Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Past Week

Last Friday was the Great Backyard Bird Count day on the CyFair campus. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very productive day for birds. We counted fewer than 100 individual birds of just 18 species.

You never know where you will see birds on the campus, though. There is an ornamental pond just behind the building where I work. It doesn't usually attract birds but lately it has become a favored fishing spot for a Great Egret and a Neotropic Cormorant (below).

The cormorant is now so used to people that it happily stands and dries its wings while students and staff walk past just a few feet away.

The Great Egret is a little less brave. When too many people are around, it flies up and stands on the roof of a nearby building.

I couldn't work out why a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds has started hanging out by the faculty/staff parking lot. Then I realized that the birds have discovered the seed that I sometimes spread around there to attract sparrows. Here is one of the female Blackbirds.

On Saturday I spent an hour at Little Cypress Creek Preserve, hoping to add a couple of species to my 2015 Harris County list. As it turned out, the only new bird was a Pileated Woodpecker.

On another tree, mating Red-bellied Woodpeckers were engaged in a noisy argument. 

I checked different parts of the preserve for sparrows but the only ones I saw were several White-throated Sparrows.

The Bald Eagles at the Longwood retention pond on Huffmeister Road are busy at their nest. 

Like last year, the pair is raising two juveniles. The youngsters haven't fledged yet but one of them is already occasionally flexing its wings, so it won't be long before they start venturing out of the nest.

While the juveniles stay in the nest, one of their parents always stands guard nearby.

I'm looking forward to watching the young birds over the coming weeks as they grow, strengthen their wings and learn to fly.

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