Bird (and nature) News Archive # 5
January 1 - June 30, 2006
Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
SLC pond - pond on South Little Creek Rd.
LC - along Little Creek
TC area - area of Thunder Creek Rd.
UP - Utopia Park on 1050 just west of 187
LM - Lost Maples SNA; GSP - Garner St. Pk.
SRV - Sabinal River Valley
FOS - "First of Season" (usually used for
1st spring or fall migrant to show up locally)
SR - Seco Ridge a couple miles west of Utopia
in Uvalde County
Ode - Odonata (dragonfly or damselfly)
Lep - butterfly
BanCo - Bandera County UvCo - Uvalde County

2006 - Jan. 1 - June 30 reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.
June 30 - another Golden-cheek was calling in the woods but I couldn't
go chase it down to age or sex it. A Zone-tailed Hawk is about daily now
over SR and is molting its 4th (I think) primaries. A Chihuahuan Raven
down by the dump looked shot full of holes it was in such heavy molt.
Another one in the evening at our place was nice and fresh appearing.
Surely different age classes. Black Phoebe at UP.

June 28 - Hutton's Vireo still around SR. An immature Cooper's Hawk
dove on the birds at the feeder, missing... it's still a youngin'.

June 26 - A juvenile female Golden-cheeked Warbler was in the liveoak
out the back door. Besides the still singing (nesting) Yellow-throated
Warbler at UP, there were two "fall migrants" ~ Black & White Warblers,
both females, one adult, and one juvenile. The first fall migrants
of the year. An adult male Common Grackle left the island with a
juvenile following, successful nesting there again. The Great-tailed
Grackle pair at the old Utopia Water Co. building are nesting in the
bush with the pink flowers at the southeast corner of the building.
They did not nest here in the valley the last two years, and this is
probably their first nesting in Utopia. This is not good. Look at the
numbers in Uvalde, or San Antonio! Their overpopulation is the result of
how we have altered the landscape into one very favorable to Grackles.
Note they didn't move into the natural areas of the valley, but into town,
or yards, like Starlings, English Sparrows, and Eurasian Collared-Doves.

June 25 - Lost Maples in heat of day - dragons great, birds
getting real quiet, butterflies ok to so so. See Lost Maples reports

June 24 - A frontal passage is cooling things down a bit.
Heard Audubon's Oriole and Hutton's Vireo at SR.

June 23 - The pair of Audubon's Orioles was around the yard
again today, and I got a little of their whistling on tape.
So what we have here in the Sabinal Valley is wintering and summering
(= resident !) Audubon's Orioles! The latest greatest books covering
the area out within the last couple/few years are now apparently outdated.
That is how fast things can change. This bird was known only from the
far lower Rio Grande 30+ years ago. Since then it has been found all
over the brush country, but still never up on the hills. There were only
a few (2-4) Uvalde Co. records as of the 2001 Checklist. Now it is here,
having moved over 200 miles north in 3 decades. A species considered
"subtropical", now resident as far north as Utopia! Remarkable!

June 22 - Did you notice how much shorter today was than yesterday?

June 21 - What looked like a Short-tailed Hawk flew over SR high,
going south. One was seen in Junction yesterday.

June 20 - At the end of 357 I was taping a singing Canyon Towhee
when two Audubon's Orioles shot over, one chasing the other,
both adults. I got two notes on tape from the chaser. This a
quarter mile+ from our place on SR. So it seems like an interloper,
since the pair I've been seeing has been singing and bathing
together (3 times at least in June), Three adults by my count.
I also got a little of the Chihuahuan Raven that is nesting nearby,
on tape - to prove it with the call. A juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbird
was at the feeders again, and the Hutton's Vireo was still around.

June 19 - Fledgling Chipping Sparrows showed up today.

June 18 - Lost Maples in afternoon for a couple hours. Few birds
of course in the heat of the day, but dragons were good, and a
Texas (Greater) Earless Lizard was the highlight of the day
since he let me get photos that hopefully will be good enough
for y'all to see! Unusual was the first Canyon Towhee in our yard
at SR in months (audio taped singing). Check Lost Maples Reports page.

June 17 - Most surprising, since it was not predicted was the best
downpour in months, a good 2", from 5-8 a.m., complete with thunder.
A Hutton's Vireo was in the yard in the morning. River Cruiser and
Leaftail (dragonflys) were along the Sabinal.

June 16 - I had to make a Uvalde supply run. So of course I get the
compulsory stop for a half hour at Neal's Lodge in Concan on the way.
Two half golden cheeked warbler fledglings were being fed by mom there.
A Black-capped Vireo went off singing everything in the book, which I
taped, for 5+ minutes. Then three pishes and the Rufous-capped Warbler
was singing over my head. That's some hot birdin' in my book.
A stop at the fish hatchery again produced a look at a Ruddy Ground-Dove,
this time the female only, and again too wary to get a picture, yet.

June 15 - Blue-gray Gnatcatcher has been at SR the last couple days,
either dispersing young or adults. Saw a/the juvenile Ruby-throated Hummer
again. The stiffling heat continues with most of the last 30 days
about 10 degrees above normal, up to 105 already (!), and very little rain.
It is parched out there! First juvenile Lark Sparrows of the year today.
I doubt we'll get lots of second nestings, and forget thirds this year.

June 13 - Amazingly the PAIR of AUDUBON'S Orioles came through the SR "yard"
again today, singing and drinking and bathing. I also again saw a juvenile
Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

June 12 - A bright olive-green backed juvenile female Golden-cheeked Warbler
was out the back door. Also the FOS freshly fledged Blue Jays (in town),
and a fledgling Oriole (at SR) ! A lone Whistling-Duck flew over SR at dusk.
The first Spot-winged Glider (dragonfly) of the year up here was today.

June 11 - Lost Maples SNA - lots of Louisiana Waterthrushes, a couple
Golden-cheeked Warblers still, little bit of Black-capped Vireo song,
but things are quieting down fast folks. The park staff said there was a
male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the HQ feeders for about a week to June 2.
A beautiful bird! A Silvery Checkerspot was the best butterfly.
Worse thing was a flattened run-over Tarantula near a parking lot !

June 10 - After much suspicion on my part I was overjoyed today to
see what was surely a juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbird ! They
are not known to nest in these parts, though a bander had some
females with eggs in Real Co. several weeks back. They don't migrate
with eggs - too much weight. I got to study it for 5 minutes at 5'.
The numbers of Black-chinned Hummingbirds is amazing, and many young
are out already. I think the drought induced lack of natural food
sources (flowers) has many more than normal staying at feeders.
Their sugar consumption here is twice that of the last two years in June.
A clear an obvious difference.

June 9 - Supply run to Uvalde. In a field NW of Sabinal we saw
21 Caracara together on the ground, including juveniles. Of note
was a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron carrying food over Hwy. 90, since
they are not mapped to breed much this side of San Antonio at
this latitude. Surely they are nesting in Uvalde this year.

June 8 - A Caracara flew by our place with a large food item in
its mouth. Carrying food is confirmation of nesting based on the
standard BBA (Breeding Bird Atlas) protocols. They too are not
mapped as nesting in our area, though like the Chihuahuan Raven
below, I have seen it every month for 30, and had begging young
chasing adults in previous summers.

June 6 - I don't mention things I see daily usually, but the
Chihuahuan Ravens are surely nesting somewhere in the vicinity of the
dump. I see them from my hovel nearly daily. Hear them every day.
They also don't nest here according to the experts books, but they are.
I have seen them virtually every month since I got here almost 3 years
ago. At Lost Maples they have Common Ravens - always around cliffs.
On flatlands in our area, they are almost always Chihuahuan. Listen
for the froglike croaking calls of the Chihuahuan.

June 5 - An outstanding find in town was a pair of COUCH'S KINGBIRDS
with 3 just fledged young. I got photos to prove this first ever
nesting actually up on the Edwards Plateau.

June 4 - We went to Medina Dam - just below it - where the road crosses
the river and there is a large area of Spanish Moss. As I had guessed
it had many Northern Parula on territory - perhaps 10-12 singing males.
The species is a spanish moss specialist, which is of course hard to
come by in these parts. Northern Parulas are not present as breeders
on the Sabinal River as mapped in all the books. Ah, experts.

June 3 - Astounding was a PAIR of AUDUBON'S ORIOLES in our yard on SR
this morning. Not only did the call back and forth, both the "eng?" call
and the 3 part whistle but they bathed in the bath! First I've seen
hereabouts since March 1. Also unusual was an imm. male plumaged
Common Yellowthroat at the 356 crossing of the Sabinal.

June 2 - Another Golden-cheeked Warbler juvenile today at SR, this one
a female, but no photos. Lone juvies out there wandering around!
They are very green backed and horribly illustrated in EVERY field guide.
The guides show first fall or winter plumages, not fresh juveniles.

June 1 - Amazingly a pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still here
at SR. They usually are all gone about 10 days ago. They are likely
nesting! A late migrant was a Dickcissel flying N. over SR in the a.m.,

May 31 - A freshly fledged male Golden-cheeked Warbler was here in
the yard (Photos), at least a kilometer from any nest site, and alone
already, but still partially in natal plumage. Very interesting!
When I get film back, there hopefully will be some new pics to put up.

May 29 - probably the bird of the year was at SR, but I only saw it
very briefly, and it disappeared, so I probably shouldn't say anything.
But I saw it well, and it is sooooo distinctive, it could have been
nothing else but a WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT !! About 5 Texas records prior.
With no photos, ya got no record, but it was a great thing to see regardless!
We went to Lost Maples in the p.m. to miss the holiday crowds.
Check the LM reports page for a report in a few days.
Kentucky Warbler and just fledged Louisiana Waterthrushes were highlights.

May 27-28 - RAIN !! Finally, about 1.5" !!

May 23 - Very interesting was a Lincoln's Sparrow that gave the very
distinctive strong emphatic explosive "zzeet" note of a Western type.

May 21 - Finally taped (audio) the Tropical Parula singing at UR.
Present 6 weeks so far now, and I haven't yet seen a female.

May 20 - A Kentucky Warbler was singing above the ponds at Lost Maples.
Golden-cheeks are quieting down lots already, better see 'em quick!

May 18 - A Zone-tailed Hawk was dive-bombing another, probably a
wanderer in its territory, at the area of 1050 and 357 intersection.

May 17 - A male Hooded Oriole was at the east end of SR.

May 13 and 14 - NO migrant passerines (landbirds) were seen except
maybe the 2-3 Orchard Orioles. The party (spring migration) is over!
The Tropical Parula was at UR still on the 13th. The most interesting
find was a veritible living dinosaur, Tadpole Shrimp (Lepidurus packardi)
on the 14th. We'll get some pictures up for you to see in the near future.
Another late front passed on the 14th with a sprinkle or two, and cool air.

May 12 - WOW only about 50 in the a.m.! Won't see that for awhile!
There were about zero migrants at UR, UP, and 354. It's almost over.
The Tropical Parula continues singing at UR, now for over a month!

May 11 - I suspect the northerlies were too strong for much to
fly into so I doubt many new migrants were around. It was nice to
wake up to 55 degrees or so! A Dickcissel was at SR.

May 10 - About the third straight day of record heat finally broke
when in the afternoon a front with northerly winds passed. The only
migrant I detected today was a heard only Worm-eating Warbler, which
sang and chipped (like an Orange-crowned sharp note) but shot off as
I went towards it, right out the back door (SR).

May 9 - Amazing was a lone Blue Jay at SR almost 2 miles from the
river and any Pecan bottoms, up on a dry cedar/scrub-oak ridge!?!
A Black-throated Green and a very rare here Ovenbird was at UP.

May 8 - 5 Chippys and 2 singing Clay-colored Sparrows still at SR.
Interesting imm. male Painted Bunting plumage photo'd - check the
"odditites" photo page in a couple weeks.

May 7 - Just a few Yellows and Nashvilles, a couple Orchard Orioles,
and it appears migration is winding down. One FOS today was the
always late to appear Willow Flycatcher. Tropical Parula still
at UR.

May 6 - Well the weather sort of broke and I think many of the
grounded migrants left. One FOS was a beautiful male Rose-breasted
Grosbeak at UR. At SR in the a.m. a flock of 21 Franklin's Gulls
flew over. Lots of Yellows, Nashvilles, and Wilson's, only.

May 5 - A supply run to Uvalde kept us away most the day, but at
8 p.m. a flock of 47 White Pelican flew over SR going N. at 1000'.
An hour or so at the fish hatchery in Uvalde was very exciting
as usual. First there were 5 Ring-billed Gulls circling around
the ponds for 10 minutes. Then there was an adult Little Blue Heron.
There were 10 species of shorebirds amongst which was the
first ever Hudsonian Godwit found in Uvalde Co., and fortunately
we got photos to prove it! Check the "rarities" photo page shortly,
and there will be a picture of it. There were 28 Blue-winged and
8 Cinnamon Teal there, as well as 9 Shoveller. That wasn't even
all the good stuff, but enough for now.

May 4 - A more substantial cell went over after mid-night dropping
about 2/3" of rain. As if on cue, for the 3rd consecutive year,
my FOS Eastern Kingbirds (2) were just south of town on the same
stretch of fence as always, on May 4th as always.!
At the 354 Pecans were 2 Yellows, 2 Nashvilles, a Tennessee, and
and a Wilson's. At UR was the Tropical Parula, Blue-headed Vireo,
2 Wilson's, 4 Nashville, 3 Yellow, 1 Tennessee and 2 Common Yellowthroat,
and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. 3 Cattle Egret were at UP. A Great Horned Owl
called late in the evening.

May 3 - A brief storm went over after mid-nite with a little sprinkle.
UP had nothing as usual now - what a difference from the last two years!
The 354 Pecans had some warblers: at least 3 Tennesse Warbler, maybe 4,
2 Wilson's, 3 Yellow, and 6 Nashville, plus 1 Baltimore Oriole,
2 Warbling Vireos at once together (first time for me locally), the
territorial Yellow-breasted Chat, and a singing Bells's Vireo.
Over at UR, besides the singing Tropical Parula and Yellow-throated
Warblers, there were 8 Wilson's, 6 Nashville and 4 Yellow Warblers.
Also one Orchard Oriole, one Swainson's Thrush, and right on time,
the FOS Catbird. Plus another Warbling Vireo as well as a Blue-headed.
There are still scattered migrant Indigo and Painted Buntings
at each stop. Also one Least Flycatcher was seen at each stop, plus
one at SR in the a.m. (3), where 2 Yellow Warblers flew over as well.
A couple other Yellow Warblers were heard or seen in addition.
An adult Swainson's Hawk was over 187 just south of town.
Clay-colored Sparrows too continue in small numbers everywhere.

