The Birds of Utopia - The List
© 2006-2014
All Rights Reserved

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Roadrunner Vermilion Flycatcher Painted Bunting Green Kingfisher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Roadrunner, Vermilion Flycatcher (male), Painted Bunting (male), Green Kingfisher (male)

Actually it should be Birds of the Sabinal River Valley (SRV), but that just doesn't have the ring Utopia does.

The list covers the area from the north end of the valley at Lost Maples, the Sabinal River headwaters, in a true canyon, south through the broad, flat valley the river meanders down, to Clayton Grade about 8 miles south of Utopia, where the lower big escarpment step is. The main upper step is right above Lost Maples. The Upper Sabinal River Drainage would be an accurate name for the bio-geographic area covered by this list.

Utopia is about midway from the north end to the south end of the valley, which lies at the very edge of the Balcones Escarpment. These river drainage valleys are also known as "canyonlands," and are intermediate between brushlands south of (below) the plateau, and the "top" of the plateau. These 'canyons' have faunal characteristics of both ecosystems, as well as having some of their own unique flavors. In fact, each canyon or drainage is unique, the Sabinal being the broadest, flattest, and most brush-country like, as well as least canyonlike, until you get to Vanderpool.

All of the land in the (Sabinal) valley is private, though many (Uvalde or Bandera) county dirt roads transect many areas allowing at least some visual access, besides Hwy. 187 that traverses the valley north to south. Do not trespass, purple paint means private property, NO Trespassing.

Here we present a list of bird species known in the upper Sabinal River drainage, or, Utopia and vicinity. It is somewhat annotated to give more understanding. Besides an idea of seasonality and abundance, several codes or abbreviations are behind the bird's name to indicate if it breeds, (N) = it nests, and, sometimes where it has been seen locally. Some sigtings from our first yard list at the hay house on N. Thunder Creek (late '03 to early '05) are indicated with the "TC" designation. The Utopia Park birds are found easily as there is a "UP" code behind the species seen there. Though there is now a new page with a seperate and complete Utopia Park list. Check the nav bar up top under birds section.

If a species is so far unrecorded around Utopia, but it is on the Lost Maples list, it is included here, as having occurred in the upper Sabinal drainage, or Utopia area. Those are the Sabinal River headwaters. Anything there came or went via Utopia. For some species LM will be noted as a station of occurrence, however, not all species found at Lost Maples are called out. Mostly just those otherwise unrecorded elsewhere locally, or species for which LM is a top spot to look for them. Knowing which *different* species have been seen "just up the road a piece" helps complete the picture of what occurs here. Since especially that Lost Maples has had thousands of hours of birder coverage. Though primarily during a hundred-day birding tourist period or window from mid-March to June. Most of the 15 or so species listed from there, only, so far, are accidentals or very rare migrants.

Be sure to pick up the great TPWD park bird list for Lost Maples SNA by Roy Heideman, May 2002. At that time it listed about 213 species. I think now with the 15+ years since and lots more coverage, ebird is now showing a total nearing 260 sps. or so.

To complicate things the valley is cut in half politically. just past the north end of Utopia. The northern half with the canyon and Lost Maples are in Bandera County (as is "TC" and the SLC ponds). The southern flat open half of the valley (e.g., Utopia and Utopia Park) are in Uvalde County. So, I have to keep two county lists, and to have a proper bio-geographic local area list, an "Upper Sabinal River Drainage" list!

As of 2020 we have over 360 species listed, considered known from the upper Sabinal River drainage bio-geographic area. A remarkable total for a small inland lakeless habitat. There are 4 introduced non-native species preceeded by an "I." The 360 total is the upper Sabinal River drainage is about a third of all the birds known from all of North America. The upper Sabinal River drainage is about a mile to 2 wide on average and less than 20 miles long. A quarter or so of the whole countries avifauna is known just from Utopia Park alone (now 270 there - Nov. 2020)!

About the list ...

Order of lists is a real problem as the official order of birds is constantly changing as those that deal with such have nothing else to do. For a long time most guides and lists were very similar in order, now offical order resembles none of them as it is changed so often, since most guides published, and recently they shuffled the deck bigtime again (July-Aug 2011) and again since that. We are going to leave the list in the order of most of the recent field guides for now.

The birds are listed fairly close to Taxonomic Order of the 7th AOU, which is the order used in most (except the most recently updated) lists or books, to help ease finding a given species. They are also mostly grouped into family groups, but some few small families have been joined though. A group on the list is not neccessarily a related family group. Almost all are, but not all, e.g. "assorted cute little things" is a few families.

If you've seen a bird species locally that is not on the list, please let me know so we can add it, if approved by the Utopia Rare Bird Records Committee.  Rarities need documentation. That means a picture, video, tape recording, pencil sketch, or best, a written description of field marks seen while watching the bird. But a crummy digital picture is often enough to prove identity. Believe me, I take lots of them.  Write notes while observing.

Free Rarity Advice ...

There is nothing better to have in the field than pen and paper. Those little pocket spiral bound notebooks are great for a quick written description. As I fossilize I only wish I had taken more notes, and not depended on my camera so much to do that. Though camera got a hundred or two records through for me, yes.   :)   It is hard for anyone to say no to a photo showing definitive characters. Some can and will regardless, but most in that position are sane, moral and ethical. Notes written at the time or shortly thereafter are as useful, often better, and tell many things the picture won't. Always carry camera and a little pocket notebook. That's what I do to play it safe.

Photos of many of the species are among the bird photo pages.

The list consists of the species name, followed by an indication of its local abundance and seasonality, followed by initials denoting local sites of occurrence and nesting status (N = nests).

common - usually present in good numbers & easy to see
uncommon - usually present in lower numbers; usually one or few at once
occasional - not always present, but a few regularly
rare - usually not present and not expected, but might occur.
very rare - usually not present, and very noteworthy: should get photos
accidental - x = once or twice; must be documented to be taken seriously
LTA - Less Than Annual; occurs some years but not all

"fall TO spring" - includes winter
"spring TO fall" - includes summer
"migrant" - without seasonal modifier means spring OR fall
"locally" - means very specialized habitat requirements, not widespread


TC = N. Thunder Creek Rd. (the adobe yard list- 16 mos.)
UP = seen at Utopia Park
U = seen in Utopia, or within a couple miles somewhere
UR = seen on grounds of Utopia on the River
LC = Little Creek area (especially the South LC ponds - SLC)
I = Introduced NON-native sps.
SR = seen in/from our Seco Ridge yard (back W. end of SR)
SRV = Sabinal River Valley - the upper Sabinal Drainage
LM = Lost Maples SNA - Species on the park list, or others or I have seen it there.
BCP = Bear Creek Pond - visible from 1050, ca. 4-5 mi. west of Utopia
N = Nests somewhere around here (could mean LM or elsewhere around the area) but not neccessarily at all the initialed places behind the birds name (some are N?)
ph. - photographic record
a.t. - audio tape obtained
BanCo = Bandera County; UvCo = Uvalde County
A few noteworthy nearby sightings are mentioned.
Including the upper Sabinal River drainage vicinity

24 species of waterfowl
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck - occasional spring to fall, has bred; TC;UP;U;LC;SR;BCP;N
Fulvous Whistling-Duck - flock of 4 flew over SR July 7 '08; 2 S. of town Aug. 31, 2017
Tundra Swan - calling low flyover after dark Dec. 3, 2014; nr. UR
Greater White-fronted Goose - occasional spring or fall migrant; TC;U;SR
Snow Goose - accidental - small flock over SR in Nov.; plus a calling flyover in dark
Ross's Goose - accidental with Snow Goose flock; SR
Cackling Goose - accidental in spring (1 with White-fronts);SR
Wood Duck - irregular when water present, any season; TC;UP;LC;N
Gadwall - occasional migrant or winter; TC;U;LC;SR;BCP
American Wigeon - occasional to rare migrant or winter; LC;SR;BCP
Mallard - occasional to rare in winter; U;SR;BCP
Blue-winged Teal - uncommon to occasional migrant; TC;UP;LC;U;BCP
Cinnamon Teal - accidental Dec. 10, 05, Sept. 12, 09 (ph.); UP
Northern Shoveler - uncommon to occasional migrant; UP;LC;SR;BCP
Northern Pintail - rare in winter; x in May SR;BCP;LC
Green-winged Teal - occasional to rare migrant or winter; LC;BCP
Redhead - very rare in winter; UP;U;BCP
Ring-necked Duck - occasional to rare migrant or winterer; UP;TC;LC;BCP
Greater Scaup - accidental, one on Dec. 31, 2011 in BanCo
Lesser Scaup - rare in fall or winter; UP;SR;BCP
Common Goldeneye - Bill Barham sight record ca. UR, maybe 2011 or 12
Bufflehead - accidental fall migrant; very rare in spring (3 times in 2018) UP
Hooded Merganser - accidental fall migrant; LC
Ruddy Duck - accidental spring migrant in March; UP

Wild Turkey - common resident, often hard to find, but easy to see; TC;U;N
Northern Bobwhite - uncommon resident (natives or releases?); TC;LC;N
* Quail sps. - one sighting of a pair of probable Montezuma Quail at SR

Eared Grebe - accidental - 2 seen in storm one day at UP early Jan. (the 2nd?) 2018
Pied-billed Grebe - occasional in winter, migrant; x in summer; UP;LC
Least Grebe - accidental June 27-Aug. 30, 2020 (ph.) at Waresville golf course pond

American White Pelican - rare spring migrant; U;LM
Neotropic Cormorant - accidental fall migrant flyover, U; UP Jan. 2017
Double-crested Cormorant - rare fall migrant; UP
Anhinga - accidental - both at UP: male May 4, 2011; female Aug. 12, 2020 (ph.)

14 species of long-legged waders
American Bittern - Accidental Sept. 9, 2018 (ph.); SLC ponds in BanCo
Least Bittern - Accidental Aug. 29, 2018 after Harvey
Great Blue Heron - low numbers year round; TC;UP;LC;BCP;N?
Great Egret - rare spring, late summer, fall migrant; UP
Snowy Egret - rare spring or fall migrant; LC;UP
Little Blue Heron - occasional in spring and fall; LC;UP (ph.)
Tricolored Heron - very rare fall vagrant; UP (ph.)
Cattle Egret - occasional migrant, mostly fall; TC;UP;LC
Green Heron - few nest along river; UP;N
Black-crowned Night-Heron - very rare spring migrant; U; UR; x in fall at UP (ph.)
Yellow-crowned Night-heron - rare late summer visitor; SR;UP;U (ph.)
White-faced Ibis - very rare spring or fall migrant; LC;SR
Roseate Spoonbill - very rare, M.Killough photo prob. late summer (ca. 2002);
    two immatures, 2 mi. NW of town in BanCo (Sylvia Hilbig ph.) July 10-11, 2014;
    then 2 imm. southbound Aug. 23, 2016, 2 mi. S. of town.
    two more summer 2017 flying down Little Creek
Wood Stork - accidental July 11 '08 at SR (ph.)

Black Vulture - common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Turkey Vulture - common spring to fall; very rare in winter; TC;UP;U;N

