Thursday, November 18, 2010

Utopia and Uvalde

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to explore the 10 acres of woodland around the B&B. I was too early for the birds, in fact, and didn't see anything except deer for the first hour. So I went in for breakfast - and, of course, that was when the birds started appearing.

First up were Black-crested Titmice, birds we had seen only once before and that very briefly. Unfortunately, the light was still poor for photos. 

As the light improved, I walked back down through the huge Bald Cypress trees behind the house.

An Ash-throated Flycatcher was too quick to photograph but Eastern Phoebes were more obliging.

Several Golden-fronted Woodpeckers are very vocal but very hard to see.

After breakfast we drove back over to Cook's Slough, to be greeted by more Vermilion Flycatchers and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

An hour's walk around the main pond turned up more Vermilion Flycatchers and Eastern Phoebes. Then we came upon a mixed flock of House Finches and White-crowned Sparrows. The sparrows perched for photos.

The pond itself was quiet except for a few very skittish Blue-winged Teal and Gadwall. However, we were both thrilled to get a distant view of a Black Phoebe, a favorite bird from our days in California.

We spent another hour walking the paths of the refuge, seeing little except Northern Cardinals.

In spite of the lack of birds, we enjoyed the walk. 

At one point we came across a large rat-like animal swimming along a water channel. I assume it was a nutria.

It was now time to start heading to San Antonio,where we were going to spend the night. As we walked to the car, we had good views of a Great Kiskadee having a late breakfast. A nice sight with which to end a pleasant but rather unbirdy morning.

As always, San Antonio was busy with visitors, especially around the Alamo.

We had lunch in a restaurant on the Riverwalk.

We shared our food with several Rock Pigeons and House Sparrows which seemed adept at sneaking in around the tables in their hunt for scraps.  It's amazing just how bold and adaptable these birds are!

Then it was off to the motel for night's sleep before heading back to Houston on Sunday. On the way, we were planning to visit the Audubon center at Mitchell Lake. I'll report tomorrow on our time there.

No comments: