Friday, December 11, 2009

On the Katy Prairie

I haven't had much time for birding since getting back from Costa Rica. However, at lunchtime yesterday I was able to zoom over to Longenbaugh Road in hopes of seeing the female Pyrrhuloxia that wintered near the Bear Creek bridge last year and the year before.

I didn't have any luck with the Pyrrhul
oxia but I saw several sparrow species. Among the sparrows were several Harris's. I've seen them before but only quick glimpses of a couple of individuals. This time I got good looks at several. Definitely one of my favorite sparrows - partly because they're much easier to identify than most of the others!

Most of the other sparrows were Savannah and White-crowned but I did get a good look at a Song Sparrow looking rather ruffled by the cold wind that was blowing across the prairie.

As usual, Longenbaugh had plenty of raptors: Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrels. It also had it's normal quota of Loggerhead Shrikes. Less normal was a Eurasian Collared Dove; it's the first I've seen in that area.

Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be the second year in a row that they don't flood the fields at the junction of Longenbaugh and the Katy Hockley Cutoff. If so, it'll be a great shame. When the fields are flooded, they bring in large numbers of geese, ducks, waders and shorebirds - and they bring in lots of raptors, including Bald Eagles.

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