Journal archives for July 2015

18 July, 2015

Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2015-07-18

Eight folks joined me this morning for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve. We endured a warm and humid morning, and we were rewarded with some great wildlife observations and sometimes a nice breeze. We saw lots of mammals! As soon as we entered the dense oak-juniper woods east of the gate I heard rustling on the ground in front of us. We discovered two Nine-banded Armadillos, one following the other. And nearby a Grey Fox made a brief appearance! Later down the trail the Grey Fox returned and gave us great looks. It approached the group barking! Here's a photo I took the day before in the same area of probably the same fox:

Grey Fox

I've experienced this almost-tame behavior with Grey Foxes before, and it was because the fox had a kit nearby and it was trying to keep my attention so I wouldn't see the kit. We didn't see a kit but we didn't look too hard. My guess is that there's a den in this area. We saw and heard a few deer, including two bucks sporting antlers in velvet near the spring, and we found Oreo the cow standing in the pond near the northeast corner of the preserve. Four mammal species ain't bad for a group walk!

Near the spring we found a family group of Northern Cardinals and I got this photo of one of the juveniles. You can tell it's not an adult by the dark bill. Adults have bright orange-red bills:

Northern Cardinal

The spring box was full and was surrounded by Gulf Coast Toads of various sizes. There was this one Leopard Frog in the water, which I think was a Rio Grande Leopard Frog but I'm not sure yet.

Rio Grande Leopard Frog

Further downhill in the valley east of the driveway we found two juvenile Great Horned Owls perched. We watched them for a few minutes before we realized there were two. Some of us were looking at one and some of us were looking at the other! These birds are most likely siblings from a recent nest in this area. Here's one. Look at those beautiful tail feathers!

Great Horned Owl

The sandy prairie area was full of dragonflies and birds in the flycatcher family. We found Western Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. We were thrilled to find a male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that didn't mind as we got closer and closer as it actively hunted insects. Almost every time it caught a bug, it would be chased by two or three of its fledglings who were demanding to be fed. We empathized with how busy and stressed this beautiful bird seemed to be. I can't resist sharing three photos of it:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 1

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 2

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 3

Here's our complete bird list. And attached are a few iNaturalist observations. What a fun morning!

Posted on 18 July, 2015 19:16 by mikaelb mikaelb | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

19 July, 2015

Dragonflies in Charlie's Pasture South on July 6, 2015

Here's a late report from July 6, 2015. I spent a long weekend in Port Aransas for the holiday. On Monday morning I birded and counted dragonflies on the new southern extension of the Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture. Here's a summary of effort:

Start time: 8:04 AM
Duration: 3:04 hours
Distance covered: 1.3 miles

And here's my dragonfly list:

      common_name      | count 
 Band-winged Dragonlet |     2
 Common Green Darner   |     1
 Four-spotted Pennant  |     1
 Marl Pennant          |     6
 Needham's Skimmer     |     4
 Red Saddlebags        |     4
 Seaside Dragonlet     |   200

It was fun seeing a few Marl Pennants near the entrance to the tract to the east, and then so many Seaside Dragonlets when the trail got out over the dwarf-glasswort-dominated tidal flats.

Here's my eBird list and attached are a few iNaturalist observations.

Posted on 19 July, 2015 23:40 by mikaelb mikaelb | 13 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

26 July, 2015

First Birding on Broadmeade Group Pond Watch

I'm trying a new monthly group walk in my northwest Austin neighborhood, aimed at teaching people how to recognize the five species of dragonfly that the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership's Pond Watch project tracks. It was fun!

Posted on 26 July, 2015 22:47 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment