Journal archives for November 2013

03 November, 2013

Birding on Broadmeade monthly group walk

Highlights from my monthly neighborhood bird walk in northwest Austin:

Posted on 03 November, 2013 21:52 by mikaelb mikaelb | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

09 November, 2013

Ringed Kingfisher

Even though I've been unable to make my weekly bird surveys on the Bunny Run for the past few months, I'm still working next door until Thanksgiving, and I'm still getting out most days to look for birds for a few minutes at lunchtime. Friday at lunchtime I found a Ringed Kingfisher!

The common kingfisher in central Texas (and the United States) is the Belted Kingfisher, and I have seen or heard them now and then on or by the Bunny Run. They're a little bigger than a Blue Jay and have a very distinctive rattling call. Ringed Kingfishers are big -- almost the size of a crow -- and you used to have to travel to extreme south Texas to find one. Like many other birds, Ringed Kingfishers have been expanding their range northwards, and now they can occasionally be found on the Colorado River in the Austin area.

When I went outside yesterday I almost immediately heard the much lower and slower rattling call of a Ringed Kingfisher coming from the cypress trees along the lake's edge. I eventually found it, but only briefly saw it as it left the trees and flew to the other side of the lake. Fortunately, a little latter it returned and perched on one of the fence posts in the water at the northeast corner of the the preserve. I was able to get a poor photo of it by holding my iPhone up to my binoculars. And I was also able to record a little bit of its call.

The photo and audio clip are posted on iNaturalist here:

I sure do love my iPhone -- with this little device I was able to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity to document the expanding range of this amazing species of bird.

Posted on 09 November, 2013 19:44 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Monthly Bird Survey at Hornsby Bend

I led a group of 7 people on the monthly bird survey at Hornsby Bend this morning. I was surveying my usual area starting at the birding shelter and ending at the "old crossing" on the river up on the Platt property. We had a great morning!

Conditions were cool and overcast through most of the morning, including a little bit of rain. It was very birdy, and we encountered at least 4 mixed-species foraging flocks in the riparian woods. Interesting species in these flocks included Golden-crowned Kinglet, Pine Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Nashville Warbler. On the Platt property we got great looks at a Grasshopper Sparrow. And the brilliant male Vermilion Flycatcher was still present between the greenhouse and Pond 2. Our most exciting observation of the morning was of 3 bobcats on the Pond 3 trail.

Here's our bird list:

And see the attached observations for a few photos of the Grasshopper Sparrow, Vermilion Flycatcher, and bobcat.

Posted on 09 November, 2013 21:02 by mikaelb mikaelb | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

23 November, 2013

Group Walk Report for November 23, 2013

Only one person (out of fifteen who registered) showed up for this morning's monthly bird walk on the preserve. After a bit of early rain cleared up she got an awesome private tour of the place on a cold but birdy morning! Many winter songbirds have returned in force, and we had great fun encountering mixed-species foraging flocks that included Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Carolina Chickadees, Black-crested titmice, and a couple Pine Warblers.

The recent rains had the spring overflowing and the pond at the bottom of the property full. All of the beautiful little waterfall spots downhill from the spring were flowing with clear water. Here's one of them. This one shows some good examples of karst limestone as well:

Flowing Spring Water
(Click on the image to view it on Flickr and see the notes I added that mark the pieces of karst limestone.)

In the pond we found half a dozen Wood Ducks, one of our few year-round resident species of wild duck. On the sandy prairie area near the lake we had good luck finding a few winter sparrows -- Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and Field Sparrows, and we got good looks at an Orange-crowned Warbler and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. We even got a distant look at the leucistic mostly white Red-tailed Hawk perched across the lake.

Here's our complete bird list:

Posted on 23 November, 2013 20:23 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment