Big Country Audubon Society

Stories from May, 2007

May 31, 2007-DAFB

Best Bird(s) of the day:

  • Downy Woodpecker 1, because I don’t know if it’s a late wintering/migrant bird or if it’ll breed on base.
  • Carolina Chickadee 1, ditto. These two birds have only been recorded once before on base.


Complete List:

  • Northern Bobwhite, 1
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 2
  • Killdeer, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 19
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 4 (with one deaf–has to be–individual near the flightline)
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 1
  • Downy Woodpecker, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2
  • Western Kingbird, 5
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 9
  • Chihuahuan Raven, 3, flying over from their nest site into the golf course around 11:15 a.m.
  • Purple Martin, 1 flying overhead
  • Cliff Swallow, 54
  • Cave Swallow, 11
  • Carolina Chickadee, 1
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 1
  • Bewick’s Wren, 1
  • Northern Mockingbird, 5 (and 1 that was imitating Western Scrub Jay..wonder where he’s been?)
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 1
  • Canyon Towhee, 2
  • Northern Cardinal, 2
  • Painted Bunting, 5
  • Dickcissel, 1
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 6
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 1
  • Common Grackle, 1
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 7
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 7
  • House Finch, 3
  • House Sparrow, 1

Sightings by LgPacker in the southern diversion ditch next to the airfield (except for the CHRAs)

Memorial Weekend Birding

NOBO

Memorial Weekend found me quail counting at Dyess AFB. How does one count quail? Easy. Stand in one place, listen to calling quail, and count how many you hear. Move to the second place and count again and so on. Some wise guy (above) had to walk out of cover and wave at me. The other birds I saw over the weekend are showcased in the Memorial Weekend Gallery. I’ve got pictures of Dickcissel, Pyrrhuloxia, Roadrunner, and a couple of warblers, one pretty common for our area and the other not so common.

Hope you had a memorable Memorial Day, remembering to thank a vet (that would be for me my Dad who served in WWII) and remembering our freedom is not free. And the next time I’ve got to remember, uh, that rain plus clay makes a temporary parking lot.

May 28 and 31, 2007

  • MacGillivray’s Warbler, 1 DAFB, LP, 5-28
  • Cooper’s Hawk, 1 Cedar Gap Farm, HT & LP, 5-31
  • Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, 1 Cedar Gap Farm, HT, 5-31

Chihuahuan Ravens Nesting on Dyess AFB

CHRA_wedgetail

While out at Dyess birding in a Mesquite scrub area at the end of March, a Chihuahuan Raven shot out of a tree and soared above me cawing loudly. I watched it circle around me (of course I was capturing this behavior digitally, see above) and wondered why it was so agitated. When I heard a second raven call, I knew there had to be a nest nearby. A few minutes of diligently picking my way around lotebush, prickly pear, and everything else thorny, I located a nest high atop a Mesquite:

CHRA_onnest

Over the next two months John and I observed and documented the ravens at the nest. John captured a parent feeding the young:

CHRA

and I probably took the last picture of the young in the nest. Where the nest is located is hard to reach; the area floods when it rains (and it’s been raining a lot); the Mesquite foliage thickened and blocked the view; and mosquitoes are fairly bothersome. But we slogged through the sticky mud and biting bugs and captured some pictures of the nesting ravens. So if you want to see more raven pictures and maybe learn a thing or two about Chihuahuans, go to Chihuahuan Raven Gallery, and enjoy!

May 25-26-27, 2007-Various Places

Highlights from the past few days:

  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck, 1, 5-26, DAFB, LP
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 4: 2 adults, 2 juveniles, DAFB, 5-25, LP
  • American Avocets, 4, Lake Kirby 5-27, LB
  • Franklin’s Gull, 1, Lake Kirby 5-27, LB
  • Least Flycatcher, 1, 5-25 and 1, 5-26, DAFB, LP
  • Swainson’s Thrush, 1, NE Abilene, LP
  • Yellow Warbler, 1, 5-26, DAFB, LP
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1, 5-25, DAFB, LP

May 22, 2007-DAFB

Best Bird(s) of the day:

  • Cattle Egret, 1 perched in a Poplar at Totten Pond
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 2: 1 adult, 1 juvenile
  • Swainson’s Hawk chicks have hatched: telltale white down all around nest and foliage. Don’t know how many are in nest yet, Mom is very protective.
  • Lark Sparrow fledgling, got a picture which I will post soon.

Complete List:

  • Mallard, 2
  • Wild Turkey, 3
  • Northern Bobwhite, 5
  • Great Blue Heron, 1
  • Cattle Egret, 1
  • Green Heron, 3
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 2
  • Turkey Vulture, 2
  • Mississippi Kite, 6
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 1
  • Killdeer, 3
  • Spotted Sandpiper, 2
  • Rock Pigeon, 4
  • Mourning Dove, 31
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 4
  • Greater Roadrunner, 1
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 2
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 9
  • Western Kingbird, 17
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 39
  • Chihuahuan Raven, 1 (plus 3 in the nest)
  • Cliff Swallow, 38
  • Cave Swallow, 8
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 5
  • Eastern Bluebird, 6 (1 juv. was seen at WSA)
  • American Robin, 2
  • Northern Mockingbird, 14
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 2
  • European Starling, 28
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 2
  • Lark Sparrow, 7
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, 1
  • Northern Cardinal, 3
  • Painted Bunting, 5
  • Dickcissel, 11
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 3
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 5
  • Common Grackle, 9
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 3
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 9
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 7
  • House Finch, 11
  • House Sparrow, 5

Sightings by LgPacker @ various places

May 18, 2007-DAFB

Best Bird(s) of the day:

  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 3: 2 adults, 1 juv.
  • Yellow Warbler, 5

Complete List:

  • Wild Turkey, 4
  • Northern Bobwhite, 4
  • Green Heron, 1
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 3
  • Mississippi Kite, 4
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 1
  • Killdeer, 3
  • Mourning Dove, 24
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 1
  • Greater Roadrunner, 1
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 2
  • Western Kingbird, 14
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 34
  • Loggerhead Shrike, 1 in picnic grounds
  • Chihuahuan Raven 1
  • Cliff Swallow, 61
  • Cave Swallow, 9
  • Cactus Wren, 1
  • Bewick’s Wren, 4
  • Eastern Bluebird, 6
  • American Robin, 1
  • Northern Mockingbird, 10
  • European Starling, 30
  • Yellow Warbler, 5
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 3
  • Lark Sparrow, 4
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, 1
  • Northern Cardinal, 2
  • Painted Bunting, 2
  • Dickcissel, 6
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 7
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 1
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 16
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 2
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 5
  • House Finch, 10

Sightings by LgPacker @ GC, WSA, and Picnic area

May 15, 2007-DAFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Spotted Sandpiper, 9 (high number, usually seen singly)
  • Purple Martin, 2 checking out the PUMA house on the GC
  • Yellow Warbler, 1

Complete List:

  • Mallard, 2
  • Blue-winged Teal, 1
  • Wild Turkey, 8
  • Northern Bobwhite, 3
  • Great Blue Heron, 1
  • Green Heron, 2
  • Turkey Vulture, 2
  • Mississippi Kite, 9
  • American Coot, 2
  • Killdeer, 4
  • Spotted Sandpiper, 9
  • Rock Pigeon, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 21
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 3
  • Chimney Swift, 3
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 6
  • Western Kingbird, 19
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 43
  • American Crow, 1
  • Chihuahuan Raven, 5 (of which 3 are nestlings)
  • Purple Martin, 2 (M & F)
  • Cliff Swallow, 26
  • Cave Swallow, 4
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 8
  • Cactus Wren, 1
  • Bewick’s Wren, 8
  • Eastern Bluebird, 12
  • American Robin, 1
  • Northern Mockingbird, 23
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 1
  • European Starling, 20 (all young, flocking together)
  • Cedar Waxwing, 23
  • Yellow Warbler, 1
  • Chipping Sparrow, 3
  • Lark Sparrow, 11
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, 1
  • Northern Cardinal, 1
  • Painted Bunting, 3
  • Dickcissel, 5
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 15
  • Western Meadowlark, 1
  • Common Grackle, 8
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 9
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 8
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 4
  • House Finch, 9

Sightings by LgPacker, @GC, WSA, and GC’s DD

Moms Working Hard

This past Sunday, May 13, was Mother’s Day. Since this site is all about birds and nature, I thought you might like to see what the mother birds were doing last week. I accidentally stumbled upon several species of birds tending to nests at Dyess AFB. I spotted this mother cardinal bringing food to her babies:

NOCA_worms

Thank goodness our mothers didn’t force these green wiggly things down our throats (although this reminds me of some of those green vegetables I had to eat).

This Ash-throated Flycatcher was also hard at work:

ATFL_cricket

I think her menu item was cricket.

Not all birds are on the protein-only diet, some birds eat fruit as evidenced by this male Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

RBGR

For the record, Rose-breasted Grosebeaks aren’t normally found in Abilene. BCAS has less than a handful of Abilene records; they are pretty rare. They are more common in the mature eastern forests. So this find was a real treat!

If you’ll click on Moms Working Hard gallery, you can see other photos of the birds I saw last week. And if you haven’t already, thank your mom for all she does, has done, and will do for you. Moms are the best!

May 11, 2007 – DAFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Least Flycatcher, 2
  • Yellow Warbler, 7
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1 (FOS, first time documented on DAFB)


Other highlights:
(not a complete list; morning was extremely foggy, winds from the NNW)

  • Wild Turkey, 4
  • Green Heron, 1
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  • Mississippi Kite, 9
  • Least Flycatcher, 2
  • Bell’s Vireo, 1
  • Eastern Bluebird, 1
  • Cedar Waxwing, 15
  • Yellow Warbler, 7
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1
  • Painted Bunting, 1
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 2

Sightings by LgPacker @ GC