Showing posts from March, 2017

Texas Volume One: Hill Country

Texas happened.  It was filled with piles of lifers, bigger piles of ABA birds, and even bigger piles of year birds.   There was sweat, ticks, chiggers, thorny plants, slippery slopes, border patrol, and a mishap at the mouth of the Rio Grande resulting in a drowned phone (not mine).  None of that matters.  The birds were worth it.  It all started last Wednesday afternoon.

Audrey and I flew into San Antonio, after passing over these interesting patterns on the landscape which I learned were roads made to get to potential oil drilling locations.  Welcome to Tejas.  We figured out where to pick up our rental car and headed west to the Lost Maples area of Texas Hill Country where we stayed two nights at Foxfire Cabins

It was still light out when we arrived and the birds were quite active so instead of going to find food we wandered around chasing everything that chirped. 

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers sound like Downys

A Carolina Wren sang over and over from this perch:

After following aroun…

Driving east.

We have entered the season of driving east.  There are early wildflowers blooming in the gorge, there are year birds waiting in the high desert, and most importantly, there's a better chance of dry weather east of the Cascades.  On my recent weekend I drove east to Larch Mountain to cry over new clearcuts and poke around.  Bird activity was minimal though a Chestnut-backed Chickadee came in to check me out.

On the edge of a clearcut I saw a Red-tailed Hawk flying and it eventually came over and soared right over me for awhile.  It had a stick. 

It soared with two other Red-taileds briefly before cruising down straight to the trees on the edge of the clearcut and depositing the stick somewhere.  It reappeared soon after without the stick.  I can only hope on my next visit those trees are still standing.

On Friday Jacob and I drove east to Catherine Creek to look for wildflowers and birds.  Grass widows were the main attraction flower-wise. 

Prairiestars were also in bloom along wit…

The 5MR continues.

Earlier this afternoon I picked up my 99th 5-Mile Radius bird for the year, a lone Pine Siskin stuffing its face on my tray feeder in the pouring rain.  I had not seen one in the yard since last July.  I certainly was not expecting one to show up today while I grumbled (to myself) about the rain and my inability to stop eating this box of samoas.

Other than the siskin not much of interest has been happening in the yard.  One recent rainy day I took a million photos of my local hummingbirds because I didn't want to go outside.  I learned that if one perched on my Japanese maple I could line it up with my neighbor's porch light to create a cool effect.

Edit:  I'm adding this crazy junco that showed up in the yard yesterday (3/11).   Before I had bins on it I turned it into a Rustic Bunting which was fun.

Back in January I discovered a Barn Owl in my 5MR and was bummed to learn it would flush at the slightest glance.  I saw it once in February, and it flushed again.  Finally…