Big Country Audubon Society

Stories by Laura

The Patches Are Here!

pabu

The long-awaited Painted Bunting patches are now here!  They are very handsome and even more striking than the above photo depicts.  One will look awesome on your birding vest; two will look stereoscopic on your hat; and three will look ridiculous plastered to your day pack – but who am I to comment on your style of club spirit.

The patches are only $6.00 a piece.  If you’d like one, two, or more, please contact us with your name, snail mail address, and how many patches you want.  Then send your check (addressed to Big Country Audubon)  to:

Big Country Audubon Society

P.O. Box 569

Abilene, Texas 79604

We will get your patches to you as fast as the US Post Office operates, around five to seven working days.  If you want your patches yesterday, call me (I’m in the phone book) or our hotline at 325-691-8981 and we can arrange a time for you to come over and pick them up.  If you are a patient birder, we will have the patches at our February 5 meeting for your purchase.

Proceeds from these patches will support the Club’s activities and they are a great way to promote our Club.  Don’t let them all fly away before you get yours!

January 10, 2009 – Area Sightings

Abilene State Park

Highlights:

  • Wood Duck
  • Brown Creeper

Complete list:

  • Wood Duck – 2
  • Great Blue Heron – 2
  • Black Vulture – 6
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
  • Mourning Dove – 2
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • Eastern Phoebe – 1
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • Carolina Chickadee – 7
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 11
  • Brown Creeper – 1
  • Carolina Wren – 5
  • Bewick’s Wren – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3
  • Western Bluebird – 5
  • American Robin – 15
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • Cedar Waxwing – 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 5
  • Spotted Towhee – 2
  • Song Sparrow – 1
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 11
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 21
  • Northern Cardinal – 13
  • meadowlark sp. – 11
  • Pine Siskin – 11
  • American Goldfinch – 10

Lake Fort Phantom Highlights:

  • Common Merganser – west side boat dock
  • Mountain Bluebirds – East Lake Road

NE Abilene Highlights:

  • Lesser Goldfinches, coming to feeders at residences’ houses
  • Greater Scaup, I-20 pond

Sightings by Lorie Black, Kathy Hampton, Laura Packer, Dan Symonds

What Happened in December?

Nothing happens in the bird world in December, right?  Besides we’re too busy with holidays, CBCs (I did three!),  shopping, baking, and entertaining.  But while we were sleeping and waking and running, some of you noticed the birds and sent us photos.

A lingering Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was found at the wastewater treatment plant in Jones County on December 5:

stfl-img_0219-webIt set the latest “last-seen-in-the-fall” record for the Big Country.

Another flycatcher, the Great Kiskadee, was found December 29 behind a private residence along Cedar Creek in northeast Abilene:

gkis-jpacker_081229_8809webThis makes the “third-consecutive-year” record we’ve found this large Valley resident in the Big Country.

And the charm (third flycatcher) was this young Vermilion Flycatcher seen at SeaBee Park on the very first day of the new year:

vefl-ldb-jan-1-2009webEither this is the latest record or earliest record we have for Vermilion Flycatcher.  I don’t know…I’m confused.

And a little orange hummingbird braved the chill December air in Jones County:

ruhu-img_0260webRufous Hummingbird

Our usual winter residents have been seen in the usual places on fences:

ssha-mg_2586webSharp-shinned Hawk

in the brush:

webl-mg_4132webWestern Bluebird

and coming to the watering hole:

fosp-dsc_0441webFox Sparrow

But wait!  We have other birds that stepped in front of our cameras and in front of our cars   (It’s not gory; Heidi found an excellent specimen.)  I’ve put their pictures up at the December 2008 Gallery.  I even caught that  jolly-bearded, red-suited guy stopping by to grab a treat!

Thanks to those that sent in photos this past month!

