Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Sit

The North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club sponsored the annual Big Sit Sunday at Lake Wichita, adjacent to Wild Bird Rescue. Most of us have participated in several Big Sit events over the years, although we did have a couple of new participants and one new birder, who was able to identify some lifers. That added a lot to the morning for all of us. It is always fun to have a new birder, who is excited by the common birds the more jaded of us don't pay enough attention to.

It was a beautiful sunrise, which quickly turned to steady high winds, leading to white caps on the lake. Shortly after sunrise, the red-winged blackbirds came up out of the reeds in clouds all around the lake. This is a sight only seen in the fall and winter. The birds begin with a loud chorus that builds up in volume. Then the group goes silent, and the flock starts pouring out. It is definitely a sight to see.

As always, there were some treats. First was a pair of Belted Kingfishers which flew by several times and frequently perched on easily visible branches. A Greater Yellowlegs flew directly over our heads and had the courtesy to call, making a positive ID much easier. A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers alighted on a tree just a few feet from our group, allowing a good view. An American Phoebe was also very cooperative, sitting on a post not far from us.

There were some things we expected, but didn't see. Most mornings the white pelicans fly in an undulating row over the lake. Although we saw 2 pelicans, it was not the show we expected. Recently a large group of Canada Geese have been flying past our overview in the morning. However, on Sunday, although we heard a couple of far off Canada Geese, we sited none.

We did have the usual high numbers of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, but we were not treated to the display we had some years ago.

We were able to watch the resident beaver going back and forth from the inlet out into the main lake, swimming right in front of us. The beaver cut dow the tree behind the spot we use for the Sit. I have put in an order for him to take down the tree that is right in front of our area. It was small the first year we had the Sit, but is now obstructing the view of the lake. So if he needs a tree, I suggest he go for that one.

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