Bird (and nature) News Archive # 3
Jan. 1 - June 30, 2005
Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
SLC pond - pond on South Little Creek Rd.
LC - along Little Creek
TC area - area of Thunder Creek Rd.
UP - Utopia Park on 1050 just west of 187
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for
1st spring or fall migrant to show up locally)
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia
in Uvalde County
Ode - Odonata (dragonfly or damselfly)
Lep - butterfly
BanCo - Bandera County UvCo - Uvalde County

2005 - Jan. 1 - June 30 reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.
Besides nearly 7 inches of rain that fell the first couple days of June, the remainder of the month was uncharacteristically bone-dry and hot. Last half of June was typified by high pressure and near 100 degree temps.

June 28 - Bullock's Oriole at SR. WHITE-TIPPED DOVE again too. Bullock's are regular in the brush country south of the escarpment, but very rare except an occasional migrant up on the hill here.

June 27 - Golden-cheeked Warbler (imm.male) at Concan with flock of Bushtits that had one BLACK-EARED in with them. Cabin 61 area at Neal's again. Lots of Olive Sparrows there as well. Also there were 2 juvenile Yellow-throated Warblers, just out of the nest, with no black on sides, no yellow on throat, all light gray above, being fed by adults.

June 26 - WHITE-TIPPED Dove again, first time in a week (again). Amazing was a male HEPATIC TANAGER in the "back yard" seen for 3 minutes at 30' distance! There are a few hill country records, most in late June.

June 25 - Golden-cheek at 150' flying E. at 8 a.m. (calling).

June 23 - the Ad.male Golden-cheek continues. Also an adult female Black & White Warbler came to drip at 8 p.m. - another fall migrant.

June 22 - Adult male Golden-cheeked Warbler (SR). 3 juvenile Eastern Bluebirds moving over to NE at 150' altitude.

June 21 - heard another Golden-cheeked Warbler outside.

June 19 - The juvenile WHITE-TIPPED Dove flew by down the draw twice for the first sighting in 6 days... but it's still around!

June 18 - THREE Golden-cheeked Warblers (probably a family group) gave flight notes, and flew off to SW gaining altitude. A fourth one was found later in the day (all at SR).

June 17 - Black-capped Vireo at Concan, Cabin 61 hill, at Neal's.

June 16 - HUTTON'S VIREO sang as it moved down draw at SR.

June 12 - Another Golden-cheeked Warbler in yard - prob. imm. male.

June 11 - A mystery bird was briefly seen, but seen well here at SR. It resembled no North American species. In fact it was identical in every way to a bird a friend and I saw at Falcon Dam nearly 10 years ago. But without photos ya got nuthin' when it comes to mega-rarities. I searched for it the next couple days to no avail.

June 10 - A Chipping Sparrow moved through SR !?!

June 8 - Another Golden-cheeked Warbler moved down draw at SR.

June 7 - A juvenile WHITE-TIPPED DOVE showed up at the seed pile here at SR (photos)! A very rare record (maybe 2 hill country records - one prior along Sabinal River).! All other Dove species found here were also seen that day: Mourning, White-winged, Inca, Common Ground-Dove, and the introduced non-native Eurasian Collared-Dove.

June 5 - Another Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - presumed fall migrant.

June 4 - The first wandering (post-breeding) Golden-cheeked Warbler of the year was at SR, an adult male, which landed on the electric wire, and flycaught from it!

June 1 - A GRAY VIREO sang as it moved across the draw here at SR!

SPRING MIGRATION - Here in the SRV for most species we are too far off the "beaten" (flown) path to get lots of birds. Hence no one has ever sat here and studied or even recorded what goes through, when, in what numbers. That is why I feel it is important work. Essentially all that is known, is extrapolated from other areas, without "ground-truthing" - really checking and seeing. This year, was remarkable for its "Eastern" birds. June Osborne who spends every April in Concan said there it was also the best spring ever for "eastern" migrants. She had many of the same eastern Warblers we had here in the SRV, and Scarlet Tanager (s), the next canyon west (Frio Canyon) of here (SRV), in the area around Neal's Lodges.

May 30 - Dickcissel flyover at SR. Four Zone-tailed Hawk in area.

May 28 - What was likely the first FALL MIGRANT was a male Black & White Warbler going south fast at SR! It moved over 300 yards in 3 minutes.

May 26 - A late Catbird was at SR.

May 20 - At SR was a Black-throated Green Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. No Connecticut today - gone.

May 19 - The bird of the spring (or year) was at UP today - a stunning male CONNECTICUT WARBLER. I watched it as close as I could focus my binocs, and for 5-10 minutes over a 30 minute period had it in clear view! Astounding!

May 18 - In Uvalde I head what was surely a Bay-breasted Warbler singing, but I couldn't find it in the wind-blown trees. 2 Eastern Kingbirds at south edge of town.

May 16 - Calling Couch's Kingbird at UP, and a Catbird.

May 15 - A tardy Yellow-bellied Sapsucker flew over SR!

May 14 - Another (#3) PHILADELPHIA Vireo - at 354 Pecan patch.

May 13 - Male Mourning Warbler at UP.

May 12 - A male MAGNOLIA Warbler at UP.

May 11 - The bottom fell out of the incredible waves of migrants that have been present the last two weeks. Here, "incredible waves" would not qualify for such anywhere else, and coastal migrant hunters would scoff at the term based on these numbers, but these numbers & diversity have not been recorded here before!

May 10 - At UP I watched a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH drink next to a Swainson's Thrush! Also male Mourning Warbler there. At SR was a Least Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, and fledged Bushtits. In town, I watched a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher dive on a Zone-tailed Hawk!

May 9 - SR had Least Flycatcher and 2 dozen Mississippi Kite in a nice lift-off as low clouds burned away. At Utopia on the River was another MAGNOLIA and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. At the wet spot just S. of 354 was another PHILADELPHIA VIREO and a Rose- breasted Grosbeak! UP had (2) FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher and a male Mourning Warbler.

May 8 - At UP was my first SRV MAGNOLIA Warbler, another BLACKBURNIAN Warbler, a Yellow-breasted Chat plus other migrants. Then over amongst more migrants at 354 was another BLACKBURNIAN (!) my first SRV CHESTNUT-SIDED Warbler (a stunning male). At the 360 river crossing was a Black-throated Green and a Lazuli Bunting. I saw a remarkable ELEVEN species of Warblers today around Utopia! Surely this is an all-time SRV daily record for warbler diversity! Cypress St. Hackberries had Least and Willow Flycatchers, and at SR there were 2 Baltimore Oriole and 7 Mississippi Kites.

May 6 - Just west of Sabinal at a stock tank there were 5 Wilson's Phalaropes, and we saw and photographed a Quail that was likely a hybrid Bobwhite X Scaled Quail ("Bluebob"). There is a picture of it on the bird photos page. Also 5 mi. S. of Utopia was a Black-throated Sparrow on a fenceline, the first I have seen IN the SRV.

May 5 - At UP was a stunning male BLACKBURNIAN Warbler, Catbird, a late Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a few other migrants.

May 4 - At UP were 3 FOS: Common Yellowthroat, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, besides Yellow and Wilson's Warblers. At 354 was a Grosbeak, either Black-headed or Rose-breasted plus a dozen other migrants in the Pecan patch.

May 3 - FOS Catbird at UP. just south of town on Uv.Co 354 were: 4 Dickcissel, FOS female American Redstart, plus Wilson's, Yellow and Black & White Warblers.

May 2 - FOS Tennessee Warbler at SR. AT UP was FOS PHILADEPHIA Vireo (my first SRV), FOS Yellow Warbler, FOS Swainson's Thrush and FOS Brown-crested Flycatcher.

April 28 - Dickcissel at SR calling flyover. At UP FOS Eastern Wood-Pewee, 1 each Black & White, Nashville, Myrtle, Audubon's.

April 26 - FOS Yellow-billed Cuckoo at UP.

April 25 - Now 50 Black-chin Hummers at SR, about 3+ Ruby-throats. At UP male MacGillivrays Warbler, 5 Nashville Warbler. Probably heard Red-eyed Vireo and Dickcissel at SR.

April 23 - FOS Green Heron at UP.

April 22 - Cassin's Sparrow at UP (photos), Bell's Vireo in town. 15 Nashville Warbler at UP. Scope views of an adult light morph SHORT-TAILED HAWK at SR from our porch! This is likely the Lost Maples returnee on its way back. It was seen a couple weeks after this AT Lost Maples.

April 21 - Blue Grosbeak and Mississippi Kite, 4 Common Grackle, 2 FOS Common Nighthawk 2 Barn Owl at once, all at SR

April 20 - AT UP a BREWER'S SPARROW could have passed for a Timberline type. Also there the FOS Yellow-breasted Chat, a pair of Wood Duck and Blue-winged Teal, Indigo Bunting. A Grasshopper Sparrow was at SLC as was a Greater Yellowlegs. Zone-tail at SR.

