Dee and I did a couple of hours birding on the Katy Prairie yesterday morning and it was surprisingly quiet. The trip started well when a Northern Harrier stayed perched on a hedge along Porter Road End while I took photos ...
until another car spooked him.
Correction: As I will clarify in my next post, the "Harrier" was actually a White-tailed Hawk!
Longenbaugh had its usual complement of Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels and Eastern Meadolarks, as well as a couple of Eastern Phoebes.
However, perhaps because we didn't arrive until 10:30, sparrows were few and far between. The habitat in the immediate area of the Bear Creek bridge has been significantly degraded and held only a handful of Savannah and Field Sparrows, while the eastern section of the road had a couple of Vesper Sparrows.
We were pleased to see our first Eastern Bluebird for quite a while.
White-winged Doves seem not to have moved into this area in numbers yet and so Mourning Doves were everywhere.
Paul Rushing / Chain of Lakes Park looked beautiful in the late morning sun but it was surprisingly quiet for birds, except for Savannah Sparrows.
The lakes were empty except for three Pied-billed Grebes, a dozen Canvasbacks and a solitary Great Egret.
On every other visit I have made to the park, I have been subject to constant complaints from Killdeer. On this morning, we saw exactly two Killdeer, and they didn't appear until the end of our hour's walk, when we also came across a small group of Red-winged Blackbirds. Just across the road, a Northern Harrier was quartering the ground, scaring up several Meadowlarks.
We did a little better when we walked back to the car, as the grass between the cricket pitches and the baseball ground was being picked over by a small flock of Horned Larks, always a beautiful sight and one that you can usually count on seeing here.
The drive back to Cypress produced a few Black and Turkey Vultures - and lots of Red-tailed Hawks. (We saw more than twenty of the latter during the course of the morning.)
My year list started with 16 species on January 1st. The Katy Prairie trip added another 20 species.