Journal archives for August 2013

August 01, 2013

Dragonfly Migration Event

I enjoyed an exciting July 30th morning on the Bunny Run. Shortly after I arrived, when I was near the original location of the wild bee hive, I realized there was a steady stream of dragonflies flying just over the treetops, all heading south. I was witnessing my very first dragonfly migration event!

I've been learning a little bit about dragonflies ever since attending a workshop offered by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (MDP) a few months ago. Many dragonflies are migratory, and not much is known about where they go and the timing of their travels. The MDP has started a citizen science project to try and learn more. Following their protocol, I stopped and did a point count. I started the stopwatch on my iPhone, and for the next ten minutes I counted 591 dragonflies pass over my head. That's almost one per second! I estimated that most were Spot-winged Gliders -- about 80%. The other 20% I thought were probably Wandering Gliders but I couldn't be sure. I reported this migration event here:

http://www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org/observation/show/2113
http://www.migratorydragonflypartnership.org/observation/show/2114

The birding continued to show signs of early bird migration. Cliff Swallows, the birds that nest under the Pennybacker Bridge, are present in much smaller numbers. And more Purple Martins and Barn Swallows are present in the open sky -- both early fall migrants. I got pretty good photos of a couple juvenile birds -- Red-bellied Woodpecker and Eastern Phoebe. And an unusual summer observation was a Cooper's Hawk (much more common in the winter) in the wetlands area. Near the new bee boxes, two Turkey Vultures were waiting near a dead raccoon.

Here are my photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/sets/72157634876660621/

Here are my iNaturalist observations:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/project/nalle-bunny-run-biodiversity?utf8=✓&day=30&month=7&year=2013&order_by=observations.id&order=desc

Posted on August 01, 2013 01:55 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 04, 2013

August 10, 2013

Monthly Bird Survey at Hornsby Bend

After missing far too many months, I was able to attend the monthly bird survey at Hornsby Bend in southwest Austin this morning. I led my usual section along the Colorado river. There were six folks in my group and we covered about two miles. My group found 52 species of birds. All three groups found 78 species this morning.

Here's my group's bird list:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14897252

Attached are a few non-bird observations I made along the way.

Posted on August 10, 2013 22:41 by mikaelb mikaelb | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 18, 2013

Group Walk Report for August 17, 2013

Only two people joined me on the monthly bird walk yesterday: Shelia Hargis and Laurie Foss. Shelia and Laurie are long-time local birders who lead walks and teach classes for Travis Audubon almost every weekend, and it was a pleasure giving them what turned out to be a private tour of the preserve.

The highlight was finding one of the immature Great Horned Owls near the spring. I was lucky enough to spot it before we got close enough to scare it away. So we got great looks at it and I got this not-so-great photo.

Great Horned Owl

A common theme of the morning turned out to be molting tail feathers. It seemed like half the birds we saw had partial or uneven tails. This time of year young birds are molting into their first adult plumage and adult birds are molting into their winter plumage. Here's one of the Carolina Chickadees we saw yesterday with a full, normal looking tail:

Carolina Chickadee - 2

And here's a molting Chickadee we saw in the same tree:

Molting Carolina Chickadee - 2

See how different the tails look? The molting bird has feathers of different lengths, making its tail look fanned and sparse. We saw several House Finches and Carolina Wrens with incomplete, or almost complete missing, tails as well.

Here's our complete bird list for the morning:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14945142

And here are the Observations I posted.

Nalle Bunny Run Observations for August 17, 2013

Posted on August 18, 2013 18:18 by mikaelb mikaelb | 1 comments | Leave a comment