Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Casual Birding

I left home a little earlier than usual yesterday and so had time to drive to work via Longenbaugh Road, where I was hoping to add a Crested Caracara to my year list. There are almost always Caracaras along Longenbaugh although Dee and I didn't see any when we birded there last week.

This visit was more typical and I saw a Caracara within two minutes of turning onto Longenbaugh. So that was year bird #61. It let me take a couple of photos ...

before flying off.

A quick drive along the rest of the road didn't turn up any other new birds but I did see lots of the area's typical birds, such as American Kestrels, Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes.

Loggerhead Shrike

There were plenty of sparrows, too. As far as I could tell, they were all Savannah Sparrows.

I stopped along Porter Road End to photograph a Red-tailed Hawk. When she flew off, she was accompanied by another Red-tailed, presumably her partner. Their flight path cut across that of another raptor, a Northern Harrier.

Red-tailed Hawk

CyFair Campus

Later in the morning I spent my coffee break doing a brief birding walk. The soccer fields had their usual complement of Mourning Doves, European Starlings, Common Grackles, Savannah Sparrows, Killdeer and Eastern Meadowlarks, while our resident Northern Mockingbirds were everywhere.

I reached the nature trail to find it was totally silent. I soon realized why it was so quiet when I came across a Cooper's Hawk in one of the trees. (Year bird #62.) Once the Cooper's had flown, Northern Cardinals and Yellow-rumped Warblers appeared. Then I was serenaded by a Carolina Wren, a common bird but one that I hadn't seen or heard on the campus since last spring.

The wren's calls were punctuated by the "phoebe, phoebe" calls of an Eastern Phoebe perched high in a tree.

I really like it when birds tell you their names. It makes IDing them so much easier!

A flyover by two Double-crested Cormorants added #63 to my year list.


Birdwoman said...

That's some pretty productive "casual birding"!

Jeff said...

That's one of the reasons I love living and working here. I've often seen 20+ species just between my front door and my office.