Nalle Bunny Run 2019-06-15

Despite nine registrations, only four people showed up for this morning's monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve. It's too bad since we had a fun morning seeing some great birds! We had barely started walking down the hill when we got a distant but pretty good look at this male Painted Bunting that had been singing for at least 30 minutes:

Painted Bunting

This group was very fortunate to see this bird. On many previous group walks we've heard this species singing all morning but could never get a look at one! This wasn't the only Painted Bunting on the preserve. Later down by the lake we heard another singing that turned out to be an all-green first-year male. There could be two pairs of Painted Buntings breeding here.

When we inspected the spring box we found this small toad clinging to the inside wall. Despite it literally having red spots, I think this is the much more expected Gulf Coast Toad rather than Red-spotted Toad. There were many tiny young Gulf Coast Toads around. (It would be very exciting to find a Red-spotted Toad since they historically occurred in the Austin area, but they haven't been seen around here for years.)

Gulf Coast Toad

Other good bird observations made on the walk included pretty close looks at Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a male Summer Tanager, a White-eyed Vireo, and female Ladder-backed Woodpecker. By the large cottonwood trees on the eastern fence line we saw a Red-shouldered Hawk missing some tail feathers. (This is a seldom observed species on the preserve, even though I'd expect them to be common here.) We got to hear Canyon Wren, Red-eyed Vireo, and Northern Parula. This female Eastern Bluebird was down by the lake, near a juvenile bluebird it might have been feeding:

Eastern Bluebird

Near the end of the walk almost back up by the gate this bright orange beetle caught by eye as it flew in and landed on a Mexican Hat wildflower:

Orange Beetle on Mexican Hat

I made a very preliminary identification of its species, and I'm hoping more knowledgeable iNaturalist users will help me confirm or correct it.

I ended up recording 25 species of birds. Here's our complete eBird list.

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

And the same photos are attached as iNaturalist observations to this journal post.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, June 15, 2019 21:25

Observations

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 10:06 AM CDT

Description

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

The bright orange beetle caught my eye, and it wasn't until I looked at the photo on my computer that I realized there were two more insects on this Mexican Hat flower.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 10:03 AM CDT

Description

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

Photos / Sounds

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What

Nine-banded Armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 07:33 AM CDT

Description

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

Before the group arrived this Nine-banded Armadillo crossed the driveway coming towards me.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 09:20 AM CDT

Description

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

In my experience, Eastern Bluebird is not often seen on the preserve. There was a juvenile bird near this female. Maybe they nested nearby. Back in January I photographed a male and female on a nest box on the preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Gulf Coast Toad Incilius nebulifer

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 08:30 AM CDT

Description

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

Despite literally having red spots, I think this is a young Gulf Coast Toad rather than a Red-spotted Toad. I'm basing this on the long paratoid gland behind the left eye. It was clinging to the inside of the spring box just above the water.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Painted Bunting Passerina ciris

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 15, 2019 08:15 AM CDT

Description

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

After hearing it singing and getting one distant look at this bird before the group arrived, I was happy this Painted Bunting was still singing when we started the group walk. I was even happier when the bird came into view for us. It was one of the first birds we saw.

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