. Heard my first of year Blanchard's Cricket-Frog at the 360 x-ing. Saw some Yellow Wood-Sorrel, the third species of wildflower to open blooms the last three days. Kathy heard the Robin nearing dusk so it is still in the area. The American Goldfinch was around in the morning, also still here.

Feb. 22 ~ Hovered around 61F all night. Bit of fog and mist. Which gave way to sunny and warm. Again heard the Say's Phoebe at the airstrip. In the afternoon some local WU stations were showing 85F! We had 81 on the shady front porch, a couple or few warmer in the sun. Toasty! Heard a Field Sparrow, and the 2 Lincoln's continue. The big FOS of the day was some Anemone flowers (white). The second native wildflower we have seen in the last two days. Spring is coming! Saw the worn old Sleepy Orange, and the newer Black Swallowtail today. A few Leopard Frog were roaring late in evening.

Feb. 21 ~ Maybe hit 54F in wee hours but was 58F and foggy at dawn. Nice to not be cold. Saw a Lady (butterfly) that looked American, likely the one we have been seeing. Several accipiter flushings of the doves and sparrows. Still no Turkey Vulture. Any day now. Today there must be four dozen of the Whitlow-Grass plants in bloom. Nice little patch just off patio in a very hot sunny spot. Saw the Black Rock Squirrel, it has been out and around since it warmed up.

Feb. 20 ~ Low about 38F, chilly. Warming up fast, sunny and dry. A spring-like forecast the next buncha days is a welcome respite from the cold. Some flowers and butterflies will pop. It hit 80F out there in the afternoon! The birds looked the same. I saw the winter form Questionmark butterfly. It was leaving the mulch pile out back behind the shed where tasty treats. Kathy saw a medium all yellow one which shot by quickly but looked maybe a Cloudless Sulphur. My first native wildflower of the year was a small group of a dozen blooming Whitlow-Grass (Draba cunefolia), which is a mustard family forb. I have not seen it in at least a couple years, methinks due to drought. A good sign for the spring bloom.

Feb. 19 ~ Barely froze at 32F early. Sunny and calm, so 50 by 10 a.m. Nice. Might have hit 70F at peak heat. Even though it is the same birds, at least there is some birdsong out there now. Still stuck in the same groove with the couple dozen species that wintered around the place. Waiting for spring. Turkey Vulture is running a bit tardy so far, shoulda had one by now. I see new Cattail shoots in the tub pond. No rain or freeze on the ten-day which takes us to the end of the month on Leap Day.

Feb. 18 ~ Low about 29F, KERV had 28F. We froze. A brisk morn. Suspect we are not done freezing yet, early for that. Might barely hit it tomorrow morning. The record hi-low spread for this date at SAT is 96-19F. What a spread! Including the frenzied seed-eating, I saw nothing different out there today. A butterfly got a away though. Got up to about 56F.

Feb. 17 ~ The pre-frontal warmup of yesterday was long-gone this morn. Winds got here overnight, 10-15 mph northerlies and about 38F gave us a freezing chill factor if not temps. Fortunately plenty to do at the desk. Heard the American Goldfinch out there today, and more House Finch. A lot of sunflower seed was eaten. Nothing different though, and much hunkered down like us it seemed. The wind blew all day until nearing sundown. Tomrrow morn we will have sub-freezing temps.


This is a closeup of the central hindwing area of the
male Black Swallowtail which is still around the yard.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 16 ~ Was about 60F most of the night, dipping to maybe 58F at dawn. Early in morn the Robin was back for the first time in a couple weeks. Also heard the Say's Phoebe over at the airstrip. When I opened the gate to go, I saw the Black Swallowtial again out in yard. Town run and park glance, but lots of people, and they were burning leaves there so very smoky and skipped it. Nothing on the pond. If you don't beat the people there, it will often be empty. We had 72F on the front porch about 1-2 p.m.! That male Lesser Goldfinch is still out there and the singing sure is nice.

Feb. 15 ~ Low about 56F in fog and a wee bit of drizzle. Saw the Anole again today, and the Black Rock Squirrel which Kathy has been seeing several days now. It eats some sunflower seed on the patio. Heard a Myrtle Warbler. Maybe it is 80 Chipping Sparrow now. They have been increasing this last month. Great hearing those Cardinal singing. Mid-60's F was it for a high.

Feb. 14 ~ About 40F for a low, KERV hit 37 in wee hours, we may have been colder too. Cloudy and cool. The bird list remains the same. No spring arrivals yet, but Turkey Vulture should show up any day now. The bird of the day was my first bright green Anole (lizard) today. They have been in the cracks in the stone exterior of the house all winter. A beautiful beastie. Saw the Black Swallowtail again. Also noted the first sign of buds breaking stem on a tree this year, on the big male Mulberry.

Feb. 13 ~ Low about 32F, just barely a freeze. KERV had a 30F. Clear, dry, and sunny, warmed to about 66F or so. Quiet out there for the most part. One Red-winged Blackbird was here. A couple accipiter flushings of all. Heard a White-winged Dove give a fair song. E. Bluebird, N. Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee and Black-crested Titmouse all singing more now, and great to hear some cheer out there. Saw the Black Swallowtail butterfly again today, as well as the leftover lady, and a very worn Sleepy Orange. We are now one HOUR longer of daylength than we were at solstice. About 55 days to add an hour, or lose one if on the other side of the change.

Feb. 12 ~ Low about 38F, breezy until the afternoon. Might have hit 62F for a high. Nothing new or different out there today. The same gang of few birds i\ continuing. Though, Chipping Sparrow seem to be adding up, maybe 70 now? Heard the American Goldfinch out there. A few accipiter dives flushing everything. Less than a month until hummingbirds, martins, and Golden-cheeked Warblers. Hang in there baby. Saw the Sleepy Orange butterfly around.

Feb. 11 ~ Was 65F most of the night, though post-frontal blow began lightly about midnight. Around 5 a.m. the cold air got here it it went from 65 to 48F by 8 a.m.. And a breezy day. Great was about noon and 62F seeing the first new freshly emerged butterfly of the year. A Black Swallowtail. Which is not an unusual first in February. The few butterflies around overwintering here are last years' leftovers. This is the new years' growth and a new cycle starting. Henry's Elfin and Olive-Juniper Hairstreak are the other two most often 'first new' butterfly of the year, in February.

Feb. 10 ~ Happy Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon! Said to be a year of good luck. From about 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. we got some, in the form of 2.5" (!) of rain! WeeWow! So over 3.5" for the month, a very high total for an typically very dry month. Just what we needed for a spring bloom. Agarita and Redbud will be going off within a couple weeks so the timing is perfect. Maybe we will get Anemones this year. Cloudy all day but no rain, maybe hit 68F. Was a bit mucky of ground out there though. Heard a Belted Kingfisher over at the river. Heard some Brewer's Blackbird over in the corral.


This is a male Black Swallowtail. The first butterfly that is a new emergence I have seen this year, on Feb. 11. It led me to my first flower, but which is non-native. Henbit is European, but naturalized throughout America.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 9 ~ Low about 60F and foggy. Balmy for the date. The Eastern Bluebirds are really singing intensively now. What great beautiful sounds. Had the handful of Cedar Waxwing again. Town run and park check. A couple dozen Ring-necked Duck on the park pond, and 2 Myrtle Warbler in park woods. That is all. It is so dismal, it is dismal. A Pacific cold front is on its way and overnight through tomorrow night we should have some rain, then followed by some chilly temps, but not freezing.

Feb. 8 ~ Low was in 50's so great. No heat burning. Birds were the same gang as is that season. One Eastern Phoebe was singing up a storm. Great to hear. Lots of work at the desk so not much looking besides seed tosses and a few 10 min. breaks.Got up to 72 maybe, very nice out. Pretty green of yard too. February is usually when our coldest temps happen so watching and hoping that Jan. event was the worst of it.

Feb. 7 ~ Was about 44F in wee hours but 50F by dawn. Windy out of south at 15 mph gusting to 25 mph made for a very breezy day. But not very cold. Had the two Lincoln's, heard a Field, and about 60 Chipping Sparrow. Never saw so few Cardinal here. Plenty of doves, and a couple or few accipiters come by for their daily dive. Heard a Myrtle Warbler. Couple Ladder-backed and a Golden-fronted Woodpecker working the dead trees.

Feb. 6 ~ Low about 38F, sunny and nice. Shortly after midnight so early this a.m., I heard a Barn Owl, which is the first in a couple months. Maybe a spring migrant? About 9 a.m. a small flock of White-fronted Geese called as they proceeded northward in their V. First migrants of the spring. Just a couple dozen. The male Lesser Goldfinch is out there singing a bit. So, maybe more like an arrival than a winterer? Kathy had a lady butterfly, which is most likely an American now.

Feb. 5 ~ Low maybe 48F, but the winds picked back up about midnight and blew all night, and day. Not as strong as yesterday but still another blower unil later afternoon. We should see Turkey Vulture and White-fronted Goose soon. Which will win the 'first migrant' race this year? The historical average spring return for TV was Valentine's Day, but lately they have often been a bit earlier. Soon as these northerlies turn around, watch. Both have occurred rarely as early as late January. Saw 65F mid-afternoon, dry, felt great. One Red Admiral is likely the same wintering individual that has been around.

Feb. 4 ~ Temps in low 50's most of the night. The upper low that just passed has given way to a surface low with NW winds 20 mph gusting over 30. Which lasted all day, it was a blowout. The small group of Cedar Waxwing were back around in the afternoon again today. Nice to hear since a winter without them. One American Goldfinch in the morn. Some accipiter flushings. Same as it ever was.

Feb. 3 ~ Low about 48F. Yesterday evening after update posted, we got line of rain cells with thunder. Was about 27-28mm. Just over an inch, about 1.1". Outstanding. Mostly clear by midnight but a few spritzes in morning. By later morn the post-frontal blow had begun, a windy afternoon it was. Only one different item in birds, a small group of Cedar Waxwing. First of them in over a month, and only a handful. Plenty of work at ye olde desk anyway.

This is Texas Bindweed, which is in the Morning Glory family.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 2 ~ Flatlined about 58F all night. Overcast and humid, supposed to rain this evening and overnight. The Flicker was in the big live-oaks adjacent uphill behind us early. Love hearing that call. Town run and park check. One Carolina Wren in the woods. Above the island in river were 5 Gadwall and a dozen or so Ring-necked Duck. They flushed and one duck called that I would swear was a Mallard, though I did not spot it through the trees. It was that quintessential duck quack of a Mallard all the way. They are pretty rare here. Otherwise nothing different.

Feb. 1 ~ Low about 45F, overcast. Any time we are not freezing is great in winter. About 60 by 11, might have hit 70F later afternoon. Heard the Ground-Dove again. Lots of Mourning and White-winged here, probably two dozen of each, our biggest eaters. Hear a Eur. Colldared-Dove but distantly, thankfully. Might be more than a dozen House Finch now. The two Lincoln's Sparrow still sneaking around. Saw my first butterfly of the month, a winter form Questionmark. Heard Leopard Frog again this evening.

~ ~ ~ January summary ~ ~ ~

There goes the first month of the year. Here we had 2.25" of rain, which is a great January total. We had some extended hard freezes with temps in teens and at least one day with zero dF chill factors. We continue in D2 level (severe) drought, which is an improvement. River is a few feet below the spillway at the park pond, water table remains far below normal, very little flow and lots of the river is dry above ground above town.

There were no odes (dragonflies) seen this month, as usual and expected. A whopping four species of butterflies were noted, the most expected four. Birds remain very depressed of numbers and diversity, likely due to failure of natural food crops again this year, like Pecans, Hackberries, Juniper berries, wildflower and shrub seeds, etc. Not seeing any Kinglets, hardly a Myrtle Warbler or few, and so on. The only rare bird is the continuing Long-eared Owl which was heard weekly or so through most of month. Only thing we had lots of was onesies. Interesting was one Sandhill Crane on 7th. We had one Pine Siskin on the 15th. One Robin and one American Goldfinch visit our yard a couple times per week or so. One male Lesser Goldfinch on the 22nd is a month earlier than our breeders return, and likely a wintering bird. Literally scraping for birds here. Can't wait for spring migration and the return of our migratory breeding species. Which will start in earnest in one month.

~ ~ ~ end January summary ~ ~ ~

Jan. 31 ~ Low about 36 or 37F, KERV had a 34F methinks. Chilly, but sunny and dry continues with a good afternoon warmup. May have hit 70F again at peak heat. One Amerian Goldfinch still visiting. A couple Red-winged Blackbird came by. The rest was the same gang. Couple accipiter flushings. Maybe 60 on the Chipping Sparrow count now. The woodpeckers seem to just be hitting the sunflower feeder when cold out. These warm days they are up in the trees but not going to feeder. Freezing days they are on it. The Leopard Frogs were heard again tonight.

Jan. 30 ~ Low about 35F, KERV had 33. Sunny, dry, no wind, a chamber of commerce day. A pair of Ravens around a lot lately, I presume looking for a nest site. Hope its not in earshot... those young! If it was my kids, ok, fine... Was the same gang around the yard, save one bird. My first of year calling Common Ground-Dove over in corral. Here a couple accipiter flushings as usual. Might have hit 70F, and felt warmer in the sun, and dry. Yard is pretty green considering the date. Heard the Rio Grande Leopard Frogs again after dark, at least two again. Today is a half-hour longer of daylength than at the solstice.

Jan. 29 ~ Another frost but not freeze, we were 33 or 34F, KERV had 32. Sunny and no wind so very nice. The Great Horned Owl pair is calling in the middle of the day now. Which means they are full speed ahead with their breeding season. Was wonderful in the afternoon, near 70F, dry, sunny, no wind, awesome. We could stand that all year. Nothing different on the bird front. Quite a surprise to hear Rio Grande Leopard Frogs after dark, at least two. Never heard them in January before. They were at the watering tanks in the corral.

Jan. 28 ~ Low about 34F, KERV had 33. Frost but no freeze here. Early morn heard the Say's Phoebe at the airstrip and the Robin in the corral. A Raven squawked quite a while from the big Pecan again. Seems we picked up a few Chippies that last cold spell. I think over 50 now. About a dozen House Finch too, aka sunflower suckers. Not many Cardinal though. Maybe two dozen Mourning Dove, and some White-winged were trying to sing, seemingly as if they forgot how. It might have hit 70F at peak heat later afternoon, and felt warmer out in the sun with no wind. In the evening about 9:30 and 11 p.m. I heard the Long-eared Owl, besides the pair of Great Horned.

Jan. 27 ~ Was about 54F at midnight, a cold front arriving before dawn when 47F. Windy but a dry passage, and allegedly no freeze on way. Nothing different in birds. Pretty breezy until later afternoon. Seems more House Finch around. Best was at dusk under the sunflower feeder Kathy saw scavenging, a Gray Fox. Slow day for birds. Just one more month before migrants start showing up.

This is a Scrub-Jay. Often called Blue Jay but that is a crested jay with white spots on wings and tail. Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay is the proper correct name currently, which hopefully won't last too long. The Texas subspecies, texana, is unique and in several ways obviously different from other Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay of the interior mountain west. It should be called Texas Scrub-Jay as this subspecies is found nowhere else, and is an Edwards Plateau endemic subspecies. One day it may get its due.

Jan. 26 ~ Was about 48F around midnight, but rose to about 54 by dawn. Overcast, bit of fog. Not cold and wonderful birdsong. Town run and park check, to no avail. Seemed bird-free to me. Had the male Lesser Goldfinch here in the afternoon. The rest all looked the same gang. The winter doldrums are here. We are about five or six weeks from Golden-cheeked Warbler returning. I hope I make it. Eight months is a long dry spell.

Jan. 25 ~ Was 54F and still a bit of drizzle at midnight, 44F and sunny at dawn. The upper level trough has passed. With the .5" of precip last night I would say we are about 2.25" here for the month, which is great for January. Looks like that will be the final total. Comparitively lots of birdsong, several Cardinal, Bewick's and Carolina Wren, Black-crested Titmouse, E. Bluebirds too. They all sound thrilled to be out of cold and wet and see the sun as we are. Some accipiter flushings over the day as usual. Heard a Myrtle Warbler, but no Kinglet in weeks now.

Jan. 24 ~ Flatlinin' in the mid-50's F. Way better than the mid-30's. A bit more drizzle and a showerlet overnight, now .2 including the .1 yesterday. A fifth of an inch over the two days. Misting still early. Kathy counted five Eurasian Collared-Dove out back on seed early. She also spotted an Opposum eating seed, sunflowers no doubt. I heard the Say's Phoebe over at the airstrip again. It is likely the same bird as last month, and is wintering around airstrip and the big pasture adjacent. Saw a couple attempts by a Sharp-shinned Hawk on seed-eaters. Might have gotten something on second one. About 8 p.m. a band of thunderstorms moved through. We got a hair over a half-inch, others more lucky got more. So we are up to about .75 the last three days.

Jan. 23 ~ Was about 56F all night, and so, foggy in morning. But not cold so great. A bit of drizzle and showerlets totalled .1, just over 2mm, a tenth of an inch. Something anyway. Heard the Flicker just uphill behind us, so it is still around. Heard the Robin too. Otherwise it was the same gang. Cardinals singing (tuning up) a bit more. Bewick's and Carolina Wren both occasionaly bursting out with more songs. They sure don't sing when it is freezing. Waste of energy when burning everything to stay warm in sub-freezing temps. Heard Screech-Owls after dark. The Great Horned Owls are daily.

Jan. 22 ~ It was in upper 30's before midnight, then rising to 45F by dawn, and 50F by noon felt great. All these days in the 30's is getting old. A band of light rain moved over after midnight and we have a quarter-inch here in the morn. A wee bit, but all helps. In the afternoon a male Lesser Goldfinch was the FOS, and first I have seen in a couple months since the last ones left in November. They used to arrive around Feb. 22 after the 3-4 month winter absence. This is a month earlier than former average spring arrival. Is it one of the very few that winter locally at places with a nyjer seed feeder? If it disappears, I'd say a winterer wandering around. If it sticks, my guess would be a new record early spring arrival. Daylength is now a whopping 20 minutes longer than at solstice.

Jan. 21 ~ Low about 34F with some mist. Supposed to rain and get up to 40F. I'll be working inside. This makes these last three days spent in the 30's F, with a day of warmup prior to that, and four more whole days of freezing prior to that. So seven of last eight days were spent at best in the 30's F all day. That is a LOT of cold for here. The average winter daily hi-low temp spread here is 60-30F. Totally bearable. Nothing different for birds, the same gang continues. Did not spend much time in the cold mist to look though. Three seed tosses, which disappears fairly quickly. Might be near four dozen Chipping Sparrow.

Jan. 20 ~ Low about 24F (KERV was 23), and high about 40F. Some breeze and very chilly, feels like winter outside. Saw and heard nothing different in birds. Eastern Bluebirds singing in the freezing morning makes it better. Carolina and Bewick's Wren both singing more now. Still not much, but some bursts here and there. Same for Carolina Chickadee and Black-crested Titmouse, bursts here and there. N. Cardinal still tuning up mostly.

sorry about the repeat... since had one lately...

This is Say's Phoebe. Usually on a fenceline at edge of pasture, present only in winter (late fall to early spring). Note no streaking on underparts as female or imm. Vermilion Flycatcher, though Say's is mostly here when those are not.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 19 ~ Another cold front arriving pre-dawn, bringing cold air back. Low about 36F so great to not freeze, much warmer. Sunny, but a blower of a day. I will be inside working nearish a heater. Got up near 50F in the afternoon, but with the wind on it, never felt it. Another hard freeze inbound tonight. Did not see anything different today, as expected. The winter doldrums are much worse than the summer doldrums for species diversity. At least in summer there are 50-60 breeding species around. Wind finally died around dark, which means an ice box in the morning.

Jan. 18 ~ About 27F for a low, but the warmup before the front day. Since the only nice day this week, did the town run today. Nothing in the park save about 40 Ring-necked Duck on the pond. Saw no landbirds. A few Red-winged Blackbird around house in morning. It got up to a blazing 75F in the afternoon! Opened up and aired out, warmed the house and cottage. Back to cold tomorrow, just a one-day respite of warm air being sucked up from south in front of next system. After 5 p.m. I heard our loyal Robin out there.

OT rantlet: The car battery died at the Ranch Outpost. In a stroke of cosmic karma, where I bought it just three months ago. I usually use the car one day a week on my town run day. Five starts. Kudos to the Ranch Outpost, as I got a warranty replacement. I added more to get a bigger one, but had to do the old parking lot swap. At least I had the tools and was where I bought it! That part was good. But when a battery is $200, you would think you would get more than three to four months out of it! They used to cost $50 and lasted 5 years! I easily could have been a mile from nowhere, on a cold or wet day.

Jan. 17 ~ It was about 14F here this morn. I can't find my fern, it musta froze off. At least the wind is not blowing. KERV had 13 and Hondo 15F. Still some single digit chill factors around south central Texas this morning. Hopefully it will be the coldest day of this winter. Tomorrow will be the warm day before the next front arrives. Got up to about 44F but with breeze never felt it. Broke freezing anyway. Incredible cold spell. It was at or very near records. Some Red-winged Blackbird were around again. The rest was the same. Plowing through seed. Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker hitting the sunflower seed feeder, means it is bad out there for natural food sources. Looks like we got through the worst of it without any burst pipes. Just frozen ferns and keisters.

Jan. 16 ~ Low was 15F (!) as KERV, where wind chill was ZERO, 1, and 2F. We likely had 0F wind chills here too. Incredible cold. A second reinforcing Arctic front came through with lots more seemingly polar wind. Sun is mostly out anyway. So cold the windows condensed the moisture out of the air in house, and froze it, so we had iced windows. Around ten per Kathy's count, Red-winged Blackbird were hitting the seed in the afternoon. I heard a Pine Siskin, which is the first one in over six weeks since the only one I had all fall on Dec. 1. Barely broke freezing temps but not chills, a couple dF for a couple hours at best. Last super-cold night and morn for a bit inbound tonight. It is frigid out there. Probably been putting out a couple extra pounds of birdseed daily these sub-freezing days. Disappears lickety-split.

Jan. 15 ~ I saw 18F this morn on front porch, northerly winds about 15 mph, chill factors low single digits. Lovely, come on down. Some freezing drizzle overnight and invisible patches of ice on the patio. Unfortunately I cut the Frostweed stems less than 2 weeks ago, as they get a bit ratty looking as they dry up, and the stubs left made ribbon ice. DANG now I wish I would have left them. It would look incredible. You need super cold to get it. Most years we don't see any. Today if I don't see the bird as I am running by tossing seed, it will not be noted. Tomorrow looks the same. We are trapped for days in an Arctic icebox of air. At 3 p.m. it was 24F at KERV, and about 32F here.

Jan. 14 ~ Was about 40F at midnight, and about 28F shortly after dawn. At 9 a.m. KERV showed 23F! At 11 a.m. they were in fog at 21F and a wind chill of 11. Rocksprings and F'berg show wind chills of 10F. Overcast with occasional mist. We had some freezing mist at 29F at 11 a.m. This is going to be a major cold event. Extra seed rations, but I won't be doing a lot of watching, as all the windows are fairly sealed (blocked) against the cold. Hovered around 32F much of day. There was a small flock of Red-winged Blackbird around a bit. Likely those golf course birds that we know visit occasionally.

Jan. 13 ~ Low was about 26F, very cold. NOAA had KERV for a 33 still at midnight, I told Kathy it was getting way colder than those amateurs at NOAA were calling it whilst I undid hoses and covered spigots. KERV had 24F this morn, near a category off! NOAA's super-computers, vs. one dummy that don't even have a weather app! Today daylength is 10 hrs. 24 minutes, so TEN minutes longer than at solstice three weeks ago. Gaining almost a minute per day now. Got up to about 60F which felt great. Did some more insulating of things as a multi-day sub-freezing major cold event begins tonight. Here we go again. Did have the two Am. Goldfinch and two lincoln's Sparrow.


Here we have some ribbon ice, from when the Frostweed burst due to cold on Jan. 15. Unfortunately I had cut ours as it looks a bit ratty as it dries, so we only got little stubs left. I knew I should have waited to see if we would get a 20F morning. It takes extreme cold to get it to pop out. Being white it is incredibly hard to photograph.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 12 ~ The northerlies of the front got here around midnight, when it was still 60F! Just after dawn it was 45F and had been blowing 15-25 mph gusting higher all night. And still going strong. Behind this front is polar air for Sunday through Wednesday. The current 45F feels about 10 lower in the wind. Town run so a look at the pond. I didn't bother the woods in the wind. Counted 32 Ring-necked Duck on the water. Saw a Little Yellow here in afternoon, the fourth butterfly species of the year. Sleepy Orange, Questionmark, and then Red Admiral, were first three. Wind finally calmed in the afternoon. We hit a toasty 60F.

Jan. 11 ~ Low about 30F, barely froze, for about 6 hours. KERV had a 28F. Major front inbound tonight with high winds and extreme cold behind it for several days. Getting up into the low 70's F was fantastic. Opened up, aired out and warmed house up. Kathy saw the two Lincoln's Sparrow together. Great hearing some little snippets of birdsong here and there, local resident breeders are just starting to get tuned up. Saw a Red Admiral out in the heat.

Jan. 10 ~ A hard freeze, was 30 by midnight, low about 27F here, KERV had 26F. At 10:30 a.m. there was still a quarter-inch of ice on the bird bath. I had to run to town early. There were a couple dozen Ring-necked Duck on the park pond. On 187 was roadkill with probably most if not all of the local wintering Black Vulture around this year, 60+ birds. Has been over 150 in the past. Far less roadkill out there these days. Less animals and less people on road. A Raven was calling perched in the big dead Pecan. They hardly ever landed in it when it was alive. Kathy heard the Robin in the afternoon. I heard at least two American Goldfinch.

Jan. 9 ~ Calmed down to 10-20 mph by morn, low about 39F and felt colder. Some central Texas sites had 50+ mph! We had 40mph or more. There is a little bump (the end of the ridge behind us) and a thick tree line (climax Junipers) along it adjacent on north of us, so the full brunt of northerlies is deflected over us a wee bit, making a huge difference. We can hear it howling at the river Cypresses. Heard the Long-eared Owl about 9 p.m. in evening. That was the only thing of note today. One Sleepy Orange butterfly.

I have been remiss not to mention the Juniper pollen. Yesterday with the winds, air is getting in house, it set Kathy's Juniper pollen detectors off. So, 'tis the season! We saw and noted the first rusty-orange tint of male buds a few days before the end of the year, about Dec. 28 we talked about seeing that color again. Forgot to mention it last trip to store and town how orange the Junipers were. They are open season now. As Carl Sagan woiuld say, billions and billions, of pollen specks.

Jan. 8 ~ Some drizzle and light showers overnight. Was lower 50's at midnight warmed to 60F by dawn. About 7mm of rain, a bit over a quarter-inch, five-sixteenths. The wind got going as the front went through. We had sustained over 20 mph and gusts over 35 to 40 mph! Spent the day in the 50's F, but did not feel it. Did not see anything different for birds. Sounded like two Lincoln's Sparrow again. The wind will keep it from freezing tonight. It howled at 20-30+ mph much of the night.

Jan. 7 ~ Another freeze, probably hit 30F here, KERV had 28F. A chilly one. Interesting was a single Sandhill Crane flying over low north, as in a local movement. It got separated and seemed to be calling for others. Nearest flocks are in corn stubble fields around Sabinal area. Kathy heard Bewick' Wren sing. The Eastern Bluebirds are really getting going with song. Great sounds, as from anything in the thrush family. The common three-note call sounds like 'drink your beer'. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Some mist starting late in evening.

Jan. 6 ~ Froze again, maybe 30F, KERV had a 29F. Sunny and warmed well though, I saw 66F in the afternoon. Felt great and did some airing out. At the 7 a.m. seed toss I heard both the Long-eared and Great Horned Owl calling. Had not heard the Long-eared in a couple weeks. It must move up and down river quite a bit. Kathy saw the first snake of the year, a couple months early, at least. It was a foot-long (young) W. Ribbonsnake. The common small 'garter' snake here. I saw my first winter form Questionmark butterfly of the season. The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is hitting the sunflower seed feeder again. Explaining why it was messed up yesterday. Late afternoon our one loyal Robin called from the Pecan. Kathy thought she heard it last week over in the draw. At 8:30 p.m. the Long-eared Owl was calling over toward river. So cool to be able to hear one long term. Heard it again at 10 p.m. further downriver.


This is a Common Raven. Too bad about the branch, eh? The white is wet or something, it looks disheveled, and is shiny reflection. It is not a White-necked (now Chihuahuan) Raven.

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Jan. 5 ~ Low about 40F. Was some light drizzle overnight. From all day yesterday and overnight it was about an eighth of an inch (3mm). So an inch for the year so far. Good start. Nice to see the sun this morn. Town run and park check to make sure still nothing there. About a half-dozen Ring-necked Duck upriver of island was it. No landbirds. The river has come up a little bit since the Cypresses have dropped leaves and gone dormant. Town was amazingly quiet, just like last week. Again, you can back out onto Main St. at 1 p.m. on a Friday and there are no cars the whole length of it. Where'd they all go? Got up to about 63F which felt great. Also produced the first butterfly of the year, a Sleepy Orange of course.

Jan. 4 ~ It dipped into the 30's F overnight for a bit but was about 40F by dawn. Never did get to 50F, maybe 46F at most. A little mist here and there, rain predictions way down but still supposed to get some overnight. Went out several times over the day and looking about, did not see anything different. A couple dove flock flushings due to accipiters. A chilly gray day. We are adding over 30 seconds to daylength, daily, already!

Jan. 3 ~ Low about 40F, and humid from the rain, so chillyish. Another day with a case of the accipiters, and abnormally quiet out there. Nothing new or different. Might have hit 50F if we were lucky. Cool and overcast, more rain on slate for tomorrow. Chickadees and Titmice are hitting the sunflower seed feeder with a vengence. Must not be much else out there for them to eat. There are seemingly less than a dozen Cardinal around. Normally we have a couple dozen at least, and in a good year have had forty here at once in winter!

Jan. 2 ~ Low about 44F, only going up a few dF over the day. And 'tis a rain day. I'll be inside looking out. At least two American Goldfinch were in yard early in morn, and may have been three. Such excitement. Only different thing was a male Brown-headed Cowbird Kathy saw. We had a decent round of rain early afternoon. We did not hit 50F all day. A chilly wet one. As of dark it was seven-eighths of an inch of rain. A good start to a normally dry January.

January 1 ~ Happy New Year! Here we go again! What a wild ride the last one was. I keep thinking, it can't get worse, and I keep being wrong. :) Low about 40F, sunny in afternoon and maybe hit 64F. In morn there was a Cooper's, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk in nearby trees having a talk about whose hunting ground this is I suppose. Quite vocal back and forth between them, which is something I do not normally encounter. To assuage any fears, the Sharpy did not seem whatsoever intimidated. Otherwise the same stuff.

~ ~ ~ 2023 summary ~ ~ ~

That was some year eh? As far as the animals and plants are concerned it was a brutal one. The third year in a row spent mostly in extreme or exceptional drought. Much of summer was spent at or above record high temperatures, again. Third year in a row with little to no wild food crops. And it shows. Trees are still dropping, very reduced wildflower blooms (and seed crops), little to no fruit or nut crops, reduced numbers of fledged juvenile birds, and so on. Ecologically the environment is taking a beating. How long is it sustainable?

I am coming up with 38+" of rain at our place for the year. Which is a wet year. We used to average 30", but lately have been nearer 20" at best, often much less. The issue is that being in exceptional drought for most of a couple prior years so water table so low, it did not bring us back up to snuff. We're still in trouble. But it was enough to break the extreme dry cycle. Probably kept a lot of trees from dying, despite all the ones that did. It would have been much worse. Fifty year old Cypress and Sycamores along riveredge were lost, too far gone.

Odes, e.g. dragonflies and damselflies were pitiful. Their numbers are so low I can hardly believe it. I used to see 15-20 species in a good walk. Now I am lucky to get 15-20 in a month. In both May and August I saw only 6 species (!?!) and in June I saw 8 species. There used to be big fall flights of Gliders and Saddlebags, just a few this year. I did not see a number of formerly regular species, as for instance Rubyspot damselflies, were NONE! On June 30 a Turquoise-tipped Darner at the park was good as less than annual here. A Comet Darner on July 30 was maybe the ode of the year, though it was at the Waresville golf course pond where a very few have been seen repeatedly the last several years seeming to indicate locally hatched individuals. Only a very few Orange-striped Threadtail were seen at the park, they seem to be fading away, they were still numerous 10 years ago, and common 20 years ago. I count 9 species of Zygops (ddamsels), and 23 sps. of Anisops (dragons), for a 32 sps. total for the year. Very poor. Lots were MIA. Around half of my best year here, maybe.

Butterflies were weak at best. Numbers way down, and the potential annual highlight of a fall invasion from the south did not materialize, again, so fall was particularly slow, when it should be a riot out there. Only one Zebra Longwing was seen, in June. A Coyote Cloudywing July 30 on Bluehearts at the Waresville golf course pond was the first in a few years so a good find. Only very low numbers of N. Mestra this year. A Tailed Orange Nov. 15-16 was my first in several years and great in the yard. A Great Purple Hairstreak Nov. 24-Dec. 1 provided my first December record. Just one Ocola Skipper this year, in November. Hardly any Clouded Skipper this year. A Great Southern White Dec. 19 is up there with Tailed Orange as butterfly of the year. Both are far less than anuual here. Many things were MIA. No Viceroy or Sister! No Crimson Patch, Theona, or Soldier. No type of any of the long-tailed Skippers. I count 75 species for the year, way at the bottom end of totals, only matched by the worst of drought times. And so it was.

Birds were way off too, of course, still, also surely due to years of exceptional drought. I think migrants just overfly areas that look like we do from the sky. Dessicated. They know there are no fruit, seeds or bugs. A Hooded Warbler April 30 was great, as far less than annual. Some were also seen at other area birding hotspots (Concan, Lost Maples, Junction) as well. Also in April great was Sylvia Hilbig saw a male Varied Bunting a few miles NW of town. A GRAY HAWK was photographed at Lost Maples in April (ebird). A Tricolored Heron at the park July 28 was nice, only my 3rd one here in 20 years (and the other two were together). All juvs. Peregrine Falcon and Long-eared Owl were the August highlights. The Owl back for its third winter here, and ridiculously early (nesting failure?). It had been last recorded March 24 in spring. It continued to be heard monthly through end of year. A fall migrant Swainson's Thrush is very rare here so a good find Sept. 30. Four Mourning Warbler is about average for lately, but can be better. Brown Creeper at park in March, and another in Dec. was good as LTA - less than annual here. Worst thing was finding out about a Painted Redstart at Utopia Pk on Jan. 29, long after that. With friends like that...    I count 165 sps. of birds I saw locally, essentially without going anywhere. Only the slightest amount of extremely local looking a few times on a few roads, mostly in yard or at weekly (more in spring) park checks.

In odds and ends... A Javelina (Collared Peccary) and a Coral Snake in the yard were a couple highlight yard beasties. Maybe the bug of the year was a Giant Cicada (Quesada gigas) which used to be only found down along Rio Grande in far south Texas. It was heard in late July and late August. South continues its march north. I heard one in Uvalde about five years ago, now one made it here. They sound like a fighter jet idling on the runway.

The pickens were slim, but as always some interesting discoveries to be made. The army of birders at Concan and Lost Maples in spring turned up a number of great finds too, especially some eastern type warblers like Blue-winged and Cerulean. See ebird for reports at those areas.

~ ~ ~ end 2023 sumary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ oh no, not another one! ~ ~

~ ~ ~ December summary ~ ~ ~

I would call it mildish, though there were freezes, they were mostly just barely. Rain was 3.25" at our place, a great total for December. We show at D2 drought level, severe, but which is improved over most of the last three years. The river is 3-4' below normal levels. The water table is wayyyy low. No wild food crops to speak of, for the third winter straight.

Insects of course are generally few here in winter. I saw one species of dragonfly, a pair of tandem Variegated Meadowhawk. Did not see an Autumnal Meadowhawk. The butterflies were fair though very few individuals. I count 25 species for the month, most the first week or so. Great was a very rare here Great Southern White om Dec. 19 in yard. Hadn't seen one in several years, and maybe the best butterfly of the year. A Great Purple Hairstreak from late Nov. was still at the library garden Dec. 1 for my first December record. Fatal and Rounded Metalmarks the same day there were also good for being so late here.

Birds are fewer than I have seen in 20 winters here. The park woods which in fair to good times has birds in them have been devoid of birds, reflecting the dire situation here. Hardly any Ruby-crowned Kinglet or Myrtle Warbler around, Chipping Sparrows fewest ever, even Cardinal are way down. There is no food here. A FOS Say's Phoebe was likely my only new YARD bird the whole year, on Dec. 21-22. The only Pine Siskin noted this fall was one Dec. 1.

~ ~ ~ end December summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ December update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

December ~ A Pine Siskin on morn of first is the FOS, though surely heard one a week earlier. Dec. 6 my FOS Song Sparrow was at the 360 x-ing, and 45+ Ring-necked Duck were on the park pond. Finally heard some FOS Brewer's Blackbird on Dec. 7. My FOS American Wigeon was a single bird at the park Dec. 8. FOS Gadwall and Brown Creeper were at UP on Dec. 14. A Great Southern White butterfly the 19th is a far less than annual rarity here. Afternoon of 19th ca. 20 Cedar Waxwing were my FOS. My FOS Say's Phoebe was at the 360 airstrip the 21st-22nd.

~ ~ ~ end December update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~ ~

Dec. 31 ~ It barely froze, 31F for a low. Six morns straight now we froze. At 7 a.m. there was a Turkey gobbling. The Eastern Bluebirds were out front at the box early, singing a lot, great to hear. Flushed the Lincoln's Sparrow out of the (fenced) garden out back. Another Sharpy diving on things out back, also an immature. Can't imagine it is the one that took a bird yesterday. Got up to a wonderful 70F, so got to open and air it all out. Still only about 3 dozen Chipping Sparrow here. Fewest ever. And so we close the books on another year, and open a new one tomorrow. Hope everyone had, and will have, good ones!

Dec. 30 ~ Low about 29F, pretty chilly. Fifth morning in a row we froze. Sunny, and warmed to an amazing 68F or so. Great to warm and open up. Just after midnight last night (e.g. early this a.m.) a pack of Coyote must have made a kill a hundred yards uphill behind us. They went off howling in celebration as they do, and three more packs within about a half-mile then went off in response so about 40-50 were going off at once. It was absolutely fantastic.

Early I saw an imm. male Sharp-shinned Hawk grab a bird I think was a Cardinal but not sure. They are so fast, neither the victim nor I saw it coming. The rest was the same stuff. Nice to have that Lincoln's Sparrow stick so far for the winter. Big fan of them here. In butterflies there was a Red Admiral, a Little Yellow, and the worn Variegated Fritillary all still continuing. Saw a couple female Eastern Fence (Prairie) Lizard in the heat.


This is a tardy Monarch on Nov. 24, 2023. We hardly had any this fall. They missed us this year. Passage peaks in our area a month before late November. Some few also occur a month (and more!) before the peak. There is a nice bell-curve of dates, but longer on the front end, and overwhelmingly mostly the peak week or two mid-late October. I have seen them in December though. Next ones will be in March when they head back north.

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Dec. 29 ~ Froze again, about 30F for a low. Nothing different for birds. The same sparse selection. Did hear the first Cardinal singing kinda sorta of the new season. In between the series of loud 'boik' notes, as often when they are starting to sing especially, they give that other sound they make, which sounds like it is inhaling for the next series but with a video game quality to it. Town run and a park check. Not one passerine in the woods. No Cardinal, Titmouse, Chickadee, Kinglet, not even a Carolina Wren, nuthin'! Incredible. It is a morgue out there folks. The only bird I saw was a Belted Kingfisher on the other side of the pond.

Town was fairly devoid of people too, seemed exceptionally quiet for a holiday weekend Friday. We park at the general store perpendicular to the street. Then big trucks or suv's pull in on either side and block your view. You just have to say a prayer and back out into Main St. blind. It's great fun. Not a problem today, no cars on road at 1 p.m., just one on each side blocking view to see if safe. I would say it is not really dangerous as long as there are no tourists around.

Dec. 28 ~ Another freeze, about 31F for a low, and sunny. Got up to about 63F for a high. Pretty nice out. Heard the Flicker nearby, and one American Goldfinch. The same gang continues. Perhaps some more fronts will push some other things down as winter progresses. Did things not arrive yet, or, did they simply pass by as the drought is so obviously bad? What has showed up, mostly moved on in fairly short order, like the waxwings or Robins we briefly saw. I am not seeing a single Orange-crowned Warbler, and hardly any Myrtle (Yellow-rumped). So few Kinglets it is weird.

Dec. 27 ~ Froze, about 30F for a low. Was 8:30 before the frost or condensation ice on roof started to melt off. We are at 10 hours, 15 min. for daylength now, a full minute longer than the solstice a week ago. Early near a couple dozen White-winged Dove flushed (accipiter) from the seed out back. Same few birds. Got up at least to 66F which was great. Saw Little Yellow, Sleepy Orange, and Red Admiral for butterflies. Kathy heard the first Carolina Chickadee song of the new season today, four very high thin notes, 'see you see me'. A week after the shortest day, and some birds are starting to sing a bit.

Dec. 26 ~ Happy Boxing Day! It froze, with 30-31F for a low. Got up to a smokin' 57F or so. Heard the Lincoln's Sparrow again sneaking around out there still. About three dozen Chipping Sparrow, and a couple Field. Around 6 or 8 House Finch. Sounded like more than one American Goldfinch but did not see them. The Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpecker are around a lot lately due to all the dying pecans, which are likely all full of grubs. Several smaller ones out back essentially in limestone, have died the last two years. More shade lost, and hotter environs.

Dec. 25 ~ Merry Christmas! Hope all had a great holiday! Weird to wake up on a Monday morn and not care about biz email. A bit of breeze overnight, low was about 39F, a bit chilly and brisk with the breeze. Near 3 p.m. I heard a Robin, sounded like just one. I think we hit 55F for a high, fairly wintry for here. The birds were the same cast of characters. The record hi-lo temps for this day here are 15 and 82F. Heard some Bluebirds out front making noise near the box they use annually, so likely 'our' pair.

Dec. 24 ~ Still hovering around 60F all night. About 7 a.m. whence still pretty dark due to the heavy cloud cover, I heard both Great Horned and Long-eared Owl calling from just up road (GH) and river habitat corridor (LE) a bit. I must have slept through it as we got an inch of rain in middle of night. Kathy said about 3 a.m. she heard it. Outstanding. That will be it for December precip, but we got a good bit for a normally fairly dry month. Winter is usually the dryest season here.

Nothing different in birds all day. Still one American Goldfinch here. In butterflies, here I saw the worn Variegated Fritillary, a Red Admiral, and a Sleepy Orange. Kathy walked up the road to neighbor's place and saw Dainty Sulphur, So. Dogface, Snout, and heard a Hutton's Vireo. Sure is great getting butterfly reports from Kathy now.   :)

Dec. 23 ~ Still flatlining, maybe was 62F overnight. Front due in tonight. Some drizzle and overcast. All the same birds, nothing different. Kathy saw the Black Rock Squirrel. Looked about .2 of an inch of precip over day. Too soppy out there. Now they are talking overnight and into morning for the best chances for more. Heard a Lincoln's Sparrow.


