Monday, September 14, 2015

Junction, Texas

Sunday afternoon I went over the the Junction city park, which is usually a good place for birding. We had checked it out the previous day but had found the park packed with people attending a fair. This time it was much quieter.

A Turkey Vulture was enjoying what looked like a piece of left-over b-b-qed chicken.

A couple of Eastern Phoebes were flitting about nearby.

One of them decided that this would be a good time for some preening.

A pair of Vermilion Flycatchers moved off as soon as I approached them, so I photographed a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher instead.

Shortly after this, the male Vermilion agreed to pose.

While I was photographing the Vermilion, he flew up into a tree. I walked towards the tree and, just at that moment, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew onto a branch. It was my first Cuckoo of the year. Although I had seen many others over the years, this was the first time I'd noticed what a pronounced yellow eye-ring this species has.

Since the park was otherwise quiet for birds, I drove up to the city's water treatment (ie., sewage) plant, hoping for shorebirds. The entrance area utility lines had Cattle Egrets as well as Barn and Cave Swallows (below).


I was disappointed to see that all the ponds were full of water and therefore shorebirds were absent except for a Solitary Sandpiper and five American Avocets (below).

On Monday morning I fitted it a very quick visit to the city park, where I hope to get photos of more Vermilion Flycatchers.

A Great Blue Heron was standing at the foot of the spillway.

Shortly after I arrived, it flew away.

The trees were full of roosting Black and (mainly) Turkey Vultures.

The adult Vermilions were nowhere to be seen but an immature male let me grab a quick picture.

A male House Finch was greeting the dawn from its perch on a chain-link fence.

The top of the same fence held a molting Indigo Bunting and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds (below).

My final sighting was of a bird we had missed seeing at South Llano River State Park: a Golden-fronted Woodpecker.

So if Junction hadn't produced as many birds as usual, it had at least produced a few nice ones.

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