Current Bird (and nature) News
Rufous-capped Warbler

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

(prior updates: May 26, 19, 12, 5, April 28, 21, 14, 7, March 31, 24, 17, 10, 3)

~ ~ ~

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

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

June ~ This space available for good birds.

May ~ The 1st saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and nearing last sun, my FOS Common Nighthawk. My FOS Bronzed Cowbird was on the 4th, a bit tardy, but no one complained. May 6 we saw our FOS American Redstart at our bath, a first-spring male. On the 7th heard a FOS Baltimore Oriole, and our FOS Lazuli Bunting (a female) visited the bath. On the 10th my FOS Warbling Vireo was singing in the yard. My FOS Catbird was at the park on the 12th. My FOS Broad-winged Hawk and the third Am. Redstart of the spring here were on the 13th. A singing Acadian Flycatcher at Utopia Pk. the 14th (continues on 26th) was my FOS since I have not been to Lost Maples. A Coral Snake here on the 17th was great. A calling Alder Flycatcher on May 23 seems to be my last new FOS this spring.

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

Be sure to check out the Bird List page, which is updated (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 four years have bigger better improved images, and lots of the unusual or interesting stuff encountered.

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

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:
May 26, 19, 12, 5, April 28, 21, 14, 7, March 31, 24, 17, 10, 3

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 ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

June 2 ~ Low about 70F, just like June. The low stratus here for the first four hours or so. Kathy had a quick look at a male Golden-cheeked Warbler in the Pecan over the bath. I might have heard it chip across the road a minute or two later. Now is the time for the post-breeding wandering birds, and hopefully some juveniles. Town run day. A Red-eyed Vireo was singing at the 360 x-ing. The Acadian Flycatcher continues singing at the park. Might be a pair. A baby begging Cowbird was there but I did not see what was feeding it. Eastern Wood-Pewee is also still there and likely nesting. On Main St. had a Zone-tailed Hawk, and across from the store, a singing Yellow-throated Vireo. Someone said water went over the spillway at the park pond for two days. At least there was some flushing. Later afternoon here I saw my FOY Desert Checkered-Skipper on our driveway Frog-fruit patch. Must be June.

June 1 ~ Low about 67F, overcast with the low stratus the first few hours. Have not had the Couch's Kingbird in a month but the Lesser Goldfinch is still doing a good imitation. The Yellow-throated Vireo has been around more, maybe got a mate and is nesting in the corral? Hearing begging House Finch, Cardinal, Lesser Goldfinch, and Lark Sparrow fledglings. Two big dove flushings were a couple dozen White-winged, and obviously an unseen raptor. Obviously unseen he said. The rest was the usual cast of characters. A Red Admiral landed on my leg early to start the butterfly list for the new month. Still hearing the just-fledged Red-tailed Hawk beg, for a month now, and the parents have only been coming back every few days if that with food.

~ ~ ~ May summary ~ ~ ~

Wettest month in at least a year, maybe two or three. About 8" for us is fantastic and was way beyond much-needed. We made it up to D2 for drought stage, a big improvement. River is now at normal bankful and park pond is filled to spillway for first time in over a year. Temps were fine, about average, no early major heat waves, and no late freeze. March and April were below normal for flowers, which continued in May, but we should get a bit of bloom in June now.

Insects remain depressed from years of drought. Very few dragonflies are out yet. Butterflies are a bit better, but stlll way below normal numbers. It will take a few wet years to catch up and recover from a few years of extreme to exceptional drought. Firefly numbers are down too. Maybe saw 5-6 species of odes (dragonflies and damselflies), pretty pitiful. Butterflies are far below normal numbers so far, and we are still scraping for some diversity. They were about 30 species for the month, a very weak May.

Birds were fair but seemingly very depressed in numbers overall. Both breeding species, and transient passage migrants seemed down in numbers. Fewest Nashville or Yellow Warbler of any spring in the last twenty. Did not see Tennessee, Mourning, Black-throated Green, or any Parula Warbler, Eastern Kingbird, and other usually regular species. No shorebirds since no flood ponds, and didn't even hear any going over at night. Looks to be about 90 species for the month locally.

Save one bird, nothing rare or unusual that we saw though some others saw some goodies nearishby, as at Lost Maples and Concan. Where armies of birders in spring, they enjoy near daily coverage by lots of eyes scouring miles of trails repeatedly. See ebird for those reports. Our best bird was a brief glimpse of a Hooded Warbler, which are far less than annual. There were singles seen this spring at other local birded spots like Junction, Lost Maples, and either Concan or Park Chalk Bluff. We had three American Redstart here which is a high total for a spring in one spot here. A singing Rose-breasted Grosbeak is always good, not a sure thing every year here. Nothing at the park all spring is shocking to depressing. In the woods there is no understory due to drought, and what a difference it makes. One Catbird one day in the Mulberries on the island was it.

Recapping precipitation by month this year so far: Recall Dec. 22 was dry at .7 of an inch. For 2023: Jan. had .65; Feb. 2.25"; March 2.5"; April 4.5"; and now May with about 8". So a foot in April and May is awesome to astounding considering the drought regimen we have been in. We are at about 18" for the year Jan.-May now. Hopefully this signals a change in regimen, from the dry cycle to a wet one.

~ ~ ~ end May summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~ ~

May 31 ~ Low about 67F, overcast, the usual for the time of year. As we settle into several months of climate sameness. At least the real heat has not arrived yet. We dodged most of it this spring so far, a great side-effect of a rainy one. Dawn chorus is starting for some at 6 a.m. now, ya gotta get up early! Best alarm clock there ever was. Can't beat nature. Cardinal and Chat were mostest first, and Chuck-will's-widow though the Chuck is of course finishing its shift. White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting and Ash-throated Flycatcher are all soon to follow. Then add Carolina and Bewick's Wren, and finally Painted Bunting which is always at the tail-end of it all getting going. Late in day got an ovipositing female Buckeye for the monthly butterfly species list. Just under the wire.

May 30 ~ An amazing rain-cooled 58F for a low temp is great. KERV was below 60 from midnight to 7 a.m., remarkable for the date. They had 56F! Could well be the last of that until September. Here we had instant fog when the first bit of sun warmth hit after dawn. With migration behind us the wee bits of avian excitement here will be mostly any breeding successes of our locals. In butterflies saw Texan Crescent and Giant Swallowtail, Gulf Fritillary and Sleepy Orange, and one Gray Hairstreak on Tropical Sage. The Am. Germander smells fantastic if you stand by the big patch of it, has a real sweet pea thing going on to my nose. Some of the fast small gray E. Treehole mosquitoes out now, the flip side of the double-edged rain sword. Kathy heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee over at the river at the end of the day.

May 29 ~ Low about 67F, mostly overcast. High in low 80's, pretty nice for the date. Had a couple Northern Rough-winged Swallow go over, and later a couple Barn, plus the daily Purple Martins. Saw my FOY juvenile Cardinal. Cuckoo is in yard alot, must be nesting very closeby. Still seeing an Elada Checkerspot out front, besides the usual Vesta Crescents. Still no skippers yet seems unusual. Probably right after I wrote that, a Texas Powdered-Skipper showed up out front. Hopefully the efforts to de-Aphid one of the Frostweeds worked yesterday. The tallest one, had hundreds on the top three leaves. One Ladybug was nearby appearing gorged. From just after 6 p.m. to after 7 p.m. there was a thundercell which dumped a half inch on us. This bumps us over the 8" mark for the month here! Near dusk a couple Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flew over, whistling.

May 28 ~ Light showers from about 2-4 a.m., some thunder, and by dawn 17mm of holy precip. About five-eighths of an inch. Low about 66F. A bit damp out there. Great to be beating the heat, while getting some water. We are now just under 8" for the month, and have chances this afternoon and evening for more. One of the Frostweeds has a bunch of aphids on it. Likely unrelated there was a Buprestid beetle on it too. Saw my first couple flowers of our Red Turkscap open, and the first Frog-fruit flowers. Must be near June. One of the times all the White-winged Dove flushed I caught a glimpse of a raptor crossing the patio into the corral. Expecting a Cooper's Hawk, it did not appear to be one, it struck me as a small Buteo. Uniform brown above, wings and tail wrong shapes for an accipiter. Not a Red-shouldered either. In the afternoon heat (about 80F) a few butterflies out. I saw a Giant Swallowtail, a Queen, a Questionmark, a FOY Phaon Crescent on the Frog-fruit, and a FOY Hackberry Emperor. All in a brief bit of sun.

May 27 ~ About 68F for a low, overcast early, then partly sunny. Got up to about 84F, a nice late spring day. The big Memorial Day opening weekend of summer. We will hide out here and hopefully miss all the hominids. Did have Yellow-throated Warbler sing a few weak bars late in afternoon here. Yellow-throated Vireo was around too. I hear Purple Martin every day overhead but the nearest nesting I know of is at the golf course across the river. Saw a Questionmark probably laying eggs, on Hackberry, and saw Elada Checkerspot again. The Am. Germander is in full bloom and with those native bees on it getting nectar. Dull green eyes, black and white abdomen, fast and hyper-active, nectar eating, not pollen gathering. Kathy got a Cerambycid out of the window this evening. I grabbed a docushot. Turns out to be another Elytrimitatrix undata, of which we photo'd one last year on May 21. So in the same week. As in 'like clockwork'.


Methinks this is a Meloid, e.g., a Blister Beetle (perhaps Nemognatha lutea), of which you can look but you better not touch. Their bug juice burns, bad.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 26 ~ Maybe about 67F for a low. Anything below 70 is great from mid-May to mid-September. Very humid and wet out there, but no more precip after yesterday afternoon's downpour. Did the town run thingie. Looks like water was over the 360 x-ing yesterday. One probably last check for spring migrants, but sooo late down here below 30N, not likely. I look anyway. The 354 Pecans had no migs, but still maybe four Dickcissel singing along the road just east of 187. Must be some females or they would have left. No Kingbirds along the fencelines for the 3 miles I checked, both ways. At the park in town, the park pond is full and it looks like water must have gone over the spillway in the downpour yesterday. It is right at the lip for the first time in about a year, maybe more. No migrants there either, but the Acadian Flycatcher is still singing on territory. Maybe it has a mate? That would be great. It is only an acre of decent forest. The island is one again, also for the first time in a year. The Eastern Wood-Pewee are likely nesting just north of the park woods in the tall Cypresses along river.

May 25 ~ Low maybe 66F briefly, partly cloudy and humid. Nothing new or different in birds or butterflies. But some weather in the afternoon whence some NW flow brought a serious thunder cell which was completely unpredicted. Finally a NOAA update said, as you hear thunder, 'the models totally missed this'. Our rain chances were none this morning. Only Del Rio was to get some this evening. Between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. we got a whopping 2"! Kathy saw ball moss flying sideways off the trees. That stuff is pretty well anchored. It doesn't just blow or brush off a tree. There was a, well, to use modern rocket science parlance, an unscheduled partial disassembly of one of the PVC greenhouses. They are unglued, so like legos, snap it right back together. Pretty sure we were hearing the river roar for a brief bit around 3 p.m., wow. Means it was so much so fast that lots ran off. The drought monitor update today has us at D2, and the rest of the county save a, our, triangle here at the NE corner is at D1 now. Much of Bandera Co. made it into D2 now too, the western two-thirds or so. At least the hydrology is showing signs of improvement. We are now at or over 7" (!) for the month here. The biology will still take years of good times to recover.

May 24 ~ Low about 64F, party cloudy early, but not for long. I think the Summer Tanager might be nesting in the big dying Pecan right out front. They are in it, in one particular area, an inordinate amount of time. Great to have it and Blue Grosbeak using the tree as a singing post. Weird how the Indigo Bunting eats here, but only sings out of the yard across road, except sometimes in flightsong as it leaves. There is an Eastern Phoebe around a bit. One of the Chats used the tub pond again for a bath. Some waxwing briefly out front. Lots of Tropical Sage coming up strong due to all the rain, which is great as blooms until November. Hummers and some butterflies love it.

May 23 ~ Clear and mid-60's in wee hours, upper 60's and overcast by dawn. The gulf flow got here. One Cardinal was singing just after 6 a.m., sunup is about 6:40 right now. A nice late spring day. Less than a month to solstice. Only adding a minute per day, and its dropping fast now. Mid-day there was a FOS calling Alder Flycatcher in the yard Pecans. Might be the last FOS I get this spring? Unless a Yellow-bellied shows yet. Good look at a Tawny Emperor butterfly. Got up to low 80's F, and humid.

May 22 ~ Low of 60F is great for the date. Partly cloudy, and wet out there. A day of drying will do it well. The birds made short work of that first morning seed toss. No migrant motion, methinks that party is all but over. Maybe we will get a late Empidonax yet. I would say it was probably the weakest spring migration I have seen here. Numbers of Yellow and Nashville Warbler, our two most common migrant warblers, were way below normal and usual. I did not see a Black-throated Green Warbler (though Kathy probably had a quick glimpse of one). Starting to seem I missed Mourning Warbler as well. Those two I may have missed once each in the prior 19 springs. Most years we see multiples of both. Did see a nice fresh Questionmark butterfly at the mulch pile out back. A couple Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flew over early evening. There have very few the last few years of drought except at the ranch where they feed corn to domestic geese, a few miles East of town. Lots of the usual stock tanks, and river, have been dry.

May 21 ~ Overnight some drizzle and light rain, maybe a tenth of an inch or so by dawn. Was near 70F much of night but nearing dawn dropped to 66F or so, and began lightly raining. Have biz work at the desk to do anyway. It kept coming until about 3 p.m., by which time we were at about 1.25"! Later I measured 34mm. After yesterday's 17mm, makes 2" for the weekend event! Pretty soppy out there. And green.

No migrant motion detected, and not much else either. Just the closestby gang of breeders was it. A fine bunch they are anyway, even if wet. Saw an Olive-Juniper Hairstreak on the Lantana. We are going to have good June flowers, and chiggers. And second broods from everything that does that, which is most of it. Maybe hit 70F about 4 p.m., wow. A couple Barn Swallow bolted over late. They flew like migrants on the move, not local birds. The sun broke out a bit at last hour plus of light which inspired a great round of singing from everything to finish the day. Barred and Great Horned Owl were calling after dark.

May 20 ~ The front and rain got here after midnight, woke us up with thunder after 2 a.m., and a half-inch of precip. Low was about 63F and felt great. A bit more rain over morning brought us to about 17mm for a total. A little over five-eighths of an inch. Outstanding. For drought, we are now in D2, with D3 just east of town. Heard the Orchard Oriole again this morn first thing. Some begging House Finch around, been so for a week, in case I forgot to note it. No migrant motion around yard. Kathy saw a snake in the flower bed, of which I only saw plant motion as it jumped. Did not sound like the usual Ribbonsnake, fairly uniform with no bold pattern or color. Was probably a new species for the yard had we been able to ID it. Might have only reached about 74F here today. Hearing the pair of Cuckoo (Yellow-billed here) moving around and calling back and forth, through yard a couple times or more daily. Great birds to see, and hear regularly.

Elada Checkerspot

Elada Checkerspot (Texola elada), ventral. Of the two long thin curved orange lines, the one on right is the outer margin of hindwing. Everything left of that is the forewing ventral. Dorsally similar to common Vesta Crescent, orange and finely checkered with black.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 19 ~ Overcast, low about 69F, muggy. The warm day in front of the cold front tonight. This morn Kathy found the Sphinx moth I heard buzz my ear two evenings ago (Wed. night) here at the desk. I told Kathy when it happened so she would keep her eyes out for it. We saw no trace all day yesterday or eve when a light is on. Got docu shots of it and returned it to the big ol' world. Hope it does not mind a Pecan trunk, I did not have a Walnut tree handy. Not positive, but I think a Walnut Sphinx, of which I see one almost every year so are probably fairly common here. An Orchard Oriole singing out by road early sounded like a first-spring male to me.

Town run day. No migrants at the 354 Pecans. No E. Kingbirds on the fencelines, or any Scissor-tails for that matter. The park had no transients either. But the Acadian Flycatcher was still singing. A few times I heard it trill, which is usually only a sound I hear when there are two. Maybe it attracted another? Would be great if they nested there. Otherwise pretty slow, and water still near a foot below the spillway. A fair bit of Sneezeweed now in bloom. Saw my first bit of Dodder at the 360 x-ing. On Justicia as nearly always here, Am. Water-willow.

Our Blue Mistflower Eupatorium has again been ravaged by caterpillars. I still have not figured out which beastie is doing it, but they have destroyed it. The last two years we dodged the bullet on them, our luck runneth out. In a week, all but shot. It is about as big a bummer as can be, magic butterfly flowers that they are. Got up to about 88F this afternoon. The cold front sounds good tonight. Hope we get wet. The Blue Grosbeak put in a long singing session from the big Pecan early evening.

May 18 ~ A low of 60F was great. Clear, and not a sign of any bird migration. An excellent dawn chorus is the thing now. Sure would be nice to see that Coral Snake in the sun and open. Before it got too hot I changed the oil filter on the trucklet. This Mazda is one you have to get on the ground and reach up from below. Made me realize the last bunch of cars we have had were all from the top removals. Saw what was likely a Goatweed Leafwing blast past. In the mid-80's F at 3 p.m., feels like summer is coming. Some clouds arrived from the west later afternoon and kept it from getting hotter. Supposed to get a cold front and rain tomorrow night. Finally about 7 p.m. I had a transient migrant bird, a Lincoln's Sparrow, which is the first in a week, and a nice tardy date. A few Waxwing still around. The adult Red-tailed Hawk have just been coming to feed their fledge every few days or so, for a couple weeks now.

May 17 ~ Clear and sunny for a change. Low was a fantastic 58-59F. Nearing the last of that for several months. Got up into the mid 80's F in the afternoon. Good for drying out. Heard a C. Nighthawk before sunup. Did not see any passage transients, no migration motion. The party is about over. Neat are some Scissor-tailed Flycatcher stopping in the big (dying) Pecan in front yard, nearly daily it seems as they make rounds. It does not seem they are set on a site or they would be on eggs already. Noisy is great in this case. They were there an hour, saw the female sally out on a sortie to take a hapless passerby. Pick my tree, pick my tree! In early eve while sun still up I saw a Coral Snake was on the sidewalk on side of house. It saw me and bolted. They sure are ginchy about people. It was a couple feet long, like the one I last saw here about a year and a half ago. Like skunk or Ringtail, they live here, and you never see them.

At dusk the pair of Scissor-tails were around. The male dashing about I presume impressing the female. I have mentioned before how they can make a mechanical noise with their tail feathers. A whooshing fluctuating or reverberating sound somewhat akin to a nighthawk boom, though made with tail feathers not wings. And it sounds like woo woo woo woo woo. Usually I detect this when a male is doing full-360 circle loop displays. But, they can also do it in level flight, though it would take a high speed camera to figure out what exactly is going on. The male flew low over my head at highest speed and accelerating. It zigged and zagged hard left and right, 90 deg. square-cornered turns, as it went by gaining speed, already at blazing (Scissor-tail) speed, and the tail did its quavering whoosing sound as it cut back and forth left and right hard. It seems like distal part of abdomen is being quivered as it does this. The sound has an odd flutter or wow to it (in audio terms). It was slightly gaining altitude, but for the most part this was nearly level flight. So they do not need to dive for speed to make this mechanical sound with their tail feathers. They can do it under their own power In fairly level flight. This is the kind of thing you experience when you spend time around species, instead of just seeing them. Actual old-school bird watching.

May 16 ~ A low of 64F, and no more precip after the late afternoon showers yesterday. Nice and wet out there. Time to start facing facts, most of migration is past us by mid-May. We get some stragglers, mostly first-srping birds, and some flycatchers the last half of month, but the bulk of the push is past us, by early May really. First and second weeks if lucky we get a last couple splashes of some fallout when weather to ground them. But aside of those couple days it is already markedly slower for transients. After mid-month it gets real thin real quickly. I saw no transients today. Two beetles were FOY and the best beasts. A Dicerca Buprestid (cf. obscurus), and an Eyed Elaterid, both of which are regular. Also saw a Questionmark butterfly. In the afternoon we did get some more rain, light, but for a few hours and totalled about 14mm, just over a half-inch. We had .75 yesterday, and 2" a couple days before that, so are over 3.25 for the event the last few days. Outstanding! Did get up into the low 80's F before the rain got here.

May 15 ~ We might have hit 69F briefly. Great dawn chorus out there at 6:30 a.m., it is roaring. I don't know how anyone can sleep through it - LOL. Had a Dickcissel fly over calling early. I did some weed-whacking for an hour just before it got wet out there. Late morn to about 1 p.m. some rain cells found us and we got another half-inch to add to the total. Every bit helps. And we don't have to water. Seeing 68F at 1:30 p.m. is amazing. I see an Elada Checkerspot out there, probably the one I got a great underwing (ventral) pix of last week. A fair bit of Tropical Sage and Am. Germander are both opening flowers now right off the front porch. There were a couple more rain cells that gave glancing blows later afternoon, another quarter inch. So .75 for the day total. A big win. But no migrants.

May 14 ~ The rain moved east and we had a dry partly clear night, with an amazing low of 58F! A House Wren was singing in the stick piles out front in the morn and afternoon was the only migrant in yard. After breakfast late morn we checked the park. No transient migrants there but a couple trollers. My FOS Acadian Flycatcher was singing in the woods, where they have been territorial in some rare years for a couple or few weeks in past, but yet to see breeding there. A Great Crested Flycatcher was also up in the woods. Some baby Carolina Wren and Yellow-throated Warbler out of nest, heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee which may nest.

Another Great Crest was out front of the park on Cypress St., a Bell's Vireo at the deco garden at park entrance, and a Dickcissel across 1050 in the pasture with Mesquites. At the 354 Pecan patch also no transient migrants. Anything grounded must have bolted when it cleared last night. Still some singing Dickcissel. A few singing Bell's Vireo, one Red-eyed singing, a Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, heard Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, Chat, all breeders. At the 360 x-ing there were no migrants in the Pecan patch there either. A few singing breeders were Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Vireo, Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and heard Chimney Swift overhead, plus heard baby Carolina Chickadee. There was some FOY Cedar Sage and Rock Flax in bloom there.

May 13 ~ It started raining around 10 p.m. yesterday evening (last night) and severe thunderstorms went over in a couple rounds. So very wet and mucky out there today. Low was about 61F and might have reached 72F when some diffused sun tried to poke through. We got a whopping TWO inches! Awesome! Despite it being World Migratory Bird Day, it was dead for transient passage migrants through yard all day. Though of course lots of our breeding species are migratory and only here a few months to nest.

After 6 p.m. late in day Kathy had a quick look at a female Am. Redstart leaving the bath. I was out looking for it in yard and a FOS Broad-winged Hawk flew over very low. I do not get them every spring, so a LTA, and good. Saw some FOY Scarlet Pea flowers along the driveway. Took advantage of the soft ground and pulled maybe 50 Malta Star Thistle in the driveway. Shoulda grabbed gloves on the way. I presume it serves some purpose, in Malta. Saw my FOY Pincushion Daisy out back. Kathy said she saw some Blue-eyed Grass flowers two days ago (the mini-micro Iris). After midnight when I laid down I discovered I had harvested the chigger from hell out there.


This is a female Lazuli Bunting. Not sure we have a female pic up so here ya go. I suppose somewhat sparrowish in appearance. There is just a bit of blue edging on wing and tail feathers. A vestige of the males breastband is present. The wingbars are broad, not narrow as in female Indigo if or when they show them.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 12 ~ A low of 72F is not very low. Was clear at midnight, at dawn overcast and very muggy. A major rain event progged to be on tap for the weekend, starting tonight. One of those late spring somewhat stationary lows that pour for a few days. We could use a foot which would go a long way to catching us back up to nearish normal. Not to mention a couple shorebird flood ponds for anything late going over.

Town run. On 354 there are still three singing Dickcissel just east of 187. Only migrant at the Pecan patch was one female Yellow Warbler. At the park in the Mulberries on the island in the woods there was my FOS Catbird. Great to not miss that this spring. Did not see any Eastern Kingbirds on fencelines and so starting to worry about missing them this spring. Maybe one more week with chances. When I returned, right after I got out of car I thought sure I heard a couple squeaks of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and then nothing. Saw a fair bit of Coreopsis in bloom, were a few a week ago, and my first of the year flowers for Sneezeweed and Mexican Hat.

May 11 ~ Low of 70F with some mist on it. Not much for migrant motion. An Orchard Oriole early, a Willow Flycatcher on corral fence, and later a heard Yellow Warbler. Otherwise just the breeders, which since I have not given a rundown lately... Blue Grosbeak, Indigo and Painted Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, White-eyed Vireo, Cardinal, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Bewick's Wren, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, House Finch, Lesser (Black-backed) Goldfinch, Chipping, Lark, and Field Sparrows, (edit- add White-winged, Mourning, and E. Collared Dove), are most of the closest yard-adjacent stuff. Further away I hear Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and the begging baby Red-tailed Hawk. Most days seeing some Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Caracara. Two species nesting in yard last 8-9 years but we have recently lost them are Carolina Wren and Eastern Phoebe. And too many Black-chinned Hummingbird. One Carolina Wren just found us and seems to be hanging a bit so far. Edited to add: an additional five nocturnal species are present calling nightly: Eastern Screech-, Barred, and Great Horned Owl, plus Common Nighthawk and Chuck-will's-widow.

It seems the Ruby-throated have mostly all cleared out already. Some years some seem to stay and breed, not apparently this year, or last. Likely not enough gnats flying in drought times. I think there has been a wave of the first crop of juvenile hummers the last prior week and change. They were real thick for a bit over a week, and now thinner.

May 10 ~ Was clear and about 60F at midnight, overcast and misting at 65F at dawn. Another tenth of an inch of precip. From the desk early heard a couple measures of song and then chips from an American Redstart, but didn't see it when I went out, and no more audio clues to help me find it. After 10 a.m. there was a FOS Warbling Vireo singing around the yard. I do not get one every spring, so LTA - less than annual, and a good bird. They are surprisingly scarce here. Heard a Yellow Warbler later in day. Begging baby Red-tailed Hawk for several days now, about 5 maybe. Sounds like another year with just one young, third in a row. Not a replacement rate. Heard some juvenile Eastern Bluebird calls, sounds a couple of them got out of the nest. Kathy heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee calling over in the draw at dusk. Had a great Common Nighthawk boom very closeby at twilight.

May 9 ~ A bit after midnight some thunder cells found us and I see this morn we got about an inch in an hour. Was lots of lightning. We also had a 60F low from it! Which was almost as good as the water. Hope some birds got knocked down, but it was already cloudy all over all day so stuff was probably just moving on the ground anyway. Just hope something finds the house, since work to do at the desk. Always make sure the drip is going good. The drip is your best friend. It does not work as well when it is too drippy out. As today was here. From noonish to 3 p.m. we added another half inch, so 1.5" now. One Yellow Warbler was my migrant haul for the day. Good thing there are lots of cool breeders around. Just 75F at 4 p.m. is amazing.