28 species of diurnal raptors (plus Harlan's Hawk)
There is a hawks page in the Bird Photos section with pictures of most of the local raptors, or birds of prey.
Osprey - occasional migrant, once 1 wintered on stocked trout; TC;U;LM
Swallow-tailed Kite - accidental July 30, 2009; SR
White-tailed Kite - accidental spring & summer; SR
Mississippi Kite - occasional migrant; TC;U; SR
Bald Eagle - very rare late fall and winter; LM; SR; Cyp.Hol.;
Northern Harrier - occasional fall to spring; TC;UP
Sharp-shinned Hawk - uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP
Cooper's Hawk - local in summer, uncommon fall to spring;TC;UP;N
Northern Goshawk - very rare winter or spring; TC;SR, March 2014 near UR; Feb.-Apr. 2016;
     March 2017, Dec. 15, 2017 (ph.); May 2, 2019 (ph.)
Roadside Hawk - X Jan. 30, Feb. 1 & 8, 2015, UP and nr. UR again in April
    seen again Dec. 2015, and again Oct. 2016, presumed one returning bird.
Gray Hawk - accidental Aug. 14, 2011 at UP; sight report near V'pool; ph. at LM Apr. 2017
Common Black-Hawk - accidental in summer; LM;SR - most reports are mis-ID'd Zone-tails at LM
Harris's Hawk - rare transient mostly fall to spring; TC;UP;SR; nests north of Sabinal
Red-shouldered Hawk - uncommon resident; TC;UP;LC;N
Broad-winged Hawk - rare in spring, rare in fall; TC;LM;U;SR; BRED at LM 2015, 16, & 17!
Short-tailed Hawk - very rare spring early summer;UP;TC;SR;LM; X in fall (ph.) Sept. 29, 2016;
    a pair @ LM for Apr. of 2017
Swainson's Hawk - uncommon migrant; TC;UP
Zone-tailed Hawk - uncommon spring to fall, rare in winter; TC;UP;U;LM;N
Red-tailed Hawk - uncommon resident (fuertesi), other types in winter; TC;UP;U;N
    a) Harlan's Hawk - very rare in winter; U; ph.
Ferruginous Hawk - accidental in winter & spring; SR;LM; BanCo - M.Killough photo;
Golden Eagle - very rare in winter; TC;LM
Crested Caracara - uncommon resident; TC;U;LC;N
American Kestrel - common to uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP;U;LC;
Merlin - rare mostly in winter; TC;UP;LM
Aplomado Falcon - accidental thrice late summer to fall; SR Sept. 2006 after Lane fallout; Aug 8, 2012;
Peregrine Falcon - rare migrant; TC;U
Prairie Falcon - accidental; spring, fall or winter (e.g. Feb. 13, 2021); SR, U
White-tailed Hawk- accidental - sight report Jan. 1, 2017 4-5 mi. SSW of Utopia.

Virginia Rail - accidental - nocturnal migrant calling 7 Oct 2011 at SR;
Sora - accidental spring 2011 at UP and fall 2011 golf course pond
Purple Gallinule - accidental: Foxfire/LM ca. 1990, UP May 2011(ph., a.t.); July 2015 nr. UR
American Coot - occasional migrant, spring or fall; x - one returnee winterer at UP; UP;LC

Sandhill Crane - uncommon migrant late fall or early spring; TC;UP;U
 **near miss - There is a Whooping Crane record for 'near Sabinal',
    surely that bird flew over Utopia when it left with the Sandhills.
    In case you wonder why I run outside to check the cranes
    every dang time I hear them for 18 years running now.
    Even in the dark.

23 species of shorebirds, like pulling teeth, only 4-5 sps. regular
American Golden-Plover - rare in spring as a calling nocturnal migrant; SR
Black-bellied Plover - accidental April 20, 2020 calling noct. migrant
Killdeer - uncommon, a few breed; rare in winter; U;UP;LC;N
American Avocet - accidental - small flock at UP in fall; also W.Sab.Rd. (WSR) floodpond
Black-necked Stilt - accidental Aug. 14, 2011, 6 at UP (ph.); also W. Sab. Rd. pond
Greater Yellowlegs - occasional mostly spring migrant; rare in fall; LC;
Lesser Yellowlegs - occasional mostly spring migrant; LC, x in fall
Solitary Sandpiper - occasional spring or fall migrant; LC;U;BCP
Willet (Western) - accidental flock of 32 off Hwy 187 Apr.25, '08 in Bandera Co.
Spotted Sandpiper - occasional migrant; UP;LC;BCP
Upland Sandpiper - uncommon fall migrant, heard after dark & at dawn; TC;LM;U; very rare in spring
Whimbrel - accidental Nov. 7, 2017, nocturnal calling migrant heading south
Long-billed Curlew - accidental spring (calling nocturnal migrant) & fall;SR
Marbled Godwit - accidental - calling nocturnal migrant Aug. 2009; SR
Semipalmated Sandpiper - accidental, July 30, 2011 at UP, called
Western Sandpiper - accidental - flock of 8-9 at UP July 30, 2011, calling
Least Sandpiper - accidental, ad. at UP July 30, 2011 called; juv. at golf course Sept. 7, 2018 (ph.)
Baird's Sandpiper - rare spring migrant; LC; golf course (ph.); flood ponds
Pectoral Sandpiper - very rare spring migrant; U; LC (ph.); flood ponds
White-rumped Sandpiper - accidental - 3 on May 14, 2021 in BanCo @ W. Sab. Rd. floodpond
Long-billed Dowitcher - accidental May 4-5, 2018 LC (ph.)
Wilson's (Common) Snipe - uncommon migrant; a few winter; UP;LC;BCP
   probably regular at small private tanks with no access,
   the golf course ponds get them, as does wet spot on W.Sabinal Rd.
American Woodcock - very rare - 27 Dec.'05 at UP (ph.); 4 mi. W. of Utopia March '06;
    UP Dec. 9 to Jan. 2012 (ph.); UP Sept. 25-27, 2015; UP Dec. 4, 2019 (ph.)
Wilson's Phalarope - rare: flock flyover in fall at SR (UvCo); 13 at two BanCo sites May 4-5, 2018 (3 ph.);
    one male May 11, 2019 in BanCo (ph.); spring 2021 over a dozen (ph.) at BanCo floodpond

**near miss: Hudsonian Godwit - 3 at Sabinal May 11-12, 2015 had to
   fly over us when they left Sabinal.

Jaeger sps. - accidental fall migrant: U (SR) (Long-tailed or Parasitic)
Laughing Gull - accidental one on MCS Apr.20 '06; one at UP Aug. 22, 2014
Franklin's Gull - rare spring migrant; U(SR); LM
Ring-billed Gull - accidental, one imm. Oct. 14, 2012 southbound over SR
Sabine's Gull - accidental, one photo'd Sept 4, 2012 near Lost Maples (fide E.Carpenter)
Black Tern - accidental, one May 4, 2013 south of town flying up-valley

8 species of pigeons and doves - over legal limit
I - Rock (Feral) Pigeon - uncommon resident; TC;UP;U;N
I - Eurasian Collared-Dove - uncommon resident; TC;UP;U;N
White-winged Dove - common spring to fall, uncommon in winter; TC;UP;U;N
Mourning Dove - common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Inca Dove - uncommon and local resident; TC;UP;U;LM;N
Common Ground-Dove - uncommon resident; TC;U;N
Ruddy Ground-Dove - accidental; TC, one sighting 2004
White-tipped Dove - 2003-2012: very rare, SR (ph.); now nests at Lost Maples
    Since 2013 or so White-tipped Dove present spring to fall at least
    at Lost Maples and some near town as well. Probably breeding since 2014.
   *Hypothetical: Red-billed Pigeon.  Winter 03-04, 2 big all dark (incl. rumps = non-Rock Dove)
   pigeon circled 5 mins. at TC; I am convinced they were Red-billed Pigeon.  I also saw a Red-billed
   Pigeon 3 miles below Clayton Grade once (in Dec.). A Red-billed Pigeon was in Leakey spring
   of 2012. There is also an Oct. 2002 record from W. of Kerrville as well.

