Nalle Bunny Run 2017-11-18

This morning 15 people joined me on the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run nature preserve in west Austin. 11 of them were a cub scout group with 3 girls, 4 boys, 3 moms, and 1 dad. The kids were between the ages of maybe 7 and 10. The ages of the kids and low bird activity resulted in less serious bird-finding this morning. But we did see a few birds and everyone enjoyed seeing the preserve on a beautiful mild and breezy morning.

Just downhill from the gate we ran into a mixed flock of songbirds that included Chipping Sparrows, Carolina Chickadees, Black-crested Titmice, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a single Pine Warbler (my first of the season) and this female Downy Woodpecker:

Downy Woodpecker

I think most of the kids eventually saw the woodpecker, even though it was a challenging spot for people not used to using binoculars.

On the sandy prairie "beach" area I was excited to find and photograph an unusual dragonfly. It turned out to be a male Turquoise-tipped Darner, an uncommon species in Texas. This was only the second time I've ever seen one, and a first for the preserve. You can see the turquoise color on the underside of the very tip of the abdomen in this photo:

Turquoise-tipped Darner

Another fun bird we found was a beautiful male American Kestrel that perched on top of the large mostly dead cottonwood tree near the houses.

On our way back uphill to the gate, most of the group went straight back to leave a little earlier, but three of us took an additional loop around the western part of the preserve. Soon after we split up I heard the unmistakeable sound of Sandhill Cranes calling to each other in flight! I ran around trying to see them in the sky but I never did. We could hear them moving south over our heads. They were probably riding the cold front that was just starting to arrive. Sandhill Crane was my 170th bird species for the preserve! Keep your ears open for this unique sound right now in central Texas

.Also on this loop trail we found a first-year Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and got to watch a Red-tailed Hawk use the northwest wind to stay stationary in the air:

Red-tailed Hawk

Here's our complete bird list.

Attached are a few observations.

Here are the same photos on Flickr.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, November 18, 2017 21:06

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 18, 2017 11:01 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run.

Soaring Red-tailed Hawk

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 18, 2017 09:24 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run.

Female Downy Woodpecker

Photos / Sounds

What

Turquoise-tipped Darner Rhionaeschna psilus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 18, 2017 10:01 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run.

I was excited to find the male Turquoise-tipped Darner dragonfly which perched on a mesquite tree near the northeast corner of the preserve. It's my first record of this species on the preserve and only the second time I've ever seen one.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Ferns Class Polypodiopsida

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 18, 2017 09:49 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run.

I was interested to see a fern other than Maiden-haired Fern just downhill from the spring.

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