Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cullinan Park

At 7:45 on Sunday morning I headed over to Cullinan Park to see if I could move my Fort Bend county list to 100 species. (I want to do this as part of the Century Club program organized by the Texas Ornithological Society. If you are interested in the program, see the P.S. to this post.)

When I stepped out of my car at Cullinan, I couldn't believe how birdy the parking lot was and I spent the next 30 minutes checking out the birds in the trees bordering the lot. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees accounted for most of the activity but the trees also had Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue Jays and Orange-crowned Warblers. I got good views of a Western Kingbird, too.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Eastern Phoebe

Next I birded the lake from the boardwalk and the observation tower. 

Large waders were few: just a Great Blue Heron, a Great Egret and half-a-dozen Snowy Egrets. There were scores of American Coots and a sprinkling of Common Moorhens, as well as good numbers pf Pied-billed Grebes.
Common Moorhen and American Coot
American Coots

Snowy Egret

Further out in the lake there was a nice variety of ducks: lots of Gadwalls and Blue-winged Teal but also several Wood Ducks, Green-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks, as well as a couple of Northern Shovelers.
Blue-winged Teal

After that I spent a pleasant hour birding the trees and bushes on the north side of the entrance road. There were many of the same birds that I'd seen earlier, plus lots of Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves and White-winged Doves. However, there were also White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows.

Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Orange-crowned Warbler

I really enjoyed the two hours I spent in the park - and I moved my Ft. Bend county list from 97 to 102 species.    

The aim of the Century Club program (www.texascenturyclub.org) is to encourage people to bird more frequently and to bird in a range of different areas, which will increase the available data on bird populations in those areas. The aim of the participants is to see 100 (or more) species in each of as many Texas counties as possible. 

I know I'm not a dedicated enough birder to reach 100 species in anything like 100 counties! I've now hit 100 in just 5 counties. If I try really hard, I should be able to reach the 100 mark in another 5 counties over the next couple of years. That's the target I'm setting myself anyway: 100 species in 10 counties by the end of 2012. If nothing else, this will get me out birding on some of those days when I'd really rather veg out on the couch. 

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