May 2 - Some good early morning clouds which besides making it
cooler longer, often knock down migrants. A quick check found
at the 354 Pecans: 6 Nashville, 1 Tennessee, 2 singing Orchard Oriole,
a Yellow, a Chat, and a couple chips that got away. At UR there were
6 more Nashville, 2 Tennessee, 3 Yellow, 6 Painted Bunting,
and amazingly, my first in the SRV, 3 adult Black-crowned Night-Heron!

May 1 - Stuck here working all day and presume weather has caused
departure of the migrants of the last few days. 2 Pine Siskin
continued at the sunflower tube.

Nature Quest news - Thanks to a note from Mike Overton I heard
a little something about some of the sightings produced over the
April 25-30th or so period of the "festival". Most amazing was
probably the female Black-throated Blue Warbler reported from
Lost Maples SNA. There were 2 Tropical Parulas along the Frio River,
and about 4 Chestnut-sided Warblers were found, mostly around Concan
I think. A Worm-eating Warbler was way out at Park Chalk Bluff.

If anyone is keeping track it was the warmest April EVER on record for SAT.

April 30 - Took a group for a walk at Lost Maples as a substitute leader.
One FOS there was a 1st yr. male MacGillivray's Warbler. On the way up
the valley, about 6 miles north of town along the river there was a
FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher. At dusk at SR there were 6+ Lesser Nighthawks
feeding low over the trees, besides the regular calling 5 Chuck-wills-widows,
and few Poorwills. See the Lost Maples report page for the full list of what
we saw there.

April 29 - We finally got a little rain overnight, maybe 3/4".
Enough to knock or keep migrant birds down. Very little was at UP,
mostly Clay-colored Sparrows - a dozen+. Along 356 just east of the
river were 18 Cattle Egrets, around the cattle, and 100+ Cowbirds,
you guessed it, around the cows. Amongst the Cowbirds were about
17 Yellow-headed Blackbirds, all females but one imm. and one adult male.
West of the river on 356 a pair of Bluebirds fledged 3 young out of
a natural cavity. The big field there had hundreds of sparrows in it.
Mostly Chipping and Clay-colored, lots of Larks, some Savannah and
Vesper, and one Grasshopper. In the mesquite and hackberry behind
the Mini-Storage we saw an adult male Hooded Oriole, uncommon here.
A Barn Owl called about 10 p.m..

Since the winds were shaking the trees too much at 20+ knots
we went to UR hoping for cover to stand a chance at seeing
some of the migrants that I know had to be knocked down
by the weather. There we found a singing male Baltimore Oriole,
about 10 each of Indigo and Painted buntings, and 1 male and 1 female
Lazuli Bunting. Warblers besides the territorial singing Tropical Parula
and Yellow-throated were: Yellow-beasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat,
3+ Black-throated Green, 2 Black-and-white, 1 Tennessee, 2-3 Wilson's,
8-10 Yellow, 25+ Nashville, and Kathy spotted the FOS American Redstart
(a black and orange-red male), and I found the FOS Northern Waterthrush.
12 species of Warblers at a single stop/site might be my best here so far.
Also there were 3 Blue-headed Vireo, Green Kingfisher, Blue Jay,
and the FOS Swainson's Thrush called several times. and oh yeah, I
did have 1 Yellow-rump (Audubon's) on 356 for 13 sps. Warblers today.

April 28 - Snuck out for a quick look for grounded migrants.
8 Western Kingbirds and a Scissor-tail passed SR early.
Then the FOS (male) Baltimore Oriole appeared out the window.
On Cypress St. there was a singing Warbling Vireo (E.type).
354 had a couple Nashvilles and a Yellow. At UR the grounds
was again the "hot spot" with 20+ Nashvilles, 12+ Yellows,
3 Black-throated Green, a Black & White, and the continuing
Tropical Parula and Yellow-throated Warblers (non-migrants).
Also there was the FOS Least Flycatcher, N.Rough-winged Swallow,
a couple Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Blue-headed, Yellow-throated,
White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos. Acadian Flycatcher and E.Pewee
are back as nesting fixtures. Even an Osprey flew over at UR!
8 Pine Siskin were at SR in the p.m., so some still around.
Indigo and Painted Buntings are everywhere. Clay-colored Sparrows
are common still too. Zone-tailed Hawk over town.

April 27 - The first day in 6 months almost without a Pine Siskin.
The front surely knocked birds down but I couldn't get out and have
to hope the weather holds 'em down till tomorrow. But at almost
7:30 p.m. Kathy saved the day with a new bird for the yard list,
and the first I've ever seen in the Sabinal Valley, FRANKLIN'S GULLS !!
I saw 4 but she saw 6. They probably were coming from BCP and
were heading N up the valley as they passed over SR. WOW !!

April 26 - With the late season cold front, the low was about 60!
Early in the a.m. Kathy spotted Mississippi Kites over at SR.
It was the tail end of a flight which I saw going up the valley
north of town and consisted of well over 200 of them. It was probably
only half or less of the group as they went out of view around the
corner by time I saw them, and that was likely mid-flock. Later another
30 went over. I sunck out for a couple hours in the p.m. to see what
migrants got knocked down from the wind change. At UP there was the
FOS Common Yellowthroat but little else. Cypress St. had 3 male
Indigo Buntings and a couple male Orchard Orioles singing. At the 354
Pecans was the FOS Yellow Warbler, a Black-throated Green, Blue-headed
Vireo, 5 Nashvilles, more Orchard Oriole and Indigo Bunting. Then over
at UR there were more Orchard Oriole, a dozen Indigo Buntings,
a number of Painteds and a female Lazuli. There were at least
18 Nashville Warler, another Yellow, the continuing Tropical Parula,
at least 3 Yellow-breasted Chats and 3 Common Yellowthroats,
several Red-eyed Vireo, and the FOS Brown-crested Flycatcher.
There were still 20 Chipping Sparrow and 3 Pine Siskin at SR.

April 25 - A vigorous late season cold front passed today turning
winds to the north and dropping temps in the afternoon. There were
still 6 Pine Siskin and 30 Chipping Sparrows at SR. Late in the p.m.
a flight of about 28 Mississippi Kites were the FOS locally.

April 24 - The FOS Yellow-billed Cuckoo was at UP. Get ready for the
frontal passage Tuesday or Wednesday, as it should knock down migrants.
At dusk there was the FOS Lesser Nighthawk near the post office.
Common Grackles may be seen around the 1050 bridge sometimes, or
in the area of 187 and Waresville Rd. turnoff. They nest in the area
in early spring, and then depart, probably northward, and nest again,
maybe in another state.

April 23 - Nashville Warblers were in low numbers everywhere we stopped
around town today. The FOS Tennessee Warbler was with them (appropriately)
at Utopia on the River's grounds. Acadian Flycatchers were calling there,
new arrivals, since they weren't there Friday (2 days ago). Another FOS
was an imm. male Orchard Oriole at the 354 Pecan Patch. The last FOS of
the day was at 6 p.m., a calling Common Nighthawk at SR.

April 22 - Early in the a.m. at SR, the FOS Dickcissel flew over calling.
A single Cattle Egret was at the spillway of the Stagecoach Inn.
We went to Lost Maples for a walk, so check the LM Reports page to see
notes on what we saw.

April 21 - Nice rain overnight so we probably got over an inch the last
48 hours or so. Always go birding, or keep your eyes extra peeled after
rain, particularly during migration periods. The day started at SR with
a flock of 5 Western Kingbirds and a Scissor-tail, clearly migrants.
Then the FOS Bullock's Oriole called. After early morning work, I went
outside about 10:10 and a river of raptors (hawks) began passing over SR.
In the next half hour I counted 500 Swainson's Hawks going due north!
Amongst them were an Osprey, 2 Cooper's Hawks, a bunch of Turkey Vultures
that were migrants, not locals, and 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, one a dark morph !!
After a couple hasty hours finishing biz, we went to check a couple
local spots for "landbird" (passerine) migrants. We were not disappointed!
At UP was the way overdue FOS Blue-headed Vireo. There were also at least
6 Nashville, 2 Orange-crowned, and 3 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle & Audubon's)
Warblers, Great-crested Flycatcher and 4 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.
Then along 356 there were more Nashvilles. Over at 354 there was the
FOS Yellow-breasted Chat right on schedule, and 2 more Nahsvilles.
Then finally a check of the beautiful UR grounds for migrants.
1 Black-and-white Warbler, 2 Wilson's Warblers, 6+ Nashville Warblers,
another Blue-headed Vireo, and the singing Tropical Parula continues.
Then the prize of the day, a male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER !! It obviously
had been wet, and was tired, as it slept on a branch just 20' over our heads
until we tired of looking at it! A few male Painted Buntings were at various
stops scattered about. A great couple hours! 13 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks
flew over SR at dusk. I made a quick count and came up with 79 species today !!
Probably could have neared a hundred with a few hours at Lost Maples.

April 20 - The rarest thing in the county that I've seen this month,
(besides rain) flew over SR about 10 a.m., a LAUGHING GULL !
It was going toward town from Bear Creek Pond. I went to town
to look for it hoping the pond at the park snagged it, but I guess
it kept going and didn't stop. It was at the edge of a major cell that
came from Mexico, across the Rio Grande, and up to us.
At UP was the FOS Green Heron, a female Am. Wigeon, and
6 Pied-billed Grebes. Lots of Cliff and a few Cave Swallows at SR
between showers and actual rain! After 5 p.m. between rainy periods
a loose group of 17 Swainson's Hawks passed over SR. Two landed on the hill!
An OSPREY flew by amongst them!

April 19 - The FOS Painted Bunting appeared at SR today, a nice male.
9 Siskin still at SR. The heat finally broke and today was the first
in four that wasn't a record! "Only" 90, and by late evening we
even had some sprinkles from the thunder cells nearby.

April 18 - A few local FOS's today were Chimney Swift and Western Kingbird
in town. Another FOS was 2 Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at UP, where there
was also 2 Spotted Sandpiper, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, and a dozen
Yellow-rumped Warblers (2 Audubon's), 2 each Nashville and Orange-crowned.
The best bird was a BREWER'S SPARROW at UP in with Clays and Chippys.
Still lots of Waxwings of course while Mulberrys are ripening.
A pair of Barred Owls were duetting from the Good Shepard Camp property.

April 17 - Blue Grosbeak was the FOS for the day, at SR, a nice male.
FOS butterfly was the beautiful Green Skipper, and there were at elast
4 Fireflys after dark at SR. LeAnn & Anthony Sharp had a male Lazuli
Bunting at their fountain. Water works better than seed, in case
y'all didn't know. Especially in drought times, but all the time here.

April 16 - Three FOS's were to be found today. FOS Wilson's Warbler
at UP, and two at UR; Great-crested Flycatcher and Red-eyed Vireo.
Also there the Tropical Parula continues singing. A couple Nashville were
there and elsewhere along the river. Lots of Yellow-throated Vireos
singing everywhere along the river, as are Yellow-throated Warblers.
An Indigo Bunting was at SR. Still a couple Kinglets about, and about
200 Cedar Waxwings around the Mulberry tree on Hackberry St.. The most
unusual find of the day was along 356 in Bandera Co. near Jones Cmty. entrance,
a Northern Parula singing a "wrong" learned song, unlike any warlber song
I have ever heard. The bird was on all accounts a pure male. So, we did
have a two Parula day. The Bell's Vireo is still singing in the mesquite
patch at the 356 x 187 junction, just west of the new "roadrunner" sign.
Nice eye someone added to the bird, embellishing on the states artwork   :)  :)
The record breaking heat of the day ended with a FOS Crimson Patch at SR.
Oops, late evening another FOS appeared - my first Firefly locally this year.

An interesting side note was hearing someone had Audubon's Oriole at their
feeders "all winter" on SR, but near the east end. We had an imm. here in
Nov. and an adult plumaged bird (same one but molted?) in Feb., to March 1.
Of course someone telling someone they had wintering Audubon's Orioles
up on the plateau/in the hill country they would say you were nuts,
except this person was telling someone who saw and photographed one
just a couple at most miles away in the same period! Amazing eh!?!?
A photo of one on the sunflower feeder is on the birdphoto page.

April 15 - The first (3) American Goldfinches I've seen in a few weeks
stopped by the sunflower tube with the two males well into alternate plumage
and strikingly beautiful. Pair of Chihuahuan Ravens flew over just before dusk.

April 14 - I'm hearing about 4 Chuck-wills-Widows on the west side
of the hill at the end of 357 on SR nightly now. I estimate the number
of Black-chinned Hummingbirds is 200+/day and Ruby-throats about 6-10.
A cruise around town still found no Chimney Swift or Western Kingbird yet.

April 13 - Pair of Chihuahuan Raven over SR - been singles near daily lately.
Greenie the Siskin was still here amongst a dozen+ regulars still here,
and 2 Great Blue Herons were at a thousand feet on a thermal over SR.
Even more amazing was at 9:30 p.m. a LONG-BILLED CURLEW flew against
the moon and called as it went north! Another amazing yard bird at SR.
A Barn Owl flew over SR calling for the second night in a row.

April 12 - I thought sure I heard Franklin's Gull call overhead, but
the cloud cover was low and thick, and I couldn't see anything....
Bet it was....

April 11 - I hear now that Anthony Sharp finally got to SEE the Parula
we had singing a couple days ago on the Sabinal just north of the park
and it was a NORTHERN PARULA. So we have both types here now!

Kathy and I did a supply run to Uvalde, and stopped at Concan on the way.
We spent a half hour there at Neal's with singing at the sime time at
arms length, Rufous-capped Warbler and Tropical Parula! That can't have
happened too many times yet in the U.S.. That is TP #2 in two days!
Chimney Swifts were in Concan (they're not in Utopia yet).
An Osprey and 6 Cinnamon Teal were at the hatchery in Uvalde,
but none of the ponds had proper "shorebird" levels, so they were few.

April 10 - Kathy and I met LeAnn and Anthony Sharp at UP where there
were the same Myrtles and Audubon's, plus one female Audubon's.
We went to Utopia on the River to see if there were migrants there.
Only one but it was a doozy !! TROPICAL PARULA !! Singing male !!
More than 2 miles south of yesterday's Parula sps., and surely a
different bird. We had it singing for an hour from 4:30 to 5:30.
There were no traces of impurity to my eye.