April 18 - 2 migrant Osprey: 1 at SR, another in town. Also a Broad-winged Hawk in town. FOUR Couch's Kingbirds on Main St. (calling) in Utopia is most unusual (plus Westerns), and at least 12 male Yellow-headed Blackbirds were downtown as well! Late in afternoon a dozen Swainson's Hawks passed over SR.

April 17 - NEOTROPICAL Cormorant flew over SR, my first in the SRV. Also 3 Chimney Swifts were the FOS.

April 16 - FOS Great-crested Flycatcher at UP.

April 15 - FOS Wilson's Warbler and first "normal time" Black-throated Green Warbler at UP (had that Feb. bird).

April 10 - SR: Barn Owl, Pine Siskin, 2+ Ruby-throats, 50 Chippy.

April 9 - FOS Great-tailed Grackle in town. 8 Pine Siskin at SR. Found out month later (in May) someone had a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER at UP this date... unfortunately even being known to be a birder in the area doesn't get you notified when such rarities show up around the corner from your house !&^%$#!

April 8 - FOS Bronzed Cowbird in town

April 7 - FOS Summer Tanager at UP

April 5 - FOS male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at SR, and Clay-colored Sparrow. FOS Firefly also.

April 4 - FOS (2) Yellow-throated Vireo at UP. At SR Barn Owl.

March 26 - Peregrine Falcon going N. at SR.

March 25 - 2 mi. W. of Sabinal at stock tank Kathy and I found 4 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER! Also saw WHITE-TAILED KITE 5 mi. S. of Utopia that was first seen 3/15.

March 22 - FOS Monarch butterfly.

March 21 - FOS Cattle Egret (2) at UP. Adult male ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD at feeders for 5 minutes at SR. They'll never believe that without tail feathers, but I heard wing whistle which was obviously and clearly NOT Rufous. Fully gorgetted and fully green backed. Would be first Uvalde Co. record!

March 20 - FOS Scott's Oriole at SR.

March 18 FOS Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: 1 ea. at SR, and TC.

March 15 - Moving day - left TC and Bandera Co. after nearly 18 months. Now at SR in Uvalde Co. - start a new yardlist! Bob Rasa reports White-tailed Kite in SRV S. of Utopia.

March 14 - FOS Brown-headed Cowbird, Vermilion Flyc at LC, Zone-tailed Hawk and Chihuhuan Raven at TC. Vermilion Flyc and Pine Siskin at SR.

March 12 - Caracara, few Hummers, White-eyed Vireo singing.

March 11 - FOS singing male Black & White Warbler at TC! Also 2 Pine Siskin, couple Black-chin Hummers, Roadrunner now singing, Barn Owl, 40 Cardinal in yard.

March 10 - Sharp-shinned Hawk took Canyon Towhee!

March 7 - FOS male Black-chinned Hummingbird at TC! Also FOS Cliff/Cave Swallows (8).

March 5 - 3 Greater Yellowlegs still present at SLC pond. 60 American Goldinch at TC - sucking sunflower seed down.

March 2 - MIGRANT SHOREBIRDS: 3 Greater Yellowlegs at SLC pond! Pair of Wood Duck there also. 8 Purple Martin in town.

March 1 - Hundreds if not thousands of White-fronted Geese going N. after dark. White-eyed Vireo, Caracara, Zone-tailed Hawk.

Feb. 28 - Cranes and Geese both going N. in flocks. Both Raven sps. also. Barn Owl again. Black Vulture body slammed another off tele pole which fell 20' straight to ground!

Feb. 27 - 2 FOS Barn Swallow in town. Rio Grande Leopard Frogs roaring now. 4 Purple Martin in town also.

Feb. 23 - 3 Poorwill calling 9 p.m.. More White-fronts going N. at night.

Feb. 22 - Both Raven sps. at TC. FOS Lesser Goldfinch. FOS N.Rough-wing Swallow at LC. Barn Owl over house.

Feb. 21 - Long-billed Thrasher still in yard, and Caracara flyby.

Feb. 20 - 2 Purple Martin were FOS here. 300 Chippys in yard.

Feb. 15 - hundreds more White-fronted Geese heading north.

Feb.14 - 4 Turkey Vulture at TC - spring migrants, as were hundreds of White-fronted Geese going North.

Feb. 11 - counted 18 male Cardinal at once in TC yard.

Feb. 10 - Double-crested Cormorant at UP my 1st in SRV.

Feb. 8 - photographed Harlan's Hawk 3.5 mi. S. of Utopia. Black & White, Pine, and Black-throated Gray Warblers continue at Cook's Slough in Uvalde for rare winter records.

