Big Country Audubon Society

Stories from March, 2007

March 31, 2007 – Dyess AFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Yellow-breasted Chat, 1

Complete List:

  • Gadwall, 5
  • Blue-winged Teal, 8
  • Green-winged Teal, 1
  • Great Blue Heron, 1
  • Turkey Vulture, 3
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 3
  • Killdeer, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 13
  • Belted Kingfisher, 2
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 5
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 5
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 14
  • Blue Jay, 3
  • Cliff Swallow, 100’s, 1st day seen in culvert at eastern G.C.
  • Barn Swallow, 6
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 6
  • Cactus Wren, 2
  • Bewick’s Wren, 7
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 1
  • Eastern Bluebird, 7
  • American Robin, 9
  • Northern Mockingbird, 15
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 2
  • European Starling, 21
  • Cedar Waxwing, 7
  • Yellow-breasted Chat, 1
  • Canyon Towhee, 1
  • Chipping Sparrow, 5
  • Field Sparrow, 1 (singing)
  • Vesper Sparrow, 3
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow, 9
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 11
  • Northern Cardinal, 8
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 5
  • Common Grackle, 16
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 22
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 2
  • House Finch, 28
  • American Goldfinch, 4
  • House Sparrow, 10

Sightings by LgPacker

Heron Rookery Revisited

GBHE

John and I revisited the Heron rookery in San Angelo to observe these majestic birds at their rookery. I learned herons have a certain protocol when pair bonding, wooing mates, and gathering nesting material.

GBHE

I also learned where herons nest around Lake Fort Phantom if they don’t have trees to use as nest sites. Talk about high-rise apartments!

You can see the newest pictures and behavior in the Heron Rookery Revisited Album. And I didn’t just make this information up (well, some of it I did). The factual information came from BNA, Birds of North America Online. The creative interpretations came from this birder’s overactive imagination induced by being stuck inside all day l-o-n-g due to rain. I believe you can tell the factual from the creative captions. I gotta get out and do some sunshine birding. See you in the field.

March 27, 2007 – DAFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Eared Grebe, 7, first time documented at DAFB
  • Chihuahuan Ravens on nest
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 1 FOS (first of season)
  • Vermilion Flycatcher, 1 FOS
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2 FOS
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 1 FOS

Complete List:

  • Gadwall, 6
  • Blue-winged Teal, 7
  • Northern Shoveler, 3
  • Green-winged Teal, 4
  • Bufflehead, 2
  • Wild Turkey, heard
  • Eared Grebe, 7
  • Turkey Vulture, 1
  • Northern Harrier, 1
  • Accipiter, 2
  • Red-shoudered Hawk, 1
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 1, FOS
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 2
  • American Kestrel, 1
  • Killdeer, 1
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 42
  • Greater Roadrunner, 2
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 6
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 5
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Vermilion Flycatcher, 1 FOS
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2 FOS
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 6
  • Chihuahuan Raven, 2 on nest
  • Cliff Swallow, numerous
  • Barn Swallow, 2
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 2
  • Cactus Wren, 1 discovered on nest
  • Bewick’s Wren, 12
  • Eastern Bluebird, 8
  • American Robin, 2
  • Northern Mockingbird, 21
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 3
  • European Starling, 43
  • Cedar Waxwing, 5
  • Canyon Towhee, 4
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 1 FOS
  • Chipping Sparrow, 11
  • Clay-colored Sparrow, 11
  • Vesper Sparrow, 7
  • Lark Sparrow, 2
  • Savannah Sparrow, 6
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow, 5
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 10
  • Northern Cardinal, 6
  • Pyrrhuloxia, 1
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 5
  • Meadowlark species, 9
  • Western Meadowlark, 2
  • Common Grackle, 15
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 6
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 10
  • House Finch, 19
  • House Sparrow, 5

Sightings by LgPacker

Bobby Harrison to Speak on Rediscovering the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, April 11, 2007 — Noon, ACU Campus, Hart Auditorium

IBWO

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker was last sighted in 1944 and was thought to be extinct. However in 2004 this species was sighted again causing worldwide excitement.

Bobby_Harrison

Bobby Harrison, associate professor of art and photography at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, is one of three people to rediscover the Ivory-bill in Arkansas. Please join us to hear Bobby discuss the current controversy surrounding their find, current search efforts in Arkansas’ Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, and the current evidence found in the Florida panhandle search. For more information, please read below:

  • Who: Bobby Harrison
  • What: The Call of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker – Rediscovering the Holy Grail of Birds
  • When: Wednesday, April 11, 2007, at noon
  • Where: ACU Campus, Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building, Hart Auditorium
  • Free Admission

map

For more than 60 years, every potential sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker was met with ridicule and scorn. Respected researchers and naturalists were branded as quacks just for having the temerity to say that the Ivory-bill still existed. But Bobby Harrison and Tim Gallagher refused to accept the grim conclusion of most scientists that the Ivory-bill was extinct. Both became interested in the Ivory-bill in 1972 after reading that the Holy Grail of birds had been seen in eastern Texas in the late 1960s. Then like all previous sightings of this ghost, the professional world of ornithology labeled the sighting as a mis-identified Pileated Woodpecker. But that sighting began both Harrison and Gallagher, who did not know each other at the time, on a life-long quest to find the Phantom of the Bayou. Once Harrison and Gallagher discovered each other’s life-long passion for the bird they joined forces and began traveling through the South, interviewing people who claimed to have seen this ghost bird of the shadowy swamp.

Bobby-in-Camo

And if a sighting seemed credible, they hit the swamp, wading through hip-deep, boot-sucking mud and canoeing through turgid, mud brown bayous where deadly cottonmouths abound. On one of these trips, checking a recent sighting by an Arkansas kayaker, an unmistakable Ivory-bill flew past at close range in front of their canoe. This sighting–the first confirmed sighting since 1944 that two qualified observers had positively identified an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the United States–quickly led to the largest search ever launched to find a rare bird and ultimately to the announcement in April, 2005 of the rediscovery of the species.

Bobby will tell the story of the Ivory-bill’s near demise and miraculous resurrection. His program will cover the current controversy of the Ivory-bill’s rediscovery, the current search effort, and evidence of Ivory-bills that have been recently found in other states. He will also show his unpublished Ivory-billed Woodpecker video that was shot on September 4, 2004. For 33 years Bobby sought the holy grail of birds. His story is a first-hand account of its rediscovery, a story that you will not want to miss!

Brought to you by:

  • Abilene Zoo
  • Big Country Audubon Society
  • Representatives of Abilene Christian University, Hardin Simmons University, and McMurry University

March 24, 2007 – Mesquite Grove Golf Course

Highlight:

  • First of the Season Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Purple Martins, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

Complete List:

  • Gadwall, 6
  • Mallard, 2
  • Blue-winged Teal, 7
  • Northern Shoveler, 2
  • Green-winged Teal, 12
  • Wild Turkey, 36
  • Northern Bobwhite, 1 heard
  • Turkey Vulture, 1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1
  • Killdeer, 4
  • Greater Yellowlegs, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 39
  • Greater Roadrunner, 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 6
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 1 FOS
  • American Crow, 1
  • Purple Martin, 2 FOS
  • Cliff Swallow, 36
  • Barn Swallow, 4
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 6
  • Bewick’s Wren, 5
  • Marsh Wren, 1
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 3 FOS
  • Eastern Bluebird, 8
  • American Robin, 30
  • Northern Mockingbird, 8
  • European Starling, 35
  • Orange-crowned Warbler, 1
  • Chipping Sparrow, 11
  • Field Sparrow, 5
  • Lark Sparrow, 2
  • Savannah Sparrow, 1
  • Song Sparrow, 2
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow, 3
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 13
  • Dark-eyed Junco, 2
  • Northern Cardinal, 2
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 12
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 2
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 45
  • House Finch, 22
  • House Sparrow, 7

Sightings by LgPacker

San Angelo Field Trip, March 17, 2007

birders

I finally remembered to take pictures of our club field trip to San Angelo. (I was getting tired of staring at Christmas pictures). Two highlights of the day: watching a Great Blue Heron Rookery at Lake Nasworthy, and eating hamburgers at San Angelo State Park compliments of Leon and Bera. The heron pictures are in the Heron Rookery Album, and pictures of our cookout are in the San Angelo Field Trip album. Sometimes events meld together but if you follow the links, I think you can figure it out. Everyone had a good time and the creative captions under the pictures are totaly made up to keep you from falling asleep. And if you’re still awake and want more boredom, a list of what was seen is posted in the Sightings section.

March 17, 2007 – San Angelo Field Trip

Although the targeted longspurs were not seen, a little-seen event took the title of “Best Bird,” a Great Blue Heron Rookery. Pictures can be viewed at the Rookery Picture Album.

Best bird(s):

  • Great Blue Heron, rookery on Lake Nasworthy
  • Osprey, 1 flying close overhead at the rookery

Complete List:
Key: TG: Tom Green County; LK: Lake Kirby, Taylor County

  • Gadwall, 40+, LK
  • Blue-winged Teal, 8, LK
  • Northern Shoveler, 40+ LK
  • Green-winged Teal, 26 LK
  • Lesser Scaup, 1 TG
  • Wild Turkey, heard vocalizing at Oakwood Trails
  • Pied-billed Grebe, 2 SA, LK
  • Double-crested Cormorant, 75-100, LK
  • Great Blue Heron, 12, TG
  • Great Egret, 1 LK
  • Turkey Vulture, 12, TG
  • Osprey, 1, TG
  • Northern Harrier, 1 TG
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 4 TG
  • American Kestrel, 2 TG
  • American Coot, 12 TG, 75-100 LK
  • Killdeer, 3 TG & LK
  • Ring-billed Gull, 1 TG, 10 LK
  • Rock Pigeon, 24 TG
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove, 12, TG
  • Mourning Dove, 100++ TG
  • Belted Kingfisher, 1, TG
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 1 TG
  • Blue Jay, 1 NE Abi
  • Horned Lark, 30 TG
  • Barn Swallow, 2 TG
  • Cactus Wren, 2 TG
  • Bewick’s Wren, 1 TG
  • Marsh Wren, 2 LK
  • Eastern Bluebird, 4 Oakwood Trails
  • American Robin, 4 TG
  • Northern Mockingbird, 3 TG
  • European Starling, 12 TG
  • Vesper Sparrow, 2 TG
  • Savannah Sparrow, 6 TG
  • White-crown Sparrow, 8 TG
  • Dark-eyed Junco, 2 Oakwood Trails
  • Northern Cardinal, 1 TG
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 36+ TG
  • Meadowlark species, 75-100
  • Western Meadowlark, 1
  • Brewer’s Blackbird-probably but didn’t take time to really look for them
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 8 TG
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 100+ TG
  • House Finch, 6 TG
  • Lesser Goldfinch, 1 NE Abi
  • House Sparrow, 15 TG

Sightings by: Jimmie Dockery, June Estes, Kathy Hampton, Bill Hughes, Leon & Bera Johnson, Laura Packer, Esta Wigginton

March 16, 2007 – Waste Water Treatment Plant

Best bird(s):

  • Rock Wren, 1
  • American Pipit, 5
  • Brewer’s Blackbird, 75-100

Complete List (without exact numbers):

  • Gadwall, several
  • American Wigeon, several
  • Blue-winged Teal, dozen
  • Northern Shoveler, numerous
  • Northern Pintail, 10-15
  • Green-winged Teal, numerous
  • Ring-necked Duck, 2
  • Bufflehead, 4
  • Northern Harrier, 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 1
  • Sandhill Cranes, 100’s according to Charles, that roosted about a month ago.
  • Killdeer, 12
  • Greater Yellowlegs, dozen +
  • Least Sandpiper, 12
  • Baird’s Sandpiper, 4
  • Dowitchers, 24+
  • Wilson’s Snipe, 15
  • Greater Roadrunner, 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 2
  • Loggerhead Shrike, 2
  • Barn Swallow, 3
  • Rock Wren, 1
  • Eastern Bluebird, 1
  • Nothern Mockingbird, 1
  • European Starling, several
  • American Pipit, 5 to 7
  • Savannah Sparrow, 1
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow, 1
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 36+
  • Northern Cardinal, 4
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 100’s
  • Meadowlark species, numerous
  • Brewer’s Blackbird, 75-100
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 100’s
  • House Sparrow, 36

Sightings by KHampton, LgPacker

March 15, 2007 – Dyess AFB

Best bird(s):

  • Horned Lark, 55
  • Sprague’s Pipit, 1
  • Clay-colored Sparrow, 1 (FOS)

Complete List:

  • Red-shouldered Hawk, 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 1
  • American Kestrel, 4
  • Killdeer, 3
  • Greater Yellowlegs, 6
  • Lesser Yellowlegs, 2
  • Mourning Dove, 26
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 1
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Horned Lark, 55
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 1
  • Eastern Bluebird, 2
  • Northern Mockingbird, 4
  • European Starling, 2
  • Sprague’s Pipit, 1
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1
  • Clay-colored Sparrow, 1 FOS
  • Vesper Sparrow, 1
  • Savannah, Sparrow, 21
  • Song Sparrow, 7
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 11
  • Northern Cardinal, 4
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 5
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 164
  • Western Meadowlark, 2
  • Common Grackle, 2
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 2
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 1
  • House Finch, 2

Sightings by LgPacker, KWalton

March 13, 2007 – Dyess AFB

Best bird(s):

  • Marsh Wren, 1
  • Le Conte’s Sparrow, 1

Complete List:

  • Wild Turkey, 15
  • Northern Harrier, 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 1
  • American Kestrel, 1
  • Killdeer, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 71
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 13
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 8
  • Eastern Phoebe, 2
  • Blue Jay, 3
  • American Crow, 2
  • Cliff Swallow, 36
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 4
  • Cactus Wren, 5
  • Bewick’s Wren, 9
  • Marsh Wren, 1
  • Eastern Bluebird, 3
  • American Robin, 14
  • Northern Mockingbird, 26
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 5
  • European Starling, 4
  • Cedar Waxwing, 33
  • Field Sparrow, 2
  • Vesper Sparrow, 1
  • Lark Sparrow, 1
  • Savannah Sparrow, 3
  • Le Conte’s Sparrow, 1
  • Song Sparrow, 1
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow, 1
  • White-crowned Sparrow, 26
  • Dark-eyed Junco, 44
  • Northern Cardinal, 8
  • Pyrrhuloxia, 1
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 15
  • Meadowlark species, 12
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 8
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 8
  • House Finch, 11
  • House Sparrow, 1

Sighting by LgPacker, KWalton