Bird (and nature) News Archive # 35
January 1 to June 30, 2021
Old Bird News XXXV

Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
sps. - species
(ph.) = photo obtained
ad.=adult; imm.=immature; ma.=male; fem.=female; juv.=juvenile
odes=Odonata = dragonflies and damselflies; leps=Lepidoptera (butterflies)
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for 1st spring or fall migrant to show up locally)
FOY - First of year - 1st one seen this year
FOF - First of fall
LTA - Less than Annual
UP - Utopia Park on 1050 just west of 187
UR - Utopia on the River
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia in Uvalde County
 (our yard March 2005 to Mar. 2013)
BanCo - Bandera County
UvCo - Uvalde County
WU = Weather Underground (sometimes local station readings referenced)


Bird News Archives Index


Bird News Archive XXXV (#35) ~ January 1 - June 30, 2021

.... in reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.
BIRD & NATURE NEWS 2020

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. Often a few daily yard notes is all the drivel you get. Ready, steady, go!




January through June 2021 (Jan. - March so far)

Read from bottom up to view in chronological order.



~ ~ ~ March summary ~ ~ ~

After that February March seemed pretty tame and benign, no one complained. It was on the dry side of average for precip, about 1.35". But all the snow melt has percolated and filled the river back up so it is flowing over spillway at park again. The big greening finally gets underway but due to the extreme cold much seems a bit retarded of schedule this spring.

Butterflies were weak, seemingly a bit delayed from the super cold event in February. Monarchs did show in fair numbers and fairly on time per usual. A few Elfin were seen (Henry's here), love that hindwing shape. Several Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at Lost Maples were nice. Not much for nectar out there, just some Redbuds going for the most part. The normal Agarita and Laurel bloom did not happen yet, usually a big draw for butterflies in earliest spring. I count about 22 sps. for March, just missing my worst ever 20 sps. in 2010. The March average is 30 sps., and I have had up to 40 and 50 sps. in the month. Not to worry, was the cold and so a natural normal delay of emergence.

The cold kept the odes in the water as larvae still. Unlike many a March I did not see any damselflies. Was too cold in Feb., they wisely delayed emergence. There were lots of Dot-winged Baskettail flying by the last third of the month, which is typically the first new thing out. A couple bigger odes at Lost Maples got away but looked like Springtime Darner, and one Green Darner was seen at Utopia Park at end of month. A whopping three species. April is really the first month with any real activity here, and it is often May before it really gets going.

Birds were fair, great if you like seeing all your old friends show back up. The big rary of the month was a LONG-EARED OWL calling on the 20th, 24th, 26th and 30th. Was just after midnight the first two dates, and very close by, extended calling, as great a 'hear' as you could ask for. The Anna's Hummingbird that was here from Feb. 5, was last seen the morn of March 1. Mostly March is getting FOS dates for all the passage migrants or returning breeders. The record early Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the 19th was odd for being an immature male. I missed the geese (White-fronted) this spring though. Often they all go over at night whence if you aren't out there at the right 5 minutes, they go undetected. Most springs you get them a few nights at least. I count 90 sps. seen myself, and I know others saw a few others. Surely there were over a hundred species around. The winter doldrums are over and birds are singing.

~ ~ ~ end of March summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ archive copy March update header ~ ~ ~

March! Meteorological spring is here, which means Golden-cheeked Warblers in a week. On March 1 a Clay-colored Sparrow is 3 weeks early. March 1 was the last day the Anna's Hummer was here. Sylvia Hilbig had a FOS returning male Vermilion Flycatcher March 3 at their place. Our FOS yard breeder was March 9. My FOS Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up March 5 about 2 p.m. Lincoln's Sparrow are thick the first week of March. My FOS Barn Swallow was Mar. 10, as was my FOS Monarch. Some FOS Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were seen at Little Creek around Mar. 8 or 9. Sylvia Hilbig reported the FOS Hooded Oriole at their place the 13th, and then a FOS Yellow-throated Warbler the 14th. Nine Green-winged Teal at the park on the 16th were probably passage spring migrants. I heard my FOS White-eyed Vireo on the 18th. A boatload of FOS species (for me) showed on the 19th. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo, both in yard, and more later at Lost Maples. Then at Lost Maples Golden-cheeked, Black-and-white, and my 2nd earliest ever Nashville Warbler here, one Ash-throated Flycatcher, one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, No. Rough-winged Swallow and Scott's Oriole. A few White-tipped Dove there as well. Late in day on 19th a FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird was at our feeders, another earliest ever for me here. A LONG-EARED OWL was calling just after midnight, on Mar. 20 and the 24th, and at 10 p.m. on the 26th and midnight on 30th. My FOS Grasshopper Sparrow was the 24th, FOS Cave Swallow was the 26th. FOS Scissor-tailed Flycatcher were 5 males together right across from the gate on March 30.

~ ~ ~ end of archive copy March update header ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~ ~

Mar. 31 ~ The front finally got here just after daybreak, was calm at dawn, northerlies blowing with dropping temps by 8 a.m. Temps dropped to upper 50's and slowly climbed back to lower 60's over the day, but didn't stop blowing until late afternoon. Saw both ad. White-crowned Sparrow still here, not seeing the two immatures though. Nothing new or different today, but was stuck at the desk for the most part. That grass sure grows fast though. Maybe a dozen or so American Goldfinch left, at least that many Pine Siskin still here. Dozen Lincoln's Sparrow, heard Clay-colored singing. Saw two male Vermilion trying to decide who gets the corral. Still have not seen a female but did see a first spring male besides these two adults. Kathy saw a Turkey right over the north fence. Saw a Ribbonsnake go under the front porch.

Mar. 30 ~ Maybe 58F for a low, on and off drizzle most of the morning. Great was finally my FOS Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Five males calling and fussin' around in the Mesquites right across from the gate. Great to see them again! My what a fancy bird. Whaddabird! I love 'em. I got a count of 50 Chipping Sparrow in the drizzle. Gets wet and they all show up. Couple Gnatcatcher went by. Glimpsed a Zone-tailed Hawk. Saw an imm. fem. Sharpy depart empty-fisted after a dive and a miss. Late in day there were two adult White-crowned Sparrow at once on the patio. A pink-billed black-lored bird that showed up yesterday, and the orange-billed gray-lored bird that has been here 4 months or so now. East meets west. Heard a few hoots out of the Long-eared Owl at about 12:10 a.m., just after midnight last night. It has been here 10 days now!

Mar. 29 ~ A nice brisk 40F or so for a low. I saw KERV had brief 38 and 39 between some 40 readings, we may have but I was not watching. Lovely out though. Dry is sure nice. Kathy got a count of 35 Chipping Sparrow. Only a handful are breeders here. Most of the adults that had fully rusty crowns already departed in the last week to two. These remaining are almost all first spring birds. Lots fewer Goldfinch and Siskin, they are thinning out, and the Lincoln's Sparrow wave is subsiding as well. But the Black-chinned Hummingbirds are picking up fast. Saw two male Vermilion Flycatcher jockeying about, a corral area is a prime territory. Barn and Rough-winged Swallow were about, a Zone-tailed Hawk passed over quickly. Yellow-throated Warbler about the yard is surely the local breeder. As are the Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo singing daily again.

Mar. 28 ~ Front came in overnight. Was northerly but still warm, 70F, at midnight. Then 60F by 5 a.m. and in 50's at 8. An hour or two as it hit wind was 20 mph sustained gusting to 30. No rain as of 10 a.m., doubt we will see any. One Gnatcatcher out there first thing early. Too windy. Good thing I spray-painted yesterday. The lawn gator looks great in swamp green. Blew all day, worked on stuff here. Saw a couple Monarch go by. Generally it was a wind-suppresed quiet today, and the same yard gang. A few more skimpy Laurel flowers open. More Tube-tongue, Anemone, and Yellow Wood-Sorrel opening. Must say the martin house sure takes the wind great, barely moving. Now if a martin would just agree with my assessment of how spiffy it is...   A Zone-tailed Hawk dove on stuff in the afternoon, was that same first spring bird I saw a week or so ago. A couple N. Rough-winged Swallow dove on and scolded it, and gave alarm calls.

Winds finally laid down late in afternoon, was a blower of a day. Amongst things, worked on a knothole bird house. Wait until you see this. Taking a big long ago broken branch stub (still on tree), hollowing it out (old weathered pecan is hard as steel) and cutting a front to fit into the opening. So the box itself will be the foot of stump at base of the broken off branch. It is going to be very cool. For something small like Wren, Chickadee or Titmouse, and right off the front porch. About 10:15 p.m. the LONG-EARED OWL was calling over in the corral. Got Kathy out in time to hear one hoot. It was really moving around though. For the first time I hooted back, it did not call again the next 10 minutes. We won't be trying that again. I will be the first to admit whilst my Western Screech-Owl and Flammulated Owl imitations are deadly, I never spent enough time talking to Long-ears to become a whisperer with them. Note to self: need more work.

Mar. 27 ~ Overcast, misty and 62F for a low. Mid-day southwest flow cleared and dried it out, it got up to about 84F in the afternoon. Wow. There is a front inbound arriving before midnight tonight and tomorrow will be a blowout. Gonna be a dry passage though, we just get the wind. Here on the patio in the morning the usual gang of Goldfinch, Siskin, and Chipping Sparrow were here. Great was FIVE Clay-colored Sparrow at once on the patio amongst the melee. The imm. male Ruby-throat continues, as do the White-crowned Sparrows (3) and a gaggle of Lincoln's. Heard a northbound group of Crane but could not spot them, they were high. Caracara came by low. An Ash-throated Flycatcher went to three of the nest boxes, so I suspect one that has been here before, and probably the male. Only one back here so far. Some more Laurel flowers open but instead of the big racemes with a dozen or two flowers on it, they have 2, or 4 flowers, dinky pitiful things. At least the metallic turquoise bees will get a little bit of something. Maybe that inch of rain we just got will inspire the flowers yet a bit. An unblemished immaculate mint-fresh Monarch late in month defies explanation. A FOY orange skipper got away that was likely a Fiery. Saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk grab something, presumably a Chipping Sparrow. Keep forgetting to mention the Turkey are gobbling at dawn the last couple or few days.

blackbelliedwhistlingduck

These are Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ducklings.
July 16, 2019 at Uvalde Nat. Fish Hatchery.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Mar. 26 ~ Sunny, dry, and 42F is wonderful. Heard a Gnatcatcher at first sun that must have slept here. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo both singing uphill behind us in the live-oaks. Town run, no Scissor-tails along fence or power lines yet. A dozen Barn Swallow at north end of town, finally, especially at the bank. Where there was also my first pair of Cave Swallow back. Bob at the post office said the Barn Swallow pair that nests on their dock out back got back three days ago, Tuesday. Little Creek Larry said this morning he saw his male Hooded Oriole back. He also saw some groups of Gnatcatchers going through. At the park there was a male Common Grackle, surely the one that breeds on the island every year. Larry said he had one Pied-billed Grebe there still. He also said the Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks number 40 now at Little Creek. There was one FOY, a freshly emerged Green Darner dragonfly flying at the park.

Back here at the hovelita I saw a Grasshopper Sparrow on the fence line under the Mulberry by the cottage. Only the second that would qualify as being in the yard. Botanic FOY today were a few puny Mountain Laurel flowers, and a Tube-tongue was open. Got up to 80F in the afternoon. The imm. male Ruby-throat continues, often guarding the side-porch feeder. Now on day 8 since his arrival. Got here early and stuck, still have not seen an adult male. We are doing a quart per day of fluid now and Little Creek Larry said the same at his three feeders. So we each probably have over a hundred birds.

Mar. 25 ~ The front passed overnight, it rained briefly but well, we got about .65 or five-eigths, so now have an outstanding inch for the last couple days. Great timing for flowers. Low was about 49F, northerlies but not a hard blow this time. It was pretty windy all night and no owls were calling on any of my hourly checks outside up to midnight last night. It was still southerly then, but does not appear any migrants got knocked down by the turn to northerlies. The yard was all the same stuff. Nothing new or different. No movement. The Texas Persimmon have leaves breaking stem now. Gonna be real green real soon. Saw a couple Monarch, an Orange Sulphur, a Vesta Crescent. One FOY Yellow Wood-Sorrel flower. Did see the adult and both immature White-crowned Sparrow at last seed.

Mar. 24 ~ Overcast and fog-mist at dawn. It was briefly in mid-40's F about 3 a.m., but low 50's by dawn. Likely a highlight of the day was actually just after midnight last night, on my last listenabout. Besides two Great Horned, the LONG-EARED OWL was calling again. This time from right over in the corral where a patch of big thick junipers. Will check them today. It was not 200' away. But where pigs, and I didn't feel like putting gun on to go look for it. Have seen and heard lots of them, but would sure like a docu-shot of one here, in a XL way. Probably mentioned this before, but...  I have pics of one at Bentsen St. Pk. on the Rio Grande by Mission from the later 80's. My pix there are Long-eared, and not Stygian, as a Long-eared reported there once turned out to be. Yes I did recheck my slides and ID when I heard, almost hoping I had blown my ID.  ;)   No such luck. Update: of the two prior heard records from this yard, one was Apr. 9, the other in October.

White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo singing much of day might be our returning breeders. Mid-morn went over into corral and checked the patch of big thick Junipers, no owl there. Looks lots like patches of Tamarisk I have had them in. Plenty of rodents here for it. At the near corner of the grass airstrip at least one, maybe two FOS Grasshopper Sparrow were on fenceline (at different times and places but I did not keep track of bird 1). A Vesper Sparrow was searching the hay, which maybe was the one I had in afternoon in the yard. Heard a couple bars of White-crowned Sparrow song from a yard stickpile. Chipping, Lark, Field, lots of Lincoln's and a Clay-colored rounded out sparrows here. One male Am. Goldfinch is getting especially attractive now. Had a quick town run in afternoon, did not even check park. Nice to see town empty after the spring break crowds this past week plus. No Scissor-tails yet along the roads. I saw one big Cypress that has broken stems with greenery. Our big native Pecan has also broken stem with green stuff. At last sun a loose train of six Blue-gray Gnatcatcher went through the yard, there were 3 at once in one Hackberry. Great to see and hear them psssssssing around again!

Mar. 23 ~ Front passed just after midnight last night. A narrow band of rain with it, we got a bit of precip for 20 minutes or so, about .35 of an inch. No big post-frontal blow though is nice for a change. Just light northerlies. Was 40F for a low and got up to 80F in the afternoon! Our average date for last freeze is about the spring equinox. Was not an average winter, so I would not be surprised to see more freezes. Average means lots of years it still freezes later than the equinox, but that is the median.

Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo singing out there early. One Clay-colored Sparrow grinding out song, and in with the Chipping and Field on patio. Lots of Monarch going by today, we saw at least 10 or 12. That is a big day for them in spring, it must have been major movement day hereabouts. Saw both ad. and imm. White-crowned Sparrow, both with orange bills and so surely the winterers that have been here, and just evaded me most of last week. Still 15+ Lincoln's, and only a couple Lark Sparrow. The Eastern Phoebe looks like it acquired a new mate and they are using the old nest. The Carolina Wren still seems single and is not singing much, maybe it is the female?

Mar. 22 ~ Low about 56F, overcast and drizzle-mist. Heard a Clay-colored Sparrow singing, a sound of spring here, for a month of it anyway. The cool wet brought all the Chipping Sparrow out of the woodwork, there were 75 at once, more than twice as many as I saw the last several nice days. Still lots of Lincoln's, and a couple Lark Sparrow. At least 30 Am. Goldfinch still here, 25 or so Pine Siskin, over a dozen House Finch of which the males are wearing to their reddest now and looking good. The imm. male Ruby-throat is still here and guarding a feeder. More Anemone and Straggler Daisy flowers opening. White-eyed Vireo calling over in the draw. A Ringed Kingfisher flew upriver over the Cypresses just before dusk. Front supposed to pass overnight tonight.