This is a Ring-necked Duck diving for food. I thought it interesting how they fan the tail as they dive. It is not fanned until the dive going underwater. I presume stability and steering? They were eating Ceratophyllum (Hornwort), which must be the tastiest aquatic plant of a dozen types there.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Dec. 22 ~ Flatlined at 60F overnight again. A little mist and overcast, but no more real precip after late yesterday evening, so far. Over the day yesterday to last night totalled 17mm, about eleven-sixteenths, or just under three-quarters of an inch. Pretty good. A cold front is due in with rain on Sat. eve and Sunday. Day length yesterday and today is 10 hours and 14 minutes, tomorrow will be one whole entire second longer. Don't spend it all in one place! About 10:30 a.m. I heard the Say's Phoebe over at the airstrip again. Town run and park check. About 30 Ring-necked Duck on the pond is nice. A couple Myrtle Warbler was it for landbirds. Not even a Kinglet there this winter!?!

Dec. 21 ~ Happy Solstice! Tomorrow will not be shorter of daylength than today. We made it again! :) Flatlined about 60F all night, some mist, drizzle, showerlets and such in the morning, some showers over the day. Was out on the back porch after 1 p.m. and heard a FOS Say's Phoebe calling from the airstrip. Which is a YARD bird! Called over a half-dozen times in a couple minutes. I think it is the only NEW yard bird I have recorded this year. As such it is outstanding! Actually long before the ten-year mark, you will plateau out on any given site's list. If lucky you get a good five years, by whence only truly casual, irregular, or accidental species will be added.

Dec. 20 ~ Was about 53F all night. Some sun in a.m. but clouded up in afternoon. Got up to about 66F or so. Several days of clouds and rain chances lie ahead. But with mild temps anyway. Nothing changing on the dearth of birds front. As good as winters can be for birds when we have great food crops, they are poor beyond my imagination when there are no food crops several years consecutively. Which is where we are now. At least the last three years have been scant at best for Pecans, Junipers, and Hackberries, which I would call the big three winter forage items. About 6:30 when barely detectable light in sky a flock of ducks flew over low southbound. They were not Athya as the local flock of Ring-necked Duck, or teal. They were larger and much slower of wingbeat, perhaps Wigeon or Shoveller.

Dec. 19 ~ Low about 40F and clear. Finally something exciting about noon, and maybe 62F. A Great Southern White butterfly! Have not seen one in years, they are far less than annual here. Unless it comes back I did not get a pic. The WHITES butterfly photo page has a pic of one in hand. Then a pair of Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly in tandem came in to where I sprayed water hoping to draw the butterfly in. Near 3 p.m. finally some FOS Cedar Waxwing in the big Pecan. About 20 or so, and great to hear. I suspect disappointed at the lack of hackberry and juniper crops, their usual winter sustenence. Might be some ligustrum in town? They mostly only hit that after every hack- and juniper berry is eaten. We are about there now, before winter(!).

Dec. 18 ~ Low about 36F, and sunny. Looked about three dozen Chipping Sparrow now, and close to a couple dozen White-winged Dove flushed at an accipiter visit early. Did not see anything but the same cast. Pretty slow out there. These notes won't be taking much time this winter from the looks of things.

Dec. 17 ~ A barely freeze, I saw 30F at 7 a.m.. It is NOAA for the win on the low. Proceeded to hit 70F today! Sunny, the wind stopped, great out. Besides there being hardly any birds around. Did hear American Goldfinch. Ground cover in much of yard is actually pretty green due to recent rains. Most of the last Tropical Sage and Lantana froze so burnt purple. It's done until next May. Saw a couple Sleepy Orange and a Little Yellow for butterflies.

Dec. 16 ~ Cleared late yesterday and last night, low about 42F, and breezy in a.m., calming in afternoon. It is scraping for birds out there. Had to make a dump and recycle run so went out back (west) end of 360. Did not see or hear a bird, doing it twice coming and going. Some Buckley Oaks are still great with red, many past peak though. They are the sure fire guaranteed red show here every fall, almost regardless of conditions, peaking late Nov. to mid-December. They lack the fickle character of Maple colors. Which this year as so often were weak at best, again, as usual and most of the time. Lucky if it is a great show two years of ten. Got up to about a toasty 66F in the afternoon. NOAA is calling for 30 tomorrow morning, WU is at 40F. I am expecting the lower end of that.


This is an immature or female Indigo Bunting. Sept. 30 was date. A quintessential little brown bird. Non-descript uniform brown above, paler below with diffuse streaks on sides and often breast. The black on neck is just some mis-aligned feathers, not a field mark.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Dec. 15 ~ Low about 58F where it flatlined all night. Drizzle and light showers in morn. Stopped a few hours mid-day, then another hour or so late afternoon. A cold front is inbound this evening. Meanwhile mighty soppy out there. Not seeing anything different for birds. Same gang still at the seed party here. Kathy says more Chippies here now. Heard a branch crack but nothing fell, so there is one getting ready to go. With this big dead Pecan right out front we have to be very aware of it. At end of day the total is about .6 of an inch, or five-eighths of an inch. So a bit over 1.25" for the two day total, which is great.

Dec. 14 ~ Got down to about 48F or so, and light drizzle and rain started up again around dawn. As of the afternoon when it stopped, we are at about 21mm now since it started yesterday morn. Just over an eighth, under an inch. Supposed to lighten up until this evening whence another precip event of about 24 hours starts. Tomorrow is a rain day. So went to town today to miss as much of it as possible. At UP there were two FOS: a Brown Creeper (which I do not see every year here), and a pair of Gadwall. Also had a Song Sparrow and a Belted Kingfisher, a few Myrtle Warbler. Not much but a little something. Nothing different here at the hovelita.

Dec. 13 ~ Was in the low half of the 50's all night. Mist and drizzle by morn. Rain day today, but looks light. Friday is a frontal passage with maybe real rain. We have three days in the 50's F on tap. Did not see anything different in birds, though only looked on seed tosses. By late afternoon it was about 12mm, just under a half-inch, of precip over the day. It was chilly and wet out. Later in day the precip stopped through the evening.

Dec. 12 ~ Low about 36F, KERV had 34. Overcast and humid, so chilly. Now that we are seeming fairly settled in of winter birds, here is what is around the yard. N. Cardinal, Carolina and Bewick's Wren, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Eastern Bluebird, Chipping and Field Sparrow, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Hermit Thrush, White-winged and Mourning Dove, and Common Raven. Most days I at least hear Yellow-shafted Flicker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Myrtle Warbler, Red-tailed and-or Red-shouldered Hawk, and Great Horned Owl. Brewer's Blackbird are now visiting corral next door daily. Once or twice a week I see a Caracara and hear a Kestrel at airstrip, a Red-winged Blackbird (or few) come in, and I hear E. Screech-Owl. The Robins seem gone, as do Lesser Goldfinch. Individual numbers are way down across the board. Fewest Chippies and Cardinal we have ever had in early December. There is little to no food out there. The birds just fly on by. They know a drought from 5000' when they see one.

Dec. 11 ~ A chilly 26F for a low here, KERV had 25F. I looked at 7 a.m., so it might have dipped another dF here. The birdbath still had a thin piece of ice in it at 10:30. This should turn some leaves purple. Lots of the Lantana and Tropical Sage were already purple. But still with open flowers for the few remaining butterflies. The big blow with the front blew much of the leafage off the trees and it is getting close to looking like winter now. Still some yellow Hackberry leaves, and the Cypresses are now more brown than rusty orange, but are also losing leafage fast. The Mesquites are still with some yellow leaves, which will likely not last a week longer. Must be accipiters hiding in the trees keeping birds quiet. The Lantana flowers themselves froze. Saw a Comm. Checkered-Skipper and the very well-worn Variegated Fritillary.

Dec. 10 ~ Winds blew 15-20 mph much of the night until pre-dawn. Low was about 36F, KERV had a 34. Crisp and brisk. At least it is sunny. Alleged to freeze tomorrow morning, and my guess is colder than they are saying. This morn NOAA has KERV for 31F tomorrow, yesterday they had it at 26F. Half a category difference. About 15+ White-winged Dove blasted off the seed when I went out about 9 a.m., a few Mourning. Which you can tell by the higher pitched wing whistle. Don't have to see them. Not seeing anything different here. At least one accipiter is keeping things ginchy. In the 60F afternoon hear I saw one Orange Sulphur on the Tropical Sage. The rest was the same stuff.

Dec. 9 ~ Was in the low 50's F most of the night. Just after midnight I heard the Long-eared Owl over by the river. Winds from the front got here in the afternoon. Warmed to about 75F before it turned around. Did not see any different birds. An accipiter was hunting out back. Most of the same butterflies still visiting the flowers out front. Thought I may have seen a Dogface but it got away. No Monarch, it hit it and split yesterday afternoon. Only losing 30 seconds of daylight tomorrow, and about two weeks to go until that turns around.


These are Bluehearts. Which seem decidely lavender to my eye. The flowers are about an eighth of an inch across, and butterflies love them, even large species use them. The roots are thought to be parasitic on other plants(!). They are found growing at water's edge.

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Dec. 8 ~ Warm gulf flow got here before midnight so spent the night about 63F! The pre-frontal southerly soppy stuff getting sucked up ahead of it. The front and winds get here tomorrow, Sat. noonish, Sun. morn chilly, Mon. morn a freeze. I do not see any high temps next week as high as the low this morning. Not seeing rain on this passage, but it is forecast for the one next week. Town run fer shtuff. At the park the woods were dead, one Kinglet (Ruby) was it. On the pond there was my FOS American Wigeon, a single female. It hit 71F here in the afternoon, wonderful out. A Monarch stopped by for nectar, the first this month, and a good 6 weeks behind the peak of the bell curve of passage dates. Saw both American and Painted Lady, the Variegated and 3 Gulf Fritillary, plus Sleepy Orange, and Sachem. Some groups of Brewer's Blackbird going over as sun started getting low.

Dec. 7 ~ It was clear and 45F at midnight, rising to 55F by dawn with cloudy overcast. Great hearing those two Hermit Thrushes chucking back and forth. Since we usually only get one at a time here. Finally heard a FOS flock of Brewer's Blackbird. They get here late too. Heard a Hutton's Vireo, the N. Flicker, and a Kinglet (Ruby). Might have hit 65F, but barely. Saw the male Sachem on the Lantana, as well as a Syrphid fly. Quiet out there in the cool and very humid. An accipiter was diving on stuff again too. Seems maybe a few more Chippies showed up.

Dec. 6 ~ Low about 39F or so, KERV had a 36. Had to make a quick town run early. There were 45-50 Ring-necked Duck on the park pond. These are the first I have seen since the one early bird was here two weeks in October. At the 360 x-ing was my FOS Song Sparrow. They sure get here late, and leave early. About a hundred days, maybe. Duration of presence is as brief as Golden-cheeked Warbler is here for breeding. Heard the Am. Goldfinch and Hermit Thrush, a Field Sparrow or two, still just a couple dozen Chipping Sparrow, no Lark for a few weeks now. Heard a Red-tailed Hawk high overhead. Might have gotten up to 70F or so again. Saw a male Sachem, er, Huron Sachem now. We sure seem far from anything Huron here.

Dec. 5 ~ NOAA was closer than the WU but both missed the low by half a category. We had about 35-36F here, KERV had a 33! Sunny at first but clouded up at mid-morn, clearing in a few hours. Single American Goldfinch and Hermit Thrush about. Nowhere near the usual numbers of Cardinal around. One Orange Sulphur was new, and Kathy spotted a Variegated Fritillary. but otherwise it was the same butterflies still around. The Tropical Sage patch still has around a couple hundred flowers open, and the big Lantana is still blooming with about 50 flowers open presently. At least we are broadcasting some color and scent.

