Bird (and nature) News Archive # 38
July 1 to December 31, 2022
Old Bird News XXXVIII

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 XXXVIII (#38) ~ July 1 - December 31, 2022

.... in reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.

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!

July through December 2022 (to Aug. so far)

Read from bottom up to view in chronological order.

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~ ~ ~ the old news ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ August summary ~ ~ ~

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~ end August summary ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ August update header archive copy ~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~

Aug. 31 ~ More rain! A low of about 72F, but in the rain around sunup it dropped a bit more, some local WU stations were showing 69F in the morn. Again the main event started pre-dawn and lasted a couple hours. Looks like an eighth of an inch under 2"! Which means about 5.5" in about 27 hours. Incredible. Maybe there will be a river again? We were in a flash flood warning for a while as the main cell departed.

A Yellow Warbler or two, same for Orchard Oriole. One greener greenie imm. Painted Bunting, that is neither of the two here yesterday. Kathy saw an Empidonax flycatcher that might have been a Willow. About 11 a.m. an Upland Sandpiper must have come up off the airstrip as it was just barely over the corral trees as it gained altitude, calling the whole way, it flew across the front corner of the yard heading for river and toward golf course and pastures on other side. Heard a Dickcissel in yard in the afternoon. Also another quick small shower, maybe another eighth of an inch. About 5 p.m. there were 4 Yellow Warbler, 2 Yellow-throated Warbler, and the Dickcissel in the big Pecan. The Yellow-throated were not ad. males, either females or immatures. About 6 p.m. I heard the Couch's Spadefoot Toad call from the front yard. Soooo cool to hear that in yard. The rain was finally enough to get the Zexmenia to bloom, it has not most of the summer. Just before dark at last sliver of light I heard an Upland Sandpiper go over southbound. At least a couple dozen Lyside Sulphur went by, SW to NE over day.

Aug. 30 ~ Oh my! A rain event happened about 5-7 a.m. dropping about 1.85", or 1 and seven-eighths", or 47mm or so! Low about 72F, and now the 10-day shows rain chances every day with highs in the 80's F. Surely very humid, but a break in heat, and maybe some water for that empty bank. Kathy found a Barking Frog in the house, which was repatriated to the great outdoors. Another rain cell hit late afternoon about 5-6 p.m. with another inch! I would say about 3" for the day, so far. The birds were the same gang. Some Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler, and 2 very gray greenies (imm. Painted Bunting). A Bell's Vireo that tried to sing was clearly not one of the local birds as its sounds were nothing of the sort. A passage juvenile. Around dark another half-inch of rain fell! We are at 3.5" for the day! OMG! Incredible. Kathy heard the Spadefoot Toad out front after dark.

Aug. 29 ~ Low of 75F is not very. Another hot one in store, and then we are to get a slight drop and some rain chances for a couple days. Bunch of Orchard Oriole, a few Yellow Warbler, all around yard, some at bath for another splash parade at 8:30 a.m. Chat seems to start it, as it uses it every morning. Otherwise it was the same stuff here today. Did see a female Large Orange Sulphur on the Red Turkscap. Have not heard the Bell's Vireo in a couple days now, methinks it left. Might have heard a Rufous Hummer, has not been one in several days. Maybe the weather the next week will knock some birds down. I saw 94F on the cool shady front porch, a bit toasty in the sun, and it was very humid, surely a hun with heat index. Saw female Summer Tanager and Orchard Oriole hit the Texas Persimmon.

Aug. 28 ~ Low of 74F, and a bit of broken low stratus deck off and on early. Gonna be a hot one. I saw it just over 92F on the cool shady front porch about 4 p.m. Heard a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher first thing early. Quite a parade at the birdbath about 8:30 or so. This is why I devoutly rinse and refresh the bath and refill the milk jug dripper every morning before sunup. Over ten minutes there were a half-dozen Orchard Oriole, 4-5 Yellow Warbler, 2-3 Yellow-breasted Chat, and the orange first-summer male Hooded Oriole. Plus a number of Lesser Goldfinch and Cardinal, and a couple Titmouse. Needed a pipe smoke after that, so manned front porch station, and whilst basking in the afterglow I heard then saw a Least Flycatcher flippin' around the Pecans. That last ad. male Indigo Bunting continues, in pretty heavy molt. Been here since mid-late April, so four months on territory, though the other local males have all departed. Still giving the odd snippet of song from the Hackberry left of gate. It and a Painted used that same tree as a singing post all summer, but not at the same time.

Aug. 27 ~ Low of 71F was nice. Clear at first, then some low stratus, then sunny. Got into low 90's F. Early lots of Orchard Orio and a few Yellow Warbler around yard and at birdbath. Saw the ad. ma. Vermilion Flycatcher still on corral fenceline. Chat at the bath, and a greenie Painted Bunnie. Did a dump and recycling run to make space for more. It has been months, since early spring. Went west out the back end of 360 to 359. Saw one Common Ground-Dove. Water flow at the 360 crossing seems to have doubled and must nearing TWO gallons per minute now. Should be 100-200. Still not flowing downstream below the bridge though. It is almost all Ruby-throated Hummingbird here now, I only see a few imm. Black-chinned left, maybe two or three. At least a few dozen Rubies present.

Lesser Goldfinch

Male Lesser (Black-backed) Goldfinch on Musk Thistle.
Musk is the Euro non-native introduced invasive Thistle here.
I would like the pic a whole lot more if it were on a native.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 26 ~ Low was 72F, clear and sunny for the first time this week. Orchard Orioles and Yellow Warblers are the story. In the afternoon for orios I saw 5 imm. or female and one male around the bath at once. Three in it together again. Two greenie Painted Bunting here. One dull gray toned, one bright fresh one. The dull one is obviously a juv. just a month old or so. The bright one could be a young from say June now molted into first basic (winter) plumage, or an ad. fem. that has molted into basic plumage. There was a Yellow-throated Warbler in the yard before sunup for the first time in a couple weeks.

Town run so a park check. The imm. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was still at the north end of the island. Little Creek Larry said he had an adult there early one morning this week. Saw the ad. Green Heron. Great was a migrant warbler, also at top of island, a Louisiana Waterthrush. First one of the fall, and can miss it, so great to see. Heard a Yellow-throated Vireo sing, and a Red-eyed Vireo call a few times in woods.

In flower news, there are some! The rain has inspired a few to pop. I saw the first Fireweed, aka Cardinal flower, the aquatic Lobelia, at the 360 x-ing. A few Snow-on-the-Mountain are now blooming, but hardly any came up compared to normal. The Purple Sage (that is a Mugwort not a sage) Cenizo is flaming in bloom as it responds to every couple inches of rain with a full roaring show for a couple days. There are spectacular patches of it around. For maybe another day or two. A few Day-flower (aka Widow's Tears) are open around the porch here. Great to see something, anything, blooming besides what we water.

In bugs, saw a Vesta Crescent fly across the patio. At park for dragons, a couple each Spot-winged, and Wandering Glider, a couple Green Darner, a Red-tailed Pennant, a Black Saddlebags, a Red Saddlebags, several Blue Dasher, an Eastern Pondhawk, and a Checkered Setwing. Low numbers but at least a wee bit of diversity.

Aug. 25 ~ A low of 72, and very wet out there from the prior rain. Don't think it did much overnight. Sure a welcome break. Weird to get a washed out tail of a front and sorta nothing-burger of a disturbance, that breaks the heat for a week with major rains, in late August. Awesome. Heard an Upland Sandpiper or two going over before sunup. Again I heard the Couch's Spadefoot Toad calling, in the morning. Can't find it, as always. Even when it is light out! The imm. Zone-tailed Hawk is still begging high overhead to the west behind us. In Yellow Warbler, I saw a couple, then Kathy spotted four at once in the bath of Yellow Warbler. The four were all female or imm. and one I saw was an ad. male so at least five are here. At least as many Orchard Oriole as well. It is almost like fall migration. Some nearish rain cells brought a cooling 80F outflow in later afternoon but no precip.

Aug. 24 ~ Overcast, 74F, ground still damp but don't think it rained any more. The break from the heat is great though. Early there was a herd of Orchard Oriole, over a handful, and a Yellow Warbler, both could be holdovers from yesterday. Also a Gnatcatcher went through early. One greenie Painted and one ad.male Indigo Bunting still here. A few brown Indigo too. Might have been a couple Yellow Warbler out there. The Eastern Bluebird family still seems to be around visiting not quite daily, but nearly. Did not detect the Rufous Hummer today, 3 days was it. Great was after dark hearing a yapping juvenile Eastern Screech-Owl! So they got at least one young out this year! It was in a big Hackberry right over the shed out back 10' from the corner of house and office.

For a rain report, a light shower moved in and parked for the afternoon, giving a minor slow soaking, and kept temps about 76F. A big win. It was about an eighth-inch per hour for three of them. So about three-eighths of an inch, or 1 cm. Which makes three quarters (.75) of an inch with the same total Monday a couple days ago. Which then makes the total 3" here so far for the month. The wettest month in way too many. May was the only wet month in last ten or so? There was 3.5" which fell mostly on two days in May. We might get a little more before this all moves out. Thrilled for the heat relief too.

A highlight of the day was when we got to watch that first-summer male Hooded Oriole take a long full monty bath like never before. Generally the body including rump is orange now, the back and wings are black. Most of the bird has molted in the last month. Still no wing coverts, so no wingbars or white edges whatsoever on wing. Tail is black and mostly replaced now, but not all grown out yet. One interesting part is that it shows a half way there black bib on the breast coming in, but the lores and face are still not black at all really. The crown and head is still mostly green like a first summer bird. No black lores and lower face yet. A really neat plumage only available very briefly for observation here, a first-summer male in late summer as they molt into their first adult type plumage.

The bird of the day that got away today were some swallows. A small group flew over which I only caught flying away, but just after they passed right over head. I saw 3 but trees blocked lots of my view. They were not Rough-winged, Bank, Barn, Cliff, or Cave. They looked like Tree Swallows to me, which is what my mind said when I saw them. Now is a great time to catch them passing by.

Aug. 23 ~ Low of 72F is much better. Doesn't look like it rained much overnight, sprinkles maybe. A light showerlet briefly early and mid-morning, but not much to add to total yet. Outstanding to have a break from the summer heat since it started the second week of May and we had three months already. Before sunup I heard the first in months Eastern Screech-Owl calling from over in the draw where they seem to reside. The Rufous Hummingbird was at the front feeder again first thing, day 3 for the fourth one of fall here. A few Orchard Oriole and a Yellow Warbler were around yard. One greenie Painted Bunting, a few brown Indigo, and one adult male still continues.

Under a big cloud shield and 85F at 3 p.m. is great. Rain more scattered today it seems, and not anything but a few spritzes here over the day. The Tropical Sage we have been nursing all summer is now with some flowers, great spots of red, the hummers love it. A stalk of Indian Mallow has some flowers too. Later in afternoon I saw three imm. Orchard Orio IN the birdbath at once. They left so I refreshed the water in it. Kathy said as soon as I left it an ad. male and a first summer male went into it and sparred whilst bathing. Five here at once anyway.

Aug. 22 ~ Low of 76F is not very, quite balmy too. They have us progged for rain and 90F or below all week. Sure hope they are right this time. We could use a break from the burn, and some water. BTW today is the ONE HOUR day. Length of day is one hour less than it was at the solstice. So two months, to lose an hour. We lose another hour of day length in just the next month.

Been meaning to mention, now seeing sap on the Pecan leaves. They exude a sweet sticky layer making the leaves shiny, which attracts insects, which is why Yellow Warblers hang out in the pecans all day in fall. The smallest gnats get stuck at times, and Yellows are excellent gleaners. Larger (still very small) types (Dipterids - gnats, flies) appear to be feeding on it, making themselves more nutritious in case of Yellow Warbler.

Before sunup there was a Rufous Hummingbird at the front porch feeder, no doubt what Kathy heard last night as it got dark. A few Orchard Orio went through, and one Yellow Warbler was around early, which later was at the birdbath. Kathy heard a Hutton's Vireo over north fence in the junipers. It seems as quickly as a Persimmon turns purple, it is eaten, since what is there are only green ones now. So the birds are really watching it, with their UV vision. I saw a Chat fly out of it, and Titmouse and Carolina Wren came by and checked it. Male Vermilion Flycatcher still here, as is the male Summer Tanager. Still begging baby Lark, Field, and Chipping Sparrow, and Hop-along, the flight challenged Carolina Wren.

An outflow boundry with cooler air got here shortly before 4 p.m., taking 10F off the 91F we were at. Humid, but cooler, and can smell rain, which should be inbound. It rained all around us for about three hours with us only seeing spits. Some got good totals no doubt, there were thundercells. Finally about 7-9 p.m. we had some slow soaking light rain. At least we got a little, and 75F. Lots of areas in central Texas got inches, some nearby. But not us. It was 1 cm, or about three-eighths of an inch. The Barking Frogs were thrilled.

Aug. 21 ~ Low about 74F, balmy, a few sprinkles fell. The system landfalling into northern Mexico and south Texas yesterday, PTC 4, seems to have mostly evaporated, and under-performed fairly well. Though a slug of moisture has come in from it which might make for more rain in a day or two. A few Orchard Oriole went by southbound in the morning. Kathy saw a fem. or imm. Black-and-white Warbler at the birdbath in morning, a Yellow Warbler female in afternoon. I saw the Yellow out in the Pecans. The rest seemed the same. At least one male Indigo Bunting still here. There were two greenies, imm. Painted Bunnies. Kathy heard a sharp chip from a different hummingbird right at last light. It did't return after the last sip.

Aug. 20 ~ About a 73-93F (in shade) temp spread today. At least a half-dozen Orchard Orio went through yard, likely more. Saw the 1st summer female Hooded Orio at the feeder out back. At least one ad. ma. Indigo Bunting still here, as well as one greenie (imm. or female Painted Bunnie). No Blue Gro. A few Chat still around. The juv. Bell's and a couple Wide-eyed Vireo still here. Heard a Yellow-throated Vireo way uphill behind us. The one sprig of Clammyweed that came up again this year has a small flower cluster on it. I see a few Wild Petunia (white here mostly) opened as did a few Rain Lily flowers, which I suppose by now would be the fall Rain Lily, not spring Rain Lily. They are said to be different at some genetic level.

The following are not current photos, but show current events

Yellow Warbler

We saw 4 Yellow Warbler at once in the bath this week.

Orchard Oriole

This is a fall female or immature Orchard Oriole in our birdbath.
There were three of these at once in the bath this week, and
as soon as they left 2 males dropped in to it.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

Aug. 19 ~ Low about 73F, some mid-level clouds, and shortly before dawn some sprinkles. We got three-eighths of an inch (1 cm) of precip. Keep it coming. A FOS Calliope Hummingbird was at the Salvia in the morning, an adult male which are the scarcest type here. Most are females and immatures. By 10 a.m. a first-year male Ruby-throated Hummer was guarding the flowers. A small Texas Persimmon by front porch that gets watered has some fruit. About 10 are purple, each showing signs of birds eating them. Now for some orioles to find them. Baltimore usually really go after them, so do Orchard. Heard flight song from that same ad. ma. Indigo Bunting this morning as it left seed area. Have not seen any Blue Grosbeak in a few days, they seem to have left. Heard the begging baby Zone-tail again today.

Town run for supplies so a look at the park. Just south of town over the pasture at the SW quadrant of the 1050 x 187 intersection was a Zone-tailed Hawk. One Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was at the same big root mass at the north end of the island as a week ago. Little Creek Larry said he saw two at once, and a third bird flushed out of a tree that looked like one as well. So there may be three there. A good showing. He has also is seeing one juvenile Green Heron, they got one young out of the nest this year. He also saw a Solitary Sandpiper a couple days ago, besides a Spotted. One Spotted was there today. I had a glimpse of a warbler in the woods that got away, and was of great interest, durnit. Could not dig it back out.

Aug. 18 ~ Low of 73F, no morning low stratus deck. Later afternoon some local WU stations were showing 98-99F. A front is washing out over the plateau, we had a minor outflow that took a wee bit off the bake. A few more Orchard Orios going through yard. Very surprising before 9 a.m. was an adult male Black-headed Grosbeak. First heard in the big Pecan, then the dying Hackberry, and finally seen in the Mulberry before 9 a.m. It is surely my first August sighting of one locally. Oddly there was one in latest June and early July over in Concan, which surely is the areas only summer record of that sort. Well over half of falls I do not see one, though very small numbers do move through the area annually. It is easy to miss any given year here. The ad. ma. Black-chinned Hummingbird continues, as well as a dozen or two immatures. One imm. chased the imm. Bell's Vireo out of the little Pecan by the patio porch just feet from me. Saw one ad. ma. Ruby-throated, and at least one immature, probably a few. I had a warbler of some sort get away in the later afternoon. Was white below posteriorly. A warbler of great interest. A different buzzed flight note. It was good, and it got away, the bird of the day.

Aug. 17 ~ Low about 74F, back to that. A few wisps of low stratus from the Gulf, but the high is building back in. Supposed to not last though and maybe more rain over the next week after a couple hot days. Two Gnatcatchers out in yard early at dawn. The begging Zone-tailed Hawk still up high overhead behind us to west. Late afternoon the male Summer Tanager was quiet singing in the big Pecan. Winding it down. A few Orchard Oriole went through in a.m., and a few more in late afternoon. Bell's Vireo still about. One greenie Painted Bunting is all I see left. Lots of baby Lark Sparrow, and some new Chipping and Field juvies besides the adults. The ad. ma. Black-chin Hummer continues. The first-summer Hooded Oriole is really getting orange of body. The breast patch is starting to come in well now. Still no wingbars (wing coverts), but new rectrices (tail) are growing out.

Aug. 16 ~ Wow, wet ground. Low about 72F and damp. The yard is greener than it was yesterday, and for the last month. In one day. The low is now out over Big Bend area in the trans-Pecos, where they also need rain badly. Amazing how together it still looked in early a.m. on its third day inland. Good thing it did not have a day out over the Gulf to build. Some areas east of Laredo had 5-10" of rain! About 9 a.m. there was a Red-eyed Vireo singing in corral, first I have heard in at least a month. Then about 10 a Yellow-throated Vireo was singing out front, the first in a couple weeks at least. Probably both are localish post-breeding wanderers that have yet to run out of singing gas. White-eyed and Bell's Vireo were both still making noise out front as well. Four vireos is always great. In morn a few Orchard Oriole went through, heard Yellow and Black-and-white Warbler. Late afternoon a Gnatcatcher went through. Common Nighthawk still calling 'beer'  'beer'.

Aug. 15 ~ Some sprinkles began in the wee hours before dawn. The low was 71F. The low system Invest 98-L seems to be over-performing. It made landfall yesterday, and is still together, and with circulation, just crossing the Rio Grande around Eagle Pass this early morn. A band of rain from it seems headed our way. The second Yellow Warbler of fall was out there early, and a few Orchard Oriole. Just before 10 a.m. a Peregrine Falcon flew south not high over the Cypresses that line the river. Always a great bird to see. It was almost funny how the birds alarmed right at the instant my mind said 'falcon!'. Off and on sprinkles and showerlets all morning. Hard to believe we made noon still in the 70's. We lucked into a nice band training over us in the afternoon, by time it was done we had 1.25" for the day! OMG! A perfect slow-soaker as they call them too. Never got past about 75F all day, incredible. The Barking Frogs were thrilled after dark.

Aug. 14 ~ Another 72F low is nice, that ought to be the legal minimum for a low. The disturbance that went over the last couple days west to east has now become a weak low, Invest 98-L, just offshore out in the Gulf. Now it is going to march west across south Texas with rain. They need it as badly as we do, so great for them. We may get lucky and get some. We had easterly to NE winds from the circulation and the debris cloud shield kept temps down, topping out at only about 85F! What a great break. Saw at least two greenies, imm. Painted Bunting, might have been three. Saw an ad. fem. Indigo Bunting feed a juvenile, so it just got out of the nest. Saw the juv. Bell's Vireo that has been around, likely from the corral nesting.

Kathy said the hummer fluid usage has plummeted the last few days. Which means for the most part the hoardes of immature Black-chinned have vacated, finally. That was the overwhelming bulk of what was here. It was in the low hundreds. I saw the one still here ad. ma. Black-chinned, and two ad. ma. Ruby-throats. Saw a couple that looked like imm. Ruby-throated, amongst at least a couple dozen still here Black-chin immatures. Also had a visit from the getting oranger every day first-summer male Hooded Oriole. A few Orchard Oriole went through yard. The male Vermilion Flycatcher is still here. Best beast of the day was a butterfly, the first Dusky-blue Groundstreak I have seen all year. It hit both the Lantana and the Blue Mist Eupatorium.

Aug. 13 ~ Low of 72F and the ground is wet. Wow. Plenty humid though. Just after midnight last night at last sound check I heard three species of amphibians celebrating the rain by calling. Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Barking Frog, and the Couch's Spadefoot Toad called too. Amazing for just under an inch of rain. In the morning did hear titmice singing, and an inspired distant Summer Tanager was as well. Finally there was a migrant swarm of dragonflies, the first I have seen this fall. Most were Spot-winged Glider, but Black, and Red, Saddlebags, Green Darner, and one Wandering Glider were among the couple dozen hawking low over the yard. Great to see, now we have some, for a couple hours, since some showed up from somewhere else.

Mid-morn I saw my FOS ad. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the office feeder on the heels of Larry's sightings the last few days. Recall those two imms. I saw in the last week but did not call them for a FOS date. Then late morn I heard then saw a FOS Yellow Warbler in the Pecans. I am sure that is what I heard and glimpsed that got away a couple days ago. The rule is to never claim or record any ID (much less a FOS date) that you are not ten thousand percent sure on. I would much rather have a sure date a couple days later, than a maybe probably speculative date, a couple days earlier. Eventually they will all fill in, and change, anyway. Being sure is better and more important than being first.

Heard the Common Ground-Dove out back. Great to see all these tiny baby lizards around. Maybe 1.5" of body, and nearing 2 of tail. Eastern Fence, Six-lined Racerunner, and Green Anole are the three numerous ones that seemingly had decent seasons. Late afternoon we had an outflow from a cell that cooled it a bit and spit a hundredth or two of precip on us. Kathy had an Ash-throated Flycatcher, which are mostly departed for the year now. She also heard a Common Nighthawk at dusk. I heard an Upland Sandpiper overhead southbound "Whip-ip-ip-ip-ip". Listen as and right after it gets dark, and as it gets light.


This is an underexposed docushot of the immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Utopia Park Aug. 12. It continues today the 19th. At least two are there now. The are white-spotted on brown above, and brown-streaked on dirty white below. Those are Cypress leaves on the water surface, as in November, usually.

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Aug. 12 ~ The rain cooled air provided a low of 70F! Weewow! First thing early before 7 a.m. there was some drama out front. A young fawn crashed into and then through the hog fence, coming from the corral. It sprinted across yard right past me, crashed into and through the hog fence on other side of yard. Shortly it crashed back through it and across yard to far corner, whence I saw a Coyote out on the road stalking it. The fawn was freaked out, it doubled back across yard and went back through the north fence again and headed up draw. Not long after I heard some odd strained fawn bleating. If it had stayed in the yard the Coyote likely would not have come in after it. It was panicked.

Town run and park check. Little Creek Larry said he had ad. ma. Ruby-throated Hummingbird this morning, and Tuesday (9th). First I have heard of this fall, though surely those two I saw this last week here were immature Rubies. He also saw some small fast ducks blazing down the creek at dawn one day that were Blue-winged Teal, the first of fall as well. It is mid-August. There were reports of an inch to 1.5" of rain in some areas locally yesterday, north and south of us and town. More reports of dry wells.

At the park the imm. Barred Owl is doing well it seems, head almost fully feathered now. An imm. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was at the north end of the island, first I have seen in a while locally and always a good bird here. One just fledged still begging Summer Tanager in main park still being attended. There was a Red-tailed Pennant dragonfly. An amazing lack of odes, and birds, forget butterflies, there are no flowers. Some, lots of, trees are turning as if it is late fall.

About 4 p.m. a rain cell found us, and took 15dF off the top dropping it to 81F and stopping the solar heating. We got just under a quarter-inch! A real dust-buster, for a day or so. OMG about 7 p.m. another cell found us and dropped another half-inch plus. Probably 22-23mm, or seven-eighths of an inch for a total. Incredible. With the tenth yesterday we can say we have an inch for August. A few Chimney Swift were overhead after the rain. There was the usual termite hatch as well. So everything got protein. Besides the molting ad. ma. Indigo Bunting, there are two still fully blue ad. males here.

Aug. 11 ~ Some mid level clouds kept some heat in, low was 75F and muggy. First thing I heard a Common Nighthawk pre-dawn. About 6:45 an Upland Sandpiper flew over not too high up, going north, so was looking for a place to go down for the day. Gnatcatcher out there early also. Nothing singing. Heard the begging Zone-tail up behind us somewhere later morning. The big live-oaks block view to west. Was about 94F at 1 p.m. when a cloud sheild saved us from the sun. Which was followed by a whole tenth of an inch (.1) showerlet over an hour, and temps dropping to 80F by 2:30. A thrill here these days. Maybe something to hold the dust down for a day. Any sort of break in the heat whatsoever at this point is great. Some others in the area no doubt got some real rain. I heard a zzzeeet and saw a flash through the trees that seemed a Yellow Warbler to me, but did not get a confirmatory ID look.

Aug. 10 ~ Low of 73F, no morning clouds from the Gulf. Prepare to bake. A small impulse of disturbance is supposed to move over, over the next few days, so low-end precip chances on way. Saw 97F in shade on front porch late afternoon. An outflow hit after 7 p.m. dropping us to a chilly 90F. Did hear two Titmouse countersinging still, before sunup. Only things left singing. A few Orchard Orio through yard, they are on the move now. Heard one Dickcissel in the morning, but at last seed toss late there were two out back. Saw one ad. male and two greenie Painted Bunting, first in a couple days, two greenies, one ad. male Indigo Bunting in heavy molt, one ea. ad. male and female Blue Grosbeak. About 15 ea. Lesser Goldfinch and House Finch, a dozen Lark Sparrow, about 6-7 Field and at least 8 Chipping Sparrow are likely the local breeders and some young of the year from them. A dozen White-winged Dove. Hop-along the flightless Carolina Wren continues. Kathy heard the begging Zone-tail way up high somewhere, and she saw another Mockingbird at the bird bath. That makes four Mockers in the last four weeks. Mocker movement. Vermilion Flycatcher still here, saw one male Summer Tanager, heard a couple White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo gone a week or so now though. Heard a Bell's Vireo over in corral but it sounded like a juvenile learning to sing, not the perfect-songed adult bird that was there on territory all summer. Likely one of its young.

