Bird (and nature) News Archive # 7
January 1 - June 30, 2007
Some commonly used abbreviations used are:
"in town" - means in Utopia
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

2007 - Jan. 1 - June 30 reverse chronological order, unless you scroll to end and read from the bottom up.
June 30 ~ Well it had to be the coolest June in 5 years at least,
with barely a few highs in the 90's, most in the 80's. WOW !!
And lots more rain, so everything is still green, instead of brown
like last June. Birds are having a good nesting season it seems,
but butterflies are way down due to all the wet weather probably.
Saw the adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird again.

June 29 ~ Another Golden-cheek out back. There are now 2 juvenile
Painted Buntings with the adult male. Good. Caught 3 small
Channel Cats at the dam at the park. Fish sticks ! :)

June 28 ~ Another 2" or so of rain overnight at SR, and
another Golden-cheeked Warbler out back. Darn immature hummingbirds
chasing everything, including it away! A Monarch flew by at SR.

June 27 ~ Overnight a "rain bomb" exploded north of us 150
miles where they got 12-18" of rain in 6-8 hours. We got 2" or so
up on SR. I went to town and saw two birds that were almost
surely blown here by storms, as neither occurs in June or July
locally. A singing male Yellow Warbler was on Main St., and a
male Robin was at the corner in front of the park. Truly amazing
records on a local level. Saw a juvenile Blue Jay too, which are
gray crested and backed, unlike the experts' bird field guides.

June 26 ~ Finally after 3 years with no young to show, our local
pair of Roadrunners fledged at least one juvenile. GREAT !!
I suspect is was that XXL Racoon I had to shoot that was tearing
all the nest boxes down, and eliminating it allowed success.
Once a coon figures out nest boxes, you will have severe predation
and you should remove the boxes or the coon if you can't make
them coon proof.

June 25 ~ Another adult male Golden-cheek out back. A few Bushtits
too. The adult male Painted Bunting has a fledgling with it.
Saw a FOS Mestra (butterfly) today at SR.

June 24 ~ I heard an Audubon's Oriole sing a couple times at SR,
the first sign of them since March. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was
a fall migrant, one of the first of the year. An immature
Carolina Wren is wandering around SR. A Zone-tailed Hawk was at SR,
as was a probable female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

I suppose it is all the cold wet weather, combined with the severe
winter, and maybe we are between spring and summer broods or flights
but there are very few butterflies about compared to the last three
May or June periods. A stop at the butterfly garden at the library
in the 85 deg. heat of the afternoon yielded 4 Queens and 1 Gray
Hairstreak on all those flowers. Pitiful. Abnormal. Why?

June 23 ~ The FOS spot-winged Glider (dragonfly) went south over SR.

June 21 ~ A couple more Golden-cheeks outside here at SR. One,
an adult male took a 2" long-horned Grasshopper (Tettigoniadae) and
a crane fly (Tipulidae) within 2 minutes. It got the hopper down
easy enough, with 2" of anntenae sticking out, which seemingly
magically just slipped down slowly. A juvenile white-eyed Vireo
was outback as well. There were a couple good dragonflies too:
a Common (E.) Pondhawk, and a Dusky Dancer, both males.

June 20 ~ Another unpredicted rain, this about 3/4", with a nice
35MPH outflow boundry in front of it. 12 hours earlier NOAA said
No rain. All them computers..... anyway, amazingly, on the
second longest day of the year, it barely got 75 deg.F !!
I sure never tire of watching the Common Nighthawks booming
(the diving display flight accompanied by a whoosh) every dusk.
Lots of Purple Martins and Barn Swallows out of the nest already.

June 19 ~ Another heard only Golden-cheek outside. A Cooper's Hawk
stooped on the doves here twice, missing both times. A local
nester here. A male Great Spreadwing flew by the front porch.

June 18 ~ At least 4 and maybe 5 Ash-throated Flycatchers fledged
from a box here today. A great butterfly was a Texas Powdered
Skipper (Systasea pulverulenta). A Great Horned Owl flew off
the hill out front where they're working near dusk.

June 17 ~ A group of 4 Golden-cheeked Warblers worked through
the yard, included an adult male, and at least a couple juveniles.
At UP the pair of Yellow-throated Warblers that nest at the north
end of the park had 4 juveniles out of the nest, molting into
first basic. Still lots of Dickcissels. Northern Bobwhite was
calling north of 356, and at the river crossing there we watched
a Dragonhunter (a big dragon that hunts dragons for lunch) grab
a dragon right in front of us. It perched in a cypress and we
watched it eat it through the scope...and got a few fuzzy
pix we'll put up of it.....

June 16 ~ A couple of poorly predicted inches of rain during the first
half of the day. Lark Sparrow fledglings are out. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
was heard here at SR and was probably a post breeding wanderer/fall migrant.

June 15 ~ An early Red-tailed Pennant (dragonfly) was at UP.
I threw back a 7" Guadelupe Bass I caught. Interesting was
watching an Ash-throated Flycatcher using a nest box here
carry a fecal sac away in its feet instead of the usual bill.

June 14 ~ heard only another Golden-cheeked Warbler outside.

June 13 ~ I heard TWO Hutton's Vireos calling at once outside.
Perhaps they nested nearby? A couple good dragonflies were here
at SR today: A male Widow Skimmer, and a female Great Spreadwing.

June 12 ~ Cuckoo again nearby. Hutton's Vireo calling near too.
An Underwing moth was at UP, one of the red (hind-) winged types.

June 11 ~ Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling outside within 100' of
the hovel.... in junipers! Bewick's Wrens working on their
third nest of the year (no successes yet).

June 10 ~ Freshly fledged Barn Swallows were over SR. Also there
was the first Cooper's Hawk I've seen locally in some time.
Also heard a Hutton's Vireo (thought I heard one last week).

June 9 ~ Golden-cheek flew out of the juniper out front at 5 P.m..
Coudn't age or sex it going away.

June 8 ~ A male Hooded Oriole was a surprise at 7 p.m., though
it didn't seem to go to feeders, darn it. They are probably nesting
again on SR somewhere. Fledgling Cardinals are out. A male
Painted Bunting is singing very very close, and a second year male
(green above with salmon pink coming in underneath) is around too.

June 6 ~ A heard only Golden-cheek outside. Male Aztec Dancer in
our makeshift garden at SR. Lots of Common Nighthawks and fireflies still.

June 5 ~ A supply run got me 20 minutes at the fish hatchery and
expectedly there were 2 White-rumped Sandpipers there, and a
Black-necked Stilt. We got another 3/4" of rain late in the p.m..

June 4 ~ A Citrine Forktail was an interesting damselfly in the back
"yard" (wild flowers). At the library in town was a Clouded Skipper,
a Question Mark and an Arizona Sister which is new for my list there.

June 3 ~ We had our FOS natal plumaged (juvenile) Golden-cheeked Warbler
of the year in the SR yard. Feeding mostly in the Live Oaks. A huge
outflow boundry hit at dark with 40+ MPH winds (they were 60-70 MPH to
the east of us 30 miles). Remember to always keep an eye on the weather. :)
We got about 3/4" of rain out of it.

