Journal archives for August 2016

06 August, 2016

Nalle Bunny Run 2016-08-06

I spent almost three hours on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve this morning, starting at about 7:45. The first thing I noticed soon after I got out of my car was that dragonflies were flying almost directly south just over the tree tops. I stopped and counted them for awhile. I estimated there were about 40 between 7:45 and 8:08 when I stopped. All but two were Spot-winged Gliders, the other two were Saddlebags of some kind. They'd appear in groups of 2-6.

This reminded me of a much more dramatic dragonfly migration event I observed there on July 30, 2013 when I counted 591 dragonflies fly south over my head in 10 minutes. Both observations are recorded at

Other items of interest:

I only observed one green Painted Bunting and heard no singing. On the past three monthly walks we've heard them sing. Soon they will be gone for the winter along with many other songbirds.

I found an early Black-throated Green Warbler in a mixed flock about a third of the way down the hill just west of the driveway. I think it was a first-year female. The only other obvious migrating bird I observed was a heard-only Dickcissel up near the gate.

Many birds are quite messy looking right now due to feather molting. Most birds molt most of their feathers late every summer. See the two cardinal observations attached.

I was happy to find 3 or 4 young cypress trees growing in a depression a little bit away from the water's edge.

On the east edge of the waterfall canyon I found a Rock Squirrel lying on a rock that didn't seem to mind my close presence. I got a couple decent photos of it.

After a record number of House sparrows in one group observed last month (60), I did not see a single one this morning.

Here are my photos on Flickr.

Here is my complete eBird list.

And the same photos as iNaturalist observations are attached.

Posted on 06 August, 2016 20:53 by mikaelb mikaelb | 13 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

12 August, 2016

Dragonflies at Gonzales Independence Park

On my way to Port Aransas yesterday I stopped at Gonzales Independence Park hoping to find one of the Blue-faced Ringtail dragonflies that has been recently seen there. (See the fascinating story told by @greglasley here.) After almost 3 hours of searching in 103 degree weather, I found 4 ringtail dragonflies, but none of them had blue faces! (They were all Eastern Ringtails.) A very nice consolation prize was this beautiful female Swift River Cruiser. I have never seen any Cruiser before, so I greatly enjoyed finding and photographing this one.

Swift River Cruiser

Here's an eBird list I recorded during the first part of my search.
And see my other observations attached.

Update: On my way back from the coast on 8/16 I spent about an hour at the park to try and find the Blue-faced Ringtails again. I was not successful but I enjoyed much cooler temperatures (less than 80 degrees!). Other highlights were 17 Wood Storks flying overhead, a Mississippi Kite, and a Hanging Thief robber fly.

Here's my 8/16 eBird list. And I attached two new observations.

Posted on 12 August, 2016 20:23 by mikaelb mikaelb | 13 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

13 August, 2016

Tony Amos Beach 2016-08-12

On August 12, 2016 starting at about 7:30 AM I spent about 3 hours driving on the beach from Access Road 1 to Access Road 2 and counting birds. Here's my complete eBird checklist and attached are my observations.

Sanderlings are back in force, and I counted over 700. I was surprised by the number of Least Terns I observed, over 200, mostly in groups of 4 to 25 loafing on the beach. I was also able to photograph 5 different banded Piping Plovers. I don't know the best way to share these observations with the banders since the coordinates are obscured for this species. Other interesting observations included a Willet with what I assume was oil on the left side of its neck feathers, and a Marbled Godwit with an injured foot, which it seemed to be walking on just fine even though the foot was upside down.

Posted on 13 August, 2016 21:34 by mikaelb mikaelb | 17 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

16 August, 2016

Port Aransas Nature Preserve South 2016-08-15

On Aug 15, 2016 I spent about 3 hours on the southern extension of the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture, starting at about 11:00 AM. Here are some highlights:

Just about the whole time Black Terns flew over heading ESE, in groups ranging from 2 to 25 birds. I estimated seeing over 130.

Near the observation tower I watched juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds begging from and get fed by a female. I realized that one of the begging birds looked and sounded different. It turned out to be a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird! I guess having a cowbird chick in the nest doesn't necessarily mean none of the others will survive?

I was excited to find a beautiful tiger beetle near the end of the trail. See the attached observation. Does anyone know what kind it is?

On my way back two coyotes barked and howled at me as I got closer to them. They stopped after I'd passed them. Does anyone know why they'd do this? Was I close to a den with pups maybe? By this time my camera's battery had run out but I got this photo with my iPhone through my spotting scope:

Barking Coyotes - 1

Here's my complete eBird list. And see the attached observations.

Posted on 16 August, 2016 21:55 by mikaelb mikaelb | 10 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment