Saturday, March 13, 2010

Great Horned Owl with Striped Skunk

One thing I forgot to mention from the 11th was seeing a large bird in on the limb of a large pecan tree as I was driving down near Ganado/ Lk. Texana. This was broad daylight. I turned around to see a Great-horned Owl with most of the remains of a dead Striped Skunk in it's grasp. It was a big item even for the owl. I have no way of knowing if the owl actually caught the skunk or scavenged it off a road.....Still it was an impressive thing to see..


Bird changes March 10-13...Bye-bye Winter

There is an old saying in Texas that winter is not over until you see the Mesquite budding. Well if that is thecase we have seen the last of old man frost as I actually had two budding Mesquite AND the buckeye is budding to bloom (the Redbud is already in full bloom).

Lot of driving and a few surveys past few days. Picked-up about 200 cowbirds. Not a great deal to report. The survey stuff , not the driving, is the fun part now there are many hours of data going back into Feb. to input. Not fun but that is work.
Galveston Co. highlight.....A male Ladder-backed Woodpecker on March 11 as well as Swallow-tailed Kite not far north of Lake Jackson on 35 that evening. My first of the year. My last visit to the same area on Feb 28 produced 21 EAPHs, on the 10th there was only one on the same route. They have moved on. Gosh that is ugly country down there on the coast after Ike killed all the trees....I have no interest in seeing the High Island area for quite a while.......
Lots of Swallows coming in. In fact today I was was in Webberville and a BARS was already investigating a nest site that has a couple of nests every year. Heard a Black-and-white in the yard this morning.

Made what I thought would be a 10 min. visit to Big Webberville around 9:45 only to find the gate locked ?? That never happens and there were 2 big passenger vans and a car full of UT Bio/Birding students at the gate waiting to get in. Maybe about 30. I ask them if they knew why the gates were locked and they had no clue. Asked them if they were there to see the eagles and that was a jolt for them . They had no clue about the eagles so all got very excited and of course had to see that.... I decided to chance, it so we all just parked off the road outside the gate and walked in across the soccer fields, showing them the GHOW pair along the way. Finally showed them the eagle nest with an eagle on it and of course it was a major hit for them, it just floored a couple of young ladies. I did not want to take over the instructor's trip so sort of hung back after that to let them do their thing as I mainly wanted to see if maybe the Hairy Woodpeckers were still around. I did not find them and was about to leave when I ran into Ed Fair who was there to look for the HAWOs too, but while I was with him we had no luck. However I did show him the eagle nest which provided him with a new Travis Co. bird.

Came back home to find a Black-chinned Hummingbird in the yard. A rare bird this far east in the spring. Sandhill Cranes have been coming over in numbers. A Field Sparrow is singing and the Titmice are busy nest building in the box I put up for bluebirds. A big Southwest music thing in Austin this w/e seems to have the roads extra crowded and the park, once it finally did open, soon had far more than the normal numbers of people. All of the E. Phoebes are gone from here too. Expecting a Prothon or YTWA any day/moment but have no plans to go searching until maybe some weekday morning.

In the butterfly department , had two Tiger (?) Swallow-tails and 1 Falcated Orange-tip this morn. Maybe I will have a short nap before I start that data after all.