~ ~ ~ and now for the news ~ ~ ~
Warning: as migration picks up weekly updates can get long...
Sept. 20 ~ Low stratus cloud layer is back from the Gulf,
low temp was about 74dF. One Gnatcatcher out there early.
Saw a warbler briefly that looked a Nashville. Heard a
Yellow Warbler, and single Baltimore and Orchard Oriole.
Clouds stuck until after noon, at 4 pm. we were 90dF so 5dF
less than the last couple days. A least a little easing of
the heat. Those poor folks in far southeast Texas though
are swimming. I have not heard the Yellow-throated Vireo
in the yard the last few days and suspect it has departed.
The two Rufous Hummingbird continue, with 100+ Ruby-throated.
The ad. fem. leaves for extended periods though, probably
cheatin' on me at another's feeders.
Town run, a couple Scissor-tails on the way. Little Creek
Larry said he had a good flock of them the other day, just
for a day at his place. At the park I saw four migrants,
all warblers. One Wilson's, one Black-and-white, one
Northern Waterthrush, and one ad. fem. Mourning Warbler.
The Mourning was one with the broken eye-ring that looks
like MacGillivray's eye arcs, but much thinner. The s
short tail and long undertail coverts are very useful on
these types. It called a few times anyway. Heard a Green
Kingfisher. A flock of a couple dozen Common Grackle were
in the willows at south end of the island, all the local
post-breeding population methinks.
Sept. 19 ~ About 70dF for a low. The poor upper Texas coast
and southeast Texas has been innundated with rain from Imelda,
over two FEET in places. We'd gladly take several inches
for them. We are in the subsidence ring around the low,
at 4 p.m. it was 95dF on the cool shady front porch, so
had to be a hun in the sun. Which is brutal at this point,
we are at 4 months with highs in the 90's now. Currently
there is still no 'first fall' front forecast through
the end of the month, which is very unusual. We usually have a
couple if not a few fronts hit in September. Sometimes we get
the first fall cold front in late August. This year we had one
in July, and none then through September.
Not much for migrant motion in the morning. Saw 1-2 each
of Baltimore and Orchard Oriole, and Yellow Warbler. That
was it. They could have been holdovers from yesterday.
Saw the ad. ma. Rufous Hummer out back. Three Scissor-tails
flew over going upriver. A Zone-tailed Hawk soared over.
Heard the Audubon's Orioles go through yard, but busy
so did not run out to look for them. In leps saw Clouded
Skipper and Celia's Roadside-Skipper, a Mestra, some
Queens, the Goatweed Leafwing still in charge of its opening
in the pecans. No Pauraque again (as yesterday) at dark.
Sept. 18 ~ Low of 69dF. Heard the Pauraque at 6:50 a.m.
A Gnatcatcher about 7 must have roosted here. A couple
Yellow Warbler were around. There were about 4 Baltimore,
2-3 Orchard, and at least a couple Audubon's Oriole
in the yard first couple hours after sunup. I presume
these are the Audubon's I have been hearing lately
going back and forth through yard. I finally got a look,
and a pic of one, it is a mostly green headed immature.
Born locally no doubt. Wish I could have seen the second
bird. I hear them working up and down river habitat corridor
weekly or so for a month but hadn't laid eyes on one.
Of course I am at the point where when I hear them I just
note it, having quit chasing looks of them years ago.
On the bummer side of the coin, I found a DOR (dead on road)
just run-over baby snake, methinks Black-headed Snake, right
outside the gate. I would love to see a live one. It was
only 8" long and thin as a pencil, a hatchling from this
year. Only a few cars go down the road in the morning. Photo
for the record, nice to know they are here, but darnit.
Saw a Canyon Towhee in the afternoon out front but it did
not seem to stick around. Bird of the day was at dusk.
Kathy was out watering so saw it go over, I was at desk
working so only heard it call two or three times. Which
I wondered if it was a pig over in the corral until Kathy
came in and said she thought a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
just flew over. Dialed up some calls at xeno-canto, and
sure enough we found a couple perfect matches. Great yard
bird. I saw one flying upriver June 15, 2018 from yard
so not a yard first, but darn rare.
Sept. 17 ~ Another 66dF low is dreamy. It is the little
things. Only thing singing early was Carolina Wren.
In the a.m. saw a couple each Yellow Warbler, Orchard
Oriole, and Baltimore Oriole. We seem to be in the ring
of hot subsidence from Tropical Storm Imelda over on the
upper Texas coast. Lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbird,
and the two Rufous are still here. Nothing else. Only
one feeder of four is neutral, three have guards. The
greenie imm. Painted Bunting of yesterday is still here.
Did not hear anything at dusk or dark save the Owls.
Sept. 16 ~ A low of 66dF felt great. The only migrant
motion I saw early was a group of four Baltimore Oriole
in the top of the big pecan at first sun. Then later
morn they were hitting the Persimmons by gate and along
fence toward the draw. Saw a Chat and a Yellow-throated
Warbler, both looked like the young from nearest nests.
The two Rufous Hummingbird continue, Ruby-throated must
number a hundred or more. One greenie imm. Painted
Bunting. Caracara and Red-shouldered Hawk.
A Two-tailed Swallowtail (butterfly) floated around the yard
several times over a few hours. The male Goatweed Leafwing
remains patrolling one area of the yard, seemingly a month now.
A Texas Powdered-Skipper came in to water when I sprayed
it once, took 5 seconds or 5 drops and it was there.
At dusk a Common Nighthawk called, sounded an immature.
The pack of Coyotes went off close, musta got something.
Hopefully it was a little pig. I suspect if one could see
they could learn and be able to tell whether or not it
was pig or rabbit they got, by their vocalizations.
Sept. 15 ~ We got up a bit early and went to Lost Maples.
The low was 64dF! KRVL hit 63! That sure hits the spot.
I did not hear the Pauraque this morning, or last night.
I did hear a Chuck-wills-widow giving just the wills-widow
part of the call for a bit at 6:40 a.m. This is likely
the latest date I have for calling locally, so very neat.
Left here just before 8, these later sunrises are nice.
At the 360 crossing on the way out there was a year-old
male Green Kingfisher with half a brown breastband.
A male Mourning Warbler flushed and flew along and then
right in front of car there too. On way at one point
four Baltimore Oriole flew across road right in front
of us. There were lots of sparrows on a fenceline
upvalley but I did not stop to check them. Bad birder.
Many were Lark and Chipping, some were Field.
At Lost Maples HQ there was a Baltimore Oriole and an Inca
Dove, at the first crossing just past HQ a first fall
male Wilson's Warbler and an immature Painted Bunting.
Nothing at the feeding station at the trailhead parking area.
A few Cave Swallow were overhead. We did the Can Creek
trail to the ponds. We heard two White-tipped Dove along
it, and a couple Audubon's Oriole. White-eyed Vireo
numbered about 18 or so, to one Hutton's. The highlight
was a Black-capped Vireo at the corner of the big pond
calling quite a lot. It is my latest date for one locally.
One Yellow-throated Warbler was still by the pond, a few
Summer Tanager were along the canyon. At the second pond
I had a poor look of a Mourning Warbler flying away,
which I later heard chip a few times. we heard one
Canyon Wren and saw one Scrub-Jay. Coming back down we had
a group of at least 3 Baltimore Oriole, a few Common Raven.
Only one imm. Turkey Vulture for large soaring objects.
Noteworthy is all that is gone. Breeding season is over
and besides the White-eyed Vireo and a few Summer Tanager,
the migratory nesters are over and out. No Gnatcatcher,
Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-throated or Red-eyed Vireo,
Blue Grosbeak or Indigo Bunting, Eastern Wood-Pewee or
Acadian Flyactcher, no Louisiana Waterthrush, so the
huge population of nesters has vacated for the season.
Interesting was one big Escarpment Cherry tree that had
a bumper crop of fruit of decent size (which is still small).
Even purple they are still fairly bitter, but very cherry.
Why no birds in the tree?
We saw 2-3 Spicebush and about a half-dozen Two-tailed
Swallowtail, but no Eastern Tiger. Saw several Northern
Cloudywing, one Duskywing sps., a couple Celia's
Roadside-Skipper, some Gulf Frits, a Queen, one worn
Questionmark, but butterflies were slow and the flower
bloom was not great. Did see one Clammyweed with blooms,
lots of Broomweed is doing well, the Frostweed was the
main bloomer now, but mostly just covered in bees. The
Lindheimer's Senna is blooming well, nothing on it.
The dragonflies were also weak. A couple Pale-faced
Clubskimmer, a few Green Darner, a couple Wandering Glider,
a couple Eastern Pondhawk, some Kiowa Dancer damselflies,
plus a few un-ID'd damsels. Odes are fading fast
up there already. In herps I saw young-of-the-year
Greater Earless Lizard and Six-lined Racerunner.
On the way back we had a few Scissor-tailed Flycatcher,
and on a snag one Olive-sided Flycatcher. Thought I saw
one on the way up in the morning too. Best was as we
pulled up to our place two Kingbirds flushed off the
powerline out front, Couch's! Since we hadn't
done enough, after a rest, we went for an afternoon
swim. Nothing goin' on at the river, but a nice
cool-off. Only got up to about 88dF on the cool shady
front porch. At the start of dusk Kathy heard a Common
Nighthawk flying downriver. Good date, a migrant, the
locals are long gone. Then at the dark end of dusk I
heard the Pauraque call a bit. So with the Chuck this
morning, we got 3 species of nightjars here today.
Sept 14 ~ A 66dF low was fantastic, I saw KRVL hit 64!
Weewow! Feels so good. At least 2 male and a female
Yellow Warbler and an Orchard Oriole was it for migrants
early morn. About 9:30 I saw a Catbird on the ground
out at the gate! It may have been getting Red Harvester
Ants. Hard bird to get here in fall, most, I do not see
one. Late morn took a quick look at the park in town.
Green and Ringed Kingfisher at the island where a Barred
Owl as well. A little scolding scene developed around
it and besides the local common stuff there was a
Wilson's Warbler, an Eastern Wood-Pewee a
Great Crested Flycatcher, and an imm. Painted Bunting,
all four transient migrants. Great was a butterfly,
a very worn Red-spotted Purple, hard to get at the park.
I guess they weren't done butchering the butterfly
garden, it looks worse than last time I saw it. Not
worth stopping. Pitiful. Why do you cut a fifteen year
old Evergreen Sumac back to its base like it is a
Lantana? One of the best fall Monarch shrubs. Why do
they cut everything like it is Lantana? Because they
do not know what they are doing. Worst managed native
plant garden I have ever encountered in my life.
The cemetery and golf course pond at Waresville had two
Loggerhead Shrike, my first of the fall. A few molting male
Red-winged Blackbird continue. There were three
Scissor-tails and 2 first-year male Vermilion Flycatcher
around the golf course, the only of either of those I
saw as I rolled around. Heard a Blue Grosbeak somewhere
around the golf course. Later afternoon a couple more
Orchard Oriole went through yard, heard a Scissor-tail
go over, heard more at dusk. A couple Chimney Swift
circled a bit at dusk. Had a single moment count of
18 Lesser Goldfinch on the patio.
This is a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, July 16
the fish hatchery at Uvalde. Not the one that flew over
in the dark a few nights ago. Most that occur
here are juvenile
or immatures, adults are rarer here.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Sept. 13 ~ A big happy Harvest Moon Friday the 13th.
Low of 72dF, some scattered off and on low clouds over
morning. Heard a Mourning Warbler out there early but
no views to age or sex it. One Yellow Warbler, one greenie
imm. Painted Bunting. Have not seen or heard the yard
Yellow-throated Warbler in a few days, it may have departed.
The Y-t Vireo still here singing. Later-morn there were a
couple Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Least Flycatcher and a Yellow
Warbler in the Pecans. Best, at least two BUSHTIT moved
through yard calling, mostly in the Junipers along north
fence but flew into the Hackberries and Mesquite by gate.
Have not seen any in a few months so nice. Town run, so a
park check. On the way just down road a half mile I heard
a Yellow-throated Warbler in the Cypresses. At the park
was my first Nashville Warbler of the fall, on the island.
That was it for migrants there. I saw 88dF on the shady
front porch around 5 p.m., hotter in the sunny, but at least
it is running a few dF cooler than it was in August. The
Pauraque called a bit at dusk.
Sept. 12 ~ About 72dF for a low, and a nice wet ground
from that inch last night. Stayed in 70's until
almost noon. At 3 p.m. it was 86dF, KRVL was reading 92.
Just barely a trickle of birds in the morning. Pauraque
called before 7 a.m. again. One or two Yellow Warbler,
a Least Flycatcher was all. Mid-morn a Hutton's
Vireo was calling, joining the White-eyed and Yellow-throated
still singing. Chat made some noise this morning, maybe
only one left here now. Both Rufous Hummingbird continue,
lots of Rubies here now. Verdin. A number of swallows were
feeding in the area loosely assembled at best. Mostly
Barn, but I saw one Cave, a couple Chimney Swift, and
at least two TREE Swallow. Which are rare and hard to get
here. Pretty sure one small one was a Bank but let it go.
About 10:30 I heard a chip over by the bath and saw an
adult male Mourning Warbler right over the bath. It
was probably just there. Went inside house and tried
to get a shot but it moved. So ran back outside and
hid by front door as it seemed to have been heading
for the Turks Cap at corner of house. BINGO there
it came around corner in it. It worked the low thick
green mess around the porch (Red Turks Cap, Am. Germander,
Tropical Sage, Eupatorium greggii, etc.) for over a
minute whilst I blasted away. Auto-focus actually
found it a couple times so I ended up with a shot
before it flew across the porch (4' from me as it
did!) up into lowest branches of the big Pecan, and then
into the patio Mulberry tree. Down in the short thick it
was not 10' away, not knowing I was there up against
door. I love 'em. Whaddabird. See pic below.
Saw Northern Cloudywing and Clouded Skipper in afternoon.
Then about 5 p.m. I saw an un-ID'd Mourning-MacGill type
but not an ad. male. Later after dinner about 7 I was out
front and heard what was clearly a MACGILLIVRAY'S Warbler!
I spotted it in the Red Turks Cap! It called a lot, the typical
hard dry keck or tcheck note, sharp, mechanical, quite
unlike the flat ball sound of a Mourning. I grew up with
Macs as a default warbler chip. Never walked by one yet.
It had very thick white arcs above and below eye, well
broken fore and aft. Tail appears long compared to Mourning
partly due to shorter undertail coverts. Bill was shorter
and more compact than Mourning. Had a decent look. About
my 4th here in fall, all of which are in the last half-dozen
years or so, the first 10 falls here I saw or heard zero fall
Macs. It is more regular (nearly annual) in spring.
Sept. 11 ~ Heard the Pauraque just before 7 a.m. Was
in town early, at park heard a Ringed King, saw Green
Heron, heard a probably Mourning Warbler on the island.
About 35 Barn Swallow were at the church at the 1050 x 187
intersection, mostly imms., and probably lots of this
years production in town. Little Creek Larry said he
had 1.5" of rain from the event yesterday and that
Sabinal got 2" when we only got .4 or so. We were
about 73dF for a low this a.m., and got up to about 87dF
before some outflow air cooled us into low 80's
about 5:30 p.m. A light shower of not even a tenth of
an inch about 6:15 cooled it a bit. After dark we got
a long slow soaker as they call them here, a cell camped
in the area and made up for missing so much so close
yesterday. We ended up with an INCH for the day!
Not much around yard early, one Yellow Warbler and a Least
Flycatcher. At 10 a.m. a DOWNY Woodpecker called from
the big dying Hackberry, then moved to the big Pecan and
called again, then moved north up the river habitat corridor.
Always a good bird here. About 11 a.m. I walked out on
the front porch, heard a warbler seet flight note, a bit
roughish, with a hoarse grating quality, looked low to my
left and a warbler jumped out of the Turks Cap onto a
Persimmon stem 8' from me, an imm. Mourning Warbler!
It flew out into pecans out front. Same time and place as
yesterday. I got a good look and it was an immature with
yellow throat and thin thin eyering narrowly broken fore and
aft. With sprinkles likely it couldn't move last night,
I think it is the same bird and it stuck. I have been
checking the bath lots since I figured I missed it there
yesterday. Probably missed it there again today. If you
have to flush something when you open your door, it could
be worse. Once I flushed away a Green (now Mexican) Violetear
that never came back. Just watched it fly off. Ohhh the
pain, it is still a little tender there.
In the afternoon saw the Verdin, the 18 or so Turkey working
the oat line for scraps, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flew over.
One Red Admiral and a Whirlabout for different butterflies.
At dusk it was sprinkling and the Pauraque went off
louder than it has so far. It must be happy for the
rain. I worked out driveway trying to see where it
was calling from, quite near where it called from just
before 7 a.m. this morning along north fence. Have been
considering a daytime ground search for photo op. Anyway
I spot it sitting and shaking, ON the birdbox on the fenceline.
It was surely bathing on the nice flat surface out in the
open. It soon flushed after it saw me though and flew
over toward the draw. Great to hear a near full volume
burst of ka-wheeerrr notes. It must have been thrilled.