Aug. 9 ~ Low of 74F, a couple hours of a low stratus deck. The alpha male Blue Grosbeak seems to have finally quit dawn singing. Hitting the seed a lot, he will be gone soon. Some Orchard Oriole through yard in morning. The ad. male Black-chinned Hummer is still here. I heard a begging juvenile Zone-tailed Hawk way up high behind us somewhere. They just hang up there at 1000' if not two, begging loudly, later July and August is when. Heard a Gnatcatcher mid-day. A couple more southbound Orchard Oriole nearing dusk, an ad. male belted out one measure of song. At dusk a Great Blue Heron flew downriver over the Cypresses. Only saw one greenie Painted Bunting today. A juv. Chat still poking around in the seed.

Aug. 8 ~ Low of 75F and just a brief bit of low stratus from the Gulf. The second Rufous Hummingbird here this fall showed up in the morning. A flocklet of Orchard Oriole went through yard southward earlyish-morn. The rest looked the same. Hot and very humid until later afternoon when it becomes just hot and kinda humid. Did see the ad. ma. Black-chinned Hummer still here. Later after 7 p.m. a Dickcissel landed in the big Pecan, called a few times, and flew out southward.

The two begging baby Carolina Wren are still at it. One is messed up, it does not fly right. Lots of hopping and skipping as it flaps but seems unable to actually fly properly. It is now 31 days out of nest and still begging and being fed. Something got messed up in development, which was likely related to the food shortage. The other young is seemingly taking advantage of the situation and I presume parents will be ejecting it from the territory shortly. Late as it got dark out on the road next to corral I saw a Chuck-will's-widow ON the road.

Aug. 7 ~ Low was 74F, way better than 76. Kathy saw an ad. male Painted Bunting on the patio in the morning, first one in three days. The last few are trickling out. We saw it again mid-morn. Only a couple greenies (fem. or imm.) left too. Heard the Bell's Vireo singing over in the corral, but have not heard the Yellow-throated in a few days. White-eyed or two still calling, but moving around a lot, seeming like not nesting still. A half-dozen Orchard Oriole again went through yard southbound in morning. Heard a zzeet that was likely a Black-and-white Warbler. Saw a flock of a dozen White-winged Dove, the first real flocking I have seen since spring nesting commenced. Saw the ad. male Black-chinned Hummingbird still here today.

Aug. 6 ~ A bit balmy at 76F for a low. There were a few sprinkles just before dawn, a full blown near-dampening. A minor disturbance passing provided clouds that kept it a few dF cooler anyway, though humid. First few hours at least a half-dozen, probably 8, Orchard Oriole went through yard all moving south. It's on! Fall migration. Again saw what looked an imm. Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Had a great look at a Common Ground-Dove which flew right by me over the patio, and later was calling out back. Seems it found the seed. Have not had any around since winter so nice to see. I thought sure in the morning I heard a Dickcissel. Then about 4 p.m. again I thought I heard one. Then at 7 p.m. it was calling from up in the big Pecan. So it was here all day. I was not combing through everything on the seed so did not see it on the ground. But since I only saw one in spring over at the usual nesting pasture on UvCo 354, it is great to have one here again.


This is a first spring male Summer Tanager. They are pied with the mustard olive of an immature or female, the males acquiring red over their first summer. This was April 17, 2018, early in spring.

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Aug. 5 ~ Low of 74F again. we have had a couple dozen of these recently. Interesting for every night NOAA has called for 72. Only once did it get that low in last couple weeks. The models consistently cannot place the lows high enough. Because it goes against all the prior modeling data no doubt. The two baby Carolina Wrens are still begging, today is a month, day 28 out of the nest. Incredible. A few Orchard Oriole went through yard moving south first thing, no doubt passage birds. Great look at a male in the Mulberry. Thought pretty sure I heard a Calliope Hummingbird first thing early. That sweet beautiful pillowy soft Selasphorus chip. There was a swarm and I had to get seed out, the Titmice were complaining, and the sun wasn't even up yet! I bet if the titmice had not have seen me they would have stayed quiet longer.

Town run and park check. Little Creek Larry said he saw a couple Spotted Sandpiper at the pond early. Also said he had a young Roadrunner at his place, and a group of 3 nighthawks (Common) which were probably adults with a young, or an ad. with 2 young. He also said a neighbor brought a mauled mostly gone, just enough to ID remains of a White-tailed Kite by. Because they figured he would still be able to ID it. At park on the former island I saw a Least Flycatcher on the heels of yesterday's FOS. A couple Blue Dasher dragonfly. Some of the big old deep-rooted Cypresses are now starting to turn rusty, like it is October or November. I saw or heard over town no Chimney Swift, Barn Swallow, or Purple Martin. The local breeders are all gone. The water is not flowing below the spillway at park, or at the UvCo 360 crossing, just rocks. Here at the hovelita we did not see those last adult males of Black-chinned Hummer or Painted Bunting today.

Aug. 4 ~ Low of 75F, some low stratus trying to block the sun a little bit, not very well. Another scorcher, I saw 98F in the shade on the front porch. Relentless heat. We are pouring water on plants trying to keep stuff alive. Mostly just continuing to quiet down out there. Another fall migrant (!), about 4:30 I saw a FOS Least Flycatcher out in the front yard, watching a fenced Lantana with a couple flowers on it. Something came in to a flower and snap! Probably the last one of one of those endangered flies. I had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher later in afternoon. Kathy saw a Mockingbird at the bath later. I think about the third she has seen in the last month, all seemingly one-minute passage birds just stopping for a drink. That drip is magic.

Aug. 3 ~ Low of 76F is kind of a drag. There was low Gulf stratus, so kept the heat in. Often it arrives right at sunup, which is great as you get max radiational cooling, and then some sun shield to keep it cooler a few hours. When it gets here at 2, 4, or 6 a.m. you lose some or a lot of that overnight cooling. It is an interesting phenom here anyway. I saw 99F on the cool shady front porch. Local WU stations were showing 99 to 104.5F, most about 102F. Hondo and Uvalde both showed 105F highs. A burner of a day, I was busy on computer.

Blue Grosbeak is the one thing still going strongest at dawn. What little else there is still going is half-hearted. Saw the ad. male Black-chinned Hummingbird still here guarding the office feeder in back. I did not see anything different today, it was the same as it ever was the last two months. Lesser Goldfinch still doing a Couch's Kingbird amongst its run of mimicry when singing. I had a quick dash to town for P.O. stuff. Right at south end of town at the 187 x 1050 intersection there was an adult Zone-tailed Hawk soaring over lazily at treetop level providing great views. Only takes one good bird to make your day. At dusk I heard a half-dozen calls from a FOS Upland Sandpiper. It sounded like it was over on the airstrip or in that horse pasture adjacent. The calls were repeated and coming from ground level, not a bird passing overhead. Was already getting dark, pig-thirty, and I did not feel like getting gun to walk over there to look for it.

Aug. 2 ~ Back up to 74F for a low and no low stratus deck. Same old song and dance, a hun in the sun. Gotta say, did not have 'experience desertification first-hand' on my bingo card. No relief in sight on the 10-day or any long term I can find. I heard yesterday there is no water at the 8-mile. That is the high bridge river crossing 8 miles south of town. First bridge is the 4-mile. For bonus points, how far south of town is the four-mile? Anyway, they had never seen it dry. Here we are again at the levels of the infamous Texas drought of the 1950's. Just like a decade ago.

Kathy saw an ad. male Painted Bunting at the bath nearing dusk. I saw the one worn ad. ma. Black-chinned Hummer still here. Pretty sure I saw an imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird as well. Short straight bill, super bright dark emerald green in sun, and the sides were so rufous at first I thought it might be a Selasphorus. Black-chin sides get buffy, and maybe even the slightest faintest bit warmish toned. But imm. Rubies can be pale rufous almost like a Calliope. As was this bird. Strikingly rufousish, at a level which a Black-chin never presents or imparts. The first-summers of male and female Hooded Oriole were at feeder, no doubt the pair that bred nearish and was ushering a couple young here. Which I am not seeing lately.

August 1 ~ OMG it's August!?! Low was 73F, some low stratus from Gulf off and on from 9-11 or so. First thing pre-sunup there was a Black-and-white Warbler singing out front a fair bit. I suspect it is the one that bred nearby as one on the move in passage would probably be over singing. Probably the last of that I will hear this year. Did hear a Yellow-throated Vireo a few times. Before 10 a.m. out back I saw at once two ad. male Painted Bunting, 4 ad. ma. Indigo, and an ad. ma. Blue Grosbeak. Always appreciate these last views of the season whence ground littered with this dazzling eye-candy before it all departs. At last sun there were 5 Orchard Oriole in a group in the top of the big Pecan out front. Might have been a family group from the area, but could have been a passage flocklet as well. Today was 30 min. less daylight than at the solstice.

