Friday, January 28, 2011

A Great Day Birding--Even if a Lifer Slipped Through My Fingers

Members of the Houston Audubon Society with me and Vernon birder, Brady Surber, at Copper Breaks State Park.
Today was the first day birding with the Houston Audubon Society. Brady Surber from Vernon took us to some of his favorite birding spots while we tried to find some of the group's target species. We found a couple of the target birds, but we also had a great day with a lot of other good birds.
We left Wichita Falls in the dark and headed out for the Vernon area in Wilbarger county. Brady took us to a location known for good sparrows and the group was happy to see Harris's sparrows, which apparently are less common near Houston than they are here. Some also got a good view of American tree sparrows, which was one of their target species. We had a pretty good day for raptors to include a ferruginous hawk and prairie falcon, two of the target birds we were looking for. We also had a nice Harlan's red tailed hawk. A local rancher allowed us to bird his land as well where we picked up some brewer's blackbirds and lark buntings (a life bird for one of the group.) He has a nice body of water where we were very happy to see a canvasback and some red head ducks.
After lunch we headed to Copper Breaks State Park. There the group was excited to see a rufous crowned sparrow. I missed a pyrrhuloxia, which would have been a life bird for me. Several other people did get to see it, however.
This isn't a total accounting of the birds we saw today, but since we're getting up to do it all again tomorrow, I'm hitting the sack. I'll get around to a weekend list in a few days.
Good birding!

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