Sept. 10 ~ Another 74dF low, lots of low stratus,
some showers scattered around. No bird movement in
yard in morning, one Yellow Warbler was my only
migrant detection first couple hours. The two Rufous
Hummers continue and lots of Ruby-throats. Mid-morn
a Mourning Warbler flushed out of the thick low stuff
around the front porch and shot out back. I bet it was
just at the bath 30' away. One Least Flycatcher
was out front in pecans.
A rain cell got close enough before 5 p.m. for outflow to
cool us down to 82dF! Looked at KRVL and it was 96 there!
Just before 7 p.m. it was 92 at KRVL and we were in a shower
and 70dF! Holy rain-cooled air weatherman. We totally
beat the heat this afternoon, and busted the dust to boot.
We got about a third to .4 of an inch all told. But the
east side of the valley got an inch and more.
Sept. 9 ~ A 72dF low, still muggy, still summer. A
couple Yellow Warbler in the yard early, a Least
Flycatcher, heard one Chat and a Gnatcatcher, the
two Rufous Hummer continue as do White-eyed and
Yellow-throated Vireo, Field Sparrow, and the usuals.
Caracara made a few passes. Saw the Verdin, and a
herd of about 18 Turkey in the corral. Most everything
else I saw besides the hummers was between the Verdin
and Turkey, sizewise. Best was a Twelve-spotted Skimmer
dragonfly, a male, the first I have seen this year.
It is an irregular fall vagrant here not seen every year,
and totally awesome looking in flight so always a treat.
Heard just a few notes from the Pauraque at dusk.
Hister Beetle about 11 p.m. on porch.
Sept. 8 ~ A muggy 74dF for a low is tiresome at this
time of the year. The Pauraque called at about 6:38
and 6:55 a.m., Great Horned Owls going the whole time.
A couple Yellow Warbler around yard early. That was
it until after 10 when I heard Audubon's Oriole
across road. We took an hour walk to crossing 11-12.
Had a singing Bell's Vireo, saw an Orchard Oriole,
heard a couple more, heard a couple bunting sps.,
heard the Verdin, a Chat, heard a few and saw a male Summer
Tanager, heard Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Least Flycatcher,
saw a couple and heard a couple Yellow Warbler, saw
a Yellow-throated warbler, and best was a FOS Mourning
Warbler, an immature with a yellow throat. I called ID
at first chip but it took a couple minutes to find
and see it, we ended up with great close views, and
another great "the end" photo. But that was
all I got. The end. You can tell it was not a Mac.
Sept. 7 ~ Back up to 72dF for a low, some clouds, good
and sticky. Let go already summer. Over the morning
in the yard I saw a very few migrants. Single juvenile
Indigo and Painted Bunting that both looked new and
different, a couple Yellow Warbler, a couple imm.
Orchard Oriole, one imm. Baltimore Oriole and a Least
Flycatcher. The rest were locals. Saw the Yellow-throated
Warbler and the Yellow-throated Vireo was still singing.
A few Summer Tanager. Afternoon was hot (91dF in shade)
and sticky with no action. Weird was an immature Ruby-throated
Hummingbird incessantly giving begging notes. I do not
recall ever hearing one still begging here in the fall.
It can't be too old. At dusk the Pauraque called bit,
as did the Screech-Owls, which sound like one begging
(yapping and high pitched weird trill) young and the ad. pair.
Mourning Warbler, male, September 12. I was trying to hide my
bloated carcass against front door, it was in adjacent flower bed.
another bonus pic...
This is the mating pair of Luna Moth on Sept. 4. Was on the
big Pecan, they were there all day.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Sept. 6 ~ Low of 70dF, and a bit sticky. In a.m.
saw a couple Yellow Warbler, heard an Orchard Oriole,
one Least Flycatcher out front, but not much for migrant
motion. Yellow-throated Vireo still singing, as is
White-eyed Vireo, and Summer Tanager. Saw one greenie
imm. Painted Bunting. Was a town errand run day.
One Scissor-tail going there and back. At the park
there was a Northern Waterthrush on the island, my FOS,
a yellow tinted type. Also FOS were 2 Spotted Sandpiper
on the spillway. Barred Owl was on island too, kinda
surprised no Mourning Warbler yet. I think I keep
forgetting to mention the Ludwigia is blooming a
couple weeks plus now. Looking for but not seeing
any Banded Sphinx larvae on it. About 7 p.m. I got
a look at a Mississippi Kite as it flew by behind the
house. Don't get it every fall, so nice. Heard
the Verdin at last sun. The Pauraque first called at
8:07 p.m. Interesting was it giving the introductory
notes in flight as it covered quite a bit of ground,
200' or so. Then it landed in the draw and then
gave 10 minutes of just the climax ka-wheeerrr note.
Sept. 5 ~ A low of 68dF makes 5 days with lows below
70. Woohoo! There were more debris cumulus clouds and
even a few rain cells nearish-by, one barely missed us
and sent a few sprinkles. Remnants of T.S. Fernand,
it kept the temps moderated. I saw 82 about 3 p.m.,
remarkable. A couple Yellow Warbler were about yard,
Kathy saw an Orchard oriole at the bath, and later she
spotted the big imm. fem. Cooper's Hawk in it!
The two Rufous Hummers continue, no Black-chinned,
a couple or few dozen Ruby-throated. Yellow-throated
Warbler is around, but no singing, it's done.
Saw a Rose-bellied Lizard on a pecan trunk.
Dusk was fun. The Pauraque was calling early whilst
still light in the sky. It again landed on the powerline,
and I got a silhouette photo anyway. It was working
all around yard calling. Then it comes popping over
the roof and me on the patio straight up I can see
the white bands on rounded wings, and there is a
Chuck-wills-widow not 8' behind it! They disappeared
in front yard pecans somewhere. I wonder if it was
an ad. or juv. Chuck? The Pauraque continued calling
all around off and on for over an hour.
The other thing that happened at dusk was first hearing
four Upland Sandpipers calling as they gain altitude
to fly for the night. Outstanding was hearing a
Lesser Yellowlegs! It is a new yard bird! I have
thought I heard them a couple times, and have seen
a few Greater, but this one kept calling, giving
nearly a half-dozen repititions of the call so as
to make sure I was getting it. They are generally
rare here only occurring when it rains and there are
flood ponds, most often in spring. It borders on
accidental in fall.
Sept. 4 ~ Hit 68dF for a low, keeping our September
streak of all 60's lows alive so far, I can't
believe it. Only hit about 90dF peak heat due to
lots of debris clouds from Tropical Storm Fernand
making landfall south of us in northern Mexico.
It formed and made landfall in 24 hours. They got
lots of rain mostly. A couple Yellow Warbler, an imm.
Blue Grosbeak, and a Gnatcatcher in yard in morning.
Both Rufous Hummers still here, did not see any
Black-chinned, it looked all Ruby-throats to me today.
Later afternoon there was a spritz or two of rain,
and a couple dozen Chimney Swifts were low over the
trees calling as they bolted south. These are surely
migrants from elsewhere on their way.
About 9 a.m. I sat down in the chair on the front porch
to smoke my pipe and watch the bark grow on the big
pecan right off the porch. And there 8' off the
ground on it was a hooked up in copulation pair of
LUNA MOTH! OMG! Got some photos of course. Amazing.
I can't believe it. Mind-blowing for me here.
They are using this big native pecan. I see a clear
difference in their antennae, one much broader than the
other. After 16 years here and not seeing one, this is
the jackpot Luna week of my life. Much of my youth was
spent dreaming of seeing one. I had seen several
but 3 decades ago. They stayed hooked up until
after dark. Sometime about 9 p.m. one of them left,
the other stayed hanging right where it was. Which
did which? The one with the smaller antennae stayed.
I bet the female. It was still there at midnight.
At dark the Common Pauraque called again. I did a couple
short calls and it landed on the powerline! Kathy came
out and saw it too. Later it worked all around the front
yard pecans calling just the final climax wheeeerr note.
More awesomeness. Had to be over a dozen Firefly out
there too, the fall flight is underway. Whaddaday.
Sept. 3 ~ an incredible low of 64dF was a suprise,
NOAA called for 70! No one complained, it was awesome.
Kathy heard the Barred Owl over at the river at dawn.
Outstanding was a Black-headed Grosbeak briefly in the
yard about 9 a.m., calling lots, got a couple flight
views as it moved tree to tree. Was imm. or female type.
Otherwise only a couple Yellow Warbler for morning migrant
movement. Peak heat I saw 90dF on the front porch whilst
KRVL was showing 97 again. All that blacktop and concrete.
Only 2 greenies (imm. Painted Bunnies) left. Saw one only
imm. Black-chinned Hummingbird, and seems to have been some
departure of Ruby-throateds. Still the two Rufous Hummer.
Heard the Hutton's Vireo in Mesquites across road, and
a Scissor-tail calling. One imm. male Cooper's Hawk
got a House Finch that I saw, by keeping it up in open
airspace until it tuckered out, and later I heard a Cardinal
get taken, probably that big female Coop that has been here.
Saw Northern Cloudywing, couple Goatweed Leafwing, Mestra,
Giant Swallowtail, and lots of the more common butterflies.
At dusk two Common Nighthawk flew low and fast downriver
just over treetops, probably migrants from elsewhere.
Then a Chuck-wills-widow flew right over me out on the driveway.
Heard Great Horned, Barred, and Eastern Screech-, Owls.
Sept. 2 ~ The pool of rain-cooled air gave us a 69dF
low again, sure feels great. But no migrants moving
in yard in morning save one Yellow Warbler. What was
here bugged out on the lightest of northerly flow.
Still singing (so likely still nesting) are Summer
Tanager, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, and
Carolina Wren. There was a Least Flycatcher out in
yard which may have been yesterday's bird. Both
Rufous Hummers where still here in the morning.
Mostly it was hiding from the heat though the ground
moisture humidity from the rain yesterday kept it a
bit cooler. The shady front porch was 90dF through
heat of day, whence KRVL was showing 97. We went for
an afternoon swim to cool off. I found a feather that
was just molted floating up against a cypress root.
Looks like maybe adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
wing covert or scapular. Will have to photo and send
away to expert methinks.
After we got back just before 5:30 p.m. I sat down on
porch to smoke my pipe and spotted a LUNA MOTH drying
out on the trunk of the big pecan. It was pumping up its
wings from pupae emergence! In the sun! So finally got
some real pix of a Luna! What an awesome beast.
They must be using the pecan! It must have pupated
at the base of the tree, it was about 28" up the
trunk where it sat. It was there until about 8:34 or
so when I walked past it to stand out in the driveway
and look for nightjars for a couple minutes. When I
walked back it was gone. Dang I wanted to see it fly
off. Turned my back for a few moments and missed it.
September 1 ~ OMG September! Some rain cooled outflow
air arrived overnight from activity far north of us,
providing a wonderful low of 69dF! Of course 12-gauge
shotgun blasts are the standard alarm this day in Texas.
Dove and duck season is now open if you wonder why the
doves went high.
Around the yard in the morning were 3-4 Yellow Warbler
and 1 Least Flycatcher for migrants. The two Rufous
Hummingbird continue. A couple greenies (imm. Painted
Bunting) still here. I took a spin and checked the
360 crossing where nothing. The pond at the golf course
by Waresville, had a Common Grackle and 10 Red-winged
Blackbird, all males, and a few Thornbush Dasher
dragonfly besides the common stuff. The park in town
had zip for migrants. Did not see even one Yellow Warbler
whilst driving around. The yard was better. Did see a
few more Fireweed in bloom at riveredge. Some Boneset
Eupatorium is going well in places along the water,
but not much on it. Some Broomweed starting to bloom.
Lots of clouds kept us a bit below the usual searing
temps of late, until they turned into rain cells and
we got really cooled off. We got one about 2-3 p.m.,
it was awesome, a whole INCH of rain! Dropped it to
the upper 70's dF by 3 and 72dF at 4 p.m.! Weewow!
And there won't be any dust for a couple days.
After it rains there is always a termite hatch so birds
were feasting on those. Saw Eastern Phoebe, a Gnatcatcher,
Summer Tanager, and Yellow Warblers hitting them right away.
Then a swallow swarm showed up with 3-4 dozen Barn, a few
Cave, and one Cliff Swallow just feet off the ground right
in the road by the gate. You could hear incessant snapping
of their beaks, a dozen dragonflies joined the melee too.
It was an incredible show, we were just 30-40' from the
TET - termite emergence tornado - and swallows were all around,
often at eye level and below. The Least Flycatcher showed back
up, stuffed itself and gave photos. I saw it multiple times
forage on the ground as they may do. Most other Empis are
wont to land on the ground. Later both Hutton's and
Red-eyed Vireo showed up! At dusk I saw a Chuck-wills-widow
flopping around toward the draw a couple times. Heard no
Pauraque, but did heard four Upland Sandpiper call as they
headed south. So some were in pastures here up-valley
today, just not in any I checked.
~ ~ ~ August summary ~ ~ ~
It was hot and sticky, but fairly dry for precipitation.
About 2" for the month is below normal. Getting
fairly parched out there. High temps averaged 5-8dF above
average, and lows ran 3-5dF above average. Decent Persimmon
crop ripening, some Hackberries and Pecans on way, but not
a bumper crop year for either. Unfortunately we did not make
it up to Lost Maples this month. Too dang hot, and too busy.
So missed a few things for the month in birds and dragons in
particular, but probably a couple butterflies too.
Butterflies were 54 species, down a handful from last
couple months. Best as a Laviana White-Skipper, they are
less than annual here. Next best were a Crimson Patch, a
White-striped Longtail that was around 10 days or so, and
a Dotted Roadside-Skipper. The rest was the expected.
No Zebra so far this year. Three good moths were seen.
Best was a LUNA MOTH Kathy spotted on Aug. 27. The stuff
dreams are made of for westerners. A Black Witch in the
woods at the park on the 23rd was great. So was a
Hummingbird Hawkmoth Sphinx moth (Aellopos sps.), likely
clavipes or titan.
Odes were fair, but not as active as earlier in summer.
Or was it me? I saw 27 species, and nothing rare or
unusual. Orange-striped Threadtail, Comanche Skimmer,
Black-shouldered Spinyleg, a few Thornbush Dasher maybe
were the better amongst them. Surely working at it one
could have rustled up another half-dozen or more species
without much effort save being brutalized in the heat.
Birds were good with some migrant action picking up by the
end of the month. Best bird was the Common Pauraque
that was around our yard into early Sept. so far. What a
treat getting to hear it call repeatedly. A Verdin showed
up late Aug., which may well be a 3rd year returnee (!).
A total of four Rufous Hummingbird in yard for the month is
great, two of which have stuck into early September. An
Olive-sided Flycatcher was my early date on Aug. 24. Good
numbers of Orchard Oriole and Yellow Warbler passing through,
both hitting double digits on best day, and probably a
hundred or so of each, as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
went through yard in August. A juvenile Acadian Flycatcher
in our yard on the 25th is a very rare find as a transient
in fall here. Looks like about 90 species of birds locally.
A handful were missed by missing Maples. I saw a few ebird
reports in early August of Golden-cheeked Warbler still there
the first week or so of the month.
~ ~ ~ end August summary ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ partial update header (June-July) archive ~ ~ ~
July is hot and sticky season here. If lucky there are
some low clouds from the Gulf in the mornings keeping it
fairly bearable until noonish. Many birds are still singing
and breeding, many are done and departing. Tons of baby
birds out there. An imm. ROSEATE SPOONBILL was seen at a
private pond 4-5 mi. SSW of town on July 7 (Leslie Calvert),
a great bird locally. A BLACK WITCH (moth) was also seen
the 7th. A Belted Kingfisher flying downriver on the 17th
is my early 'fall' date locally by a couple weeks.
A cold front arriving overnight July 22-3 is as rare a bird
here as anything. Lows in the 60's not being rain-related,
with dry northerlies and highs in upper 80's the 23rd-4th
is amazing. The morning of the 25th we had 57dF, Kerrville had
55 and Rock Springs 52dF! These are record lows for the date.
Outstanding on July 28 was an adult PEREGRINE FALCON right at
the corner of 187 and 360. Also saw one (last of the year
probably) Golden-cheeked Warbler at Lost Maples the 28th.
July 31 our first of fall RUFOUS Hummingbird showed up,
a nice adult male, still present Aug. 2.
June highlights... June 29 three juvenile Grasshopper
Sparrow were on a W. Sabinal Rd. fenceline just west of the Jones Cmty.
Rd. intersection. This in Bandera Co. where I had been watching
them. Still begging Golden-cheeked Warbler getting fed at Lost
Maples June 29 as well. Late late evening on June 19th an actual
fall migrant flew over calling southbound in the dark, a Long-billed
Curlew! A fall migrant 5 minutes before the last day of spring.
Had Bushtit here at the hovelita on June 16. Breeding season is going
hot and heavy, lots of begging babies appearing, so finding the breeders
is relatively easy. There are also post-breeding wanderers moving
around already too, some of the earliest nesters are done. Black-n-white
and Golden-cheeked Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and White-eyed
Vireo are a few of the things I have been seeing off breeding territories
moving about now. A couple cormorants were seen at Utopia Park June 26,
surely Neotropic, rare birds here. July is primetime for rare hummingbirds.
Was a Mexican (Green) Violetear at Reagan Wells a month or so.
~ ~ ~ end June-July update header archive ~ ~ ~
~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~
Aug. 31 ~ Finally it is here, the end of August and
climatalogical summer. Three more weeks for astronomical
summer to end at the equinox. Ran about 74-92dF, hot
and sticky. I was supposed to go rustle up some new
butterflies for the monthly list, but passed. It is
whatever it is. Too dang hot. The few bearable hours
early there is less than great butterfly activity.
Mid-morning here a Texas Powdered-Skipper landed right
in front of me. A male Roseate Skimmer dragonfly has been
around for days, especially when Kathy sprays water.
A couple females were around for about a week.
About 4-5 Yellow Warbler around yard in morning, all
hit the bath. No other warblers though, these may well
be holdovers from yesterday. Also there was a fresh
fledgling Common Ground-Dove, Chat, White-eyed Vireo,
Summer Tanager, a Dickcissel, and all the usual gang.
Nothing new and different. Only saw the usual two Rufous
Hummingbirds here now, the ad. male owning the office
feeder and the ad. female using one of the front porch
feeders. No ad. male Black-chinned, two immatures was it.
Must be a few to several dozen Ruby-throated here now.
The salmon below 1st summer male Painted Bunting was on
the patio, a couple greenies (imms.) were around still.
Did not see an Indigo today though.
This is the Luna Moth pumping up and drying out just after
emerging from pupae on Sept. 2. They are 4.5" across!
and a mandatory bird pic
Here is the Least Flycatcher that was pigging out on termites as
they emerged after the rain, occasionally foraging from ground.
I had no idea you could fit that many termites in one of these.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Aug. 30 ~ Low of 76dF is not very. Great Horned Owl
calling at dawn. The bath had a little action around
8:30. Maybe three Yellow and what looked the same
male Wilson's Warbler came in. A juvenile
Baltimore Oriole got a drink and split quick. Saw
a juv. Orchard Oriole and female Summer Tanager. Two
Rufous-crowned Sparrow took long baths allowing some
good shots. Pics look like it was an adult and an juvenile.
There are many fewer Yellows here today than yesterday,
so a bunch bugged out. In the morning it was 3, in the
evening it got up to 5.
Lots of Pecan leaves are turning yellow and lots are
falling. The bees hit the sap first thing at daylight,
the best tree humms. They seem to not be there in the
afternoon. Maybe the sap gets hard or too dry. It appears
the Yellow Warblers are gleaning bugs that get stuck to the
leaves in the sticky sap. An Eyed Elaterid (the big click
beetle) was on the patio at dawn when I tossed seed about.
Heard an Audubon's Oriole early in the morning.
Both Rufous Hummers still here, do not see any ad.male
Black-chinned, a few imm. Black-chinned continue. Rubies
now must number in the few dozens.
Town run fer shtuff. No migrants at the park. Wish
I could have seen it yesterday since we know it was a
big movement day. Can't get away from the desk on
Thursdays. Heard Blue Jay and Green Heron, that was it.
Little Creek Larry said he saw Inca Dove feeding two
young this week. He also saw a Ringed Kingfisher at the
park this morning. I saw a DOR (dead on road) Roadrunner
on 187 just above the UvCo 360 turn. DOR was the first
acronym I learned in life, at about four or five years old.
There was a Eufala Skipper on the yellow Lantana at the
Sabinal Cyn. Museum, new for the month.
About 4 p.m. a cloud shield from rain cells 25 miles
west of us blocked the sun. Dropped from 93 to 87 in
a half hour of no sun. From icky to bearable. So that
is the dang problem, that friggin' sun thingie.
A second male Rufous Hummingbird showed up late p.m., it was
tussling with the adult female out front and flew off,
I ran straight to back and the one guarding the feeder
there was on his perch. So, three here right now, and number
five for the fall so far. About 5:p I went out driveway
and a male Orchard Oriole flushed out of the Texas
Persimmon at the gate. Wish I had seen it first.
Then after 7 p.m. a flock of 8 Orchard and 1 Baltimore
Oriole flew over the yard from the draw. Bet they were
in the Persimmons over there all day. Reminds me there
is a camping area in Garner St. Pk. called Persimmon Hill,
covered in them. It is in the northeast area, it can be
good for birds in September when crop. Should be birdable
after this weekend. Did not hear the Pauraque at dusk,
saw about 4 or 5 Firefly. Saw a Northern Cloudywing
butterfly by cottage today.
Aug. 29 ~ A sticky start with a low of 75dF, a few
scattered clouds off and on over the morn. Both
Rufous Hummers are still here. I am not seeing
any adult male Black-chinned, only a very small number
of immatures. Ruby-throated now far outnumber them.
Lots of ad. male Rubies showing up now, besides imms.
Heard a Blue Grosbeak, surely an imm. or female now.
Three greenies (imm. Painted Bunting) around still,
interesting was late in day a first summer male was
at the millet tube with reddish salmon underparts.
Noonish there was a very worn adult female Indigo Bunting
with a begging just-fledged juvenile! This is a very
LATE DATE for begging attended young for me here.
Maybe this is why the molting male has been staying
around? It was out there later.
The birdbath exploded with activity about 9-10 a.m.
There were a number of Yellow Warbler around the yard
first thing. On the bath I had 5 at once, was looking
at 7, and estimate there were 10 total. So if all of
yesterday's stayed, they were joined by as many
more this morning. It was a full blown party. Besides
all the Yellows, a male Black-and-white Warbler came in
that was likely a first summer male. A male Wilson's
Warbler came in, with orange in lores and forehead, a
western type. A female Orchard Oriole came in (couple
more in trees), a first year male Dickcissel came down,
probably the one around yesterday. One Field Sparrow
came in. Male and female Summer Tanager took baths.
Photo'd all of the above, but only managed four
Yellows in one frame though. Saw three Chats in the
Pecan over the bath. After it had sorta quieted down
Kathy spotted the FOS male Baltimore Oriole there!
It bolted right away before I could get a shot.
It was the fastest I ever took 113 photos. Had to swap
batteries. You will see some 'film at eleven'
I'm sure. It seems a fair number were likely things
that were here yesterday. It also seems like they ate
for the first couple hours of light, and then all
went to the bath for drinks and splashes. Of course
the whole time there were Cardinal, Carolina Wren,
Black-crested Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch, etc., coming
in and out when all this was going on. It was a few
dozen birds at least, maybe four dozen, in an hour or so.
It was an incredible parade. Who knows what we miss, the
bath is not where we can always watch it.
The Verdin was around again. Sure would like a pic of
it. Heard the Pauraque in the pecans out front at
dusk. Right at dark I heard my FOS Upland Sandpiper,
finally. Barred Owl called later over at river.
Saw three Firefly at once, so the fall flight has begun.
Some years it can be pretty good in September.
Aug. 28 ~ About 75dF for a low, a little better than
yesterday. Some migrant motion in the yard early too.
There had to be 5 Yellow Warbler around, I got a pic
at the bath with 3 at once on it. Heard a couple Orchard
Oriole go by, a Summer Tanager is singing still. Great was
hearing a FOS Wilson's Warbler a bunch of times doing
the dry chit they do. Better was a Black-throated Green
Warbler that came into the bath. I got some shots but
early it is dark where the bath is so have to jack up ISO
to 800 often. Regardless still get usable shots for
illustrative purposes. The Yellow-breasted Chat took
two long baths, giving lots of good photos. A couple
juvie Painted Bunting came in to drink as well, one
pretty streaky below (ph.). The usual two DOZEN Cardinal
scaring things away often as anything.
Great was noonish hearing and seeing a VERDIN in the
pecan over the bath. Probably just missed it there.
That confirms what I thought I was hearing across the
road the last few days was indeed a Verdin and not a
juvenile Lesser Goldfinch, which can make a very very
similar single piercing metallic chip note. While I
was trying to get a pic of the Verdin saw a Blue-fronted
Dancer (damselfly) at my feet. A Least Flycatcher was
out front after noon. Heard an Inca Dove. Had a
Questionmark (butterfly) over by the cottage (ph.).
In the afternoon the Yellow Warblers seemed to spend the
day in the yard but I never saw the Black-throated Green
again, nor the Wilson's. However a Black-and-white
showed up late afternoon or early evening. It was a
whopping FOUR species of migrant warblers here today. So
with the Yellow-throated still here on territory that was
around alot, FIVE species of warbler in yard today, amazing.
In the afternoon an imm. Dickcissel was in the brushpile
by the bath, don't know if it got a drink or not.
Then at dusk I guarded the driveway. Saw a Firefly, which
is a fall firefly. Heard the Pauraque briefly call a few
times upslope behind us. A Common Nighthawk flew over low
and 2 Chuck-wills-widow were goofing around the yard. No
Luna Moth though. Three Caprimulgids at once from the
driveway is fine by me.
Aug. 27 ~ The low was a ridiculous 77dF, the warmest low of
the year so far. There were some mid-level debris clouds from
washed-out outflows that sheilded lots of sun and it only
got to 92dF, a good 5dF cooler than yesterday's burner.
Some few birds in yard early, a few Yellow Warbler, a couple Orchard
Oriole, and a Gnatcatcher. At least it was migrant motion.
The Yellows seemed to stick all day, at least three of them.
Ran to P.O. so checked park quickly, some Common Grackle,
a Green Heron, and a Spinybacked Spider, white and black
carapace type, but my photos were all out of focus.
Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo around yard. Saw on the
Frog-fruit an Orange Skipperling.
The highlight of the day was at dusk when Kathy was
spraying some water around and asked if I wanted to see
a big yellow moth. I asked if it was an Imperial, sorta
hesitant to walk though grass in sandals and risk chiggers
for one. She didn't know, so I had to go. There it
was on the fence sorta, underside towards us. LUNA MOTH!!!
The Holy Grail of moths! Big, bright green above, long
tails, it is fancy as you get. It came in to the water.
It was just sitting in one place seemingly on a broad
vine leaf on the fence that was covered in water.
It is my first locally, though I have heard of a few reports.
Still a rare bug here. I ran back to house, grabbed flashlight
and camera, barely any light in sky, went through corral gate
behind the cottage to get uppersurface. I grabbed some crummy
fuzzy flashlight photos, but at least got some docushots.
It was low just above the ground, so had to hold flashlight
in one hand, camera and other, and pray to the pixel gods.
I had to jack the ISO up to 3200 on top of that. Left the
porch light on for hours hoping it would come over but never
saw it. On porch I could have put 6500k daylight on it.
Aug. 26 ~ Low of 73dF, a few low stratus clouds for
a few hours early. A couple Yellow Warbler around
the yard. Way way more Ruby-throated Hummingbird showing
up. Still some ad. ma. Black-chinned, but few. The
ad. ma. Rufous retains the office feeder out back.
There are at least a couple newly fledged Bewick's
Wrens following adults around, as are a couple new
Carolina Wren fledglings with theirs. Heard a Gnatcatcher
or two go through in a.m., a pair of Yellow Warbler were
around, the Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo were both
about the yard. Thought I heard a Verdin again.
Was sitting on front porch mid-morn when I heard the doves
and everything flush off the patio. Turned to see a
Zone-tailed Hawk climb up from patio, fly across yard, and
up through the opening in pecans, with a dove in its talons.
It was 40' away below eye level when it came into view.
It circled low twice, but had seen me, so headed away with its
prey. Had I not been there it would have landed in the front
pecans with prey as it has done before. It was too fast
for photos. Won't see that one for a couple days.
They must be sooooo fast... you don't really think
of Red-tailed or Red-shouldered Hawks taking doves, but
Zone-tailed do it all the time, and White-wings. A lot
of it must be the element of surprise, but some must be
sheer speed and deftness.
It was almost 95dF on the cool shady front porch at 3 p.m.,
meanwhile Del Rio was at a record 106, their old record was
102 in 2002. At 5 p.m. Del Rio was 108! Hondo and Uvalde
were 102, we were 97dF in the cool shady. Another Rufous
or Allen's Hummer showed up out front. Later I got
a look to sex or age it, it is an adult female, so surely
not the bird gone for the last two days, a new arrival.
Rufous Hummingbird number four for the fall so far. Did not
hear the Pauraque at dusk again for the second day. Could
be that I missed the narrow window when it gives a few
measures, and then it shuts up.
Aug. 25 ~ Low stratus and a low of 74-5dF so muggy.
Heard a hummer giving real soft Selasphorus chips that
sounded a Calliope, got up from desk and went to check
feeder out dining room window and as soon as my head
got a line of sight on it, a tiny small hummer shot off.
I hate when that happens. Never got any kind of look,
but of size, which was Calliope, and which matches calls
I just heard. The ad.ma. Rufous is still guarding the
office feeder. More Rubies are showing up. Four greenies
(imm. Painted Bunting) were on the patio early. Whadyaknow
the male Indigo Bunting in heavy heavy molt is back out on
the patio and out back. Missed it for a couple days but
by molt I can tell it is him. What a mess he is. It is
the ugliest male Indigo Bunting I have ever seen.
Thought I heard a Long-billed Thrasher early first
thing, the sharp click notes. Shortly before noon
I heard real full calls, there is a LbT over in the
big Mesquites across from the gate. Probably a dispersing
juvenile this time of year. They have shorter bills
than adults and some pale in base of lower mandible,
so can be confused with a Brown Thrasher much more
easily than adults. Heard it calling again at last sun.
Very cool, wish it would find the bath. Also thought I
heard a few Verdin chips at one point in the day, from
over Mesquite way. Did have a Bell's Vireo singing
in the Mesquites. About a dozen big old trees about 20'
tall, right across from the gate, is just enough of a
patch to draw the Mesquite lovers in.
Outstanding was a juvenile Acadian Flycatcher in the yard.
New yard bird! I came within a second of getting a photo.
It is exceedingly rare to detect away from breeding grounds
in fall here. I have seen about 3 maybe, all in the last
6 years, all in August, all along UvCo360 but which is likely
just a function of time spent. My first ten years here
I saw exactly zero in fall away from a breeding territory.
Went for a peak-heat swim to beat it, was quiet over at
the river. A male Goatweed Leafwing has been hanging
around yard, saw a couple Cloudless Sulphur, Queens are
picking up. Did not hear the Pauraque at dusk to dark,
and did not try to entice it to call. It was a 10-day
bird as of yesterday, my longest duration record here.
Aug. 24 ~ A second spritz of rain occurred pre-dawn,
just another tenth of an inch or so, but which puts
us at a good solid quarter-inch with yesterday's
shower. Some folks upvalley had 1.5", further
north in southwestern Kerr Co some had 2.5-4+"!
Low was 73dF, about 3:30 p.m. it was 90, the humidity
holding temps down a bit. I did a dump run and so a
lookabout for a couple hours around noon. Best was my
FOS Olive-sided Flycatcher along Jones Cmty. Rd. in
BanCo. Looked at about 10 miles of fence and power
lines and saw 3 Scissor-tails total, they seem mostly
gone. Far fewer Vermilion Flycatchers too, though our
pair remain as do the last two young they fledged.
Saw a Mournful Duskywing (butterfly) on flowers in
BanCo. Saw one Green Heron and heard Common Grackle
at the park, that was it. But for a pair of Orange-striped
Threadtail damselfly in tandem.
Saw a nice patch of purple Eryngo in full roar, what a
weird wild plant that is (ph. with some native black
and white bees). Still two Rufous Hummers here in the
morning, but only the ad. ma. in the afternoon. There
were 5-6 Field Sparrow together in the weedy area by a
stick pile I keep. Build the habitat and they will come.
First flocklet of fall, likely local breeders gathering up.
Male Yellow Warbler came to bath late, was a female around
early. Despite some sprinkling the Pauraque called about
8:30, heard from the office, just uphill behind us where
the big ancient live-oaks. Later about 11 p.m. I heard
the Barred Owl calling over at the river.
Some outflow hit us from nearby rain cells in the later
afternoon. Garner to Concan and Dry Frio area looked
like they got it good, and a cell was just east of us too,
towards Seco Creek and Tarpley. We were in the infamous
Utopia Dry Slot. We got a trace to a tenth, but was in
the 80's for the afternoon instead of the 90's.
At this point in summer you take any kind of breaklet
you can get. Sure could have used some of the rain though.
Did have a Desert Checkered-Skipper on the Frog-fruit,
and a Clouded Skipper on the Lantana. Thought I mighta
heard a Verdin across road in Mesquites. Aug. is when
sometimes they show up. From where? Nearby in the
Was a fuzzy Luna Moth flashlight pic here but since
got a better one (above), so removed this one.
Here is the Black-throated Green Warbler at the bath. They are the
cousins to our endemic breeding Golden-cheeked Warbler, but only occur here
as migrants passing through. Note the tinge of yellow at flank, which
continues around vent area between legs. All Black-throated greens show
this, Golden-cheeked are snow white throughout posterior underparts, always.
Here is the birdbath showing a little action. A milk jug over it
with pinholes provides a drip. On the left is an imm. Dickcissel,
on the right a male wilson's Warbler, and 3 Yellow Warbler between.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Aug. 23 ~ A balmy 75dF low, got up to mid-90's. One
female Yellow Warbler hit the bath early. Did not see the
male Indigo Bunting. Saw a bright imm. Bell's Vireo
out front by the gate. The Texas Persimmons are purple
now, should be Baltimore Oriole here any day. The ad. male
Rufous Hummingbird is still out back, and a second bird has
shown up out front, an imm. or female without gorget. Still
ad.ma. Black-chinned here, and of course some Rubies. Nice
to see something besides the Black-chinned we spend May
through July flooded in. The pecan leaves are all shiny
and sticky with sap, which mists off as they grow nuts.
Did a park check since an errand run to town. A female
Indigo Bunting there is a transient. A female Ringed
Kingfisher is the first I have seen in a while. Was a
bit messy below, either an adult in heavy molt, or a one
year old first summer bird. Saw what was surely a
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron fly up from a dark swampy
part of the island into the Cypresses and out of view.
Durnit. Saw Orange Bluet damselfly. Flushed a Black
Witch moth which flew over to the island so no photo op.
One of those metallic gold Dicerca sps. Buprestid beetles
landed on my leg (ph.) A Southern Broken-Dash was on some
blooming Boneset Eupatorium in the woods. A Zone-tailed
Hawk was over town amongst a bunch of Turkey Vulture.
Kathy spotted an Empidonax in the afternoon, about an hour
later I saw a Least Flycatcher out there. Which is FOS
though an Empi sps. I saw Aug. 20 was surely one too. Late
afternoon a rain cell or two gave some water mostly up valley
around town and northward, and another over in the Frio drainage.
We got the outflow boundry after 5 p.m. and it took the
sizzle off the heat anyway. About 6:30 we got grazed by
the corner of the cell, maybe .15-.2" here, but up
at town and north they got an inch. We got the cool down
though, it quickly dropped to 71dF when the light rain hit.
What a break, 20dF cooler than most days at 7 p.m. lately.
Heard the Pauraque a few times before 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 22 ~ Back up to 74dF for a low, a few low clouds
a couple hours of the morn to stave off heat. About 92
in cool shady. Saw the male Indigo Bunting, the male
Rufous Hummingbird still guarding the office feeder.
A couple Yellow Warbler zzeets in the pecans, two females
were seen at the bath over the morning. A Gnatcatcher
came in to the feeder action to check it out, must be a
juvenile. Landed on the rope the sunflower feeder hangs
on to see whaddup whilst chickadees and titmice going
back and forth. Both Yellow-throateds, Vireo and Warbler,
were around, and a White-eyed Vireo. A couple each ad. and
imm. male Ruby-throated Hummers are here, still a few ad.ma.
Black-chinned around too. Heard a couple Blue Grosbeak,
which went unseen. Saw a Funereal Duskywing on the
Frog-fruit flowers. Heard the Pauraque at last light.
Did not want to bother it so I was silent.
Aug. 21 ~ A 71dF low felt great, what a difference a few
dF makes. Saw the male Indigo Bunting early morning. A
female Yellow Warbler was in the yard, until the Yellow-throated
Warbler saw it. Ran it out. Chased it tree to tree and
seemingly out. Must view it as a food competitor and is
still in a very territorial mood. An hour or so later a
male and female Yellow Warbler went to the bath together (ph.).
Ground-Dove was at the bath again. Heard Gnatcatcher and
an Orchard Oriole. Caracara went over. Maybe only hit 92dF
on the cool shady front porch, so it dialed back a couple dF
on the heat. Probably due to ground moisture from the rain.
Yellow-throated Vireo singing around yard, as is a White-eyed
still. A Zone-tailed Hawk circled over in the afternoon (ph.).
The big events of the day were at dusk. First I spotted a
Sphinx moth at the Snow-on-the-Mountain so grabbed camera
and got some shots. Sun was down had to use high ISO, but
it was one of the Aellopos (hummingbird hawkmoth types) species,
either clavipes or titan I suspect. It seemed greenish so
probably titan, but will have to send pix to experts to see.
I have seen a few of these types here over the years, obvious
for their white band on adbomen, and hovering at flowers
looking much like a tiny small hummingbird, which they have
been reported as. I just love this dusk on the driveway thing.
Then as it got almost dark, the Pauraque started calling
from in the pecans in the front yard! It was flopping
around over top of the shorter ones 25' up. Kathy
came out of office since she heard it. It was calling
and flying across the yard. So to test and see what kind
of Pauraque this was, I did my patented call again. Is this
a real Pauraque, or is this a Russian Pauraque? The bird
flew directly at me and got so close, I flinched, I think
at the same time it did, but honestly had taken my eyes
off the ball. It was a real Pauraque. It promptly plopped
down on the driveway 8 or 10 feet from us and went to
yukking it up with the intro calls. It would jump up and do
that Pauraque flop, up and down a foot or two so at a time
moving slowly away up the driveway. Gave a couple great full
calls. Flew around the yard right past us, we saw the white
outer tail feathers well. It flew right overhead another pass
and against the last light in the sky we saw it was missing all
of its inner primaries, on both sides of course. So it is in
heavy wing molt right now. It landed back on the driveway, flopped
around and yukked it up more, it was about 10 minutes of
an incredible show. I grabbed the camera and got a few seconds
of an mp4 with the lens cap on just to document the call with
poor quality audio. Alas, my 20 year old faithful Sony
Palm-corder cassette unit (used with a small 8" dish mic)
seems to have finally given up after years of abuse. I
can't believe it did that to me. Just like my guitars.
Aug. 20 ~ A 75dF low is a drag. But there were a couple
migrants in the yard this morning to make one forget about it.
An Empidonax flycatcher was my first of the fall. Looked
a Least. An imm. Orchard Oriole, a female Yellow Warbler,
and a White-eyed Vireo with a nice white eye (ad. - ph.)
came into the bath mid-morn. Yellow-throated Vireo singing
around yard, and I heard the Red-eyed over in the usual far
part of corral singing! It must have moved a couple days
out of earshot to the other area it spent time this summer
just past the corral, but is back still going at it as usual
again. The male Indigo was around and is in heavy molt (ph.)
now, doing it here on the breeding grounds apparently. He
is looking ratty for all that beautiful blue. Caracara went over.
Many of the same butterflies were on the Frog-fruit including
the Laviana White-Skipper, a False Duskywing, a Rounded Metalmark,
and a Southern Skipperling. All the other more common stuff
was there too. Late afternoon peak heat I saw 92dF on the cool
shady front porch, whilst KRVL showed 97dF. Only Rocksprings
up at 2300', a thousand feet higher, showed cooler at 91,
Boerne was 93. Most local areas showed several dF hotter
than we are, we run close to the coolest temps in the hills.
I call that a win but it is still way too hot for my old carcass.
At about 8:35 and 40 the Pauraque called several times. Then
the Chuck-wills-widow got active, with two young begging
flying right by me whilst leaned up against the trucklet in
the driveway. One adult and two young, catching stuff right
over the yard 20-30 feet away. I could only see silohuettes
against last light in sky but saw two young begging chasing
after an adult obviously. Finally one gave one good full call,
the first I have heard in about 5 weeks since they quit
singing in earlier July. It was a great goatsucker show.
Aug. 19 ~ Need I say it was 74-90 something dF? A wee bit of
some low clouds in a.m., no migrant bird motion. By noon
it was hot. Rufous Hummer still guarding the feeder out the
office so I am hearing him all day. Saw at least a couple
imm. male Ruby-throated, and maybe a couple adults as well.
Still ad.ma. Black-chinned but thinning fast, as are the
immatures. Three Field Sparrow around, at least one a juvie,
plus new fresh begging young of Lark and Chipping Sparrow still.
That dull dull first summer female Summer Tanager is still
around. Since she nested she has not molted yet and wow is
she beat, worn, and gray. Saw a Titmouse stashing sunflower
seeds in ball moss. The first of that this season.
The verges of the road were all mowed last week, as was
the corral, so a bazillion flowers are gone. Meanwhile
the few patches we have are getting way more butterflies the
last several days since the drastic botanical change took place.
Around noon checked the Frog-fruit and found a Laviana
White-Skipper (ph.). They are LTA - less than annual here.
It is a big white skipper from southward, hopefully a harbinger
of a good invasion from Mexico this fall. Been a year at
least since I saw one locally. Sometimes we have gone years
with out one occurring. A couple years of last 16 we had
decent invasions of them.
There was at the same time on the Frog-fruit the same three
as yesterday probably: False Duskywing, Streaky Skipper, and
a Checkered-Skipper - probably a White. Plus a Mallow
Scrub-Hairstreak, got a pic of a Rounded Metalmark, my first
of the month, and a Reakirt's Blue or three. Just kneeling
down to look and grab a couple pix and you are dripping.
Welcome to Texas in August. Saw the Laviana a couple hours
later, it visited again. Couple Painted Lady on the
Snow-on-the-Mountain, still a Black Swallowtail on it, and a
couple Olive Juniper Hairstreak. In yard Goatweed Leafwing,
Giant Swallowtail, Mestra, several Lysides were among other
things floating around.
Outstanding was hearing the Pauraque call again. Several
times at last light in the sky, about 8:37-8. Straight across
the road from the gate on the back side of the big old mesquite
patch. Went out a bunch more when fully dark and never heard it
again. Still no Upland Sandpiper calls overhead, though I
saw a report of some a couple days ago from southwestern Bexar Co.
Aug. 18 ~ About 74-94dF in the cool shade. No migrant movement
yet. Thought behind the outflow boundries and rain that was
from a washed out front we would get something within a couple
days. Still waiting. Kathy saw a male Indigo Bunting in
the a.m. briefly on the patio, only sighting all day. About
3 greenie Painted left. Ad.ma. Rufous Hummer still here,
Yellow-throated Vireo still singing in yard. We went for a
swim peak heat, had a few dozen Barn Swallow in a swirl over
the river, above treetops.
Some good butterfly action on the driveway Frog-fruit, and the
adjacent Snow-on-the-Mountain. Saw two Streaky Skipper at once
(probably a first for me) on the Frogfruit. One Checkered-Skipper
looked like a White, not a Common. Couple Olive Juniper Hairstreak,
a Whirlabout and a Fiery Skipper, a Clouded Skipper at the Wooly
Ironweed early, Painted Lady and Black Swallowtail also on the
Snow-on-the-Mountain. One Mestra was putting around, numbers of
Queen going by.
Aug. 17 ~ We remain in that 'groundhog day' groove,
now playing the summer burner version, like a broken record.
Bet you would never guess it ran about 75-95 in the shade
here today. The bright side cup-half-full I might have
mentioned recently, we are in a large area of southern
and south-central U.S. (inclds. most of Texas) which on average
has its hottest day of the year between Aug. 6 and 16th. So
statistically we should be over the peak heat hump. The
last couple weeks of burning should be the worst of it.
Heard a few Orchard Oriole out there early. Did an hour
of hard labor yard work before I dropped dripping.
The ad.ma. Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummers continue, as do
some ad. ma. Black-chinned. Thought sure again I saw imm. ma.
Ruby-throated, a couple times. Maybe the same female
Roseate Skimmer dragonfly was out front (ph.).
In butterflies saw a Desert Checkered-Skipper, besides a
few Common, 2 different Olive Juniper Hairstreak (ph.),
besides a couple Gray. A Southern Skipperling was my first
of the year probably, unless I had one in early spring.
Goatweed Leafwing was out there, Common Mestra, American Lady,
the freshest mint Variegated Frit you can imagine (ph.),
Julia's Skipper and Celia's Roadside-Skipper,
the porch and Turks Cap area Dusky-blue Groundstreaks that
won't let me get a picture... Also saw Whirlabout,
numbers of Queen, Pipevine Swallowtail, a dozen Lyside,
Little Yellow, and others, I was barely paying attention.
Oops, wasn't over. After dinner around last sun on the
flowers, lots came out for one last shot of juice.
A DOTTED Roadside-Skipper was best, first one I have
seen this year, they have been very rare since the drought.
They were nearly common 2004-08. Rare since. Was gone
when I got back out with camera. Then a False Duskywing
(Gesta gesta) came in, first of month and got pix of it.
Over at the Snow-on-the-Mountain was a female Sachem
and a Black Swallowtail, besides the Olive Juniper
Hairstreak, Pipevines, a Syrphid, and some native bees.
Saw or heard no nighthawks, nightjars, goatsuckers, or
relatives. There was a big dozer working a half-mile
away across the river but it was still too loud. The
Screech-Owls called, that was it.
Male Yellow Warbler at our bird bath. I am seeing 1-2 daily now
so they are on the move. Nothing like a drip to bring birds in,
works better than food, and they really need water in this heat.
The dark spots on the wing are shadows from water drops.
a bonus pic this week...
Here is a pic of the 'hummingbird hawkmoth', Sphinx moth
of the genus Aellopos, likely either clavipes or titan. Nectaring on
Snow-on-the-Mountain. They hover just like a hummingbird at flowers,
but often use front legs to steady themselves while feeding.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Aug. 16 ~ An amazing rain-cooled low of 69.5dF. Feels so
good. Thought there might be some migration motion this
morning behind the outflows from the north yesterday.
Could not have been more wrong, guess again. Nothing.
Didn't even have the usual Gnatcatcher and few Orchard
Oriole of late. The Rufous Hummer is on day 9 now, the ad.ma.
Ruby-throat still here. Still a dozen or so ad.ma.
Black-chinned, but not for long. No ad.ma. Indigo or
Painted Bunting, or Blue Grosbeak in yard. Yellow-throated
Vireo still singing. Chat getting way quieter. Town run,
almost nothing at the park, kinda surprisingly. Only
thing was a dozen Common Grackle, over half were hatch-year
juveniles, only one ad. male. So likely a post-breeding
party of all the local nesters gathered up now. No Martins
over town, they are outta here. You might see stray migrants
from now until early October, but the locals are gone.
One Questionmark butterfly at the park. Saw my FOS flowers
on Eryngo, the bizarre purple Thistle relative on roadsides.
Did an hour plus dusk nightjar patrol out on the driveway.
First while still sun up there were four Common Nighthawk.
It was a family group, presumedly from the nearby knoll a
half-mile to north. The female had a couple young trailing
it, and at one point the male did a decent booming dive.
Great to hear that one more time this year. After watching
them a while and sun dipped below horizon, twice I saw a
Chuck-wills-widow flying right behind the house up the hill
low right over treetops of the big live-oaks. Finally about
8:50 the Common Pauraque flew right over my head! Still enough
light in the sky to get a perfect silohuette, straight up,
of short rounded wings and a very very long tail. Completely
unlike any of our other nightjars. Awesome. A pair of mccallii
Screech-Owl were calling, sounded like they were going into
Aug. 15 ~ About 74dF for a low, no morning clouds, go
directly to baking. Heard a few Orchard Oriole out there
early, saw the ad.ma. Indigo Bunting, but no Painted around
save the greenies. The adult male Rufous Hummer #2 is
still here, day 8 now. Still can't get over how lucky
I was to get a pic of the back of that first one with the
green flecks, so as to know this one is different.
About noon-thirty I had my FOS Ruby-throated Hummingbird,
an adult male. Ties my latest fall arrival date, usually
they are back sooner. But, it means they were probably
breeding, which is good. When things come back early in
fall, it might mean they failed nesting. So we have three
species of hummers at the feeders today, which has not
happened since last fall. The next month is prime-time
to snag a passing Calliope or Broad-tailed. After them
you are just dreaming, wishing and hoping. But that's OK.
It may even help. There is a White-eared out in west Texas
now. Saw that Olive-Juniper Hairstreak on the Snow-on-the-Mountain
after the rain. One Mestra was around too.
At 1 p.m. an adult female Yellow Warbler took a bath, my
FOS. So this little tail end of a system up in the plains
brought us our first couple of fall migrants. Should be
Upland Sandpipers tonight? We just got the outflow boundries,
not the actual front. But it was enough to set off rain
with the heat and humidity. Between 1:30 and 2 p.m. it
poured, about 2 INCHES! Temp dropped to 68dF! About
3pm it was back up to 72, but holy cow what a break. We
needed the water badly, it was parched out there. No dust
for a couple days.
Termites went off of course with a hatch, so my Red-breasted
Sunfish had some juicy treats. The birds had a feast all
afternoon. Some swallows were going over low getting termites,
maybe a few dozen Barn, and a half-dozen Cliff, which is rare
from the yard. I heard they have already departed the
colony at the 1050 bridge over the Frio River for the season,
maybe about two weeks ago. Hopefully they got young out.
At dusk after the rain, a COMMON PAURAQUE called a few times
from just up the road over the draw. I taped one once here
in the yard, Aug. 24, 2014 (present to 26th) so it has been
five years since last record for me. Prior to that had at
least one, maybe two Seco Ridge records, one was in latest July.
These are post-breeding wanderers moving north out of the
brush-country. Very interesting. Was a miracle I was out
in the driveway to hear the minute window it called. Just
love watching and listening from last sun to dark. Went out
and listened a bunch more and never heard it again, nor did
I hear any Upland Sandpiper going over. Even did my patented
Pauraque imitation, hate to brag but it is so good the last
one dive-bombed me. This individual however apparently could
not have been less impressed. You know, eye (or ear) of the
beholder and all... I hadn't practiced in five years,
perhaps I was off key. Sounded good to me, made me want to
call back to myself.
The frogs went off after the rain. I heard a few Barking
Frog, saw one and heard other Blanchard's Cricket-Frog,
caught a Red-spotted Toad, and the Rio Grande Leopard Frogs
were roaring. About midnight a pair of Great Horned Owl were
calling across the road.
Aug. 14 ~ Ran 75-96dF and the meltdown continues. Town
run early first thing so a look at the park. So great to
be the only one there again. It has been a zoo most of the
summer. Still singing were 2 Yellow-throated Vireo, an
Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a couple White-eyed Vireo. All
may well still be nesting. A couple interesting transients
were heard, a Great Crested, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher,
both of which have been gone from many local breeding areas
for a month. Saw Green and Great Blue Heron, heard a Green
Kingfisher. Summer Tanager and Yellow-throated Vireo were
at the park but only called, no singing. Heard some new baby
begging Blue Jays in town.
Saw the Indigo Bunting male early, but not late, and no
male Painted Bunting, or Blue Grosbeak. A couple Field
Sparrow around. Yellow-throated Vireo still singing.
White-winged Dove singing a very little. Saw some three
hundred feet up, practicing for Sept. 1 no doubt. The male
Rufous Hummingbird continues. An outflow boundry at 6 p.m.
brought a cool breeze taking us down to 90dF in a few minutes.
Terrible when 90 is a cool breeze. Got a little leaf-washer
and dust buster a half-hour later, maybe a tenth of an inch.
And which dropped us down to a chilly 82dF before sundown!
And the people were happy. Two Audubon's Oriole went
through yard at last sun.
Aug. 13 ~ Just another day baking, ran about 74-96 in the
cool shady. Saw the male Indigo in the morning and evening.
Might have glimpsed a male Painted late as it flushed out
back. About a half-dozen greenies continue. The 2nd male
Rufous Hummer continues. Gnatcatcher in a.m. and another
late afternoon, several Orchard Oriole went through early
and a few late. Saw a Barn Swallow feed young right overhead.
A Field Sparrow around. We get back down to about 90dF as
soon as the sun goes down, then it is a real slow drop
from there to about 82 by around midnight. It ain't
Aug. 12 ~ Unless we get a 'cane, August weather is
mostly a sub-tropical high that wavers a bit but overall
is a whole bunch of sameness. It was still 82dF at midnight
last night. Just under 76dF for a low. Early there were
a couple Gnatcatchers, and a few Orchard Oriole as is the
case lately nearly daily. The Orios came to the bath! The
male went right in like a boss. May have been showing the
young what a puddle is for. Very cool. Nothing ever wore
black and brown better. An hour later a sharp black-bibbed
first-summer bird (roughly a year old) came in quickly.
Their wings are in bad shape at this point, in dire need of
replacement. Dang Cards scared it off. Saw Chats and a
Yellow-throated Warbler at the bath briefly too.
Heard the Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireo still singing
as on territory this morning. White-eyed still going of
course. Still some adult male Black-chinned Hummingbird
around but most have left and immatures predominate now.
Between 6-7 p.m. one ad. male Painted Bunting and one male
Blue Grosbeak hit seed out back. Maybe a half-dozen greenies
left. Few Orchard Oriole late p.m. are probably different from
this morning's birds. Finally saw the Rufous Hummer
about 7:30 p.m., day 5 for this one. Got usable pix of three
purple beauties: Tube Tongue, Wooly Ironweed, and Purple
Bindweed flowers. There were two Clouded Skipper on the
Wooly Ironweed this morning.
Aug. 11 ~ It was 75-96 in the shade, same as it ever was
for August. Four Orchard Oriole went through in morning.
At least a couple Chats were at the bath in morning, got
some pics. Heard the Rufous Hummer first thing early.
Saw the male Indigo Bunting first and last thing. There
were two adult male Painted Bunting after 7 p.m., only
sighting all day, and first time I have seen two at once
in a week at least. Saw one of the salmon below types of
first spring-summer male Painted Bunting.
Weird was the first juvenile Cowbird being fed I have seen
in the yard this summer, a Brown-headed, late for them here.
The incredible part was it was being fed by a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
I don't know of a nest nearer than a half mile at best.We went
for a swim in the peak heat late afternoon. A .75" Horse Fly
bit me, wouldn't leave me alone, a first for that here.
I had to go frogman and go underwater and depart the area I
was in. In butterflies on the Frog-fruit in the driveway
there was a pair of Phaon Crescent, a couple each of Reakirt's
Blue, Gray Hairstreak, and Checkered-Skipper and a male Whirlabout (ph.).
Lots of other common stuff around yard.
Aug. 10 ~ Ran 75-95.5dF in the shade for a temp spread. Had
to be a hun in the sun. Hid inside mostly. Did some yard work
early, doesn't take long to get drippy. First thing
before sunup I saw one each ad. male Painted and Indigo Bunting.
Eight greenies (imm. Painted) hit the patio first thing with
them. These ads. are the same last two holdouts fattening up
on white millet the last week. Did not have the adult ma.
Rufous Hummer in the a.m., but it showed up at last call.
Saw a male Blue Grosbeak late out back. Heard a few
Orchard Oriole and a Gnatcatcher in the morning. Kathy saw a
Roadrunner on the patio. I saw a Chat at the bath. Saw a
Kiowa Dancer (damselfly) on the front porch. Got pix of an
Olive Juniper Hairstreak, these late summer types sure look
different from the spring flyers to me. Saw a Mestra, an
American Lady, and a Whirlabout in other butterflies. In
dragons, one Wandering Glider was out in heat of afternoon,
and a Pale-faced Clubskimmer was, uh, skimming, with its club,
around the front yard at dusk. Screech-Owl calling at dark.
Male Orchard Oriole at our birdbath, there were several juveniles right
above him in the pecan. He went full submarine. It was early, dark and
overcast with very low light, had to use a high ISO and so a bit fuzzy
and dark, with apologies. One of the sharpest looking birds in America.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Aug. 9 ~ Ran about 76-96dF for a temp spread, these are
the dog days. In the morning I saw both male Indigo and
Painted Bunting, heard the draw Blue Grosbeak singing. Heard
a Bell's Vireo which might be the one I saw coming
into the bath mid-morn. Also had a Rufous-crowned Sparrow
at the bath this morning (ph.). The bath is a Cardinal traffic
jam lately. Anything else is lucky to sneak in edgewise.
The male Rufous Hummingbird was still here in the a.m. as well.
Heard a Gnatcatcher go through early.
Town run. Saw the Green Heron up on the island, surely
they have a nest in there somewhere. Heard a half-hearted
Yellow-throated Warbler song, same for Eastern Wood-Pewee.
Saw a Red-eyed Vireo which do not nest there, a post-breeding
wanderer leaving the breeding grounds. Heard Blue Jay.
Saw an Orange-striped Threadtail damselfly. Below the
spillway was a Comanche Skimmer dragonfly, which is rare at
the park. Saw a number of juvenile Starling in some Fig
trees in town. So I grabbed a couple Figs. It is an
Aug. 8 ~ Low was 75dF but we had some Gulf low stratus
to keep us sun-sheilded for several hours of the morning.
Was 94dF in the shade about 4 p.m., lovely, come on down.
Heard a Gnatcatcher early, the Red-eyed Vireo is still
singing, was in the yard mid-morn. Saw a male Painted
in morning, but as of afternoon, no Indigo yet. Saw one
male and heard another call, Blue Grosbeak. Pretty sure
it was 'the draw' male. A Canyon Towhee was
around in a.m., and used the bath in afternoon.
Great was another adult male Rufous Hummingbird, which
photos show to be different than the one here July 31
to mid-day Aug. 3. If I had not bothered to get a back
shots of both birds we would only guess they were different
because of the four day lapse with no sighting. But you
might wonder if it was at neighbors feeders, etc. Nothing
like some documentation photos to study, these two are
absolutely not the same bird. The Indigo Bunting came
in to the patio millet at last sun briefly. Got one more
BlueMistEup caterpillar today, I think 219 now removed.
Aug. 7 ~ A 74dF low, a few clouds for a couple hours
kept it in 70's for a short while. The male
Indigo was giving just the first couple notes of usual
song, but three of them, repeatedly with an abrupt end,
as if it started to say something and stopped. Saw the
male Painted out back early. Any day now will be the
end of these here for the year. Sure has been a great
four months them. Heard a few Orchard Orios in the morn.
Great was one of those real colorful imm. Bell's Vireo,
in the morning. Probably from a local nesting.
A couple good butterflies came in to the water sprayed
about late morning. The White-stripe Longtail was still
around, and better a CRIMSON Patch stopped to drink just
off the back porch (ph.). What a beauty! In the yard!
In afternoon I saw a still with streaks below juvenile
Field Sparrow, I suspect was a very local nesting, maybe
from one we have been hearing sing. Begging Chippy still out
there too. Late afternoon one male Blue Grosbeak hit the
sunflower seeds I throw in the bushes out back. I think
the male that has been up the draw. The yard alpha male
has not been around a few days now. Thought I might have
had an imm. male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, sure had a
Aug. 6 ~ About 73-94dF temp spread in the cool shady. It
dries out in the late p.m. heat so you lose the humidity,
in news from the 'cup half full' department.
Gnatcatcher and some Orchard Orioles went through in the
morning. Just Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the feeders
now, where is that first Ruby-throat? No Blue Grosbeaks
detected today. Late at 7:30 p.m. one male Painted Bunting
was on patio eating seed, and at 8 p.m. the male Indigo
Bunting showed up. Both were MIA all day. Seems only the
one male Painted since about Aug. 1. Yellow-throated Vireo still
singing, but not hearing the warbler. Chat still going,
as is White-eyed Vireo. E. Screech-0wl (Tex-Mex mccallii)
right over bath right as it got dark, it couldn't wait
to hit the water after a hot day.
Aug. 5 ~ Low was about 75dF, not very. A trace of sprinkles
went over just after 8 a.m., saw a rainbow briefly. Saw
the ad.ma. Painted Bunting first thing before sunup, and
about 8 greenies hit the patio at the same time. Heard
Gnatcatcher, some Orchard Orioles, and a Red-eyed Vireo in
the pecans in front yard early morning. Male Indigo Bunting
around later in day. No male Blue Grosbeak for second day
though, the alpha male left the night of the 3rd after that
spectacular spiral display flight. Some nearish spritzes
and showerlets in afternoon sheilded us from the peak solar
burn, but we didn't get anything. An odd orangish
grasshopper was on the Turks Cap (ph.). Kathy pointed out
calling Common Nighthawk before dusk. A just-fledged Chipping
Sparrow is being fed on patio.
Aug. 4 ~ A sprinkle or two overnight, we got a tenth or so.
Up near town some areas got a quarter to a half inch. It
built into something more after it got south of us, looked
like Sabinal got some. Low was 72dF, and some clouds kept
it bearable for a bit. Yesterday while weed-whacking I got
a puncture through the old sneakers, far deeper than I prefer,
into foot from a big thorn I presume, probably a Mesquite.
So I am a tenderfoot today. Hope I don't have to run
Gnatcatcher out there early, Yellow-throated Vireo and Chat
singing, do not hear a Blue Grosbeak. Saw one ea. still
continuing last ad. males of Indigo and Painted Bunting.
A few Orchard Oriole early, better was two Audubon's Oriole
that went through the yard about 9:30 or so. Did not see
the Rufous Hummer this morning, or late at last call last
evening, so it probably left late yesterday afternoon. Four day
bird, nice for an ad. male. It was great to hear that wing
whistle again. Most here are females or imms., which have no
whistle in their wings, poor things. Cooper's Hawk got
a White-winged Dove out back noonish.
Went for a swim late afternoon to cheat peak heat since that
works so well. We finally had a Green Kingfisher fly by at
eye-level while we were in the water. First one we have
seen go by during weekly swims in a couple months so a treat.
Was an immature with one green breast band. Saw a Black-shouldered
Spinyleg dragonfly again. In damsels, over a dozen Am. Rubyspot,
no Smoky. They are upriver where it turns to running creek,
and not so much riverine. Lots of Stream and Double-striped
Bluet, saw one Neotropical Bluet which is my first of year.
Tons of Dusky Dancer, they are the predominant species.
Can you tell there weren't many birds out in the heat?
Nearing last sun a begging Painted Bunting appeared with
mum and was being fed for some time before it got the hint
and flew down to patio and seed. At this point I do not
think there is any male around helping. They seem to depart
before the last baby is out of the nest on what is likely
the third set of young. I have seen this before.
Aug. 3 ~ About 72dF for a low, was 92 on cool shady front
porch at 4 p.m. Had some clouds though for a few hours
in the a.m. Yellow-throated Warbler and Vireo still around
yard and singing, one each male Painted and Indigo Bunting
left, are not singing, Blue Grosbeaks have gone quiet too.
Caught one of the Rufous-crowned Sparrow leaving the bath
in the morning. It got them to stick around just to bathe
again soon! A couple Gnatcatcher and a few Orchard Oriole
went through in the morning. The ad.ma. Rufous Hummingbird
is still here. Saw the big imm. fem. Cooper's Hawk.'
Field Sparrow around the yard in afternoon. New begging
being fed juvie Lark Sparrow just out of nest.
Neatest thing was a different type of Blue Grosbeak flight
song, I suspect the departure display song. Several species
of birds here I have noticed go bonkers singing and or
calling right before they leave the territory for the season.
For songbirds it is a day to three and noticeable because
they have been in a comparatively silent period molting
after getting rid of the last set of young. All of a
sudden they explode in song, and then disappear. Typical Blue
Grosbeak flight display song is like Chat or Orchard Oriole,
Lesser Goldfinch, and most songbirds, a fairly horizontal affair
across the territory.
Right before last sun, I heard a bzzzz flight note and looked up
to see the male Blue Grosbeak climbing nearly straight up but
in spirals, whilst immediately bursting into explosive song.
He climbed vertically like a U-2, going up a spiral staircase,
like an airshow stunt pilot, belting out with everything it had.
Everytime it came belly to me the dark blue glowed in the sun.
When it got over a hundred feet up it went into parachute mode,
wings and tail in full fan, a little bit of quiver at first,
and spiraled back down the staircase as song faded away. It
only did it once. I said to myself, that bird is leaving. I
have never seen that flight display, I watch them every day
all breeding season. It was making one last proclamation,
and taking one last look around.
One last peek at a Golden-cheeked Warbler from this spring at Lost Maples SNA.
At this point, I will not likely to see another until next March.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
Aug. 2 ~ A 70.5dF low was nice, we need to cool down after
these scorchers, of which today is supposed to be another.
The ad.ma. Rufous Hummer is still here. Kathy spotted two
Rufous-crowned Sparrow at the bird bath. Probably been a
year since we saw one in the yard, maybe two. They nest
very nearby, a third mile or so, but hardly ever occur here.
The last little rocky slope ends right at the back fence line.
The drip got 'em. The looked like a pair of very worn
adults, but were soaking wet so was hard to tell. Wish they
would stick. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo still singing over
in corral. Also heard some Purple Martin over the yard early.
That won't last, they are about outta here for the year.
Town run and quick park check. Saw a Zone-tailed Hawk over
town, heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee singing at the park, they
must still be nesting. Little Creek Larry said he saw at
least a couple Green Heron at the park this morning, maybe 3,
and a group of 3 Common Grackle. Both probably local family
groups. Back here after Rosie's tacos, about 1 p.m.,
there was another Zone-tailed Hawk, low right over the yard.
It would take me at least several lifetimes to stop getting
excited about them.
Saw one of those Peach or Fig Scarab beetles flying around
yard. Better an Eyed Elaterid landed on the big pecan and
I got a shot of it, was a dark one. At peak heat in p.m.
(about 93dF in shade) a White-striped Longtail came in to
water again, surely the same one as last week. Great to
keep seeing it. Kathy saw the male Indigo Bunting on the
patio nearing dusk. Like the ad. male Painteds, it will be
gone soon. Eastern Screech-Owl calling 25' out office
window after dark.
August 1 ~ The low was 69.7 or so, just a frog hair below 70dF.
Hopefully a sign of a cooler month ahead, but a few days of
burners are on tap. The ad.ma. Rufous Hummer is at the feeder
first thing. Heard the Red-eyed Vireo still singing over in
corral. A Gnatcatcher went through yard early, a bit later a
group of Orchard Oriole (could be a local family group) were
moving around. Painted Bunting have gone silent and some adult
males seem to have already left. Not seeing as many, were 5 at
once a week ago, not any more. Ten greenies (imm. or fem.) were
on the patio at once in the morn. Saw a Pepsis Wasp. One
Eufala Skipper (which I missed locally in July - only saw it
down at Uvalde) so it did not take a day to see a butterfly
species I did not see the month prior here. Another Gnatcat
~ ~ ~ July summary ~ ~ ~
It was a hot one, and dryer than average, just over 2"
of rain was it, mostly in two quick events. By the end of
the month the river is on the low side of average. Spring
to summer flowers mostly fried over the course of the month.
Some summer stuff is starting to show, but we need some rain!
Cherries and Pecans look to have a weak to poor crop underway,
same for Hackberries where I have looked. Texas Persimmon
has a spotty but very good crop overall, lots of branches are
boughed over from the weight of the still green fruit. Birds
and deer are already hitting them.
Butterflies were 57 species locally, one more than June, and
a good showing for July. Nothing rare, just mopped up most
of the likely contenders. Maybe best was not counted for total
since at Uvalde, a Rawson's Metalmark. Here, a Common Sootywing
was best since first IN yard. A Tropical Checkered-Skipper IN
yard was only 2nd or 3rd here. A White-striped Longtail came to
water on the patio for a couple days. No Arizona Sister, no satyrs,
no Metalmark locally. The first Ceranus Blue and Mallow
Scrub-Hairstreak showed up as usual. Saw the six usual expected
Update added: I photographed and collected an unknown-to-me
large caterpillar July 9 which was pupating at the base of the
big native pecan right off front porch. Hoping to get an
emergence, it failed in pupation. However subsequent research
has identified from the photos that it was a LUNA MOTH! Then
August 27 we saw a Luna in the yard, another September 2 drying
out on the same tree, then a pair mating on same tree September 4!
Odes were about 33 species locally. Still decent activity but
clearly down from June. The early spring fliers and flight are
done. The first few migrants show up as usual though, Spot-winged
and Wandering Glider, Green Darner, Red, and Black, Saddlebags all
were here in multiples if not small groups, heading south, by late
in the month. Amongst the dozen sps. of damselflies were lots of
Stream and a few Orange Bluet, Citrine Forktail, Orange-striped
Threadtail, Springwater and Powdered Dancer, nothing rare. Not
counted in local total above were a half-dozen different things
I saw in Uvalde, best being a male Pin-tailed Pondhawk.
Birds were mostly just the breeders and lots of babies, which is
great to see. Many things seemed to get second and third sets out.
Surely the wet spring was a boon. There were flowers and bugs.
Some things are still going at it. Others like Black-and-white
and Golden-cheeked Warbler are done and all but gone from the
area for the season. The first two long-distance migrants showed
up the last few days of the month, a Peregrine Falcon on the 28th,
and a Rufous Hummingbird on the 31st. Fall migration begins in July.
A Belted Kingfisher on the 17th is my earliest ever fall return.
Best bird locally was a Roseate Spoonbill on July 7 about 4-5 mi.
SSW of town, seen (ph.) by Leslie Calvert at her pond.
I saw about 89 species locally over the month, all but two were
breeders. A few to several more are around, I am not pounding
the bushes, but a working stiff. Saw another dozen or so brush
country species in a couple hours Sabinal to Uvalde area.
~ ~ ~ end July summary ~ ~ ~
~ ~ back to the daily drivel ~ ~
July 31 ~ Wow last day of the month, another blasts past.
About 71.5dF for a low, not much for low stratus to keep
it at bay. And so we enter the dog days of summer. Heard a
Gnatcatcher go through early morning, and another late.
Mid-morn a small group of Orchard Oriole went through, late
evening a few more. Just after 10 a.m. I had an adult male
RUFOUS Hummingbird at the front porch feeder. Got pix, it
has a little green flecking on upper back, which is OK for
them. Nothing like a nice long-distance migrant for a great
sign of fall. There are less than a hundred Black-chinned
here now. We are under a quart per day consumption, for a
few days now. Male Indigo Bunting still hitting patio millet.
Saw another Eyed Elaterid. Saw two Firefly at dusk.
July 30 ~ About 74dF for a low, and some low Gulf stratus
kept the sun at bay a few hours. Got up to about 94 or
so though. About five more weeks of this in store now.
Birds were the regulars. Still singing (and nesting) on
territory are Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat,
Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler, Cardinal, Carolina
and Bewick's Wren, White-eyed Vireo, Chipping and
Lark Sparrow. Painted Bunting ad. ma. barely sang today.
An imm. male Yellow-throated Warbler from this year
was trying to sing a bit. Can't be but 2-3 months old.
Heard the Nighthawk boom at dusk. No Fireflies.
I see a Snow-on-the-Mountain with flowers open in the yard.
We have about a half-dozen pop up ever year which I weed-whack
around just to have a few. Have seen a few good butterflies
July 29 ~ No Gulf flow and low clouds, a sunny start
today with easterly winds. Low was 73dF. The south
breeze got here mid-day, but no low stratus. Hot and
sunny. Counted 8 greenies (imm. or female Painted Bunting)
on the patio at once. There are likely well over a dozen
around. A few adult male were present at the same time.
It was all the usual regular gang and nothing new or
different. Which won't last, August and September
are two of the biggest movement months here, and though
diversity is low without waterbirds, turnover is high.
The Black-chinned Hummers have really thinned out already.
I wonder where they go? The Brown-headed Cowbirds are
mostly gone now too, finally, departing over the last week.
July 28 ~ Did not cool down last night, the balmy Gulf
flow is back. Was 74dF this a.m. But the clouds stuck
until 11 a.m. or so, at least up at Lost Maples, keeping
the morning cooler a few hours. We even had some mist
around Vanderpool. We were up before 6, which is before
the birds nowadays. Dawn chorus is over. A few things
singing early, but not anything you can call a chorus.
It is fading fast. We left for Lost Maples just before 8.
On 360 east of the river along the pastures where a couple
small mesquite we had a family group of Orchard Oriole,
adult pair with three young. At one point the three
begging juvies were on the fenceline shoulder to shoulder,
luckily autofocus selected a tree way behind them. !*(#^%^%!
Got over it pretty quickly when right before we hit 187,
I said 'what is that?' to Kathy as I grabbed bins.
It was big pale adult female PEREGRINE FALCON which blasted
past quickly. Great early fall migrant date. That is
surely a long distance migrant, our first for sure this
fall. Save a June Long-billed Curlew, which I would call
a short-distance migrant. So before we hit the highway
we had ad.ma. Orchard Oriole feeding young and a Peregrine,
and I knew it was going to be downhill from there as I
pulled out on the highway first thing in the morning...
I marshalled onward anyway of course, as the eternal optomist
does. Ahead was my last chance to see one more Golden-cheeked
Warbler until next March.
In town across from the post office on the usual powerline,
there were 20 or so Cave Swallow sunning just after 8 a.m.
Just a bunch of Blackbuck on the way up 187, and lots of baby
Lark Sparrow. The usual couple Inca Dove at Lost Maples HQ.
On the drive into Lost Maples between HQ and the trailhead
parking I heard an Olive Sparrow. The trailhead feeding
station had one White-tipped Dove first thing, besides 10
White-winged. A couple just-fledged begging juvenile Painted
Bunting were nearby and so surely they nested in the park this
year. They don't always.
We did the usual walk up Can Creek a mile past the ponds to
the highwater spring. What a great walk. We made it to
the pond at 10 a.m. and were only ones there, plus there
was still overcast. No insects on way up as it was too
cool. As it gets to the later part of summer it is always
very interesting to see what is still there and what is gone.
Black-n-white Warblers are gone already for instance, we
did not see one. Did not hear a Yellow-throated Vireo,
though our yard breeder is still here singing today. Only
heard one Yellow-throated Warbler call, no singing. Only
heard one begging juvenile Acadian Flycatcher. No Ash-throated
Flycatcher, and no Scrub-Jay.
Great is seeing some things feeding young still, which for
most is likely third broods at this point. Besides the
Painted Buntings, and Chipping Sparrow of course, we saw
begging and being fed juvenile Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-eyed
Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Summer Tanager. We saw
one juvenile female Golden-cheeked Warbler just below the
highwater spring, right over the trail. It never made a
sound, got one poor pic. Love getting a later date for them,
and a thrill to see one, one more time this year. I only have
a couple August sightings, both near Utopia. I had a couple
birds fly into a tree I thought were warblers, and maybe
Golden-cheeks, but they shot off before I could binoc them.
Heard at least three maybe four White-tipped Dove along
the trail. Heard a handful of Canyon Wren, one Rufous-cronwed
Sparrow, one Black-capped Vireo distantly, one Hutton's
Vireo, still fair numbers of Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireo,
lots of Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Wren, a few
Chickadee, a handful of Louisiana Waterthrush still there,
but none seen well enough to age. Got to hear that husky
grating zzeet flight note a couple times. Still some Indigo
Buntings seemingly going, and heard begging young a couple
times. Heard a few Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Did not see or
hear Blue Grosbeak, ours here at the hovelita are still underway.
No hawks but one Red-tailed, no Orioles, no Raven, and no
Odes (dragonflies) were nowhere near as abundant as in late
June. Must be in a lull between flights. A couple American
Rubyspot, a few Springwater Dancer, a Violet and some Dusky
Dancer, some Green Darner, a few Black, and a Red, Saddlebags,
but it was weak. No Flame, Neon, Commanche or Widow Skimmer,
no Prince or Dot-winged Baskettail. And so it went.
Flowers are also in a lull, the late summer and fall stuff
is not going yet for the most part, and the spring to early
summer stuff is over. Some good Cedar Sage patches still, a
few Snapdragon Vine and Green Milkweed Vine still in bloom,
one or two Boneset Eupatorium, several Texas Milkweed. Did
see the first few Frostweed flowers.
Saw a huge old Escarpment Cherry, and a Walnut tree, both lost
in the last month. Way over hundred year old trees. Bigguns.
Both with crops on them. We just keep losing the major canopy
trees. A real bummer when they are fruit or nut producers,
key wildlife forage. The Cherry crop overall is sorta stunted
this year, they mostly still look like big Hackberries, the
Persimmon crop looks OK to good though.
Butterflies were kinda weak with the flowers. Three Spicebush
Swallowtail, and about the same number of Bronze Roadside-Skipper
were highlights. A few Celia's Roadside to boot. Three
Eastern Tiger and one Two-tailed Swallowtail, a few Cloudless
Sulphur and Sleepy Orange, one Dun Skipper, some Variegated
and Gulf Frits, one Buckeye. No Arizona Sister or Red-spotted Purple.
One Six-lined Racerunner lizard was it for reptiles, heard a
few lizards get away in the leaf litter, usually Four-lined
Skinks. A few Leopard and (Blanchard's) Cricket- Frogs
were seen. We were done about 1 p.m., did four miles of trail
but the way I zigzag back and forth for every bug, double back
for heard birds, etc., it takes me 5 miles to go 4.
We went for a swim here in late afternoon to cool the hike off.
Saw a Five-striped Leaftail dragonfly over the water but that
was about it of interest. Lots of Texas Shiner minnows. No
Firefly at dusk. There should be a fall flight which should
start fairly soon. The spring to early summer flight lasted
longer than usual, the last few in last week of July. The
individual numbers peak however was not as good as last year.
July 27 ~ One last cool low at 65dF here before we get back
to the standard summer 70's for lows. What a treat!
Did more yard work early since cooler. Had to pick hit the
P.O. in town, and Big Ern was finally there with his Bar-B-Q.
The fact that the all of the pork ribs even make it home,
whilst I am tortured smelling them, is a miracle, not to
mention a testament to incredible dicipline. The chicken
is not under threat like those pork ribs. Park was packed
with people, nothing in a quick check of the woods but heard
So checked the golf course pond by the Waresville Cemetery.
One Common Grackle was there in the reeds with the Red-winged
Blackbirds that nest there. No Martins around the house,
which needs repairs badly. There were about 4 Thornbush Dasher
dragonfly, my first up here (saw at Uvalde 10 days ago) in
the hills this year. A dozen Green Darner was my first gang
of them. Some Red, and Black, Saddlebags were in tandem and
ovipositing. Saw a big female Eyed Elaterid flying around
the yard. No Firefly at dark.
Rufous Hummingbird, adult male, July 31. The iridescent gorget
feathers in throat usually appear an orangish red, but at some
light angles they can appear gold or green.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
July 26 ~ Another record low, we had 60dF here, and dry, what
an event. KRVL was mostly 59. Three days with high temps at
least 5-8 dF below normal due to a cold front. Lows 10-15 dF
below normal. Two days of record lows, yesterday and today.
What an event in late July. At the same time Paris, France
recorded its highest temperature ever at about 110dF! London
had 99.9, their second highest ever. The Arctic is record hot,
and on fire. One could almost maybe wonder if the climate is
Heard a Gnatcatcher early first thing. The rest seemed the
regulars. What little I could look. Town run fer shtuff.
I saw a Spot-winged Glider (ode) over the driveway when I left.
At the park, still Martins overhead, best were a couple
odes, damselflies in this case. A male Citrine Forktail
was the first one I have seen this year, and several
Orange-striped Threadtail were flying. Little Creek Larry
said he had the Green Heron there early in the morning.
Late afternoon here I heard the Field Sparrow singing.
Saw a Mournful Duskywing come in to the water puddles here.
About 7 p.m. saw a female Painted Bunting with a couple
new just fledged young in one of the Mexican Hat patches
I have left. I think these are from the alpha male that
nests in the thicket right across road from gate.
Shortly before dusk I heard an odd cheeping from the
grass in the front yard. Spotted a Bewick's Wren
fledgling that was out of the nest too soon. It was not
flight capable yet. Then looking around over where nest
was in broken off branch stub, I hear the two parents
over in the corral, with a baby. So as often the older
ready-to-go young does the bolt, and others not ready
try to, to follow parents and other young. It was as
if they forgot about it. I grabbed it and put it in the
brush pile under the nest branch. Finally the parents
heard it and came back over. They spent 5 minutes trying
to get it to fly up into the lowest pecan branches just
a couple feet off the ground. But it is not flight ready.
Hope it makes the night in the brush pile. Saw one Firefly.
Rantlet warning. I forgot to mention since I saw it a couple
weeks ago, but today I did not even bother checking the
butterfly garden at the library. It is so over-butchered,
again, I can't believe it. Hardly any flowers there.
By now this garden should be self-sustaining. The biggest
reason more new plants keep having to be bought is OVER-cutting.
It is a bad idea to have the people that bill new plants out,
manage the cutting. In this case it seems obvious to me
watching it for over a decade the people cutting are not
horticulturists (one would never do that to a Thoroughwort
Eupatorium), but just need a big pile of cuttings to show
for the hours and billing. When you over-cut a flowering
shrub 5 or 10 years in a row, it will die at some point along
the way. As many there have that I watched. This is what
is often happening. End of rantlet.
July 25 ~ A record low of 57dF here, I saw a 55 at Kerrville!
I heard of reports of 52dF at Rocksprings! Incredible.
I think Austin had a record low as well. Probably the
first time I have seen the 50's dF in July in the last 16 of
them here. Did some yard work early while cooler out. Heard
the Bell's and Red-eyed Vireos singing, still trolling. A
couple more Orchard Oriole first thing early. That makes 10
between late yesterday and early today. It's fall migrants.
Eastern Bluebirds might be going a third time in their box.
They have been around the box, even hanging at entrance.
The one still going good patch of Frog-fruit along the driveway is
the best yard butterfly draw now. One check noonish and I saw
Phaon Crescent, 2 Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, a Desert Checkered-Skipper,
Fiery and Dun Skipper, a Sachem and a Reakirt's blue. A couple
Celia's Roadside-Skipper still around the porch, as are a couple
Dusky-blue Groundstreak mostly on the Turk's Cap. Which is also
very eaten. Got another Blue Mist Eup cat (218) today, after a few
days of not seeing any, but something is still skeletalizing the leaves.
Best bugs of the day though were a couple dragonflies, that
surely came in because of spraying some water around. First
around 11 a.m. there was a male Widow Skimmer hunting from a
short dead Mesquite snag. Great to see in the yard. Better
was a GREAT SPREADWING, which is new for the yard. We saw
one in April or May at Lost Maples, so this is the second
one this year, and in many years, they have been absent since
the drought set in. I got an ID shot overhead when it
hung up in the pecan but I lost it when it moved.
Saw one of the big metallic green Peach or Fig Scarabs.
Only saw one Firefly at dusk, heck I saw more Armadillo (2).
July 24 ~ A great low of 64.5dF was a thrill. Dry too.
Feels like Utopia. Birdsong is really getting dialed
back out there now though. Even the stuff that is still
breeding is not singing as much. A Dickcissel went through
the yard in the morning, which could be a migrant though
maybe more likely a local disperser. One Gnatcatcher in
the a.m., another at last sun. Chats much quieter today.