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Temps ran 5-10F over normal averages, continuing the trend from May and June. Miraculously we lucked into 2.5" of rain early in the month, however we remain in D4 exceptional drought. The river is 4-5' below normal bank in many places. In many areas up and down the valley there is no water above ground. There is no water below the spillway at the park pond, below the 360 crossing, or a the 8-mile bridge. It is as bad or worse than the 2011-12 years at peak of last exceptional drought we just had and never yet recovered from.

Insects were depressing for their absence. There are hardly any to see. A porch light barely brings anything in. There are almost no flowers for butterflies, and there are very few odes (dragons) over or around any water you might find. No grasshoppers or 'worms' (caterpillars). Looks like 19 (maybe 20) species of butterflies. Last July was 53 species. This is my worst July in the last nineteen of keeping track of species diversity here. Odes (dragonflies) were just as bad. I have never seen it like this, so devoid of them. Only managed to muster a meager 15 species, many were just one individual seen. A couple each of Halloween and Red-tailed Pennant were maybe the best things, since you can miss them here some years. Also probably the last looks at Orange-striped Threadtail this year.

Birds were the same breeding gang for the most part. At the end of the month the first long-distance fall migrants showed up to give hope for cooler temperatures ahead eventually. By the end of the month many of the local breeders that are migratory are leaving for the season, until next year. Many seemed to be leaving early this year, no doubt due to the lack of bugs. They are a critical food (protein and calcium) source for nesting season. It was severely lacking and clutch sizes overall were obviously reduced. Most were two at most. Many were just one fledged young (especially larger species). Best was the continuing Couch's Kingbirds on July 7, present in the area from latest April, about 6 weeks at least. Longer distance passage migrants showing late in month were a Rufous Hummingbird on July 26, and on July 29 single Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper at the Utopia Park pond. I saw 72 species very locally in July, essentially at park or in yard.

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July ~ A Verdin on July 1 at the P.O. continues (since June 24). An amazing TWO INCHES of rain fell July 3 pre-dawn. Couch's Kingbird continues south of town a couple miles July 7 (since late April). Lots of begging baby birds, and heat. Flowers, butterflies, and dragonflies are all way down in numbers. We are in D4 exceptional drought, send rain. I saw in ebird a few interesting reports from the Concan area the last few weeks. A Mexican (was Green) Violetear was SE of Concan on July 7, a couple Green Jays have been reported, and a late June and early July an ad. male Black-headed Grosbeak is very surprising. A Rufous Hummingbird here at our feeders July 26-27 is the first long distance 'fall' migrant I have seen. Sure like to be wherever it came from. A couple fall migrant sandpipers at the park pond on July 29 were a Spotted and a Solitary.

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July 31 ~ One more scorcher and we will be through another burner of a month. Our third month of summer and of 5-10dF over average temps, so far. A quarter of the year with about six weeks at least still ahead. Around Aug. 7 is halfway from solstice to equinox. Chronological versus astromical half-way differs by a couple days per Sky and Telescope. Already daylight is almost 30 minutes less than at solstice, now six weeks after. The peak 3 months of UV and sun is done, but not necessarily peak heat. A low of 72F felt fantastic after a bunch of 74's lately. What a difference two dF can feel.

Not a whole lot still singing at dawn. Heard Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Bell's Vireo. A few White-eyed Vireo calls, not sure if still nesting. A bit later House Finch and Lesser Goldfinch sang. Some sounds from Chats, noises, but not like singing. Early saw presumably that last same adult male Painted Bunting that continues, at the altar of the holy white millet tube of course. Just a few greenies left too. Usually we are covered in them now. Heard an Orchard Oriole out there again early, chucking. The two baby Carolina Wrens continue begging and tagging along with adults. Twenty three days out of the nest now.

July 30 ~ Hanging tough with the 74F lows lately. And highs about 98F or so. No morning low clouds. This sub-tropical high is soooo strong, and once it sets up, it seems mighty hard to dislodge for four months. One worn ad. ma. Black-chinned Hummer continues. The Rufous is gone, not seen since Thursday, now two days ago, was a three-day bird. Kathy saw a hummer with a bent lower mandible. Heard an Orchard Oriole, the mew call, as often from a bird that is on the move, as in a migrant. Most of the rest was the same. Clearly fewer greenies (imm. and fem. Painted Bunting) here now too. They appear to be departing early like the ad. males. There are no bugs to eat here this year. Evidenced by how many and often Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak have spent so much time here at the seed this summer. Wayyy more than normal. The usual supplementary protein and calcium source is not there. Which is why those two first-summer male Blue Grosbeaks have barely molted all summer.

not a current pic

Black-and-white Warbler, female or immature.
This is what I would be doing if there was a river.

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July 29 ~ Low was 74F. No low stratus, go directly to the sun. Did not hear the Rufous Hummer in the morn, it probably left. Did not see the male Painted Bunny either. I can't believe how early they bugged out this year. The two juv. Carolina Wrens continue begging like their first week out of nest, today makes three weeks. Sure great not to see any Cowbirds out there, but the 3 E. Cottontails probably eat more seed. Town run and a park check. Great was two fall migrant sandpipers! A Spotted and a Solitary. Outstanding, been a while since I have seen a sandpiper at the park. The one juvenile Barred Owl is getting feathers on the head now. One Eastern Wood-Pewee was calling in the woods. Kathy heard a Common Nighthawk at last crack of light.

July 28 ~ I guess the 74F low was better than it was yesterday. No morning low stratus. The Rufous Hummer was still here in the a.m., so day 3. Saw one ad. ma. Painted Bunting early in the morning and at last call only. It seems like the last one, a couple weeks earlier than we usually get to that point. A few male Indigo still around, not as many as there were, had a four at once count at last seed call, peak was seven. Three or four male Blue Grosbeak still here, counting the two first-summer birds. Fewer Hooded Oriole coming in less often.

July 27 ~ Low of 76F is not very. Only an hour or so of low Gulf stratus arrived after sunup. Saw one ad. male Black-chinned Hummingbird, after none yesterday. Saw one ad. ma. Painted Bunting, after none yeterday. Most ad. males of those two are gone now. The Rufous Hummingbird continues, probably an imm. male. Saw the two first summer blue-headed Grosbeaks present since spring. Both have fairly fully blue heads now, one has nape still not all filled in. That one has no other blue. The other has a little blue on the underparts and upperparts. Generally most of their bodies are very worn nearly year-old first basic (winter) plumage. They provide a good example of how retarded molt can be, due to a shortage of food.

The two of three juvenile Carolina Wrens that made it the first week continue. Begging still with soft yellow area at bill gape. They fledged July 8, now 19 days ago. Have never seen young at this stage of un-development this long after fledging. Sometimes the parents boot the young out of the territory within a week of fledging! Great was a pair of Common Ground-Dove, since we have not been seeing them. Also had a couple cackling Caracara uphill behind us. Forgot to mention yesterday, but saw it again this dusk, a bat that is likely a Red Bat. Foraging over the yard, much larger and slower of wingbeat than the Brazillian (was Mexican) Freetails. Got a little bit of warmth in the color tone off it. We used to have a pair of them resident here but have not seen them in a year or so.

July 26 ~ Saw 74F for a low. No significant low stratus from the Gulf, gonna be a cooker again today. We are running uppermost 90's F, at least 5dF over the former average. But which is a couple-few dF less than it was all last week. Seeing no adult male Painted Bunting on the millet tube. Appears as a blowout has occurred. Normally their big blowout is Aug. 7-9 or so, but I think due to the drought, like so much, they will depart early this year. In the afternoon I first heard, then saw, my first long-distance fall migrant of the year. A Rufous Hummingbird, female or immature type. Went from 8 hummers on the feeder to one real fast. Had a dragonfly go by too fast to ID but it looked like a Pale-faced Clubskimmer, which amazingly I have not seen this year.

July 25 ~ Low of 74F, a little bit of morning low stratus from the Gulf, a couple hours worth maybe. That dang pig was back making sure any Prickly Pear we were trying save got totally trampled under foot. I will have to do something at the corral gate post. Sure great not feeding all those cowbirds. Otherwise the same summer gang. Out back saw a pile of feathers indicating that between noon and 4 p.m. a White-winged Dove was taken. Probably by a Cooper's Hawk. Saw an orange colored skipper fly by, but no ID, probably a Fiery. Still working on finer points of skippers in flight. Weird not hearing the male Painted Buntings singing any more, they are shut down and becoming scarce fast. Less Indigo but still at least some few going. One fairly adjacent over in the draw, often sings from a big Hackberry right on the fenceline left of gate. It is nesting over there somewhere, feeds here, often giving flight song on departure from seed injestion sessions. Bless his exhuberance.

July 24 ~ Low was 75F, a bit of low Gulf stratus arrived just as the sun came up, but just barely, not thick. Gave a few hours of a slight break in solar heating. Seems like fewer Cowbirds, finally. I saw a few juveniles, unattended strays from elsewhere, and that was it. The main flock of adults was not here today, it seems the bulk of Brown-headed have departed. The Bronzed always stay much later in the season, but there are just a few of them. All cowbird nest predation here in Aug. and Sept. is by Bronzed, not Brown-headed. In other departure news, I only saw one adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird here today. Lots of juveniles and immatures, maybe some females, but the adult males are fairly vacated. So where do they go? Mountains of Mexico? Some obvious departures of breeding birds are ongoing. Saw one Little Yellow (butterfly).

July 23 ~ Low was 74F, a wee bit of Gulf stratus early off and on, just a little something for the humidity when it hits 92F. Somewhere around 95F or so the humidity magically evaporates and we drop to 30% or lower, sometimes low 20's. Oh but its a dry heat my foot, it's a hundred! Adult male Blue Grosbeak on the patio early. What a great seedeater to have out there. Eagle-eyed and ginchy. I was in chair on back porch, and I am afraid to breathe as if it detects movement it bolts. It looks like it is watching me for movement, one twitch and its gone.

Saw an adult male Orchard Oriole mid-morn. Kathy saw one a week or so ago. Many like to speculate (often foolishly) about every birds status. For some it is a full-time hobby. Is it the same bird Kathy saw still hanging around? Is it what is called a post-breeding dispersant that bred nearish by? Or is it a migrant from elsewhere which actually could occur now too? Pick a guess, any guess, one is as good as the next. Otherwise it was the same June and July gang. And hot. Weird how quiet the Chats are. Probably between nests, and trying to decide whether or not to do another round. In wetter years they do a last nesting in August. I do not expect that this year. But we are seeing a few fresh young around the yard so the few pairs did get some out so far already.

Not current photos.

This a Chrysomelid beetle of which there are many types. Leaf-chafers might be one group name for them. Here they are past chafing and more like devouring. These are flea-beetles. Note the enlarged base of hind leg. When they trigger it, they jump faster than your eye can follow, a foot in a tenth of a second.

Shining Flea-Beetle eating hole in American Germander.


Shining Flea-Beetle still eating holes in American Germander.


Another type of Flea-Beetle with nice polka-dots.

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July 22 ~ Low of 74F was way better than yesterday, and I can't believe I can say that about a 74F low. There was some low Gulf stratus first couple or few hours again. Kathy heard a Common Nighthawk right over yard before sunup. A female Red-winged Blackbird hit the seed early, have not been seeing one come in lately. Just a male or few, once or twice a week or so. Saw a juvenile Chat hopping around all the seedeaters wondering what the deal was. Town run and park check. Heard a Yellow-throated Vireo upriver of the park. One begging juv. Red-shouldered Hawk there. Drying up fast. Now maybe FIVE FEET below normal bank level. The water lillies all browning and dry. Below spillway the Cypress and Sycamore are mostly turned of color, many Sycamores dropped leaves already due to drought. In dragons saw 2 Red-tailed Pennant, and a Leaftail, likely the same three beasts for three weeks now. Little Creek Larry said almost all his Chimney Swift are gone, and I heard none over town. I also only heard a couple Purple Martin, and a few Barn Swallow. The insectivores are bailing early this year. The Scissor-tails didn't even stay to nest. A note from Tom Collins of Center Point said the Kerrville butterfly count had only half the number of species they recorded last year.

July 21 ~ A ridiculous low of 78F. Gulf low stratus for the first time in a week, held the heat in overnight. At least it stayed at or below 82F for four hours due to the clouds. I remember 68F lows were regular at Lost Maples in July in the late '80's. My how things have changed in a few decades. A pig came back and finished destroying our Prickly Pear patch. Has to be small to get through the gap in the gate. But knows not to show up if lights are on. The little bastard belongs in a burrito.

Heard both the Bell's and Yellow-throated Vireo singing at early-thirty pre-sunup, and yeah a couple Wide-eyed Vireo too. Kathy heard a Canyon Towhee. I heard a warbler bk bk bk series uphill in the live-oaks out back, probably a or the Black-n-white. Parade of Hooded Oriole at the feeders in the morning. Saw my FOY juvenile Blue Grosbeak finally today. Late for the first young, presume I missed some earlier. Another hun in the sun day. One Queen on the Blue Mistflower.

July 20 ~ Saw 75F at 6:40 a.m., it might have dropped a dF more, KERV had a 73F for a low. Saw the family of four Bluebirds still around and together. Two of the baby Carolina Wren continue, probably lost one, there were three. They are growing much slower than usual, 11 days out of the nest still with much yellow on bill and begging like it was the first day out. There is not the usual amount of food to be had. Often early in the nesting season when the adults are hot to re-nest ASAP, the young are kicked out of the territory in a week or less. The last batch of the year always gets a few more days, or more of parental attention. But these are not near as developed as they should be at 11 days out of the nest.

The, or a, Great Crested Flycatcher was around in the afternoon. Lots of baby birds out there, especially Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, Painted Bunting, Lark Sparrow, and some Chipping and Field Sparrow. The Blue Mistflower Eupatorium is blooming again and it is really weird how there are so few (no) butterflies out there. Thirty flower heads with nothing. Saw 99F on the cool shady front porch, so over a hun in the sun out there. Still running nearly 10dF over historical averages. With no relief in sight, nothing on the ten-day.

July 19 ~ Low of 75F was not very. The oven roasting will continue. A hun in the sun is our new daily normal. Been meaning to mention I have not been hearing many Purple Martin the last week. Just a few here and there, the prior couple weeks there were lots with young, overhead multiple times daily. Some are probably leaving already. Heard the Bell's Vireo still over in the corral singing, it no doubt nested. A Great Crested Flycatcher was around in the morning a bit. Couple Ash-throated out there off and on all day. I saw local WU station readings at 101, 102, and 103F, it was plenty toasty out there. Was still 84F at midnight!

July 18 ~ Low of 72F, same at KERV. No significant low stratus. Nice there is still some dawn chorus at 6:30 a.m., nothing like it was, but still some going. Chats must be between rounds, and you take them out of the equation and it gets a lot quieter than just one species ought to make it. Kathy saw a Black-and-white Warbler at the bath early, which looked female or imm. type. I heard Orchard Oriole in the corral, presume that first-summer male. Lots of baby House Finch. Five each at once counts on males of Lesser Goldfinch and Painted Bunting. Probably all nesting adjacent. I see and especially hear, at least two of the baby Carolina Wren still around the house. No Chucks at dark. Not hearing Nighthawks now either.

July 17 ~ The 70F low was outstanding! The TEN new chiggers I woke up with not so much. Must have harvested them on my last listen and lookabout outside after midnight. Did not have any when I went to bed. Must have been out in driveway, will do some trimming. Some Prickly Pear we have been growing was destroyed, which must have been pigs, the patch is all busted up. Happened a couple years ago too. It is the one patch that gets some extra water, so had fat juicy leaves. Ransacked. Has to be a smaller one as the only openings in alleged hog fence are small. Probably via the gate to corral behind cottage which has a bit of a gap.

Birds were the same gang. Male Vermilion Flycatcher seems to be figuring out that mean ol' Phoebe is not here any more, and is spending lots more time in the yard. Which is great. At last light I heard a couple distant half-hearted "wills-widow" calls from a tired Chuck. After a shower counted now 15 minimum chiggers I am currently hosting, not of my own volition. All on sensitive skin areas of course. There have hardly been any chiggers, or skeeters, all spring and summer so far, due to the lack of rain. But there are hardly any dragonflies, butterflies, and there were hardly any fireflies this year too.

July 16 ~ Low was 74F, saw 95F on the cool shady front porch in the afternoon. Today is hump day for climatological summer, we cross the half way point of June-August, and are now on the back half. Days are nearing a minute less daylight per day than the day prior. We are about 13 minutes less daylight per day than peak day length at solstice. Nearing a month past the solstice, and the tail end of the peak UV window. Did have a juvenile Great Crested Flycatcher in the yard in the morning. It was still begging but not being attended. So just fledged from fairly nearby. Otherwise it seemed the same gang still here. Got a chigger. Need to weedwhack the walking paths around yard. Have not had to do one single full yard mowing all spring and summer as nothing grew as usual due to the exceptional drought. Half of the yard (in sun) it is brown like winter and getting cooked to over 100F daily.


Here is a little something for all those ID whiz superstars. This is a nightjar. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify it. Two species had just called from the immediate adjacent vicinity. This bird landed on the wire, there was just a crack of light left, I had to gas the ISO up to 3200, got one shot and it split. Only had a bare-eyed view, mostly was looking at back of camera. So you know what I did at the time, the two species that had just called were N. Paraque and Chuck-will's-widow. It was Sept. 5, 2019. I think it can be ID'd based on shape and structure. Interesting to me, I had only prior seen Nighthawks (both species) sit on wires, but, I guess why not, nice perch. I will not be posting a quick answer, or best guess, leaving it up as a mystery bird for a bit.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 15 ~ An amazing low of 69F was outstanding. Lots of the area had rain (besides us) last night around dark, I saw KERV was mostly 67F overnight. Weewow. The birds were singing as if they liked it too. But all looked the same here today. Town run where it was all the same as well. Besides a Green Heron at the park there were the pair of Common Grackle continuing. I have not heard or seen any young yet this year. With the pair still here, we can hope they will yet produce some. One ad. ma. Painted Bunting is a bird out moving around since they don't nest there. In odes it was the same. Halloween and Red-tailed Pennant, a Leaftail, and Eastern Pondhawk, Red Saddlebags and Checkered Setwing, mostly singles of each. In damsels, some Bluets that were likely Familiar. Did see one Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on 360, an ad. female. Otherwise the same mid-summer gang. Forgot to mention lots of Cenizo in bloom from the rains this week. It goes off a couple days after the rains, and some are looking pretty nice right now, but only last two days.

