Friday, January 16, 2015

This Coming Week's Bird Events

The Big Day for Wild Bird Rescue is really happening Saturday, January 17. We had so many teams members drop out because they already had plans for the 10th, we needed to move it once again. But we are at full strength for Saturday and were even able to add a third team, so it should be a great day. The weather promises to be decent (it is January, after all!)

Next Tuesday, January 20, is the monthly meeting of the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club at 7 PM at the NALC building at 5310 Southwest Parkway (next to Wichita Valley nursery.) We'll be discussing the Great Backyard Bird Count coming up in February.

Do you know that another way to keep up with birding events in our area is to check out the bulletin board in Wild Birds Unlimited? Katherine Smith posts details in her store.

Good birding!

Birdy Weekend

A little slow getting to this post, but I wanted to post a summary of the birds last weekend.

Saturday, January 10, was the monthly bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park. Jenny, June and Mike came. It was a chilly morning out at the Park--I was surprised so many came out. The morning started out with some good sightings, but then tapered off.  But for an hour walk, we did well on birds. I think we all enjoyed the eastern bluebirds most. We watched a flock of 10 - 12 for some time. Birds seen included: Canada goose, hooded merganser, bufflehead, white pelican, double-crested cormorant, ring-billed gull, ladder-backed woodpecker, northern mockingbird, cardinal, eastern bluebird, white-crowned sparrow, eastern meadowlark, junco, and red-winged blackbird.

On the way home, I noted an American kestrel on the wire.

On Sunday, I had Wild Bird Rescue, so while feeding the birds there, did see a few birds. A male ladder-backed woodpecker was calling and working hard at excavating the mulberry tree. I am hopeful that means he might decide to nest there. In addition, the feeders hosted dozens of goldfinch, house finch, house sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, red-winged blackbird, starling, Eurasian collared dove and white-winged dove. I did not see my Inca dove, which was disappointing.

Leaving Wild Bird Rescue, I decided I would check out the Nature Bluff as I haven't gotten there since a dirt trail was put in. Well, I still haven't had a chance to walk it--a construction sign greeted me when I arrived and the trail was torn up and muddy. If I had been birding with someone, I probably would have just struck out cross country, but the terrain is very uneven and my balance is very poor. Another day. The only birds I saw from the parking lot were a great-tailed grackle and a cardinal. So I decided to go to Lucy Park.

For the most part, local birders have written off Lucy Park since the city tore out all of the excellent habitat as an attempt at flood control. Although it is true that Lucy Park is not near the birding hotspot it was a few years ago, it is still as good or better than many of the other local places. If you don't remember it as it was, you can still have a decent morning birding. There are still a lot of nesting sites for cavity nesters, so it is still a good spot for woodpeckers and titmice. However, I noted a lot of the best trees for cavity nesters are marked for removal, so I expect the habitat decline to continue.
Pair of common goldeneye (you'll have to enlarge the pic--I am not good at
editing photos on my new computer yet.)

The highlight for me was a very shy pair of common goldeneye on the river. The list of birds there included: mallard, common goldeneye, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, northern flicker, white-winged dove, northern cardinal, blue jay, American robin, tufted titmouse, house finch, goldfinch, eastern phoebe, spotted towhee, junco, and song sparrow.

Although I didn't have a lot of time to bird this weekend, the time I had yielded some good birds and I had a good time. All in all, no complaints.

Good birding!



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Big Day for Wild Bird Rescue This Weekend!

Because of the ice on New Year's Day, we postponed the Big Day for Wild Bird Rescue until this Saturday, January 10.

We are still looking for people to donate in support of this fundraiser and for people to fill holes on the teams that have opened up due to the change in dates.

Remember to watch the Twitter feed associated with this blog throughout the day on Saturday to track progress of the teams.

Good birding!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Big Day for Wild Bird Rescue

The Big Day for Wild Bird Rescue fundraiser is scheduled for January 1.

This is the 4th Big Day. Teams of birdwatchers will be scouring the countryside, trying to find as many species of birds possible within our Big Day time frame.

Typically a Big Day is 24 hours, but by agreement, we have always opted for a 12-hour window, from 6 AM - 6 PM. Teams map their own routes to try to cover as many different habitats as possible and as much area as possible, hitting all of the known birdy spots in the area.

Although it is possible to get 100 species at this time of year, the record for a single team on the Big Day has been 98 species. Weather plays a big part. We have a tendency to get significant winds, which is not something that helps when you are trying to hear the birds.

If you want to participate, you are welcome to form a team of your own, or contact me at txbirds@gmail.com and I will be happy to add you to a team. Although it is helpful if you are a birder, it isn't necessary. We're trying to find as many species as we can, but Wild Bird Rescue also has a mission to educate the public about wild birds, so we welcome novices as well. Besides, more spotters and people to help record species can't hurt.

Can't bird that day? Why not sponsor a team with a donation (Team #1! Team #1!)? You can drop off a check at Wild Bird Rescue or mail one to them at 4611 Lake Shore Dr, Wichita Falls, TX 76310. You can also donate on line at the website. Be sure to indicate Big Day in the memo line of your check or in the comments of your online donation. Or if you contact me at txbirds@gmail.com, I will come to you to pick up your donation if you are in Wichita Falls.

Regardless of the number of birds we find, we'll have a great time and (I hope) raise some money for this worthy organization.

Good birding!

Flat Day at Lake Arrowhead State Park

Eastern Phoebe, Photo by Andy Reago and
Chrissy McClarren
Wikimedia Commons
Our monthly bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park on December 13 wasn't one of our better months in terms of the birds seen, but hey, a bad morning birding is better than a great morning doing most anything else.

Walk regular, June, came as well as Mike, who has participated the last few months. This month we also had a newcomer, Sharon. It is always extra nice to have people relatively new to birdwatching along as almost any bird is going to be a good bird. We did have a few decent birds, most notably very good views of an eastern phoebe. These often appear fairly drab little birds, but in the right light like we had on Saturday, they are really very pretty.

I was hoping for a lot of ducks so we could work on duck identification, but that didn't work out for us. The only ducks we saw were gadwall. But we did see a nice raft of white pelicans on the water, although further away than I would have liked.

Here's the list of our birds for the morning: Canada goose, gadwall, double crested cormorant, white pelican, ring-billed gull, killdeer, great blue heron, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, yellow-shafted northern flicker, red-bellied woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, mockingbird, eastern bluebird, cardinal, Bewick's wren, eastern phoebe, brown-headed cowbird, great-tailed grackle, red-winged blackbird, junco, eastern meadowlark goldfinch, house finch.

The walk next month will be January 10, 8:00 AM.

Good birding!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Bird Count Coming Up

The North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club has scheduled the annual Christmas Bird Count for Saturday, December 20. Our club has participated in the count since 1972.

As usual, we have divided the count circle into 3 sections, with a team leader responsible for each section. The sections are: Lake Wichita, Lucy Park and Wichita Falls, and Iowa Park. If you are interested in participating for part or all day, contact Terry McKee at dgm59@aol.com. She is the overall coordinator and the team leader for the Lucy Park area. I will be organizing the Lake Wichita section. If you would like to take part in that area, contact me at txbirds@gmail.com. Jimmy Hoover will be once again heading up the Iowa Park area. You can take part for an hour or all day. You can even sign up to watch your feeders at home if you are in the count area.

We'll be getting together the evening of the 20th for our annual count potluck. You don't have to participate in the count during the day to come to the supper and listen to the tallies. Always a lot of fun.

Good birding!

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Facebook Page

The North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club now has a Facebook page! If you are interested in local birding events, like "North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club."

Good Birding!