מאי 09, 2020

Big Day

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

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

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

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

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

פורסם ב מאי 09, 2020 07:37 אחה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 15 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 14, 2020

What to do during a pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

פורסם ב מרץ 14, 2020 07:58 אחה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 54 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 05, 2020

Wild Weather

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

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

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

פורסם ב מרץ 05, 2020 04:32 לפנה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 4 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 15, 2019

Bell County Christmas Bird Count

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

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

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

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

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

Hope everyone has a great time over the holidays!

CBC: eBird # 562298873 https://ebird.org/checklist/S62298873
https://walkinthepark-padimus.blogspot.com/2019/12/how-did-they-know-to-show-counting-birds.html

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

פורסם ב דצמבר 15, 2019 08:12 אחה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 18 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

יולי 03, 2019

Firsts! First Bird Banding and...

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

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

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

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

פורסם ב יולי 03, 2019 01:16 לפנה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 7 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מאי 06, 2019

Berry Springs Revisit

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

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

Here's the tally:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

פורסם ב מאי 06, 2019 02:07 אחה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 17 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מאי 05, 2019

Big Day

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

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

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

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

Okay. Time to get going.

פורסם ב מאי 05, 2019 11:37 אחה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 6 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 30, 2019

Evening on the Prairie

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

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

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

The mosquitoes chased us inside.

פורסם ב אפריל 30, 2019 05:29 לפנה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 21 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 06, 2019

Drafted to Lead a Hike - At MY Park - No Problem [Mini-Blitz at Berry Springs]

I received a "last minute" request (Cub Scouts) to lead a hike at Berry Springs. It's supposed to be tomorrow. So I began my preparation. Mike, Zelda, and I headed to the BSP this morning to "take the hike" and see what we could see. I didn't make this "method" up. I learned this from my mother when I was grown and commenting on how I was always so impressed that she knew all the wildflowers when she took us for a hike (Girl Scouts). "Well, I always went out the day before and identified everything I could so I would be ready for the hike," she confessed. Wow! Of course she did. And I have followed suit.

But with Berry Springs it always seems that a weather front of some kind arrives between the reconnaissance and the actual hike - every single time. We are expecting some wild weather - rain, thunderstorms, hail, maybe tornadoes, and more rain.

I'm in pretty close communication with the scout leader and suggested that we could always meet somewhere with a big table - library, restaurant, whatever - and I could share the information the scouts need for their badge/arrow points and maybe give them a virtual hike.

So, These observations are duplicative - some of my last trip to BSP. But I am keeping them together for the purposes of this hike and hikes to come. After this weekend I will have 1) Early Spring virtual hike in the can (on a thumb drive), 2) the start of a wildflower/bird/insect guide for this park for Spring, 3) the start of an Invasive Species at BSP and what we are doing about them, and 4) Why I am a master naturalist, what that means, and what we do.

This is what happens when you say "Yes!" Always say "YES!"

[And we saw a number of new things (to us) and "firsts" for some of us. It's always a good day for a hike.]

פורסם ב אפריל 06, 2019 02:56 לפנה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 74 תצפיות | 2 comments | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 26, 2019

5001 Posts - Here's to the next 5000

Five thousand may not sound like a lot to some people, but it is to me.

I cannot believe how much I have learned (and continue to learn) since I joined iNaturalist in Fall 2016. [Yes, I have older observations because I am a photo hoarder and put in some old favorites when I had locations and dates.] And I put in one from the 1950s where I knew the river and the general time-frame. It is close enough. I never expected all of my observations to be research grade.

My thanks to all the curators and other experts who are generous with their time and knowledge. I am sure it would be easy to grow impatient with some of us.

This "hobby" has changed my life. It makes me a better naturalist and gives me a great deal of peace and joy. Just this morning a mother with her young son and I shared information while walking in one of my favorite parks. They have a Great Blue Heron that visits the creek near their house so the munchkin recognizes them. I pointed out the Red-shouldered Hawk on its nest.

On Saturday I was fortunate to share another park with some Junior Master Naturalists as they performed their service project for the year (pond cleaning). I was able to give each of those who wanted one a "bird break where they were able to observe a Yellow-crowned Night Heron on a back pond.

It doesn't get any better than this!

פורסם ב מרץ 26, 2019 12:23 לפנה"צ על־ידי alflinn329 alflinn329 | 1 comment | הוספת תגובה