Tuesday, December 02, 2008

An Old Friend

Last winter, a lot of us local birders were excited to see a Pyrrhuloxia turn up on Longenbaugh Road on the Katy Prairie. It's a very unusual bird for our area.

The Longenbaugh Pyrrhuloxia

Yesterday afternoon I drove home via Longenbaugh, thinking that just maybe the bird would return this year. Guess what? She was there again, only a few feet from where I first saw her last year.

So perhaps she's going to be one of those odd solitary visitors that pop up in the same place every year, outside of their normal range and far from others of their own kind. Like the Vermilion Flycatcher that spends each winter on the same part of the golf course in Bear Creek Park.

I wonder why some birds choose to do this. And I wonder how they get here. Do they fly in alone, or do they move here with a group of birds of a different species? Last year the Pyrrhuloxia was often with a group of White-crowned Sparrows, and yesterday she was hanging out with a group of White-crowneds. So maybe she travels down with them.

Although I spent a maximum of 5 minutes at Longenbaugh yesterday, I also saw a Harris's Sparrow. It's only the second time I've ever seen one. And the first time was ... in the same place on Longenbaugh Road.

If you want to look for the Pyrrhuloxia, the place to go is the bridge over Bear Creek on Longenbaugh Road 100 yards east of the junction with Porter Road End. Most days from now on, the area right around the bridge should also have several species of sparrow.


Birdwoman said...

This is exciting news. I've been itching to get out that way for a day of birding. This is added incentive!

Jeff said...

They haven't flooded the fields yet, so there aren't any ducks or geese. However, sparrows are there in numbers.
The Pyrrhuloxia is really easy to find if you spend a few minutes on the bridge. She tends to fly from side to side, usually by going under the bridge.