Big Country Audubon Society

Stories from June, 2007

Babes, Bullock’s and Other Birds

Last week John English photographed the birds at Cedar Gap Farm and produced some amazing pictures:

PABU_FeedBaby_JAE

Who says birds don’t engage in sports? This looks like a hand-off (er..beak-off) from bill to bill! Wish I could see it again in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n! John got more great photos of some of the birds at Cedar Gap Farm. A Carolina Wren came visiting:

CARW

As did a Ladder-backed Woodpecker:

LBWO

And if you expect to see Bullock’s Orioles and other birds, you’ll have to check out the Babes, Bullock’s and Other Birds Gallery. There are some pictures of young birds in the Big Country that might be confusing to beginning birders, and a couple of pictures that remind us not all birds operate at one hundred percent. And for fun, I threw in a picture of a birder having a silly time. Betcha can’t guess who it is, hah!

June 30, 2007-DAFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • High number of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Western Kingbirds. The fledglings are sitting around in trees and utility wires waiting to be fed by parents.
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, juvenile

Complete List:

  • Black-bellied Whistling Duck, 2
  • Mallard, 4
  • Wild Turkey, 2
  • Northern Bobwhite, 6
  • Great Blue Heron, 1
  • Green Heron, 2
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 1 (juv)
  • Turkey Vulture, 5
  • Mississippi Kite, 5
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 2
  • Killdeer, 3
  • Rock Pigeon, 3
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove, 1
  • Mourning Dove, 92
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 3
  • Greater Roadrunner, 4
  • Common Nighthawk, 2
  • Chimney Swift, 1
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 3
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 8
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 6
  • Western Kingbird, 82
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 99
  • Bell’s Vireo, 1
  • Blue Jay, 4
  • American Crow, 2
  • Barn Swallow, 10
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 7
  • Bewick’s Wren, 11
  • Eastern Bluebird, 24
  • Northern Mockingbird, 60
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 2
  • European Starling, 84
  • Canyon Towhee, 1
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 1
  • Lark Sparrow, 7
  • Grasshopper Sparrow, 1 (juvenile)
  • Northern Cardinal, 4
  • Painted Bunting, 6
  • Dickcissel, 15
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 4
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 3
  • Common Grackle, 2
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 75
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 8
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 10
  • House Finch, 27
  • House Sparrow, 40

Sightings by LgPacker at the GC, down cantonment road, around WSA, and around the hospital/picnic grounds.

June 16, 2007 – Cedar Gap Farm

Best bird(s) of the day:

Complete List:

  • Black Vulture, 3
  • Turkey Vulture, 16
  • Mississippi Kite, 2
  • Mourning Dove, 11
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird, 5. It’s hard to estimate how many are actually present. The most hummingbirds seen at the same time was five.
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 3
  • Eastern Phoebe, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 3
  • Black-capped Vireo, 1
  • Western Scrub Jay, 3. Young are now coming to the feeders.
  • Cliff Swallow, 23
  • Carolina Chickadee, 2
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 2
  • Caroline Wren, 1; up close and personal. He flew into the observation house via an open door but we helped him exit through the back door.
  • Bewick’s Wren, 6
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 4
  • Canyon Towhee, 2
  • Lark Sparrow, 8
  • Northern Cardinal, 6
  • Indigo Bunting, 1
  • Painted Bunting, 9
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 3
  • House Finch, 11
  • Lesser Goldfinch, 1
  • House Sparrow, 2

Sightings by J English, K Hampton, J Howard, B Hughes, E Hutto, H Hutto, Lg Packer

Cedar Gap Farm’s Newest Resident: Black-capped Vireo

For those of you picking up today’s Abilene Reporter-News and seeing an article about Cedar Gap Farm and wanting more information, you came to the right place. Just click on Cedar Gap Farm in Birding Locations to read more about the birds and wildlife at the Hutto’s Cedar Gap Farm.

BCVI

As for the Black-capped Vireo, two were seen and a male photographed in early May. The Hutto’s were hopeful their years’ of hard work would attract this species and by finding them again in mid-June it is apparent the vireos are nesting somewhere on their property. The Hutto’s welcome birders to their place who want to look for this species; but the vireo has not established any pattern yet to be seen reliably. Updates on the birds’ nesting success will be posted as soon as someone can confirm either a nest or juveniles.

If you make a trip to see the vireos and don’t find them, you will not be disappointed in the other birds that are present. Who could be disappointed with the Painted Bunting…

PABU

…or the Indigo Bunting?

INBU

To see more pictures of the vireo and buntings visit Cedar Gap Farm Buntings and Vireo. To see what else is showing up at Cedar Gap Farm, spend a leisurely morning there and enjoy the wildlife!

June 13, 2007-DAFB

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Orchard Oriole, not because it’s all that great but because first time to document it on base was Sunday, June 10, 2007.

Complete List:

  • Northern Bobwhite, 5
  • Green Heron, 1
  • Mississippi Kite, 3
  • Swainson’s Hawk, 2 (plus two little white fuzzy heads were seen above the rim of the nest)
  • Red-tailed Hawk, 3 (plus one juvenile seen on the water tower)
  • Killdeer, 1
  • Rock Pigeon, 6
  • Mourning Dove, 48
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 1
  • Greater Roadrunner, 2
  • Chimney Swift, 9
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker, 2
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 5
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 6
  • Western Kingbird, 35
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 51
  • Bell’s Vireo, 2
  • Blue Jay, 1
  • Cliff Swallow, 338
  • Cave Swallow, 2
  • Barn Swallow, 10
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 10
  • Bewick’s Wren, 10
  • Eastern Bluebird, 16 (juveniles are beginning to show up, 3 recorded this morning)
  • American Robin, 5
  • Northern Mockingbird, 32
  • Curve-billed Thrasher, 1
  • European Starling, 28
  • Cassin’s Sparrow, 1
  • Lark Sparrow, 5
  • Northern Cardinal, 3
  • Painted Bunting, 6
  • Dickcissel. 6
  • Red-winged Blackbird, 5
  • Eastern Meadowlark, 2
  • Common Grackle, 6
  • Great-tailed Grackle, 33
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 8
  • Orchard Oriole, 1
  • Bullock’s Oriole, 7
  • House Finch, 21
  • House Sparrow, 13

Sightings by LgPacker

Walnut Creek Ranch Field Trip, May 19, 2007

WCR_metalwork

What a fantastic field trip we had to Walnut Creek Ranch! I don’t know where to begin the accolades so here goes:

The view was breathtaking:

WCR_viewfromtop_IMG_8766.JPG

…the accommodations wonderful:

WCR

…the bird banding brilliantly fascinating:

WCR_PABU

…the birding exciting:

WCR_SCOR

…the colorful caterpillars captivating:

WCR_red_caterpillar

…and the company, a riot!

BCAS group

The pictures are now up at the Walnut Creek Ranch Gallery. There’s a whole bunch of ‘em but you can pick and choose which ones to peruse. Our brainy webmaster added pagination to our website and the ability to add captions or descriptions to the thumbnail pictures. Take a look, you’ll like what you see.

As for the mysterious red caterpillar with yellow horns, check out Bugs for Thugs, an excellent website dealing with everything creepy (to some) and crawly. Remember, those beautiful birds we all love to watch consume vast quantities of bugs so you might want to log in from time to time to see what fasinating bugs walk (or crawl or fly) on this earth. Then razz Kelley when you see one snatched out of the air by our feathered friends. (Just kidding, Kelley.)

And now back to Walnut Creek Ranch. I’ll be adding this wonderful birding site to our Birding Locations soon with directions so you can visit again and again. Our gracious host, Kathi Johnson, welcomes birders and those looking for a place to just get away from it all. The short two-hour drive from Abilene is scenic and I’ll be looking forward to going back soon.

June 1, 2007 – Cedar Gap Farm

Best bird(s) of the day:

  • Black-capped Vireo, 1 (heard only)

List of birds seen:

  • Wild Turkey, 4 (3 toms; 1 hen)
  • Northern Bobwhite, 1 (heard)
  • Turkey Vulture, 11
  • Mississippi Kite, 2
  • Mourning Dove, 12
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 1
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird, 6
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, 1
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher, 6
  • Western Kingbird, 1
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, 2
  • Black-capped Vireo, 1 (heard)
  • Western Scrub Jay, 3
  • Cliff Swallow, 3
  • Chimney Swifts, 2
  • Carolina Chickadee, 2
  • Black-crested Titmouse, 5
  • Bewick’s Wren, 4
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 6
  • Northern Mockingbird, 4
  • Canyon Towhee, 2
  • Lark Sparrow, 15
  • Northern Cardinal, 5
  • Indigo Bunting, 1
  • Painted Bunting, 8
  • Brown-headed Cowbird, 4
  • House Finch, 7
  • House Sparrow, 1

Sightings by KHampton, LgPacker

Also saw Common Moorhen at Lake Kirby this morning