4 cuckoos
Black-billed Cuckoo - accidental spring and fall; SR;ca.TC; Aug. 1996 @ LM; May 2014 nr. UR; May 22, 2017 yard
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - uncommon spring and summer; TC;UP;LM
Greater Roadrunner - uncommon resident; TC;UP;U;N
Groove-billed Ani - X at LM, X July 1, 2012 in BanCo at north end of Utopia

5 owls
Barn Owl - uncommon to occasional mostly fall to spring, some may be resident?; TC;U; SR
Eastern Screech-Owl - (mccallii - 'Tex-Mex' Screech-Owl) uncommon resident; TC;U;N
   *makes calls nearly exactly like Saw-whet Owl, and Ferruginous Pygmy-owl
Great Horned Owl - uncommon resident; TC;N
Barred Owl - very local uncommon to occasional resident; TC;UP;N
Long-eared Owl - accidental; TC; SR; nr. UR
*Owl sps. - An unknown type of owl has also been heard locally.

6 species of goatsuckers (nightjars if you prefer) a strong showing
Lesser Nighthawk - uncommon spring to fall; TC;U:N
Common Nighthawk - common spring to fall; TC;UP;U;N
Common Pauraque - one called July 2010 at SR, on W. 360: one a.t. late Aug. 2014, one Aug. 15-Sept. 15, 2019,   A fourth record, the first in spring, March 1-10, 2020
Common Poorwill - common spring to fall, rare in winter; TC;U;N
Chuck-will's-widow - common breeder early April to mid-July when goes quiet, some silent here to Sept.; TC;U;N
Whip-poor-will - accidental at LM once in spring per park list (?): see notes below
    Note: some (most) locals call Chuck-wills-widows, "Whip-poor-wills". I await my
    first Whip-poor-will here, for 17.5 years now, whilst acquiring 4 yard Pauraque records.
    The ebird Lost Maples reports I checked were lists that heard no Chucks, only a Whip.

White-collared Swift - accidental in May at SR
Chimney Swift - common spring to fall; TC;UP;U;N
Black Swift - two April 26, 2018, close and low, after big storm from west.
    * two May 1, 2021 after Mexican origin system again.

13 species of hummingbirds
Outstanding diversity, virtually all rarities are found at feeders, chances of a rary away from that situation are very small. I have not seen a 'wild' Rufous away from feeders save at the library butterfly garden, and it took 13 years to get one at UP. The Lost Maples HQ feeders have been very productive over the years. At a very random site (on SR) we had 11 species in a few years at our feeder bank. See the hummer photo page for more detailed info on ID or local status.

Green (now Mexican) Violetear - accidental in summer; LM; SR;heard at TC; May-June 2016 at Sabinal River Lodge
    One reported in BanCo 4 mi. NW of town, early May, 2020
Broad-billed Hummingbird - accidental: LM April 09 (ph.), 'nother March '11
White-eared Hummingbird - accidental July 07 SR; (ph.)
Blue-throated Hummingbird - accidental at LM
Lucifer Hummingbird - accidental fall at TC; LM July 10, 2011; SR June 28- July 2, 2011 (ph.);
   another was at a Century Plant Agave on June 23, 2017.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - uncommon spring, common fall; a few nest rarely; TC;UP;U;N
Black-chinned Hummingbird - abundant March to August; TC;UP;U;N
Anna's Hummingbird - accidental in late fall '05 two at SR - ph.; Dec. '11 four locally
    * one imm. fem. Feb. 5 - March 1, 2021 through the snow
Costa's Hummingbird - accidental, calling female March 4-5, 2006 at SR
Calliope Hummingbird - rare but regular in fall; TC;U;SR;ph.; X in spring at LM
Broad-tailed Hummingbird - occasional in fall; has wintered, also VR in June; TC;U;SR;ph.
Rufous Hummingbird - occasional in fall, rare in spring or winter; TC;U;SR; ph.
Allen's Hummingbird - very rare; few; one Mar. 2005, one Oct-Dec. 2011 at SR;
  *hybrid Ruby-throated x Black-chinned - photos on hummer page
   *near miss: Buff-bellied Hummingbird ph. in BanCo, May 2020

Kingfishers: 3 species, 2 nest
Ringed Kingfisher - a few resident along river; SR;UP,N
Belted Kingfisher - uncommon fall to spring; UP;LC;BCP
Green Kingfisher - low-density resident; can be at any water; UP;LC;LM;N

9 species of woodpeckers, 2 nest
Lewis's Woodpecker - accidental Jan. 04, 2004 and after, in a BanCo pecan bottom;
Red-headed Woodpecker - accidental, one wintered at Roy Heideman's in BanCo
Acorn Woodpecker - accidental - Feb 2010 at R. Heideman's (BanCo); April 2014 LM.
Golden-fronted Woodpecker - uncommon resident; TC;UP;U;N
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP;LM
Red-naped Sapsucker - rare, irregular, LTA; fall to early spring; UP;LM; ph.
Ladder-backed Woodpecker - common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Downy Woodpecker - rare itenerant transient, any season; UR; UP; nested in 2020
Northern Flicker - uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP
    a) "Red-shafted" occasional - TC;UP
    b) "Yellow-shafted" uncommon - TC;UP
  *NOTE: many hybrid or intergrade Flickers here: underwing color not sufficient for ID!

25 species of flycatcher, 11 nest
Olive-sided Flycatcher - occasional spring and fall migrant; TC;UP;SR
Western Wood-Pewee - accidental in spring; LM;UP
Eastern Wood-Pewee - common spring to late summer; TC;UP;LM;N
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - LTA:rare in spring, very rare in fall; TC;UP;UR
Acadian Flycatcher - the nesting Empi; late April to August, local;UR;UP;LM;N
Alder Flyc. - LTA: occasional to rare in spring, rare in fall; TC;UP (ph. in fall)
Willow Flycatcher - uncommon in spring, occasional to uncommon in fall ; TC;UP;LM
Least Flycatcher - uncommon in spring, occasional to uncommon in fall; TC;UP;LM
Hammond's Flycatcher - accidental in winter: '05-6 BanCo.(ph.); '10-11 at UP (a.t.); '18-19 at LM;
Gray Flycatcher - accidental in fall; TC BanCo; (1 in E-bird July 25, '07 at LM?)
Dusky Flycatcher - very very rare in fall; U, UP
Cordilleran (Western) Flycatcher - Sept. 2011 at library garden; ph. Oct. 14, 2020 at UP
Black Phoebe - 2003-08 a few breeding pairs resident, since then (drought) very rare; UP;LM
Eastern Phoebe - common resident, + migrants invade for winter; TC;UP;U;N
Say's Phoebe - uncommon to rare fall to winter; LM;U;UP;BCP
Vermilion Flycatcher - uncommon spring to fall, rare in winter; TC;UP;LC;N
Ash-throated Flycatcher - common early March to early August; TC;UP;LM;N
Great Crested Flycatcher - uncommon spring to late summer; TC;UP;UR;N
Brown-crested Flycatcher - scarce and local spring to summer; UP;N
Couch's Kingbird - rare any season, has nested and wintered; UP; SR; LM
Cassin's Kingbird - rare spring migrant; ph. at LM May 07; pr. ca. UR April 26, 2014
Western Kingbird - formerly common till drought, now scarce; spring to fall; TC;UP;U;N
Eastern Kingbird - a few annually in spring, occasional to rare in fall; TC;UP;LM;U; SR
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - common spring to fall; TC;UP;U;N
Great Kiskadee - 2 sight reports surely good, plus: one S. of town May 2016; UP (ph.) Feb. 2-3, 2018

Loggerhead Shrike - uncommon fall to spring; TC;U

12 species of vireos, 6 of which nest. Once I heard
6 species of vireo singing simultaneously at Lost Maples.

White-eyed Vireo - common spring to fall; very few in winter; TC;UP;U;N
Bell's Vireo - uncommon spring to fall; TC;UP;U;N
Black-capped Vireo - local, uncommon (hard to see), spring to summer; U;LM;N
Gray Vireo - accidental June; SR
Yellow-throated Vireo - uncommon spring to summer; TC;UP;LM;N
Plumbeous Vireo - accidental - one NW of town fall 2006 (Hilbigs - BanCo)
Cassin's Vireo - accidental, one fall and one spring record, at UP
Blue-headed Vireo - uncommon spring or fall; very rare in winter; TC;UP (ph.)
Hutton's Vireo - low density resident; UP;TC;U;LM(not on list though);SR (ph.)
Warbling Vireo - uncommon spring migrant; rare in fall, TC;UP;LM (Not on LM list)
Philadelphia Vireo - rare, LTA, but regular in spring; UP;U;LM;UR (ph.); x in fall
Red-eyed Vireo - uncommon spring to late summer; TC;UP;LM;N
    * Near miss: I heard a Yellow-green Vireo singing in Sabinal July 2, 2005

6 Corvids is legal limit here
Blue Jay - occasional local resident in town, along river, in pecans and live-oaks; UP;U;N;SR
Green Jay - accidental, four Dec. 08 - Jan. 09 (ph.) (Syd & Jackie Chaney corn feeder);
      Oct. 19-Nov. 22, 2020 three at least, 2 mi. S. of town (ph.)
      Nov. 8, 2020, min. of 4 at Utopia Pk., 2 on Nov. 11, cont.'
      Feb. 2021 - at least two made it through the snow and 5F temps!
Western (now Woodhouse's) Scrub-Jay - (texana) uncommon resident in junipers on slopes; TC;U;LM;N
Chihuahuan Raven - early oughts were some in valley flatlands, absent 12+ yrs. now since drought; TC;UP;U;
Common Raven - common rapidly increasing resident often near cliffs; TC;UP;LM;N
Common Crow - accidental - one yard flyover 2 mi. S. of town Nov. 23, 2016

Horned Lark - rare fall flyover here; 3 flew over calling Oct. 27, 2015, nr. UR

Nine (!) swallows and martins is over the legal limit
Purple Martin - common early spring to late summer; TC;UP;U;N
Gray-breasted Martin - accidental; (SR 7/21/05); Sept'06 (after Lane); 10/15/07 calling
Tree Swallow - very rare fall migrant; UP
No. Rough-winged Swallow - uncommon spring to late summer; TC;UP;LC;N
Bank Swallow - rare mostly spring migrant, very rare in fall; UP
Cliff Swallow - some years common spring to late summer, others absent; TC;UP;N
Cave Swallow - locally common spring to late summer; TC;UP;N
Barn Swallow - common spring to late summer; TC;UP;U;N
Violet-green Swallow - accidental April 22, 2012 UP
   * hybrid Cliff x Cave (Clave) Swallow known from Uvalde

Assorted cute little things
Carolina Chickadee - uncommon resident; TC;UP;U;N
Black-crested Titmouse - very common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Verdin - occasional fall and winter; x in BanCo Sep. 1 2012 north of town.
Bushtit - local low-density resident where junipers; TC;LM;N
   **Black-eared phase very rare
Red-breasted Nuthatch - rare in winter; U;LM;LTA, 3 wintered 2018-19
White-breasted Nuthatch - accidental; reports from LM (and Concan)
Brown Creeper - LTA rare migrant Nov.-Feb.; UP;LM;UR

Ten Wrens is legal limit, excellent showing methinks
Cactus Wren - accidental - on LM list; one ph. Nov. 1, 2020 at Waresville;
    common in brush country just to our south
Rock Wren - very rare, very local; on LM list; nests at Garner
Canyon Wren - uncommon in canyons with cliffs; LM;N, otherwise rare vagrant as at UP
Carolina Wren - common resident; TC;UP;U;LM;N
Bewick's Wren - common resident; TC;LM;U;N
House Wren - uncommon migrant, rare in winter; TC;UP
Winter Wren - (Eastern) rare in winter, LTA; UP;LM
Pacific Wren - one calling at UP 2 weeks in Nov., pre-split but reported to TBRC
Sedge Wren - accidental on May 14, 2008 & 2011, at UP(!); April 2019
Marsh Wren - rare in spring or fall ; LM;SR;UP

Golden-crowned Kinglet - uncommon fall to spring; TC;LM
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - common fall to spring; TC;UP;U
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - common spring to fall; TC;UP;U

12 Thrushes - most excellent
Eastern Bluebird - common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Western Bluebird - very rare to accidental in winter; SR
Mountain Bluebird - very rare in winter; SR;UP;LM
Townsend's Solitaire - rare in winter; LM; Oct. 8, 2012 at SR, nr. UR Dec. 2013 &Jan. 2014; UP Dec.2017-Jan.2018
Veery - accidental in spring; UP 2011, SR 2009; May 9, 2020 @ 354 Mulberry
Gray-cheeked Thrush - LTA, irregular and rare in spring; UP;
Swainson's Thrush - occasional spring migrant; TC;UP;LM, X in fall
Hermit Thrush - common fall to early spring; TC;UP;LM
Clay-colored Thrush - accidental 5/11/08, all of Feb. 2013; both UP
American Robin - usually common fall to spring; very rare in summer;TC;UP;
Varied Thrush - accidental winter (heard) at SR; + a flyover Nov. 2012
Wood Thrush - one in ebird for LM May 2005; one at UP Sep. 14, 2016; one ph. at UP Oct. 25, 2019
    nearby TG & I heard Wood Thrush singing at Big Springs (Real Co.) in spring.
  **near miss** ~ two Rufous-backed Robin: at Ft. Inge, & w. of Uvalde

Mimids: 6 species
Gray Catbird - occasional spring (in Mulberries early May) and rare fall migrant; TC;UP;LM
Northern Mockingbird - common spring to fall, uncommon in winter; TC;UP;N
Sage Thrasher - rare late fall and winter; LTA; U; SR
Brown Thrasher - LTA, very rare fall to spring; UP
Long-billed Thrasher - uncommon low-density resident, south of town mostly; TC;LM;N
Curve-billed Thrasher - rare visitor; UP;U; nests just south in brush country

I - European Starling - uncommon spring to fall; some years few winter; UP;U;N

American Pipit - occasional migrant, winterer; x May 10, 2019; UP;TC;SLC;BCP
Sprague's Pipit - rare fall migrant; TC; SR

Bohemian Waxwing - accidental in winter; TC (four, Dec. 2004) BanCo
Cedar Waxwing - irregularly common to uncommon winter to spring; TC;UP

Phainopepla - accidental October 27, 2015 nr. UR

41 species known locally, 5 species nest regularly
The bird photos index page has a warbler page with pix of several local types, and lots of local-centric info on them.
Blue-winged Warbler - accidental in spring at LM (2 reports)
Golden-winged Warbler - accidental in spring once at LM; one NW of Utopia in BanCo May 2012 (Hilbigs)
     one male at Utopia Park April 30, 2021.
Tennessee Warbler - occasional in spring, accidental in fall; UP;U
Orange-crowned Warbler - uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP;
   * (most are celata, a few are orestera subspecies)
Nashville Warbler - common spring and uncommon fall migant; TC;UP
Northern Parula - rare in spring; x in summer; UP; Nested at UR in 2015 and UP in 2021
Tropical Parula - very rare spring, has summered, x in winter; UP;LM;UR;(ph., a.t.)
   spring 2021 FIVE: two at Lost Maples, a pair plus a male 1 mile NW of Utopia in BanCo
Yellow Warbler - common spring and uncommon fall migrant; TC;UP
Chestnut-sided Warbler - rare semi-regular spring migrant; UP;LM; VR in fall (twice)(ph., a.t.)
Magnolia Warbler - rare semi-regular spring migrant; x in fall; UP; LM; (a.t.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - accidental May 17, 2011 at UP, singing male!
Yellow-rumped Warbler - common fall to spring; TC;UP
      a) "Myrtle" - usually the default common one; TC;UP
      b) "Audubon's" - uncommon migrant, usually 5%, up to 10% of winterers; TC;UP
      c) "Myrtubon's" - hybrids or intergrades detected annually
Black-throated Gray Warbler - very rare to x - fall and spring; TC;UP
Golden-cheeked Warbler - uncommon and local March to late July-early Aug.; SR;TC;LM;U;N
Black-throated Green Warbler - occasional to uncommon spring and rare fall migrant; TC;UP
Townsend's Warbler - very rare in fall: once at LM, TWO at UP fall 2012; one Sep 2013 nr.UR; (ph.)
      an imm. male Aug.31, 2016, one ad. male (ph.) at LM Dec. 2, 2018
  *    Hermit x Townsend's hybrid, accidental Nov. 1, 2009 at Garner S.P.
Blackburnian Warbler - rare semi-regular spring migrant; TC;UP;U;LM; (a.t.)
Yellow-throated Warbler - uncommon spring to summer, very rare fall; x in winter; TC;UP;N
Pine Warbler - rare but regular in late fall along river habitat corridor, some winter; TC;UP;SR
Palm Warbler - accidental early spring at UP; 2 reports at LM in April (at e-bird)
Bay-breasted Warbler - accidental spring: two May 2, 2011 UP, one May 1, '11 UR;
Blackpoll - accidental in spring once at LM; accidental Sept 6, 2015 near UR
Cerulean Warbler - accidental in spring once at LM; one Uvalde record mid-May (J.Adair)
     one male April 27, 2021 2 mi. S. of Utopia, sang; one Concan Apr. 2021
Black-and-white Warbler - common but local spring to late summer; TC;UP;LM;N; x in winter
American Redstart - rare to occasional spring migrant; very rare in fall; TC;UP; (a.t.)
Prothonotary Warbler - x in spring; UP; UR; LM (ph.)
Worm-eating Warbler - x in spring; LM; UP; UR; (5 locally spring 2011!), x Sept. 28 2012 at UP
Swainson's Warbler - x May 5, 2021 at Utopia Park
Ovenbird - very rare in spring; UP;LM, x in fall
Northern Waterthrush - uncommon in spring, rare in fall; UP;
Louisiana Waterthrush - rare off breeding grounds (mostly at LM) where present late March-Aug.;some to Sept; N
    * first Edw. Plat. documented (ph.) wintering Dec '14-March '15,; returned 2nd winter 2015-16
      and returned again Oct. through late Dec. '16 for its third winter.
Kentucky Warbler - rare in spring, x in fall (Aug. ph. UP); TC;LM;UP
Connecticut Warbler - accidental at UP, twice, both on May 19
Mourning Warbler - scarce but regular in spring and fall; UP;LM;U;UR;SR; (ph., a.t.)
MacGillivray's Warbler - very rare but regular in spring; UP;LM; x thrice in fall
Oporornis sps. - TC
Common Yellowthroat - occasional migrant; TC;UP; x in winter Jan. 28, 2017
Hooded Warbler - 3 spring 2011 at UP; 1 at LM summer 2011; x in fall TC;
Wilson's Warbler - occasional to uncommon migrant, x in winter; TC;UP;LM
Canada Warbler - thrice in May in spring; x in fall; UP;LM; (a.t.)
Painted Redstart - accidental at LM: one older record in March, then April 2014 for two weeks
Rufous-capped Warbler - very rare - any season possible; TC; LM Sept. 27- Oct.19 2015 (ph.)
    also a Love Creek record winter 2015-2016.

