Big Country Audubon Society

Stories from November, 2008

December 2008 Calendar

Snowman_tree_Santa_IMG_0928.JPG

December 4, 2008: Christmas Party!

Who: All Big Country Audubon members and their families
What: Christmas Party
When: Thursday, December 4, at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Rose Park Activity Center located at S. 7th and Barrow, Room A
Bring: Your favorite finger foods, snacks, and a wrapped nature-related gift for the Christmas gift exchange (completely voluntary). Please limit your gift to $10.00.
BCAS will provide: Drinks, plates, and napkins. A very short program (15 to 20 minutes) will be presented!

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Saturday, December 13, 2008: Field Trip to Cedar Gap Farm.

We’ll plan to meet at the Hutto’s at 8 a.m and leave before lunch. This is a great field trip to introduce beginners to the joys of birdwatching so fill your car with friends and enjoy the short drive. Our target birds are Red-breasted Nuthatch (pictured above), Spotted Towhee (pictured below), and White-throated Sparrow. For directions and a map, click on birding locations.

Spotted Towhee

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, January 3, 2009

This year’s 109th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted Saturday, January 3, 2009. If you have never been involved in a CBC or you are a die hard participant, now is the time to get involved. We divide into groups with each group responsible for a pre-selected area in and around Abilene. Each group leader determines the start time, when to take lunch breaks (or whether to bring a lunch), and when to call it quits. You do not have to know what birds you are observing. There will be someone in the group who can identify the species; you only need to know how to count. If you would like to stay home and watch your feeders and report the birds seen at your feeders, we need these results, too.

If you would like to help us count birds this year, please contact us through this web site. Leave your name and a contact e-mail or phone number and I will contact you and assign you to a group. That group’s leader will then contact you regarding time and place to meet. After a day of counting, we will all meet at 6:00 p.m. at my house to turn in the tally sheets, eat, and swap stories.

CBC counts are used as long-term population trends of winter birds. Conducted since 1900, National Audubon uses the data to determine which bird species are increasing, declining, or holding steady. A small fee of five dollars per person aged 19 and older is required for participation. Feeder watchers and those 18 years old and younger are not required to pay a fee. This fee helps offset the printing costs of the Summary of the CBC which every participant receives.

So join us this year. We always have lots of fun; someone usually finds a rarity; and you’ll be contributing to one of the most powerful conservation tools in use today!

November 30, 2008 – Lake Kirby

Lake Kirby got birded twice and in different areas! Read on for the sightings.

  • Pied-billed Grebe – 1
  • American White Pelican – 75
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 27
  • Great Blue Heron – 2
  • Spotted Sandpiper – 1
  • Least Sandpiper – 6
  • Ring-billed Gull – 60
  • Bonaparte’s Gull – 20
  • American Coot – 16
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 1 (on Maple St)
  • Gadwall – 6
  • Mourning Dove – 2
  • Marsh Wren – 1
  • Northern Mockingbird – 2
  • Common Yellowthroat – 1
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 12

Above sightings by Lorie Black and Linda White

Southwest corner of Kirby at sunset:

  • Gadwall – 10
  • Mallard – 2
  • Cinnamon Teal – 2
  • Northern Shoveler – 20
  • Green-winged Teal – 4
  • Canvasback – 4
  • Bufflehead – 2
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 5
  • American White Pelican – 10
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 2
  • Great Blue Heron – 5
  • American Coot – 100
  • Killdeer – 2
  • Ring-billed Gull – 20
  • Rock Pigeon – 10
  • Mourning Dove – 75
  • European Starling – 200
  • Vesper Sparrow – 2
  • Song Sparrow – 1
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 4
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 10
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 10
  • Common Grackle – 500
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 700
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 100

Above sightings by Dan Symonds

November 27, 2008 – Lake Kirby

  • Gadwall – 14
  • Mallard (Domestic type) – 4
  • Blue-winged Teal – 2
  • Ring-necked Duck – 4
  • Bufflehead – 2
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 11
  • Horned Grebe – 4
  • American White Pelican – 10
  • Great Blue Heron – 4
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
  • American Coot – 30
  • Killdeer – 4
  • Spotted Sandpiper – 2
  • Least Sandpiper – 15
  • Bonaparte’s Gull – 1
  • Ring-billed Gull – 40
  • Rock Pigeon – 35
  • Mourning Dove – 4
  • Belted Kingfisher – 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 2
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • Carolina Wren – 1
  • Bewick’s Wren – 5
  • House Wren – 3
  • Marsh Wren – 4
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • Northern Mockingbird – 4
  • Curve-billed Thrasher – 1
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – 2
  • Spotted Towhee – 5
  • Chipping Sparrow – 1
  • Field Sparrow – 3
  • Song Sparrow – 2
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 3
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 12
  • Northern Cardinal – 10
  • Pyrrhuloxia – 2
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 40
  • Common Grackle – 20
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 10
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 30
  • American Goldfinch – 15

Sightings by Dan Symonds

November 22, 2008 – Elm Creek Reservoir (Lake Winters)

Highlights:

  • Mountain Bluebirds
  • Lark Buntings
  • American Goldfinches

Complete List:

  • Gadwall 4
  • Ring-necked Duck 8
  • Bufflehead 6
  • Northern Bobwhite 20
  • Pied-billed Grebe 2
  • Double-crested Cormorant 51
  • Great Blue Heron 4
  • Northern Harrier 2
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
  • Cooper’s Hawk 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk 2
  • American Kestrel 3
  • American Coot 10
  • Killdeer 2
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 4
  • Mourning Dove 35
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
  • Northern Flicker 1
  • Eastern Phoebe 2
  • Loggerhead Shrike 3
  • Bewick’s Wren 1
  • Marsh Wren 3
  • Eastern Bluebird 6
  • Mountain Bluebird 15
  • Northern Mockingbird 9
  • European Starling 3
  • Spotted Towhee 3
  • Chipping Sparrow 3
  • Field Sparrow 2
  • Vesper Sparrow 10
  • Lark Bunting 21
  • Savannah Sparrow 8
  • Song Sparrow 1
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
  • White-crowned Sparrow 30
  • Northern Cardinal 4
  • Pyrrhuloxia 6
  • Red-winged Blackbird 10
  • meadowlark sp. 150
  • Common Grackle 5
  • Great-tailed Grackle 10
  • American Goldfinch 34
  • House Sparrow 2

Sightings by Dan Symonds

No Theme, Just Pictures

Most blogs have some sort of theme: species, seasonal, rarities, or trip. This blog is none of the aforementioned. I have a hodge podge of interesting photos I wanted to share with you that others have sent in. Such as this photo of a Loggerhead Shrike taken by Joe Thompson:

Loggerhead_Shrike

Joe happened to find the shrike posing nicely in front of his red workshop. What the shrike did next….well…you’ll have to take a look.

The next group of fascinating photos comes from Kim Walton; he captured the wild nightlife at Dyess AFB with his wildlife camera. Do you know what this is coming to water?

BNOW_lands

And below is a photo of the Eastern Bluebird eggs Marsha found in her mom’s nestbox at the end of the season:

Bluebird_Eggs

Me, I’ve pretty much been a slacker; just bummin’ around outside listening to quail and watching the leaves turn:

Fall

Hey, we really do have fall in the Big Country.

Yep, I told you it was a No Theme Gallery. Take a look at the rest of the pictures, I’m sure you’ll enjoy! Thanks to all who contributed their photos. Please keep ‘em coming!

November 12, 2008 – Cedar Creek Area

Highlights:

  • Wood Ducks
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Audubon’s Warbler


Complete List:

  • Wood Duck – 8
  • Wild Turkey – 17
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 1
  • American Kestrel – 1
  • Mourning Dove – 1
  • White-winged Dove – 12
  • Inca Dove – 4
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 1
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • Northern Flicker – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 1
  • Blue Jay – 4
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 1
  • Carolina Wren – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • American Robin – 3
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • Brown Thrasher – 1
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s – 2
  • Spotted Towhee – 3
  • Song Sparrow – 5
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 2
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 1
  • Northern Cardinal – 5
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 1
  • Western Meadowlark – 1
  • House Finch – 2
  • American Goldfinch – 15
  • House Sparrow – 10

Sightings by LgPacker

November 9, 2008 – SeaBee Park

Complete List:

  • Gadwall 14
  • Blue-winged Teal – 10
  • Northern Shoveler – 30
  • Canvasback – 10
  • Ring-necked Duck – 10
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 11
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 75
  • Great Blue Heron – 2
  • Great Egret – 3
  • Northern Harrier – 1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 1
  • American Kestrel – 3
  • American Coot – 91
  • Killdeer – 25
  • Ring-billed Gull – 105
  • Mourning Dove – 4
  • Great Horned Owl – 1
  • Belted Kingfisher – 2
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 1
  • Northern Flicker – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 2
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 2
  • Rock Wren – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 4
  • American Robin – 2
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • European Starling – 5
  • American Pipit – 11
  • Chipping Sparrow – 2
  • Vesper Sparrow – 8
  • Savannah Sparrow – 8
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 6
  • Northern Cardinal – 4
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 20
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 30
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 100

Sightings by Dan Symonds

November 8, 2008 – Lake OH Ivie

Highlights:

  • Wood Duck
  • Thousands of other ducks
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Common Loon
  • Western Grebe
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (a late sighting)
  • Five species of wren!
  • Nine species of sparrow!


Complete List:

  • Wood Duck – 2
  • American Wigeon – 1,000
  • Gadwall – 48
  • Green-winged Teal – 18
  • Mallard – 24
  • Northern Pintail – 6
  • Northern Shoveler – 1
  • Canvasback – 750
  • Redhead – 1,000
  • Ring-necked Duck – 12
  • Lesser Scaup – 1
  • Bufflehead – 9
  • Hooded Merganser – 1
  • Ruddy Duck – 4
  • Common Loon – 2
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 6
  • Western Grebe – 1
  • American White Pelican – 52
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 350
  • Great Blue Heron – 7
  • Great Egret – 4
  • Black Vulture – 10
  • Turkey Vulture – 1
  • Northern Harrier – 2
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 16
  • Osprey – 5
  • American Kestrel – 8
  • American Coot – 2,000
  • Killdeer – 3
  • Spotted Sandpiper – 1
  • Ring-billed Gull – 24
  • Rock Pigeon – 12
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 3
  • Mourning Dove – 8
  • White-winged Dove – 6
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker – 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 3
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – 1
  • Loggerhead Shrike – 3
  • Chihuahuan Raven – 1
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 2
  • Verdin – 8
  • Cactus Wren – 1
  • Rock Wren – 1
  • Canyon Wren – 1
  • Bewick’s Wren – 2
  • Marsh Wren – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 1
  • Eastern Bluebird – 2
  • Northern Mockingbird – 24
  • Curve-billed Thrasher – 2
  • European Starling – 12
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – 1
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 7
  • Spotted Towhee – 1
  • Canyon Towhee – 2
  • Chipping Sparrow – 4
  • Field Sparrow – 1
  • Vesper Sparrow – 2
  • Lark Sparrow – 4
  • Savannah Sparrow – 3
  • Song Sparrow – 2
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 2
  • Northern Cardinal – 4
  • Pyrrhuloxia – 7
  • Red-wigned Blackbird – 12
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 36
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 238
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 75
  • House Finch – 6
  • Pine Siskin – 1
  • House Sparrow – 1

Mammals Seen:

  • Deer – 12
  • Nutria – 6
  • Armadillo – 1

Sightings by LorieBlack, KathyHampton, BeraJohnson, LauraPacker, DanSymonds, LindaWhite

November Announcements

November 6, 2008: General Meeting, 7 p.m.

Bird Density and Mortality at Windows, presented by Heidi Trudell

Please come to our November meeting and hear Heidi Trudell discuss her two-year study on birds flying into windows. Heidi studied bird/window strikes while attending Principia College in Illinois from 2003 to 2005. We are all aware that birds hit windows, but there have been few scientific studies done on this subject.

Window Strike

Above: actual imprint of a bird-strike on a glass window pane. (c) Heidi Trudell, 2008

Heidi’s list of accomplishments besides Birder Extraordinaire has been as an intern at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in spring 2006, counting hawks for Hawk Watch International at Smith Point in fall 2006, bird/bat mortality study during the preconstruction phase of the Lone Star Wind Farm 2006-2007; and she currently works part-time as an avian response team member for the wind farm while attending Cisco Jr. College. In her spare time she enjoys birding, herping, everything remotely connected to solar cars, and volunteering for the Abilene Zoo working with Attwater’s Prairie Chickens and rehabbing birds.

Please join us November 6, 2008, at 7 p.m. at Rose Park Activity Center, Room A, South 7th and Barrow Streets. Our meetings are free and open to the public.

 

November 8, 2008: Field Trip to Lake O.H. Ivie

MOBL

Above: Mountain Bluebirds drink from a roadside puddle around Lake O.H. Ivie, 2007.

Please join us for our November 8, 2008 field trip to Lake O.H. Ivie. We’ll leave from the Burger King on Antilley Drive at 7:00am. Please come about 30 minutes early if you plan to order breakfast. We’ll carpool to the lake. Pack snacks or a lunch; although Lake Ivie has two cafes that are highly recommended! We’ll look for returning waterfowl and the Bald Eagles that frequently winter on the lake. Past years’ highlights include Pacific Loon, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Loon, Sage Thrasher, Mountain Bluebirds, Hooded Mergansers, and Porcupine. If you don’t go, you’ll never know what you will miss! For more information, check out the Lake Ivie section under Birding Locations.

November 2, 2008 – Abilene State Park

Highlights:

  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Brown Creeper, FOS
  • Orange-crowned Warbler 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler 14
  • Pine Siskins, FOS for the Park

Complete List:

  • Blue-winged Teal 2
  • Double-crested Cormorant 30
  • Great Blue Heron 1
  • Black Vulture 22
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
  • Red-shouldered Hawk 1
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
  • White-winged Dove 15
  • Mourning Dove 8
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
  • Downy Woodpecker 1
  • Northern Flicker 3
  • Eastern Phoebe 2
  • Blue Jay 5
  • Carolina Chickadee 10
  • Black-crested Titmouse 10
  • Brown Creeper 1
  • Carolina Wren 3
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
  • Eastern Bluebird 4
  • American Robin 51
  • Orange-crowned Warbler 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler 14
  • Spotted Towhee 2
  • Chipping Sparrow 4
  • Clay-colored Sparrow 4
  • Northern Cardinal 13
  • House Finch 5
  • Pine Siskin 30

Sightings by Dan Symonds