Feb. 7 - BROWN CREEPER and ad.male Black-throated Green Warbler (way early!?!) at UP (was one day wonder). Black-eared Bushtit at TC again, and Chihuahuan Raven there again as well. A fly-over Gadwall was a great yard bird at TC.

Feb. 5 - Chihuahuan Raven calling over UP.

Feb. 4 - Cook's Slough in Uvalde between errands. Saw PINE, Black and White, and BLACK-THROATED GRAY Warblers, and photographed CLAY-COLORED ROBIN !!

Feb. 2 - Long-billed Thrasher continues at TC. Adult male RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER at UP was clearly a pure bird.

Jan. 29 - TROPICAL PARULA at UP ! Gave brief song after eating bug! Also there: Barred Owl, Blue Jay, Green Kingfisher, Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler.

Jan. 28 - Hutton's and White-eyed Vireo at TC (both also on 29th). Sage Thrasher at feed store at N. end of Utopia in Uv.Co..

Jan. 25 - Vermilion Flycatcher at LC.

Jan. 22 - White-eyed Vireo singing at TC. Rough-legged Hawk just off escarpment in Medina Co on 1796 7 mi. E. of 187.

Jan. 21 - Zone-tailed Hawk in downtown Bandera.
Unless specifically mentioned all sightings older than Jan 18, 05 are in our "TC" area Bandera Co. yard. Also any sighting listed as "yard" should be known to be in the "TC" area.

Jan. 18 - 1000 each Waxwing and Robin here at house. In town at least 4-5000 more Waxwing!! Spent hour - all Cedars!

Jan. 16 - 1 each Pine Siskin and Purple Finch. 45 American Goldfinch, 300+ Chippy, 1 Chihuahuan Raven, 5 Hermit Thrush, Long-billed Thrasher still at bath daily, 4 Junco.

Jan 14 - Spotted Towhee near SLC (missed on count), Merlin in town. Probable TREE Sparrow here amongst 275+ Chippys. Saw yellow lower mandible, rufous side breast patches, and large size compared to Chippys. Thought I heard it too.

Jan. 12 - played hooky: to Ft.Clark Springs in Kinney County. Heard Green Jays, saw imm. Zone-tailed Hawk & Pine Warbler

Jan. 11 - Barn Owl at 9:p.m.

Jan. 10 - White-throated Sparrow at house, 250+ Chipping Sparrow, 2 Great Horned Owl.

Jan. 9 - Pine Siskin, Chihuahuan Raven

Jan 8 - We did another mock practice unofficial Christmas Bird Count. Covering the SRV from Utopia to Lost Maples. Species total was in the low 60's, plus another 10 or so for count week (3 days before/after). Highlights were SWAMP Sparrow again below UP on the Sabinal River. Also there, a COUCH'S Kingbird, likely a returnee from last winter, at same site! 3 Green Kingfisher ( 2 at UP), and Long-billed Thrasher (at our adobe). We missed lots of silly things. We'll put up totals on the CBC page and link it here when we get it done.

Jan. 7 - Kathy spotted the Zone-tailed Hawk from the bathroom window! A White-eyed Vireo, Chihuahuan Raven and 2 Canyon Towhee.

Jan. 6 - 250 Chipping Sparrow now, 6 Fields in with them, the Bushtit flock came through again. Also a Golden-fronted Woodpecker (rare at the casita) and a HUTTON'S Vireo! 3 C.Ground-Dove.

Jan. 5 - 2 Vermilion Flycatcher along SLC. 1500 Waxwing in town.

Jan. 4 - ZONE-TAILED Hawk! None wintered in the SRV last year! Also the more expected Caracara and 2 Chihuahuan Raven.

Jan. 2 - Amazing was TURKEY Vulture in the evening, which ended up roosted on our power pole! NONE wintered in the SRV last year. This bird was present in the a.m. Jan. 3, but never seen again! Had a glimpse of what looked like a Zone-tailed Hawk also!?!?

Jan. 1 - Chippy flock at TC now numbers 220 or so! A flock of 20 Bushtits came through the yard again, still including a FULLY BLACK-EARED individual. 3000 Waxwing and about 1500 Robin were in town. 2 Black Phoebe at UP. I think the Pine Warbler was picked off or left. There were 14 Pyrrhuloxia on Uv.Co. Rd. 354 a half-mile south of town.
Links to archived bird news pages below, broken into 6 month increments. Odd numbers = first half of year, even numbers second half.

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