Monday, December 14, 2009

Kleb Woods Action

Lured by recent reports of lots of sparrows at Kleb Woods, I headed up there at 8:15 on Sunday morning.

Although it was cold and foggy, I was assured by the weather forecasters that the day would soon become sunny and warm.

The forecasters were wrong. It stayed foggy and distinctly cool for the whole two hours that I spent there. However, this did not deter birds from appearing in numbers.

An initial walk around the main trail produced a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowne
d Kinglets, American Crows, Blue Jays and an Eastern Phoebe.

The edges of the path were lined with scores of spider webs. Combined with the fog, this gave the place a rather spooky atmosphere and I wouldn't have been too surprised if the ghost of old Elmer "Lumpy" Kleb himself had appeared.

I moved on to walk the path up to the site's wetland area.

The wetland was quiet once a Great Egret and a pair of Blue-winged Teal had flown off, disturbed by my presence.

The hedgerow was a different story and was busy throughout my visit. Common birds were plentiful: Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers, Carolina Chickadees, Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Phoebe, American Robins, Tufted Titmouse, lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and even more lots of Northern Cardinals.

The calls of Carolina Wrens brightened up the morning and I also spotted a Sedge Wren and a House Wren. Eight Snow Geese were just visible as they flew overhead in the fog. Then, finally, another bird that I had been looking out for over the past couple of weeks, Cedar Waxwings. Once you see Cedar Waxwings around, you know for sure that winter has arrived in southe
ast Texas.

I walked back to the main site to bird the area just behind the mailbox right at the main entrrance to the parking area. In the winter, this is always a great spot for sparrows.

As I approached, a crowd of Northern Cardinals and sparrows flew up from the ground and disappeared into the nearby
bushes. I settled down to wait, hidden behind the electricity boxes, and it wasn't long before the birds resumed their ground feeding.

Several Northern Cardinals were the first to return but they were soon followed by Chipping and Song Sparrows. Then two species I hadn't yet seen this fall: White-throated Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow. Unfortunately, as you can see from the photo below, the light was really too bad for photography.

White-throated Sparrow

Overall, not a bad couple of hours' birding: 23 species, including 4 FOS (First of Season) birds.


Birdwoman said...

I could have sworn I heard Cedar Waxwings flying over my yard a few days ago, but I told myself it must be hallucinations brought on by BDD (bird deprivation disorder); however, based on your observation, maybe not!

sharon said...

Photos are very atmospheric! Sounds like you had a great morning out, are Cedar Waxwings the same as normal Waxwings? Not that I've seen them either!

Jeff said...

They saw 200 Waxwings on the Wednesday birdwalk at Kleb, so there are definitely lots in your area, Birdwoman. Unfortunately, the high end of my hearing isn't good enough for me to hear them.

Jeff said...

Yes, Sharon, our Cedar Waxwings are your Waxwings. I think they're maybe the most elegant of all our birds. In California we once had 600+ of them in a few trees around our apartment. Magical!