Monday, January 12, 2009

It Ain't Over Till ...

Sunday morning we met up with our friends the Aguilars for birding and a picnic at San Bernard NWR. I was hoping for lots of sparrows, as well as a good range of water and wading birds.

Unfortunately, the refuge was closed because they were just starting a controlled burn.

To make matters worse, it was so cold and windy that there was no way we were going to be able to picnic. However, we did see a few birds, including my first Greater Yellowlegs and White-faced Ibis of the year, plus no fewer than five Wilson's Snipes.

Rather than abandon the day, we decided to drive up to Brazos Bend State Park. I've never found it to be great for birds but it's always a pleasant place to walk around.

We started our afternoon at the park with a very cold picnic at 40 Acre Lake. Even birds like this Tricolored Heron seemed to be feeling the chill.

When the sun came out and the day warmed up, we headed over to Elm Lake, which was busy with a variety of water and wading birds, as well as numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers and American Pipits.

American Pipit

There were groups of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks everywhere.

They and a couple of Little Blue Herons seemed totally unconcerned by our presence.

The trees near the lake were hopping with smaller birds: Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Pine and Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebirds and Tufted Titmice.

I couldn't get a good photo of an Eastern Bluebird ...

... and the Tufted Titmice were almost equally skittish.

Overall, Brazos Bend was very productive for birds. I saw 39 species, of which 12 were new for the year: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Blue- and Green-winged Teal, Common Moorhen, Tricolored and Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Red-shouldered Hawk, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Eastern Bluebird. Outside the park I saw two other new birds. Rock Dove/Pigeon and White-tiled Kites. This took my year list to 80 species, which is not bad considering how little birding I've done to date.

No comments: