Journal archives for August 2018

August 20, 2018

Nalle Bunny Run 2018-08-18

On Saturday morning only three folks joined me for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve in west Austin. It was a very quiet morning, warm and mostly still. By midway through the 2 hour walk there was a little breeze blowing. Birds were difficult to observe, and we recorded only 19 species, most heard only. But it was nice to experience such a quiet place inside of Austin. And we saw some other neat stuff too.

I was excited to make a new snake observation on the preserve: a small Eastern Blackneck Garter Snake that was in the spring. Look at the dramatic pattern and bright colors!

Eastern Blackneck Garter Snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis ocellatus)

On the sandy prairie area we saw several robber flies of the same species, often with one hovering over another. I assumed this was some kind of mating ritual with the male hovering over a perched female. The iNaturalist community identified them as Painter's Bee-Killer. See the attached observation for more info. Here's one of the hovering males:

Hovering Robberfly

Also on the sandy prairie we found this feather that turned out to be a primary flight feather from a Cooper's Hawk:

Cooper's Hawk Primary Flight Feather

Many dragonflies were around, including Common Whitetail, Roseate Skimmer, Neon Skimmer, Wandering Glider, Spot-winged Glider, and this female Eastern Pondhawk that Kent Ellington photographed:

Green Dragonfly

On our way back up the hill, Kent got another amazing photo of this panting female Black-chinned Hummingbird. Birds don't sweat, and panting is a primary way they shed heat. We weren't the only ones feeling the temperature rising that morning!

Panting Hummingbird

I made an interesting but sad observation before I got to the preserve this morning. On nearby Cedar Street I pulled over when I saw a road-killed Ringtail. It turned out there were two of them! Ringtails are secretive nocturnal mammals similar to raccoons but smaller and more delicate. They are common but rarely observed. HCC has recorded them on the Bunny Run with game cams, but I hadn't seen one in years. I photographed them on the road for the record, so if you're curious see the attached observation. Just be warned the photos are a little gory and sad.

Here's our complete bird list.

Posted on August 20, 2018 18:57 by mikaelb mikaelb | 7 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment