Journal archives for November 2018

November 17, 2018

Nalle Bunny Run 2018-11-17

Six people joined me this morning for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve. It was a beautiful morning, with a starting temperature in the mid 40s at 9 AM, and rising to the low 60s when we stopped at 11:15 AM. There was little or no wind and there were few clouds.

I ended up recording 32 species of birds, but most were heard-only or only briefly seen. The ones we did see were too distant or briefly seen for photographs. Our most exciting bird observation was on the sandy prairie area. A few minutes after we had flushed about a dozen Mourning Doves from the ground to a large pecan tree, all the doves exploded into flight out of that tree, flying in the same direction. A moment later a Cooper's Hawk landed in the same tree. We had just witnessed the doves detecting and then fleeing from this predator.

We indirectly observed lots of mammals this morning. In the parking area by the gate were probable coyote tracks. On the trail to the spring there was a big patch of mud with lots of White-tailed Deer tracks, a few unclear raccoon tracks, and these neat Nine-banded Armadillo tracks:

Nine-banded Armadillow Tracks

The top one is a hind track, and the bottom is a front track. Armadillo front feet almost always leave just two toe marks like this.

On the sandy prairie there were more raccoon tracks, coyote tracks, deer tracks, and a few probable Gray Fox tracks. Near the lake this young cypress tree had been scraped near the base of its trunk. This was probably from a White-tailed Deer buck rubbing the velvet off its antlers:

Deer Rubbing on Cypress Tree - 1

On our way back on the west side of the preserve there were many little brown American Snout butterflies. This time of year, this species often makes big dispersal movements away from population eruptions. A couple weeks ago there were hundreds streaming north over Austin. Here's one on a blooming frostweed plant:

American Snout on Frostweed

And here's one spreading its wings. They're quite drab and camouflaged when their wings are folded up. But look at the orange and white on their open wings! I think they deserve a prettier common name!

American Snout on Branch

Here's our complete bird list on eBird.

And here are the same photos on Flickr.

Posted on November 17, 2018 21:46 by mikaelb mikaelb | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment