Friday, November 07, 2008

Sparrows Have Arrived

Hoping for the arrival of Cedar Waxwings, I did a quick walk around the CyFair campus this morning. The fall foliage was beautiful.

There were no Waxwings, but yesterday's cold front had brought in lots of sparrows. There were dozens in the longer grass north of the soccer fields. Although I didn't have much time to spend on IDing them, I did clearly see White-crowned, Chipping, Vesper (FOS), and Savannah.
The same area had several Sedge Wrens. One bush held three at once and they were cooperative enough to let me grab some photos from a variety of angles. The campus has been very busy with Sedge and House Wrens over the past few weeks but I haven't seen any of our resident Carolina Wrens there for months.

It took me a while to realize this was just yet another Sedge Wren.

The Nature Trail was quiet, except for a group of Yellow-rumped Warblers and several Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Later in the morning, I took a coffee break and walked out to the soccer fields again. I had wonderful views of one of our resident Red-tailed Hawks swooping down on some of our many Killdeer.

Then, from maybe 25 yards, I was able to spend several minutes watching a Crested Caracara on the ground, pulling apart what looked like a small bird. I've never been so close to a Caracara before. (I could have taken great photos - if only I hadn't left my camera in the office. When will I finally learn to take my camera with me everywhere at all times?)

Crested Caracara (2007 photo)

Other birds on the campus this morning:
Great-tailed Grackles 10+
Common Grackles 6-7
Red-tailed Hawk
White Ibis
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Great Blue Heron
Pied-billed Grebes 5
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks 6
Northern Mockingbirds 10+
House Wren
Greater Yellowlegs
Killdeer 20
Semipalmated Sandpipers 2
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starlings 8
Mourning Doves 5
White-winged Doves 2
Northern Cardinals 5
Blue Jays 2


Birdwoman said...

I really must put CyFair campus on my list for bird walks. You always seem to have such an interesting mix there.

We usually don't get waxwings in my yard until December. It will be interesting to see if they show up early this year.

Jeff said...

The campus is good for birding if it hasn't rained recently; otherwise it can get very muddy.
Although it's small, it has three different habitats: two large retention ponds, open grass (soccer fields and surrounding area), and some wooded land along the nature trail.
If you ever decide to visit, let me know and I'll send you directions.

Isaac said...

What specifically is CyFair campus?

Alas that the color is from the noxious and invasive Chinese tallow.

Jeff said...

Hi, Isaac.
CyFair is one of the Lone Star community colleges. The campus is on Barker Cypress Road, just north of West Road. As the college is only five years old, some parts of the campus have not yet been developed. Also, the landscaping has been done mainly with native plants.
The tallow is very widespread but we're now trying to get rid of it.