July 14 ~ Low of 74F, we'll take it. It was still over 80F after midnight last night. The new normal. No morning low stratus, the baking will continue. Birds looked the same gang, it is mid-summer. Another new Chipping Sparrow young begging, but only one, and but, at least no cowbird. Can't wait for Cowbirds to leave, which should be soon. They eat a ton of white millet, my bunting food. Speaking of which more begging baby Painted Bunnies out there too. Grayish greenies. Again late in afternoon or early evening some nearby rain cells were about. We just got spit on again, but it dropped us from a hun in the sun to 80F in short order. What a great break from peak heat. Some folks got some rain, there was thunder and such. No Chucks calling at dark again.

July 13 ~ Low about 71F was nice, the high is so strong though we are not getting the morning low stratus from the Gulf. The first-summer male Hooded Oriole hit the front porch feeder about 8:30 and then gave a nice bit of song for a minute after it left. Nice to hear that since I've had no breeders in earshot. Blue Grosbeaks are still singing well, three or four going, but two are first-summer birds with little blue, but which is slightly increasing as of late. Chat was in the bath first thing. Probably a half-dozen of them per day use it. There are at least three pairs around our place, and we are seeing several juveniles about as well. They never produce lots of young, at least here lately. One or two per nest is it. But they do two or three rounds.

Had to run to town mid-morn. Little Creek Larry said he hardly has any ad. ma. Black-chinned Hummers left, and it is almost all immatures. We still have some adult males, but a fraction of what they were. There are still some Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks over at his creek too. I saw an ad. Green Heron at the park, one of the breeding pair no doubt. Yellow-throated Vireo is still singing. No odes seems mighty weird.

But a new species of ichthyfauna. We hardly ever get that here. Like all new fish species here the last oh about a hundred years, it is an introduced species, and not native to the Sabinal drainage. Only the seven minnow species are native here. There are now shoals of Sailfin Molly in the pond. They are natural in the Nueces drainage but not Frio or Sabinal (sub-) drainages. Nearest I know of are in the Leona River at the Hwy. 90 park in downtown Uvalde, where it is very doubtful they are natural there. People like to put them everywhere, like big mosquitofish. But they are more herbivorus. Sometimes they can do algae control work, but the filament or hair algae that is a problem here is not generally eaten by anything. Obviously someone thought we should have some mollies here.

Who knows what ecological ramifications it will have? The (introduced non-native) bass certainly approve. At least the molly is a south Texas native species, and the males are pretty when in breeding colors. But usually this sort of thing does not play out well for the locals (natives) in the long term. The fish in the pond think a thousand people from Austin just showed up. Certainly trout introductions hurt the ode (dragonfly and damselfly) populations here and at Lost Maples SNA (and probably Garner S.P. as well). With all the bass and perch introductions, it is incredible the remnants (which is at best what we have) of the populations of the seven species of native minnows continue. Though I have only seen six of them.

Late in day there were more rain cells nearish but not close enough to send a cooling outflow. Just west enough to block some sun at peak heat. It was a hun plus in the sun. Brutal. I heard no Chuck-will's-widow call at chuck-thirty (last crack or sliver of light). I think they are out of gas. Three months of that and you would be spent too. We will still get the odd belt-out, especially after it (if) rains, but more grunting will be heard now. Kathy heard something that was probably begging baby Common Nighthawk.

July 12 ~ Low might have hit 75F. The same gang here. There is an adult male Hooded Oriole now coming into the back feeder. So after a couple weeks of the first summer male and female, then with their juveniles, now a 5th bird shows up. Nice to see that color. Wonder where it was all spring and earlier in summer? Another baker of a day, a hun in the sun. But again late near sundown some nearby rain cells from this boundry that continues gave us some outflow and took the edge off the heat. We got maybe a half of a tenth of an inch of precip (.05). Spit on. But, we got cooled off 10F.

July 11 ~ Cool air, an amazing 70F low, and wet ground. When the environment is in critical drought conditions, every half inch of precip is pure gold. Still hear the Yellow-throated Warbler singing over in the nearest Cypresses toward river about a hundred yards away. Also heard Orchard Oriole early, presume the first-summer pair we are getting off and on. Might be five Hooded Oriole hitting the feeder now. Weird after not having any all spring, they all show up. Not much different for birds otherwise. The heat goes on. Before 5 p.m. I saw readings of 109F at Hondo, 108F at Castroville, 107 in SAT, and so on. The SAT 107F is an all time high for the entire month of July. Local WU stations showed 102-106F! I saw 101F on the cool shady front porch. Record level heat. All the birds are panting to cool. Again some rain cells formed from this washed-out boundry area. None hit us, but some nearish enough to offer outflow dropping it 10F to 90F. One local WU station showed a 111F heat index right before the outflow hit! It was so hot (how hot was it?) the Dillo was on its back four legs up in the birdbath! I swear the birds in the tree overhead raised their eyebrows. Last slice of light still at least two, maybe three distant Chucks calling, but only briefly, and not our closeby near breeder bird.

July 10 ~ I presume it was some of the rain-cooled air, the low was 72F, very nice. The heat will not relent though. Forecast is for a hun plus the next three days, a few dF dialed back a few days, and back to another hun plus heat wave. It is relentless. It did not used to be like this here. The climate has changed. Way less rain and way hotter temps, we used to have to go to Del Rio to live like this. Welcome to desertification. That 30 inch per year average rainfall line has moved 100 miles east in 30 years. It was right here, now it is near Seguin east of SAT. So, what was it like 100 miles west of us? Del Rio. That is what we are becoming here.

Maybe a week or two of the year in the worst of July or August peak heat waves it used to be like this. This summer excess heat and record heat waves started the second week of May and there have only been a few minor very brief breaks. Mostly hotter than the worst prior heat waves, averaging 5-10dF over normal historical averages, again. We should have had a hot last month, we have had a record hot two months so far.

The first-summer male Black-n-white Warbler was singing around yard pre-sunup. It has been here about two months now, and raised at least two young from a very nearby nest. The Yellow-throated Vireo was singing out there pre-sunup as well. The three just-fledged Carolina Wren are still about. A bunch of Hooded Oriole using the hummer feeders, mostly the office feeder in back, which stays the coolest. One oranger bird might be an adult male.

It was at least a hun in the sun in the afternoon. Local WU stations showing 100-105F. About 6 p.m. or so some rain cells again popped up along this remnant boundry to our north. So first we lost the sun and a few dF. Then we lost power after a lightning strike I think north of town. Then nearing 7 p.m. the edge of a rain cell hit us, we got a half-inch of precip, and it dropped into 70's F! After just getting spit on yesterday, this was great. A little bit of relief goes a long way. As it hit the wind gusts on the initial outflow hitting us here were near zero visibility for a couple minutes due to dust, at 30-40 mph!

July 9 ~ Low about 75F again, and zip for morning low stratus. I saw 80F at 9 a.m., 90F at noon, and between 4-5 p.m. it hit a hun in the shade. Some local WU stations were showing 102-105F. Right on the record line for much of the area. Brutal hot. There was a front way further north in Texas that caused rain, which drove outflow boundries down into central Texas, which then cooked up into thundercells. A couple were nearish enough to send outflows here, which dropped it from about 102F to a chilly 92F near end of day. A few outflow-blown drops hit here, that was it. Kathy saw a juvenile Mockingbird at the bath, a post-breeding dispersant. That might have been the only new item. Maybe some more new baby Lesser Goldfinch and Cardinal. Still too many Brown-headed Cowbird here, they will be departing very shortly now, but not soon enough. I still have not seen any of our local breeding birds attending to or getting begged from a juvenile here this year. Kathy heard a Cicada. I saw a Funereal Duskywing butterfly.


In case you wonder what the new shoals of small surface fish
are at the park. This is the native Sailfin Molly found in
south Texas. Male has blue in tail and orange-yellow head,
both of which can get quite bright in breeding season. The two
upper fish in rear are females. These are the Leona River
individuals, which I kept and bred years ago.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 8 ~ Low about 75-76F, a bit on the warm side. The sub-tropical high is building in stronger for a few days, so almost no low Gulf stratus. I saw some 80F readings locally by 9:30 a.m., so we will be a hun in the sun. Town run fer shtuff so a look at park. E. Pewee singing at the crossing as I left for town. Had a group of begging juvenile Yellow-throated Warbler in woods at park, and another group of them in the big live-oak behind the general store. In the park woods there was a juvenile Yellow-throated Vireo, and a juvenile Yellow-breasted Chat on the island. The Chat doesn't nest there so we know it is a post-breeding dispersant. Was an imm. Painted Bunting there too. Odes were a Black Saddlebags, a female Roseate Skimmer, and the three Pennants continue: Halloween, Banded, and Red-tailed. Not much though.

