Thursday, January 08, 2009

Birding at Work

One of the many reasons why I like working at CyFair College is that the campus has a good number and variety of birds. (Our current site list has 153 species.) This is partly because the campus has several different habitats: mowed soccer fields; a variety of newly-planted trees; undisturbed grassy and wooded areas; and two large retention ponds surrounded by reeds.

As my work schedule is flexible, I usually manage to fit in half-an-hour's birding several times a week and so I've become very familiar with the site and its birds.

Naturally, I tend to see many of the same birds day after day: At present, this means lots of American Pipits, Savannah Sparrows, Killdeer, Eastern Meadowlarks, Northern Mockingbirds and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Every few days, though, something different turns up. This is what happened this morning.

The soccer fields and the grassy area behind them had all the usual suspects. The first section of the nature trail also started out predictably with Northern Cardinals and Swamp Sparrows. But then two Lincoln's Sparrows popped up, as did a Swamp Sparrow and a House Wren.
A few moments later a vague gray shape in the bushes behind me moved into a patch of sunlight and revealed itself to be a Gray Catbird, a bird I've never before seen in this area. It was followed almost immediately by a Brown Thrasher, another bird that I hadn't previously seen in the Cypress area.

Gray Catbird (on Galveston)

So a very pleasant few minutes of birding, and three more species for my 2009 list. I wonder if any new birds will appear tomorrow.


Isaac said...

Can you recommend a brand of binoculars? I'm looking for something small and lightweight.

Jeff said...

Hi, Isaac.
I use a pair of 8 X 40 Nikon Action EX. They're not particularly light though.
A pair of 7 X 40 or 7 X 35 would probably be as good and would weigh less.