Sunday, January 10, 2016

Not-So-Fair-Weather Birding

Saturday, Jan 9, was the monthly bird walk at Lake Arrowhead State Park (2nd Saturday of each month.) The forecast was for a mixture of rain and snow with little or no accumulation and this time, the weather forecast was spot on. However, the further out of Wichita Falls I drove, the more rain and less snow. As you can see by the photo to the right, there wasn't much accumulation at 8AM when the walk started, and what little there was, was gone by the end of the walk at 9:30.

Although I had posted on Facebook that the walk was a go, I thought it unlikely anyone but me would show, and I was right. Texans are definitely fair weather birders. All I have to say is, "You snooze, you lose." It was a pretty good morning with some decent birds. On the drive out to the park, I saw a flock of wild turkeys in someone's front yard on FM 1954 (Archer Co.)

Overall, I saw the usual birds, although there were some special moments. Dozens of white pelicans were following one another over the lake--there was a large pod of white pelicans and cormorants fishing. Periodically, a group of  pelicans would take off for another part of the lake, flying low over the water.

Marsh wren, Wikimedia Commons, Allan Vernon
I had a close-up view of a Loggerhead shrike. There were several ruby-crowned kinglets--these little inquisitive birds would alight on branches right in front of my face, making sure I got a clear look. A marsh wren was also checking me out, so I had the chance to get a very good look. There were two birds I wasn't able to identify because I caught only fleeting glimpses--one was a warbler (not a yellow-rumped or orange-crowned) and the other was a larger bird flying through the trees.

Birds seen: double-crested cormorant, white pelican, Canada goose, gadwall, American coot, mallard, pied-billed grebe, great blue heron, killdeer, ring-billed gull, red-tailed hawk, red-bellied woodpecker, northern flicker, mourning dove, Bewick's wren, marsh wren, northern cardinal, dark-eyed junco, European starling, meadowlark, Loggerhead shrike, northern mockingbird, eastern phoebe, American goldfinch, ruby-crowned kinglet, American crow, song sparrow, and white-crowned sparrow.

On the way home, I made a quick drive past Stone Lake, just to check for ducks. In addition to more mallards and coots, there was a lone male shoveler and some lesser scaup.

Overall a good morning.

Good birding!

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