June 2 ~ We played local hooky and went to Big Spring to continue
helping with the biological cateloging of animal species there.
A spectacular beautiful place it is. Interesting how it compares
with Lost Maples just the other side of the divide. The biggest
obvious difference is the lack of undergrowth by comparison at
Big Spring, because it has been heavilly grazed until more recently
(15 years ago) than Lost Maples (30+ years with no grazing) has.
A suite of species that occupy the understory are in far lower
numbers than at Lost Maples.

June 1 ~ Sure enough, a juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbird was at a
feeder here several times today. I studied it from 4-6' at length.
There are lots of young just fledged birds out of the nest now.
I've seen Carolina Wrens, Chickadees, Titmouse, House Finches,
Scrub-Jays, Raven, and others. Wet years are usually good for
nesting success and production. More vegetation and more bugs.

May 31 ~ A new yard butterfly was a Texas Powdered Skipper, which
I got a great close look at. Seen a few blast by, but this one
gave a good ID look. Still have 3 female Ruby-throats around.

May 30 ~ noteworthy in that it was the first day this year we actually
reached 90 deg.F here on SR!! Pretty late for that. Been nice !!

May 29 ~ At dusk 3 Mississippi Kites floated in to SR, and appeared
to go down to roost at the high point on the ridge (in the 2nd loop).
I just added up and we have about 10" of rain for May !! No wonder
the chiggers are soooo bad. Spray insect repellent if you are going
AT ALL into ANY grass. I've got a couple dozen if you want some.

May 28 ~ A FOS Mournful Duskywing was a good butterfly in the yard.
A beat worn Queen may have been my first this year too. Calling around
dusk or just after dark were 10 Common Nighthawk, 4 Chuck-wills-widow,
3 Poorwill and an Eastern Screech-Owl.

May 27 ~ Another inch of rain overnight, but still no migrants from it.
Probably 300 Black-chinned Hummingbirds at our feeders, including
mostly males, few females, and lots of juveniles. There are at least
3 continuing female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, though I haven't seen
a male in nearly two weeks. I think these females are nesting.

May 26 ~ Migrants today consisted of 4 Yellow Warblers: 3 - 1st spring
males and a female (one at 354 and 3 at UR). The only other migrant
was a Catbird at the Cypress St. mulberry tree. There were at least
3 dozen Cedar Waxwings there too.

May 25 ~ Starting at about 2 a.m., it poured until 8 a.m., and
totalled about SIX inches of rain here on SR. The river came up
over the 1050 bridge and all the swallows lost their nests, as
did a Black Phoebe. Amazing was in the afternoon flying over SR
was a calling Spotted Sandpiper! Good yard bird! In the p.m.
we checked around and the only migrants we saw were 3 Empidonax
flycatchers at Cypress St. just outside the park entrance.
Two were Willows, one was an Alder, which called to confirm.
The Poor-wills were calling in overdrive tonight; they must
have liked the rain.
May 24 ~ 1 Yellow Warbler in town was the only migrant despite
drizzle all a.m. at SR, and a good lightning charged cell in the p.m..

May 23 ~ No landbird migrants at UR, UP, or 354 pecan patch.
Two 1st alternate Spotted Sandpipers on the dam at UP was it.

May 21 & 22 ~ no birds but an inch of rain overnight each day.

May 20 ~ A couple late migrants were about: a Yellow Warbler
at 354 pecans, and Warbling Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at UP.
Cave Swallows are at the culvert just west of the Bear Creek
Pond on 1050 4 miles west of town. Up at the 1050 pass itself
there were still singing Golden-cheeked Warblers, which
surely nested there, and singing Black-and-White Warbler too.
Also a couple Bushtit. On 356 by the entrance to the Jones
Cemetery but down by the river was a begging juvenile
Chihuahuan Raven, with an adult circling and calling overhead.

May 19 ~ NO migrants at UP, UR, 354 pecans except a
Spotted Sandpiper on the spillway at the park. A Caracara
was carrying food at SR. Chihuahuan Raven there too.

May 18 ~ 6 Yellow Warblers was it at the regular stops.
A Brown-crested Flycatcher was at SR, and was chased
off by the nesting Ash-throats in short order.
The male Scissor-tail nesting in the huge Pecan just
outside UP in the field adjacent to the park did
TWO complete flips for me during a display flight.
It is so fast, only people highly trained at watching
birds fly can see it in most cases. They do a complete quick
flip at the top of a loop, faster than a fraction of a blink.

May 17 ~ 100 Cedar Waxwing were at the Cypress St.
Mulberry tree just outside UP. Single Yellow Warblers
were at SR, UR, and 2 were at 354. 2 Eastern Kingbirds
were on 187 just south of town. A Caracara was carrying
food there too going SE, so surely feeding young.

May 16 ~ A lightweight front passed overnight, knocking
a last few migrants down. At the 354 pecans were 5 Yellow,
2 Wilson's and 2 Nashville Warblers. At UR were 3 more
Yellow and another Nashville, and at UP was another Yellow.
UR also had 2 Willow Flycatcher. A couple female Ruby-
throats are still at SR. Most amazing was a miniature
half-sized Eastern Tiger Swallowtail just outside UP.
It was 2.25-2.5" across the spread forewings (wingspan).

May 15 ~ Old and new Monarchs still present at SR. New Titmouse
babies have fledged. The most amazing find was by Roel Loera
from San Antonio down by Knippa, a male BOBOLINK !! First one
ever found in Uvalde County !! He even got a decent ID shot
for irrefutable documentation. GREAT job, GREAT find !!
I wish I could have seen it !! That and the Swallow-tailed Kite
at Concan in late April are the two "best birds of the year" from
the spring migration so far, and both new Uvalde Co. records.

May 14 ~ few female Ruby-throats still at SR, but no males left.
Pair of Common Ground-Dove at the seed. Barn Owl 11 p.m..

May 13 ~ Finally a FOS Willow Flycatcher, at UP, is always
one of the latest migrants to appear. A Warbling Vireo was
at UP too. Best there was a teneral (just emerged) COMET DARNER
dragonfly, which I got docu shots of. Surely from the ovipositing
I saw here summer of '05. At 354 pecans there was a Yellow Warbler
and a hybrid warbler that was Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) X something.
It's call was a sharp high tik like Palm. Rump was dull olive-greenish
yellow. It had the classic Myrtle throat patch shape, and more finer
streaking on underparts. At the SLC buffalo wallows there were
an amazing 150 male Band-winged Dragonlet (ODE) and many females too.
At SR there was was one lone last Chipping Sparrow left, but
better was another Mourning Cloak butterfly ! WOW !!

May 12 ~ Today at SR I saw the first new fresh just emerged Monarch
of the year. These are the ones that hatch from eggs laid by the
ones that wintered waaayyy down in Mexico, and flew back north this
March and April (and are obvious by being extremely beat and worn).
Now these will fly north to even Canada and lay eggs. I am still
seeing a few stray worn ones about (the ones that wintered in Mexico).
A migrant Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (still!) was at SR. There were
2 male Hooded Orioles at SR in the evening. Seems with the
high pressure many hummingbirds have departed. Hardly an adult male
Ruby-throated left, and many of the juvenile Black-chins are gone too.
At dusk there were 15 Common Nighthawk over SR with lots of the
incredible booming, as they call it, the diving flight display
that ends in a whooooooosh or hummed bvvvvvvvvvvvv. Very neat!

May 11 ~ Uvalde supply run. A break stop at the fish hatchery
netted some shorebirds of course this time of year. Very fancy
was a flock of 11 alternate (breeding) plumaged Stilt Sandpipers.
A White-rumped Sandpiper was with them, and even swam amongst them
in water too deep for it for a while. There were also 15 Wilson's
Phalaropes, and a late Ring-necked Duck. Then on the way home we
checked the wet spot on 2730 (between 90 and 127 a mile west of
Sabinal and found a small flock of shorebirds there too (the point).
3 each of White-rumped, Pectoral and Least Sandpipers, another dozen
Wilson's Phalaropes and a Lesser Yellowlegs, all at a 50' diameter mudhole
At dusk at SR there were 6 territorial Chuck-wills-widows in earshot.

May 10 ~ The thunderstorms went over too early in the evening, and
it seemed the pile-up of grounded birds largely departed afterwards,
since it was early still. There were some migrants at UR, though
species composition and activity seemed that of a new group, not
birds that had been there a couple days. An adult male Mourning
Warlber may have been a holdover, but there was also an adult
female MacGillivray's Warbler, a female American Redstart, just
one Black-throated Green, and a few each of Nashville, Yellow
and Wilson's, plus (same as yest.?) Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Interesting was a pair of Warbling Vireos, one of which was singing.
Another Mourning Cloak butterfly was also there too! No birds at UP
or the 354 Pecan patch. Here at SR I had a good butterfly right
out the back door, a Least Skipper (A. numitor) which is (another)
first county record for Uvalde (photo and voucher specimen) here.
Roy Heideman reports that the Red-headed Woodpecker is STILL at his place!

May 9 ~ More severe thunderstorms overnight, means more migrating
birds knocked down as their flight is impeded. I got a quick look
out in the afternoon. All the migrants are in pecans now since
they are blooming - the liveoaks are nearly birdless. The 354 Pecans
had 6 Yellow, 4 Nashville, and 2 wilson's Warblers, and a Vireo that
was surely another Philadelphia. As usual the biggest best flocks are
in the pecans at UR. Warblers: 5 Nashville, 6 Yellow, 5 Wilson's,
5 Black-throated Green, FOS adult male Mourning, and FOS CHESTNUT-SIDED
that was either ad.female or imm. male. There was also a Catbird there
and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet still too, plus an Oporornis sps. In the
huge Pecan just outside UP east of the ballfield had a bunch of Yellow,
some Wilson's, 2 Nashville, and I heard a Redstart repeatedly.
More interesting there was a hybrid Bullock's X Baltimore Oriole.
A sub-adult male which called as Baltimore, but its whistled song was
mostly Bullock's but part Baltimore, and very odd. It had Bullock's
head and Baltimore's wing. An Eastern Kingbird was just south of town
on 187. At dusk a huge complex of thunderstorms went over, over 100 miles
long and 50 miles wide. On the leading edge of it and stuck for who knows
how many miles was a group of 80 Turkey Vultures. Got 2"+ of rain.

May 8 ~ some severe thunderstorms went over last night, and at least
at UR There were big old Hackberry trees snapped off at the ground and
others snapped in half 15 ' off the ground. Bad weather at night means
birds in the morning though during migration periods, like now.
There at UR was finally a FOS American Redstart, a nice male doing
what they do. What a beauty they are. Great to watch. More rare
but dull as a doornail by comparison was a FOS Philadelphia Vireo.
They were with 8 Wilson's, 3 Yellows and a Black-throated Green.
Also there were 2 Catbirds there, in the Mulberries of course.
At the 354 Pecans there was single Nashville, Wilson's and Yellow,
and lots of Dickcissels. Today at SR I saw the FOS JUVENILE
(this years babies) Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and in fact numbers
showed up at the feeders today. A Bobcat walked by 75' from me
at dusk, and dozens of fireflys were out after dark. Also then
besides the cacaphony of Chuck-wills-widows, there were Eastern
Screech-Owls calling.

May 7 ~ All from SR yard today... Another or the same Mourning Cloak
butterfly! A trio (adult male, imm. male and ad. female) of Orchard Oriole
in the juniper out front. 22 Cedar Waxwings stopped to eat juniper berries.
A Caracara flew over. A Spotted Towhee and 2 Chipping Sparrows remain.

May 6 ~ A sorta surprising few warblers around. 4 Yellow and a Wilson's
at the 354 Pecans. A Nashville, 2 Yellow and a Least Flycatcher at UR.
An ad. male Black & White Warbler at UP singing very differently from
our local nesting birds obviously from some distant population - also
obvious by the date of passage - with a much more musical thick rich
melodic less whezzy more clearly whistled weesee weesee weesee that I
didn't even recognize as a Black & White due to my ear being tuned
to the local nesting birds we hear all the time. Have you all noticed
how Dickcissels are EVERYWHERE along the roadsides adjacent to fields
now? That is that buzzy grinding shik shik shiksissel you are hearing.
A male Spotted Towhee hangs on at SR still.

May 5 ~ Met our friends Dave and Carol Roelen from CA for an afternoon
walk at Lost Maples. Lots of Golden-cheeked Warblers and a few
Black-capped Vireos. All the regulars like Black Phoebe, Louisiana
Waterthrush, Red- and White-eyed Vireos, and Yellow-throated of course.
Lots of Eastern Wood-Pewees, Indigo Buntings, Black & White Warbler.
Best however was a CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, not on the park list and in
the Birds of the Edwards Plateau (Lockwood 2002) there are only
8 hill country records, with one prior from Bandera Co.. Luckily
I got a couple digital images through by binoculars !! The cool and
drizzle kept odes and leps (dragonflies and butterflies) inactive.

May 4 ~ All from SR today. A Merlin blasted over. At least one
Spotted Towhee continues in the seed pile. An immature Cooper's Hawk
dove on White-winged Doves but missed. Swainson's Hawk going over
northward. Amazingly ANOTHER Mourning Cloak (butterfly), this in the
yard too! 4 Chipping Sparrows left still, another Barn Owl after dark.

May 3 ~ For the third straight year the FOS Catbird was on this date,
always in a Mulberry, this at UP was singing nicely. Finally got a
FOS Wilson's Warbler today too, at UR, where there was a surprise of
THREE male Lazuli Buntings in one binocular field of view. A FOS
local Orchard Oriole was there also. A very nice flock of grounded
migrant warblers was at UR with 25 Nashvilles, 6 Yellow, 4 Tennessee,
and single Black & White, Black-throated Green, and Northern Parula.

May 2 ~ Today there was a depressingly large flock of Cowbirds in the
yard, probably grounded migrants in the drizzle. I was astonished to
see amongst them feeding on seed in an opening in a juniper/oak patch
FIVE Yellow-headed Blackbirds, 20' out the window! Yard Bird species
number 200 in 25 months here on Seco Ridge. Barn Owl late at night.

May 1 ~ WOW, MAY already !?!? A few FOS's were about today....
A MacGillivray's Warbler was at UP on the island. Common Grackle
seems back for nesting there again too. At UR was a nice
warbler flock with 25+ Nashville, 6 Yellow, 5 FOS Tennessee,
3 Black-thraoted Green and a male Black-and-White. Also a FOS
local pair of Brown-crested Flycatchers were there. Better yet
was a MOURNING CLOAK butterfly that flew by me going NE, only a few
feet away. It was the first I've seen in 4 springs here.
Amazingly, I left and went to the 354 Pecan patch, a mile and a half
north, to check for warblers, and 15 minutes later what had to be
the very same Mourning Cloak, which flew by me 4' away, AGAIN !!
Finally, late in the early evening I heard an OVENBIRD singing
nearby down the draw here at SR.

April 30 ~ The FOS female Painted Bunting back at the seed today at SR.
Also here was Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, and a singing House Wren,
surely knocked down by the 2" of rain we got in the early a.m. today.
After 7 p.m. at SR a flock of 38 Mississippi Kites loitered for a half hour.
Even more impressive though was this: first a low quiet "unk unk" I heard,
and then the sound of wings slicing the air at extremely high speed such
as when a raptor dives, or maybe large shorebirds in flight. All of a sudden
at just above treetop level coming right at me a flock of 30 Franklin's Gulls
going 45-50 MPH !! They were over and gone in seconds. The sound of their
wings was astounding. The progress was even more impressive. WOW !!
Finally, a Northern Bobwhite was singing before dusk at SR.

MY tip of the day is to remind you that shotshell (.22 pellet load)
works excellent on Cowbirds up to 20' or so, and remember that you
only need to get the females, which may parasitize 10-15 nests a year!
Just make darn sure you REALLY know what a cowbird is before you shoot !!

April 29 ~ More rain means birds can't migrate and is good for us
looking for them, but bad for them making progress. Today an adult
White-crowned Sparrow showed up at our seed pile, obviously a migrant.
Also the first returning local Painted Bunting male was at the seed pile.
Others have had them around earlier... At UP was FOS Green Heron up
here locally, FOS Common Yellowthroat, a Coot, 1 Myrtle Warbler,
and a Yellow Warbler. At the 354 Pecan patch was the FOS returnee
(local breeder) Yellow-breasted Chat. At the corner of 354 and 187
was an early FOS flock of 3 Eastern Kingbirds bathing in the rain showers.
A Scissor-tail joined them it must have looked so good. A FOS "in town"
Dickcissel was there off 354 as well. I have a saying "the best bird
of the day always gets away", meaning it disappears before being
completely identified. Had one of those today too.....
At dusk in town was my FOS local Lesser Nighthawk.

April 28 ~ Today there were a couple more FOS's as expected this time
of year. It is fun and interesting gettting arrival dates each year.
First was Olive-sided Flycatcher at UP and another at UR.
FOS Yellow Warblers were at UP and UR. A late FOS Spotted Sandpiper
was at the spillway at UP, and there was also a House Wren there.
A nice flock of warblers was grounded from the weather, which as
usual is 90%+ Nashvilles here, there were 35+. Mixed in were 2 Orange-crowned,
2 Black-throated Green, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. At UR were 5 more
Nashvilles, a flock of 35 Clay-colored Sparrows, plus one Grasshopper Sparrow.
Also at UR were FOS Hackberry and Tawny Emperors (butterflies) and
even better in that department was a FOS Red-spotted Purple at SR.

April 27 ~ Another day off "the hill" for supplies at Uvalde.....
So another stop at the fish hatchery. Best was the first I've seen
in 4 years here Semipalmated Plover (photos). There were 12 species of
shorebirds there in a cursory glance. Other goodies were a flock of
at least 13 Baird's Sandpipers, a near-alternate plumaged Stilt Sandpiper,
3 Long-billed Dowitchers, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper and 25 Wilson's Phalaropes.
At the city park on Hwy 90 there were a couple calling Kiskadees.
There were lots of Dickcissels just west of Sabinal, and even the
local FOS ones, 4 mi. South of Utopia on the way back up...

April 26 ~ Well the Black-headed Grosbeak stayed the night and was
eating millet in the morning on the ground here at SR. A Spotted Towhee
remains still, and a late Northern Harrier flew over going North late.
Even later, was finally a FOS Common Nighthawk at SR.

April 25 ~ Amazing for the back "yard" was a male Black-headed Grosbeak
eating seed ! Also had a few Nashvilles, a Painted Bunting, and
amongst some Nashvilles and Myrtles and Orange-crowneds at UP
was an Acadian Flycatcher.

April 24 ~ 10 FOS Mississippi Kites at 7 p.m. over SR. Black-and-white
Warbler in Live Oak out back door. Local breeders already here so
this is a migrant to parts way further north.

April 23 ~ At Utopia on the River was a Broad-winged Hawk. At UP there
was FOS Black-throated Green Warbler (late) and Swainson's Thrush (early).
There were still the two wintering male Spotted Towhee here at SR,
25 Chippys, and Barn Owl and Firefly late. At Concan we saw something
very rare, something said to never happen by many an "expert".
We watched a Turkey Vulture fly off the road with food/roadkill
in its feet. They allegedly don't do this. Second time I've seen it.
Both times it was dropped as they are unable to close feet tight enough
to hold it during maneuvers required and force during lift off.

April 22 ~ Played local hooky today and went to Ft.Clark Springs
for something completely different. Best was a male Western Tanager,
but Franklin's Gull and Baird's Sandpiper were good too. There were
dozens of Orchard Orioles, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Nashville
Warblers. Did not hear a Kiskadee there for the first time ever.
We stopped at Uvalde on the way back and at the Fish Hatchery
saw a Semipalmated Sandpiper, 90 Wilson's Phalaropes, a late Snipe,
a (also tardy) calling Sora, and the regulars. At Ft. Inge there was
Ringed and Green Kingfisher. An amazing report was from Concan late
in the day, a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE seen by several observers ! WOW !

April 21 ~ 4 FOS Cattle Egrets were just north of Cypress Hollow.
At Lost Maples were all the regulars: Golden-cheeked Warblers,
Black-capped Vireos singing, Louisiana Waterthrushes, etc..
Different was NO Green Kingfisher. Also a pair of Black Phoebe
have a nest on the cliff at the first pond up Can Creek. I heard
a Hutton's Vireo singing, and at the pond was a Yellow-throated
Warbler, the first I have ever seen there. We also saw a
Porcupine on the way up and a small Ringnecked Snake on the way back.
5 species of Swallowtails was nice, with lots of Spicebush flying.
Most exciting was super park employee Carla Nuckles reporting
a LUNA MOTH at the park during the last week !! WOW !!
I would be most interested to hear from others who have seen
Luna Moths locally (I wonder how often they occur for instance).

April 20 ~ At Utopia on the River was a Zone-tailed Hawk, and
FOS Indigo Bunting (finally - late) and Great Crested Flycatcher.
At the north end of town was a FOS group of 5 Bronzed Cowbirds.
At UP was (still) a Coot and a Pied-billed Grebe.

April 18 ~ Amazing was a FOS Yellow-billed Cuckoo at 11:30 p.m.,
(a half-hour before April 19) on the early side for an arrival here.
It gave a full call as they often do at night. A newly arrived
territorially singing Mockingbird showed up today. Had FOS local
Roseate Skimmer, Ant Lion, and an Aphylla sps. (Forceptail) dragonfly.

April 16 ~ The wind blew SE all day with gusts to 25 till dark.
Finally the FOS Chuck-wills-widow showed up, the latest in 4 years.
And the FOS Firefly was out as well. Barn Owl again late at SR.

April 15 ~ WOW, finally a normal spring day without wind, rain,
or cold, and birding is possible. We hit a few spots to see what
changed since the front. This year has had numerous very strong
cold fronts (the last four weeks) that made it well into Mexico.
I suspect this has delayed some arrivals. Today we found a
number of FOS's as would be expected right after a front at
this time of the year. FOS Western Kingbirds were all over the valley.
FOS Warbling and Blue-headed Vireos were at UP, and a FOS Red-eyed
was at Utopia on the River. A Green Kingfisher was at UP, only the
second I've seen since November when they left ahead of the cold.
There were a number of Ruby-crowned Kinglets at UP, a singing
House Wren (FOS), just one Coot (probably still?), 2 silent Blue Jays,
Lincoln's Sparrows, a Nashville Warbler, lots of Myrtles and a nice
male Audubon's Warbler. There were 3-4 Yellow-throated Warblers singing.
The earliest FOS in 4 springs male PAINTED Bunting was also at UP.
Still no Indigo yet!?! At the 356 X-ing there was a singing male
Northern Parula (FOS). Orange-crowned Warblers were singing at Cypress Hollow.
5 species of Warblers, plus 3 sps. nesting would be easy at Lost Maples now
so at least 8 species of Warblers are about and possible now, though
two-thirds are nesters on territories, or left-over winterers still around,
not migrants. Nice to have them anyway we get 'em! Summer Tanagers
were heard everywhere along the river as were Yellow-throated and
White-eyed Vireos.

April 14 ~ Wind blew 20-30 MPH all day from N-NW. Some Cliff Swallows
over SR. Another near-record late near-freeze tonight in hill country.
There was a Golden-crowned Kinglet at SR. Ruby-crowns singing a bit now.
Tomorrow supposed to be nice after chill lifts, and should be good for birds.

April 13 ~ The 2 male Spotted Towhees that wintered here at SR
(on our seed) are still here. Must be real far northerly nesters.
Two Clay-colored Sparrows were amongst the Chippies - migrants.
Amazing was in the fog/mist about 10 a.m. I heard my first ever
(in four springs) spring UPLAND Sandpiper flying over going north.
Regular as a fall migrant, but scarce in spring. At UP there was
a second COOT with the one that has been there two weeks almost now,
and with them, keeping questionable company, was a female Bufflehead!
I heard a Kingbird "kip" there and also a probable Blue Grosbeak pink".
A nice male Audubon's Warbler was among a number of Myrtles. There
was Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and the Summer Tanager was singing.
Chimney Swifts were overhead, and Yellow-throated Warblers were
fighting. A squall line blew in late in the p.m. with severe
thunderstorms, some pea to small marble sized hail, lots of wind,
and another late cold frontal passage.

April 12 ~ Another "too windy" day, but warm... Probably about
125 Chipping Sparrows left still. Many hummingbirds were taking
off straight up, and then north taking advantage of the 25 MPH
southerlies to fly north. Heard a Summer Tanager at SR today.
Probably 10 Lark Sparrows at the seed with the Chippies.
At least 8 male and 4 female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
here now, probably more, and a couple hundred Black-chinneds.

April 10 ~ Finally got the FOS Summer Tanager at UP (late this year).
"The" Coot and 4 Pied-billed Grebe there too. A FOS Broad-winged Hawk
flew over SR. Also there were 4 Black-bellied Whistling Duck there,
and a Barn Owl after dark. A Green Skipper was an FOS butterfly today.

April 8 ~ A near freeze in the a.m. ! Crawled up to almost 50F today.
About an inch of rain last day or so. FOS female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
A real oddity is an apparent male Black-chinned Hummingbird with a
beautifully arched (strongly decurved) bill, just like a Lucifer,
but otherwise seemingly all normal Black-chinned, so probably deformity.

April 7 ~ A strong very late cold front blew through and it was barely
37 all day with chills in the high twenties !! Windy, drizzle, and
late it even sleeted !! Couple hundred Black-chins swarming the
feeders all day, and same for the 125 Chipping Sparrows left.

April 6 ~ The FOS Chimney Swift were at UP, and the Coot continued too.

April 5 ~ the first Carolina Wren in months was singing at SR.

April 4 ~ A run to Uvalde saw a Green Heron at the park downtown,
and a couple Bank Swallows at the hatchery, where there were also
5 Black-necked Stilts.

April 3 ~ Two Cedar Waxwings flew over SR going West. Turkey has
been gobbling at least a week now. The FOS Arizona Sister flew
today (first in 5 months), and the FOS Large Orange Sulphur too.

April 2 ~ a couple FOS's were at the mesquite patch at the north end
of town: Bell's Vireo and Cassin's Sparrow. A couple Clay-colored Sparrow
were there too. The Broad-tailed was last seen in the a.m. at SR.
There are 200 Black-chins and a couple Ruby-throats.

Aprl 1 ~ No Foolin, the Broad-tailed continues whining at SR.

March 31 ~ An amazing FOUR species of hummingbirds were at the
feeders today at SR. Besides hundreds of Black-chinneds, and
yesterday's early FOS Ruby-throated, there was an adult female
RUFOUS, and an adult male BROAD-TAILED with full wing whistle!
At the SLC buffalo wallow (pond) there was a FOS Solitary Sandpiper.
At the 1050 pass about 4 air mi. west of town there was my finally
overdue FOS Black-and-White Warbler, where they nest. At SR there
was an FOS Swainson's Hawk, and a few FOS butterflies: Julia's Skipper
and Reakirt's Blue.

March 30 ~ more rain and we need it.... You can tell it is grounding
(knocking down) migrants when there is a Coot at UP. There were still
3 Pied-billed Grebes there. Amazingly there were over a dozen of the
Orange-striped Threadtail (Protoneura cara) damselfly flying, for a
record early flight date by many weeks. Another great FOS today was an
adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at SR in the p.m., my first March
record locally, nearly a week earlier than the last 3 years arrivals.

March 29 ~ The FOS Nashville Warbler was my first March record so far.
Roy Heideman sent me a picture of the Red-headed Woodpecker that has
wintered at his place on Fisher. It has molted into adult plumage and
is a beautiful fully red headed bird now. This makes 3 months there!
Good job Roy keeping that bird around ! :):)

March 28 ~ A few FOS (first of season) were seen today. The worst first:
a FOS pair of Great-tailed Grackle at the Pico (gas station - natural habitat)
in town. At the 1050 bridge there were 35 Cliff Swallow and the FOS
(single) CAVE Swallow locally. There was a pair of Black-bellied
Whistling Ducks at UP. Today there were 3 Lark Sparrow at SR, and a
few groups of Sandhill Cranes going N.. FOS butterflies were Giant
Swallowtail, Orange Skipperling, and Nysa Roadside-Skipper. Got a
little of the wierd Spotted Towhee noises on tape.

