Saturday, January 29, 2011

Great Day Birding (Again!)

A chilly morning at Lake Kickapoo with some super birds.

We continued the pursuit of good birds with the Houston Audubon Society group. We intended to start the morning at Lake Kickapoo, but on the way out, one of the group saw a hooded merganser on a roadside pond, and we all piled out to enjoy several birds--to include greater yellowlegs, pintails, etc. After a nice half hour there, we continued to Lake Kickapoo.

When we got out of our vehicles a flock of Franklin's gulls flew overhead, and we saw some Bonapart's gulls on the water. We saw eared grebes, horned grebes and pied billed grebes. We circled around the lake and stopped for some songbirds. We had the opportunity to watch a swamp sparrow for several minutes--these birds are normally pretty secretive, so this was a special treat. In the same area a little later, we saw a red-shouldered hawk.

Two other wonderful opportunities were a great horned owl and a golden-crowned kinglet up close.

I was able to get a lifer today; we came across some longspurs. These were target birds for our visitors, so we have been trying to find some. There was a mixed flock of McCowan's and chestnut-collared longspurs. Both would have been life birds for me, but I wasn't able to get a good look at the chestnut-collared, so I will have to be content with one new bird today.

While we were trying to get good views of the longspurs, a photographer from the Vernon Daily Record came by. Look for a photo of some of the group on the front page of the paper. I just pulled it up on line--since I stayed away from the photographer, I'm telling you about the short little article.

Tomorrow is this group's last day. Due to a lack of time, we'll have to skip Lucy Park. We're going to bird Lake Wichita and then head out to Lake Arrowhead to find the tundra swans before lunch so the members can get back to Houston at a decent hour.

Good birding!

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