January, 2009 Calendar

Board Meeting: Tuesday, January 13, 2009  – 7:00 pm. Board meeting at MezAmiz Coffee Shop on South 7th.  Come early (6:30pm) to order dinner.  All members are welcome.

geese-webimg_9693

Field Trip: Saturday, January 17, 2009 – 7:30 am. Wild Goose Chase in Haskell County!  We’ll carpool from the Towne Crier on Business 20, leaving at 7:45 am.  Come earlier to enjoy their breakfast buffet.  Our target species are geese (Greater White-fronted, Canada, Snow, and Ross’s), hawks and falcons.  There’s a possibility we could see a Brant, too!

eabl-f-checks-box

Wildlife Landscape Conference:  Saturday, January 24, 2009 – 8:30 am. In the Extension Conference Room at the Taylor County Extension Center.  Sponsored by the Big Country Master Naturalists, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and AgriLIFE Extension.  Topics covered will be Gardening for Wildlife, Hummingbird Habitats, Attracting Bluebirds, Managing Nestboxes, Backyard and Landowner Certification, Wildlife Exemption Requirements, and much more!  Registration is $15 and this includes a box lunch.  For more information please contact Taylor County Extension Office, 1982 Lytle Way, Abilene, TX 79602, Phone: 325-672-6048, or e-mail Taylor-tx@tamu.edu for more information.

February meeting:  February 5, 2009: to be announced

January 6, 2009 – SeaBee Park

Highlight:

  • Vermilion Flycatcher, 1 young male found Jan 1 and still present
  • White-faced Ibis – 1 juvenile

Complete List:

  • Gadwall – 10
  • Northern Shoveler – 52
  • Northern Pintail – 1
  • Green-winged Teal – 14
  • Bufflehead – 4
  • Pied-billed Grebe – 3
  • Snowy Egret – 2
  • White-faced Ibis – 1
  • Northern Harrier –  1
  • American Coot – 100
  • Greater Yellowlegs – 4
  • Ring-billed Gull – 2
  • Northern Flicker – 1
  • Eastern Phoebe –  1
  • Vermilion Flycatcher – 1
  • Eastern Bluebird – 6
  • Northern Mockingbird – 4
  • European Starling – 2
  • meadowlark species – 52

Sightings by Dan Symonds

2008 Christmas Bird Count

This is the complete list of species seen on the 2008 Christmas bird count conducted January 3, 2009.  Our number of species was down probably due to the lack of recent rainfall.  Duck numbers were also low, with some area ponds completely void of ducks.  We did not have access to some private and government property; however, we saw two new species never counted on our CBC before!  Total species seen: 97, down from last year’s 112. A HUGH thank you to all those that participated (see list below).

Ducks, Geese and Swans:

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck – 86
  • American Wigeon – 74
  • Gadwall – 145
  • Green-winged Teal – 38
  • Mallard – 232
  • Northern Pintail – 32
  • Northern Shoveler – 114
  • Canvasback – 2
  • Redhead – 1
  • Ring-necked Duck – 32
  • Lesser Scaup – 12
  • Bufflehead – 12
  • Hooded Merganser – 8

Turkeys:

  • Wild Turkey – 5

Grebes:

  • Pied-billed Grebe – 12
  • Eared Grebe – 83

Pelicans:

  • American White Pelican – 77

Cormorants:

  • Double-crested Cormorant – 308

Herons, Egrets and Bitterns:

  • Great Blue Heron – 15
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron – 2

Hawks, Eagles and Kites:

  • Northern Harrier – 14
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 5
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 41

Falcons:

  • American Kestrel – 32

Rails, Gallinules and Coots:

  • Common Moorhen – 1
  • American Coot – 197

Cranes:

  • Sandhill Crane – 1

Plovers and Lapwings:

  • Killdeer – 9

Sandpipers:

  • Wilson’s Snipe – 7
  • Greater Yellowlegs – 7
  • Spotted Sandpiper – 3
  • Least Sandpiper – 15

Gulls:

  • Ring-billed Gulls – 90

Pigeons and Doves:

  • Rock Pigeon – 368
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 909
  • Mourning Dove – 479
  • White-winged Dove – 115
  • Inca Dove – 2

Cuckoos:

  • Greater Roadrunner – 3

Barn-Owls:

  • Barn Owls – 8

Owls:

  • Short-eared Owl – 1, a first for our CBC

Kingfishers :

  • Belted Kingfisher – 5

Woodpeckers:

  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker – 4
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 10
  • Downy Woodpecker – 2
  • Northern Flicker – 3

Tyrant Flycatchers:

  • Eastern Phoebe – 3
  • Vermilion flycatcher – 1, a first for our CBC

Shrikes:

  • Loggerhead Shrike – 10

Crows and Jays:

  • Blue Jay – 60
  • Western Scrub-Jay – 4
  • American Crow – 9
  • Common Raven – 2

Chickadees and Tits:

  • Carolina Chickadee – 23
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 34

Creepers:

  • Brown Creeper – 2

Wrens:

  • Cactus Wren – 2
  • Carolina Wren – 4
  • Bewick’s Wren – 8
  • House Wren – 2
  • Marsh Wren – 3

Kinglets:

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 9

Thrushes:

  • Eastern Bluebird – 26
  • Western Bluebird – 40
  • Mountain Bluebird – 12
  • American Robin – 33

Mockingbirds and Thrashers:

  • Northern Mockingbird – 156
  • Curve-billed Thrasher – 6

Starlings:

  • European Starling – 329

Wagtails and Pipits:

  • American Pipit – 3

Waxwings:

  • Cedar Waxwing – 98

Wood Warblers:

  • Orange-crowned Warbler – 5
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 17

Sparrows, Towhees, Juncos:

  • Spotted Towhee – 19
  • Canyon Towhee – 1
  • Chipping Sparrow – 15
  • Field Sparrow – 11
  • Vesper Sparrow – 41
  • Savannah Sparrow – 30
  • Fox Sparrow – 1
  • Song Sparrow – 9
  • Lincoln’s sparrow – 5
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 211
  • White-throated Sparrow – 3
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 92

Saltators, Cardinals and Allies:

  • Northern Cardinal – 106
  • Pyrrhuloxia – 7

Blackbirds, Orioles, Grackles, etc:

  • Red-winged Blackbird – 178
  • Meadowlark species – 697
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 3
  • Western Meadowlark – 5
  • Common Grackle – 33
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 397
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 4274

Finches, Siskins, Crossbills:

  • House Finch – 94
  • Pine Siskin – 74
  • American Goldfinch – 278

Old World Sparrows:

  • House Sparrow – 392

Thanks to our participants in the 2008 Christmas Bird Count: Lorie Black, Joyce Curtis, Tom-Toni Dolan, June Estes, Kathy Hampton, Joan Howard, Earlene Hutto, Benji Jameson, Bera Johnson, Vance-Charla McCracken, Betty Miller, Amy-Jay-Laura Packer, Shelly Perry, Derek Pursell, Edna Ross, Marsha Stephens, Dan Symonds, Tom-Nichole Underwood, Lisa Vickrey, Charline Wheeler, Linda White, WK-Carolyn Wiggins

December 27, 2008 – Dyess AFB, NE

Complete List:

  • Gadwall – 4
  • Northern Shoveler – 9
  • Redhead – 2
  • Bufflehead – 2
  • Wild Turkey – 38
  • Northern Harrier – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 8
  • American Kestrel –  1
  • Ring-billed Gull – 3
  • Rock Pigeon – 10
  • White-winged Dove – 2
  • Mourning Dove – 21
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker – 2
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 2
  • Northern Flicker – 1
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • American Crow – 6
  • Chihuahuan Raven – 2
  • Carolina Chickadee – 2
  • Eastern Bluebird – 1
  • Northern Mockingbird – 9
  • European Starling – 40
  • Spotted Towhee – 1
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 4
  • Northern Cardinal – 2
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 1
  • Great-tailed Grackle – 10
  • House Finch – 5
  • House Sparrow – 1

Sightings by Dan Symonds

December 26, 2008 – Lake Kirby

Highlight:

  • Common Goldeneye

Complete List:

  • Gadwall   –  32
  • Mallard (Domestic type)  –   6
  • Cinnamon Teal  –   2
  • Northern Shoveler  –   4
  • Northern Pintail   –  1
  • Green-winged Teal  –   22
  • Ring-necked Duck  –   1
  • Bufflehead  –   2
  • Common Goldeneye   –  1
  • Pied-billed Grebe  –   5
  • Eared Grebe   –  3
  • American White Pelican   –  52
  • Neotropic Cormorant  –  2
  • Double-crested Cormorant   –  35
  • Great Blue Heron  –   7
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk  –   1
  • American Coot   –  300
  • Killdeer   –  3
  • Spotted Sandpiper  –   2
  • Greater Yellowlegs   –  3
  • Least Sandpiper  –   21
  • Bonaparte’s Gull  –   3
  • Ring-billed Gull  –   55
  • Rock Pigeon  –  300
  • White-winged Dove  –   30
  • Mourning Dove   –  8
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker   –  1
  • Marsh Wren   –  2
  • Northern Mockingbird  –  6
  • Orange-crowned Warbler   –  2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler  –   2
  • Field Sparrow  –   3
  • Swamp Sparrow  –   2
  • White-crowned Sparrow  –   43
  • Northern Cardinal  –   7
  • Red-winged Blackbird  –   42
  • Eastern Meadowlark   –  1
  • Great-tailed Grackle  –   31
  • House Finch   –  5

Sightings by Dan Symonds

December 21, 2008 – Lake Abilene

Complete List:

  • Pied-billed Grebe – 4
  • Black Vulture – 6
  • Northern Harrier – 1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • American Kestrel – 1
  • American Coot – 40
  • Killdeer – 1
  • Ring-billed Gull – 10
  • Eastern Phoebe – 1
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • Carolina Chickadee – 4
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3
  • Eastern Bluebird – 2
  • American Robin – 2
  • Northern Mockingbird – 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 6
  • Spotted Towhee – 5
  • Chipping Sparrow – 8
  • Field Sparrow – 4
  • Song Sparrow – 2
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 4
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 10
  • Northern Cardinal – 4
  • American Goldfinch – 3

Sightings by Dan Symonds, in 4° wind chill, staying a tad warmer than the two hunters in a metal boat on the water.

December 13, 2008 – Maddin Prairie Preserve

Highlights:

  • Wood Duck
  • Prairie Falcon
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Sprague’s Pipit
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • Le Conte’s Sparrow
  • Grasshopper Sparrow

Complete List:

  • Wood Duck – 1, male
  • Northern Bobwhite – 10
  • Northern Harrier – 6
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 3
  • Prairie Falcon – 2
  • Sandhill Crane – 300, flying over
  • Mourning Dove – 350
  • Greater Roadrunner – 2
  • Great Horned Owl – 2
  • Burrowing Owl – 1
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker – 4
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 2
  • Loggerhead Shrike – 3
  • Chihuahuan Raven – 2
  • common Raven – 1
  • Black-crested Titmouse – 3
  • Bewick’s Wren – 8
  • Cactus Wren – 1
  • House Wren – 2
  • Marsh Wren – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • Eastern Bluebird – 10
  • Northern Mockingbird – 12
  • Curve-billed Thrasher – 1
  • European Starling – 15
  • Sprague’s Pipit -2
  • Spotted Towhee – 5
  • Canyon Towhee – 1
  • Field Sparrow – 2
  • Vesper Sparrow – 35
  • Black-throated Sparrow – 1
  • Lark Bunting – 6
  • Savannah Sparrow – 35
  • Le Conte’s Sparrow – 1
  • Grasshopper Sparrow – 1
  • Song Sparrow – 20
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 4
  • White-crowned Sparrow – 100
  • Northern Cardinal – 6
  • Pyrrhuloxia – 5
  • Meadowlark species – 50
  • House Finch – 15
  • American Goldfinch – 6

Sightings by Kirsti Harms, Pat Merkord, Amy Packer, Jay Packer, Laura Packer
Please see the Maddin Prairie Preserve web site for more information. BCAS will be scheduling a field trip to this prairie in the near future.