Monday, August 12, 2013

Birthday Birding

Today is my birthday, so I decided to do some birding at Lake Wichita and made some extra stops at Crestview Cemetery and Stone Lake.

Spillway is to the left
Looking toward the floating pier
I started the morning about 6:50 AM at the chat trail in Lake Wichita Park. I walked back to the barrow pit, which was completely dry. There was a little bit of damp dirt, but no water, and subsequently, no birds. But the chat trail was productive as always. There were two surprises there today. One was two white-eyed vireos. The yellow spectacles, white throat, wide-eyed look and distinctive wing bars on a black wing make it recognizable once you can actually get a look at it. I spent several minutes tracking the quick-moving birds through the trees. I also saw two or more black-throated green warblers. This is very unusual according to the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club checklist. However, I don't see what else it could be. A yellow face with a black eye-stripe with a black throat was my first glimpse. With a little more watching, I noted a plain chest and belly which was basically white, a dark back and two distinct wing stripes.

Along that little bit of trail, I saw: great blue heron, cattle egret, Canada goose, mallard, Eurasian collared dove, white-winged dove, mourning dove, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, robin, turkey vulture, Mississippi kite, great-tailed grackle, red-winged blackbird, barn swallow, black-chinned hummingbird, eastern phoebe, great crested flycatcher, northern mockingbird, orchard oriole, scissor-tailed flycatcher,  black-throated green warbler, white-eyed vireo, downy woodpecker, Eurasian starling, house finch, and house sparrow. I also saw probably the biggest turtle I have ever seen in this area--it's head was as big as my fist--in the drainage ditch along the chat trail. I haven't seen a turtle that big since some large snapping turtles growing up in Indiana.

Old pier almost completely out of water
I then drove over to the spillway. There is no water anywhere near the spillway. It's depressing to look out over the lake and see basically a mud flat.

There were a lot of black-necked stilts, killdeer and a solitary sandpiper. Several mallard were hanging out near the old pier. Two blue-winged teal were a surprise. They are very common here in the winter, but unusual in the summer, although I have seen them in the past on rare occasions.

 Since I was close, I decide to drive through Crestview cemetery. This is one of the better places to bird ordinarily as there are two ponds on the property. However, with the lack of rain the ponds are almost gone. The main pond near the front had more water in it than the last time I was there. There weren't a lot of birds, but a little blue heron, a solitary sandpiper and some Mississippi kites were nice birds.

Stone Lake egrets
I decided to check out Stone Lake since I was close. It is posted no trespassing, but since it is right on the road and the sidewalk passes by it, you can see the birds on the front side. There weren't as many birds here as you can often see in the winter, but there was an egret roost adjacent to the lake (you can see it in the picture to the right--not a great picture, but it was taken from a distance with a cell phone.)

Altogether a nice couple of hours. Here's a complete list of the birds seen this morning:
great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, little blue heron, cattle egret, Canada goose, mallard, blue-winged teal, black-necked stilt, solitary sandpiper, killdeer, Eurasian collared dove, white-winged dove, mourning dove, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, robin, turkey vulture, Mississippi kite, great-tailed grackle, red-winged blackbird, barn swallow, black-chinned hummingbird, eastern phoebe, blue jay, great crested flycatcher, northern mockingbird, orchard oriole, scissor-tailed flycatcher,  barn swallow, cliff swallow, black-throated green warbler, white-eyed vireo, downy woodpecker, Eurasian starling, house finch, and house sparrow.

Overall a great birthday!

Good birding!

2 comments:

Traveler Literary Gnome said...

Happy birthday, Penny! Nice birthday birds.

Penny Miller said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! You're right, wonderful birds today.