Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lots of Birds at CyFair

It was cold and dark on the CyFair campus yesterday but there were birds aplenty.

The Great Horned Owl was once again perched at the start of the nature trail - and I once again failed to get a photo. I was a little luckier with a White-throated Sparrow that popped into view for only a couple of seconds.

The trees around the trail were as busy as ever with Yellow-rumped Warblers and about 100 American Robins had also moved into the area. When a few Robins arrived several weeks ago, our resident Northern Mockingbirds constantly harassed them, no doubt hoping to drive them away. Yesterday the Mockingbirds were much less active, presumably overwhelmed by the sheer number of intruders.

Just as I was leaving the nature trail, another flock of about 35 birds arrived. Cedar Waxwings! These usually reach the campus in early December, so they are very late this winter. It will be interesting to see how many turn up. In previous years we have usually had flocks of 200-300 and sometimes of as many as 600.

The lamp standards in the parking lots had their usual complement of Great-tailed Grackles and White-winged Doves but they had been joined by a Ring-billed Gull.

The retention ponds have even more Ring-necked Ducks than they had last week: I counted 120. The ponds also had a pair of Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots, as well as a Belted Kingfisher. A Red-shouldered Hawk was perched nearby, while a Snowy Egret was standing by the side of the waterfall.

The large ditch on the north edge of the campus had a group of six White Ibis, grazing next to a Great Blue Heron. Although I often see Ibis flying over the college, these are the first I have ever seen on the ground there.


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