Journal archives for March 2014

March 12, 2014

Rio Grande Valley March 2014

Posted on March 12, 2014 16:41 by mikaelb mikaelb | 88 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2014

Group Walk Report for March 15, 2014

Ten folks braved the light rain on Saturday morning and joined me for the monthly group bird walk. Here are some highlights.

When I arrived, as soon as I opened my car door I could smell the blooming Agarita. This prickly native shrub grows all over the western half of the Bunny Run. It's important to local wildlife both as cover and as a source of food when its berries ripen. It blooms for a relatively short period in early spring and we were fortunate to experience it on Saturday. The preserve was full of Agarita bushes with bright yellow flowers. Before anyone arrived I photographed this White-lined Sphix Moth feeding on some of them.

Sphinx Moth - 2

After the group walk got started, birds were scarce until we got down to the sandy prairie area in the northeast corner of the preserve. We got distant looks at a Merlin, a small falcon that spends the winter here. I initially mis-identified it as a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but the lack of a black cap and red barring made me suspect it was a Merlin. And when it flew a short distance its pointed wings made me sure.

Merlin

We saw a pair of Wood Ducks near one of the Wood Duck nest boxes. The female was perched on top of it and we got a few quick looks at the male on the ground below. We gave them a wide berth. I hope they use the box this spring!

Wood Duck on Nest Box

The sandy prairie area was full of Northern Cardinals and sparrows. We found Song, Lincoln's, White-throated, Chipping, and Field Sparrows. And we got good looks at the wintering Eastern Towhee that was still there. We were unable to find a female Pyrrhuloxia that I've observed a couple times in this area. But while we were looking for it this Lincoln's Sparrow perched nearby and gave us great looks.

Lincolns Sparrow - 1

Other highlights included watching an Osprey across the lake, many Cedar Waxwings flying overhead, singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets, many Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a great look at a male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Here's our complete eBird list:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17451711

And here are a few more photos on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/sets/72157642407148954/

Posted on March 16, 2014 23:41 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 31, 2014

Tracking Weekend

I spent March 29 and 30 with Earth Native Wilderness School's Tracking Intensive class. We spent time east of Austin in the Sealy area around Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR on Saturday, and in Smithville and LaGrange on Sunday. The weather was perfect and we found some exciting tracks, including River Otter and Muskrat! Attached are observations.

On the morning of the 30th we observed a Green Kingfisher near the bridge by Riverbend Park in Bastrop. I documented that here:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17664935

Posted on March 31, 2014 16:13 by mikaelb mikaelb | 26 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment