Nalle Bunny Run Group Walk 2015-06-20

This morning seven folks risked getting rained on to join me for the monthly group bird walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve. We found about 32 species of birds and here are some highlights:

  • We started off with the two central Texas red birds. A Northern Cardinal sang on a wire over the gate and a Summer Tanager sang on a dead treetop a little down the hill.
  • We walked through a patch of small plant with tiny pink flowers that produced an unexpectedly strong and sweet scent. On our way back I took this photo with my iPhone and later identified the plant as Drummond's false pennyroyal (Hedeoma drummondii). Here's the photo:

Drummond's false pennyroyal (Hedeoma drummondii)

  • After a relatively quiet hike further downhill and along the western truck trail, we got poor looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and great looks at a pair of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers.
  • On the sandy prairie area we watched a Western Kingbird and then a Golden-fronted Woodpecker both try to catch the same flying cicada! Somehow this bug escaped them both. Maybe it's just a little too big for these species?
  • By far we had the most excitement when we approached the pond in the northwest corner of the preserve. First we a pair of Wood Ducks resting at the water's edge that didn't seem to mind our presence. Then I noticed there was a Green Kingfisher perched right behind them!** We watched this small bird dive into the water a couple times and catch and eat some kind of aquatic insect. In the past, if you wanted to see a Green Kingfisher you'd have to travel south to the Rio Grande valley. But this species has been expanding its range north along our rivers. Now it is an expected central Texas species, but they are seldom observed because they prefer to stay in dense vegetation along the edges of rivers and creeks. This was only the second time I've ever seen one in Austin, and it's the 165th species I've observed on the Nalle Bunny Run.

I didn't have my camera with me during the group walk because of the risk of rain this morning. But after lunch I returned to try and find the Green Kingfisher. Unfortunately I didn't find it, but I spent a very enjoyable hour waiting for it by the pond. I very briefly watched a Grey Fox walk along the pond's edge while two Northern Mockingbirds scolded it, I got a few decent dragonfly photos, and I got closer to the Wood Duck pair than I've ever gotten before and took this photo. I think it's my best Wood Duck photo to date:

Wood Duck Pair

On my way back I literally almost stepped on this tiny fawn hiding in the tall grass:

White-tailed Deer Fawn - 2

What a great day outdoors! Here's our complete bird list.

And here are a few more photos.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, June 20, 2015 23:02

Observations

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 10:33 AM CDT

Description

Strong citrous or lemony smell.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Thornbush Dasher Micrathyria hagenii

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 12:28 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

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What

Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 12:33 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

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What

Wood Duck Aix sponsa

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 12:48 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

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What

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 12:56 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 01:15 PM CDT

Description

I almost stepped on this little fawn. This is the first time I've encountered one that didn't immediately run away.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Milkweed Tussock Moth Euchaetes egle

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 01:27 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 01:35 PM CDT

Description

I think that’s a nestling’s bill protruding from the top right of the nest.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Small Ballmoss Tillandsia recurvata

Observer

mikaelb

Date

June 20, 2015 01:35 PM CDT

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