Mar. 21 ~ Was in low 40's F in earliest a.m. but upper 40's by dawn. Sunny, but a bit breezy from south now. At least a couple dozen Pine Siskin here still, and maybe about 30 Am. Goldfinch, some of which are giving snippets of song. When they give snippets of song, their departure won't be long. Saw ad. and imm. White-crowned Sparrow in the yard, the ad. was the darker orange-billed bird, the imm. I missed a positive on. Saw a fresh FOY Northern Cloudywing butterfly in yard as it warmed.

Late afternoon we went over to the south (1450') knoll to collect a few large rocks. We heard a Golden-cheeked and a Black-and-white Warbler sing. Heard 3 Hutton's Vireo, no Black-capped Vireo yet. Heard an Ash-throated Flycatcher. It is just barely spring. A few Lark Sparrow, a male Vermilion Flycatcher, Mockingbird, and a few Robin, was the rest besides a few heard residents like Titmouse, Bewick's Wren, and Chickadee. Only flowers were a couple FOY: two Dutchman's Breeches and one Slender-stem Bitterweed. Got the martin house put in place, now all there is left to do is sit, drink, and watch. Kathy heard a Great Horned Owl right at dark, but all I got on my hourly checks outside was silence.

Mar. 20 ~ And so we have equinox. Happy spring. Official spring begins today, astronomical spring, let it rip. It started on a high note, well actually a low, single note, lots of them in sequence, spaced out well measured, at 12:05 a.m. last night. Whence at my last listenabout, besides the usual Great Horned (3) and Barred (1) Owl calling, a LONG-EARED OWL was calling from right across the road. For well over five minutes it went on. I was too tired to put a gun on (pigs) and go look for it. Have to check but March might be when I heard one once before. Have heard a few here over a couple decades, never saw one yet but have not chased after them either.

Saw the first spring imm. male Ruby-throated Hummer still here this morning, got pics. I have seen them with more ruby feathers in fall than this one has now. So retarded of molt whilst advanced of migration timing. Hear White-eyed Vireo singing. Great was a couple very scarce lately BUSHTIT moving down the Juniper row on other side of the north fence, and toward the draw. In the afternoon got up to about 72F, dry, wonderful. Ran to town for a couple o-rings I needed. On way along river habitat corridor a Yellow-throated Vireo was singing, and on return a Yellow-throated Warbler was singing at the crossing. No Scissor-tails yet, any day now. Did have a couple Barn Swallow in town finally. Park was a bit spring break busy so I skipped it.

Back here in the afternoon I saw the Vesper Sparrow again, and Kathy saw 2 White-crowned Sparrow at the bath. So maybe I just missed them the last week? Heard another (I think) Yellow-throated Vireo over in corral. At various times a couple White-eyed Vireo were calling nearby. Sounding springy. Vermilion Flyc. was up in the big Pecan singing. A few Red-winged Blackbird were down on the seed. A number of groups of Sandhill Crane went over, over the course of the day. One flock was 85, another bigger flock (by vocalizations) I could not pickup to count. Surely a couple hundred went over. Makes over 500 in two days. Kathy thought she heard Green Jay over in the corral.

Did the silicone and o-ring thing on the martin house and dug the hole to the drop anchor in. Tomorrow when silicone dry I will see about dropping it in and finding some big rocks to lean up all around the base to finish installation. Saw my FOY Crow Poison flowers while out in yard. At last seed I saw Kathy's two White-crowned Sparrow on the patio, the adult had an orange bill, and was darkish, like the one that has been here. So I think it is the same bird continuing. The imm. I did not get a positive on. There were also two Vesper Sparrow on the patio (!), a couple Lark Sparrow (two back now!), a dozen each of Field and Lincoln's, and two dozen Chipping Sparrow. I sure love seeing Vesper in the yard since I never thought of them as that sort of thing. Dead silence outside at 9, 10, 11, and midnight. No wind, moon higher and bigger, no owls calling. Was a large owl racket at midnight last night.

goldenfrontedwoodpecker

This is a female Golden-fronted Woodpecker.

goldenfrontedwoodpecker

Male Golden-fronted Woodpecker has red patch on crown,
and more extensive brighter nape patch, often infused
with orange or red feathers.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Mar. 19 ~ A brisk morning at 36F felt great. Early my FOS Yellow-throated Warbler was 8' away on a little pecan by the back porch. A bit later I heard a FOS Yellow-throated Vireo. We played hooky today and noonish went up to Lost Maples to meet a great friend we hadn't seen in years, Dr. Barney Schlinger and his wife Lori from California. It is soooo good to see old friends. We had a great walk up Can Creek to the pond, despite it being afternoon. Before they got there Kathy and I had 300 plus Sandhill Crane northbound over the HQ building. Impressive flock size here. Couple Inca Dove calling there at HQ as usual. At the trailhead parking feeding station there was at least one male Scott's Oriole, and we saw one White-tipped Dove while hearing another (and up the trail we had a third calling). At the seed was one Clay-colored Sparrow was amongst a dozen Chipping and as many Lincoln's, and a couple Rufous-crowned Sparrow, plus a FOS Ash-throated Flycatcher.

On the trail up to pond we had a FOS Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (just 1), a Yellow-throated Vireo was at pond, Kathy spotted a FOS N. Rough-winged Swallow, and Barney spotted an early FOS Nashville Warbler (my earliest ever) and a male No. Harrier over the pond. We saw the bird hosts Les and Jane, Les said others just reported a couple Townsend's Solitaire at the pond this morning I think. We had good looks at a couple Golden-cheeked Warbler, and heard a couple others. Whaddabird! Have I told you how awesome these things are lately? Every time I see them, I can't believe it. It's a magic warbler. Heard several Black-and-white and Yellow-throated Warbler singing, saw a couple Orange-crowned and a Myrtle Warbler, but no Louisiana Waterthrush yet. Had a few White-eyed Vireo, a couple Ruby-crowned Kinglet, heard a couple Canyon Wren. It is just barely spring up there. The Redbud trees were blooming, as were the Maples, but nothing else. Buckley (Spanish) Oaks were barely breaking stem, and many live-oaks are in full leaf-drop mode presently.

We saw over a dozen, maybe near 20 Dot-winged Baskettail dragonfly, and a couple bigger dragons got away, one looked like a Springtime Darner. We also saw several Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, quite a few Pipevines, but no Spicebush yet. A couple Olive-Juniper Hairstreak, one Elfin, a Checkered-Skipper, and a FOS Juvenal's Duskywing. Was on the chilly side so no herptiles. No Mountain Laurel or Agarita in bloom yet. Hopefully they will still go off and it is just that cold that set everything back a couple or few weeks.

Some sad news was that several months ago Bill Bailey whom was a long long term ranger at the park passed away. He goes back decades at Lost Maples and was a great great ranger. Best one the park ever had. He loved the park and it showed. Coming from the Roy Heideman school of what a State Natural Area was originally intended to be, he really had a fantastic understanding regarding the natural history values of the park, not to mention he knew how everything worked. It is a great loss for the park, and its users. He is not easily replaced. R.I.P. Bill. We're gonna miss you buddy.

Late in day, after 7 p.m. I saw a hummer I thought sure was a Ruby-throated, but it was an imm. male. So went for binocs, luckily it hung around defending a 3rd feeder we just put out. I confirmed its short straight bill and very dark forehead and lores, super white throat, the tail was longer and more deeply forked than a Black-chinned, and finally after I decided the primary shape was good for a Ruby, only then, it turned just right and I saw the few dark gorget feathers just coming in were red! Pretty sure this is my earliest ever date for one here, and twice as good as it appears for it being an imm. and not an adult.

Mar. 18 ~ A nice crisp dry 42F for a low after the frontal passage. Sunny, still some cool breeze (cold air advection) ongoing. Finally heard a FOS White-eyed Vireo go by out back this morning. They held back on their return this year compared to a mild winter when they can show in February. Later in the afternoon I heard a second distant one. Saw the Lark Sparrow out back, just one here so far. Should have Gnatcatcher and Black-n-white Warbler pretty soon. Three Red-winged Blackbird males came in for some white millet at last sun.

Saw an Anemone flower today, then Kathy said she saw a couple a day or two ago. Mulberry flowers have popped out of our male tree. Also saw some Straggler Daisy flowers. Just about got the martin house done. One last ditty to silicone, house is on pole and standing on patio for the moment. After some silicone dabs, then it is placing it out in the yard. For which I have to dig a shallow scrape a couple or few inches deep for it to settle in to, and get a few big XL rocks to lean up all around the anchor. Should be up maybe Sunday, finally.

Mar. 17 ~ It was upper 60's from about midnight to 4 a.m. or so when the front got here. Promptly dropped almost 20 dF, but we only got a spit of rain, a few hundredths. The wind was ferocious at passage, and is a blower of a day with red flag warnings. Dry and sunny anyway. The yard is green with grass, getting too tall too fast. I hardly recongize it after 4 months of mostly brown. But the ground sure looks great, save the 'you will soon have to be mowing me' aspect. Mid-morn I saw a White-tipped Dove flying away from patio area. Hope it was down at the seed, as opposed to it flushing before it learned what a great spot this is. Also had a first-spring Zone-tailed Hawk come by low and close enough to flush the seedeaters.

Had an armfull of last years' stems I cut, Lantana, Frostweed, Wooly Ironweed, etc., took it over to a stick pile and tossed on top. As I did counted 8 Lincoln's Sparrow that flew out of one of the two stick piles in front yard! Went to back porch and two more flew into the just vacated pile from a smaller pile by the patio. So the SE quadrant of the yard has ten at once, minimum, which then does not count any in back or on north side where bath and more stick piles. Bet there are over 20 in the yard. Amazing. Always loved 'em anyway. Lots of great fine details in their overall somewhat somber presentation. Seems like almost every time I look at the birdbath there is one at it, for a couple weeks now. Having a great passage of them here this year.

In the afternoon I finally saw my FOY new fresh dragonfly, a Dot-winged Baskettail, as is usual. We typically get a couple leftover Variegated or Autumn Meadowhawk in earliest January, and then as soon as they perish there is nothing until the first of these pop out usually. Not unusual for them to be out in late Feb., but this year was too cold. Male Vermilion was out on the fenceline in afternoon, still have not seen a female. The winds finally relaxed a bit around dark, there were lots of gusts over 30 mph, and lots of sustained at 20 plus much of the day.

Mar. 16 ~ Was in the upper 50's F around midnight but about 64F by dawn. A little mist. Still a bunch of Lincoln's Sparrow here, well over a dozen. Had to run to town quickly as they got some B grade bird seed and I was down to a couple days tops left. Also needed more ant poison as the Red Harvester or Leaf-cutter ants whichever they are, are walking off with what little seed I spread. They are a nightmare here if you spread white millet. Just a quick drive through at the park, there were 9 Green-winged Teal (5 drake, 4 hen) and one Ring-necked Duck still here. The teal are likely transient passage migrants. The water going over spillway is now making it all the way to 1050, a couple hundred yards, for the first time since last July or so. Great to see a stream there again.

In the afternoon I saw my FOY Lark Sparrow IN the yard, which is likely a local breeder back. Also saw my FOY fresh Red Admiral in the afternoon. Our neighbor Hattie Barham brought back some birdseed for us from a 'big city' visit when she was picking hers up. Word is Wal-Mart is out, Tractor Supply was the ticket. So we can breathe a sigh of relief on the seed front for the time being. About 10:30 p.m. I heard a Screech-Owl finally, and a Blanchard's Cricket-Frog calling from over at the river. Have not yet heard a Chorus Frog this spring.

Mar. 15 ~ Low of 36F was nice and crisp. Sunny and dry, beautiful. Some birdsong. But dang, what is it with the time? The clocks were set around midnight, the middle of the night, and high noon, for good reasons. Scientific reasons. The photoperiod. It worked for hundreds of years. Whatever happened to don't fix it if it ain't broke, and leave well enough alone?

There was a Vesper Sparrow behind office on the seed. Which is neat because we know this is a transient passage migrant that just found the place. Due to the flock of sparrows going in and out. After not seeing one for almost two weeks it seems, a Sharp-shinned Hawk broke up the party removing a Chipping Sparrow I think it was. A couple female Black-chinned Hummingbird are here now, probably a dozen males. A Caracara landed in the big Hackberry briefly, until it saw me. The male Vermilion singing a bit, waiting for that female.

One of the small stunted Pecans a few feet tall in a flower bed had leaflets break stem, way early for a Pecan. Lots of sprouts in the Blue Mist Eupatorium patch, the Wooly Ironweed and Frostweed have sent up new stems, American Germander is coming up nicely, and a couple Tropical Sage are showing their first leaves. It is starting...

Mar. 14 ~ Front came through last night, but we got zip for precip. Low about 50, winds 15-20 mph gusting to 25. Will continue to work on things here whilst waiting for spring and birds to show up. Saw my FOS female Black-chinned Hummingbird get chased from the feeder. Still lots of Lincoln's and Field Sparrow, maybe 50 Chipping, and not seeing the White-crowned, I think they left. They spent 3-4 months here. Maybe 35 Am. Goldfinch, a dozen Siskin, a few Waxwing briefly, an Orange-crowned Warbler down on the millet seed is likely the one that wintered doing same on cold days. Winds finally laid down in the afternoon late. First calm in nearly a week.

Now working on the pole assembly for the martin house. Thought I would have it up by now, guess again. Think I got it and final attachment of box to top of pole will be next. Have to wait until the cement inside the PVC pipe dries in a few days. Did put the box on once to make sure all fit properly, but removed it to connect pole to anchor. About 6 p.m. I saw the humidity at KERV was reading 7 percent! That is nearing bone dry. Great Horned and Barred Owl hooting it up after dark. Wonder why I am not hearing the Screech? I have to go back and check notes for start of singing dates here for them. Seems like they ought to be going too.

Mar. 13 ~ Same thang. Low 60's F for a low, misted a bit early, humid, overcast and blew like heck all day from south, ahead of next inbound front. Was too busy on projects to see much. A couple Pipevine Swallowtail went by. Saw my first Hackberry flowers of the year out. Flowers first, leaves follow. About five days now of southerly winds at 10-20 mph gusting 20-30 mph. A few brief periods on the calmer end, but brief. Birds are thinning out with the reduced rations. The Chipping Sparrow in particular are seeming to bail. Front supposed to pass tonight with a band of rain and a turn of wind to north with dry air.

easternmeadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Mar. 12 ~ More of same. Overcast, gulf flow, humid low 60's for a low, wind has not stopped blowing well out of the south in about 4 days. Blew all day again. Had a migrant Ruby-crowned Kinglet through the yard in the morning. Still a gaggle of Lincoln's Sparrow, but less Chipping and Field, and maybe the White-crowned have departed. There are probably at least a half-dozen Black-chinned Hummers here now. Was town run fun. Have a couple folks there going to nearby bigger city national chain type places that will hopefully have some birdseed they will pickup. At the park did not see the Pied-billed Grebe, only a few Ring-necked Duck left, maybe 4. One Kinglet in the woods. Heard a Green Kingfisher. Little Creek Larry said he had a small group of 8-9 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Little Creek a couple days ago. Those are FOY new returnees.

There was a small spot at the park they messed up IMHO (and the previous park managers opinion), destroying some understory over-dozing last year. The had dozer dude back and finished the patch off. It had Red Turkscap, False Dayflower, and other wildflowers, a few Hackberry trees with vines, Virginia Creeper, it was a great little spot of habitat. It is all dozed and scraped. I had seen a couple dozen Mourning Warbler, Ovenbird, Wood and Gray-cheeked Thrush, Kentucky Warbler, amongst a few hundred small birds in this little patch of habitat, won't have to worry about that happening again. I have never seen so many people so obsessed with dozing understory, and so little understanding or appreciation of what habitat is, or what habitat values are, as I have here. When you live life as a bulldozer, everything needs scraping, and chainsaw man thinks more trees need cutting. They call it improvements. It was a beautiful patch of streamside (river-edge) habitat (you are not supposed to touch) full of life, now it is a bare scrape of ugly, devoid of any life. It was just a thousand square feet or so, but they are chiseling away at the little tiny bit of natural streamside riveredge habitat left, which is not a good sign. My guess is to add another screen shelter, e.g., for money.

Late in day at last seed call I went around looking out windows with bins counting Lincoln's Sparrow. Holy Melospiza sparrowman, there were 18 at once! I bet there were more and I did not see them all. It is the biggest concentration of them I have seen in modern memory. Though once as a kid I saw a big fallout of them, was in March too, 1970 maybe. A place called Agua Calientes in the Borrego Desert in socal. One morning after a rain there were many many dozens, probably over a hundred of them a short strip of a desert wash, as well as a dozen Sora (the rail!). In a bone dry (but lush) desert wash, running around under the Mesquites.

Mar. 11 ~ Low of about 62F, breezy gulf flow and low clouds. The usual. Having to dial back on the seed to make what we have last a few days. Now we have an actual XL existential crisis. You can tell the birds are thinning out already, just from a couple days of a slight reduction in amount spread. Saw another worn pale Monarch, a Pipevine Swallowtai, an Orange Sulphur, and the Elfin. Was too busy at the desk, did not see anything different in birds.

Mar. 10 ~ Low was about 60F, still heavy with the gulf flow and humidity, overcast. Supposed to be another blower gusting up to 30 mph again today. At dawn when tossing seed I heard the male Vermilion Flycatcher sing again over in the corral, this time several times. It has not been in the yard yet best I can tell. On 360 just east of the river I saw my FOS Barn Swallow, two of them. The ripples from the big freeze of Feb. 2021 just keep landing like hot new hits. Now there is a feed supply problem. This includes horse and cow feed, and mixed bird seed! Six weeks maybe they say!?!?!?! I don't have a week of mixed (mostly holy white millet) on hand. OMG! Gets cold for a week and everything goes to prairie pastries.

Out the back west end of 360 there was no Agarita in bloom yet. I see other Mountain Laurels that have dropped leaves (which I have never seen them do here) and no buds or blooms in sight. Sorta looks like the single digits cost us a laurel bloom this year. A couple Redbuds in town have some flowers, don't see any wild ones going yet. In the afternoon Kathy thought she saw a Pepsis Wasp (Tarantula Hawk). I thought I saw a Monarch go by and an hour later a very worn pale one did, which looked much paler than the one I thought I saw earlier, but got a FOY date anyway. Also saw presumably the same Elfin again over by the wet spot. Saw the little orange and black job that has been buzzing by a few days now, it is a Vesta Crescent. A second Eastern Phoebe just showed up, one has been here a few days, singing a little. Like maybe one of the pair survived and is back. It has gone up to the nest. Late in day I finally saw the male Vermilion Flycatcher in the Pecans out front. Great to see that red again. Wish the wind would stop blowing so hard.

Mar. 9 ~ Low in mid-50's F, overcast and humid. Waiting for spring. Besides the ground where green in many places now, everything else still looks like winter. Brown sticks everywhere still for all the Cypress, Mesquite, Hackberry, Pecan, and Persimmon, and all of last years wildflower stems. At dawn I heard just one measure of song from my FOS Vermilion Flycatcher over in the corral. Did not see or hear it again all day. Saw a couple each Black and Turkey Vulture soaring around. Other birds seemed the same in the yard, lots of sparrows and Am. Goldfinch, fair numbers of Siskin, a few Waxwing. Heard the Scrub-Jay. Kathy had 2 Black-chinned Hummingbird at once. A Henry's Elfin came in to a muddy wet spot I made whilst doing other things.

Mostly working on the bracket on the bottom of the martin house to attach it to the pole. I think the box refurbish itself is about done and its ready to go. Need a couple bigger hose clamps for attaching bracketts to the pole it will sit on (going to town tomorrow). Then to get that !^@%*&%! cement anchor with pipe stub out of the 5 gal. bucket I poured it in. Of course it does not want to leave. I have done many 30 pounders (a half-sack of cement) and they popped out fairly easily. Wish I had a walk in freezer to put this in for a few hours. Maybe I should have vegetable-oiled, or hefty-bagged the bucket? If I have to leave the bucket until next winter I will - LOL. Had to collect a handfull of 40 lb. rocks to lean all around it anyway, but then also to hide the dang bucket. Next is goggles, gloves and muriatic acid. Come on down, having blast.

Mar. 8 ~ Overcast, low in mid-40's F, springy. Might have hit 70F in the afternoon, stayed pretty breezy out of SE, with its attendant gulf moisture and clouds. Saw the Clay-colored Sparrow. I would say at least a dozen Lincoln's Sparrow around the yard now. Kathy counted five at once in a brush pile, whilst there were three at the bath at the same time. That was just on north side of house. Still about 60 American Goldfinch, a couple males getting color. Just a few waxwing, and what has to be that same one Robin up top of the big Pecan first thing early. Kathy had the Scrub-Jay at the bath. Another bird we have not seen since the big freeze is Hermit Thrush. We had one at least coming to the bath daily. Neither of us have seen any in a couple weeks at least, since the snow. We presume hopefully that it left. Adult White-crowned was at the bath again, was great to have an adult stick around the yard all winter. Only because of the half dozen big brush-stick piles we make from the constantly shedding Pecan tree branches. The Lincoln's love them too of course.

Mar. 7 ~ We ran about 38-68F for a temp spread, mostly sunny, dry, very nice but too breezy in the morning. Working on things here, have just a bit of time to get too many things done before birds start getting very distracting in the very near future. The Clay-colored Sparrow is still here, nice for it to have stuck, we are at a week now. Best FOY (first of year) was the first snake, a Western Ribbonsnake, about 20" long, a real beauty they are. The rest was the same gang. Nice to hear some birdsong even if in fits and spurts still. The Field Sparrow are going fairly well. Wish the White-crowned Sparrows would sing. A Red-tail is calling as it circles over the nest tree area, have not gone to look to see if mate in tree or whaddup. Did have a Turkey Vulture today. I would guess with that Polar system making it well into Mexico a couple weeks ago that lots of stuff held up on the rush for northbound progress. Late afternoon a flock of a dozen Brown-headed Cowbird dropped down on patio. Spring migrants.

Mar. 6 ~ We ran 50 to 64F or so for a temp spread, but with breezy chilly northerlies. A Lesser Goldfinch is singing quietly now, first of that I have heard. Kathy saw the Savannah and I saw the Clay-colored Sparrow, so both continue at the milletfest, as do 10 Lincoln's, 3 Gambell's White-crowned, a dozen Field, and a hundred plus Chipping. Some Robin and Waxwing. Only seeing one each of Carolina Wren and Eastern Phoebe, both of which troll around and are not pinned down here. Worked on things here including more on the martin house, last (3rd) coat of urethane on now. Went over to golf course pond and there was absolutely nothing there. Or going to and fro. Too windy I guess. Great Horned Owl pair is duetting all around us, and the Barred Owl is calling over at the river. Screech not going right now yet, should be any day.

redwingedblackbird

This is a female Red-winged Blackbird. I suppose you
could say they look sparrowish, but they are twice as
large, and no sparrow is this streaky of underparts. They
are obviously named after the male plumage. That is also
one blurry facing viewer in lower left corner.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Mar. 5 ~ Dropped to low 50's F briefly just before sunup whence it promptly fogged up real good. But which blew out quickly as a front arrived with northerlies. Blew 10-15 mph gusting 20-30 most of the day. Looked the same birds around yard. Saw the Savannah Sparrow still visiting the patio. Loads of Lincoln's. Town run day. Went the back way out the west end of 360 to see if Agarita was blooming yet, a big negative on that. Many live-oaks are in full drop mode and yellow. Biggest thing in town was water going over spillway at the park for the first time in over six months! We are up to normal bankfull. All that snowmelt percolating up-drainage finally pushed us over. The island is an island again. Wow! Lot of new leaves coming up from the Water Lillies already. Mine in the tub pond has some too.

Still 10 or so Ring-necked Duck on the pond, one male American Wigeon was new. The two Pied-billed Grebe continue. One Myrtle Warbler and one Kinglet (Ruby) in the woods was it there. Did have a Turkey Vulture over town, but saw no Blacks coming or going. One Agarita in the garden at park entrance had a few flowers open, but not a natural native situation. The same for a couple Redbud trees at the Library, a few flowers open, but a groomed (watered) non-natural tree. Shirley at the store said a week or two ago she had an Audubon's Oriole at their place between Vanderpool and Lost Maples. She also said someone on the Utopia Facebook Community page posted they had a hummingbird this week. Then about 2 p.m. a FOS (for me) male Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up at our feeder. No Barn Swallow in town yet.

A few Purple Martin were calling high over the park. Think I got the rest of the parts (screws and clamps for mounting) for the martin house. Second coat of urethane on it today, so now after it dries, mount it to the pole. Still have not popped the 70 lb. cement anchor with pipe stub out of the 5 gal. bucket. Been 5 days so the cement should be set, but maybe tomorrow will take it out. Later afternoon I saw 72F on the cool shady front porch. Down in the flatlands Castroville and Del Rio had 80F!

Mar. 4 ~ It was mid-40's F at midnight but 50F by dawn. Almost foggy. The American Goldfinch number I would put at 60 now. They are plowing through some sunflower seed. Pine Siskin were at least 30. The Savannah and the Clay-colored Sparrows were on the patio eating white millet. It has to be 10 Lincoln's Sparrow now around the yard. Every time I looked at the birdbath today there were one or more there. Three at once was great. Still a few Red-wings coming in for millet, 3-4 each males and females. A passing conga line of 7 Black Vulture is the most I have seen in almost two weeks. Heard the Red-tailed Hawk over the nest tree area. Imm. fem. Sharpy flushed everything a time or two. The 3 White-crowned Sparrow continue. A flock of 18 Sandhill Crane was northbound at noon. Saw the little orange and black either Vesta Crescent or Elada Checkerspot again today. Leaning Elada based on flight pattern. Lottsa green sprouty sprouts sprouting. Our best Laurel continues dropping leaves and does not look good. I wonder if something underground got the roots? Saw my FOS spider in the garden, but no ID idea past that.

Mar. 3 ~ Was right about freezing this morning, but I saw 72 on the cool front porch in the afternoon, might have been 75F in the sun. It was great, dry. But had to work at desk all day. Still checking the feeder but no hummer. The Clay-colored Sparrow continued. Kathy saw the Savannah Sparrow at the bath again. There were 8 Lincoln's Sparrow, and a dozen Field Sparrow, a couple White-crowned. 20 Siskin, 50 Am. Goldfinch, some Robin and Waxwing, one Caracara, one Eastern Phoebe and one Carolina Wren, no vultures. Noonish a flock of 30 Sandhill Crane flew over northbound on strong tailwinds. The ground is sure getting green fast. Saw a pale morph female Orange Sulphur butterfly. One other butterfly got away, it was either a Vesta Crescent or an Elada Checkerspot, which apparently had somewhere else to be. Sylvia Hilbig reported her FOS Vermilion Flycatcher today, a male, presumably their local breeder there arriving back on territory.

Mar. 2 ~ Low about 35F or so, sunny and dry. Nice. The big news was that neither Kathy nor I saw or heard the Anna's Hummingbird today. She must have left yesterday afternoon, was here in the morn yesterday. So Feb. 5 to March 1 were her stay dates. Three and a half weeks. Amazing. She is heading west, with tales of snow, sub-zero chills, and single digit cold. And a dummy with a snow shovel in south Texas, that would come out and change the feeder every hour for days on end no matter how cold. It was great to have her here. What a first winter she had! Bon voyage!

The Clay-colored Sparrow continued, as did a gaggle of Lincoln's Sparrow (at least 6). Late afternoon I was in the cottage working on the martin house and the Clay-colored hopped on the patio right outside the door about 6' away! In the morning Kathy spotted a Savannah Sparrow at the birdbath. Might be a first there. Clearly a passage transient here in the yard. Sparrows are on the move. With the White-crowned, Field and Chippy, it made for six species of sparrow in the yard today. Not bad. Saw a first year male Lesser Goldfinch at the bath, it is a new arrival. A couple butterflies came out in the 63F heat, one a fresh male So. Dogface. Way better was the first Henry's Elfin of the year! A real harbinger of spring so always great to see.

March 1 ~ Well even if this month comes in like a lion, it will be more tranquil than last month. Was just a baby lion this morning. A front came through yesterday late afternoon and evening, but the rain, wind, and colder air came in overnight. Low was 45F, 15-20 mph northerlies gusting 25, and we got about a third of an inch of precip. Was one good downpour of a cell pre-dawn. Today marks the beginning of meteorological spring, which is March through May. Of course astronomical spring starts March 20 on the equinox.

Kathy saw the hummer. I heard the Scrub-Jay. At least 50 Am. Goldfinch, but found one dead, first of that I have seen. It was not long after an accipiter flushing event, whence everything explodes outta here, it may have struck something. Great was in the late afternoon going through the Chippies as if I haven't yet seen them all, after months of doing this, and BAM! A Clay-colored Sparrow! I have never seen one in winter up here on the plateau, only down in the brush country. My early dates are typically March 21 or 22, so this is three weeks earlier than the earliest, or it wintered locally undetected until now. Got a fuzzy through-the-window pic, looked like a first spring bird. I would bet on it being an extremely (record) early migrant. There were a couple nights of strong southerlies. During snow week I thoroughly scrutinized the Spizella here since their numbers exploded and they were often confined to small snow-shovel cleared strips. It was not present, nor was a Tree or Brewer's.


~ ~
~ ~ ~ February summary ~ ~ ~

What a month it was. Record cold, and most snow since 1985, probably 10" of snow in two events a few days apart. Sub-zero chill factors and single digit temps. Power outages, DSL outages, gas and food supply disruptions, we got it all. I would estimate about 2.25" of precip for the month converting the snow to rain, roughly. Which is great for normally dryer February.

Butterflies were all but absent most of the month, as expected when cold and wet. Might have been 5 species total, and just a few more individuals. No odes, many years we get the first fresh new emergences in later Feb., this year it was too cold. Were some Anole and E. Fence Lizard out on warm days. The non-avian highlight of the month was the Spotted Skunk in the shed again.

Birds were good despite being cooped up most of the month. Three new yard birds in a month at this point is between amazing and incredible. First was the Anna's Hummingbird which was here Feb. 5 through March 1. Then a Prairie Falcon which was IN the big pecan on the 13th was past outstanding and near mind-blowing. Finally during the snow on the 18th a male Yellow-headed Blackbird on patio is my first local winter record. In the snow. A couple Lincoln's Sparrow at the end of month give a new early date for spring arrivals. The wintering Vermilion Flycatcher was seen at the park dam in the freeze, and prior at the golf course pond by the Waresville Cmty. The flock of Pintail continued on Little Creek, and fair numbers of Ring-necked Duck showed up. At least two Green Jay continued, being heard near the park early in month, and seen in our yard late in month so they made it through the snow and single digits! It was few things in quantity, but extremely high in quality. Looks 80 sps. for me this month, which is mostly from the yard, a few at the park, and one look at Little Creek. Of course another dozen and more were around if you were trying to cover it.

