Friday, August 31, 2012

Katy Prairie Again

Last week I found time to make another quick trip out to Paul Rushing Chain-of-Lakes Park.

As on my previous visit, several Common Nighthawks were either lounging on fences or swooping around catching bugs.

The wetter areas had both White Ibis and the much darker White-faced Ibis.

The same areas had adult Little Blue Herons, while one of the boardwalks had a juvenile of the same species.

As I was leaving, I finally saw a new bird. It was one that I had been hoping to spot: Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Now that things are calming down a little at work, I'm hoping to have more time for birding. It would be nice to have time to watch our yardbirds, too, as my wife tells me that we have lots and lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at our feeders.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Cypress Creek

Yesterday morning I made time to take a short walk through the Little Cypress Creek Preserve, which is only a few hundred yards from where we live.

As everywhere in our area at present, the vegetation was luxuriant.

The main pond had a Great Egret. Unfortunately, the latter flew off as soon as I approached.

The same thing happened with a Great Blue Heron that had been perching on top of a dead tree.

The air was full with the sound of Blue Jays, Northern Mockingbirds and Northern Cardinals, and I caught occasional fleeting glimpses of Tufted Titmice and Red-headed Woodpeckers as the moved from tree to tree.

I was hoping to see some migrating warblers but the only non-resident birds I saw were three Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

No birding walk in our area would be complete without a sighting of vultures and, sure enough, three Turkey Vultures turned up just as I was leaving.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our Busiest Residents

At various times of the year new birds appear in our yards. So at present we have several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds drinking from and arguing over our nectar feeders. In a few months our regular winter birds will start arriving: These include Orange-crowned Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and American Goldfinches. However, for most of the year our feeders belong to our resident birds: White-winged Doves, House Sparrows, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, Northen Mockingbirds, Northern Cardinals and a few others.

Among our residents there are none that give us more pleasure than our Carolina Wrens. Not only can we rely on seeing them most days of the year but also we can count on them being fun to watch. Whereas most other birds fly to the feeders, eat and then leave, our Wrens like to explore our yards. They hop along the fences, they forage in plant containers, they check out our hanging baskets, they fuss around on the ground. They seem to have boundless curiosity and limitless energy.

Two Carolina Wrens were busy outside our living-room window when I got back from work yesterday.

One was standing on the fence and trying to watch our yard and our neighbor's yard at the same time.

This one noticed whenever my camera clicked.

Another was drying off on the fence after visiting our birdbath.

Once this one had dried off, it decided it was time for a snack. So it perched on a pine cone that we had smeared with peanut butter and hung up outside our window.

It would grab a chunk of peanut butter and fly to the fence, where it would drop the chunk.

Then it would set about the often messy but always satisying business of eating the peanut butter.

There's rarely a dull moment when Carolina Wrens are in our yards!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are on their August migration. Females were first to arrive in our yards.

Then a male turned up, much to the females' indignation.

He was quickly chased away.

But he is still managing to sneak in to feed.


Sunday, August 19, 2012


One of my favorite birding spots is the mile stretch of Longenbaugh Road east of the Katy Hockley Cutoff Road. In winter this is a great place for finding interesting birds, such as Pyrrhuloxias, Lark Buntings and Harris's Sparrows. The road is much much quieter in summer but there is still almost always something worth looking at.

On Saturday there were several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.

There were also two Crested Caracaras, a bird that I never tire of watching and photographing.

Here as at Paul Rushing Park, large dragonflies were plentiful.

Driving home from Longenbaugh, I noticed another Common Nighthawk. This one was taking a rest on the traffic signal wires over Barker Cypress Road. It certainly isn't somewhere that I'd choose for a mid-morning a nap, but then I'm not a Nighthawk.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Katy Prairie

On Saturday morning I drove out to spend a couple of hours birding the Katy Prairie, an area I haven't been to for a couple of months.

I spent most of the time walking around Paul Rushing Chain-of-Lakes Park. It was hot and the grassy areas were empty of birds except for Killdeer. However, the chain link fence had no fewer than three Common Nighthawks. What extraordinary-looking birds they are!


The wetter areas by the path had half-a-dozen young White Ibis and a couple of White-faced Ibis.

A Reddish Egret and a Great Blue Heron flew off as I approached but this Tricolored Heron stayed put.

Two adult Little Blue Herons were flying around.

There were also a few Greater Yellowlegs and a Pectoral Sandpiper, as well as more Killdeer.

The northeastern boardwalk was crowded with 100+ Cattle Egrets. The observation deck had more Cattle Egrets, a Great Blue Heron and both adult and juvenile Little Blue Herons.

When I walked along the park's southern boundary fence, I heard several Northern Bobwhites calling but couldn't see a single bird. A Hooded Warbler was exploring the trees but was too flighty for me to photograph. This Loggerhead Shrike was moving more slowly.

Just as I was driving out of the park, I had to pullover to grab a photo of a juvenile Green Heron sitting on utility wires.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012