May 8 ~ Some rain went by to the south late in the evening yesterday, which just spit on us, but we got a rain-cooled low of 65F out of it. Which was great after not feeling that for a few days. Dawn chorus is going great at 6:30 a.m. already. I saw 89F in the afternoon, a bit sticky. No migrant motion through yard. We had a few more spits of rain around dark, there was some to east and north of us. Had work to do at the desks anyway. The Chat used the tub pond, it came up wet. Cattails and the small lily doing well, grabbed some Money-Dollar-Penny wort and another un ID'd emergent the other day as have to replace every spring. Heard the Scissor-tails nearby again. Two cuckoos calling lots back and forth, surely the nearby nesting pair that is often in yard. Not seeing daily in yard, or hearing, the usual closeby Yellow-throated Warbler. Nearest probably 400-500 feet from here. I hear a distant Great Crested Flycatcher. Hope it gets a mate, did not seem to last year.

May 7 ~ Low of 73F is not whatsoever low. We were awakened by a couple less than mile away lightning bolts at 5:30 a.m., but only got spit on for precip. Early morn whilst sitting up in bed with first cup of coffee I heard a Baltimore Oriole outside, a FOS. Late morn an Opossum was out back seeming to be hunting sunflower seeds. It is missing much of its tail, having only a 3-4" stub. Nothing to hang with which would seem like a major handicap for a prehensile-tailed Opossum.

Noonish there was a flock of ten or 12 Cedar Waxwing, first I have seen in a couple weeks or more. Usually we get one last little push early to mid May when the Mulberries ripen. Maybe from birds that wintered southward? I always get the sense that the winterers depart, we have a couple or few weeks with few to none in April, then a wavelet shows up on the ripe berries. Or are they the same, go somewhere else for a few weeks, and return? Saw one female Yellow Warbler depart the bath. Mid-afternoon Kathy spotted our FOS Lazuli Bunting. A female in the birdbath brushpile, of which I got a shot I needed.

May 6 ~ Low maybe 70F if we were lucky. Overcast and muggy Back to that again! Late morn Kathy spotted our FOS American Redstart at the birdbath. It was a first-spring male. A Nashville came in between Redstart visits. Otherwise a slow day for migration motion, heard one Yellow Warbler go through in afternoon. The rest was the breeders. Got warm, about 88F or so in shade, a bit steamy in the thick overcast. We have tons of stuff to do here, so work it is. Hoping the bath draws in more good stuff. The male Indigo Bunting came in for a quick splash, which it only very rarely does, but I was unable to get a pic before a female Cardinal flushed it, dernit. Painted is a daily user, Indigo very rarely uses it, and Blue Grosbeak, just about never. Usually eating enough insects provides enough moisture for many species. More seed eating requires more water, so the difference is likely a clue to differences in diet.

A pair of Eastern Phoebe prospected under the eaves around the house and cottage a bit but moved on. We have not had them in the yard since we lost the resident pair that was here 8 years. Just a brief bird in passage or two. I looked and the old nest is gone without a trace. Without their maintanence it fell off. I never saw them do anything to it, but obviously they were keeping it glued to the stone wall. Kathy had four Carolina Chickadee at the birdbath at once, which means the pair got two young fledged from their first nesting of the season. A low brood count, likely due to a lack of bugs.


This is a first spring male American Redstart. The first black feathers of an adult start to show in first spring. Note solid black over the bill and in lores. Probably where a female would first look to ID a male. A couple black feathers on breast confirm it. Also note slightest salmon tint to breast patch, not pure lemon yellow as tail and wing. Some orange (adult male) feathers coming in.

My hypothesis is that first spring males do not randomly molt adult feather tracts in, but first molt in the ones that might lead to getting to be able to breed this year. Which are those key feathers a female uses to ID a male and give the bird a two-second chance. First spring Blue Grosbeak get blue on head first. Some first spring male Painted Bunting have some salmon on underparts, others some blue in head. Something to show the females they are a male. Black-capped Vireo head molts in the black head at nape last, where least likely to be seen and matter. And so on, a bunch of examples exist.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

May 5 ~ Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Beer and tacos seems an appropriate way to celebrate. ;) No migrant motion through yard in the morn. Two Lincoln's Sparrow were here already, but getting latish, the two Clay-colored Sparrow might have been around, had one a couple days ago. Town run and nothing in the park woods either. At the UvCo 354 Pecans there was one female Yellow Warbler. Now 3 Dickcissel singing in the field on north side of that road. I doubt they will stick but so nice to hear now. A few Chimney Swift over town, hardly any Barn Swallow and very few Purple Martin it seems. Hopefully we will get a weather system or two before migration is over. Next couple weeks is last chance, much if not most is already past us. Weather will knock down all the tardy stuff at the uh, tail end of it. Got hot this afternoon, I saw 91F on cool front porch, was mid-90's F in the sun. Uvalde had 99F, Hondo 97, Junction 98F. A burner of a day, and with humidity. It's wonderful, come on down. Summer starts early here.

May 4 ~ Low of 67F is not very, overcast and humid, better get used to it, just five months of it ahead. Kathy heard a Common Nighthawk first thing early. She had a male Yellow Warbler mid-morn, then shortly before noon she saw a warbler with a yellow cheek coming in above bath, which disappeared without showing. Either Golden-cheeked, or maybe more likely now, a Black-throated Green. Which has been unseen for us so far this spring. Normally we get a few, or a handful. It looked like 3 male and 1 female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in a noisy gaggle in the big Pecan briefly. Seemed 3 males competing for one female. Which is not a good sign methinks. Mid-day finally saw my FOS Bronzed Cowbird, which is late for a FOS on them. After noon a male and a female Painted Bunting bathed, a third bird came in, also a greenie, was a first-spring male, and the FOS of those for me. Still a pair of Eur. Collared-Dove around, could do without hearing them just fine. Got up to about 85F in the later afternoon, then a few sprinkles happened toward end of day. Heard a couple Nighthawk booms, the FOS of that. The new drought monitor report today still shows us on the D3-D4 line, extreme to exceptional. That big rain last week seems to not have even dented the big D4 area that is the SE quarter of the Edwards Plateau.

May 3 ~ Low about 64F, some clouds but not socked in, partly sunny early. Ran to town early, only a Nashville Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat at the park, heard a Yellow Warbler on 360 in the Pecans by the barn. Here after 9 a.m. a Nashville and an Orange-crowned Warbler hit the birdbath, and after 10 a Yellow-billed Cuckoo called. Quite oddly the male Blue Grosbeak came into the birdbath which it essentially never does despite nesting here for years. Also the Chat came in but it is a daily bather. A male Yellow Warbler made a quick stop too. Auto focus could not grab the grosbeak in 7 tries. It is amazing how often it works so incredibly poorly, the Canon Powershot autofocus. Full frame bird and it grabs the sunny grass highlight way in the back. Zooming in and out to help it see the subject and try at different focal lengths, to no avail. Fortunately it came back again in the afternoon and 1 of 7 more tries is usable. A pair of Scissor-tails spent a few minutes atop the big Pecan just before the day over. The pair that has been prospecting in the area, and which then are not settled in to a site yet. They flew off towards the river.

May 2 ~ Overcast, gulf flow is back, low about 64F. Probably two Yellow Warbler went through yard. Both zzzeeted properly. Not much for movement though. Was still overcast and only 71F at 3 p.m., the cool kept butterfly activity down too. It was a wash of day in the yard. Kathy saw the Carolina Wren late in day at the birdbath again, we did not see it all day around the house though. A greenie female Painted Bunting was around. Thought I had a female Indigo briefly as well. At dark the Screech-Owl, and Chuck-will's-widow were calling nearby.

May 1 ~ Dawn chorus is nearing a mild roar at 6:45, many are starting about 6:30 now. Had a warbler sing a few times that I only saw in flight, not sure what it was, but good. Often here when you get stuff moving on the ground in the day, it is on the move and gone as fast as you find it. Such as about 1 p.m. when I had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak male. It first called so I knew it was there and then it sang. Their songs vary, this one was three two-note phrases (structurally similar to Audubon's Oriole, descending pairs, each lower than the prior), which it did three times. I was lucky to be outside when it happened! It then flew right over my head from front yard toward the big live-oaks on slope out back. Saw the rose pink wing-linings. I do not see one every spring, so always a treat, and even better to hear it sing!

Saw the male Vermilion Flycather in yard. Nice to not see it getting chased out by the formerly resident Eastern Phoebe pair, which we lost over a year ago (winter before this past one). In the afternoon Kathy saw a Carolina Wren in a brush pile, first one here in near a month. Which took a long bath. She also saw a greenie female Painted Bunting. Then nearing last sun I finally saw my FOS Common Nighthawk. Surely Kathy heard one a few days ago.

~ ~ ~ April summary ~ ~ ~

We got some rain, which is the biggest news. We had over 4" at our place, about 4.5! Other local totals ran mostly 3-5" nearishby, more further away. Four inches is a good wet April. At D3 for (extreme) drought level at end of month, but half was spent at D4 Exceptional still. Park pond is still nearly a foot from going over the spillway, which shows how low the water table is. We should get some flowers and bugs out of the precip though, and it helps the trees get well-leafed out. We had a number of 90F or warmer high temp days, but no freezes and only a few lows in the 40's F.

I count 5 species of odes, dragonflies, this month, a big uptick for this year, but way down from recent modern April totals not even a couple decades ago (over 20 sps.). Nothing unusual, but nice to see a Springtime Darner and a Pale-faced Clubskimmer. Only damselfly were a couple un-ID'd tenerals one day.

Butterflies were 37 species, up a couple from April. Prolly the last Falcate Orangetip and Henry's Elfin of the year. The rest we will still see more of. Nothing unusual, spring is not the time for rare insects. It is time to see what is popping out after winter dormancy and another year of drought. A porch light one night saw a fair response of moths, enough to give hope after what it was like last fall. A few June Beetles showed, the first few Firefly late in month, and heard one Katydid one night.

Birds were good considering overall they seem way down in numbers. Lots of migrants showing up is always great. There seem fewer of the local residents, and there seemed fewer migrants in general. Nashville Warbler which is our unit of migration measurement here, the Nash, was way down, again. No big wave of Painted Bunting like last year, fewer Scissor-tails again, and so on. Far fewer birds along the roadsides, even common things like Lark Sparrow are less so. Mostly it was the expected migrants, but great to see since for most it has been six months or more since we last saw them. I saw about 94 species, without going anywhere but the park, besides here. If I would have visited Lost Maples, a hundred was doable.

Best birds for me were a frustrating encounter with a Hooded Warbler on the 30th, and a Couch's Kingbird (likely a returnee) in late April. Sylvia Hilbig had a few good birds in BanCo just NW of town a bit. A male Yellow-headed Blackbird (16th), a male Lazuli Bunting (17-18th), and best, on the 24th a male Varied Bunting. No ponds so no shorebirds, and I did not even hear any at night. Maybe lots can tell how bad it is from the drought, from the air, and is just bypassing or overflying the area.

A few good birds were reported in ebird at Lost Maples. Best was a photographed Gray Hawk, which recall one was there a few Aprils back. Likely the same bird. Some good warblers were found by the near daily coverage of an army of eyes. Best was a Cerulean, but also great were Prothonotary, Canada, a Hooded, and early in month a Black-throated Gray Warbler. A Varied Bunting was there late in month. A Blue-winged Warbler was entered into ebird from near Vanderpool. What a bunch of eyes can do!

~ ~ ~ end April summary ~ ~ ~

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~ ~ ~ archive copy April update header ~ ~ ~

April ~ Another month of FOS excitement started on the 1st with a Summer Tanager calling at last light and singing morn of 2nd. Calling at dawn on the 4th was my FOS Chuck-will's-widow, probably my earliest date here, a week ahead of average. After a long dry spell for the dates, a few FOS on the 14th were a female Hooded Oriole here, in town some Chimney Swift, and at the park, my FOS Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (a pair). The 16th was my FOS Blue Grosbeak and Yellow Warbler. The Hilbigs NW of town in Bandera Co. had a Lazuli Bunting (17-18th) and a Yellow-headed Blackbird (16th) this week. Good birds here anytime you see them. On the 20th we had our FOS Indigo and Painted Bunting, and Wilson's Warbler, and an inch of rain. The 21st the park had FOS Red-eyed Vireo and Eastern Wood-Pewee. At dark the 21st saw my FOS Firefly. The 22nd I had FOS Least, and Great Crested flycatchers. About 3" of rain in an hour pre-dawn on 23rd was noteworthy. In BanCo NW of town Sylvia Hilbig described a Varied Bunting on the 24th, and a FOS Orchard Oriole on the 25th. On the 26th my FOS House Wren was singing here, and a FOS Yellow-billed Cuckoo called. There were a couple Hooded Warbler nearishby this week, singles at Concan and Lost Maples, always a great bird locally. Late in day the 27th my FOS Willow Flycatcher was out front singing a bit. A Couch's Kingbird around our place 27-28th so far could well be last years's territorial bird back. On the 28th a FOS Swainson's Thrush was at the park. The 30th we had a FOS Dickcissel at the usual 354 pasture just east of 187. Also there in the Pecan patch was a Hooded Warbler. Late in day there a second check found a FOS Bullock's Oriole.

~ ~ ~ end archive copy April update header ~ ~ ~

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~ ~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~ ~

April 30 ~ And so goes another month! A third of the year now gone. We finished with an outstanding low of 45F, KERV had a 43F! Felt great! A large raptor flew out of yard early I missed an ID though. Saw a greenie, female Painted Bunting, FOS, though I thought I saw one two days ago. Heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the corral. Since we had a couple hours checked a couple local spots for migrants.

On UvCo 354 a FOS Dickcissel which sang the most pathetic atypical song I ever heard from one. He will never get a mate singing like that. Also there were a Nashville Warbler or two, a Yellow Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, and a frustrating Hooded Warbler, which is a rary locally. Kathy glimpsed most of it, I heard it repeatedly call for a couple minutes and saw it for a second in flight. Also there was one Couch's Kingbird there. Breeders were Bell's Vireo, Orchard Oriole, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Blue Grosbeak, Painted Bunting, and Summer Tanager, but no Red-eyed or Yellow-throated Vireo, Great Crested Flycatcher, or Eastern Wood-Pewee, all of which are usualy there nesting. Then we went to park for a check of the woods. A couple Nashville and a Yellow Warbler, and two Common Yellowthroat was it for migrants. Nothing in the Mulberries. Slow and quiet. Odes were a dozen or so Dot-winged Baskettail along river edge, a red one got away that was likely a Red Saddlebags, single Green and Springtime Darner above island.

On the Blue Mistflower mid-day here there were a couple Queen, one Monarch, and a Mournful Duskywing. Later afternnon saw my FOY snake, a W. Ribbonsnake in yard. After dinner we ran back over to the 354 Pecan patch hoping to get a decent look at the Hooded Warbler last hour of sun, to no avail. Did have a FOS Bullock's Oriole. Oh well, we tried. Heard a toad call a couple times, sounded like a Gulf Coast to me.

April 29 ~ Wind blew from NW all night, low was maybe 49F, KERV had 47F. Wow! Calmed a little towards morning, but picked right back up to 15-20 mph gusting to 30, so unbirdable to me. Sure if I was on vacay I would, but not just for the fun of it. Heard my FOS Blue-headed Vireo singing in the live-oaks uphill behind us. Also probably a Wilson's Warbler sang too. It is a little wind-sheltered when northerly. Got more pics of the orange beetle still on the Blue Mistflower, in sun, so much better than yesterday's results under overcast. Had to hold the stem still with one hand the wind was blowin' so hard. I think it is a Meloid, a Blister Beetle, of which, you can look but you better not touch.


Here is something I virtually never see. A Blue Grosbeak in the birdbath. They do not even use it to drink, much less bathe. The color of the wingbars in natural history terms is called rufous, chestnut, or bay.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

April 28 ~ Was about 60F most of the night, so nice and coolish, until about 7 a.m. when the southerly gulf flow arrived and it shot to 70F. Some sun in morn but mostly cloudy by afternoon, might be rain overnight with a front passing. Maybe migrants tomorrow? Got up to at least 88F in the afternoon here, and very humid. Some local WU stations were showing 90F and higher. Summer is a comin'. The front got here about 6 p.m. with a severe line of thunderstorms, but there was one little dry slot, you guessed it, at Utopia. We missed the precip so far. Bandera and to NE got pounded, and needs any water they can get worse than us.

Here in the morn around 10 a.m. there was a Couch's Kingbird in the big (dying) Pecan. No doubt what I heard yesterday eve calling from the river. And likely a returnee of one of the birds that were territorial last year in the area here. Town errand and taco run day. One spot with nice Pecans between here and crossing has Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Chat, Summer Tanager, all singing at usual territory areas. At the 360 x-ing there was a Common Yellowthroat in the cattails left that the big rain runoff didn't crush (half of them). At the park the water is still just under a foot from going over the spillway.

At the 354 Pecan patch I had my FOS Orchard Oriole (Syliva Hilbig had one a few days ago), and three Yellow Warbler. The mesquite is now too tall and thick in the pasture on north side of 354 and I heard no Dickcissel. Painted Bunting and Bell's Vireo both there though. At the park in town was a FOS Swainson's Thrush singing in the Mulberry trees on the island in the woods at north end. N.Rough-winged Swallow over pond, Purple Martins high overhead, one Great Blue Heron. A few of the breeders like Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler, singing Red-eyed Vireo territorial there again, Summer Tanager, White-eyed Vireo, the usual suspects.

A couple Blue Mistflower Eupatorium opened today, followed quickly by the two fresh Queen butterfly. Also a rusty colored beetle showed up I don't know (which doesn't mean much) but maybe got a docushot of it, hopefully can get it in proper family anyway. Have seen it before. Post frontal passage we have a high wind advisory with gusts 35-45 mph possible. Northerlies, won't be much moving into that.

April 27 ~ Front arrived about midnight. All the precip was way north and east of us. Low about 60F and N to NE winds. I heard passerine migrants last night at midnight, and this morning at 6 a.m., so there was movement. Stuck at the desk here though. No migrant detections in the morning as last couple days when inclement, save one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Weird not getting much through the yard after hearing migrants in the dark. Painted Bunting singing in the yard again is nice to hear. Saw 80F on the cool shady front porch, was a few dF warmer in sun. Very dry so quite nice. Finally about 7 p.m. a FOS migrant, a singing Willow Flycatcher. Thought I heard a distant Couch's Kingbird over at the river and working up it last hour of sun. In butterflies saw a female Falcate Orangetip, a Questionmark, and a Texan Crescent amongst more regular expected things. Heard one short burst of Katydid wing rubbing, the FOY.

April 26 ~ Another night flatlining, at 66F or so this time, some mist, mostly just heavy overcast, chance of a shower. Greenest it has been in over six months out there. Big rains get seemingly instant results this time of year. Saw 80F about at 3 p.m. I see the first few not yet open Blue Mistflower Eupatorium flower heads getting ready to go off. Couple Nashville Warbler early in morn, couple more in afternoon. A FOS House Wren was singing from one of the big stick piles. Build the habitat and they will come. No stick piles = no House Wren. My FOS Tawny Emperor (butterfly) flew past late morning. After noon heard my FOS Yellow-billed Cuckoo. At last light Kathy thought she heard a Common Nighthawk. Couple Firefly.

Apr. 25 ~ About 60F all night, overcast, misting off and on, so, wet out there. Over the day at least 5 Nashville and 1 Yellow Warbler went through yard. The neatest thing was a pair of Scissor-tails nest stie prospecting, which they have done here before they never pick us. The female goes tree to tree looking and checking for just the right one. The male at each tree she stops at sings his head off like yeah this is it, this the one, it is perfect, and so on, hoping she finally picks one of the hundreds of trees they have visited. I have seen Vermilion Flycatcher do the same thing. To the males this is the carpet and drapes portion of the selection. Sylvia Hilbig had a FOS Orchard Oriole today NW of town. Been wondering where they are so far. Firefly after dark.

Apr. 24 ~ Flatlined about 52F all night, some mist in the morn. Maybe 58F at noon. Light variable breeze. Heard at least three Nashville Warbler sing uphill in the live-oaks behind us over the day. Prolly good out there today. Also heard some Brewer's Blackbird fly over high up. That will be the last of them until next fall. I am stuck at the desk. Both Yellow-throated Vireo and Blue Grosbeak including the yard in their morning territorial singing rounds, which is nice, what great voices. Hearing little bits of Indigo and Painted Bunting song. Whereas Chat is in full roar. Tons of hummers since cool, wet, and breezy. Warmer days when some small flying insects out, there is not this kind of swarming. Can't wait for some flowers to get going. Sugar is almost a buck a pound at the store here. On a side note, I got an email from Sylvia Hilbig today and she had a quick look at what surely was a Varied Bunting. But it never came back, as they are wont to be.

Apr. 23 ~ Well a real front passed, the severe thunderstorm line with it, arrived about 4:30 and it rained for an hour. Hard. Like, you ain't sleepin' through this hard, with lots of thunder. Got up to find the terrain rearranged outside from just over 3" of precip! In an hour! And a 52F or so low! The rain looks over but northerlies are shaking the trees pretty good, the post-frontal blow. The major precip is just what the leafing trees and sprouting wildflowers needed. A major shot for the spring greening. I can guarantee this is one happy valley today. Was too breezy all day, cold, wet, and muddy out there so did not go out. Probably some things got knocked down if you braved it would be my guess. I saw a couple seets go through that seemed Nashville Warbler. Hummers are bonkers at the 3 feeders. Never got out of the 50's and with wind no flying food for them, hardly any flowers they use are open yet. I am sure the one of each blooming Tropical and Mealy Sage got pollenated today. A good measurement on the rain was 81mm, or just over three and one-eighth inches. Amazing. Way too many Brown-headed Cowbird were around, about 35 or so.

Apr. 22 ~ Hope you had a great Earth Day! The post- weak coldish front low of 54F or so was great. Got up to 76F in the afternoon, but it stayed mostly cloudy, very humid. A real cold front is inbound tonight, allegedly with rain. There was a FOS Least Flycatcher across from the gate late morning, and a FOS Great Crested Flycatcher in the corral in the afternoon. Many flycatchers are often the last to arrive as it takes a lot of flies and other flying insects to sustain them. No other migrants around yard all day. Did a dump and recycle run noonish. Went out the west end of 360 and saw no birds, only heard a couple Bewick's Wren. Near dump on 357 heard Bell's Vireo and Painted Bunting singing. A couple more Bell's in town where lots of Hackberry trees, and a couple more out Jones Cmty. Rd. Five or six heard along roads. No water below spillway at park means no Cliff Swallow at the 1050 bridge. No Caves at the bank since they chased them all off two years ago. Out Jones Cmty. Rd. along the river no Parula singing, only a couple Yellow-throated Warbler, and one Eastern Wood-Pewee called. No Lark Sparrow or Scissor-tails all the way to W. Sabinal Rd. Nothing along the roads. At the park woods, nothing for migrants. Had a much closer Chuck-will's-widow calling tonight, just a couple hundred yards away.


This is one of the flower Buprestid beetles. Likely of the genus Acmaeodera as most are. The small yellow dots are pollen, the larger irregular ones are the markings of the beastie. It appears to be a good pollenator. Must be catnip to them. That is the yellow rose of Texas, a Prickly Pear cactus it is helping make fruit for.

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Apr. 21 ~ A rain-cooled low about 62F was great. An inch plus (1.1 here) of precip yesterday and last night was just what the flowers, trees, bugs and birds needed. Not to mention the people. Yard is greener than it was yesterday. In town the local reports were of 2 inches up-valley, where also some hail, some of that stripped leaves in a couple spots, hail was golf balls north of Leakey, and 2-3" of rain in Bandera and Uvalde areas. Lots of the area got lots of much needed water. At the park in the woods were my FOS Eastern Wood-Pewee and Red-eyed Vireo. A singing Orange-crowned Warbler is scarcely heard here. Still bubbling Ruby-crowned Kinglets going through. One Belted Kingfisher still here. No Scissor-tails on the fencelines. More Chimney Swift in town this week, but not much for Barn or other swallows it seems. Some white Prickly Poppy is now opening flowers, as are the first Cowpen Daisy. See a couple first red berries on an Agarita out back. Sure be nice to get a crop this year since none the last two years and missing that jelly. At first dark saw my FOS Firefly of the year. Near 10 heard a Barn Owl fly over very low. At 11 p.m. there was Great Horned, Barred, and E. Screech-, for calling owls. So four species of owls in an hour here this eve. Listened for the Long-eared to no avail, presume it gone for the season.

Apr. 20 ~ Overcast with chances of rain later today, flatlined about 69-70F all night. Great dawn chorus at 6:45 a.m. out there. We had our FOS Painted Bunting here today, which is right on schedule. Common Ground-Dove singing out there. Pecans are dropping flowers. Hope they got pollenated, though not seeing any bees here yet. About 11:30 finally a small group of warblers found the birdbath. Kathy had four Nashville at once, and I saw two Orange-crowned and a FOS Wilson's Warbler. There were at least six Nash I think. It was fantastic, for five minutes. Nice to see some migrant warblers, even if they are common ones. They have not been very common here lately. There were lots of Lyside Sulphur going by bearing NNE today, I saw at least a couple hundred.

Was about 85F at 4 p.m. when a rain cell found us and dropped it back to a far more reasonable 74F in a few minutes, and then to upper 60's F. Not much precip so far yet, about 8mm or a third of an inch from the lucky-to-find-us cell. After 6 p.m. a FOS Indigo Bunting was singing over in the draw where they have nested the last couple years, I presume a returnee. We had a quick downpour from a second thunder cell that miraculously found us just before midnight. It was 2cm here, four-fifths of an inch. Giving us a 28mm total for the day, so near 1.1", which is beyond fantastic.

Apr. 19 ~ Flatlined about 67F all night. Heavy overcast, almost misty a few times. At dawn I heard a Chuck-will's-widow again, finally, very distantly again. Where is our local breeder? Kathy had a Nashville Warbler at the bath, I heard one singing a bit later out front. Sure quiet without our pair of Carolina Wrens around. Bummer. They must have been predated in their nest one night to just disappear. A pair of Ash-throated Flycatcher seem to be taking up residence again as usual, at one of the boxes out on fenceline I presume, are a few. Heard a Yellow Warbler singing nearishby. Bird numbers seem down so far this spring. A Red Satyr in the afternoon was great, though worn, and clearly been out for a bit. Heard a Clay-colored Sparrow in the afternoon, and at twilight, a Chuck-will's-widow. Lots of male Ruby-throated Hummingbird here now, I suspect at least a dozen. Also saw a couple females, which are the first of them but I have not been paying much attention to the females.

Apr. 18 ~ Low about 64F and thick clouds, some precip maybe to south with low chances here today. Hear the Blue Grosbeak out there chipping first thing. There were a few hundredths of drizzle precip over the morn, so soppy. Kathy had a Nashville Warbler out the kitchen window in the afternoon, but otherwise not much for movement. Some Lincoln's Sparrow here, which these now are surely migrants and not the birds that wintered here. The wintering Chipping Sparrow are gone, the remaining birds are the breeders now. Great to get an email from Sylvia Hilbig, they had a male Lazuli Bunting there on Apr. 17-18. Sure some go through annually, but you can miss it any spring here, and those males are off the charts beautiful. They also had a male Yellow-headed Blackbird the 16th, which is another one that is annual but not a sure thing every spring at any given place. Great birds, especially around the house! Thanks for the news Sylvia!