March 27 ~ A Lark Sparrow at SR was the first in the yard in a while.
About 4 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers passed through, as did 10 Monarchs.
Heard Cranes going north too.

March 26 ~ About 1.5" of rain overnight and till p.m. was needed.
One wierd brownish Junco continues still, and I estimate the
Black-chinned Hummingbirds to number at least 125 birds now.

March 25 ~ I was told of FOS Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at Little Creek,
at the Thunder Creek crossing today. There were 2 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers
at the north end of town, the first "on the ground" here this spring.
Another FOS, "our" local resident SCOTT'S Oriole returned today to SR.
Ahhhh to hear that song outside again, for the first time since August.....
But I confess to having listened to his taped song a few times over winter.
Merlin and N.Harrier were at SR. At the pass a few miles west of town
on 1050 there were 5 singing male Golden-cheeked Warblers. Elsewhere there
were a couple FOS butterlies: Vesta Crescent and Gray Hairstreak. Also
saw a Kingbird species fly over 1050 west of town.

March 24 ~ A couple FOS Yellow-throated Vireos were singing around town.
There were 3 Yellow-throated Warbler singing at UP, 10 Lincoln's Sparrows
at the 1050 bridge and everywhere Blue-gray Gnatcatchjers, and Ruby-crowned
Kinglets. The Spotted Towhees (2 males, 1 female) that wintered around the
yard at SR are still here and one has begun to sing, posing the question:
arcticus or montanus??? The Audubon's Oriole came by briefly today too.

March 23 ~ I count 12 species of wildflowers blooming in the front yard.

March 21 ~ I got to play hooky a bit today because a friend from CA
was visiting, so I had to go bird a bit locally. We had the
FOS local Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, early up here, just flying over way
high up, passing through. A Few White-eyed Vireo, Ruby- and Golden-crowned
Kinglets, a few Lincoln's Sparrows, a Brown Creeper, Barred Owl, and Yellow-throated
Warbler (FOS locally) at UP, lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers scattered about.
Most important the sub-ad. Audubon's Oriole we finally found in the yard
here at SR after hours of searching. There was an Eastern Meadowlark on SR too.

March 20 ~ Pied-billed Grebe was still at UP, plus Chihuahuan Raven,
White-eyed Vireo, and Two-tailed Swallowtail (butterfly). Barn Owl
over SR again after dark.

March 19 ~ Some migrants at SR were a Lincoln's Sparrow, Kestrel and
Red-shouldered Hawk (latter two up high going due N.). Also there
was my FOS locally of White-eyed Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

March 18 ~ At SR was Merlin, Caracara, Chihuahuan Raven, and another
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Barn Owl again after dark.

March 17 ~ The first Lark Sparrow I've seen in a while locally at SR.

March 16 ~ A quick errand run to Uvalde netted 2 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
near Knippa, and one more at the fish hatchery in Uvalde, where there
was also a Zone-tailed Hawk. In Concan there was FOS Yellow-throated
Warbler (for here or there). At the Bear Creek pond a few miles west
of town on 1050 was the FOS local Vermilion Flycatcher I've seen,
and a dozen Gadwall. A Barn Owl flew over SR at 10 p.m.. There was a
Monarch at the hatchery, and another 10 mi. N. of Sabinal on 187.

March 15 ~ At SR was a group of 7 Myrtle Warblers in a liftoff,
the sub-adult Audubon's Oriole singing, and a N.Rough-winged Swallow.
Also there was a FOS Goatweed Leafwing (butterfly), and at dusk
again Common Grackles flew over SR going towards town (6 this time).

March 14 ~ Both Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets in yard at SR.
Four Chihuahuan Ravens at once. FOS dung scarab and grasshopper.
In town was the FOS Monarch, FOS Cliff Swallow at 1050 bridge (early),
and on 357 was the FOS Six-lined Racerunner (Cnemidophorus) (lizard).

March 13 ~ FOS mosquito bite. Fog/mist/drizzle.

March 12 ~ A male Black-chinned Hummingbird hit the pickup shell hard
(which is solid white) and was knocked silly for over an hour. We picked
it up, and fed it, while it couldn't stand or fly, but it finally flew
out of the living room to a Juniper... we'll get some pix up...
Late in the p.m., 4 male Common Grackles flew over SR toward town.
A FOS Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was reported from Uvalde today.
It will likely be a couple weeks before we get one locally up here.

March 11 ~ We got a much need soaking today, about 3" worth all told!

March 10 ~ The big FOS today was Ash-throated Flycatcher, one at SR,
and another at UP. The first ones around since September when they left.
Also the FOS Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was at SR. I saw on the net someone
had returning Vermilion Flycatcher in Junction today, interesting because
we haven't had one here since November probably. They should be here any day now!
The pair of Spotted Towhees is still at SR, but I haven't seen the Fox Sparrow
in several days now so think he left. Audubon's Orioles still around too.
Also a FOS Red Admiral (butterfly) today.

March 9 ~ At UP I heard Couch's Kingbird, the first in two months.
There was a Brown Creeper there too, and some Baskettails (dragonflies).
At 9:30 p.m. a Barn Owl flew over SR, the first I've heard in months.
Zone-tailed Hawks were over SR and in town. I saw on the net that
someone had Scott's Oriole up in Junction today, so any day now here...

March 8 ~ Best thing today at SR was the FOS Two-tailed Swallowtail
(butterfly), and spectacular mint fresh beauty it was. There have
been some Funereal Duskywings as well as Horace's/Juvenal's types
the last few days. There are over a dozen Black-chinned Hummers
here already.

March 7 ~ At least a dozen Black-chinned Hummingbirds around now.
There were 4 Audubon's Orioles about in the morning. An immature
Sharp-shinned Hawk is still making daily attacks on the winter
Chipping Sparrow flock here which is down to 200+- (from 300).

March 6 ~ At least a half-dozen Black-chinned Hummers are at the feeders.
Some years we haven't even had our first one yet at this date.
At UP I bare-eyed and heard what was surely a PALM WARBLER while I was feeding fish.
Size, shape, structure, and most important, behavior, made the ID possible.

March 5 ~ The wintering Broad-tailed and Allen's seem to be gone, finally!
It's like losin' friends, the Broad-tailed was here since December 8,
and the Allen's since Oct., and 'twas its second winter here. Surely
they both would have perished if we didn't microwave (heat) and skewer the
feeding ports free of ice, repeatedly, during the 3 day major ice event
in Jan.. Unless you are comitted to being available to do such stuff
take your feeders down in October please! And watch for that ice.

March 4 ~ The Broad-tailed Hummer continues at SR. Pine Siskin on the tube.
A quick look at Lost Maples did not detect any of the early arriving
nesters such as Black-and-White or Golden-cheeked Warblers, or Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher. Two Chihuahuan Ravens passing through were my first ever there.
No Odes, few leps or birds, it still seemed very much like winter.
Could have been the freezing morning we had... Spanish Oaks barely have
buds starting on a few of them. Most Maples with no sign of buds yet.

March 3 ~ Amazingly (the cold drove it back) the imm. male Broad-tailed
Hummingbird was back at the feeders lots today. The ad. male Black-chinned
is not impressed.... diving lots at it.... Broady is equally unimpressed.
At UP was the FOS Green Kingfisher, the first in 3 months locally.
Also a N.Rough-winged Swallow there, and Barn Swallows and Martins too.

March 2 ~ In Concan there was FOS Northern Rough-winged Swallow,
and a Zone-tailed Hawk.

March 1 ~ The male Black-chinned seems at home.... The pair of
Spotted Towhees are still here at SR too. Redbuds are blooming.

Feb. 28 ~ A couple of local nesters first spring returnees arriving today
was the big news. First, the earliest I've seen in 4 years adult male
Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up. The first Feb. return date. Then,
late in the day, 2 of the Barn Swallows that nest nearby showed up.
Also the FOS Brown-headed Cowbird was heard, as well as the wintering
Hutton's Vireo at SR. At UP there was a Double-crested Cormorant.
Most amazing was a Polyphemus moth out back at a live oak after dark.

Feb. 27 ~ That rascal the ad. fem. Allen's was tanking up in the a.m..
A FOS Killdeer was at UP. Poor-will and Mex./E. Screech-Owl calling again.
The first SR Purple Martins were overhead today.

Feb. 26 ~ The first day with no Hummingbirds seen since fall.
Maybe I just missed them, some days they just make quick visits.
For consolation, a yard bird flew by going N. at 4:30 p.m., a Lark Bunting!
We counted 13 male Cardinals in our SR yard at once at dusk.
The Eastern (Mexican) Screech-Owls were singing extensively for the
first night in months, right after dusk. Fox Sparrow still here too.
New Butterflies (FOS) were Red Satyr, and a Horace's/Juvenals' Duskywing.
Black Swallowtail, Checkered Skipper, lots of Varig. Frits continue.

Feb. 25 ~ The Merlin was seen leaving in the morning. The Broad-tailed
Hummingbird continues in the a.m., but I didn't see the Allen's today.
Three Sandhill Cranes were flying up the valley late in the morning.
There were 7 American Goldfinch on the Sunflower tube. At UP were the
FOS Purple Martins I've seen locally, all males. A Zone-tailed Hawk
flew over SR late in the p.m.. About a dozen FOS Odes were seen along
the river today, 3 teneral dragonflies, and almost 10 damselflies.
That's more Odes than I've seen in the last 3 months!
There was also my FOS Buckeye (butterfly) there at UP too.
Cricket Frogs are calling, but no Green Kingfisher since November.
The other big first of the season (FOS) was Poor-will, calling for
the first time in months, at dusk.

Feb. 24 ~ The Allen's Hummingbird was here in the morning at least.
Obviously a migrant, a Lincoln's Sparrow was at the seed today.
Late in the afternoon a flock of 25 Turkey Vultures was obviously
another group of migrants. Finally just before dusk, a pale
Prairie Merlin flew over SR low and fast.

Feb. 23 ~ Both the wintering hummers continue at SR as of the a.m..
The whole troop of 4 Audubon's Orioles were about quite a bit today.
Fox Sparrow continues.

Feb. 22 ~ There were 3 Audubon's Orioles at the feeder again today,
and the Fox Sparrow and Spotted Towhees (pair) that wintered are still here.
It may get old hearing about the same birds, but good solid LATE DATES,
or "last of season" for wintering birds can be valueable data. My guess
is that late dates now are earlier than they used to be, just 50 years ago.
Some things like Purple Finch that used to be regular this far south,
every winter, no longer even occur annually as they did.

More undeniable signs of spring were in the form of 600+ White-fronted Geese
going north over SR at 8:30 in the a.m., and I heard Cranes also going north.
A flock of 8 drake Blue-winged Teal landed at UP while I was there in the p.m..
There are 5 Pied-billed Grebes there at present, and a lone Wigeon still too.
The male Black Swallowtail is still around at SR, now on day 4.

Feb. 21 ~ Both the Allen's and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were present in the a.m..
A pair of Lesser Goldfinches showed up exactly on time for spring arrivals.
We had an amazing high of about 80 deg.F today ! WEE WOW !!
There were an astounding 9 species of butterflies out today in response
to the heat, more species than I've seen in the last 8 weeks!

Feb. 19 ~ Finally an amazing spring-like 70 deg.F today! Both the hummers
are still here, but not for long methinks. The Fox Sparrow is still here,
and 3 Audubon's Orioles were taking turns at a hummer feeder. A Rufous-crowned
Sparrow has begun singing. New butterflies emerged with the warmth,
first both male and female Black Swallowtails, then 2 Henric's Elfin!

Feb. 18 ~ An American Wigeon continues at UP.

Feb. 17 ~ On 357 just up from 1050 there was a pair of WESTERN Bluebirds,
but they were gone by time I turned around and came back. The male was
fully blue headed, including the throat! Like seeing an old friend.
In Uvalde at the fish hatchery there were swallows, another sign of
spring being very near: 35 Cave, 5 Barn, and 1 Purple Martin.

Feb. 16 ~ 3 Orange-crowned Warblers at once here at SR, plus the Audubon's
Orioles, and the Allen's and Broad-tailed Hummers all continue too.
Big signs of spring were apparent, as always best detected with birds.
In the morning there were 200+ White-fronted Goose flying north over SR.
In the afternoon there were the first (4) Turkey Vultures of the year at UP.
Also there was a White-throated Sparrow at my favorite fishin' spot,
so clearly a migrant since I've been checking that spot every few days
for 2 months and not had one there. A Caracara was at UP too.

Feb. 14 ~ At UP there were Brown Creeper, several Golden-crowned Kinglets,
2 Black Phoebe, and a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, plus the Barred Owls
are calling a lot, since it is "spring" for them already.

Feb. 12 ~ 3 Audubon's Orioles at once, maybe in one frame if it turns out.

Feb. 11 ~ The Chipping Sparrow flock here at SR is about 300 birds again,
and we are right about at peak numbers for the winter for them.

Feb. 10 ~ the two wintering hummers continue at SR, as does the Red Fox Sparrow,
and troop of Audubon's Orioles. I heard the Ringed Kingfisher at UP.

Feb. 7 ~ Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Hutton's Vireo were at SR, and at
UP I heard the Cricket Frogs for the first time this year on a warm afternoon.

Feb. 6 ~ Amazing was 3 Brown Creepers at once at UP. Bark Bird would
have been a good name. Ringed Kingfisher still there too.

Feb 5 ~ Amazing was FOUR (4) Audubon's Orioles here at SR at once! All
in one tree at one point! It appeared to be 3 males and a female, which
was begging for you know what with wings down and tail up while the males
sang and she repeated an odd note I've never heard before. Audio taped it.
The two wintering hummers continue here as well. And in the butterfly
department the first Black Swallowtail (female) of the year appeared.

Feb. 4 ~ Zone-tailed Hawk over town again. I caught a 14" Rainbow Trout
at UP. It took two big glasses of Chardonnay to finish it ! :D
Here at SR there was one of those odd "black-hooded" Slate-colored Juncos,
probably a cismontanus type from the northern Rockies in Canada.
There are what look to be females of this population here in small #'s.

Feb. 3 ~ Up at Big Spring above Leakey there was a Marsh Wren.

