29 de diciembre de 2022

Bad Birder's Christmas Trip

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to add observations of plants and creatures, familiar and new. This holiday included a very little backyard and riverside birding in Germany. It did make clear a need to upgrade my cameras.

Still Great Tits, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, Common Mergansers, Green Woodpeckers, Black-headed Gulls (?), Mallards, and Eurasian Magpies were distinct enough for identification - blurred photos or not. There are a few other birds lost among sightseeing photos I'll add soon.

I hope your holiday - no everyday - is filled with adventure.

Publicado el diciembre 29, 2022 08:32 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 27 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de octubre de 2022

Texas Freshwater Mussel Survey

KM and I traveled to Marble Falls to see if the lowering of the water in the lake would allow us to observe any of the freshwater mussels we found previously (Jan. 2019) and perhaps additional mussels we had not observed in 2019.

The summary of our observations can be found in KM's journal post: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/k_mccormack/72060-freshwater-mussels-of-texas-report-27oct2022

Other observations are associated here. Highlights for me were two "lifers" - Paper Pondshell, and Snake Apple. One disappointment was finding many Zebra Mussels which we had not found in 2019.

Publicado el octubre 30, 2022 03:44 MAÑANA por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 21 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de mayo de 2020

Big Day

I was supposed to hike in Granger today, but one of the team was worn out so we canceled. Instead I documented my usual "bird crawl."

I fear I am a menace on eBird. The rare birds are a mystery to me. I just put mine in as the normal ones and they don't get photos. Not sure why they got excited about the starlings, but I am sure I will be hearing from them.

There were special moments today - the Black-bellied Whistling ducks flying in, a Green Heron and Northern Cardinal calling from the utility line, Lark Sparrows flying by and stopping long enough for a photo.

It was predominantly Cardinals, Mocking Birds, and Western Kingbirds today - oh, and the Black Vultures were out in force. I don't know that I have seen that large a group lately.

So, it was a nice day, but nothing to be too excited about. 27 species. I did better on CBC, but then I was there longer and it was winter - I could see the birds more easily. I think I need a nap.

Publicado el mayo 9, 2020 07:37 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 15 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de marzo de 2020

What to do during a pandemic

Get your dog and go for a drive. If that is not enough, take a hike in the park. Remember to stay 6 feet from any other hikers, walkers, dog walkers, skate boarders, and definitely stay away from the exercising mothers who were maintaining NO social separation.

Z and I had a great time documenting the changing population at Witter Lane and early spring at Yettie Polk Park.

It was a special treat to see the Bald Eagle hunting at the tank where I regularly see it on a grey/misty day. I heard the Red-shouldered hawk, but never saw it.

The ponds were alive with all the calls - Red-winged Blackbirds, the eagle, Eastern Phoebes, Greater Yellowlegs, ducks, Killdeer and more. Usually I mourn the coming of spring as I will see and photograph fewer birds when the trees all leaf-out. But now that I am birding more and more by ear I may miss the photos, but not the birds.

The wildflowers are just starting their bloom. I'm hoping to take the family to Cedar Creek tomorrow to see what's budding/blooming.

Publicado el marzo 14, 2020 07:58 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 54 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de marzo de 2020

Wild Weather

Thunderstorms followed by strong winds made me curious. I had to see what was happening on Witter Lane. The wind was too strong for most birds. The vultures were flying - and a few cormorants. Later in the day I saw egrets, ducks, and a Red-shouldered hawk...and a few other small birds. Most were still taking some shelter.

One the first drive through I noted few birds and MANY turtles - three on the move (one snapper and two Red-eared sliders). No road rescue was necessary although I did block traffic fro a bit.

Then I turned for home just in time to see one of the large dead trees at the tank on the inside corner fall with a swoop and splash. I'm going to miss that tree. I've photographed so many birds there. I just had to write something to mark its passing.

Publicado el marzo 5, 2020 04:32 MAÑANA por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de diciembre de 2019

Bell County Christmas Bird Count

I looked up all the local CBCs and hoped to attend at least one. Then I broke my ankle. I managed to complete a couple of commitments (two hikes could NOT be cancelled at the last minute - I simply could not cancel), but I figured a CBC was out. [I have fond memories of the days after prior CBCs when I could barely get outta bed!]

Then I was drafted for our local count - all I had to do was sit in the car at one pond. I was responsible for 2 rare birds (that just happen to show up there with regularity) and the usual cast of characters at those ponds. I was NOT responsible for the ducks. I am bad with ducks although I'm working on it.

By 9:00 a.m. yesterday I had both rare birds. Woohoo!

I'm slowly getting the observations in here (a number of photos are really bad and may not make it). It has taken me some time to get eBird finished. [Shhhh! Don't tell them there are 2 or three birds I have photos of, but no id yet.]

