Thursday, October 23, 2014

Waiting for Winter

This is the time of year when our winter residents start arriving and so I wasn't surprised when an Orange-crowned Warbler appeared in our yards on a couple of occasions over the weekend.

I hope more winter birds arrive soon because our yards have been remarkably quiet of late. Apart from a Northern Mockingbird, a Carolina Chickadee, a Downy Woodpecker and a pair of Carolina Wrens, I haven't seen any of our year-round residents for weeks. Even our Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals seem to have deserted us.

One reason for the lack of birds may be the Cooper's Hawk that moved into our block some months back. On Sunday it was in our neighbors' yard, eating a rat.

It has been equally quiet on the CyFair campus. The only birds present in any numbers are Northern Mockingbirds and Great-tailed Grackles, although yesterday I get a brief glimpse of a Northern Flicker.

This Mockingbird greets me at the entrance to the nature trail every day when I get to work.

The Grackles prefer the parking lots, where they scavenge for fast food leftovers or just hang out on cars, like this fine male.

Our resident Black Vulture is hanging out in its usual place, on top of the TECH building.

A Cooper's Hawk has moved onto the campus but is too skittish to let me get a photo. Our Loggerhead Shrikes are more obliging.

We haven't been able to fit in any birding trips lately but we're doing one on Sunday. I'm leading a group of adults and children on a bird-walk at Baytown Nature Center. The weather looks to be perfect and I'm hoping I'll get to show the group plenty of birds.

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