We took a quick trip out to west Texas (El Paso area) a little over a week ago. I went back to the same parks as last year, including Franklin Mountain State Park. This park has some great hiking trails (the mountain bike trails looked like a blast too). I spent some time observing birds from the bird blind they have set up near a nature trail. They have a water source, which attracts a lot of birds and feeders, which attract even more birds and even a few critters.
It's always fun to bird away from your regular area and catch up with different species. The Curve-billed Thrasher was definitely one of my favorites. Check out that bill!
White-winged Doves aren't too exciting, but they are pretty.
I saw my first Lesser Goldfinch, a species not found in the sunshine state.
I wish all sparrows were as easy to identify as the Black-throated Sparrow! There were hundreds of sparrows at Hueco Tanks this year, some of which I wasn't too sure about.
This was also my first sighting of a Spotted Towhee. This was the most skittish species of all that were visiting the waterhole. It made a brief appearance for a quick, refreshing drink.
A cute little Texas Antelope Squirrel!
I have a good little helper who likes carrying my camera bag (while I carry the camera). He is funny...when he spots a bird on a hike, he usually tells me "Mom, there's one of your birds".
He also celebrated another birthday...Happy 4th to my mini-birder! Time goes by way too fast!
Here are a few of the encounters I've had over the past two weeks at my favorite local places...the Viera Wetlands, the "Click" Ponds, and the Scrub Jay Sanctuary...and a couple from around town! I'm happy I can usually swing by the wetlands and ponds at least once or twice a week, although some trips are tightly squeezed in (but better than no trip at all).
Gray Catbirds are relatively easy to find at the ponds right now as they have quite the unmistakable call! Well, I guess one could mistake it for a crying hungry kitten.
Yellow-rumped Warblers fill the trees as they attempt to gobble up any berries that the ravenous robins have missed.
Yes, it's that time of year when the robins come by and clean house!
I saw (barely) my first American Pipit at the Click Ponds...good thing I gave the mud a second look; the Pipit was very well camouflaged!
Lots of high energy Blue-gray Gnatcatchers around...I fluttered around in similar fashion when I've had too much coffee.
There are hundreds on Tree Swallows flying over the ponds; this one was the only one I saw taking a rest.
The Great Blues are still nesting. I have only see one nest (of the 5-6 I've seen) have a single chick hatch.
I love the breeding plumage of the Great Egret; it leaves those around it feeling green with envy.
Who can resist the cuteness of a juvenile Wood Stork!
A flock of gulls and terns has been hanging around the wetlands. There are several dozen Bonaparte's gulls, Ring-billed gulls, and Caspian and Forster's terns.
Osprey nesting season has also started. I look forward to keeping an eye on all nests near my house.
I saw these Least Sandpipers foraging along the edge of a little pond near a bike trail where my son likes to ride his bike.
I headed out one very foggy morning for a quick hike at the scrub sanctuary.
The thick, dense air didn't seem to bother the jays as they dug in the sand for acorns.
The fog quickly started to give way to greater visibility and I saw this white rainbow/fogbow.