Anyway. I'm posting my list and blog post here just to keep everything together. Those magical hikes were pretty cool too. I might just include that post as well.

Hope everyone has a great time over the holidays!

CBC: eBird # 562298873 https://ebird.org/checklist/S62298873

Hikes: https://walkinthepark-padimus.blogspot.com/2019/11/who-cooks-for-you.html

Publicado el diciembre 15, 2019 08:12 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 18 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de julio de 2019

Firsts! First Bird Banding and...

This is just a quick note to document the firsts. I've now see the Black-capped Vireo, the Bewick's Wren (for iNat) and the Bue-grey Gnatcatcher.

We talked our way into the event. It was a chance to meet a local active birder (Gil E.) and to connect with local Audubon and scientists at Fort Hood.

There was a chance, if a small window, to see a Burrowing Owl. The owl is still out there - seen by some, but not by us.

There will be another banding in March. I plan to be there.

Publicado el julio 3, 2019 01:16 MAÑANA por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de mayo de 2019

Berry Springs Revisit

After finding a frogastic (sorry, couldn't help myself) evening at BSP I headed back last night to join KM and BD to see what we might see. The calls were not quite as cacophonous as Saturday night.

We saw American Bullfrogs, but did not get photos or calls. But we did see/hear 5 other species. The chorus frogs were, as usually, no-shows. We stayed in the area of the flooded ground paralleling the parking areas by the bathrooms and walked back to the ditch/swale in the Pecan orchard. We also stopped briefly at the wet weather pond behind the improved camping area.

Here's the tally:

Blanchard's Cricket frog - Heard all over at a CI - 3. One caught.

Rio Grande Leopard Frog - CI - 1 Caught two lovely specimens.

Green Tree Frog - CI - 3 All over the park.

Gulf Coast Toads - CI - 3 All over the park. We saw them in the flooded area and examined a few.

Western Narrow-mouthed toads - CI - 3 All over the park. We did not see any toads, but they were calling

A dead Redstripe Ribbon Snake was found in the recently mowed grass and a Diamondback Watersnake was seen in the ditch/slough mid-pecan orchard.

A number of birds were still flying around and singing as we started the watch including the resident Mockingbird and 4 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. One Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was wading in the "froggy" area and one (probably same one) observed eating a crayfish.

Whew! It was a great evening "toadally" fantastic.

Publicado el mayo 6, 2019 02:07 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 17 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de mayo de 2019

Big Day

I spent as much time as possible before eBird's Big Day to practice in the places I monitor. Of course there were birds seen each day that did not show on May 4. There were also a few "other" species that distracted me, particularly turtles moving because of the rains and coming to full stops on the roadways. I couldn't let those be "dead" stops on my watch. So I may have "watched" a few gain safety at the side of the road.

So Big Day was big and showed me that I do not "remember" the numbers of birds accurately. Not trusting myself I just allowed my voice recorder to run when monitoring a specific place. I counted and reported to aloud as the recorder ran. And did I ever ramble. It was incredibly irritating to listen to these recordings. Who did I think I was talking to? describing extraneous stuff for? I hope it will provide guidance for future hikes and classes. Yikes!

A few other things showed up for other projects. So it was a busy few days in spite of the terrible weather.

I'll be on a third formal Amphibian Watch tonight with the experts. The visions of calling Gulf Coast Toads in a swale in Berry Springs Park was something I'd like to see again. I also was fortunate to visit ponds on a prairie restoration site and along my "regular route" to see what was out there. The recent rains have left water in places where I have never seen it and so it has been important to me to listen.

Okay. Time to get going.

Publicado el mayo 5, 2019 11:37 TARDE por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de abril de 2019

Evening on the Prairie

After recent rains and with the warmer weather the frogs and toads have started calling at my friend's property. I finally had a chance to go out and listen to the calls and attempt to figure out which creatures are there. She had heard Narrow-mouthed toads last week, but they weren't calling last night. I was surprised to hear no leopard frogs. We are in an area where the Southern and Rio Grande ranges overlap, but there were no calls.

In addition to wildflowers, milkweed, insects (including one Monarch caterpillar) and such we heard Gulf Coast Toads CI-2, Chorus Frogs (Spotted, maybe?) CI - 1, Blanchard's Cricket Frogs CI -3, and American Bullfrogs CI-1.

One thrilling moment was when a couple of Green Herons flew over just before dusk and an American Beaver began to swim and feed within our sight. My photos are terrible, but enough for an identification. We think we may have figured out where the lodge may be.

The mosquitoes chased us inside.

Publicado el abril 30, 2019 05:29 MAÑANA por alflinn329 alflinn329 | 21 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario