One of the things I love about living and working where I do is that I only have to extend my commute a little to cut across part of the Katy Prairie. I did this on my way home yesterday, because I wanted to see if Scissor-tailed Flycatchers had returned.
I stopped in for a few minutes at Paul Rushing Park in hopes of getting a photo of one of the American Golden Plovers that have been hanging out there. They're very skittish birds but I did manage a couple of so-so photos.
While I was in the park, I checked out the Dowitchers again. This time I heard their call and it settled the ID issue I had the other day: They are Short-billed Dowitchers.
There were plenty of other birds on the grassy areas of the park: Wilson's Snipes, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, a Willet, Spotted Sandpipers, Blue-winged Teal, Savannah Sparrows, American Pipits and Horned Larks. I was surprised when I checked out a flock of 150 European Starlings and discovered they were actually Brown-headed Cowbirds. That's a bird I don't see very often, although I had noticed a single male on the CyFair campus earlier in the day.
Back on the road home, I noticed that Red-tailed Hawks are now lower in numbers than they were all winter. I saw only three.
Becker Road just south of 290 is usually a reliable place for spotting Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and it turned up trumps again yesterday. Three of the birds were sitting on utility wires. The only photos I was able to take were rather murky ones through the windshield.
Here's a much better picture that I took at Sheldon Lake last May.
I love Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. I still remember the thrill I got from seeing one for the very first time on my very first day in Texas 8 years ago.