Dec. 4 ~ Low about 42F, KERV had 39F. Clear and sunny. Glimpsed one of the accipiters that is hunting here. There are a few making the rounds. One American Goldfinch came by briefly in the morn. Heard one Hermit Thrush. Not much happening despite the seed and water. At least some butterflies still on the last Tropical Sage and Lantana. Saw two Pipevine Swallowtail, single Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, a Little Yellow, a couple Sleepy Orange, a Comm. Checkered-Skipper, a couple Red Admiral, single Gulf Fritillary, American and Painted Lady. A whopping ten species in a burning 72F heat. I savor these last flyers every year. Saw a small dragonfly which was a meadowhawk sps., Variegated or Autumnal, methinks Variegated. Sorry, was a quick look with bad light angle, uh, and the wind blew dust in my eyes.

Dec. 3 ~ A bit chilly, about 36F for a low. Several dF lower than forecast. And that wraps up the days news. It was like a morgue out there today. The fewest of birds. Year after year of severe, extreme, and exceptional drought seem to add up biologically. We are in an extreme drought deficit in avian, botanical, and entomological terms. Did see two Dun Skipper. Got up to about 72F in afternoon heat, great with the low humidity.

Dec. 2 ~ Low about 44F, probably hit 70F in afternoon. Cloudy in morn, mostly sunny in afternoon. Kathy saw a small group of Lesser Goldfinch at the bird bath, was at least three. Otherwise the usual same suspects. Three different butterflies for the new month were a Little Yellow, a Fiery Skipper and a N. Mestra. The Am. Lady and Red Admiral, Large Orange Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, and two Pipevine Swallowtail all continue. Gotta rack 'em up early in month as it could collapse for the year and season any day. Great salmon sky at sunset.


Northern Cloudywing. Not sure we have a half-decent shot of one up, so there. :) This is almost half-decent. The wing with lots of white dots is the dorsal front left wing. The darker velvet brown is how they start out and as they wear through the season they turn that nice umber brown as scales wear off. This is our only regular Cloudywing here, never very common but small numbers present. The Coyote Cloudywing is a LTA (less than annual) vagrant. Cloudywings are larger than the Duskywings, whose wings are always patterend with marbling, not uniform above. Note the pollen on proboscis. Pollenator at work. These are big skippers with a couple inch wingspan.

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December 1 ~ First day of climatological winter, which runs Dec.-February. Low about 46F or so, was foggy most of the night, but the clear dry air behind the frontal passage got here first thing early, so sunny and great out, heading for mid-70's. About 11 a.m. Just after midnight the Long-eared Owl was still calling. Late morning I flushed a FOS Pine Siskin out back, which seemed a single bird. Heard what surely was one several days ago. Confirmed there are two Hermit Thrush seeming to be picking up white millet seed where we toss it.

Town run and park check to no avail. Actually was a very loud generator and music at north end so I passed on woods. At the library garden the male Great Purple Hairstreak was still on the Thoroughwort Eupatorium! An 8-day stay, and record. A stakeout butterfly. Saw it jump a few times so got some flashes of the blue upperwings, OMG! Also there were single Fatal and Rounded Metalmark, a Phaon Crescent, Comm. Checkered-Skipper, Sleepy Orange and Red Admiral. Here in the flowers out front we had Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Gulf and Variegated Fritillary, Red Admiral, American Lady, and a Pipevine Swallowtail. That dry 75F felt great in the afternoon.

~ ~ ~ November monthly summary ~ ~ ~

It was cool, but mildish with only a couple barely freezing mornings. A little bit of rain was about 2.6" here for us. The river is four feet below normal bank at the park pond and spillway. Most years in Oct. or Nov. when all the trees stop uptake, the water comes up in the river. Not this year the water table is so low. Drought stage has improved to D1, which is the best it has been here in a long time. Hopefully it is not a peak, and instead a new trend.

Insects generally continued around poor at best as they flame out for the year anyway. For odes (dragonflies and damselflies) there may have been five species seen in November. Just a very few of the most expected lingerers. Butterflies were a little bit better, but individual numbers continued very depressed. Highlights were a male Great Purple Hairstreak at the Library Garden Nov. 24 - Dec. 1. Then here at the hovelita, a far less than annual Tailed Orange Nov. 15-16, and an Ocola Skipper Nov. 3 which are not quite annual. A total of 31 species is good for a bad year. All four months of fall totalled either 30 or 31 species, very poor, well-reflecting the drought and lack of any decent southern invasion. Which seem so far to me to be fairly tied to wet cycle periods (ecologically good times).

Birds also continued fairly lackluster. Though rain has been falling recently, it was all after most of the growing season. This is the third winter consecutive without the normal standard average good food crops like Pecans, Hackberries, and Junipers. Most of the usual November arriving winter species showed up as expected, in very small numbers so far. After a look around at food supplies, they move on. Hearing Sandhill Crane overhead southbound is a great part of Nov. here. Saw a very few Am. Robin, one Am. Goldfinch, one N. Flicker, couple Hermit Thrush, one Am. Pipit, and so on. The only rare bird was the continuing Long-eared Owl which I heard at beginning, middle, and end of the month, between which I heard nothing. This is its third winter back here. Only saw or heard 50 species this month. Mighty weak bird tea here lately. Shows what a great set of migratory breeding species we have here.

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~ ~ ~ November update header ~ ~ ~

November ~ The FOS freeze was on Nov. 1. Just after midnight barely on the 2nd I heard the Long-eared Owl along river habitat corridor, heard it again the 3rd. At the park the 3rd was my FOS Hermit Thrush. Heard my FOS Golden-crowned Kinglet on the 7th. We heard FOS Sandhill Cranes southbound on the 11th. A FOS Am. Robin was here on the 12th. A FOS Am. Pipit called overhead on the 13th. A FOS White-throated Sparrow was here the 14th. A Tailed Orange butterfly was here Nov. 15-16, they are rare here, less than annual. A FOS American Goldfinch flew over the park entrance garden on the 17th. TEN Robin were here the 22nd. Finally saw a Great Purple Hairstreak this year, a male on the 24th at the library garden. Cranes overhead southbound on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. ~ ~ ~ end November update header ~ ~ ~

~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~

Nov. 30 ~ About 58F overnight and did not stop the drizzle-mist light showers yet. About 17.5-18mm of precip total so far as of 9 a.m., or just under three-quarters of an inch if you prefer. Which is outstanding. Every bit helps. Sun finally came out in the afternoon and about 3 p.m. I saw 65F, toasty! Heard an American Pipit dropping in over towards the airstrip in the afternoon. Saw a Red Admiral. A few Chickadee, a dozen White-winged and half-dozen Mourning Dove, Field Sparrow. Did not have any Lesser Goldfinch. Around Thanksgiving is when the last of them usually depart, except those few at thistle socks. The Long-eared Owl was calling about 10 p.m., as was the Great Horned but not near each other.

Nov. 29 ~ Low about 45F, cloudy, humid. A trough is getting ready to go over or by and rain is forecast tonight to the morning tomorrow. Hear Red-winged Blackbird up in the Pecan. More than a dozen White-winged Dove and half as many Mourning. Might have gotten up to about 53F, drizzle and mist started before 3 p.m., and continued throughout the evening. At times could be called light showers. In the mid-50's F so not cold, just wet.

Nov. 28 ~ A low about 45F, cloudy in morn. Got up to about 60F in the sunny afternoon. This morn had a flock of what seemed 10 Robin fly over. Which is the first I have seen of them since the 22nd when they first showed up. Wandering around looking for a good Hackberry? Later morn there were four male Red-winged Blackbird out back picking up white millet. In the afternoon I saw a few butterflies. A Red Admiral, a Sachem, and a Sleepy Orange. That party is about over. At least they don't flame out as fast as the odes. In about 3 years of 20 here I have added a new butterfly species for the year in December. The SAT hi-lo temp records for this day are 91 and 21F. What a spread!

Nov. 27 ~ Low about 44F or so, cloudy and overcast. Might have reached 55F but never felt it, cool and humid. Nothing different in the yard, very quiet. Probably accipiters. Heard the Hermit Thrush and a Field Sparrow. A Kinglet (R-c) and a Kestrel were about. The lack of birds will sure make this part go faster. Early in evening, before 8 p.m., I heard the Long-eared Owl calling. I worry about it when I hear it near the Great Horned, but this has gone on for three years now. That is how stealthy they can be. You would think that GH would really be getting pretty darn irked by now about this poaching winter visitor. It has to be on high alert for it. And still can't find it. So I guess I should not feel too bad myself.

Nov. 26 ~ Cold front arriving at dawn. Was 52F or so much of night, dropping to about 48F when the northerly winds got here around dawn. Blowing 10-20 mph, gusting higher, felt the 30's. Still cloudy, but no more precip since the evening yesterday. We got about a quarter-inch overall. Looks like another day best spent working inside. The Hermit Thrush seems to be sticking, I think it is eating birdseed (white millet). Seems to work around the three spots where we toss. About 10: to 10:30 p.m. I heard the Long-eared and Great Horned Owl again, seemingly calling from not that far apart, as usual. The Long-eared seemed to be moving around a bit.

Nov. 25 ~ Clouds, fog, mist, and drizzle to light showers all day. Temp spread was about 52-54F, and around .25, a quarter-inch of precip. Ranged from drizzly to soppy, we opted for work inside, hunkered down like the birds. And so nothing to report. The usual hangers-on were present and accounted for. We have seen any Robin the last couple days after the flocklet showed up. Seems the one that was here a few weeks before they got here, left with them. Hope they find some berries. Even though we have had some rain, the fruit and seed crops are very poor to nil. For at least the third winter in a row. We can again expect things to show up, do a food supply survey, and split for more fruitful pastures.


Great Purple Hairstreak, male. Note blue band on ventral forewing which females lack. And which is the color of the entire dorsal surface, the alleged great purple, which is actually a great blue. Cruelly, it is only seen in flight as it perches with wings closed together. It is about twice as big as all our other local Hairstreaks, and its larval foodplant is Mistletoe, where you might catch one emerging.

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Nov. 24 ~ Low was maybe 36F middle of night, about 38F at sunup. Chilly and sunny. Heard the Kestrel over by airstrip. Also Flicker and Hermit Thrush called. Before noon another large group of Sandhill Crane overhead southbound. Saw nothing at the park. The entrance garden Pecos Daisies had two Orange Sulphur (one a pale morph female), a Monarch, Sachem and Fiery Skippers, C. Checkered-Skipper, Gulf and Variegated Fritillary, Sleepy Orange, and a Vesta Crescent. Then over at the library garden was the first and only Great Purple Hairstreak I have seen this year! Also more Sachem, Fiery Skipper, C. Checkered-Skipper, Red Admiral, Gulf Frit, Sleepy Orange, another Monarch, another Vesta, and one Rounded Metalmark was ten species there and great. Got up to about 65F in afternoon heat. A Little Yellow was on Tropical Sage here.

