Journal archives for January 2016

January 17, 2016

Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2016-01-17

13 folks joined me this morning for the first group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run of 2016! It was a cold morning, starting at about 30 degrees when we started at 9:00 AM and warming up to the mid or upper 40s by the time we finished at about 11:30. We found 29 species of birds and here are some highlights.

All morning we periodically looked in the sky and saw groups of Ring-billed Gulls flying over us. The most fun was seeing about 30 of them spiraling over the sandy prairie area as they rode a warm column of air to gain altitude. I estimated we saw 100 through the morning.

The gulls were the easiest birds to observe this morning. Most of the other species were constantly moving and hard to get our binoculars on for good views. Along the line of deciduous woods uphill from the houses we were treated to a large group of Cedar Waxwings. Mixed in with the waxwings were a few other species like Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-crested Titmouse, American Goldfinch, and a nice bright male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Most exciting was a brief look at a Great Horned Owl. We saw this owl a total of three times this morning, always as it flew away. The owl always saw us before we saw it.

On the northeast corner of the preserve, in the sandy prairie area we were lucky to briefly see the same pair of Pyrrhuloxias I found there last weekend. They were in the same area, foraging with Northern Cardinals and Field Sparrows. Here's a photo I took last weekend of one of the Pyrrhuloxias:

Pyrrhuloxia - 4

While we were watching this group of birds I was stunned to suddenly see a new bird species for the preserve: a Black-throated Sparrow! It was briefly seen by someone else in the group a little later, but unfortunately this bird stayed hidden in the dense vine-covered junipers. I even walked around to the other side of these junipers while the group stayed to the east, hoping the birds would make themselves visible to the group, but it didn't work.

Some fun non-bird observations we made included watching a trail of very busy leaf-cutter ants, seeing at least 4 leopard frogs in the spring box, and finding some nice White-tailed Deer tracks.

I didn't take any photos worth keeping this morning, but here are some from last weekend showing some of the same birds we saw today:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/albums/72157663418446965

And here is our complete bird list:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26957710

What a fun morning!

Posted on January 17, 2016 21:58 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment