|Ross's Goose (left) and Snow Goose (right)|
|Ross's and Snow Goose|
On Saturday morning I got up early and went and birded around the ponds. I finished the day with 10 species of waterfowl, the best of which was three drake Cinnamon Teal. Also the same Long-billed Dowitchers were still there.
As I continued to walk around the ponds, I saw numerous Gadwall and Wigeon, as well as Swamp and Lincoln's Sparrows, and a flock of Lark Buntings.
Then I saw an odd bird, in the grove of large Pecan trees near the houses. It looked almost crow-like as it flew over the trees, but landed like a woodpecker. I knew what it was right then: LEWIS'S WOODPECKER. Lewis's Woodpeckers are rare in Texas, and often none are seen for several years. I immediately snapped some poor pictures (terrible lighting, Saturday was very overcast) but ended up watching him forage for an hour. It was then when a second Lewis's Woodpecker flew into the tree, and began eating pecans too. They both playfully took turns chasing each other around the pecan grove for the better part of an hour.
I continued walking around the ponds, riding high from my big find, when I spooked a big flock of of Red-winged Blackbirds that were sitting up in a small pecan tree. One bird remained however, and I put my bins on it. To my surprise, it was a RUSTY BLACKBIRD, another very rare bird for the region. It allowed me to get very close, so I could snap some good pictures!
After working the ponds well, I walk a small stretch of the road into the scrubby juniper desert around the ponds. I found a good number of sparrows, including Canyon Towhee, Black-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, plus Brewer's Sparrows and a Green-tailed Towhee, both state birds for me. Cactus Wrens were also out in good numbers.
As I worked my way back to the house, I came across a Vermillion Flycatcher and Golden-fronted Woodpecker.
It began to go get dark, so I went inside, ate dinner and played some Minecraft. Very good day!
I woke up again sunday morning, to a bright beautiful sunny day. Yes! I can get good shots of the Lewis's Woodpecker!! I spent the better half of three hours watching and photographing the Lewis's Woodpeckers, as they ate pecans and chased each other around. Here are my best shots:
I was also able to relocate the Rusty Blackbird, and add Verdin, Wild Turkey, Phainopepla and Ruddy Duck to my trip list. I then spent my last minutes with my friends the Lewis's (Woodpeckers that is) and then loaded up into the car and headed back to Austin. What a great trip! Here is the full trip list!