Nov. 23 ~ Happy Thanksgiving, hope y'all have great Turkeys! Middle of night was mid-30's F and a few dF warmer by sunup, maybe 38 or so. Got up to about 60F in the afternoon. Not much moving outside. Heard another flock of cranes overhead southbound. Saw one Red Admiral butterfly, and a couple female Eastern Fence (Prairie) Lizard.

Wow, the new update at the U.S. Drought Monitor has us in only D1 here in the Sabinal River Valley all the way up past Lost Maples. First time in a long time for the drought level to be that low here. Just east of town a few miles, before the Medina Co. line, so at Little, Thunder and Seco Creeks, it goes back to D2, severe levels. A great overall improvement to see, which hopefully holds. D4 is gone from those counties to our east that have been in for seemingly a couple years. The winter forecasts seem to be leaning towards colder and wetter than average for us.

Nov. 22 ~ I saw 34F at 7 a.m., before the usual final dip so likely hit 33. KERV had 32F. We have only hit freezing once so far this fall, which is simply an observation, not a complaint. The Robin was squawking from top of the big Pecan early in morn. Still here, and still the only one so far. Oops! Spoke too soon. Only one until today. About 10 a.m. Kathy spotted 3 at the bath. Around noon she counted 10 at least. So, the lone bird is not anymore. Great to hear them outside. Bet they were disappointed after surveying the Hackberry and Juniper crops, which are near nil this fall. About 3 p.m. I heard Sandhill Cranes high overhead southbound. Got up to about 66F, only a few butterflies about. But, two Sachem (which got a new name and is now Huron Sachem), one Fiery Skipper, a Sleepy Orange and a Cloudless Sulphur.

Nov. 21 ~ Low about 52F, it blew northerly 10-20 mph all night, some gusts higher, especially in morning to afternoon. Everything is hunkered down until this blows over. It may have hit 58F but never felt like it. A little more insulating for windows as the next three morns are to be in the 30's F. Just a few of the regulars and they were hard to come by today. I followed the birds example and hunkered down as well. Too much biz desk work to do anyway. Did see a few Yellow Wood-Sorrel flowers open, and a few of the small peachy thing I don't know and haven't figured out.

Nov. 20 ~ About 65F for a low, and dripping with fog and mist, very muggy. A front is passing over the day. The dry weterlies got here before noon, and warmed about 10F before it started to cool back down later afternoon. At KERV as an example on the dryline arrival, from 10 a.m. to noon, humidity went from over 80 to under 30 percent. All the same winter birds are still here. Only thing different was that I thought sure out in front yard I heard Pine Siskin several times, the three-note rapid-fire with no spaces between them cutcutcut. But did not see it or them. It was just one explosive jeeee! from being my FOS. Leps were a Pipevine, Gulf Frit, Sleepy Orange, and a Vesta Crescent. Still a few Blue Mistflower open, as well as some Tropical Sage and Lantana. Even a couple new Red Turkscap flowers opened today.

Nov. 19 ~ Low about 60F with fog and mist. Might have climbed 5dF over the day. Not cold, but sopping wet out. Still foggy at 3 p.m.! All the same birds continue, saw nothing new. Hermit Thrush and Lincoln's Sparrow still sneaking around. The last week the Mulberry has been at peak yellow and beautiful. It will soon be bare. No hummingbirds for a couple weeks now. We keep just two feeders out with a little bit in them in case one, or an oriole, shows up. Since cool the fluid lasts wayyyy longer of course.

Nov. 18 ~ Was fog-mist in the morning, about 58F. Got up to maybe 66F peak heat with some brief sun, but mostly cloudy. Fairly dead for birds save the residents. The only thing was I saw the Lincoln's Sparrow that has been sneaking around, and I heard a hissy note as in White-throated Sparrow. The rest was the same. Still a few Lesser Goldfinch around. A few butterflies were out in the sun briefly, but the few common ones was all I saw. Guessing we will be clouded out for the Leonid meteor shower peak overnight tonight. If you want to schedule which days will have clear nights out here, first make sure there is no astronomical skywatching feature of interest to observe. If not, you might have some clear skies. Otherwise, forget it.    :)


These are Wild Turkey poults, young of the year. A couple months ago, the flock of them was vacuuming up birdseed here. And boy can they!

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 17 ~ Low about 54F, some foggish stuff out there. Got warm today. Heard a Belted Kingfisher over at the river. Maybe a dozen plus White-winged Dove visiting now, which are likely winterers, most of our breeding population departs for winter. Town run and park check. Nothing at the park, water level is 4 FEET below spillway. Note we recently had the 6" of rain in Oct., and the 2" the past week, and the Cypresses, Sycamores and all have stopping sucking water for the year. Still water level has nothing but gone down the last 6 weeks. With 8"!?! Oops! An add-on I forgot as of the update upload... A FOS Amercian Goldfinch flew over calling at the park entrance garden when I was looking at butterflies.

There were some buterflies at the library garden, finally. FIVE (at least) Monarch is a high count here this fall. One Queen, some Sachem and C. Checkered-Skipper, one Fiery Skipper, Pipevine Swallowtail and Sleepy Orange, a Cloudless Sulphur. Best though was two Rounded Metalmark (C. perditalis). At the daisies out front of the park (Little Creek Larry said these were Pecos Daisy) there were butterflies as well, including a couple Phaon Crescent, an Orange Skipperling, more C. Checkered-Skipper. and another Fiery Skipper. Back here at house we had a new for month Buckeye and American Lady. Plus Large Orange and Cloudless Sulphurs, Gulf Frit, Pipevine, Sleepy O., and another quick look at the Tailed Orange.

Nov. 16 ~ About 45F for a low, KERV had a quick 43. Sunny in a.m., thin clouds in afternoon. Nothing different in birds. Only got up to about 70F. In butterflies saw the Tailed Orange come in to the Tropical Sage briefly. Boy is it ginchy, wish I could get a pic of it. Saw a Julia's Skipper that looked very fresh. A Queen hit the Tropical Sage. The Painted Lady was back on Lantana. A Gulf Frit and a couple Pipevine Swallowtail still. Something to look at anyway. Heard the Robin again, in the afternoon, so likely roosting nearishby. Also heard the Hermit Thrush, N. Flicker, R-c Kinglet, and Myrtle Warbler, which all seem to be daily now, and seemingly the same birds. As in, in-for-the-winter individuals.

Nov. 15 ~ Low about 47F, maybe hit a quick 46, KERV had one 43F reading. Clear is nice. At about 6:40 a.m. I heard the Long-eared Owl. I did not hear it during the five-day wet gray spell we just had. About 9 a.m. the N. Flicker was calling whilst warming in top of the big dying Pecan. At least one Hermit Thrush around. Otherwise just the regulars. A few butterflies were out in the 72F heat in the afternoon. Outstanding as LTA - less than annual, was a Tailed Orange on the Tropical Sage. I had one either last year or year before, but it had been a long dry spell before that one, maybe 7 years or so. Late fall is usually when for them. The other good one was an Ocola Skipper. Second one this fall, and also can be missed any given drought year. A few Pipevine Swallowtail, an American Lady, Gulf Fritillary, a Vesta Crescent, and a Comm. Checkered-Skipper. Later in day we heard a Ringed Kingfisher rattling over at the river.

Nov. 14 ~ Still flatlining at about 55F here. Overcast but no more rain, supposed to clear and hit the 60's this afternoon. Rain total is around 31mm, or about 1.25" for the three days, and 2.35 for the last five days. At the dawn seedtoss about 7 a.m. I heard a FOS White-throated Sparrow. Not an absolutely guaranteed-to-see bird here every year, so great. Never saw it all day. Other things heard out there were the same few winter type species. A Myrtle Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Hermit Thrush, an Am. Kestrel, and a N. Flicker. A few more Chipping Sparrow have showed up, probably 20 or so now. Here they come. Warmed to about 68F and a few butterflies were out. No skippers or small stuff after the five days in the fifties. Three Pipevine Swallowtail, two Gulf Fritillary, a Painted Lady and a Large Orange Sulphur.

Nov. 13 ~ Light rain pre-dawn to early morn and a low about 52F or so. Now at about 28mm or 1.1" for this second low system event. Which means since Saturday, the last three days with measureable precip from this low. The initial first cold front arrived last Thursday and we have not been out of the 50's F since Friday, today is day four of that. That first event was 1.1" of precip right on and after the frontal passage. So now we are at 2.2" since last Thursday with this second round and event.

A big branch fell last night from the big dying Pecan. Which wiped out a bunch of the Tropical Sage right out front. Will need to borrow a chain saw to get it out. Moved enough debris to get from porch to car and over to birdbath anyway. Just have to step over one 8" branch on stepping stones to driveway. What a mess. Be lucky if any of the flowers out there survive the falling of branches by time it is all done. Heard a Hermit Thrush out front over at draw whilst working. Earlier a bit of a scold scene out back had one. So at least one, maybe two here now. The only other thing of interest today was a heard flyover FOS American Pipit. Probably two of them.

Nov. 12 ~ Low about 55F, or, whatever it has been the last 48 hours or so. Flatlinin'. At 7 a.m. there was a Ringed Kingfisher flying over house high up, chakking all the way. Early in the mist after 8 a.m. there was a FOS Am. Robin calling from the thicket across the road from the gate. Another winter friend returns. Other than that it was pretty quiet out there today. Very drippy, some more mist and drizzle, a few light showers. Temps got up to maybe 59F or so. A big 4dF spread. Now a bigger rain is predicted for overnight. And temps the same through tomorrow. So a three day run in mid-50's F mostly. Cypresses are getting rusty orange along the river. Mulberry is going yellow and dropping leaves now. Many Pecans and Mesquites already looking pretty thin of foilage. At dark about 13mm of rain so far, which means 5mm over day as was 8mm at dark yesterday. Just letting it add up to get an event total. Anyway we are just over a half-inch so far.

Nov. 11 ~ Low about 54F, still overcast and cool from the front. Cloudy all day, might have climbed 4F to 58F or so. Were some light showers off and on. Looks about a third of an inch, or 8mm as of dark. Said to be getting more tonight. Kathy thought she might have had an Orange-crowned Warbler leaving the bath. Besides one I only heard chipping mid-Oct., I have not seen one this fall. What the heck? In the afternoon we did hear our FOS Sandhill Cranes somewhere up in or above the clouds, heading south. No hummingbird again, re-confirming their departure. Heard N. Flicker over in the corral. In the afternoon I thought sure I heard an American Goldfinch. Actually I have thought I heard one a few times in the last week, but only one not close quick call series each time. Been holding off on a FOS date until it pushes over into the absolute level. Still holding.


This is a Halichtid sps., which are commonly called sweat bees. There are many species, some are black, or look like honey bees. They are about a half-inch long and you can see them on flowers gathering pollen. That is a Frostweed flower head it is on.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 10 ~ Wind blew and it lightly rained much of night bringing cold air in, the low was 50F and it had some wind on it. Total rain since yesterday morn when it started is now 27.5mm, or about 1.1". Which is great, we need it. Did not rain all day, and hit about 58F tops. Heard a Kestrel over by airstrip this morn. Town run, and park check to no avail. One Great Blue Heron on the spillway was it. The woods remain lifeless. Didn't see anything along the roads. Heard a Flicker over in the corral. Quiet here otherwise, just us church mice. We did not see or hear a hummingbird here today. First day of that since earliest March. So methinks Ruby left sometime yesterday between rains, only saw it early in morning. Or it left after a dawn tankup here.

