Monday, July 22, 2013

You Can Bird Anywhere! Birding During Butterfly Count

Part of our intrepid butterfly hunters

Identifying one of our captures
On Saturday I took part in the North American Butterfly Association butterfly count at Lake Arrowhead State Park sponsored by the Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists. I am not very good at butterfly identification, so this is my opportunity each year to work on my butterfly knowledge. We met up at 6 AM. Usually we do this count in late June and it is light at 6. It was just coming up on sunrise at 6 this year.

The seven of us did find 9 species of butterflies; American snout, buckeye, hackberry, common checkered skipper, pearl crescent, orange sulfur, black swallowtail, dogface sulfur and viceroy. By far and away the most common butterfly of the morning was the hackberry. We finally called it quits when the temps got into the 90's.
American snout butterfly (look closely and you will see the long snout)

I always take my binoculars and birdwatch on any outside activity and Saturday was no exception. We had a good day for that, with 32 species. The unexpected sighting was American avocet, although a review of the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club checklist shows this is the beginning of the fall migration for them. In addition to the avocets, we saw/heard: cattle egret, snowy egret, great egret, great egret, great blue heron, Canada goose, turkey vulture, mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove, bobwhite, cliff swallow, purple martin, yellow-billed cuckoo, northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, American phoebe, Carolina chickadee, orchard oriole, painted bunting, Bewick's wren, Carolina wren, scissor-tailed flycatcher, great crested flycatcher (a life bird for one of our participants!), eastern bluebird, brown-headed cowbird, red-winged blackbird, common grackle, American crow, European starling, house finch, and lark sparrow. We saw a couple of woodpeckers, but never got a good enough look to be sure of which woodpecker we saw.

Overall, a great morning and much better than cleaning house.

Good birding!

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