Friday, August 30, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Birding

Today is the start of the fall semester at CyFair college and so I've been too busy with work to do much birding recently. However, I did squeeze in an hour's walk at Addick's Reservoir last weekend.

I was hoping for migrating flycatchers but I didn't spot a single one. In fact, I saw only normal yardbirds (e.g., N Cardinals, Blue Jays and Carolina Chickadeees) until I reached an area with a large pond.

A Tricolored Heron and several Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (below) lifted off as I approached.

A Great Egret also took umbrage at my arrival.


A Snowy Egret was less concerned by my presence and continued catching and eating its breakfast as I watched.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

They're Here!

I always look forward to the second half of August because that is when Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate through our area on their way to Mexico and points further south.In anticipation of the hummers' arrival this year, I put up three feeders. 

I didn't have to wait long for birds to start visiting the feeders. However, the very first visitor was not a hummingbird but rather a young House Finch.

The Finch spent quite a while trying to work out how to get to the sugar water, but it never succeeded.

Shortly after the Finch gave up, a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird found the feeder.

Since then we've had several more hummingbirds visiting the feeders and/or some of our plants. The most we've spotted at one time is three but I suspect that it won't be long before we start seeing half-a-dozen or more arguing over the feeders.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

At Home and Work

The CyFair college campus continues to be quiet for "interesting" birds. I've been watching out for fall migrants - such as Yellow Warblers - but so far without luck. Of course, we still have our normal residents.

Mourning Doves, Northern Mockingbirds and Great-tailed Grackles (below) are everywhere.

There are a few Killdeer and Loggerhead Shrikes (below) also.

At home the situation is similar in that there are no migrants (except Ruby-throated Hummingbirds) but lots of residents.

Carolina Chickadees are among our most loyal birds. I don't think there is ever a day when they don't visit our feeders.

Our House Finches seemed to disappear for a while but now they are back in numbers.

The best news is that the Brown-headed Nuthatches that turned up for the first time ever in January are still making regular visits to our feeders. So it looks like they have now become residents!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Busy in our Yards

It continues to be busy in our yards. Unfortunately, though, much of the activity is down to birds that we'd rather not have. 

House Sparrows are acceptable in small numbers but we often have 20+ at a time these days.

We also have way too many White-winged Doves. There are often 20-30 on the grass.

And, of course, many of them spend a lot of time trying to squeeze onto our feeders.

The next most numerous species is Northern Cardinal. I'm not sure how many breeding pairs we have but it must be several, judging by the number of young birds coming to our feeders.

One surprise visitor the other day was a young Brown-headed Cowbird. It turned up with some immature N Cardinals and so I'm thinking it was hatched and is being raised by an unsuspecting pair of Cardinals.


Monday, August 05, 2013

Back Home

Since getting back from Nevada and Utah, I haven't had much time for birding. However, on Saturday I managed to fit in a couple of hours on the Katy Prairie.

I spent an hour vainly scouring the hedgerows, fences and utility wires along Sharp Road for Dickcissels. Apart from a family of Northern Bobwhites, I saw only common birds including lots of Black Vultures and a couple of Crested Caracaras.

Paul Rushing Park was more productive. Within a few minutes I had gotten a glimpse of a Pectoral Sandpiper and good looks at four heron species: Great Blue, Little Blue, Yellow-crowned Night and Green (below).

Killdeer were everywhere and several groups of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (below) flew over.  

There were also flyovers by White-faced and White Ibis, while a young White Ibis was grazing near one of the ponds. 

As always in summer at Paul Rushing, Common Nighthawks were plentiful. 

Just as I was photographing one sitting on a fence, it lifted off, giving a good view of its beautifully patterned tail.