Here at the hovelita in the afternoon there was a new batch of 3 just-fledged juvenile Carolina Wren! I mean just out of the nest. Still all together. Parents feeding them. I can't believe they got another set out so fast. Kathy spotted the adult female Bluebird at the bath with the two juveniles. It took her (mama bluebird) ten minutes and two baths for them to figure it out. She was drenched. Finally they drank and splashed in it. It was their first time obviously. Been a big wave of juvenile Black-chinned Hummingbird the last several days. Hopefully their last for the season. Draining feeders.

July 7 ~ Low of 74F, the high pressure is going to be near full strength for the next week with highs at or above 100F daily. And no rain in sight. One Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flying downriver at dawn. At least some good birdsong before and around sunup continues. Indigo and Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Cardinal, White-eyed (3 diff.) and Yellow-throated Vireo, B-c Titmouse, Lark, Field, and Chipping Sparrow, are all still territorially singing (nesting) in or adjacent to yard. And Vermilion Flycatcher sputtering while fluttering up above it all. The Carolina and Bewick's Wrens are around, might be hearing more Bewick's Wren juveniles. The E. Bluebirds are still around with at least two young. Yellow-throated Warbler was singing in front yard Pecans mid-morn.

Due to a very complex calculus error I had to run to town to get some birdseed. The good stuff (50 lb. sacks of white millet) is due in tomorrow, so just some low-grade mix to hold a revolt off for a day. A small army of buntings without white millet can be a dangerous thing. This required a look at the park of course, which broke my heart. I thought I heard a Verdin repeatedly calling across the pond on other side. Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler are both still singing. The two juvie Red-shouldered Hawks are running along the very low waterline and out in the drying water lillies. Water is down four feet from normal bank, and if it hadn't have been dredged of flood buildup a decade ago there would be rock islands out in it. Up in the woods there was a very close begging baby Barred Owl. Still downy on head but flight capable. In dragons there was a Leaftail (looked 4-stripe), three Red-tailed, two Halloween, and one Banded Pennant, a couple Eastern Pondhawk, a Blue Dasher, and a Swift Setwing. No damselflies. Heard distant Chucks at dark here but not our close one.

July 6 ~ Low about 74F, just a wee bit of low Gulf stratus briefly. High about a hun in the sun. The different thing today was Canyon Towhee! The one we had left in March to go breed somewhere, there have been none since. Today I saw at least one, thought there were two, and heard a call that is strictly made by two birds interacting. Late in day Kathy saw one at the birdbath. I presume one is the bird that wintered and left in spring. They depart fall-to-spring territory, leaving water and seed to go to the breeding grounds to find a mate and nest. And then come back. Clearly some sort of seasonal movement. It happens every year, they leave to breed somewhere else. Usually I do not see one until August, I presume the early stoppage this year is drought related.

July 5 ~ Low about 73F, a few hours of low stratus from the Gulf early. Then the sun showed its hot head. Heard the Great Crested Flycatcher, Orchard Oriole, and Yellow-throated Vireo early, Yellow-throated Warbler more distantly but still visiting yard daily. First-summer fem. and juv. Hooded Oriole on the back hummer feeder at the same time. Must be hers. Kathy saw the male Summer Tanager back in yard. Seems like it has been avoiding it due to that incessantly begging juvenile. Saw likely the same ad. Red-shouldered Hawk in the Pecans out front. Hope it is getting Cotton Rats (Sigmodon). Kathy saw the first-summer male Black-n-white Warbler at the bath again, so it is still around. The White-eyed Vireo still nesting over in the draw tangle.

July 4 ~ The big middle holiday of summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. A quiet one here since the big annual firework show was cancelled (fine by me) and there is no river as usual (not good). So the typical tourist crowds are not here. Usually the biggest day of the year for visitors here. The low of 72F was nice, the low stratus from Gulf kept it below 80 until 11 a.m. or so. A few hours to do things outside without being overheated is a welcome respite.

Saw another Desert Checkered-Skipper, and a Dun Skipper was on the Wooly Ironweed, of course. It is a bit restricted in a deer proofish cage so it can't spread out at the top and be pretty as usual. But that Dun sure finds one open flower. I see two Red Turkscap flowers now. The deer sure butchered it. It should look like a hedge, it looks like ground cover. Heard a singing Eastern Wood-Pewee out front in the Pecans for a bit.

It was weird after dark having no firework show explosions a couple miles north in town, and really weird having it be quiet of road roar the hour after the show ends. Usually sounds like an L.A. freeway out there. Even the locals were not setting them off, methinks due to the burn ban. They might have banned fireworks as well, as quiet as it was. It was quite odd for all the peace and quiet on the fourth. A real holiday of another sort, the animals, wild and especially dogs, and cats, surely loved it. Heard the Spadefoot Toad again.

July 3 ~ After some near misses with rain cells yesterday evening, a low that formed over NE Mexico and the Rio Grande sent a mass of rain over Uvalde and Real Co. We got TWO INCHES here from 12:30-6:30 a.m. A fair bit of thunder and heard a few hail stones. Saw a report of .25" hail at Leakey. Also saw reports of 3" of rain along the Frio River at Leakey and down to Uvalde. Some very badly needed precip for the area. Low was 70F. We might have hit 80F around noon. Incredible. This low forming along the Rio Grande in northern Mexico was not predicted two days ago.

In other climate news, this weekend is the twenty year anniversary of the big flood of 2002 when Utopia flooded. The year before we moved here. The flood more or less ended a decade-long drought and began a 5 year wet cycle. It was a three day event over July 2-4, with 2-3 feet of rain. A tropical low moved in and stalled, and would not stop raining. Nearby a few decades prior, one of the state and national record or near-record rain events is listed as occurring at Medina, it was four feet over a few days, from a named system that moved in (Amanda, or Amelia?), stalled and rained out around poor Medina. Utopia was spared the worst of that one. But not 2002.

Critters were the same about the casita. Kathy saw a Black-n-white Warbler at the birdbath, which sounded like the first-summer male that has been around and bred. I saw a juvenile Indigo Bunting, my FOY, and saw a juv. Hooded Oriole, besides first-summer male and female. One first-summer Blue-headed Grosbeak (male Blue) looks mostly the same still, just blue-headed. It has been here since May and is singing uphill in what is certainly sub-par habitat. Many juv. Lark Sparrow and Painted Bunting, some juvie Chipping and Field Sparrow. I got some fence up to hopefully save what is left of the Red Turkscap after the deer massacred it. I see one flower on one of the stubs. Also see a flower on the Wooly Ironweed, which had to be caged due to deer.

July 2 ~ Low maybe 73F, Gulf low stratus moving in at sunup. Gives us a couple hours before the sun begins bearing down, however with the price of increased humidity. Which doesn't matter at 75F, but when it hits 90F it does. I saw 96F in the shade in afternoon. A few nearish rain cells blocked sun late in day so a bit of relief from the burn. Maybe upvalley and over in the Frio Canyon they got some rain. Was lots of thunder, just no precip made it to town and southward to us. Birds were the same gang of begging babies. One of the Summer Tanager juvies is still hanging around begging hoping parents show back up to feed it. Not seeing them. Heard the kip notes again, of Kingbird or Scissor-tail. Saw one of the juv. Bluebird. After dark I heard what had to have been a Couch's Spadefoot Toad right outside house, but could not spot it as always.


Hutton's Vireo Oct. 6, 2019.

~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~

July 1 ~ And there goes the first half of the year, here comes the second half, hope yer ready. It started at about 73F for the record. Hot and dry is all I see in the forecast. Kathy heard an unknown grating call going up and down river early before sunup, maybe a heron or egret sort of thing. Town run fer shtuff. Little Creek Larry said he had some kind of heron or egret thingie distantly in flight. Best bird was a Verdin which I heard last week at the post office but didn't mention as I did not see it and Lesser Goldfinch juveniles make a very similar call. It was still there this week, and is a Verdin. So then June 24 was the first date on it. Nothing at the park, but a few odes. Saw a FOY and LTA Four-spotted Pennant, a Red-tailed Pennant, a Swift Setwing, a Green Darner, and some Bluets of some sort, probably Familiar. Very few flying.

In the afternoon here Kathy saw the first summer male Black-n-white Warbler. A couple rain cells got nearish enough to give us some outflow and drop it from a hun to 90F, and then a second one spit on us a bit and made it 85F. So we beat the worst of the afternoon heat. After 7 p.m. I got a count of SEVEN male Indigo Bunting at once, and could not see the patio. Has to be all of them nesting around, and maybe a couple more. Heard a Gnatcatcher out there late in day. Late Kathy heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee calling over at the river.

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~ ~ ~ above is 2022 ~ ~ ~

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