Thursday, August 18, 2011

Texas Birds

Northern Mockingbird, Texas; 6/22/2011.
On our way back to Illinois, we stopped for a two day visit to my sister and brother-in-law's property in northeast Texas. I was hoping to have a chance to see some birds that don't travel as far north as Northern Illinois. One of the birds that I was most hoping to see was the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher which can be found only in the south central states. My relatives' property consisted of thirty acres in the rural area with woods and a pond, so it was ideal for birding. As a matter of fact,  identified 34-35 species on their property, seven of which were new Life Listers for me. So needless to say, I was quite happy. One of my favorite poses of a bird for the summer, was a Northern Mockingbird (Above) sitting on a fence post surrounded by morning glories. Mockingbirds were common visitors on their property (Below).
Another Northern Mockingbird, Texas; 6/22/2011.

A dive-bombing Barn Swallow putting on an aerobatic display (barnstorming?), Texas; 6/22/2011

A Barn Swallow doing its "Batman" impression as it begins it's swoop down on the other perched swallows,, Texas; 6/22/2011

Another common bird on the land were barn Swallows (Above). I caught a small kettle of Barn Swallows playing some sort of game. They were all sitting on a telephone wire and would take turns flying up in the air and attacking one of its friends sitting on the wire trying to scare them off its perch. If it succeeded in chasing the perched bird off the wire, then it would take its place on the wire and the swallow chased off then would attack another bird perched on the wire. This went on for some minutes. The mourning was very gray so I didn't have good light to capture their antics, but their silhouettes (Above) tell the story. I love the Barn Swallow as it makes for a great silhouette, with its forked tail with an open line of holes.

Unknown Bird (female Great-tailed Grackle?), Texas; 6/22/2011.

Another female Great-tailed Grackle?  Texas; 6/22/2011.
The birds (Above two pics - taken at different times of the day and in different locations - still could be the same bird) I initially thought were female Great-tailed Grackles as their coloring looked right, but its tail looks too short. So for now I labelled them "unknown" but except for a female Great-Tail, I am not sure what else it could be.

A misty mourning in Texas; 6/23/2011.
Land List of birds identified on my sister's property: Northern Mockingbirds, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Eastern Bluebirds*, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Meadowlarks, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Tufted Titmice, Lark Sparrow, Barn Swallows, Killdeer, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatches, Eastern Wood eewees, American Crows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds*, Mourning Doves, Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker, Dickcissal, Great-tailed Grackle (?) ...
Flyovers: Great Blue Heron, Reddish Egret, Turkey Vultures, Green Heron, Mallard Ducks (Even though there was a good-sized pond, none of the water birds landed on it).
Heard, but not seen: Chuck-Will's Widow, White-winged Dove.
Birds added to my Life List: Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadees,  Scissor-tailed Flycatchers*, Summer Tanager*, Mississippi Kite*, Hairy Woodpecker*, Yellow-billed Cuckoo*.

* Birds whose photos will be featured within the next few posts.

Below are some more Photos of some of the above-mentioned birds...
Red-bellied Wood Pecker,Texas; 6/23/2011.

Tufted Titmouse, Texas; 6/22/2011.

Blue Jay, Texas; 6/22/2011.

Eastern Meadowlark, Texas; 6/22/2011.

Box Turtle, Texas; 6/22/2011.
My sister's acreage was quite a good bird sanctuary consisting of grassland, deciduous forest, and a large pond (or small lake) - altogether creating a  habitat for a variety of birds.

Sunset of the Day
Val took this fantastic misty mourning sunrise in Bauman Park, Cherry Valley, IL;  11/3/2007.

1 comment:

~Val said...

I love love love that top shot!!!