Nov. 9 ~ Low about 69F, showers starting just after dawn, progged for a rain event. Cold front arriving. Early a step out to front porch heard a hummer fly away, so Ruby is still here. Heard some Lesser Goldfinch, a small flock of Chipping Sparrow continue. But due to off and on sprinkles and light showers I was not out there much. Temps slowly dropped all day to about 60F around 5:p.m., should lose 10F more overnight as the colder air arrives. Looks about just one CM over the day, as of dark.

The update today at the U.S. Drought Monitor has us in D2 now, just only severe. What a great improvement. That huge D4 exceptional drought area that has plagued the southeast parts of the plateau is now reduced to a tenth of its former size and the west half of Bexas and NE 20 percent or less of Medina Co. are what remains. The rest is now improved to D3, extreme drought. Keep the rain comin'! Late in day there was a big buck eating fallen pecans in the yard.

Nov. 8 ~ Low about 64F, with fog-mist, so wet and gray. Dead quiet out there at 6:30 a.m. if you wondered. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is still here. Gettin' late for them. Today is the last day with sun predicted for a week, it better go. Saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk flush everything in the morn. They are keeping the birds away. There is also likely a fair bit of natural wild food crop available in the way of now ripe seeds from all the forbs, wildflowers, and so on. The Pecan crop seems nearly harvested by the squirrels and coons. I may have mustered a half-pound for us, which is great on the micro scale as it is pitiful on the macro. About 8:30 the Long-eared Owl was calling upriver a bit, couple hundred yards maybe, just the other side of the draw.

Nov. 7 ~ Low about 57F, just a few clouds early, mostly sunny. Got up to about 82F in the afternoon. Great was in the morn a FOS Golden-crowned Kinglet called several times as it went south through yard. We did not hear or see the Rufous Hummingbird today. The last imm. male Ruby-throated continues. Otherwise it was dead for birds out there. Very little, even the Cardinal seem much fewer in number than they were a month ago. Still a few Lesser Goldfinch. Butterflies were mostly the same stuff. Two male Large Orange Sulphur were new. One female Cloudless Sulphur continues. Three each of Bordered Patch and Pipevine Swallowtail. Seems most of the skippers departed, only a few here today. An Orange Skipperling was here, not sure if a new one. Lots of it seems to tank up a few days and head out on that journey of the short rest of their lives at this point, at least with plenty of gas.

Nov. 6 ~ Low about 61F, some thin low stratus for a bit. Had the Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummers in morning. It is very quiet out there still. I think we have a case of the accipiters. One new butterfly was a Southern Broken-Dash, first one I have seen this year. Which is nearly ridiculous. Saw the Mestra, the two Bordered Patch, the Queen, and many of the same skippers continuing. Was a pair of Vesta Crescent now.

Nov. 5 ~ About 50F for a low is fine, we're back to fall it seems. Very quiet in the yard for birds in the morn. Prolly those pesky accipiters. Sounded like a morgue out there all day. Afternoon had some cloudcover so partial sun, and about 75F. The two hummers continue. Why is that after all but a few leave, the remaining last ones get more ginchy than any other hummers all year. Every year it is the same thing. They will barely come in if you are outside, fly at the sight of you, and if on inbound approach, turn around when they see you. They are never like this all year. They are always like this when it gets down to the last few.

Nov. 4 ~ Low about 54F, overcast. Not seeing any bird movement to speak of. More butterfly action lately than birds. Single Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbird continue. Still just a small flock of about 10 Chipping Sparrow around. Heard a Kinglet (R-c). Most of the same butterflies were around today again. Saw 2 Bordered Patch though. Also one new one showed up, a Little Yellow. Saw a new different Phaon Crescent. Cloudless Sulphur and Queen were here briefly. Saw a female Whirlabout confirming one that got away yesterday, when only positive on the male. Got up to about 76F at peak heat. Last day of DST, daylight stupid time. Sunrise at reasonable hour again. finally.

Kathy found a dead Cerambycid (Longhorn) Beetle in a plastic tub in the carport. Why don't they just fly out? Tub was over a foot by two feet, open, and a shallow 6" deep. It is another Elytramitatrix undata. Seems scarce but regular here. Have to compile a Cerambycid page with all the pics I have so the most usual ones here are handy in one place for reference. It is from this year is my best guess about when, since this spring when I last moved the tub.


This Great Blue Heron was on the spillway at the park pond today (Nov. 10, 2023). Seems a bit late in year to still have all those breeding plumes? Or is it an eager beaver ahead of schedule ready for next cycle to get going?

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Nov. 3 ~ Low about 47F or so, clouds kept some heat in. Just after midnight the Long-eared Owl was calling again. At dawn the Ringed Kingfisher was waking everything up. Town run and park check. Water is a few feet below normal pondfull. Nothing in the woods but near the start of them was a FOS Hermit Thrush. Another winter friend is back. Here, Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbird both still present. Heard a Kinglet (R-c) in yard. Lark Sparrows seem gone now, been several days without one. Got to about 72F in the afternoon.

Here at the house most of yesterday's butterflies were around still. Four MORE new ones showed up though. Best was a FOY Ocola Skipper, which are LTA - less than annual, here. The other new ones were at least one Whirlabout, a Painted Lady, and a Pearl Crescent! Wow! Saw the skipperling and Julia's Skipper again. The Blue Mistflower is pulling skippers in like magic. The lady and crescent were both on the Frostweed. Can hardly believe I have seen 21 sps. of butterflies at the front porch flowers the last 3 days.

Nov. 2 ~ Low about 40F, maybe hit 39 briefly. Some clouds held the heat in. Last night after midnight the Long-eared Owl was calling over in the river habitat corridor. Must move around a lot, it had been since Oct. 8 when I last heard it. Is it the Great Horneds, or maybe poor food availability? Wouldn't think food shortages if you have an idea of the Cotton Rat and White-footed Mouse populations around our place. There ought to be tons of food out there. Still a few Lesser Goldfinch coming to the Tropical Sage. Not for long. Not getting anything different for birds today.

Saw the Eufala, Dun, and Fiery Skippers again on the Blue Mistflower, the Common Checkered-Skipper, as well as the Phaon Crescent and Bordered Patch. Also saw the Mestra and Red Admiral again. And again, several new things showed up today. A Queen, a Julia's Skipper, an Orange Skipperling, and a Vesta Crescent. On the Frostweed late in day in 64F peak heat there were a few metallic green Halichtids, and a Sphecid (Thread-waisted) Wasp, the usual one with brick red distal abdomen. Saw the XL, and a small type, of Bumblebees.

November 1 ~ Thar she blows! The first freeze of the season. We had 31F here this morn. Crisp. Heard Ringed King over at the river. Thought I heard a couple Nashville and did have one Myrtle Warbler in yard. The Rufous Hummingbird continues, as does at least one imm. male Ruby-throated. Broke 60F in the sunny afternoon. A few butterflies were around the flowers. At about 55F a Red Admiral hit a sunny stone wall to warm up. On the Blue Mistflower little bits we have blooming, a Bordered Patch and a Phaon Crescent were both new, as was an Am. Lady on the Lantana. Hangers-on were a N. Mestra, a couple each Sachem and Dun Skipper, single Pipevine Swallowtail, Gulf Fritillary, and Sleepy Orange. One big yeller bumblebee on the Tropical Sage. Later in afternoon about 4 p.m. there were a Fiery Skipper, a Eufala Skipper, of which I did not see any in October, and a Monarch, which nectared on some Tropical Sage. Thirteen species of butterflies and it might have hit 62F.

~ ~ ~ October summary ~ ~ ~

Over SIX inches of rain (about 6.2") is nearly mind-blowing. Sure would have been nice in the growing season which was mostly bone dry. I would say a few dF warmer than average for the month, and only saw about 40F for lowest low. Water not going over spillway, river 3 FEET or more below normal bank at park pond. Drought shows us on line of D2 and D3, still.

Was not much to see for insects this month. Slow is being generous. No fall invasion of butterflies from the south, and hardly any dragonflies left out there. In odes a Red-tailed Pennant was the only less than always expected type. About nine species of odes, only one was a damselfly. Butterflies were strictly the expected species, and very few of them. Despite lots of blooming Frostweed, Turkscap, and Tropical Sage, plus Lantana. A Mestra or two were about. Single Cloudless, Orange, and Large Orange Sulphur show how few there were. Almost no skippers, hairstreaks, crescents, and so on, for everything. Looks like 30 species for the month. Have had over 90 sps. in the best October, and over 60 is average! Half of the 30 sps. seen were just a single individual or two. For odes and butterflies for several years now I keep asking myself if it is too soon to panic? One night the porch light had a fair for these days reaction with lots (100?) of small (micros mostly) moths coming in.

Oct. birds are neat for seeing the return of fall transients and wintering species, so different things to see. Old cold-weather friends like Flicker, Myrtle Warbler, Kinglet, House Wren, Lincoln's Sparrow, and so on. But it was a lacklusterj passage generally. Very weak, with very low numbers of birds. The Long-eared Owl was heard Oct. 8, the only rare bird I detected. A couple Olive-sided Flycatcher were great since not a sure thing to see every fall, especially liked the one that called 'quick! three beers!'. Hardly any warblers, four Mourning is average, and Wilson's was the most numerous type. Yellow and Nashville were fewest ever by far in twenty falls. One Catbird is about average. The rest of the fun is just recording the FOS fall arrival dates for everything, for the 20th year here. I count 76 species for the month.

~ ~ ~ end October summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ update header archive copy October ~ ~ ~

October ~ the first FOS was morning of the first, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. At about 00:15 on the 4th a FOS Barn Owl flew over. At a more reasonable hour the 4th, there was an FOS Great Egret. A 2.5" rain event with the first real fall cold front arrived morning of the 5th. Add the 1.5" on the 1st and 2nd, four inches of rain to start Oct. is outstanding. The Ruby-throats largely vacated and rode the post-frontal blow southward. On the 6th were FOS Kestrel and Lincoln's Sparrow. The Long-eared Owl was heard just after midnight on the 8th. On the 9th was a FOS House Wren. A FOS Catbird showed the 11th. Saw my FOS ducks finally on the 13th, at the park pond. Blue-winged, Green-winged, and Cinnamon Teal, at least two Shoveler, and a single Ring-necked Duck. Five FOS in a flock. A FOS N. Flicker called on the 19th. The FOS fall migrant Chipping Sparrow flock was on the 20th. My FOS Yellow-shafted Flicker was on the 23rd. Our FOS Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler was the 24th, finally. At dark on the 27th Kathy and I separately both heard FOS White-fronted Geese. The FOS major cold front of fall arrived late on 29th, it felt like winter on the 30th (and first freeze was Nov. 1).

~ ~ ~ end update header archive copy October ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the drivel ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~
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July 1 through Dec. 31 will appear here:
Bird News Archive XXXX
July through October so far, 2023

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Old Bird News 39
Bird News Archive XXXIX

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