former warblers
Yellow-breasted Chat - uncommon spring and summer locally; TC;UP;U;N

Hepatic Tanager - accidental 6/86 LM ph. (not on list); X in fall SR; U; nr.UR May 5, 2014
Summer Tanager - common April to Sept; TC;UP;N
Scarlet Tanager - accidental April '09, and April '12, 2013 nr.UR; fall UR;
Western Tanager - rare spring and fall; SR;U;LM;UP

26 species in the big picture sparrows group, 5-6 nest
Olive Sparrow - resident locally in south valley mesquite patches; recently at Lost Maples; x at UP; N;
      In 2017 and since, pairs nest at Lost Maples and near Utopia
Spotted Towhee - uncommon fall to spring; TC;SR;LM;U
Canyon Towhee - very local, enigmatic, uncommon resident; TC;SR;U;N
Cassin's Sparrow - occasional to rare migrant; has summered; UP;LM;SR
Rufous-crowned Sparrow - common (but local) rocky slope resident; SR;LM;N
Chipping Sparrow - common fall to spring, few locally in summer; TC;UP;N
Clay-colored Sparrow - can be common, usually uncommon migrant; TC;UP
Brewer's Sparrow - very rare to accidental in spring and fall; UP;SR
Field Sparrow - uncommon resident; TC;LM;N
Vesper Sparrow - common fall to spring; TC;U;UP
Lark Sparrow - common spring to fall, few in winter; TC;Y;U;N;UP
Black-throated Sparrow - occasional, present but very localized, U; LM;
Lark Bunting - occasional migrant, rare in winter; U;LM;SR
Savannah Sparrow - common fall to spring; TC;UP;U
Grasshopper Sparrow - occasional in spring; rare in fall; very rare in winter; BRED in 2019; TC;U;UP
Baird's Sparrow - G.Lasley photo Vanderpool= x in spring; x once in W
Fox Sparrow - rare to very rare in winter; SR
Song Sparrow - occasional to uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP;LC
Lincoln's Sparrow - common migrant, scarce in winter, TC;UP
Swamp Sparrow - rare in fall or winter; UP;UR
White-throated Sparrow - occasional to rare, mostly in winter; TC;UP
Harris's Sparrow - accidental in winter; U; 3 locally winter 2015-16
White-crowned Sparrow - uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP
Dark-eyed Junco - uncommon locally fall to spring;SR;TC;U
    a)"Slate-colored" - uncommon in winter, most at seed stations: SR;TC;U
    the default type found here, most are Slate-col, brown fem./imm. regular.
   b)"Oregon" - rare but regular; TC; SR
   c)"Pink-sided" - rare but regular;SR; U
   d)"Gray-headed" x "Pink-sided" hybrid - accidental; (ph.) SR
Smith's Longspur - accidental; U (SR-ph.9/06/05); flock (8) Jan. 23, 2012 SR
Chestnut-collared Longspur - accidental in fall: calling flyovers; U;LM;SR;nr.UR

10 species of Cardinals, Buntings, and Grosbeaks, etc.
Northern Cardinal - common resident; TC;UP;U;N
Pyrrhuloxia - occasional to uncommon fall to winter; U;N
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - rare mostly spring migrant; TC;U;UP;(ph.)
Black-headed Grosbeak - rare mostly spring migrant; TC;LM;SR, x in fall
Blue Grosbeak - uncommon spring to fall; TC;UP;N
Lazuli Bunting - irregular uncommon to rare spring migrant; very rare in fall; UP;TC;U;LM
Indigo Bunting - uncommon spring to fall; TC;UP;N
Varied Bunting - very rare spring and summer, x in fall;UP;LM;SR
Painted Bunting - common late April to August; TC;UP;N
Dickcissel - common (if rain) to absent, spring to fall; TC;UP;LM;N

16 species of Icterids, 6 of orioles alone - 5 of which breed
There is an Oriole page in the birdphotos section with lots of info about and pictures of the orioles found locally.
Red-winged Blackbird - uncommon fall & spring, rare in winter; TC;UP;N
Eastern Meadowlark - becoming scarce fall to spring; very rare in summer;N?;U;UP
Western Meadowlark - common fall to spring; U:UP
Meadowlark sps. - TC;SR (fly-overs)
Yellow-headed Blackbird - occasional in spring, rare in fall; x in winter; U;SR;UP
Rusty Blackbird - rare but regular in winter; UP; SR
Brewer's Blackbird - common to uncommon fall to spring; TC;UP;
Common Grackle - uncommon spring & fall; a few breed locally; rare in winter TC;UP;N
Great-tailed Grackle - recently pair or two around town spring to fall; TC;UP;N
Bronzed Cowbird - uncommon spring to summer; rare in fall; TC;UP;N
Brown-headed Cowbird - over-abundant spring to summer, uncommon fall, rare winter; TC;UP;SR;N
Orchard Oriole - uncommon migrant, some nest (decreasing); UP;TC;U;N
Hooded Oriole - local, uncommon spring to fall; TC;U;SR;N;UP
Audubon's Oriole - hard to find low density resident; SR;TC;LM;UP;UR;N
Baltimore Oriole - uncommon migrant spring or fall; TC;UP;LM
Bullock's Oriole - occasional migrant, very scarce nester downvalley; TC;UP;N
Scott's Oriole - uncommon March to Sept., last early Oct.; SR; UP;TC;U;LM;N