The other highlights at UP were the FOS Spotted Sandpiper on the spillway,
a small flock of 7 FOS Cattle Egrets, the FOS Bordered Patch (butterfly),
and a Zone-tailed Hawk again right over the General Store on Main St..

April 9 - Just a quick look at the river between the park and the 356
crossing, and there was a FOS singing Parula warbler (of some sort) late
in the afternoon. Amazingly about 45 F in the morning - since it was 95 F
just 36 hours ago!

April 8 - FOS Nashville Warbler was at UP, and another was out 356 near
the Jones Cmty., where there was also a FOS Black-throated Green Warbler!
Just past the Hill Ranch in a field being plowed were over 45 Swainson's
Hawks, including at least 5 beautiful chocolate dark morph birds.
At the 356 bridge was the first good multiple species moment
of dragonflies this year with 6 species at once. Been 6 months since
we had 6 species at once here. Best was a Flame Skimmer photographed
for a first Bandera Co. documented record. There was a Bell's Vireo
singing at the 187 x 356 junction in the mesquite. At 8:30 p.m. (dark)
the FOS Chuck-wills-Widow began calling. How nice to hear that again!

April 7 - big fire SE of town today, on the hottest day on record
for the date (99 in SAT). Saw my FOS Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly at SR,
and a Little Wood Satyr (rare there). At UP were 8+ Myrtle and
2 Audubon's Warblers.

April 6 - The highlight today was the FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird,
An adult male at SR. The last two years my first was on April 5.
Today is close enough. Pine Siskin count down to 16. One Robin.
The odd White-crowned Sparrow continues (an intergrade type).

April 5 - The first spring male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was still
around the yard, and what a beauty he is becoming, losing the muddy
juvenile plumage now. The weird White-crowned Sparrow is still at SR.

April 4 - The female Scott's Oriole of the pair returned today.
Also the first Black Saddlebags (dragonfly) of the year was at UP.
A Sharp-shinned Hawk was at SR. Poorwills calling nearly nightly.

April 3 - Woke up to a singing Canyon Towhee in the SR "yard".
Sure hasn't been one of them around for a while. About noon a
FERRUGINOUS Hawk flew north over SR and up the valley, my first
in the SRV. Then in the afternoon a small kettle of 3 Turkey Vulture
in a thermal had with them 1 Cooper's and 1 Swainson's Hawk.
A White-crowned Sparrow showed up that was a bit off and I can't
figure out what type it is. Also had FOS Cloudywing and Queen
butterflies. A nice big thunderstorm cell dumped up-valley
between us and Vanderpool, but we just got sprinkles.
The highlight of the day was at about 6:30 p.m., when I spotted
a flock of large birds out over the valley. WHITE PELICANS !!
14 of 'em with their 8' wingspans soared south and right
over town (Utopia). Did anyone else see them? Spectacular birds!
Barn Owl and Eastern Screech-Owl heard last two nights.

April 1 & 2 - LeAnn & Anthony Sharp had an adult male Rufous Hummingbird
at their feeders. A good spring migrant to get. About the same time
another male was at the Utopia on the River feeders for a tankfull!

April 2 - At Clayton Grade was the usual singing Olive Sparrow and
Long-billed Thrasher. A Harris's Hawk flew off from the carcass
clean-up site at MR with the fullest crop I've ever seen on one.
Bet it is nesting nearby... in the valley maybe? Just over the crest
(out of the valley and on the escarpment slope) and south/down a little
at the first draw there was a Golden-cheeked Warbler singing to the west.

April 1 - Lots of FOS's today, no foolin'. At UP were FOS Scissor-tailed
Flycatcher (6+), FOS Summer Tanager, FOS Grasshopper Sparrow
in field at entrance, and a FOS Hooded Oriole (female) - kinda rare here.
Then at SR were FOS Great-tailed Grackle (3), and Zone-tailed Hawk.

March 31 - The FOS Indigo Bunting flew over SR. the Clay-colored Sparrows
are singing their gravelly hoarse "song". A Black-and-white Warbler was
also singing at SR, and the best bird there was an adult female
Golden-cheeked Warbler in the blooming live oak out the back window!
Over at Concan there were obvious differences in the altitude change
with Bell's Vireo e.g. there weeks before they get to Utopia. Also
there were Black-throated Sparrows (a pair), Verdin, etc., that are very
scarce here in the SRV. And Chihuahuan Raven appeared to be singing from
a hilltop tree there. A huge Brown Bat was interesting.

March 30 - The ducks and grebes were all gone from UP. There was a
Yellow-throated Warbler singing there (first there locally this spring)
as well as a FOS Blue-ringed Dancer (damselfly), 8+ Baskettails (dragonfly).
In town was the FOS Bronzed Cowbird. I like the old "Red-eyed" name better.

March 29 - My friend Dave Pereksta was visiting with a friend. He found a
RUDDY Duck at UP !!! First I've seen in the valley here, and only 2nd in the
county (1st was last week at the hatchery). One Ring-necked Duck was also
at UP, and there were 6 Pied-billed Grebes which = 3 migrants plus the 3
winterers that were still there! Some Cliff Swallows were at the 1050
bridge, FOS. Most amazing was right on 187 in between the bank and P.O.
on a spot of wet grass, a PECTORAL Sandpiper!! Right in town off the road !
Big Jersey Dave has good eyes! We then went to Lost Maples in the drizzle.
Needless to say they got many great looks at singing male Golden-cheeked Warblers.
We also had a Solitary Sandpiper at the pond on Can Creek, an unusual
place for one. There were 3-4 FOS Louisiana Waterthrush back - nesters
returned to territory, not migrants. A pair of Green Kingfishers, lots of
singing Yellow-throated Vireo, a flock of Cave Swallows, and the best bird
a WARBLING Vireo! While no Black-capped Vireos were heard (yet), the Warbling Vireo
is NOT on the park list !! A very rare bird here. We saw about 30 Orange-crowned
Warblers. Heard a Golden-crowned Kinglet. Amazing what you can see when ya
just get out and look. Back in town for lunch, another Swainson's Hawk was
amongst more migrant Turkey Vultures moving north. Barn Owl called after dark.

March 28 - A fairly constant line of Turkey Vultures were migrating north
over SR going upvalley much of the day. surely hundreds went over. Among
them was the FOS Swainson's Hawk, earlier than the last two years.
There were 2 Clay-colored Sparrows at SR.

March 27 - Greenie the siskin continues at SR. The FOS Clay-colored Sparrow
was also at SR. Again a supply run to Uvalde netted 10 sps. of shorebirds
at the Fish Hatchery (the Cinnamon Teal are gone). From here to there and
back we saw 4 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers along 90, but still none up here
in the hills.

March 24 - About 75 Sandhill Crane flew N. over SR. At Bear Creek Pond
was a Say's Phoebe, obviously a migrant since they didn't winter there.
A Yellow-throated Vireo was FOS at Concan.

March 23 - a 1/4" of rain and freezing chill factors in strong winds.

March 22 - An errand run to Uvalde showed that off the plateau in the
brush country, were Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Swainson's Hawk already,
but they won't be up on the hills for a week or so maybe...
Lots of migrant shorebirds (10 sps.!) were at the Fish Hatchery.
1 female Ruddy Duck was unusual (ph.) there.

March 21 - Ash-throated Flycatcher at SR, and Kathy heard a Great Horned Owl.