Feb. 2 ~ A male Kestrel took a Chipping Sparrow here at SR. The Ringed Kingfisher
was at UP, the first detection since the ice storm. Also 2 Black Phoebes,
and the Barred Owl was calling. Spring is in the air! Also out Fisher Rd.,
Roy Heideman still has his Red-headed Woodpecker hanging around.

February 1 ~ Gadzooks! It's February already !?!?! A few Brewer's Blackbirds
roosted in the draw here at SR last night. A bit odd. Also neat was at
11 p.m. I heard Gadwalls going over.

Jan. 31 ~ At UP there were 8 Golden-crowned and 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets,
5 Myrtle Warblers and the wintering Yellow-throated Warbler. In the
heat of the afternoon it actually SANG ! And it sang the ancestral
(nominotypical) song, not the song of the local nesting individuals.
Therefore, the rare wintering Yellow-throated Warbler here, is NOT
from the local population, but a migrant from somewhere else. There
were also 6 Gadwall and 2 American Wigeon at the park.

Jan. 30 ~ The first Belted Kingfisher at UP in a couple months.

Jan. 29 ~ Both the wintering hummingbirds at SR, the Allen's, and the
Broad-tailed, and 2 Audubon's Orioles continue. One of the Audubon's Orioles
sang it's first 8 bars of true song of the year. At UP I saw a mostly
all jet black Sapsucker fly over the "pond" which was surely a Williamson's
but I could never refind it. Only saw it in flight. Solid black back
with white rump and solid black wings with big white patch, a fly-by "Willy".

Jan. 28 ~ We went to Garner SP and saw a few mixed flocks of winter passerines,
but no Ruby-crowned Kinglets was most unusual. There were 4 Pine Warblers
there, two being spectacularly bright adult males. On Hwy. 127 near the
1049 Knippa cutoff, there were 3 Mountain Bluebirds.

Jan. 27 ~ A Zone-tailed Hawk (adult) was over town, the first I've seen
here since early December.

Jan 26 ~ A brief look at the fish Hatchery during a supply run to Uvalde
turned up a SEDGE Wren, and 15 White Pelicans at nearby Fish Slough.

Jan. 25 ~ Finally the two Audubon's Orioles figured out one of the
hummingbird feeders we keep a bee guard off of so the orioles can use it.

Jan. 21 ~ Another Verdin was seen locally, this a couple miles west of town
on 359. None locally last 3 winters and 2 in the last 3 weeks is interesting.

Jan. 19 ~ I guess the Audubon's Orioles had so much fun yesterday
they spent a lot of today here, and one finally at least poked at
the orange! They were both on the sunflower tube at once!

Jan 18 ~ It is so cold not much has melted and the trees are bent over
covered in ice, the ground covered in snow an inch or two with the ice
mixed in, beautiful. Soon it started melting and the roar of rain
fell as the sun was out, it was just melt drip, and it was amazing.
Ice cubes the shape of Live Oak leaves under them as they fell off
the leaves. Most of the day this "pair" of Audubon's Orioles fed
in the snow, eating seed with the regulars: Cardinal, Junco, Chippy,
Scrub-Jay, etc. !! Actually these two now are two sub-adults, and not
necessarily a "pair", other than that they are two birds.

Jan. 17 ~ During night got worse instead of better: more ice, more snow,
more cold, but by mid-day you get get around without much problem.
We were feeding the birds double rations to help them make up the extra
energy they were burning keeping warm. Kathy made all kinds of
stuff for them, with bacon fat and peanut butter, some of it looked pretty good.
We had 3/4 to 1" of ice and about the same of snow. The first Pine Siskin
I've seen in a while was at the sunflower tube. Went around just to take
some pictures, and I'll get some up somewhere here . It was a crystal world.

Jan. 16 ~ The "Great Snow and Ice Event of '07" began on this day. There was rain,
frozen rain, sleet, and even snow! Felt as cold as it was beautiful.
We had to keep thawing and or clearing the frozen ports on the hummingbird

Jan. 11 ~ At SR 11 Gadwall and 5 Pintail from the porch. A yard flock of
landbirds in the cool had a Hutton's Vireo, 2 Golden-crowned and 1 Ruby-crowned
Kinglet, an Orange-crowned Warbler and a Pine Warbler! There were a
hundred White-winged Doves in a single flock here (they commute from town),
the most I've seen here in winter.

Jan. 10 ~ Today there were 6 (!) Lesser Goldfinch at the sunflower tube.
Audubon's Oriole, Bushtit, Caracara, Chihuahuan Raven were others.

Jan. 9 ~ 7 Gadwall and 2 Wigeon were the duck flight from the porch today
at SR. 2 Lesser Goldfinch were at the sunflower tube. This is the first
winter in 4 that they have been in the valley in winter in small numbers.

Jan. 8 ~ An Audubon's Oriole flew onto a garden post 10' from me while I
was standing there, from 100' away! Amazing looking when they fly right at you!

Jan. 7 ~ Bewick's Wren sang a little bit today.

Jan. 6 ~ It was a cold drizzly day. An hour before dark, a thousand Robins
fell out of the sky into the draw here on SR right out front. Groups would drop
from way way up with wings closed in a vertical fall until they were very near
the ground when the braked by opening their wings. Each one sounded like a
missle or bullet as they did this, slowing from 60 or more to zero in 20 feet.
They were moving about eating Juniper berries. It looked like snout butterflies
with Robins out front. Then I heard it, a voice of the angel, a call I knew
since I was 5, heard thousands of times, but not in years. VARIED THRUSH !
The hummed whistle vvviewwww flight note. I can't begin to tell you how
hard I looked at the Robins from that second on, but never saw it, and it
never called again. It is around somewhere with these Robins.

Jan. 4 ~ Two local birds that had been hiding from me since count week
started finally showed: Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Great Horned Owl,
on the last day to "count" for the week.

Jan. 3 ~ Two inches of Rain !!

Jan. 2 ~ We've been seeing Duck flocks regularly from SR as they move around,
which is great. Today we had 5 Pintail, 2 Mallard, 4 Gadwall, 2 Wigeon !!
The Fox Sparrow bathed. Mike Overton came up and saw the imm. male Broad-tailed
Hummingbird and the adult female Allen's Hummingbird.

January 1, 2007 ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR !! Today we did our 4th annual winter
bird survey, an unofficial "Christmas Bird Count." Same 15 mile circle
that covers Utopia to Lost Maples, same 2 people out for 7+ hours, plus
a few at the feeders at home, and find and count all the birds you can.
This year we saw 73 species in the day, and around a couple thousand total birds.
All about very average for the 4 years of data. Except each year there are
a number of "different" birds species due to normal cycles of occurrence.
That is the funnest part of it. Seeing what is different each year.
This years highlights were the Ringed Kingfisher at UP being the only
Kingfisher we saw all day, and finding 2 more Mountain Bluebirds on B&R Rd..
A Verdin on 355 was my first around here yet/ever, and a Couch's Kingbird
was at UP too. Hutton's Vireos were here at SR, and at UP. Both the
wintering hummingbirds here were seen, Broad-tailed and Allen's, the
latter recorded for its second year. We also recorded about 12 additional
species "count week" (the 3 days before and after count day), for a total of
85 species for the week. Not a bad local total for winter birding me thinks !!

My resolution is to bird more. :)  :)
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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