Not sure we hit 90dF at peak heat, and did I mention it
was dry. What a break.
In butterflies, great was a White-striped Longtail that came
into water on the patio. Also had Orange Skipperling and
Phaon Crescent, a couple Dusky-blue Groundstreak, several
Julia's Skipper, a few Queens hitting the two BlueMistEup
stalks with flowers, some Lysides going by, one Cloudless
Sulphur, a Buckeye, amongst the more common stuff. Saw a
small Praying Mantis on the BlueMistEup. Wish it would take
out all of whatever is destroying it. Have seen a couple
tiny baby lizards, maybe 2.5" total including tail length,
of both Anole and Eastern Fence Lizard.
Nearing last sun in the treetops, a group of 4-5 Orchard Orioles
worked the big Pecan and big Hackberry before moving uphill,
following that 'last sun in the treetops' they love.
I went out in the driveway and another group of four Orchard
Oriole followed them uphill after working the blooming Mesquites
across the road and the pecans. It was at least 8, which means
migrants if you ask me. Saw a couple Caracara go by, a couple
Chimney Swift were feeding over the river habitat corridor at
The sundown song session was noticeably quieter today.
Much of what is still nesting has been singing a good
session or two nearing last sun. Not all at once like
dawn chorus, more spread out, seemingly almost taking turns,
each species has a time before last sun when they have
one last bout of song for the day. It is like a birdsong
jukebox to me. Tonight not very many records played.
Didn't even hear the Summer Tanager. I saw the
main alphamale Painted Bunting fly straight from the millet
feeder across yard and road 160' and shoot right
into the hole in the wall of bushes he uses to enter
nest area, so he is still feeding young.
July 23 ~ The front is passing this morning, no cold air
yet, 73dF, but northerly flow. So far the little bit of
rain missed us though I can feel the air drying out.
Northerlies from a cold front in July is mind-boggling.
Heard a Gnatcatcher first thing. Otherwise the usual gang.
Saw a Northern (Common) Mestra out back when tossing seed.
Had to go to town in the afternoon and leave car at the
shop an hour and a half so walked to the park. Saw Little
Creek Larry, he said he had a Downy Woodpecker at the park
this morning. I had two items of intereset, my FOY Powdered
Dancer damselfly, a nice pale male, pretty neat looking beast.
Was below spillway on sand at edge of water. A few
butterflies were there, Common and Desert Checkered-Skipper,
the Desert new for the month. Best was a Mournful Duskywing
puddling at point blank, since I didn't have camera.
This neat trick always works. Seems like every patch of
bushes I drove by has calling young Painted Buntings now.
Saw a Texas Powdered-Skipper on Junior's Yellow Lantana
in town. Heard the Nighthawk boom once at dusk. Barred Owl
calling over at river after dark.
July 22 ~ Low of 73dF, not much for morning clouds. It
is said to be the last very hot (above avg. mid-90's)
day of this heat spell. A cold front is still being advertised
to arrive tonight. A cold front at beginning of the last
third of July. Perfectly normal isn't it? No worries,
the Arctic is record hot. Nothing to see here, move along.
A couple Gnatcatcher went through over the day. Southbound.
Heard the Red-eyed Vireo singing over in the corral, a
Bell's singing in the Mesquites out front, a Hutton's
Vireo called from up in the big Pecan and Hackberry out
front. The White-eyed and Yellow-throated were both singing.
Another five species of vireo from the yard morning in vireotopia.
The Indigo Bunting is still singing but without the vigor
of a week or two ago. Just giving a short-song now, the
first half maybe of the normal full series. Chat and Blue
Grosbeaks still going strong but in bursts with longer breaks.
Later morning a male Orchard Oriole went through yard moving
south. Which could be a local post-breeding dispersant, but
it could also be a fall migrant from further afield. We are
at that time when we start seeing the first fall migrants from
elsewhere. Common Nighthawk went over at last sun. Maybe 3 or
4 Firefly was it for them.
July 21 ~ A 70dF low felt great. The low Gulf stratus
didn't get here until 8:30 and only lasted a couple
hours. Gonna be a scorcher. Supposed to be a cold
front on the way tomorrow evening or so. Heard the
Red-eyed Vireo and the Indigo Bunting both singing still.
Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler are both still singing,
but the White-eyed Vireo is barely going, maybe between
nest cycles? Did some yard work early when the clouds
were here and still in 70's.
A couple Gnatcatcher went through yard. The rest was
the regular gang. We went for a peak heat swim to beat it.
Saw one of those ugly Grass Carp. Some Clammyweed is now
in bloom, what a fancy flower! The first couple Maxmillian
Sunflower also were open. Maybe it was the heat, but
way less birdsong over there than there has been. I was
mostly there for the 75dF water anyway. Late afternoon
single Red-tailed, and Zone-tailed Hawk, flew over the yard.
Right before dusk a Field Sparrow flew over calling, seemed
it came out of the shorter pecans out front.
July 20 ~ a 73dF low, and low clouds for a few hours
of the morning. Went to town briefly late morn.
Heard the Eastern Wood-Pewee at the park, a female
Common Grackle flew out of the island. Several
Orange Bluet damselflies by the island. One Wandering
Glider out over the pond. Here at the hovelita in
the afternoon I saw a small accipiter which this time of
the year had to have been a tiny male Cooper's Hawk.
Man it was small. Three Turkey over in the corral as
usual lately. Only a handful of Firefly at dusk.
No Chuck calling for a few days now, since the dusk
of the first evening after that last rain.
I keep forgetting to mention some of the imm. male
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are getting their first
dark gorget feathers. I first saw the first one the
first week of July, a couple to few showed it the second
week, now several are showing them. The earliest nests
are last half of March, so young are out last part of April.
So around 60-70 days or so after fledging, the earliest
imm. males start showing dark feathers in the throat.
Then, any imm. males fledging now will be gone for the
season before they get any dark throat feathers. Only a
handful of Firefly at dusk. No Chuck-wills-widow calling
for a few days now, since the dusk of the first night after
the last rain.
Blue-winged Teal (male, or drake) at Utopia Park April 7, 2019.
Bobwhite (female or hen), the second before she bursts into the air.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
July 19 ~ A 73dF low, and some clouds for the morn.
Heard the Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, and the
Black-and-white Warbler all sing early, still trolling
for mates. An Eastern Wood-Pewee was in the yard
early, a transient, looked like a juvenile from the
quick look I got. Town run day. At the park there
was a female Green Kingfisher at the island, and a
couple begging young Common Grackle with an ad. male
appearing to feed them. So I guess a pair did nest
there this year after all. Still some Purple Martins
around. Saw four Viceroy (butterfly) at the park,
around the Willows of course. One male Whirlabout (lep)
was the only thing on the yellow Lantana at the Sabinal
Canyon Museum. Saw a Mestra somewhere. Pulled one
BlueMistEup cat, 217 removed now. The two un-eaten
stalks both have flowers now. Should be 200 stalks
with flower heads. Still trying to save it for a
fall bloom. One of the yearling Armadillos has found
the birdbath and thinks it is something you roll on
your back in, after getting all the dirt off its
July 18 ~ Low of 74dF, low stratus from Gulf kept heat
at bay a few hours. Heard the Black-n-white singing
early again. Another Gnatcatcher went through yard early.
By time I get back up to Lost Maples they will be gone.
Too busy Thursdays at the desk so not much chance to
see anything but the regulars. Only standout was a
brief look at a Tropical Checkered-Skipper, one of which
I just saw and photo'd at Cook's Slough in Uvalde
a couple days ago. I have only had a couple of them in
the yard, and those were in fall when more typical, so,
good bug. Had a Wandering Glider dragonfly among about
10 Red Saddlebags.
July 17 ~ Low of 75dF is not very. Gulf clouds got here
though so keeping sun at bay a few hours early. Feels like
vacation not getting up early and hitting the road. Chat still
doing flight song first thing. Amazing was an early a.m.
Belted Kingfisher flying high over the river Cypresses
southward. Sure glad it called. It is my earliest 'fall'
return date. My prior Aug. 1 earliest date is three weeks
anomolous. Other earliest return dates are last week of
August, often not until September do I see one back. Saw
a Common Mestra butterfly, first one in a couple months.
If you look closely you can see the adult males of species
primarily red are getting much duller lately. Noticeable
on the adult male Painted Bunting, the Cardinals, male
Vermilion Flycatcher, and Summer Tanager. They are all
dulled up at peak wear, and now many have begun to molt.
Heard the Hooded Oriole out there, saw the male Indigo
Bunting. Heard a Gnatcatcher go through. Got a pic of
a imm. White-eyed Vireo at the bath. Wasn't old
enough to know yet that vireos only splash bathe, and
though it did that, it also perched at edge of bath a
few times long enough for me to grab a shot.
July 16 ~ Got up early as we had to go to Uvalde to do
some paperwork. Hummers are at the feeders just before
6:30 a.m. now, right about civil twilight. Around Sabinal
there was standing water on the ground from recent rains.
Some Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Western Kingbird along
the ag fields in that area, last year we saw none. We took
Lower Sabinal Rd. to Uvalde. A couple places that were great
for birds had huge rows of Hackberries and hedgerows clearcut
and removed. Whilst we actually should be planting trees.
Fair numbers of Dickcissel along the roads, they seemed to
have a good year, as did Red-winged Blackbird and Lark
Sparrow. Heard Cassin's Sparrow singing at a couple
spots, Verdin were everywhere, heard an Olive Sparrow,
saw one Pyrrhuloxia, a couple Long-billed Thrasher flew
across road in front of us, saw a pair of Bobwhite, Mocker
numbers are high as usual, saw a couple Red-tailed Hawk,
a few Caracara. As you arrive in Uvalde the first thing
you see is a bunch of Great-tailed Grackle.
After a couple biz stops we did quick run-throughs at Cook's
Slough and the fish hatchery. It was already dripping at
10 a.m. Much still seems to be nesting at both sites,
surely due to the spring rains continuing. Orchard Oriole
were singing at both sites. Couch's Kingbird at both
as well. Three Neotropic Cormorant were at the slough,
looked like the same three there in April, two first-summers
and a second summer bird. Saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Olive
Sparrow, Bank Swallow, among regular stuff at the slough.
A Tropical Checkered-Skipper (lep) was nice there, so was
a Pin-tailed Pondhawk dragonfly. At the hatchery there were
a few adult Common Gallinule and at least 4 older juveniles,
so they nested successfully. A pair of Coot there had no young,
they usually depart for the summer.
Perhaps most interesting was at Cook's Slough, hearing
the cicada that sounds like a jet engine idling. The F-14
Cicada. I used to only hear these when I went way down south
on the Rio Grande below Falcon Dam along lower part of river.
Clearly they too, like many birds, are moving their ranges
Saw a couple Great Egret and one fresh juvenile Yellow-crowned
Night-Heron. Lots of baby Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at the
hatchery. Heard were Bell's Vireo and Cactus Wren over
in the Mesquites along north border. Lots of dragons flying,
a few Thornbush Dasher and one Forceptail that looked like a
Broad-striped. Did not have time to work the place, just a
quick hit-and-run-through. At the city park on Hwy. 90 there
were a couple Carmine Skimmers besides the Roseate, and some
Eastern Amberwing. It got stinkin' hot fast down there,
and of course the places with the action, the slough and hatchery,
have humidity that makes saunas envious. Still no Bare-throated
By time we were driving the hour home it was over 95dF down
there, and about 90 here, maybe 88 on the shady front porch,
when we got back. About 5dF, and you can feel the difference.
One BlueMistEup cat pulled this a.m., at 216 and counting.
A Common Nighthawk flew over just before dusk. A male Blue
Grosbeak gave some nice flight song at dusk. Male Indigo
Bunting still out there on patio.
July 15 ~ Stayed at the 73dF the rain last night dropped
us to, all night. A very humid 73. Sure great to have
that Black-and-white Warbler singing out there first thing
every morning. This is the second time we have had a
first summer male go territorial here. In both cases
the daily bird bath usage seems a major factor. No doubt
without the water source there would be many fewer birds
around the yard. I suspect several dozens of individual
birds use it daily.
Great was a (Southern) Pearl Crescent (butterfly) sunning
early in the morning on the (finished blooming) Am. Germander.
Have not seen one in a few months. A Clouded Skipper stopped
briefly, and got a pic of a Celia's Roadside-Skipper.
There is one stalk of BlueMistEup that the cats missed
which is a foot taller than all the shredded rest, and now
has an open bloom atop it, with a Queen on it of course.
There would be 20 sq.ft. of that if it were not for these
cats from hades.
July 14 ~ The 69.8dF low felt great but didn't last.
Yard was the same gang. Can't wait until the Cowbirds
leave, should be soon. Barely a half-gallon per day of
sugar water usage now so a couple hundred plus birds
around, still all Black-chinned here so far. Rufous will
show up shortly, but would prefer something fancier. Got
hot, nearing a hun in the sun, 92dF on the cool shady front
porch so we took a peak-heat swim to reset body core
temperatures. Did not see anything but the expected
suspects at river. One Dolomedes sps. fishing spider
was on a lily pad 6' from shore. It walked there.
Here at the hovelita in leps saw Hackberry Emperor,
Goatweed Leafwing, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, and Celia's
Roadside-Skipper, among the more common stuff.
From about 10 to 11 p.m. we had a rain cell blow up out of
nowhere just north of and over town and very slowly moved south,
dropping an INCH of rain! And the temp to 73dF. A sister
cell went down the Frio where Garner and Concan got some.
Puts us a hair over 2" for the month. We had 10" in May
and June together, so at a foot in the last 11 weeks. We
could be parched and instead are good and green with lots
of flowers showing well. Yet for over a week now, not even
half-grown pecans are being shed like gangbusters from the
big native tree in particular, green a half-inch to an inch
long. The tree is giving up on them for this season, which
I do not understand with plenty of rain.
July 13 ~ An amazing 66dF low was fantastic. The NE
flow continues from the back side of Barry in Louisiana.
Kerrville had a 64 and 65dF briefly! Two BlueMistEup
cats pulled, 215 and counting. Heard the Field Sparrow
sing, which I haven't for a while, maybe they will nest
again too. One good bird today was maybe my first
landbird fall migrant, an Orchard Oriole. Sure it
could be a local disperser, but it could be from further
away too, especially with the NE flow we have had.
Best two birds were bugs, late in the day on the big
pecan (native - not a graft) right off front porch.
First I spotted a something zipping around which when
landed and seen closer was a Neoclytus sps. Longhorn
(Cerambycid) Beetle. One of my favorite genera of Longhorns,
ran for camera and got a couple shots before it flew off.
Which was like a rocket. It went the first 60'
faster than a hummingbird departs the feeder. A second
or two. Most impressive. Then within a minute in the
same area of the tree I spotted one of the metallic gold
Dicerca sps. Buprestid Beetles. It was beetle heaven.
Auto focus could not grab the Dicerca though, only got
one poor shot before it bolted, also like a rocket.
Was a miracle I happened to be sitting in the dang chair
on the porch smoking my pipe like an old man, watching
the bark grow on the tree, and two spectacular beetles
should crawl out of it before me. How much we must walk by.
~ ~ ~ early July daily yard and vicinity breeders ~ ~ ~
For birds here is what has been around the yard daily the
first third of July, virtually all still breeding, or at
least singing on territory in the yard or immediate adjacent
vicinity. The daily yard birds are: Summer Tanager, Painted
and an unmated trolling Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat,
Yellow-throated and an unmated trolling Black-and-white Warbler,
Blue Grosbeak, Lesser Goldfinch, Lark and Chipping Sparrow,
Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Carolina and Bewick's
Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, No. Cardinal,
Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebird, Vermilion, Ash-throated,
and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (see or hear daily), Yellow-throated
and White-eyed Vireo, Wild Turkey, Common Ground-Dove, Eur.
Collared-Dove, Mourning and White-winged Dove, Black and
Turkey Vulture. Chuck-wills-widow and Common Nighthawk have
been regular. Purple Martin and Barn Swallow have been daily
overhead, Chimney Swift weekly or so as is N. Rough-winged Swallow.
Black-chinned Hummingbird are ridiculously abundant. House
Finch nearly so. Brown-headed and Bronzed Cowbird are also
unfortunately daily. Have seen a few young, but all dispersants,
none begging or being attended by our local birds. Almost
daily is an unmated trolling Red-eyed Vireo, and the last week
a Bell's Vireo.
Seen every few days are Zone-tailed and Cooper's Hawk.
Recently departed due to fledging young so were present daily
all June but not now are Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-billed
Cuckoo, and Red-tailed Hawk. Every few days I hear Barred,
Great Horned Owl, and once a week lately Eastern Screech-Owl.
Once or twice a week I see Caracara go by, they nest nearby.
Roadrunner a couple times in last week. Red-shouldered Hawk
weekly. That makes about 54 species breeding in the adjacent
vicinity. For which the yard is within their territory.
Hutton's and Black-capped Vireo nest very nearby, as
does Rufous-crowned Sparrow but all are out of daily earshot.
Some strays the last week were Olive Sparrow and Canyon Towhee.
Not to mention the Spoonbill a couple miles SW of me. Daily
passing through yard is Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, post-breeding
departers, and almost every day a transient Black-and-white
goes through, most getting acosted by the trolling 1st summer
male on the way. A 1st summer Hooded Oriole has been visiting
a feeder occasionally. So about 95% of the daily and weekly
list in early July is the same as June, and actually May as well.
~ ~ ~ end early July local breeders note ~ ~ ~
White-eyed Vireo, a rather messy one, perhaps an immature (iris is gray)
just molting from juvenile into first basic (winter) plumage.
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
July 12 ~ Even better this morn with a 70dF low. The
difference between that and 75 feels like a lot more
than the 5dF spread. Was dryer due to the weird NE flow.
All the birds were the usual. One BlueMistEup cat
pulled off, 213 removed now. Heard a Gnatcatcher go
through yard early. Town run and park check, nothing
different for birds there, one Green King up on island,
a Common Grackle in the willows, heard a Green Heron,
and an Eastern Tiger Swalllowtail was nice. Best
was a Red-spotted Purple which is probably my first
for the park butterfly list. Some Martins still calling
overhead there, not for long though. Saw two Ceranus
Blue butterfly, my first of the year.
Back here at hovelita, heard the Cooper's Hawk
calling like it hopes it is going to nest again. I hope not.
Probably sees all these juvenile birds here and figures
there will be plenty of food. We are covered in juvies.
Probably three dozen from a dozen species.
Just after 4:30 we had a miracle, a nice rain shower from a
stray rogue cell. Took 10dF off the top in 5 minutes. Rained
.85 of an inch in a half-hour. Got down to 72dF about 5:15,
Kerrville was reading 92 at the time. I was on the front
porch absorbing the cool when a lightning strike hit only
about a quarter-mile away. One thousand one, one BOOOOM!
About 5:30 after the rain of course there was a termite
hatch happening. Saw for the first time in a while Common
Nighthawks overhead. Been wondering why so quiet with them.
There were three over the yard whilst a male was booming over
the knoll where they nest just NW a half-mile, so four recorded.
Over the yard it appeared two juveniles and one ad. female,
which one juvie was begging at incessantly. So I'd say
they got two young off this year, outstanding.
About 8:30 p.m. as last sun showed, the two adult
Yellow-throated Warbler were in the yard with three
bob-tailed just-fledged juveniles in tow. So they got
another set out, and a good one. I don't know how the
adults can find food as when they fly from tree to tree,
three clumsy ones crash into the tree around where it
landed. There were two nice bucks in the yard, they are
in velvet now. The 3 Turkey were over in the corral again.
The Chuck-wills-widow was thrilled enough about the rain
to give a decent blast at last light. Maybe 10 or so
July 11 ~ An outflow boundry hit at midnight, mostly a
little wind, but cooled it a few dF and a tracelet of
big drops fell, noisy but we missed the rain. Made for a
nice 71dF low though, what a difference a few degrees makes.
Saw a male Blue Grosbeak with a juvie in one of the
patches of Mexican Hat I left to grow in the front yard.
Starting to look a bit ratty now since post peak bloom,
but the Painted Buntings also love them, taking their
young to them first thing out of the nest as well. Heard
the Black-n-white singing early, later photo'd one in
the bath. But which I think was a female. In the afternoon
we actually had north to northeast winds! Methinks unusual
for the date. It is from the back side of the rotation
from the low in the gulf just off Louisiana, not a front.
Two BlueMistEup cats, 212 removed now. Hope I can save
some of the patch. Saw a juvenile Golden-fronted Woodpecker.
July 10 ~ A 75dF low, and another hot day. No morning
low stratus from the Gulf, so a cooker in the works.
It was 89 at noon, so 10dF hotter than when the morning
low clouds. I saw 95dF on the cool shady front porch.
Had to be a hun in the sun. If your shoes come untied
you will be dripping by time you get back up from retying.
A cloud sheild from some rain to the northwest took 5dF off
our temps before 6 p.m. so we had 90, while Kerrville was
reading 97 with a heat index of 106.
The bird of the day was a bug again. I had to run to
town early. Great to be the only one in the park again.
Heard the Eastern Wood-Pewee, they must be nesting again
this year. Best was when I grabbed the gas pump I saw something
on the hose. Which turned out to be a live female DOBSONFLY!
Awesome beast. What jaws! Probably an Eastern Dobsonfly
(Corydalus cornutus), but there are some similar types.
Got some shots, though I hated the background and substrate,
a gas pump hose (one below). I pumped my gas and left it
there. Not the first time I found a good bug I had to stop
and shoot at the gas station here. If I lived in town I
would check it every morning early first light. I bet it
is great for bugs. Pro tip: going around at night checking
people's lights is a real good way to meet your local
law enforcement folk.
As a youth, when in the desert southwest, there was nothing
like a gas station out in the middle of nowhere at midnight
for bugs. It was like candyland, a budding entomologists'
smorgasbord. Bug city. In those days people actually might
not call the cops cause some people with nets were running
around at night under the lights. So if you see a little
black Mazda pickup down there late at night, and spot a
middle-aged, white, male, balding, slightly overweight dude,
bent over looking at the ground, perhaps with net or camera,
it could be me. No need to call the law, or funny farm.
I'm already here.
July 9 ~ Another 75-94dF day. Clouds kept it bearable
for the morning and held some heat back in the afternoon.
Heard the Red-eyed vireo and Indigo Bunting singing,
and the Black-and-white Warbler. I think all three
are unmated trollers. Heard a Great Crested Flycacher
uphill out back. Have not heard a Cuckoo in a week,
they leave the nesting territory as soon as the young
is or are out of the nest a week or so. Here I virtually
always only see one fledged young.
Bird bath is having traffic jams it is so hot. Too
many baby Cardinals, lots of juv. House Finch and Lesser
Goldfinch. The Black-n-white was there, an imm.
Yellow-throated Vireo splash-bathed for a bit, the
Chats brought their young over and showed them
what it was about. Later saw the Black-n-white chase
another one away. No cats pulled off the BlueMistEup
today, 210 and holding.
July 8 ~ A 75dF low is balmy. Probably got to 95 in
the sun. Hot and sticky. Nuthin' sweet about it.
Heard the Bell's and Red-eyed Vireo singing
out there still, as was the Indigo Bunting. The rest
were the breeders. Bird bath action is heavy in the
heat. It is an avian parade. Kathy saw an imm. Chat
and the Black-n-white Warbler at it between everything
else visiting. There was a Canyon Towhee in it for
a bath, maybe the one that was here a week ago or so.
Chickadees have a new set of a couple young just fledged.
Outstanding was hearing from Leslie Calvert that she
had a Roseate Spoonbill at her pond yesterday the 7th!
She got an ID shot, it was a pale imm. as seemingly all of
our few records are. This is 4-5 mi. SSW of town out
the west end of UvCo 361, but nowhere the public can view.
We have 4 prior records, 3 are of two together, and all
of those three in the last 5 years. Thanks for the
great news Leslie! From July on is the time to get
coastal waders moving inland, especially the young
of the year.
Found a big green caterpillar near the base of the big
pecan, on the trunk a foot off the ground. It was
weirdly convulsing a bit. I thought it was going to
pupate maybe. Next morning was on the ground still
pulsing. I think it fell out of the tree and has a
parasite inside it that is nearing emerging. Many
wasps parasitize caterpillars. I put it in a container
to watch what happens. Suprised a bird didn't pick
it off, or something overnight.
July 7 ~ Low of 74dF, a little off and on morning low
stratus from the Gulf. Saw the Black-n-white at the bath,
then heard it sing later, the same 1st summer male.
Great was just before 10 a.m., an Olive Sparrow sang a few
times from a pecan in the front yard! Hope it had found
the seed. Not enough understory for one to stick here.
Once one lasted a few days. Nice bird to hear in the yard
though, especially considering last weekend we walked 4 miles
at Lost Maples and didn't see or hear one. Today is
the day most of the weekend warriors evacuate the area.
Never did understand people leaving the city to go blare
music in the country.
We went for a late afternoon swim over in the river.
Saw a couple good bugs. Great was a Black Witch, the
5" plus across all dark brown moth that invades Texas
annually in late summer. We do not get them every year
here, I have not seen one in 5 years or so. It landed
under some Cypress roots and we got a close look. But I
didn't take my camera upriver this time (have to
waterproof it) so no photos. Just as good was a
Dragonhunter dragonfly, also the first I have seen in
about 5 years. Best look I ever had, got 2' from it
perched, since I had no camera on me. This neat trick
Saw three of the big Dolomedes (Fishing) spiders, two
were together touching a couple legs, one of them had
an egg sac, so likely a pair. Must have been a thousand
Texas Shiner minnow. One foot-long Guadalupe Bass was nice,
saw a 2-inch young one too, lots of Longear Sunfish. The
damselflies were the half-dozen expected types. Same for
the birds, the dozen riverside regulars. Great to beat the
heat though, was 90dF on the cool shady front porch when we
left, likely mid-90's in the sun. Saw one Eastern Tiger
Swallowtail flying downriver, and on a Buttonbush a Texas
There was a Roadrunner in the back yard hunting birds
where we toss seed. It ran after a White-winged Dove!
The dove saw it coming and flushed, as did all the
small stuff. Everything was alarming when it arrived
on the scene. They really go after just-fledged birds
that habituate the ground. Here that means mostly
Painted Bunting, House Finch, and Lark Sparrow. None
trust a Roadrunner.
July 6 ~ Low of 73dF, sunny at first, the Gulf clouds did
not arrive until after 9 a.m., then cloudy until noonish.
Hot sticky afternoon. Heard Gnatcatcher go through early,
heard the Black-n-white Warbler singing. Best was hearing
FIVE species of vireo, the Bell's is still around, a
Hutton's was right out back in the live-oaks upslope,
the Red-eyed still trolling about, while the breeding
Yellow-throated and White-eyed continue singing. I should
run over to the Black-capped spot less than a mile away.
The Tawny Emperor was back around the back porch, photo of
it on the screen door. Bunch of Julia's Skipper in the
grass out front. Heard some Martins, they will gone soon.
Saw a photo in ebird of a Yellow Warbler at Cook's Slough
in Uvalde from the last few days. This is a month earlier
than my earliest (Aug. 2 - twice) so I can't help but wonder
if it is a post-breeding wanderer from breeding populations
in the southwest U.S. rather than a migrant from the north.
Dobsonfly, female, on the fuel line at the gas station. Yes
they can draw blood. Larvae are aquatic, called Hellgrammites.
Wingspan is over 5 inches! This is probably Eastern Dobsonfly.
The obligitory bird photo, another head shot...
You looking for a bird photo here?
~ ~ ~ last prior update below ~ ~ ~
July 5 ~ Low of 75dF, maybe mid-90's in the afternoon
sun. Hot and sticky, welcome to summer here. Five more
cats pulled off the BlueMistEup, now 205 removed. Another
Gnatcatcher went through in the morning, they will be daily
all month. Nice to hear all the dawn singing still going,
means stuff is nesting again. Just heard a couple calls
from the Great Crested Flycatcher. I saw a female Black-chinned
Hummer gathering thistle down, so they are still going at
it! Town is a zoo of hominids, especially the park. On the
way to town, just east of the 360 crossing I had a Tawny Emperor
(butterfly). Then later in afternoon had a second one here at
the house. Later afternoon I had a fly-bye of a Swallowtail
that looked like a Polydamus, but it kept going after only
What looked a different Viceroy from a week ago was at the park.
I saw a 12', 2.5" diameter young Mulberry tree on the
trail in the woods broken off near the base! Some citiot came to
the country and killed a tree I have been admiring for 15 years!
I am sure they feel real manly now. We barely have any young
regeneration going on with the Mulberries, and this is what
happens when it meets the average citiot. I heard from Marsha Jo
one of the just-fledged baby Red-shouldered Hawks that has been
at the park thrilling many was found dead a day or two ago. I
would guess a human-related incident. Probably the guy that killed
the Mulberry. ;) Heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee, they
might be nesting there again this year. The Common Grackles did
not nest there this year, though there are some as usual by Feller's
place at the Waresville turnoff, and some are behind the storage
spaces by that retention pond.
July 4 ~ Happy Independence Day! It is a hominid zoo
locally due to the tremendous firework show at the park
at dark every year. Highest hominid population day of
the year here. So we lay low glad to be hidden on a
fairly unused dirt county road. Would like to photo the
fireworks, but the crowd so big now you can't just show
up at showtime and have a great angle nowadays. It is crazy.
The roads out of town sound like LA Freeways about 10 to
11 p.m. when it is over.
Low about 71dF, and was only 82 at 1 p.m. Did some overdue
yard work. Eight more BlueMistEup cats pulled, makes 200!
Heard a Bell's Vireo singing at the far front corner
of yard. The Red-eyed is still trolling around. Yellow-throated
still breeding and so singing lots, White-eyed must be between
rounds, only barely singing now. So four vireos in the yard
today, where is that Hutton's now? Heard Gnatcatcher
go through. The same three Turkey were over in the corral.
Saw another Streaky Skipper, second one in a week, was not
the one a half-mile down the road a few days ago. Chuck
gave a little bit of dusk calling, a minute maybe, at half
speed and enthusiasm of usual.
July 3 ~ A 72dF low, and some mist so stayed cooler for
the a.m. We have skated on a lot of heat so far this
spring and summer. Red-eyed Vireo and Indigo Bunting
still singing. Heard the Cuckoo and Scissor-tail, and
all the regulars of the season. Had two Black-n-white
Warblers at once, briefly interacting, one singing was
the 1st summer male that has been around, the other a
female or juvenile. Heard the Bluebirds early but they
have not gotten a third round underway yet. White-eyed
Vireo must be between rounds as well, fairly quiet right
now for them. A couple Gnatcatcher went through yard over
the day. Not hearing the Great Crested Flycatcher much,
they probably got young out and are deciding whether or
not to do it again. Only two BlueMistEup cats today,
192 pulled now. Saw another Eyed Elaterid flying around.
Chuck gave a little about 10 p.m. after skipping the
normal 'first dark' blast.
July 2 ~ About 71 for a low, and some light traces of
mist kept it cool for the a.m. Only 3 caterpillars
pulled off the Blue Mist eupatorium, maybe I am finally
getting ahead of them, 190 now. Red-eyed Vireo still singing,
Indigo Bunting as well. Blue Grosbeak still on patio
occasionally, mostly sneaks around under cover out back.
Yellow-throated Vireo and Warbler both still singing
through yard. Kathy spotted a Black-n-white coming in
to the bath, I got a couple shots maybe. Gnatcatcher went
Bird of the day was a butterfly, a Common Sootywing. Which
is new for the yard. Went and looked, #92 in yard! They
are common at say Cook's Slough in the brush country
at Uvalde, but I have only seen a very few up here in the
hills, and none in several years. I photo'd one once
over a decade ago at Utopia on the River a mile downriver.
By time I got back out with camera it was gone. Was on
Zexmenia out back.
Found a dead male Black Widow in the trucklet. Got some
pix, males are pretty fancy looking. Nice to know they can
get inside somehow. Can't leave the windows cracked a
little bit I guess. It probably got in sometime I had them
open, and then got cooked when closed and it got hot inside
the cab. Glad I didn't spot it crawling on me whilst
Three Turkey were in the corral, two bearded Toms and a hen
or young tom. The first summer male Hooded Oriole was at
the hummer feeder again. The closest-by Chuck-wills-widow
did not do the usual dusk calling session. He is out of steam.
A week early. Usually they call for three months, April 7-10 to
July 7-10. There will be a little sputtering yet, and begging
young, but the intense is over. Less than a dozen Firefly.
July 1 ~ About 69.5dF for a low is nice. Clouds kept
it in 70's until almost noon. Heard a Gnatcatcher
out there early, and another after noon, heard the
Red-eyed Vireo singing over in corral. Amazing hearing
the Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting singing at the same
time both up in the big pecan right off the porch. Nine
more BlueMistEup cats removed, so 187 for a running total,
in case you wonder why it looks ravaged. I see the first
flowers opening on our Wooly Ironweed. It has a dozen stalks
this year, its third since sprouted from a seed I planted.
Was 3 stalks the first year, 6 the second, now a dozen.
Lots of begging baby Painted Bunting, House Finch, Lesser
Goldfinch, and Lark Sparrow out there around yard and on
patio. Fireflies are fading fast, the flameout is ongoing.
Maybe saw a dozen.
January through June 2019 is now at Bird News Archives 31.
Bird News Archive XXXI
January 1 - June 30, 2019
Black-capped Vireo. Note gray nape, not completely black.
This is another third year male, still without fully black head.
Second year male head is mostly gray like females, but have a
few black flecks and small patches of a few black feathers
here and there when return the first time. Definitive
(fully mature) adults have fully black heads with no gray.
The older weekly break bird photos are now at the 2019 photos page.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To Top of Recent Bird News
Back to Top