Spotted Owls

Spotted Owls
adapted from my photo of 2008

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 and 2010

It's the last day to "get" birds in Texas (or anywhere else) this year. Because I've been working hard to do client work and mostly have not chased birds this year, I think the 392 species that I saw in Texas this year is close to the lowest I've gotten since 2002. But I think it's a respectable number. My goal for next year is to get whatever is a respectable number for a year of Oklahoma birding, plus a fair number for Texas. I am really looking forward to birding brand-new areas where I have only a general idea of what might be found, and am likely to be surprised a lot. I am also looking forward to doing more painting of birds in 2010. It is amazingly satisfying to create a bird portrait, particularly when the portrait looks like the bird that it is supposed to and looks quite lifelike.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rockport area birding

It was good that the rain finally let up today so it was more fun to get out and go birding. Debra and I birded north of Rockport and checked out the wintering Burrowing Owl midday today. We also checked various areas for ducks and grebes and were dismayed at the near lack of any waterbirds at all. The Rockport CBC on Saturday (1/2) may slip way down on the number of species this year if there isn't a great influx of birds before then. We were delighted to see that that the family of Whooping Cranes that feeds along the highway at a wildlife-feeder that is set up for them was there having lunch - mama and daddy vigilantly watching for predators and juvenile chowing down.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yes, the Tiger-Heron

After a day of plain old non-chasing birding, yesterday afternoon (12/28) my friend Debra C. and I went back down to Bentsen State Park (south of Mission, TX). We arrived about 4:30 pm. We learned that the Bare-faced Tiger-Heron had been seen in the early morning, but not since. The day before (6/27) it had been seen as a mostly poorly seen silhouette at 6:20 PM. We waited, we talked to other birders (probably about 35), and waited some more. It was heavily overcast and by 6:00 was getting quite dusky out. We peered into the gloom, feeling gloomier as discussed the forecast for today for rain, cold rain. We were not looking forward to a day of standing in the rain, but were determined to try if need be. Thank goodness, we did not need to. At 6:18 PM, a cry went up, and ALL of us saw the large distinctive tiger-heron silhouette fly cross the levee from north to south, swing over the trees, circle back a bit and drop out of sight. Lots of cheers, hugs, exclamations, sighs of relief. We trekked out, found some supper and headed back to Rockport, ecstatic and tired. The Bare-faced Tiger-Heron has never, before this bird, been seen in the United States!! It is very possible that unless people see this particular bird they will never have a chance to see one north of the border.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

No Tiger-Heron

Yesterday, I drove from Rockport down to Bentsen SP and spent from about noon to past dark not seeing the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron that has been the wonder of the Valley. No one saw it all day. And so far no reports today. If it is re-seen, I'll probably try again on Tuesday.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Rufous

This morning it was still dark out, and very cold for Fort Worth (24 degrees), when I looked out at my heat-lamp lit/warmed hummer feeder and saw my wintering Rufous Hummingbird, sipping and basking. Although she's survived worse here in previous years (or her predecessor has), I was worried about her after yesterday's cold wind and blowing snow. She surely said "Merry Christmas" to me! And Merry Christmas to you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowy Christmas Eve

Amazing to see in Fort Worth, snow piled on every leaf or other generally horizontal surface and birds scrounging for seeds under the snow. Rufie, "my" wintering Rufous Hummingbird only makes rare appearances at the sugar water.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reasons for blogging

Lots of interesting things are happening and seem to be about to happen in my birding life. Being an open-sort of person (mostly), I'm going to try to share them as the days unfold. They include my beginning to paint birds (started in October 2009 with a weekend course from John O'Neill), my plans to explore Oklahoma birding in 2010, my work towards trying to publish the story of my ABA big year (2008), my work with the Texas Ornithological Society and Fort Worth Audubon Society and maybe another group, my wintering Rufous Hummingbird, and my birding with friends. Ought to keep me going. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Starting my blog

I'm going to give this blog-thing a try. I love to tell people about my birding adventures, and maybe someone will want to follow me on this blog. No way to find out but to do it. Unfortunately, I really can't get out to bird beyond my yard until Christmas.

But my yard is good (in Fort Worth, TX). I've still got a female Rufous Hummingbird wintering in my yard (the 9th year for having one!). See my web page at for pictures. Eventually I'll learn to post photos here I hope. The American Goldfinches are filling the feeders, with about 25 here today. Northern Cardinals abound too, and a few Dark-eyed Juncos.

gold parties