Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hackberry Trip

Our group of Texas Master Naturalists had a good day at Hackberry Flat yesterday. I am terrible at shorebirds--just haven't had enough practice--so I know I missed a lot of birds on ID. I need good views and lots of time to come up with identifications.

The buzz when we got there was a red-necked phalarope. No luck finding that bird, but we did see hundreds, if not thousands of Wilson's phalaropes.

The highlight of my day was 2 peregrine falcons in the field as we were preparing to leave. We had earlier seen a falcon-like bird pursuing flocks of shorebirds but hadn't been able to get a good look at the bird to make an ID due to the distance. We were vacillating between merlin and peregrine falcon and finally had to let it go when the bird flew out of sight. Perhaps it was one of the same birds on the ground later.

In addition to the many shorebirds we weren't able to identify, I had the following: dickcissel, killdeer, lark sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, eastern meadowlark, great-tailed grackle, mourning dove, black-necked stilt, American avocet, red-winged blackbird, comomn grackle, semi-palmated sandpiper, common nighthawk, blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, gadwall, mallard, great egret, red-tailed hawk, whimbrel, white-faced ibis, and snowy egret.

Terry McKee identified a Baird's sandpiper, but I didn't see it. Going to and from Hackberry we saw numerous cattle egret, although not much else.

So it was a very good day--I'd like to get out there more often to become better at shorebird ID.

Good birding!