Finches - 9 species - weewow!
Purple Finch - now very rare in winter, formerly regular; TC;LM
Cassin's Finch - accidental Nov. 07 (ph.); SR
House Finch - common resident; TC;UP;N
Red Crossbill - accidental at LM (presumed in winter); up to 24 Nov. 11 to late Dec. 2017 on W. 360
White-winged Crossbill - accidental Jan. 13, 2012 at SR - one female
   (likely same bird photo'd Nov. 2011 Rio Hondo on 470 in BanCo)
Pine Siskin - irregular numbers, uncommon fall and winter; TC;UP;LM; x in Aug/Sept once
Lesser (Black-backed) Goldfinch - common spring to fall, was absent in winter; TC;UP;N
    Since we got here in '03, this species has become a resident
    (as new wintering species) *as of about 2008, due to thistle socks
    with nyger seed being put out by folks. They don't winter un-aided.
American Goldfinch - uncommon to common mid-late Nov to April; TC;UP
Common Redpoll - accidental - one heard well and seen flying away S. of town Dec. 16, 2015
   *Near miss: Evening Grosbeak Dec. 11, 2004 Camp Wood (ph.)

I - House Sparrow - common in town or around barns; TC;UP;N;
If you see something in the area that is rare or even not on the list, please please let us know! :):) A link to our e-mail is below. Or leave message at eightthreeo - WON - 2349
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Following are additional series of progress notes, some recent, some older.

2021 new additions are Swainson's Warbler and White-rumped Sandpiper. 2020 brought a Black-bellied Plover on April 20, and on June 27 a Least Grebe. In 2019 Wood Thrush photo'd at UP Oct. 25 (was un-doc'd). New 2018 additions so far: Eared Grebe Jan. 2 at UP; Kiskadee was photographed Feb. 2-3, two Black Swift Apr. 26 S. of town, 2 Long-billed Dowitcher on May 4, (ph.). In 2017 Whimbrel and Least Bittern were added, so about 356 species now for the upper Sabinal River drainage (were already historical record for Red Crossbill locally at Lost Maples). In 2016 only Common Crow (1) was added. In 2015 Roadside Hawk in Jan.-Apr. plus a Common Redpoll in December makes about sps. 353 for the upper Sabinal River drainage, Lost Maples to Clayton Grade. As of September 2013 the area list is 348 or so species. As of Aug. 14 2011 the Utopia and vicinity total list is 340+ species, and my Utopia Park list is 226 (which exceeds TPWD's LM list total). As of Aug. 2009 the Utopia and vicinity list was 323.

Current update as of October 14, 2012: 345 is the total known upper Sabinal drainage (Utopia and vicinity) list. The Utopia Park list alone, maybe 5 acres, is now at 239 per one of my excel files. Which realistically means at least 250 species have been at the park in the last decade, probably 260.

Recent additions: Jan. 2013 I found out Morris Killough photo'd a Roseate Spoonbill at the north end of town (!) some years ago; it was in a flood pond and several locals saw it.  In other snooping of data I found a Wood Thrush was seen at Lost Maples May 15 '05, and a Sabine's Gull was photo'd near Lost Maples Sept. 4, 2012, for a first area record, and quite a remarkable one. So three newly discovered but prior or older reports add three species.

Added another species May 4, 2013 when I saw a Black Tern flying up valley (over yard!), #349, one more to go to a nice big fat even milestone of 350.  As an aside, May 1, 2013 the 10 White-faced Ibis at the park makes about 240 for Utopia Park now! Which exceeds the Lost Maples list of 30 years and hundreds of observers and thousands of hours.  Lost Maples is 2000 acres, Utopia Park about 5 for birding purposes.

We will call #350 for the Sabinal River Valley the TUNDRA SWAN that flew over low calling after dark on Dec. 3, 2014. There was low overcast and I could hear the wings, besides the unique call. We have also added to the list another older report, a sight record from Bill Barham of a Common Goldeneye a few years ago. So actually we're at 351 now, Clayton Grade to Lost Maples. WOW!

... and even more old notes...

I saw about 245 species of birds in the Sabinal River Valley, in the 19 months from Nov. 03 to May 05. 98% of it within 5 miles of Utopia. (Update: 11/05 now 255 in SRV in two years) Adding the 25 Lost Maples accidentals I haven't seen in the SRV yet, that equals a total list of over 280 species from the SRV. Significantly more than the 215 or so on the Lost Maples list, which has had "tons" of coverage by comparison, over the last 25 years. A couple "tanks" (farm or flood ponds) with water make the biggest difference in the lists - waterbirds. Ducks, herons and egrets, sandpipers, etc. (especially at the "South Little Creek ponds" (historic buffalo wallows) - WHEN they have water), are better represented in the valley, than in the canyons at Lost Maples SNA, of course.

The TC list (our first yard here) finished at 170 or so from within about an acre or so of 22, for 16 months. I left the original notes below, but added updates to show growth. WAS: The UP list (Utopia Pk.) is at about 155 for 18 months. Then: The UP list (Utopia Pk.) is at about 185 for 44 months. Dec. 2008 update: Long-billed Thrasher was #200 at UP for me! WAS: The SR (current yard) list is 150+ for the first Year. Then: The SR (current yard) list is 203+ for 27 months from one spot. UPDATE Sept. 09 a nocturnal calling migrant Marbled Godwit was #300 for the Sabinal River Valley (Utopia and vicinity) for me personally.
All photographs within this site are copyrighted
and may not be used without permission.
All Rights Reserved.
© M. and K. Heindel 2006-2020