Nalle Bunny Run 2022-04-02

Yesterday I spent the morning on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve in west Austin. It was the first time I've visited the preserve this spring, and I had a great morning finding newly returned summer resident birds, winter resident species soon to head north, and a few migrants passing through. The most exciting bird was a female Eastern Towhee in the vine-covered fence near the northeast corner of the property. Unfortunately I only got two brief looks and could not photograph it. This eastern species is rare in Austin during the winter and during migration. Maybe it was the same female I found here back in March of 2019?

I was lucky to see and smell some of the Agarita and Mountain Laurels in bloom:

Agarita in Bloom

Mountain Laurel in Bloom - 1 - 2

This male Black-chinned Hummingbird was probably a newly returned summer resident observing his territory from an open perch:

Black-chinned Hummingbird Male

White-eyed Vireos and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were back in force. Here's one of the male gnatcatchers singing:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

I detected two Northern Parulas singing near the northwest corner, and I faintly heard (only twice) a Yellow-throated Warbler singing in the cypress trees along the bank of the lake.

This morning I was most excited to find two new dragonfly species for the preserve. The first was this male Stream Cruiser. I didn't know what it was when I saw it, but it perched so cooperatively that after taking photos with my big camera I was able to get an iPhoto shot good enough to post on social media, and my friends ID'd it for me before I got home! It was a lifer for me:

Stream Cruiser - 1 - 2

The second new dragonfly for the preserve was this beautiful Springtime Darner which perched very briefly in some switchgrass near the bank of the lake. I was only able to get a few quick photos before it disappeared:

Springtime Darner - 1 - 2

Springtime Darners are infamous for continuous flight up and down a small stretch of water, making them extremely hard to photograph. I was lucky to get the above photo! And this was only the second time I've seen this species.

Here's my complete eBird checklist.

And here are the same photos and a few more on Flickr.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, 04 April, 2022 00:27

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 08:43 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Agarita (Berberis trifoliolata)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 08:52 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 09:06 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

Singing male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a newly returned summer resident species.

Photos / Sounds

What

Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 09:36 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

I was excited to see this dragonfly land, and I was even more excited when I realized that I did not know what species it was! It turns out to be a Stream Cruiser, a first for the Bunny Run, and a first for me!

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 09:09 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

There were at least two singing male Northern Parula's but they were difficult to see.

Photos / Sounds

What

Texas Mountain Laurel (Dermatophyllum secundiflorum)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 09:58 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 11:05 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

I found this female Eastern Bluebird builiding a nest in a cavity of a dead tree near the boat ramp.

Photos / Sounds

What

Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata)

Observer

mikaelb

Date

April 2, 2022 10:51 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Refuge in west Austin, Travis County. This was the first time I was able to visit the Bunny Run this spring.

Another first dragonfly record for the Bunny Run (and only the second for me) was this Springtime Darner that landed just long enough for a few quick distant shots. This species is infamous for not landing so I'm so glad I got at least a short opportunity to photograph it!

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