March 19 - Greenie the siskin continues at SR, and another Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher passed by too. They'll be daily now for the next month plus.
The most interesting thing was the return of the second pair of Barn Swallows
to the local colony here at SR. The first pair has been here nearly 2 weeks.
As the newly arriving pair approached and began calling at 4 p.m., pair 1 bolted
off their perches and into song as they skyrocketed upwards to meet the
incoming returning pair. The song of course sounds like cars being crushed
at the junkyard, coupled with the sounds of the machine used to do it,
but is made up of such exhuberance as to be breathtaking. The 2 pairs met
in the sky and circled and circled screeching and howling like a catfight,
climbing, fluttering, twittering, and at a certain height, they all dove
and a great game of tag ensued. I do not know who was in front or back,
but it was clearly a time of greatness, as they dove round and round in
broad circling arcs, screaming with joy at their annual reunion.

March 18 - At SR was the FOS local Northern Rough-winged Swallow,
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eufala Skipper and Reakirt's Blue. Best though
was at 11 p.m., my last check outside for night noises, when a flock of at
least 6-8 calling AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER flew over going N. over SR!
Now that's my kind of yard bird! Nests in Canada, winters in Argentina,
and detectable in Utopia at night, the couple days a year they might
pass overhead in the dark, if they call !!

March 17 - FOS Lark Sparrow singing at SR. Migrant Lincon's Sparrows
continue as well. FOS Two-tailed & Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. At UP
was a Brown Creeper, 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets and a FOS Couch's Kingbird.
At dusk just west of the 379 cutoff on the 1050 about 4 miles west of town,
a WOODCOCK flew across the road right in front of Kathy and me!

Elsewhere we found something amazing but preparations must
be made to hopefully control the zealot birdwatchers, photographers
and tour leaders with tapes, that eventually will probably ruin
this unprecedented occurrence in time. Stay tuned.....

Roy Heideman sent me a note saying he has had Say's Phoebe up on
W. Sabinal Rd. area most of the winter, and it is still there. It would
be neat to get a departure date. He also had a Pine Warbler in late Jan.
out W. Sabinal Rd. Scarce but few around in winter. THANKS Roy for the note !
Let it be said Lost Maples will never be the same without you !!
Hey y'all ! I love hearing what y'all are seeing around your places too !!

March 15 - An immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker spent a half-hour near
the base of the Juniper with the bird bath on the ground there wanting
to get a drink, but unable to depart tree trunk to get one, while watching
all manner of species come in and do it just fine, that use the ground.
Poor thing! He looked thirsty! Note plumage is still very muddy brown.

March 14 - first local Arizona Sister of season.

March 13 - first local Giant Swallowtail of season.

March 12 - GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS are back at Lost Maples today,
with at least 4 singing birds heard. Also there were 2 Hutton's Vireo
and a FOS Ash-throated Flycatcher. I finally got a PHOTO of a
Falcate Orange-tip butterfly there at LM, which might be the
first county (Bandera) photos (it wasn't on the list as of last year).
I also got shots of what was probably an Aztec Dancer (damselfly).
At the TC crossing of LC, off SLC road below the bridge there were
at least 6 FOS Springtime Darner (dragonfly). I thought sure I had
an early Bronzed Cowbird at SR in the a.m..

March 11 - At SR a local nesting Scott's Oriole male returned, 10 days early.
Also there was the FOS FEMALE Black-chinned Hummingbird, a very normal one
week behind the males. Leslie Calvert reported FOS Black-and-white Warbler and
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Lost Maples. FOS butterflies at SR today were
Laviana White-Skipper, Pearl Crescents, and Common Sootywing.

March 10 - A FOS Metalmark butterfly (ph.) at SR - probably a Fatal (nemesis).

March 9 - The FOS single Brown-headed Cowbirds at the seed today at SR.
The Roadrunner has now graduated to cooing from bill clacking after a week.
Several new butterflies are about with False Duskywing, a Roadside-Skipper sps.,
and a Desert Checkered-Skipper.

March 8 - The first Red Satyr of the year was at SR. and late in the evening
we got a spritzing of .25" of much needed but not enough rain! We did an
errand run to Uvalde and the Fish Hatchery was hoppin' with birds.
Best was the American Golden-Plover Kathy spotted. Very rare in Uvalde Co.
Also saw the first Monarch of the year there, and lots of Cinnamon Teal.

March 7 - At SR there are now at least 3 male Black-chinned Hummingbirds,
the pair of Barn Swallow are settling in, the imm. White-crowned Sparrow
continues (5th day), while the adult Gambell's White-crowned is gone, and
"greenie" the super siskin continues.

March 6 - A female Barn Swallow (clearly a mate) has shown up and is
with the male here already. There were three male Black-chinned Hummers
here today, at least. I'm thinkin' the female Costa's won't have a chance.
She was not seen yet as of late afternoon. A male Vermilion Flycatcher was
on the wire outside, right on time for returning birds in spring.
A Dot-winged Baskettail (dragonfly) was the "first of year" for them.

March 5 - We were gone until 4 p.m. so don't know what was about earlier,
but the female COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD came in to the feeders in the evening,
as did an adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird. Nearly amazing to me
was a GAMBELL'S White-crowned Sparrow (ad.) that showed up in the p.m..
The first one I've seen in 3 winters of looking here, and one of the types
I grew up with, so like recognizing an old friend at the airport.

March 4 - A Killdeer flew over SR. Barn Swallow has returned, with one
of the local nester males back first - last year it returned 3/21,
so this is way early !! Amazingly an odd looking female hummingbird
showed up, this one astonishingly short tailed, and snow white underneath,
clearly a COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD !! I tried for photos but no luck.

March 3 - Another migrant at SR was an immature White-crowned Sparrow.
Also there were Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, Caracara, a Hutton's
Vireo, and Kathy had the first ad.male Hummingbird (she heard wing whistle)
of the year - surely a male Black-chinned is back. The Lincoln's was
eating seed for the third day, and the Junco flock is still 7+ birds,
all what I would guess are "western slate-colored" (beige sided females).

March 2 - Kathy had bats outside! I had two Turkey Vulture, likely a
returning pair that nests on the cliffs just west of SR. The Lincoln's
Sparrow bathed again, and at 11:15 p.m., a Barn Owl flew over calling.
'Twas 85 F yesterday and 87 F today !!

March 1 - Amazingly the black and yellow oriole Kathy saw bathing
on Feb. 20 was at the sunflower tube (!) and I got great looks and
and an ID - it is an Audubon's (see bird photo pg.)! Then a migrant
Lincoln's Sparrow showed up in the yard. Since they don't winter in
this habitat, we KNOW it is a migrant. This tells us about passage
dates where in normal habitat you couldn't tell if it were a winterer
or a passage bird. Roadrunner started bill-clacking today - another
sign of spring. White-eyed Vireo singing in town for first time in
months - another migrant. "Whitey" and "greenie" continue.
Lyside Sulphur and female Falcated Orange-tip were best butterflies.

Feb. 28 - lots of butterflies coming out, apparently spring is near!
Amongst the regulars were the three "first of years": Vesta Crescent,
Henric's Elfin, and a photo'd on hand male Falcated Orange-tip!

Feb. 26 - more spring migrants today at SR. Early in the morning a
Great Blue Heron plodded north up the valley. Mid-morning on
thermals were 23 Sandhill Crane soaring north. After dark it was
Greater White-fronted Geese calling as they flew north. It is spring!

Feb. 25 - a male Purple Martin was the FOS at SR going NNE.
It was an amazing near 80 deg. F. today.

Feb. 24 - The male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker continues at SR, as
does "greenie" and "whitey," the "green/yellow" morph Pine Siskin
and the partial albino Chipping Sparrow. (Over 225 Chippy and 80 Siskin)
In town there were 20 Starling (spring arrivals) and about 500 Cedar Waxwing.

Feb. 22 - We met some friends for a walk at Garner St. Pk. for
a couple hours of low impact birding and high impact comraderie.
The flock that moves around the edges of the "old HQ" open area
still had the same two Pine WArblers as a month ago in with the
Robins, E. Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches and such.
There were also still a few Audubon's Warblers including an adult male
that is nearly in full breeding plumage and beautiful. Two new spring
migrants were FOS Purple Martin and Lesser (Black-backed) Goldfinch
(Another Lesser Goldfinch was at SR when we got home!). A White-eyed
Vireo at Garner may have been a spring arrival too. A Zone-tailed Hawk
was along 1050 about 7 mi. W. of Utopia on the way back, also an FOS.

Feb. 21 - An amazing yard bird at SR was a Lesser Scaup that
bolted by heading towards Bear Creek Pond. Some spring migrants
were a flock of 100 Brown-headed Cowbird at SR, the first numbers
seen since fall.

Feb. 20 - slightly warmer with a 35-50 low/high spread...
and still a couple hundredths of fog/drizzle/mist as the
prior two days. At SR the Chipping Sparrow flock is now 250
birds (including "whitey"). There were 75 Pine Siskins
(including "greenie"), over a dozen American Goldfinch,
90 Robin and 30 Cedar Waxwing. A Hutton's Vireo was in
the yard for the first time in months, and also in that
department but better, was an ORIOLE Kathy saw at the bath.
It was black and yellow, so Scott's (a month too early)
or Audubon's (more likely now I think).

Feb. 19 - more of the same - bird bath well-frozen

Feb. 18 was a cold chilly day with highs in the 30's, and
chill factors in the 20's all day.

Feb. 17 - Another front blowing in with lots of cold ... we had to
make the Uvalde pilgramage so took some back roads from Sabinal to
Knippa for something different. First a mile north of Sabinal was
a corn stubble field that again had cranes and geese. There were
probably 5000 White-fronted Geese over an acre or two, as well
as about 700 Sandhill Cranes. What a great sight that was!
Then on the back roads to Knippa we saw a couple Say's Phoebe,
150 White-crowned Sparrows (all leucophrys), lots of Vesper and
Savannah Sparrows, Lark Bunting, Pyrrhuloxia. Uvalde CoRd 102
that runs N/S from the west end of Knippa a couple miles between
the Frio and Dry Frio (both dry here) "washes" was very good.
Then at the Fish Hatchery there were the FOS spring migrant
Swallows - about 20 CAVE ! Also duck numbers are building just before
their departure soon. There were at least 9 male Cinnamon Teal,
besides 3 male Blue-wings and at least 60 male Green-wing Teal.
Then there were 60 each or so Shoveller, Gadwall, and Lesser Scaup,
and a few Pintail, Ring-necked Duck & 6 Coots (diving and eating fish).
There were also 2 Greater Yellowlegs and 10 Wilson's Snipe, male
Vermilion Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, and surely more stuff but it
was cold and windy and we only had 20 minutes, but as always
a great stop with lots of birds, way down 'round Uvalde ....
Of interest in the evening at SR was a sub-ad. Harris's Hawk!

Feb. 16 - Selasphorus Hummer still at SR. Also there were the
displaying pair of Common Raven up high, 40 each of Waxwings
and Siskins, the green Siskin and the white Chippy, and the first
new Dragonfly of the year during the 85 F heat of the day. It
looked like a Pale-faced Clubskimmer.

Feb. 15 - Selasphorus still at SR. Also there were Bushtit - now in
pairs - not flocks, 40 Robin, and a most unusual partial albino
Chipping Sparrow. There will pix of it on the birdphoto page soon.
There was a Common Ground-Dove calling at SR also - first in months.
13 species of butterflies in the yard.

Feb. 14 - At SR the male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker continues on
winter territory. The pair of Common Raven are still displaying
high overhead. The Turkey Vulture was still around, and the
regular raptors were all seen: Kestrel, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered
and Cooper's Hawk. But a surprise was an adult Harris's Hawk
moving north up the valley. 11 species of butterflies were in
the yard, including Cloudless Sulphur and Black Swallowtail.

Feb. 12 - The cold front the blew in the 10th and 11th settled in with
low temps in Utopia reported at 17-18 deg. F. !! Up on SR it is several
degrees warmer than down in the valley floor where the cold air sinks.
The FOS spring migrant Turkey Vulture locally was at SR. When it warmed
to 64 F there were many butterflies out - amazing after a hard freeze.

Feb. 11 - The immature male Black-chinned Hummingbird is still here
at SR, as is the Selasphorus Hummer, the green morph Pine Siskin,
and a Caracara flew by.

Feb. 8 - after a couple days absence the adult female Selasphorus
Hummingbird (probably a Rufous) re-appeared. Leaving soon....

Feb. 7 - Remarkably a NEW hummingbird showed up at a feeder here
at SR today !&*(&^! It was an immature male Black-chinned !!
The last two springs their first arrivals were March 7 or so.
This therefore a month early! Also remarkable was the first
Poor-will calling in 3+ months! The green/yellow siskin continues.
Amazing were two more newly emerged butterflies today, an expected
Horace's Duskywing, and an unexpected Laviana White-Skipper at SR.

Feb. 4 - Had to make a Uvalde errand and supply run so got to bird
the road down, and make a stop at Ft. Inge. Near Sabinal in a corn
field there were hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, hundreds of White-winged
Doves, some White-fronted Geese, and lots of Western Meadowlarks.
Shrike numbers were good on the way. At Ft. Inge were 3 Green Jays,
a migrant ad.male Common Yellowthroat, and the regular suspects.
Saw one good bird but without photos, no proof, no record ...

Feb. 2 - The first Henry's Elfin (butterfly) of the year was out today!
The green Siskin continues as does the Selasphorus Hummingbird.

February 1 - The Chipping Sparrow flock is now over 200 birds
here at SR. A Cooper's Hawk keeps diving through...

An amazing total of 23+ species of butterflies were seen in the yard
in January. Several hundreds of individuals. Last Jan. 05 my yard
butterfly total was 55 individuals of 15 species, and the year before
in 04 it was only 11 individuals of 9 species, both much colder
wetter Jan.'s than this years was.

Jan. 31 - Best were two freshly emerged butterflies, both first
of their species for the year: a Gray Hairstreak and a male
Black Swallowtail that landed on everything blue outside.

Jan. 30 - the green/yellow Siskin continues here at SR. Back again
at UP were a couple male Common Grackle, on schedule. The first
damselfly of the year was at UP, an Argia Dancer species (photos).

Jan. 29 - A pair of Common Raven flew over SR. The Selasphorus
Hummingbird continues. The 78 F temps brought out amazing numbers
of butterflies. TWELVE species and about 42 individuals just
passing the yard here!

Jan. 28 - We got a much needed .5 inch of rain from midnight to noon!

Jan. 27 - Rufous-crowned Sparrow has now started singing. An adult
White-crowned Sparrow showed up at SR (new), which has some anomolous
black patches in the white crown stripes. The Selasphorus Hummingbird
continues and a Chihuahuan Raven flew by. Most unusual was an
aggregation of 43 Killdeer at the ball diamond at UP mostly feeding
on bugs in the grass being watered. Finding 1 has been hard lately!

Jan. 26 - Saw the green/yellow siskin briefly in full sun... much
more yellow above than the olive under dark overcast skies.
Lots of birds singing now: Bewick's Wren, Black-crested Titmouse,
Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal. For these residents, it is
nearing time to stake out territories for the breeding season.

Jan. 25 - At SR 37 White-winged Dove now indicate some northward
return movement. One was singing full song. An American Pipit
flew over headed toward Bear Creek Pond.

Jan. 24 - At SR 2 Common Raven up high doing mating flight.
Saw the green/yellow Siskin again but only briefly.
Lots of Butterflies: 1 Pipevine Swallowtail, 10 Snout, 10 Variegated
Fritillary, 5 Buckeye, 4 Sleepy Orange, 3 Gulf Fritillary,
3 Dainty Sulphur, 2 Red Admiral. Low 34, high 70. very nice.

Jan. 22 - We got some much needed drizzle, perhaps .2 of an inch,
but its been so dry so long, we'll take it. The cool wet weather
drove birds to the feeders. At least 45 Pine Siskin were at our
sunflower tube and surrounds. One was a very rare "yellow morph"
type (which can be olive gree above as this one was) and are very
little known. A picture is up on the birdphoto page. Also that day
a Caracara and 2 Chihuahuan Raven passed SR, as did 2 dozen Waxwings.
Chipping Sparrow flock now up to 175 birds, with 6-8 Slate-colored Junco.

Jan. 21 - New for my UP list was a HARRIS'S HAWK soaring southward.
There were 500 Waxwings and a couple hundred Robins between the park
and Cypress St., eating hackberries and drinking at the river.

Jan. 20 - Around town there were at least 6 Yellow-shafted Flickers that
all looked pure but one. Also there were 500+ Brewer's Blackbirds
with some Brown-headed Cowbirds, and 15 Common Grackles mixed in.
The Long-billed Thrasher continues in town, as do 2 Black Phoebe
and a Brown Creeper at UP.

Jan. 19 - The Selasphorus Hummingbird and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
continue at SR.

Jan. 18 - From the porch at SR 5 Gadwall and 2 Am. Wigeon flew over
again! Also 9 Cedar Waxwings flew over, and about 10 White-winged
and 30 Morning Doves. There are still lots of butterflies about
with the abnormally warm temperatures. Different ones today included
Queen, Pipevine Swallowtail, and the first of year Fiery Skipper.

Jan. 17 - Supply run to Uvalde, so went via a quick stop at
Garner St. Pk.. Despite being too windy and cool we found a
few flocks of wintering passerines. They included Brown Creeper,
Hutton's Vireo, 3 Audubon's Warblers and 2 PINE Warblers.

Jan. 16 - At UP was a Brown Creeper, and down on the grounds of
Utopia on the River the imm. Red-naped Sapsucker and a Golden-
crowned Kinglet both continue. We had a sprinkle (rain) today.

Jan. 11 - The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that was in the yard a week
ago was around today, now that count week is over!*&^$! Also the
Selasphorus Hummingbird continues and most amazing was a Soldier
(Eresimus) butterfly.

Jan. 10 - last day of count week, so another quick look around
turned up a couple more count week species: a Turkey Vulture at SR,
and a pair of Caracara NW of town at the Spring Branch turnoff.
Another Say's Phoebe was on Spring Branch, as well as a pair of
Ravens which were diving through a huge dust devil full of leaves,
hitting the leaves at full speed, apparently for fun, which
attracted a Red-tailed Hawk, and the count week Caracaras!
So, we ended up with about 16 "count week" species - seen 3 days
before or after count day, for a week total of 85 species.

Jan. 9 - Went around town to mop up some missed count birds for
"count week". Of course they're all over and easy when you're
not lookin' for 'em! There was White-throated Sparrow, Belted
Kingfisher, Blue-headed Vireo and a Sapsucker species at UP.
There were 4 Green Kingfishers there too. Then out 355 I saw a
Pyrrhuloxia and a Roadrunner, and with some Brewer's Blackbirds
in town was a female Red-winged Blackbird.

Jan. 8 - Well the two plus weeks of warm temps finally fooled the
geese: 115 White-fronteds flying north over SR in the a.m.. Also
unusual there were a couple American Wigeon seen from our porch
for the yard list. Also amazing was at first only 8' from me
eating juniper berries, a SAGE THRASHER in the back yard!!

Jan. 7 - Today Kathy and I did our unofficial annual winter bird count.
This is the third year of data now, from the first week of Jan. surveys.
I'll let you know when the numbers get added up, but in the meanwhile
there were some interesting and exciting finds. The Selasphorus Hummingbird
was here at SR. The HAMMOND'S Flycatcher is still upriver in Bandera Co..
A RUSTY Blackbird was in a huge flock of Brewer's on B & R Road. Great was
UP with a male Ring-necked Duck, Swamp Sparrow (near 1050 bridge)
Black Phoebe, Green Kingfisher, and a "rufous" Thrasher that may well
have been a Brown. A Long-billed Thrasher continues on Cypress St.,
a few blocks north of UP. The veritible jackpot of the count was at
Bear Creek Pond which is at the very SW edge of the 15 mile diameter circle.
There were yesterdays' 4 N.Pintail, 4 Gadwall, plus 2 American Wigeon,
a female Mallard and 7 Green-winged Teal! 5 species of ducks at once!
Plus the only Great Blue Heron and Say's Phoebe we saw all day.
Unfortunately a ferocious wind picked up early, before noon, and the afternoon
trying to find landbirds was nearly hopeless. It almost killed the p.m.
On Lee St. in the area of the first field east of Main St., there were
75 American Pipits and an immature HARRIS'S Sparrow!
So that will have to hold you until we get everything tallied.
As always when you just have one day to quickly see as much as you can
you miss lots of common things. We saw about 69 species of birds though,
and missed 15-20+ we know are around, like Turkey, Bushtit, etc., etc.

Jan. 6 - Saw the Couch's Kingbird at UP late in the afternoon again.
The highlight of the day came at twilight when I spotted a flock
of ducks from the porch at SR. I got them in binocs as they passed
and there were 4 Northern Pintail, and 4 Gadwall.

Jan. 4 - A major breakthrough in finding out where the wintering
Couch's Kingbirds go in the day. One was calling outside here at SR
2 miles west of UP. It moved towards Bear Creek Pond
which would be a perfect daytime Kingbird feeding place.
They're only at the park early and late in the day in good weather.

Jan. 1, 2006 - The 1st through 3rd we had record heat, around 80F,
with lots of butterfly activity, amazingly! The birds were about
the same, with the continuing Selasphorus hummingbird, but an adult
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker spent the first two days of the year around
the yard. We watched it eat whole Juniper berries! What a spectacularly
beautiful bird! On the 3rd at UP there was a group of 5 ducks:
a pair of Redhead, and a trio (1 male) of Ring-necked Duck, both
of which are new to my UP list.
Links to archived bird news pages below, broken into 6 month increments. Odd numbers = first half of year, even numbers second half.

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