~ ~ ~ end of Feb. summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ archive copy of Feb. update header ~ ~

February! Only a month to Golden-cheeks! Saw a WHITE-THROATED Sparrow Feb. 2, which I had heard earlier, they are scarce here. On Feb. 5 there was a FOS migrant hummingbird (female) at a feeder but it is un-ID'd, so far. There were at least a couple calling GREEN JAY up and across river from the park the 5th. There is a report of CINNAMON Teal on Little Creek, the Pintail continue there too. A Verdin was noted on Feb. 5, another on the 7th was a second one. Update: the hummingbird is an ANNA'S, which is a rary here, and still present on the 26th. A FOS spring returning Turkey Vulture showed Feb. 9, two were together on the 10th. A major severe cold event began Feb. 11 and will last most of a week. Amazing was a PRAIRIE FALCON in our big Pecan on the 13th. Overnight on the 14-15th we got about 4-5" of SNOW (!) and record-breaking cold (5F!) in the morning. Southbound Sandhill Cranes were noted Feb. 15. On Feb. 18 we got 4-5" or more snow, and a male Yellow-headed Blackbird! Looking around after the big freeze of Feb. 2021, a 10 day event, there seems to be a great dearth of Carolina Wren, Black Vulture, and Eastern Phoebe. Two or three GREEN JAY were in our yard Feb. 23. Right on historical returnee time was a male Lesser Goldfinch on Feb. 25. A FOS Lincoln's Sparrow was in yard Feb. 26, there were two on the 28th. Also heard FOS northbound Sandhill Crane the 26th. A FOS Purple Martin called northbound high up on Feb. 28.

~ ~ end archive copy of Feb. update header ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~ ~

Feb. 28 ~ Was about 65F all night, drizzle, mist-fog, you know the thing. Might have hit 72F peak heat, but barely any sun. Got about .10 of precip to add to the total. I would say the last few days have totalled a half-inch. Which is great. One of the best Mountain Laurels we have is shedding green leaves like I have never seen. It looked like they froze, and now are falling. Hope it is OK. Saw Anna the hummer and Scrub the Jay, Robin and Waxwing, Siskin, lots of Am. Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrow, and now there are two Linclon's Sparrow in yard. Spring migrants! Passage transients. Even better in late afternoon was a FOS Purple Martin calling high overhead moving north upvalley. While I was working on rehabilitating an old martin house...

Running late on it, but been too cold to do it. It has never been up here, is 35 years old, wood, small four-holer, needs new varnish, screws, silicone, sanding, added a new bottom for strength in the wind, some perches, all of sorts of little things. Marble floors and granite counter tops. Worked on it hours yesterday and today, hoping it might be ready in a week or so. It was up for one year in 1986, over near SAT, neighbor said I was trying to steal his martins. I am not kidding, it was suggested I was a martin rustler. They never went to the house. Might not here either, but I never was the type to give up easily. Poured the 70 lb. concrete anchor and set the vertical pipe stub in it, besides work on the box itself. That snow and freeze set me back a week on some of this spring stuff. Supposed to be in the garden too. Heard the Barred Owl late.

Feb. 27 ~ Low was about 58, more drizzle and mist, even light shower briefly, and another .15-.20 of precip. Great for the green sprouty things on the ground. Overcast and in the 60's most of the day, but hit 70F in the afternoon when the sun sorta poked out for a few moments. Anna the hummer and Scrub the Jay were both here. Saw two Black Vulture and 1 Turkey Vulture. The rest was the same gang. neither Carolina Wrens or Eastern Phoebe was around supporting the idea they are not the local residents that briefly left and came back. Saw an Orange Sulphur butterfly in the heat of the day.

Best bird was a skunk. I was in the shed out back looking for wood screws. It is 8' x 12', steel, plywood floor with a couple holes in that which might be 2" and change. I try to keep them blocked mostly to no avail. I heard something behind me that sounded larger than the usual Cotton Rat (Sigmodon) or White-footed Mouse. Turned around and a three feet away looking at me, surprised as I, was a Spotted Skunk! After seeing Striped somewhat regularly, these seem like they would fit in your hand. What a stunningly beautiful animal! Of course I was doing some calculus about how far the door was, what part of a second would be needed to jump throuh it, and how jumpy and what kind of spray hair-trigger do these Spotties have? How much tomato juice and apple cider vinegar do we have on hand? I slowly backed away toward the door, as if it were a Mountain Lion, like John Belushi in the movie Continental Divide. It was yes sir Mr. Skunk take anything you want, to me. I don't care how small it is, I know they have a different kind of stink, unique to only them among our 4 skunks, and I did not want that much of a life experience, right then anyway, I was busy. Ran for camera. Got back and heard it still moving around all the boxes which are stacked and line all the walls and shelves. It is a mess o'boxes. It was in a near corner with a bunch of junk and out runs a Cotton Rat. That is what it is hunting in there! He is welcome as can be! When he came out of the pile I got a pic or two before he disappeared, on the trail of Sigmodon. It is not the first time I found it in there, and have never smelled a thing. I sometimes smell the Striped Skunk that lives under the cottage, after it had to spray something. I can't believe the little hole this Spotted is getting through, or how awesome it is to be three feet from it in daylight.


spottedskunk

This has to be my best looking dependent, a Spotted Skunk.
It was in shed hunting a Cotton Rat (Sigmodon) I saw sneak
away as it closed in. It lives here somewhere, we never
smell it, only ever smell the Striped Skunk, and that rarely.

spottedskunk

Look at those long claws. That is how it grabs prey
and climbs trees. I suspect it is what we hear climbing
around boxes on a shelf unit in the carport, hunting vermin.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 26 ~ Drizzled all night and flatlined at 60F. By dawn it was about .2 of precip. Stayed the same all day but without the drizzle or mist. Town run, they had food and I got a little gas. As if that wasn't enough, Rosie was there so some tacos made the return trip with me. Some Killdeer were in the pasture just east of the river on 360. On county line road (UvCo 356) there was a flock of about 35 Eastern Meadowlark, and one Audubon's Warbler in the Hackberry row. At the park there were 9 Ring-necked Duck, and a Pied-billed Grebe on the pond. In the woods the large dark soaring objects had just lifted off, there were now 3 Turkey Vulture and the one Zone-tailed Hawk just over treetops circling to gain altitude. The Zoney DOVE at one of the TV's which had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid being struck! I do not recall ever seeing such an interaction. No small stuff in the woods, and NO Black Vulture. Incredible. After thinking I might have heard one yesterday afternoon, this afternoon late I heard then saw, my FOS Lincoln's Sparrow. A passage spring migrant! Yesterday's FOS Lesser Goldfinch is a returning breeder, not a passage transient. Saw Mocker and Anna the hummer, Kathy had a Scrub-Jay. Heard only FOS northbound Sandhill Crane today.

Feb. 25 ~ Flatlined at 60 all night, overcast and humid. Springish, but no warmup today. Sure nice to not be fighting the cold, with water, electricity and the intertubes. Benign is fine. Soared up to about 64F in the overcast afternoon. Heard one Carolina Wren trolling about briefly in the morn, and then late afternoon a second bird was around. They did not seem to be acting like the house pair. It all seems like it is new to them. Later heard the Scrub-Jay, saw Anna the hummer, a few Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbird still coming in, a couple Brown-headed Cowbird. Maybe a hundred Chipping Sparrow, still 50 American Goldfinch, 8 or more Field Sparrow. Saw the Orange-crowned Warbler at the birdbath, and maybe my first ever ad.ma. Red-winged Blackbird at it.

New was an adult male Lesser Goldfinch. This is exactly on time for the first spring returnees historically. Last week of February was usually when the first ones return. Rarely earlier, but the biggest cluster of arrival dates is last week of Feb. We don't know that the few that winter at thistle socks locally are the local breeders, they may well be from elsewhere. Even IF they are local birds, then still about 99.999 percent of our breeders depart for the winter. Great to see them back. I just love it when a data dot or duck falls right in the row perfectly.

Feb. 24 ~ We flatlined at 60F all night. Overcast, the gulf flow is back. Today is the big warmup before the next frontal passage (dry) this afternoon. It got to 84F, at least, in the afternoon! Anna the hummer was out there before 7 a.m., and later. A few Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbird around. Mid-morn a Scrub-Jay was quietly gathering a gullet of sunflower seeds along the back fence where I toss. Later Kathy spotted it at the birdbath. Finally heard single Eastern Phoebe and Carolina Wren! I doubt they are the ones that were resident here. Both are trolling around the yard acting like they have never been here before, not long-term residents that know the place. Neither stuck too long. Saw the male Eastern Bluebird on the gate nestbox, presume a female was around or inside it. They are scouting boxes already. So are Titmouse and Chickadee. Saw two Black Vulture finally, but the skies are for the most part, essentially vulture free here now. What are we going to do with all the roadkill? Todd's Roadkill Cafe in Leakey closed a long time ago. Best guess is that name was scientifically formulated after much focus-group research which determined it to be what would most effectively keep the tourists away, and attract the locals, in one word.

Feb. 23 ~ Low maybe 35F or so briefly, chilly but no freeze. The Anna's Hummer was out there before 7 a.m. on the feeder. About 10:30-11: at least two (and maybe three) Green Jay were in the yard! One went to the sunflower feeder and got seeds! One was making a very loud cat meow call, much like the hawk alarm mimic call, but clearly different. One came back later for more sunflower seeds. Great to see at least a couple made it through the big freeze. Pretty tough for a semi-tropical species. Bet they never saw anything like that snow and cold before. There were a couple days with sub-zero chill factors and single digit temps, and a few days with snow covered ground. Consider that it was possible if one were in the right place to have gotten photos of Green Jay in the snow. In the afternoon the Scrub-Jay came by briefly. Nearest Blue Jay I know of are in town and at park.

Feb. 22 ~ Low was about 34F or so, chilly but no freeze. Which is a big win, and none are on the ten-day forecast. Spring will spring now. It got up to 70F or so in the peak afternoon heat. Still no Vultures, Phoebe, or Carolina Wren. They were all lost in the event. Normally I can hear a few other pairs of Carolina Wren countersinging with our yard birds. Dead silence out there now, and I do mean dead. It is eerie. Holy longhorn. The Anna's Hummer is still here though. I ran to town late afternoon to pickup at the post office since a truck finally got here. The gas station is selling emergency rations of gas only still. Store still does not have milk or creamer. Went to the park to see how many Black Vultures were on the roost tree. NONE! At 5 p.m. this is unprecedented. They are gone folks. We lost 'em. There should be a hundred plus there. ZERO! One Turkey Vulture flew out of a Cypress, which is likely a new arrival in the last couple days as none wintered. Our just-arrived pair at the house is MIA. The Zone-tailed Hawk flew in looking to roost just before 5 p.m. so it made it. There was one Kinglet (Ruby), two Myrtle Warbler, and NOT ONE Phoebe. Should have been a handful. There was a good Mayfly hatch going, and NO Phoebe! I think a lot of them were lost. I did hear two Carolina Wren though which was nice since ours at the house are gone. A dozen Ring-necked Duck were on the pond. It is a different birdscape out there since the big freeze. Kathy mentioned here at the casita there are a lot less Cardinal out there than a week ago. After dark heard the Barred Owl for the first time in a while, over along the river.

Feb. 21 ~ Low was in the mid-40's F after midnight, but a couple hours before dawn it went up to 50F, about 30dF warmer than yesterday morn. Sure feels great to not be freezing. Have to peel the layers off the windows. The Red-wings are not around, just a few Brown-headed Cowbird. Still 50+ American Goldfinch though. Chippies have dialed back to half the freeze peak numbers. About a hundred each Robin and Waxwing in the morning and again in the afternoon, had to refill the bath a couple times. I saw the Anna's Hummingbird a couple times in the morning. It got up to 72F in the afternoon! First warm day, and warmest in 12 days at least. No Turkey Vulture, hardly a Black Vulture (1?), I am thinking they both took a major hit in this. Also we did not see or hear our Carolina Wren pair here today. Which is impossible. I saw them Friday for sure, but not sure about yesterday, and certainly not today. It appears we have lost them. Looking for the phoebe pair too, did not hear them either today. Did hear an Eastern Bluebird. I saw two reports in Texas of 6 and 7 dead male Eastern Bluebird all together in two seperate boxes. Too many days without food or being able to forage, in too much cold.

Feb 20 ~ Another hard freeze at 18F this morning, and all was covered in thick frost. I ran to town in that at 8 a.m., since a supply truck got here at dawn with bread, eggs, produce, and other stuff, but still no milk. Hopefully they will get another delivery later in the upcoming week. Scanned the park pond, about 20 Ring-necked Duck on it was it. Little Creek Larry said he forgot to mention this week for a couple days during the worst cold a male Vermilion Flycatcher was on the dam as Phoebe (Eastern) often is. I suspect it is the same male that was wintering at the pond on the golf course (a mile south), and had to move and work the river in the big freeze.

On the way home on 360 by the former Utopia on the River, there were a dozen Lark Sparrow. The only ones I have seen all winter. They could be returning spring migrants. Larry just recently mentioned he had a few. The Anna's Hummingbird made another night in the teens. We sweat it out every morning until we see it. There have been lots of stories on the intertubes of people across Texas that lost their wintering hummingbirds during this freeze event. Was nice to not have to be swapping out feeders in the snow or cold. Only a couple dozen Red-wings, half the peak number when the Yellow-headed was here, and no sign of it. It is with the other couple dozen. About 10 Brown-headed Cowbird. All 3 orange-billed gray-lored western type (probably Gambell's) White-crowned Sparrow continue. Great to hear Red-winged Blackbird singing out there much of the day. Sounds like spring!

I may have forgotten to mention (for obvious reasons) in the peak cold there was a Eurasian Collared-Dove out back on the seed briefly, on a couple days. Thanks for the condolences. Did have a Caracara today, but did not see the two Turkey Vulture that showed up the day before the major freeze, ice and snow event began. They had about 9 days they could not get up, out, and fly. Can they live that long without food when they are having to burn way more than the usual amount of energy trying to stay thermal? I doubt it, and expect they succumbed. It was 58F here in the afternoon with southerlies, they should have been up and out looking for roadkill, and hanging out overhead later in the afternoon, like they were the day before the big freeze hit. Way fewer Black Vulture out there too now, only saw one small group along road between here and town, only a couple over house all day.

So we made 10 days of this major cold and deep-freeze event. It appears we are headed back to more seasonal temps for the rest of the month. That was brutal. None can say it was a mild winter here this year. No one under 35 had ever seen snow or cold here like we had this week. Little Creek Larry said since 1985 for the snow. Which he estimated at 10" for the event. He is pretty good about that sort of thing. As he said it was melting all the time as it was snowing. His gauge had 1.25" of water in it after it all melted. So it surely could have been 10" of snow. This was a remarkable historic event. The likes of which hopefully we won't see again for some time, or ever.

greenjay

Green Jay head crop. We had at least two in the yard
again this week, meaning they were in the snow last week!


yellowheadedblackbird

We have not seen the Yellow-headed Blackbird again
since in the snow last Thursday Feb. 18.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb 19 ~ A chilly 14F for a low. It was a cold morning, but finally it warmed up in the afternoon to about 50F! Most of the snow melted. Did not see the Red-wing flock, only a few, and no Yellow-headed. Saw the Anna's Hummingbird and Downy Woodpecker, the rest looked the same. But I saw both imm. White-crowned Sparrows well finally, and like the adult here, they are orange-billed and gray-lored. They too are probably Gambell's (western) type like the adult.

The internet remains down here if on DSL, they hope to have it back up 11 p.m. tonight! Went to town and got lots of horror stories but very few supplies. No mail truck has arrived this week, the gas station was just a station all week, they were getting some gas today. The store is out of most staples like milk, bread, eggs, butter, fresh vegetables, and so on. All this because it got cold in Texas. I heard some say not to bother trying at the nearest HEB stores, they too are out of most of the basics as well.

Looked at the park but I didn't walk the woods at the park as it was muddy with melting snow, but there were 62 Ring-necked Duck on the pond, most I have ever seen at once there. Open water must have frozen somewhere up north. Little Creek Larry said there were more than 60 Ring-necks out there yesterday. He also said the creek froze, and all the ducks there left for a couple days but mostly seem to be back. Hummer was tanking up late.

Feb. 18 ~ In the low 20's F, about 24, and shortly after dawn it started snowing again. By afternoon it looked like 3 inches but was probably more like four as it was melting quite a bit the first couple hours. Flatlined at 25F all day. Birds are thick on the seed. Astounding was my first winter record of a Yellow-headed Blackbird here, in with now 45 Red-winged Blackbird! They are accidental on the plateau in the winter. It was a beautiful male, and got shots, which I froze for. New for the yard list too! Got a count of 12 male Cardinal at once, 27 Mourning and 25 White-winged Dove. It is over 200 Chipping Sparrow here now, maybe 225. Anna's Hummer still here, we are swapping out the feeder every 90 minutes or so. Saw both the ad. and an imm. White-crowned Sparrow. The dark ad. is an orange-billed gray-lored type, probably a (western) Gambell's, not our default standard pink-billed black-lored (eastern) leucophrys. The Brewer's Blackbird flock was 45 and at least half of them came down to the patio edge for seed late in day, which they never do. Red-wings have no aversion to the patio, the Brewer's, never come down to it. Three species of blackbird in a day here is good. If only I could have seen the Rusty. They are really jumpy and hard to work.

The power was on all day though was off some overnight last night. Pipes didn't re-freeze, so we have heat and hot water. The DSL is down, the phone company is not answering, they are in Rocksprings. Welcome to Texastan. The energy state. We did not break freezing after briefly doing so in a big way yesterday. We are now at 7 days of the last 8, at or below freezing, which constitutes a major deep freeze a way down south here below 30N. Nearing 6 p.m. the snow has tapered off and I think it is about 4" for today. There are horizontal branches that were clear yesterday afternoon now with at least 3" on them. Yesterday when I saw Calvin he said he had 4" not far from here from the first event. I would say then probably 7-8" for two events, Monday and Thursday, at minimum. Lots melted each time as it began because the ground was warm. It is likely the most snow here since 1985, over 35 years. Now though, we can not tell what is supposed to happen next weatherwise without the DSL. Was to be very cold tomorrow morning again.

Feb. 17 ~ Stayed right around freezing all night, there were a couple 2 FOOT icicles! Almost all the snow melted in the afternoon when it warmed up to about 50F briefly! Finally some heat, outside the house at least! The water lines thawed finally. So there is hot tap water again, when power. Power was off and on all day here in the banana Republic of Texastan. The afternoon it was mostly on, but the constant improper shutdowns on the computer are not a good thing. Can barely work, answer emails, or do business. It is past ridiculous. Didn't see anything different in birds, all the same stuff, but more Chippies, and more Red-wings have collected. Downy Woodpecker and Anna's Hummingbird still here. Heard the Scrub-Jay out back a bit, thought I heard it yesterday too but was just once. Myrtle Warbler still eating seed. Another winter weather event inbound for tomorrow. More power outages in evening. There was a blown pipe (making a nice fountain behind the cottage) that feeds some troughs over in the corral so I had to call to get ranch maintenence to come out and fix it. They had more to do after fixing this one...

Feb. 16 ~ Day 6 of the big freeze. It was a smokin' 14F at 7 a.m., but was in single digits during the overnight. KERV had a 5F at 2:30 a.m., we were likely near that. Up to 22F here at 10 a.m., pipes (wellhouse?) still frozen, at least we have stored emergency water and snow for more, plus power and heat. Lots of Texas is in a big hurt this morning with none of the above. At noon I saw 27F on the front porch, and some bodacious icicles. Heard the pair of Eastern Bluebird out by their usual box. Hummer here of course, nothing moving in this. Saw the dark ad. White-crowned Sparrow and the Orange-crowned Warbler. White-winged Dove are getting the purple mauve on their necks now.

Spent the afternoon and night with rolling blackouts. Lovely. Begging the question as to why the Texas electricty distribution management org has the word *reliability* in their name. I don't think it means what they think it means. This same thing happened in the 1989 polar air event, AND on the 2011 (DFW) Super Bowl day. This is the third time, recently. Feds and others both prior times told the state they needed to winterize the power plants. Nothing happened but millions in exec pay and lobbying for their monopolies, and deregulation. Texas in order to be unregulated required them disconnecting from the federal Western Grid, so they could not get power from it now when we needed it. An oh yeah, this is the energy state, where when it gets real cold no one has any power or heat, and it is the windmills fault. Offline was 16 GW of renewable and 30 GW of thermal (nuke, coal, gas). About 75 of 675 power plants in the state were offline. During the polar freeze. Makes sense. About 10 percent of plants, roughly the amount of power the state was short. Despite having something called the electricity reliability council. Some are saying when the brownouts started Monday it was within minutes of a major meltdown that would have taken out the grid for months. Now there is some reliability.

Feb. 15 ~ Day 5 of the big freeze of Feb. 2021. We woke up to at least 3.5" (maybe 4) of SNOW (!) and a sizzling 5F! Blinking clocks and frozen pipes, which is probably out at the wellhouse. A drip was going, was being the key word. At least we have heat and electricity! It went out quickly a few times overnight. There has been nothing like this in 18 years we have been here. There was an Arctic cold event in 1989 but it was after we left San Antonio and Texas that year. Then there was a big snow in 1985 (SAT had a foot, 18" in Utopia). The SAT record low for today was 16F, they had 9F this morning, KERV was 5F like us here. Was a good bit of melt in the heat of the day in the upper 20's F.

Amazingly, I got to use my SNOW SHOVEL! It is from New Jersey, a 1982 vintage, it was made in America before the crapification and is real deal steel. I should be shoveling in town today for extra dough.  LOL   Probably the only one in the whole valley. Most of them have never seen such an implement, and they have almost every implement known to man here. Had to clear areas to toss seed on the patio, made a path to the back and cleared spots out there for seed, a path to the cottage, the stone step walkways, and out to the driveway. The job sure is easier with the right tool. We can get around the house, to cottage, and seeding, without tracking snow in now.

Hummer was out there at dawn when I was being a shoveler. The hummer feeder lasted about 90 minutes before the fluid was icing up. Doing the swap with one inside the house, all day. In the afternoon I saw 28F on the cool shady front porch, was probably 30F on the sunny south side. The wind was still over 10 mph so it didn't feel very warm. KERV was 22 and Hondo 30F. The Downy Woodpecker was going to ground getting sunflower seeds just like the Ladder-back and Golden-front have been. They also learn by watching. It was packed with birds on the seed all day here, and I shoveled lots of that too. About 3:30 we lost the sun and the melting slowed way down. Got a 200 count on the Chipping Sparrow late afternoon! At least 30 for the Red-winged Blackbird count. Saw the Orange-crowned Warbler grabbing some white millet. I have never seen so much snow and cold without a junco to be found. Two species of warbler are here, but no junco, in the snow. Saw both ad. and imm., female Cooper's Hawk make passes at the seedeaters.

I took a bunch of pics, just to have evidence to look at next July and August. I took a few generic shots to show all the birds in the cleared areas where seeded. Kathy was outside on the front porch about 5 p.m. and heard cranes, I got out there quickly enough to tell they were going south. Wonder where they left from this morning? Hummer was out there camped on feeder at 6 p.m. for last fill-up. Late p.m. saw the dark ad. White-crowned Sparrow.

Feb 14 ~ Day 4 of the big freeze of Feb. 2021. About 25F for a low, and some patches of ice on the ground from the mist which is freezing and then building up. The Hummer is on the feeder, which we brought in overnight. Did I say the low was 25F? Turns out it was the high. By afternoon it was 22 and dropping. Never did warm up. With the wind on it feels the teens. The birds were all the same gang. The historical cold event peaks the next two mornings in single digits and tonight we are supposed to get snow. It is brutal out there and getting worse before it gets better. Been shoveling seed all day. Three days had been the limit for freeze events for the last 18 years we have been here. This one is now looking like it will be 7 days where only once for a few hours was it over freezing (Friday the 12th). Had to quick thaw hummer feeders at 5 p.m. when it was 18F, they were slushy. At that time Winds were N 15- gusting to 25 mph, chills were in the single digits. Counted 10 male Cardinal at once, and got a 150 count on the Chipping Sparrow. Now with the cold they all show up. The Red-wings were around in the afternoon, heard a few Robin and Waxwing. Saw the Myrtle Warbler grabbing some white millet seed. Worked on cold-proofing some things better, expecially in the cottage where marine aquaria. Guess I got all my good birds for the weekend yesterday. Now I am just trying to keep a hummer alive, and pipes from bursting. At 8 p.m. I saw 14F on the front porch, and wind chills then had to be about zero. There was some frozen rain and sleet, which should turn to snow shortly. Junction and Rock Springs are sub-zero chill factors aleady this evening. By 10 p.m. there was 1.5" of snow on the ground and it was coming down moderately, local WU stations were reading 9-11F, wind was 10-15 gusting 20-25 mph..

Feb. 13 ~ Low was 25F, some mist, we won't see 32F today. Saw the hummer a few times in the morning. Best was before 10 a.m. when I went to put a second shovel of seed out. The birds had all just flushed so I figured a good chance. When I got out back tossing I heard a Titmouse alarm call, looked up and saw a PRAIRIE FALCON jumping out of the top of the big Pecan! That is what flushed the doves and all a couple minutes earlier! It lazily flew north low over the draw, and was likely going back down shortly. First one in the yard, and whaddabird for my Pecan tree list! Gotta say if I hadn't seen a couple hundred of them I would not have instantly recognized it. No substitute for experience with the animal.

Less than an hour later I walked out of the cottage and a Loggerhead Shrike was on a (original juniper) clothesline pole (that the wire the birdfeeders hang on is connected to). Right at the corner of the patio! Looking for a Chippy. First Shrike on the patio. Only had one IN the yard once before, have heard a few over toward the airstrip. It flew and landed in the lowest branches of the big Pecan. BAM! On my Pecan tree list. Two new ones in an hour! With almost 3000 days straight of watching this tree. Ten thousand hours looking in this tree, and now, leafless, I see two species in an hour that I have never seen in it. Amazing how fast one can go from "well I have been looking for ten thousand hours and never saw one of those here", to "oh yeah, sure, got it". It never did break freezing, was misting on and off, and getting colder and breezier.

yardsnow

This is the yard Feb. 15. Update: after melting the
17th, another round of same hit on the 18th. Each
event was about 5", biggest snow here since 1985.

yellowheadedblackbird

This is the male Yellow-headed Blackbird in the snow on Feb. 18.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 12 ~ Low about 30F, briefly misted, feels like winter. A little more precip overnight, probably safe to say .75 (of an inch) for the event. The Red-winged Blackbird flock was down on the seed, 27 I counted, about 12 were male. Little Creek Larry said he got an inch of rain from the event. Also said there was a nice flock of Ring-necked Duck on Little Creek yesterday. He also heard there was a half inch of ice up on top of the plateau, just above Lost Maples yesterday. There was a pair of Ring-necked Duck on the pond at the park, and the one Pied-billed Grebe, which actually called, something I do not hear often here. I did not walk the woods though. Rosie was closed, presumably the bad weather, so no tacos today. Hope I survive. By 1 p.m. it was over freezing, maybe 35F or so, and misting lightly. Just after 4 p.m. finally I saw the Anna's Hummingbird today. Some Chipping Sparrow are getting very rusty of crown.

Feb. 11 ~ Low just over freezing, about 34F, with some mist and drizzle, winter rears its cold head again. We are in for nearly a week of very cold temps, for here, they say peak will be the coldest in at least several years here. Mon. and Tues. lows are forecast to be single digits! Arctic air. Four or five days straight of highs in the 30's F or lower. Three is the most I have seen in the last 18 years here, a few times. Looks like I will be shoveling bird seed for the next week, and hunkering down inside near the heaters. The drizzle was nearing a half-inch by about 1 p.m., and we were flat-lining at 33F, so, at least it is not ice. Just north of us up on top of the plateau above Lost Maples it is ice all over. From way west of Junction to KERV and Austin. The wind is off and on breezy, so feels below freezing out there in the wet. Was a bit of thunder occasionally as well. More weather for your money. I would love a nice thundersnow. At dark it was about 15mm of precip total over the day.

The blackbird flock was in the big Pecan first thing, a bunch of Red-wings singing, right out in the breeze in a cold rain. Thrilled. Lots of birds on the seed. Kathy said at least a hundred Chipping Sparrow. Remember, it is easier to trust the count of another than to count them yourself. It was about 40 some Siskin and 50 Am. Goldfinch, 20 each House Finch, and Cardinal. About 8 each of Field Sparrow and Black-crested Titmouse, and 4 Carolina Chickadee, a few each Bewick's and Carolina Wren, lots of White-winged and Mourning Dove. Saw the icterids down on the patio and under Mulberry in the afternoon. So did some counting myself. There were 11 Brown-headed Cowbird (3 male, 8 female), and 25 Red-winged Blackbird (12 male and 13 female). Highest count of either sps. all winter for me here. February is when we see their numbers go up and I suspect it is spring arrivals. Kathy saw the hummer on the back feeder, which is a bit more sheltered than the one on the front porch.

Feb. 10 ~ Flatlined in upper 50's F all night, and day. A cold front is just pushing in under the warm moist air aloft, and so winter is back. It was all springy yesterday afternoon. The blackbird flock (125+ Brewer's, some Red-wings) was over in the corral but I had too much work to do to work them. Nice to hear some Red-wings singing though. Saw the hummer in the morning, hope it is packing the pounds on for this next cold spell. Next Mon. and Tues. morns they are talking major cold with a couple lows in the 20's F prior to those Not good hummer weather. Caracara and Raven made passes. Heard the Ring King over at the river. In the later afternoon there were TWO Turkey Vulture together, working the area low like the local breeders. Very cool to see them back. Kathy spotted a very dark adult White-crowned Sparrow at the last seed eating feeding frenzy. Maybe it is dirty, the white stripes were not clean, the whole bird looked dirty. The pair of Eastern Phoebe were singing together in the treetops today.

Feb. 9 ~ Another fog-mist morning, balmy at 60F or so. We have a major blast of winter with some very serious cold heading down in a few days. Will enjoy the mild gray in the meanwhile. Must have been some accipiters lurking in the shadows, much of the day the birds were not out there. Kathy saw the hummer late in the day, about 5 p.m., finally, otherwise would have missed it today. At least it is getting to put some calories on before the big freeze hits. They are talking one of those 48 hr. spells without breaking freezing this coming Sunday to Tuesday, with lows in the teens. Got up to about 76F here in the afternoon. Tomorrow will be about 20F cooler. What looked the female Red-tailed Hawk was soaring over the nest tree area in the afternoon. Great was a FOS Turkey Vulture in the afternoon working low over the corral. Surely one of our local returning breeders. Most common arrival date the first 10-12 years I was here was Valentine's Day, but they have been returning earlier, as spring, the last few to several years. Methinks these will soon regret it this year.

Feb. 8 ~ Overcast, almost fog, low about 50F. Early saw the hummer perched in top of the Mulberry, as if on station, which is great to see. It has been flying way away across road so maybe it will become photogenic in good light yet. I am sure it is an ANNA'S Hummingbird. Which is a great bird here, far less than annual here, and the first one here at this place (8 years and ten thousand hummers here). We had at least 3 at Seco Ridge in 8 years. Judy Schaeffer in town had a couple one of those same invasion years, including one that stuck the winter. This fall and winter was a big year for them in the east half of Texas, maybe the fires out west pushed more thisaway. But most showed up a month or two ago. Showing up in early Feb. is not the usual program with them. I can't even guess which way it is going. But for now it is not going anywhere in this inclement mess...

There was a flock of 125 blackbirds in the corral, most were Brewer's but 10 Red-winged in with them were about half each male and female. Did not spot the Rusty before they bolted. They are ginchy too. I heard a Hutton's Vireo singing over along the north fence in the Junipers. Which are really spewing pollen now. Some male trees are orange. Kathy saw the Downy Woodpecker by the sunflower feeder, it must be watching the Ladder-back and Golden-fronts. Late about 6 p.m. I saw the hummer on the back (office) feeder for the first time. Which is great. Saw what looked a pair of Raven (Common) ejecting another pair of Raven from the area.

Feb. 7 ~ Low was 30F, maybe it got a dF colder, I wasn't hanging around watching it. After lots of looking, about 10:30 the hummer was at the feeder briefly. Got another bad light shot, but had only camera so no study, until I get pix off it. A bunch of waxwings hit the birdbath, making off with a half-gallon of water in short order. We went for a spinabout for a couple hours noonish. First we slow-rolled over to Little Creek and scoped the pond with the ducks. The light is bad mid-day and the wind was blowing over 20 mph. We did not see the Cinnamon Teal but you can not surely see everything due to vegetation. We did see the 40+ Pintail continuing, a dozen Green-winged Teal, probably 40 Gadwall and around 30 Am. Wigeon, one Ring-necked Duck, and a Great Egret. Nothing along the roads, save on 355 in the jog section we had a look at a Verdin. Checked the pond on the golf course by the Waresville Cmty. and saw nothing. In the pasture on 360 just east of the river the ground has just gone green and there were 9 Killdeer and about 40 American (Water) Pipit, neither of which have been around. Make it green and they will come. Warmed up to about 70F, but too dang windy until nearing sundown. The hummer showed briefly about 5 p.m. but I did not get a binoc look or another photo either one. The front porch feeder is in the best high-vis place to snag a passing bird, but it is horrible for viewing light most of the time. If there were a plug out there I would have an LED spot on it, with a switch I could throw from inside as needed.

Feb. 6 ~ Was about 44 around 3 a.m., but 48F by dawn. With fog and mist, heavy overcast ahead of the front due in later this morning. The hummingbird came in one time that I saw in the morning, when it was still gray and overcast, in very low light. But I got a few shots. Pretty sure it is an ANNA'S. I can see gray in the underparts I could not see yesterday (whence also in bad light), and a fair bit of green on the sides. It has just a few dark gorget feathers in lower center throat, so probably a first-spring female. I heard it call a couple thin sharp hard chips again, which as I said to Kathy when it did that yesterday, is Anna's call. The front cleared the clouds out before noon and every hour all day I spent 10 minutes watching the feeder camera in hand, and as of 5 p.m. had not seen it again all day, when there would have been great light. At least we know it tanked up good last night and this morning, and we got some pixels to argue about.

annashummingbird

This is the Anna's Hummingbird, present Feb. 5-12 so far.
Update: she made it through the freeze and snow, and low temps
of 5F and 10F! Last seen the morning of March 1.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Feb. 5 ~ We ran about 48-68F for a temp spread today. Sunny and nice. The yard was the same seedeaters. More birdsong every day now. Town run fer shtuff. Best was hearing a couple Green Jay across the river from the park, just above the top end of the island in that live-oak motte on other side. So they are still around. Just probably hanging on some corn feeders up thataway. Heard Belted Kingfisher up the river. Little Creek Larry said there were a couple CINNAMON Teal over at Little Creek in the duck flock, and the Pintail are still there. Rosie was there so real deal tacos for lunch here at the hovelita.

After lunch a female hummingbird showed up at the front porch. After it departed I checked and both feeders had gone syrupy, hope it got something. Refreshed both again. Been doing it all winter for nothing. Then one finally shows up when it's shot. Dang it. It was not a Selasphorus, there was no rufous or rusty. It generally looked like a female Black-chinned for the most part, but had a small group of dark gorget feathers in center of lower throat. The underparts were fairly white without buffy sides, and not gray whatsoever. I heard a couple thin chips which were hard and sharp. Since none of that adds up, it will remain a hummingbird sps., which is about as big a bummer as one hummer could be. Whilst I was standing around hoping for it to return I heard the Verdin go off over in the Mesquites across the road. Saw one Orange Sulphur and a couple Snout for butterflies. Heard the Ringed Kingfisher over at the river.

About 5:45 p.m. the hummer came back. It gassed up good this time with fresh fluid. On the other side of the feeder of course. It remains un-ID'd but importantly, I am unable to rule out a Costa's on it yet. It seems not Anna's, and is not a Selasphorus. The hard sharp thin chip does not sound like the soft Black-chinned or Ruby-throated. Since it is here this late in day, I presume I will get chances to see and study it tomorrow. I had a very early spring female Costa's up on Seco Ridge, March 4-5, 2006, which called alot but wasn't there 24 hours, and I did not get a tape of it. So, no score! After dark I was slow-rolling on the back west end of 360 and saw a Gray Fox on the road. They can be remarkably fast.

Feb. 4 ~ It was about 59F all night. Balmy, south Gulf flow ahead of the next front, which is set to arrive this afternoon. Thick overcast bodering on fog early. Warming up above average ahead of the cold air on its way down from Canada. We saw the male Ladder-backed Woodpecker on the birdbath, which is a very very rare sight. Probably because he is eating all those sunflower seeds. The northerlies arrived around 3 p.m., whence I saw 82F on the cool shady front porch! The sunny south side of the house had to be a few dF warmer, likely 85F. Most of the local WU stations were reading 82-85F. The record for the date at SAT is 85, so our record would typically be a couple dF cooler than that. Which means we are right about or at a record high for the date. Remarkable. Saw several Snouth fly by. Kathy saw a Dogface.

Feb. 3 ~ Low was in upper 30's F, sunny and no wind, great out. I can't believe how fast how green the ground is turning with sprouts in some areas. Various grasses, and other green sprouty things are breaking ground. Go green. Got up to about 75F in the afternoon. Weewow! Had a glimpse of some Zons flushing from under the sprawling laurel out back. Looked like two White-crowns and a White-throated. Weird how some laurels grow sprawling like a bush, and others grow vertical like a tree, totally different growth forms.

The rest was all the same gang. Too busy at the desk. Heard the ack ack ack ack ack fire of a Ringed Kingfisher from over at the river. Heard the Eastern Phoebe singing for the first time this year. So it joins the sputtering chorus of residents that are delving into song as we pass the mid-winter point. Days are nearing 1.5 minutes longer, daily, now.

Feb. 2 ~ Another near-freeze, about 34F for a low. At least the wind laid down. Got up to upper 60's, so about average for the date. A Robin and waxwing flock that went over looked like a hundred of each. Some Robin were dropping to land in the top of the big pecan and getting to within 10' of an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk before they made the ID and changed course. It was really fidgeting as several did this, but knew it was a waste of energy trying to get one out in the open airspace. They would break off the landing maneuver at what seemed like way too late to me. I was surprised they got that close before seeing and-or recognizing it. I know it sits up there trying to look like a White-winged Dove, but eight or ten did this, separately, as the Robin stream went over. It was all the Sharpy could take, changing position a couple times, it wanted to go after one badly.

Kathy saw a big black butterfly today, which was surely a swallowtail of some flavor. Actually Black Swallowtail is more likely, often it can be seen in earlier Feb. when on a warm day the first emergences will pop. But she didn't see it well enough to say whether Black or Pipevine. First swallowtail of the year though. Maybe we will see it again in the next day or two.

February 1 ~ Low about 33F, sunny and nice out. Figures its a work day in the office, weekend was mostly blown-out. Same gang o' birds. Until after noon when I saw a Rufous-crowned Sparrow at the birdbath. Have not seen one here in a couple or few months, so that was nice. Then in the afternoon I caught a look at a White-throated Sparrow when it stopped on a branch after it flushed out from under the laurel out back where I toss seed. Right where I heard it a few days ago. It is a white striped adult. Now if I could just get a pic, but it is ginchy as can be. BTW, ever notice how close ginchy is to gunshy? A good flock of Robin and waxwing went over late afternoon, about 75 of each, heading west towards a roost site.

~ ~ ~ January summary ~ ~ ~

This one will be short and easy. We had about 1.3 inches of rain for the month. Which is below average but made a big difference as reflected in how the river has come up to only a foot below going over spillway at park. Food crops are poor and gone, there is an amazing dearth of birds out there overall. Pastures, hedgerows, treelines, patches of woodlets, riverside, are all fairly devoid of birds, as bad as I have ever seen it here in 18 years now. There were 6 species of butterflies this month, and perhaps a dozen individuals total of which half were Snout. The Eufala Skipper was best for Jan. Three Variegated Meadowhawk were the only dragonfly, on one day early in month. Heard Leopard and Barking Frog on a warm day later in month.

Birds were very weak though. We have not seen the Green Jays this year, or since mid-December. Best bird locally was the Hilbig's Western Bluebird. Second best was a flock of 9 Mountain Bluebird I saw briefly on UvCo360. An ad. fem. Rusty Blackbird sometimes in the corral adjacent to us is on her 8th winter here. One Lark Bunting on UvCo354 was good. A female Downy Woodpecker has been around a bit. A male Vermilion Flycatcher is again wintering at the pond on the golf course by the Waresville Cmty. I saw about 68 sps. locally this month, with hardly any looking outside yard or park checks. I know of several more that others saw.

~ ~ ~ end Jan. summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ January update header copy ~ ~

January 2021 ~ A Lark Bunting on the 3rd was the first noteworthy bird of the year, scarce here, so always a treat. Sylvia Hilbig reports a WESTERN Bluebird at their place in mid-Jan. (priv. prop.), a few miles NW of town in BanCo.! A GREAT sighting! They also had a Merlin there. A flock of 9 MOUNTAIN Bluebird was briefly on UvCo 360 on Jan. 29. A Rusty Blackbird is irregular south of town, a female in her 8th winter hereabouts.

~ ~ end January update header copy ~ ~

~ ~ ~ back to the dairly drivel ~ ~ ~

Jan. 31 ~ It is appearing as though we may yet make it through the first month of the new year. Was in uppermost 30's F for a bit overnight but over 40 at dawn. Clear and sunny but a second front is moving in so wind picking up by 9 a.m., northerly cool air and a high 10F cooler than yesterday. Too windy until late afternoon so worked on stuff here. Birds were the same gang. Robin flock might have been a hundred though. There are some juniper berries, and mostly up in town some Ligustrum and Chinaberry. But the birds are sure not like when there are great food crops of Pecans, Hackberries, Junipers, or seed crops from a good fall bloom.

Jan. 30 ~ A balmy 59F for a low, overcast, nearing fog, some mist at one point in the morning. Southerly Gulf flow being sucked up in front of the next front. Noonish the front cleared it out and it was northerly breezy a few hours. It warmed up in the afternoon, at 4 p.m. the local WU station readings ran 75-79F! Amazing. The birds here looked all the same gang. After lunch we took a short quick spinabout checking the pastures along 360, no bluebirds. Nothing on the airstrip either. Went on top of the 1450 knoll as it has a big flat bareish top, nothing. Had to look around a little. There were very few birds out. The most action is in our yard. Even the river-edge is quiet. No bugs save the winter Mayfly hatches on warm days.

scrubjay

The Texas Scrub-Jay, texana, is our subspecies, of what is now called Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, of which it is not. The far west Texas (and westward) Scrub-Jay are Woodhouse's, these Edwards Plateau birds are their own flavor. Ridgeway I think originally described this subspecies, in other words, before Oberholser, it was that obviously different.


scrubjay

This is in the shade under overcast. One day it should have full species status. But since west Texas has different (Woodhouse's) scrub-jays, Texas Scrub-Jay would not be a good name for it. Edwards Plateau Scrub-Jay would be suitably accurate and unwieldy methinks.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 29 ~ Low was around freezing about 4-5 a.m., but was 38-40F by dawn. Cool and overcast, a slight breeze, chilly. The yard birds were the same. Town run, was real quiet there, maybe the stock show in Uvalde? At the park there was a beautiful drake Ring-necked Duck on the pond. A few Myrtle Warbler and the male Audubon's continue, a Kinglet (Ruby) and a Hermit Thrush. Nice to hear Titmouse and Bewick's Wren singing in town. Rosie was not there today so missed our weekly taco fix. On the way home on 360 just west of Utopia on the River, a flock of 9 MOUNTAIN Bluebird flew right over me low. I jumped out and got fair binoc views (at least a couple were ad. males), as they flew over the pasture along road toward river, gaining altitude and disappearing. Have not seen one locally in a bunch of years. Saw them a few times the first few years here, and maybe once since. Only takes one good bird to make your week.

Jan. 28 ~ We were right on the freeze line this morning. KERV had a couple 29F readings, we might have been 31F briefly. Warmed up to about 60F. Was the same birds, nice to see about 50 Robin in a flock. Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers eating sunflower seeds. Another 36 count on White-winged Dove, couple dozen Cardinal, 50 American Goldfinch is great, 100 Chipping Sparrow. Too busy at the desk with work. Hearing some Chickadee song is great.

Jan. 27 ~ Low about 40F and the wind blew all night. Around midnight last night there were some 30 mph gusts, it was 15-20 mph sustained overnight and much of day. Sure is a crowd of birds out there first thing early after I toss seed and put feeders out and up. Weird that I have not seen that Chipping Sparrow with the white feathers on left wing again. Seems like it is likely one of the ones the accipiters have taken. For standing out. Let that be a lesson to you. Maybe hit 60F in the afternoon, whence wind laid down finally. Which means it will get cold.

Jan. 26 ~ Low was about 35F, about a category lower than progged. Great to hear Cardinal giving a decent burst of song. It warmed up quickly, by noon it was 70F and I was seeing butterflies. A Eufala Skipper has to be my first Jan. record (n~18). A Lyside Sulphur flew over, and a Snout came into water Kathy sprayed. There is nothing out there for them to eat, but for puddling. Then a Lady of some sort dashed off un-ID'd, most (all?) wintering Lady here are American. Painted generally continues through in fall and does not stick for the winter. Birds were the same gang, as expected in January. Another dry front is inbound, winds started late in the evening.

Jan. 25 ~ It was in the 60's until about 6 a.m. when the front started arriving, dropping to almost 50F by dawn. Looked as though there were a showerlet briefly as it went by, the ground was wet. Then clear and sunny, but the wind blew most of the day until late afternoon. At 15-20mph, gusting to 25. It warmed up to the low 70's in the afternoon. KERV was 72, and Hondo had a 77F! We were in between. Pretty amazing for the date. Nice and dry too. Kathy spotted the first Southern Dogface of the year, a mint fresh just-emerged male that the paint had not yet dried on. Just a little heat and pop goes the butterfly. Saw two imm. White-crowned Sparrow here. Had a quick town run late in afternoon and so a look at the park. Saw one Pied-billed Grebe. Better was hearing a (Rio Grande) Leopard Frog, and a Barking Frog. First amphibs, and of those calls this year, and way way early for them. Almost surely my earliest dates ever for both of them. Usually (Blanchard's) Cricket-Frog is the first early amphib on a warm day in Feb., if not our 'spring peeper' the (Strecker's) Chorus Frog. There was a fair bit of Mayfly emergence going on. A couple Myrtle Warbler, an Eastern Phoebe, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet were right on it. A female Ladder-backed Woodpecker was drumming on a dead Cypress knot making an interesting sound. Is it singing back to its mate, or trolling for one?

Jan. 24 ~ Foggy and 60F in the morning. Didn't cool down a bit. Had some drizzle and mist off and on over the day, stayed soppy and in the 60'sF. Plenty of work to do on things inside. That is the great part of trying to have a half-dozen projects going all the time. Chipping Sparrows were over a hundred, and nothing in with them save the Field Sparrows. Of which I finally heard one sing today, Kathy did several days ago. Heard some Cardinal and Carolina Wren song too. Saw Titmouse checking out nest holes. Time to do any annual nest box work or maintenance is now. The non-migratory residents get going very early. All I did was toss seed a few times via seemingly well worn paths, and yet I was still able to acquire my first chigger of the year.

Jan. 23 ~ A gray day in the 50's, foggy in the morning, overcast with occasional mist over the day. Heard a Golden-crowned Kinglet uphill in the live-oaks behind us. Counted 30 House Finch at once in top of the big Pecan, they are building in numbers now too. Great was a Savannah Sparrow on the patio in with the Chippies. It is a rare bird on the patio, have only seen a couple prior. The rest seemed about the same. Another 36 count on White-winged Dove. Sharpy was diving on the seedeaters in the afternoon. Warmed to about 60F and stayed there into the evening. Had too much biz work to do here to lookabout.

sharpshinnedhawk

This is an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk. These bird eaters
take lots of birds all winter, sparrows, Cardinal, and even
dove. Especially the smaller males appear barely bigger than
a Robin. A handy book gives 10 inches for Robin, 11 for Sharpy.
Don't let their size fool you, they make up for it with attitude.
I watched one march on foot into thick brush after a rabbit (!)
once, which had to be over twice its weight.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 22 ~ Was clear late last night at midnight, some clouds this morning but clearing out. Stayed around 50 all night again. Nice not to be cold. It was at least 36 White-winged Dove on the ground this morning. Warmed up to a toasty 77F here in the afternoon, local WU stations were reading 75-78F. And dry. Very nice. The birds were all the same gang here. Checked park in town, nothing new or different there either, except the water has really come up. I'd say a little over a foot below the spillway, it was nearing three feet below. So major headway with some water in the hole. Saw the male Audubon's Warbler at north end of the island.

Jan. 21 ~ Clouds, mist, fog, maybe was some light drizzle overnight, stayed about 50F and soupy all night. Lifted to just overcast for the afternoon, and hit the low 60's F. Still dozens of Pine Siskin and Am. Goldfinch going through pounds of sunflower seed. The White-winged Dove might be 32 now, it was at least 30. There are things about their movements we do not understand. We were down to about 4 or so a month-plus ago at peak absence. They have been building steadily the last couple or few weeks, the current number much higher than what was wintering locally (incl. town) in December. Saw the Downy Woodpecker female from the office desk, over in the Mulberry over the cottage. The Robin was squawkin' and about 45 Waxwing were around a bit. A pair of Eur. Collared-Dove was on the patio, which I would rather not see. In the afternoon warmth as it dried out the pair of Golden-fronted Woodpecker were preening extensively a couple feet apart in the top of the big Pecan. He has been chasing her around a bit lately.

Jan. 20 ~ A chilly wet one, low 40's F, drizzle, light showers, mist. Looks like about .75 or so total since yesterday. There were a couple tenths yesterday, so a half-inch or so overnight and in the morning. Will wait for it to end to get a total. After dark, I would say about .85 or .9, event so far. Saw a, the, Orange-crowned Warbler under a Laurel eating millet. I presume it is the same one that has done that the last four winters here. Nothing out there to eat in the cold drizzly. The rest was the same gang, but wet. It might have warmed up to 50F over the day, and I think is to stay about that overnight, in continued soppy. The cold frontish thing moved over southward in the morning, and has retreated as a warm front this evening. Don't like the weather, hang around a bit. Just as well to have work at the desk.

Jan. 19 ~ Overcast, mist, drizzle, and about 60F at dawn, with a warm moist Gulf flow. It was just over 50 before midnight. A Ringed Kingfisher flew up the river calling early in morning. Before noon the winds had turned to north and cold air was dropping temps back to mid-50's F. A front is said to be inbound, and 24 hours or more of rain chances. We might have had a tenth of an inch over the day, and another tenth after dark. Will just wait for the event to end to get a total. Didn't see anything different today, was the same gang o' seed-eaters. Too busy with work.

Jan. 18 ~ Another one of those backwards nights for temps. At midnight it was clear, stars were great, about 35F, at dawn it was fog and 50F. Keeps the dust down anyway. Sunny afternoon warmed to about 70F! Last of the sun in the forecast for a few days. I go out on the back porch and lizard up the last bit. The birds were the same gang. I was too busy to work on finding that White-throated Sparrow I heard yesterday. I figure if it sticks, I will get a look. A couple accipiter flushing events over the day, when five hundred bird wings explode into action. Kathy heard Field Sparrow sing today, first of that this year. House Finch was giving long bouts of extended song today, great to hear.

Jan. 17 ~ I saw 30F when tossing seed before sunup, KERV got colder, we probably did too. Thought sure I heard a White-throated Sparrow out back twice, saw a Zon fly uphill into cover. Saw an imm. White-crowned too, but this call was absolutely not that, was the harsh hissy strained seeeet note. Otherwise was the same gang. Heard Chickadee song, our Carolina do four notes, see you see me. Great Horned Owls calling more. We worked on things here. Got up to upper 60's F, maybe 68F or so in the afternoon, pretty nice out. Supposed to have some rain this week, and warmer temps.

Jan. 16 ~ Another hard freeze, I saw 25F at 7 a.m., so it likely got a dF or two colder. KERV had a couple 23F readings. It warmed up well in the afternoon though, hitting 67F or so. The 250+ assorted seedeaters were mighty busy the first half of the day. It was the same gang, did not see anything different. Some Black Vulture in pair bond flight is always nice to see though. They can show suprising precision in delicate manuevers. Never saw Bewick's Wren eat so much seed, it is eating the White Millet. Must be nothing else out there to eat. The Black Rock Squirrel was gathering sunflower seeds. The live-oaks are getting yellower, about to drop their leaves in the annual replacement. The Junipers are just starting to put out pollen. I see some green sprouts just breaking ground, which must be what the deer are eating now. That one Tropical Sage has another flower open, a little 2-3" specimen growing out of stone steps at front porch, only open flower around.

greenheron

Green Heron, juvenile. This is the young the pair that nests on the island at Utopia Park produced this past summer (photo on Sept. 9, 2020). They usually do not arrive here until late April, sometimes early May, with young not seen until later August or early September.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 15 ~ Another freeze, but barely, maybe 31F or so, though I did see KERV hit 28F. It is noteworthy methinks that we have only had two mornings so far this year that was above freezing, one of those barely so. That is a cold start to the year. Many winters we do not have a 15 day stretch of almost all freezing mornings. A bit breezy in the a.m. but calmed down nicely and got into the lowest 60's here, though most of the area looked like upper 50's. Nice with no wind, in the sun. Birds were the same here. I saw a poster in town about some Groundhog Day thing. I wonder what they use here, Armadillos?

Stopped at park and saw a new male Audubon's Warbler, which clearly was not the female I saw last week. Two new Audubon's warblers in the last two Fridays there. Nothing else though. In town I saw two flickers, ON a Purple Martin box. Both were females, one Red-shafted, one Yellow-shafted. Both had all appropriate marks to be considered good pure birds. Other than that it was just 3 fajita chicken tacos at Rosie's, the culinary highlight of the week. Kathy pointed out that I wouldn't appreciate them so much if it wasn't for her cooking.    ;)   Tomorrow will be one minute longer than today, the first time we added a full minute in a day this year, about 26 days from the solstice. We will add over a half-hour, nearing 40 minutes I think, to daylight length over the next month. And the birds will be singing in no time.

Jan. 14 ~ Got down to at least 28F an hour before the usual peak, KERV had a 26. It was cold. Looked like an imm. Sharp-shinned Hawk got a Chippy in flight. The way it quickly broke-off, turned, and skulked back to the shadows up the hill hoping the others would not notice what it just did, is what they do when they grab one. There were four Robin together briefly, then later afternoon a group of over a dozen flew over with 25 waxwing. Saw one White-crowned Sparrow still here. Otherwise the rest seemed the same gang. A front blew in before noon, for a few hours it blew hard, 15-20 mph gusting to 30 and 35 mph occasionally. The hot sunny back porch was showing upper 60's F in the afternoon. Got a count of 28 White-winged Dove today in a flush. Amazing how they have increased the last month.

Jan. 13 ~ A frosty 22F for a low this morning. That was before usual peak, and I saw KERV had a 21F. Birdbath was frozen solid, as was jug over it, luckily only half full, so hot water fixed that. The first few pounds of seed sure disappeared quickly. So did the second and third few pounds. There sure are a lot of dependents out there. Twenty four White-winged Dove now, 12-15 Mourning, not seeing or hearing the Ground-Dove for a couple months. Ninety Chipping and 8 Field Sparrow, 40+ each Pine Siskin and American Goldfinch, couple dozen Cardinal, a dozen House Finch, a dozen chickadee and titmice combined. Over 250 seed eaters. Kathy heard a Chickadee singing the high thin whistle 'see you see me'. They have not done so in about 5 months or so.

Jan. 12 ~ A chilly 24F low, might have been colder. I was not about to hang around out there and watch the thermometer. KERV had some 23's and briefly a 22F reading. In that, at first crack of light when I was tossing seed, several Turkey were gobbling less than a hundred yards away right across the road. There is an area just south of the treeline along the draw we follow to the river, that is a big open wildflower meadowish thing, which is where they were calling from. Sure would like a good pic of one in full display. Whaddabird! Was the same gang here otherwise. In the afternoon we broke 50, hit 54F briefly before a cloud shield blew it, a great warmup at this point.

Jan. 11 ~ About 34F for a low, cloudy and overcast. We are nearing 36 hours straight in mid-30's dF. It has been a cold January so far. The female Golden-fronted Woodpecker was picking sunflower seeds up off the patio, which says there is not a lot of food out there. White-winged Dove count hit 22, arrivals are occurring. Counted 11 male Cardinal at once, surely as many females out there. Pine Siskin numbered over 40, likely 45 plus, a high count so far this winter. Chipping Sparrow looked about 90, finally a real flock, Field Sparrow were 8. Got up to a smokin' hot 45F in the afternoon. Cleared after dark, and it is going to get cold.

Jan. 10 ~ It was a cold wet gray one. The temp was 38F first thing, that was the high. Most of the day was about 36F. Off and on drizzle, showers and mist, but only about .4 of precip here. Stayed in where warm and dry. Nearest snow flurries were 40 miles north or so. Got a high count of Chipping Sparrow for the winter so far though, 90 at once. One with some snow white primaries and one white tertial on left side is absolutely new. Seemed 3 dozen Pine Siskin, maybe 40 Am. Goldfinch now. About 15 each of Mourning and White-winged Dove. A couple accipiter flush events. Some waxwings, the one loyal Robin, about 20 Cardinal, a half-dozen each House Finch and Field Sparrow.

Jan. 9 ~ Another chilly one about 25F this morn. Seems like there ought to be Juncos at these temps. Sun lasted a couple hours and it clouded up. At 11 it was a chilly 44F, maybe hit 48 at peak heat. Gonna be an inside day tomorrow. There were lots of Goldfinch (35+) and Siskin (30+), a nice group of waxwing (30+), the one Robin, and the male Myrtle Warbler, half dozen Field Sparrow, the same gang. Worked at the desk where warmer. Had to run to town late afternoon so slow-rolled around a bit. Not much out there though. A couple Eastern Phoebe, a few Eastern Bluebird. Completed my annual wintering Starling count, got all both of them, again. Was some drizzle shortly after 7 p.m., supposed to deteriorate overnight and tomorrow.

How about our two small woodpeckers this week?
Besides the much larger Golden-fronted, these are the two
little woodpeckers here. From behind, Ladder-backed
appears lined, Downy appears spotted.
ladderbackedwoodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker, male. Note back is evenly zebra- barred throughought upperparts and wings. The female crown is black without red. These are the most common woodpecker here and are widespread residents. They are what enlarges the holes of every birdbox they find, often roosting in them in winter. Note the black facial stripe makes a U on its side, doubling back from eye, and returning to bill without connecting to the black nape stripe, and is completely encircled with white.


downywoodpecker

Downy Woodpecker, female. Note big white stripe up back that otherwise appears mostly black. The spots are on the wings. Males have a small red patch at top rear of crown. These are very scarce here, but semi-regular. Only one known breeding record, April 2020. Might see one any month though, generally right along river habitat corridor. Note black facial (eye) stripe a thicker line narrowing rearward, but straight, connecting to nape stripe, breaking the white.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Jan. 8 ~ It was a chilly one at about 25F for a low. Sunny with little to no breeze so nice in afternoon whence warmed to lowest 60's F. It was about 30 or more Cedar Waxwing hitting the bath to wash down juniper berries. Town run day, so a check of the park. Was a bit of a mayfly hatch going so some flycatching along the main pond edge. A couple Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 7 Myrtle Warbler, and new was one female Audubon's Warbler. At least 5 Eastern Phoebe too. The live-oaks in the main park area had a decent flocklet of Titmouse and Chickadee but nothing else. The woods were dead, most exciting was a Green Bottle Fly. It was my first one of the year. I keep forgetting to mention, lots of the live-oaks are turning yellow already. We noticed it first a couple weeks ago on some, but now a good number are going yellow. It is early for so many to be so yellow already, and surely drought related. I also see some male Junipers turning rusty of tips, just about to unleash the pollen Kraken. Shirley at the store showed me some awesome pix of the rest area above Lost Maples covered in 4-5 inches of snow. WEEWOW!

Jan. 7 ~ The wind stopped and it cooled to about 34F for a low. Sunny, and slowly warmed to about 65F for a high. Wonderful afternoon. Was too busy at the desk as usual. There was a good Robin flock, for this year, of nearing 3 dozen birds that came into the birdbath late afternoon. Nearly two dozen waxwing were there too, they were hitting the Junipers just over the north fence, and need water to wash them down. The one male Myrtle Warbler came in to the bath as well. The couple dozen Siskin and three dozen American Goldfinch were here until the afternoon. The Great Horned Owls are seriously duetting now, which is really a sign of the start of their breeding cycle. They start the process in January. I am seeing Black Vulture pairs flying around too. They are getting underway as well.

Jan. 6 ~ Finally the first morning without a freeze this year. It was about 50F at midnight, and was 60F in drizzle-fog-mist at dawn. A front is coming in, so the warm moist air being sucked up from the south and Gulf, hits the escarpment for some orographic magic and it might have squeezed a tenth of an inch out of it over the first 3 hours of light. A dust-buster for a day or two. Was clearing by 11, getting breezy by noon, and a full post-frontal blow by 1 p.m. As it got east near I-35 where more humid it kicked up a good squall line. Heard my first Carolina Wren song this year, giving a few series of 'we-yo we-yo we-yo we-yo'. Kathy said she might have heard some the other day. The one Robin continues up in the big Pecan every morning. All the other Robins came and left, it stayed. I am a sure as can be that it is the one that did this all winter last year too. Such loyalty is hard to find. Saw the female Downy Woodpecker, and saw the sapsucker fly out of the Mulberry by the cottage into the corral. Saw a bigger butterfly zipping about briefly that was either a winter Questionmark or a Red Admiral, but it disappeared quickly.

Jan. 5 ~ Low was 31F, sunny for a couple hours but after 10 a.m. was overcast and chilly. At least 25 Pine Siskin flushed at once. Sun came back out after 1 p.m., whence I heard Titmouse give the trilled lulululu song a few times, which I have not heard in many months, maybe six. Then a White-winged Dove belted a few bars of song, also the first of that in months. Saw a Sleepy Orange butterfly, species number 4, bfly individual number 5 for the year.

Jan. 4 ~ Still waiting for a morning above freezing this year. Was 28F here. In the afternoon more than one local WU station was reporting 78F! FIFTY dF diurnals! Amazing. Saw that ginchy adult sapsucker sneaking around again, but could not get bins on it. The female Downy was out there too. Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted, check. So, fairly certain there will not be a Flicker today. In the afternoon heat I saw my first butterflies of the year. One Snout, one Little Yellow, and a yellow morph Lyside Sulphur which looked like a fresh emergence, whereas the other two were worn leftovers. The heat can get them to pop. Today was the peak heat day of the week. Sure felt great. I totally get lizards, or at least my lizard-brain does. Later a second Snout came by. A couple accipiter flush events in the afternoon whence all the seedeaters explode in full alarm. Over a dozen each of Mourning and White-winged Dove, fifteen waxwing and the single Robin.

Jan. 3 ~ It was a cold one at 24F this morning. Birdbath was frozen solid. Frost was thick on everything. Great Horned Owl was calling at dawn, unfazed, likely thrilled. Kathy got a high count of 60 Chipping Sparrow, so more, but still just half or less of our usual winter flock size. About 9 a.m. besides the always present Ladder-backed Woodpecker, the female Downy was out there, and an adult Sapsucker which went through the yard stopping in a pecan, but too briefly for me to ID it. Yellow-bellied until proven otherwise here, but just sapsucker sps. when you don't see the key characters to ID it to that level. Of course we had Golden-fronted later, but could not buy a Flicker all day. An intergrade would have been fine. It was 15 White-winged Dove this morn, they are increasing now. The male Cardinal sure are getting bright red now.

We went for a slow-roll around noonish. We went onto a private prop. road and ranch and it mostly had no birds like all the other roads locally this winter. One sub-adult Caracara, one Kestrel, a couple Blackbuck, and around some big trucks and heavy equipment, a Canyon Towhee. The one or ones we have had love our big truck out back (a 5 ton Ford with an 18' box, lift gate, Big Red, she's a beauty), but this was more bigger trucks. This was probably ours, we lost it to the place with more bigger trucks. We used to see one at the Bandera County yard around the big trucks at the 187 x 470 intersection. County yards is a place to look for them, around the big trucks. They look like big rocks to them. But not to a Canyon Wren.

Then at Utopia Park there were lots of Black Vulture but little else. The water did come up a few inches from the rain on Dec. 31. Then we rolled out UvCo354 which often has birds along the roadsides. They were mostly devoid there too. The drought-induced lack of fall bloom and loss of subsequent seed crop is apparently critical to wintering sparrows and such here. We found one small group by a big brush pile. There were five Vesper and a Savannah Sparrow, one (a second one!) Canyon Towhee, and one Lark Bunting, all together around one brush pile. A veritible jackpot! Heard a Pyrrhuloxia or two, saw a few Western Meadowlark. The Lark Bunting is the first I have seen this fall or winter locally, they are always scarce here, so always a treat. There was a small pale male sub-ad. fuertesi Red-tailed Hawk at the 187 x 354 junction. A few Eastern Bluebird, a few Eastern Phoebe along the roads, but can't find a Say's Phoebe this winter. The fields are bare of bugs. Lastly we checked the golf course pond by the Waresville Cmty. The wintering male Vermilion Flycatcher continues, and just 3 male Red-winged Blackbird were there. There were 3 male Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies, which must have anti-freeze. These are last years leftovers that show up every late fall (Nov.) to early winter, often mate and ovipositing here, until they expire.

Talked to a local that said on New Years Eve when it snowed it was sticking from about B & R road northward, so starting up-valley a few miles north of town. He said lots of locals went up to the rest area north of Lost Maples a mile or so, up the grade and on top of the plateau (ca. 2100-2200' alt.) where there was FIVE INCHES of snow on the ground! In the afternoon here it warmed up to 70F for a couple hours which felt great. Opened up and got rid of the cold air in the house and cottage. Saw the Black Rock Squirrel, with jowels full of sunflower seeds. Some Anole and a female Eastern Fence (Prairie) Lizard were out soaking sun.

Jan. 2 ~ A bit chilly at 26F for a low, with a frozen birdbath. But the winds finally calmed down, sunny, and warmed up to a wonderful 62F in the afternoon. About 9 a.m. the Rusty Blackbird flew over calling and dropped into the far end of the corral again. Was 30 plus waxwing, and the one each Robin and Myrtle Warbler, but were two White-crowned Sparrow, an ad. and an imm., at least 35 Am. Goldfinch and 25 Pine Siskin, a dozen White-winged Dove is an increase. A Cardinal was giving the first vestiges of song. The tew notes in series but not yet clearly, not full blast, but not quiet singing either. It went on for several minutes. We are gaining 30 seconds of photo-period per day now. Lots of the non-migratory residents will start singing this month.

americanrobin

A few American Robin at the birdbath.


~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

January 1, 2021 ~ Happy New Year! Cheers for a better one! Merry Vagrants and Happy New Birds! Wishing everyone a healthy happy peaceful year ahead! It started cold here, 31F. The low system had moved north by midnight last night. Now we have the post-frontal blow on the backside, heavy on the cold-air advection. Chills this morning are in the 20's F. Around 11 a.m. it broke 40F, but winds are at 10-15 mph gusting to 20, so it still feels a freeze. After 11 the female Downy Woodpecker was in the yard again, always a treat to see here. I wonder if it is the one that nested last April in the 354 pecan patch? A mile and change from here. Or one of the young? Heard some Sandhill Crane going over southbound later in afternoon. Right at dusk the Striped Skunk was under the Mulberry scavenging sunflower seeds. At 15' away, it could not care less about your presence. I measured the tub water today, it was 44F! Holy cow that is cold. In Oct. I wrapped the entire tub sides in a layer of bubble wrap, and at night cover the surface with it, plus a tarp wrapped around and over the whole thing. The Gambusia are fine, the inch long Barking Frog tadpoles come up to surface to warm when sun hits it. The spindly Ceratophyllum is still doing well despite the cold water. Cattails are brown and bent over, still waiting for Marsh Wren. The Lost Maples Facebook page has pics of the place with an inch or two of snow on everything.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here is a long detailed annual 2020 summary...

Well that was a weird year. There was not the usual out and about birding due to the virus. There were Lost Maples closures, there was a hail carpet-bombing in spring, and the drought got real bad. Summer ran 5-7 dF or more above normal average temps as it has been the last several years. We had some rain in the spring but the tap went dry early in summer. We went from D1 to D3 (extreme) drought in the last half of the year. Many long-time locals say they have never seen it this bad. Much of the river north of town is dry above ground.

Insects in particular seemed depressed from the drought. Which affects lots of bird nesting. Many seemed to only have two broods instead of three, with two young fledging instead of three or four. Everything is connected. There was almost no fall flower bloom, and then a subsequent lack of all that seed crop. Fruit crops were very poor, there was very little of the Pecan, Hackberry, Juniper, or Texas Persimmon crop in most areas, some areas a near wipeout due to the devastating 1" hail carpet-bombing in May.

Butterflies were weak overall but a few good things were seen. I saw 88 species over the year locally, which is typical of drought condition periods. Thirty species were skippers. I saw 20 sps. of skippers just in August. Doesn't that sound exciting? The misses always stand out most to me though. No Viceroy, Mourning Cloak, or Great Purple Hairstreak. Still many years without a Carolina Satyr, Common Wood-Nymph, or Silvery Checkerspot, all absent since the last epic drought we never recovered from before this one started. There was a wave of small stuff in July and August, Skippers, Blues, and Hairstreaks, but it faded and a fall flight from southward did not materialize. The Monarchs also missed us this year, never did I see a hundred in a day. Only a few days had double digits. Only saw a very few Arizona Sister and Red-spotted Purple.

Only saw two White-striped Longtail, and no other of the long-tailed Skippers, again. The better butterflies were... a Clytie Ministreak was likely best, my first documented here (ph.) though had seen a couple here. A Zebra Longwing spent over a week around our place (ph.). Three or four White-patched Skipper (ph.) is my best total for a year, a Coyote Cloudywing (ph.) was the first in several years, most years you will not see one here. Outstanding and second best was my third Purple-washed Skipper photographed here, all three UvCo records, this one at the front porch. There were two Ocola Skipper this year. An Ornythion Swallowtail July 3 is about my 5th sighting here, only have pix of one a long time ago. In Nov. a big black swallowtail with color on the hindwing got away that surely was a Ruby-spotted Swallowtail. That one hurt the most, still stings and will for a while. I'd be dyin' if I did not have a prior local photo of one. A couple Laviana White-Skipper were good, they are less than annual. A few Texas Wasp Moth were seen, no White-tipped Black, one Obscure Sphinx, one Imperial Moth.

Odes were worse than butterflies. The drought really puts the hurt on them. Besides half the habitat being absent from there being no above ground water in much of the river, the remaining fish are concentrated at levels that it is a miracle any dragon or damselfly larvae can get out of the water to successfully emerge. The numbers of the local populations were very depressed, you had to scrape for a Widow Skimmer and Prince Baskettail at Utopia Park. Repeat on all sorts of stuff. Did not see an Amberwing here this year. Best was three male Comet Darner on a pond on the golf course. Two at once at one point. This is about the third year I have recorded it locally. They showed up after a hurricane went north into Louisiana, again, like at least one of the prior occurrences. There were a few Twelve-spotted Skimmer and Band-winged Dragonlet this year, a couple Four-spotted Skimmer went over one day in a migrant herd of dragons southbound in fall. Saw one Great Spreadwing, one River-cruiser sps. (prob. Bronze), a Cyrano Darner at Lost Maples, and a Pin-tailed Pondhawk (ph.) there might be a Bandera Co. first. The small Orange-striped Threadtail population at Utopia Pk. is down in numbers, but still going. Some Flame and Commanche Skimmer at Lost Maples but no Neon. I saw 49 species locally this year, lowest in last 3 years at least for sure, but probably more.

Birds were great, for the reduced level of birding, and seeing so few species. I count 203 species I saw locally this year, which is actually great if you ask me. That is an USRD (upper Sabinal River drainage) total. I saw more down on a couple trips down into the brush country. But only a couple Lost Maples trips. Canyon Wren is probably the only bird added there. Everything else is within 4 miles of Utopia. Here is a recap of the highlights.

Last winter the female Rusty Blackbird that was on maybe its 7th winter here was last seen Feb. 15. It is back again in December 2020. A hybrid Sabsucker that was partly Red-breasted was here Feb. 21. A pure one would draw a huge crowd. In spring best bird was a calling nocturnal migrant Black-bellied Plover Apr. 20. Great was a Common Pauraque March 1-10 around our place. The first known nesting along Sabinal River of Downy Woodpecker was also a great find. It was a good thrush spring as besides Swainson's it is easy not to see any others. A Gray-cheeked Thrush in our birdbath on May 11 was awesome, but better was a nice calling rusty Veery May 9 in a Mulberry just south of town.

In summer a Least Grebe June 27 - Aug. 30 on the golf course pond by the Waresville Cemetery was a first local record so a great bit of excitement. A female Anhinga at the park was my second local record so very good. Begging juvenile Audubon's Oriole were in our yard. It was a good hummingbird fall, perhaps the fires out west pushed more our way. We had at our feeders at least three each minimum Calliope and Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and about 10 different Rufous go through here. Warblers were weak as usual in fall, one female MacGillivrays Sept. 4 was maybe my third fall sighting locally. Great was my latest ever Golden-cheek Aug. 31, an adult male as was my prior latest (Aug. 25). Outstanding was a calling Cordilleran Flycatcher Oct. 14 at the park, also about my third one here locally, but got a pic.
br /> A major highlight of the year was a group of at least four Green Jay seen along the river habitat corridor from 4 mile bridge to Utopia Park, from Oct. 19 to at least mid-Dec. so far. Including in our yard a bunch of times. But never for long. This is only their second incursion up onto the Edwards Plateau, so significant. Also outstanding was a Cactus Wren Nov. 1 at the golf course pond by Wareseville providing my first local documentation. Less than annual so of note was a Western Tanager, and less than annual in fall were 2 separate Lazuli Bunting, both males.

It always seems a slow slog when you are doing it, and especially so this year livin' la vida quarantina. We again drove less than a thousand miles all year, all driving. If I just counted a THREE mile circle centered in Utopia it was 200 species of birds. When you add it all up, there were lots of great birds and some good butterflies and odes too. My BOB total - bird, ode, and butterfly species - for the year was 340. Last year was 331 and two years ago 350. About average for being in a drought regimen lately. Two local site lists (the most important lists) hit milestones, with one of the best birds of the year this year. The Green Jay were number 230 on our yard list (2 acres - 8 years), and number 270 on the Utopia Park (15 acres - 17.5 years) list.

~ ~ ~ end of 2020 annual summary ~ ~ ~



~ ~ ~ above is 2021 ~ ~ ~




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

Bird News Archives Index




Links to earlier archived bird news pages below, broken into six month increments. One day I'll quarter it out by season as well, so all years 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, probably due
to excessive amount of drivel in spring).



Bird News Archive XXXIII
January 1, 2020 - June 30, 2020

Bird News Archive XXXII
July 1, 2019 - Dec. 31, 2019

Bird News Archive XXXI
January 1, 2019 - June 30, 2019

Bird News Archive XXX
July 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018

Bird News Archive XXIX
January 1, 2018 - June 30, 2018

Bird News Archive XXVIII
July 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017

Bird News Archive XXVII
January 1, 2017 - June 30, 2017

Bird News Archive XXVI
July 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016

Bird News Archive XXV
January 1, 2016 - June 30, 2016

Bird News Archive XXIV
July 1, 2015 - Dec. 31, 2015

Bird News Archive XXIII
January 1, 2015 - June 30, 2015

Bird News Archive XXII
July 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014

Bird News Archive XXI
January 1, 2014 - June 30, 2014

Bird News Archive XX
July 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013

Bird News Archive XIX
January 1, 2013 - June 30, 2013

Bird News Archive XVIII
July 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012

Bird News Archive XVII
January 1, 2012 - June 30, 2012

Bird News Archive XVI
July 1, 2011 - December 31, 2011

Bird News Archive XV
January 1, 2011 - June 30, 2011

Bird News Archive XIV
July 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

Bird News Archive XIII
January 1, 2010 - June 30, 2010

Bird News Archive XII
June 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009

Bird News Archive XI
January 1, 2009 - May 31, 2009

Bird News Archive X
July 1, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2008

Bird News Archive IX
January 1, 2008 - June 30, 2008

Bird News Archive VIII
July 1, 2007 - Dec. 31, 2007

Bird News Archive VII
January 1, 2007 - June 30, 2007

Bird News Archive VI
July 1, 2006 - Dec. 31, 2006

Bird News Archive V
January 1, 2006 - June 30, 2006

Bird News Archive IV
July 1, 2005 - Dec. 31, 2005

Bird News Archive III
January 1, 2005 - June 30, 2005

Bird News Archive II
June 1, 2004 - Dec. 31, 2004

Bird News Archive I
Winter 2003-04 Summary Notes
and Mar. 31 - May 30, 2004
Go, look, see, take notes and pictures, boldly nature nerd where no one has before. Few things rival the thrill of discovery. Besides having fun and learning, you will probably see some things people won't believe without photos.  ;)
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