Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Richardson, Texas

Its been very eventful and very busy last few weeks. I moved to Richardson, Texas  from California. My family also joined me here. I have been away from them for about 5 months now and staying away from our young boy had been very tough. I came to Richardson on Oct 1'st and my family joined on Oct 10'th. My son looks all grown up now. When I came to US he was barely able to sit and now he can stand all by himself.

The place where I stay is a very good residential area where there is no much noise and you don't see lot of vehicles moving around. So essentially a very good Birding spot :-) The whole layout is planned very nicely with lot of trees and shrubs. You will notice birds all around the residential layout. I never got a chance to do birding till last week. But I always kept observing the ones I could see along my way to office. The common birds that I can see are House Sparrows, Northern Mocking bird, Blue Jay, European Starlings and Northern Cardinal. Occasionally I have seen a hawk fly by.

The office is also very close to my home, about 10min walk. There is a small pond near our office which is frequented by Mallards and occasionally Canadian Geese. I do keep seeing the Spotted Towhee and other small birds.

This week I decided to do a quick 30 min of birding near our layout. The first bird that was waiting to be photographed was a Northern Cardinal. He was enjoying his morning time. I just saw the male, there was no female nearby. Very Brightly colored beautiful bird.  Then saw the Northern mocking bird which made a brief pit stop before flying away. I see the mocking birds here are a little more tolerant to humans when compared to the ones I saw in San Jose. They allow you to get very close here.

Northern Cardinal

Then I saw a group of purple finches visit a near by tree. They spent some good time there before flying away. Very cute little birds. I also saw a woodpecker make brief visit before flying away. I could not get a very good look at it. I was hoping to see him again very soon which happened immediately after sometime.

Blue jay

The woodpecker was an adult male Downey Woodpecker. This is the smallest woodpecker species found in North America. I saw a lone bird foraging on the trees near the fire station. When photographing this fellow I saw another bird which came and perched on a nearby tree. It turned out to be a Northern flicker. This was a different sub species than the one I saw in San Jose. This is called as Yellow shafted flicker. I thought both were of different species but read on a wiki that they do belong to the same species and there are cases reported where the western flickers are seen mating with Yellow shafted flickers. Another interesting sighting for the day.

Purple Finch

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker(Yellow shafted)

I also saw another beautiful bird called Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. I did not see any prominent ruby coloring on the bird but the wingbars and the overall color were the give aways to identify it as Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. Another cute bird which could be seen very frequently in our apartment area and the cisco office here.

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Then I got some time to spend with a very co-operative Mocking bird. He wanted his portraits to be taken which I obliged :-)

Northern Mockingbird

Yesterday after coming out of office, me and my colleague were walking towards home. And I heard a commotion where a Blue jay was trying to shoo away another bird. I was shocked to see a Sharp shinned hawk which was feasting on a bird which looked like the size of a sparrow. First time I was seeing a raptor feasting on a bird. We stood there for a brief while trying to get a photo from my mobile camera. I could not get any decent photograph. But just the experience was thrilling. There was this Blue Jay which kept harassing this hawk.

After I came home I saw another surprise visitor. It was a wren it was different than the one I saw in San Jose. It was on my house fence gave a brief appearance before flying away. And then I started hearing this beautiful song outside and I knew it was from the Wren. They have beautiful songs. I came out of my house with the camera in search of the bird. And thankfully it was foraging near our neighbors house. Got couple of photos before he flew away.

Carolina Wren

Saw the Sharp Shinned Hawk again today. I should probably carry my SLR to office everyday :-) I also saw American robins in a large group today. I have always seen them solo. But since it was evening I guess all of them were heading to their roosting spot before making a brief pit stop in our apartment.

Thank to one of my Birding friends from San Jose Audobon society Vivek for helping me with the bird Id's. learnt a great deal about American birds from him from my last birding walk with the Audobon group.