Apr. 17 ~ Low of 43F or less, KERV had a 42F, and I looked prolly before the final dip. At midnight NOAA still had KERV for a 49F low. The day after frontal passage, lows always way lower than predicted here. Was clear overnight but clouding up in morn. Yesterday and today have record highs at SAT of 100dF, the 2nd and 3rd dates of the year with such, the first a couple weeks ago. I saw 77F on the cool shady front porch about 3 p.m., sunny and breezy. No migrants through yard in a.m. again. Maybe tomorrow there will be a push? Stuff has been held back a few days as the front passed with northerlies behind it. Did see another worn Monarch bearing NNE. Kathy saw our FOS female Summer Tanager. I thought I saw a female at the park last Friday but a male chased it off before I could confirm. Otherwise a bit quiet in yard.

Apr. 16 ~ The winds behind the frontal passage got here overnight, so breezy and clear in a.m., low about 55F is nice. But a bit breezy for spotting birds in trees. Likely shut most migrant motion down when it hit. Heard a Scissor-tail early out near wellhouse. Heard a FOS Blue Grosbeak chipping about 9 in the morning. Near noon I heard a FOS Yellow Warbler singing after yesterday's probable heard singing bird. Otherwise nothing new though. Great to hear all the singing of the breeders though. One Monarch went by bearing NNE. The rest of the butterflies were the expected.

Still lots of vultures coming in to a pig carcass on the other side of corral somewhere. So a Caracara or two the last few days as well. At one point 75 or more mostly Black Vulture flushed at once and were very low right over the yard. Not all going in the same direction in the circle, it appears total chaos, with no impacts. It looked like a skating rink where half of the people were each going in the other direction. I did not see so much as an evasive maneuver. You could not do this with people. It was amazing being right under all those wings cutting air sounding like little fighter jets.

Apr. 15 ~ A rain-cooled low of about 56F felt good. Late last night after 11 p.m. until about 12:30 a.m. there were some light showers as a group of cells went over. Up valley and north of town got more than is south of town. This morn we show just over 8mm, a third of an inch, or just over five-sixteenths, however you like to perceive it. No migrant motion today, was hoping something was overhead when it hit. Today was the big warmup day in front of another cold front.

A Hutton's Vireo was across road in Mesquites, again. Thought I heard a Yellow Warbler sing over in the corral, probably the FOS, but letting it go. Afternoon winds turned out of west, and it got hot and dry, 92F locally, was 88F on the cool shady front porch. Winds will turn to NW, then N, so do not expect much for migration motion tomorrow either. See some Zexmenia flowers open out back. At last sun I was out on driveway and a Zone-tailed Hawk flew over just above treetop level, right overhead, low and slow. Only takes one near bird to make the day. Light was so good on the yellow bill, legs and feet, and it was so low I could see it look at me, and be totally non-plussed.


This is a male American Kestrel. Photo from CA, it was not taken locally, and a photo of a slide, so a degenerate, like the person that took it.  :) Ours do not differ from what we see in this image in any meaningful way. The second pic on the site not taken locally.

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Apr. 14 ~ Low about 63F and misting, was clear at midnight. Probably got a few hundredths of an inch of wet stuff over the morn. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was bubbling in song in the big pecan. A FOS female Hooded Oriole, finally, came into hummer feeders, Kathy later saw it at the birdbath. I suspect it has been here before. Often returning birds hit the bath soon after showing up. Town run, and did have a Scissor-tail along 360. Finally. Over town I heard a couple FOS Chimney Swift. The park was fairly quiet, but for a few breeders singing: Black-crested Titmouse, Summer Tanager, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, and Yellow-throated Warbler, the regulars. Saw my personal FOS Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (2), though Little Creek Larry has had over at his creek since Mar. 23, where the game ranch just south feeds corn, and they know. Heard one warbler seet, likely a Nashville, and had one Orange-crowned Warbler. The beehive in the biggest ancient Cypress in the woods at north end of park is finally active again, after a couple years being dormant.

Apr. 13 ~ A low of 50F was nice, and a second day with sun at sunrise is great. The dawn chorus is really getting good and noisy the way I like it. Thought I had a Great Crested Flycatcher stop on a clothesline early, but it was bare-eyed in bad light, not good enough for a FOS. Ash-throats have been back around yard a month now, it did not look like one. An Olive-Juniper Hairstreak I saw was already completely worn of green overscaling below and strictly brown ventrally (contra last week's photo break pic). Must have been one of the first ones out a couple months ago. Which is why you have to learn multiple ID characters and not rely on one feature. That goes for everything. Numbers of Six-lined Racerunner racing about now is good to see. Not very many Anole though. Not hearing our Carolina Wrens. Where did they go? Or were they predated? An eerie silence to say the least, for about a week now. Late in day a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was in the Pecan out kitchen window, kipping away.

Apr. 12 ~ A brisk 46F low felt great, and sun at dawn has been rare lately. This is fine. Still not seeing migrant motion in the mornings. Weird. Great was mid-morn after I sprayed some water, a FOY summer form Questionmark butterfly, with orange hindwing came in to it. A Giant Swallowtail went by mid-day, and in later afternoon a Two-tailed Swallowtail came into my pipe tobacco and nearly assaulted me. Otherwise the same things we have been seeing, but surely over a dozen species of butterflies daily now which is nice. Heard a Clay-colored and saw a couple Lincoln's Sparrow, besides some Lark, Field and Chipping. Got up to about 78F, and was dry, so quite nice and springy.

April 11 ~ Nothing but a couple Chats going at it after midnight, no owls, after three species last night. What changed? Still waiting for second of year Chuck-w-w to call. Flatlined at 56F or so overnight. Overcast all morn, sun finally showed in the afternoon. Not seeing any signs of migrant movement. Oddly slow so far this spring for the transient types. Saw the Mournful Duskywing back on the Mealy Sage today. I think on one or two shots yesterday auto-focus finally found itself. The butterfly on a 2' lone flower stalk with ground behind it is nearly impossible for Canon Powershot autofocus to do. They could not have made the manual focus more clunky to operate either. Must have taken a lot of engineers with degrees to figure out how to make something so simple so complex that works so poorly.

April 10 ~ Shortly after midnight I was outside for last listen. The Great Horned Owl was going over across corral, the Barred Owl was still calling at the river, then the Long-eared Owl joined in! Three big owls all calling at once. I tried for 15 min. to hear a Screech-, or maybe a flyover Barn, to no avail. Somewhat odd is that since I heard that early Chuck-will's-widow at dawn on the 4th, I have yet to hear another. This morn was about 55F and overcast. Saw 72F in the afternoon. Did not see or hear anything in the way of migrant motion today. The first Tropical Sage flowers opened today. A few spits of precip mid-afternoon, and a few peeks of sun over the day. In one quick shot of sun a Mournful Duskywing showed up on the Mealy Sage. Then a Common Streaky-Skipper showed up on the stone steps next to it.

Apr. 9 ~ Low about 54F or so, overcast but no more precip. Was clear last night late. Stayed cloudy all day, I saw only about 68dF on the front porch, the sun only popped out for a half-hour at best. Looked like a couple Nashville Warbler went through yard over day, giving flight notes on the move. Heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet bubbling in the big Pecan. Kathy spotted an orange beetle on the Mealy Sage flowers, hopefully I got an ID docushot. After 11 p.m. I heard a Barred Owl from Cypresses along the river, the first I have heard since last spring. For years they were a regular feature of the nocturnal soundtrack here, and then silence, for the last 8-9 months. So, this is great!

Apr. 8 ~ Flatlined in mid-50's F all night, just a little more mist in morn. Only 65F at noon and hit 70 about 3:30 when the sun sorta broke through the overcast. In the morn a Bell's Vireo was singing across road from gate in the newly leafed out Mesquites. A Nashville Warbler went through, as did a Gnatcatcher. Heard Clay-colored Sparrow and N. Rough-winged Swallow. A few Lincoln's Sparrow zzzzee-ing around yard. A number of male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, besides the ton of Black-chinned. The hummers have been going through the sugar these last few chilly days. Lots of vultures (both types) and a Caracara going down between us and the river. I presume where a pig fell from when I heard a big gun late on Thursday night. Saw another Six-lined Racerunner (lizard). After dark E. Screech-, and Great Horned Owl calling.


This is a Mealy Sage and a pink moth.

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Apr. 7 ~ Low about 48F or so, and a second day just making the mid-50's for a high. Which is 20F below average highs for the date and in fact, near our average lows in early April. Some drizzle-mist early, hoping some actual rain finds us. Great was a singing Golden-cheeked Warbler out back late morn in the mist. It was right over the fence line when I was tossing seed along it, and just kept singing. I could have hit it with seed. What a neat beastie. Town run fer stuff. River up a bit at the 360 x-ing a couple miles below town, but still a foot from going over the spillway at the park pond. One Belted Kingfisher still there, a Summer Tanager singing and another one out front on Cypress St. singing. But too misty and nothing much moving. There was a nice patch of blooming Texas Onion in the woods. Hattie Barham said she had a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on 360 yesterday. We did get a wee bit of precip from the near constant drizzle over the day. As of 5 p.m., about 11mm, or, around seven-sixteenths of an inch. So now just over 5" in the last nine weeks.

Apr. 6 ~ Still overcast and still no rain, but it cooled down. Went from 60F at midnight to about 50F by 8 a.m., finally. Now if we could get some precip it would be nice. Not warming up today so will be a hummer feeder day. Might have gotten up to 56F, and the breezy lasted all day, so never felt it. Not seeing much for bird action outside. Chilly and windy so everything is hunkered down. It seems many of the Chipping Sparrow have departed now. For a few days I have been noticing there are far fewer here than have been the last few months. Maybe a couple dozen now, at tops. A few are resident but most of our winterers are migratory birds from elsewhere. It appears they have mostly departed now. Did have some Black Vultures overhead on one trip out to toss seed.

Apr. 5 ~ Cold front arriving before dawn. It was 70F all night until about 7 a.m. whence temp dropped to 62F or so in short order. We got a spit, that was it for precip, which was east of us. Wind blew 15-20 mph gusting higher all day until late afternoon. Kathy had a Scissor-tail go over early. Noonish she saw the FOY Six-lined Racerunner, which I saw a few hours later. They are a beautiful lizard. The color of those green lines I just will never get over, it is a wowser every time. I presume the northerlies shut down any migrant motion, and apparently nothing over our place when it hit. No sign of any in the yard. You can sometimes get things moving north on the ground through the trees over the day when like this though. Kathy saw the first male Summer Tanager at the birdbath briefly late in the afternoon, and I had a Gnatcatcher out front. Interesting watching the hummer feeders as it gets dark. After last male left, the feeder I watched filled up with 8 females. No more males came in. So, they are hanging out watching and waiting for that last feeding but wanting the males to depart so they can really tank up undisturbed. Eight females can sit on the ring with hardly a notice of each other whereas two males have issues.

Apr. 4 ~ Started at 75F still at midnight. Might have gotten down to 71F. Overcast and humid. Another hot one on tap before a cool-down arrives. At 6:45 a.m., before the Cardinals started singing, I heard my FOS Chuck-will's-widow calling distantly. On the early side nearly a week. The last two years FOS Chucks were April 11 and 13 but have had them earlier than those. This might be my earliest though. Have to check records. A couple Gnatcatcher went through over the day, one each Nashville and Orange-crowned Warbler. Heard a couple Barn Swallow go over. Kathy had the Yellow-throated Warbler at the bath. The two transplanted Frostweed look fine, the two Lantana still in major shock. Got up to 88F or so, stayed cloudy and so cooler than progged a few dF. Front is inbound tomorrow morning early. Fair numbers of butterflies, the regular expecteds so far. A couple Checkered White. One probable Orangetip, I wish they would stop some time. A Monarch or two bearing NNE.

Apr. 3 ~ Overcast and about 65F for a low. Summer Tanager singing in the big Pecan is a great way to start the day. Heard a Gnatcatcher early. A couple Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flew over early. The two Frostweeds look like they made the transplant fine. Was a couple no doubt self-seeded from the main clump, but was out in grass where going to get mowed. Moved them to nearish the mother plant to create a mini-patchlet. Worked more on gardens a bit, but wow it got hot. I saw 90F at 3 p.m., KERV had a 92F, the record at SAT for the date is 93F. There were lots of upper 90's around south and central Texas. Prolly hottest day of the year so far. At least sorta dryish. Saw a couple Orangetip blast past, as well as a couple Checkered White, and several Lyside Sulphur. One Giant Swallowtail, numbers of Sleepy Orange and Vesta Crescent, a fresh American Lady, and late in day a nice Reakirt's Blue.

Apr. 2 ~ A little mist early, thick overcast, flatlined about 66F all night. Summer Tanager singing over by river early. No doubt the one I heard calling at last light last night, and likely our local territorial breeder. About three Gnatcatcher through yard over the day. Otherwise no migrant motion apparent. One Robin here. Two or three Lincoln's Sparrow. We did a bunch of yard and garden stuff since behind on it. Moved a couple Lantana and Frostweeds to where wanted, hope they make the transplant. The Chat was singing at midnight last night. The first nocturnal singing I have heard, so it was here a week, and is now going at night.

April 1 ~ No foolin'! A quarter of the year has passed already! OMG! I am wayyyy behind. KERV had a 42F low, we were more like 44F. Cloudy and overcast all day, got up to 82F or so. No signs of bird movement apparent in the morning. I have biz work on Saturdays so mostly inside, but did do some yard and garden work between desk jobs. The Eastern Bluebird pair looks like it is setting up shop in a natural cavity (Ladder-back made it) in the big Pecan very close to house. They are taking material into the hole. The last couple years she has prospected around quite a lot, but settled on the box again every year. I think the box is hot out in the open. I moved one box that they used to use but quit so there would be another choice.

Two or three Lincoln's Sparrow around yard. A huge flock of 9 Robin was here at last of dusk. Even better was my FOS calling Summer Tanager! Saw some FOY White Rock Lettuce flowers along fenceline out front, also FOY of a Vetch, I think Deer Pea Vetch, and some Prairie Fleabane is now open. The Two-leaved Senna that had some flowers opening was eaten, deer no doubt. Which are no longer that dear to me. They are like coons, dillos, squirrels, once ya lived with them, your view changes. The one good Mealy Sage we have is opening flowers and looking great though. The deer do not touch it or the Tropical Sage, Wood Sage (Am. Germander), Texas Onion, Crow-poison, and others. I guess I need to make a list.

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I don't think we froze, or if so, only briefly and barely. There was a little bit of rain as we enter wildflower and leaf growing season. The river is still a foot from going over the spillway at the park (normal). We are about two feet behind in precip, and in D4 exceptional stage drought again. We had about 2.5" of rain over the month, most in one event was 41mm on the 18th. With the 2.25" in Feb. makes 4.75" the last two months which is critical for spring when in D4 drought. Unfortunately Jan. was nearly bone dry at .65".

Odes were a whopping two species: Dot-winged Baskettail and Pale-faced Clubskimmer. Two more than either Jan. or Feb., so hope for a good season ahead. For butterflies it was 35 species, nearly double the 18 sps. in February. Nothing unusual, as is the case in early spring. It is not the time for raries. Just great to see everything again, especially those 'EARLY spring ONLY' fliers like Falcate Orangetip and Henry's Elfin.

Birds were 80 species, a huge increase in diversity, mostly with the arrival of insect eating migratory species. The most spectacular avian event was thousands of White-fronted Goose calling as they migrated north overhead in the dark, evening of the 3rd. The best two birds were the Long-eared Owl being heard again (24th), and a Couch's Kingbird (10th). A Brown Creeper at park (10th) was also good, they are less than annual here. An ad. male Rufous Hummingbird (22nd) was a good migrant snag. A Yellow-breasted Chat (27th) was my first ever in March and a couple weeks early.

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March ~ Meteorological spring is here! Oh boy, a whole month of FOS - first of season - sightings ahead. Golden-cheeked Warblers in a week! The march of the FOSs began the morning of the 1st with a White-eyed Vireo. In the afternoon a FOS singing male Vermilion Flycatcher seemed our local corral breeder back. On the 2nd my FOS Zone-tailed Hawk was low over yard. Also the 2nd were my FOS Cricket-Frogs clicking. Morn of the 3rd a FOS Lark Sparrow was singing in yard. This just in, a couple FOS Purple Martin were seen on Feb. 28 at the park pond briefly. On the 3rd at the park was my FOS Great Egret. About 9 p.m. on the 3rd I heard my FOS White-fronted Goose northbound way high up, it was thousands. On the 6th saw my FOS Barn Swallow. On the 9th was my FOS N. Rough-winged Swallow. The 10th was a mega-big day for FOS sightings. There was FOS Couch's Kingbird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Brown Creeper, my FOS Purple Martin, and in the afternoon FOS Monarch and Golden-cheeked Warbler! My FOS Barn Owl was after 11 p.m. on the 10th as well! Spring is now showing near you! March 12 we saw our FOS Black-and-white Warbler and Ash-throated Flycatcher. Also the 12th were our first dragonflies of the year, Dot-winged Baskettails, of course, at least five of them. The 14th was a first Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. The 15th saw my FOS Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. On the 17th was my FOS Clay-colored Sparrow. An adult male Rufous Hummingbird on the 22nd is a good snag of a migrant. A FOY Two-tailed Swallowtail floated by on the 24th. Late p.m. on the 24th we heard the Long-eared Owl calling out front not far away. On the 26th we had FOS Common Yellowthroat and Bell's Vireo. The 27th a record early Yellow-breast Chat was singing across the road right where territorial every year. The 29th just after noon a FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird was at our feeder, and a FOS Nashville Warbler at birdbath. Late in day on 30th I heard FOS Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. On the 31st my FOS Louisiana Waterthrush was at Utopia Pk. Dang if that wasn't a month of fun!

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Jan.-March 2023 is now at:
Old Bird News 39
Bird News Archive XXXIX

January 1 - July 31 (eventually), 2023

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Links to the most recent bird news archive pages (last 2 years):

Old Bird News 38
Bird News Archive XXXVIII

July 1 - Dec. 31, 2022

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Old Bird News 37
Bird News Archive XXXVII

Jan. 1 - June 30, 2022

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Old Bird News 36
Bird News Archive XXXVI

July 1 - Dec. 31, 2021

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Old Bird News 35
Bird News Archive XXXV

Jan. 1 - June 30, 2021

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2022 pix

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Links to all 19 years of archived bird news pages below.
Broken into 6 month increments. One day I'll quarter it
out by season as well, so all of each season are together,
perhaps making say, searching springs easier.

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

Here is a master index page of them:

Bird News Archives Index

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

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© M. and K. Heindel 2004-2023