Monday, August 20, 2012

Recent Sightings of Interest

I know I still haven't caught up with my travels and the birds seen, and at this point, probably won't because other birds are happening in our own area.

First, on August 14 there was a post on TEXBIRDS by Rick Folening in Holliday that he had spotted (and photographed) a black-bellied whistling duck at Sikes Lake. He took some really good pictures. Since he gave the link to the photos on TEXBIRDS, I am sharing the link here, so others can also see the bird. I had to go out of town, but on the 17th I went to Sikes Lake, and there it was. I have seen black-bellied whistling ducks in Wichita County before, but only once.  The checklist of the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club shows a few isolated sightings over the summer, but indicates this is an accidental species for the area. I did not get any good pictures of the bird, just a picture of my foot the day after--I stepped in a bed of fire ants while I was looking through my binoculars at the duck. Typical. But at least I didn't almost step on a rattle snake while absorbed in a bird (it has happened.)

Fire ant bites--watch where you put your feet!
Second sighting of note was yesterday. I was working at Wild Bird Rescue and went out to see if any of our newly released Mississippi Kites were hanging about for backup feeding when I saw some large birds over Lake Wichita. They looked like white pelicans, but I was thinking it was too early. Never rely on your memory about when a bird should be in an area. I went again to check the bird club checklist and noted irregular sightings of white pelicans as early as August 3, before they become a fairly common sight in October. Anyway, there was a small flock of 8 birds on the lake. Right now, they should find it easy fishing with the lake being as low as it is. Both of the below pictures were taken with my cell phone on the peninsula that surrounds the cove behind Wild Bird Rescue. That mud flat is not usually there--it is normally covered with water.

The herons and egrets can stand in the water across the entire lake at that end. It is still a little too deep closer to the dam. It was nice to go out to the lake and see some mist from the recent rains. In spite of a couple of inches the last few days, runoff has been minimal--the ground is just too dry. We do have a chance for more rain this week, so perhaps we'll start seeing a little rise in the lake levels.

I did go out to Lake Buffalo on Saturday with some of my Texas Master Naturalist friends to do a mussel watch at Lake Gordon and Buffalo Creek Reservoir (Lake Buffalo.) They too, are way down. Lake Buffalo, especially. However, we did have an excellent morning for mussels. I also saw hundreds of egrets (great and snowy) at Lake Buffalo along with a group of 5 American avocets, a black-necked stilt and a spotted sandpiper.

Overall, some good birding for this time of year. Shorebird migration is in full swing, so get out and see what you can find.

Good birding!

No comments: