Monday, January 11, 2016

First visit of the year to White Rock Lake

During my last meeting with Chuck Carlson he mentioned about the bird walks lead by Chris Runk at White Rock Lake fish hatchery area and he mentioned it would be a good walk to learn lot about the birds. The walk starts at around 7:30AM. The weather was pretty chilly and with wind too. It was challenge to bird near the Dam area because of the wind. We saw lot of Gulls and cormorants near the dam and huge batch of Bonaparte's gull flew by. It was my first sighting of this bird and size difference between Ring-billed and Bonaparte's was very obvious to the naked eye.

We saw lot of birds in the wooded area which include Woodpeckers, Flickers and sparrows. We also saw Wood ducks, Mallards and Shovelers in the wooded area. We came back to the dam after the sun was out and this time we saw lot of birds near the trees. We got very good looks of Golden-crowned Kinglet and ruby-crowned kinglets. We also saw Yellow-rumped warblers and orange-crowned warbler. We also saw a lone Sapsucker.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Northern Shoveler
After this me and Chuck went to TD hills area at White Rock lake to see the birds around. We saw Mallards, Coots and Shovelers here. But the highlight was seeing the number of Black-crowned night herons. We saw atleast 5 juveniles and atleast a dozen adult herons. I also saw few yellow-rumped warblers, field sparrow and monk parakeets here. Also saw both Neotropic and Double-crested cormorants. A very good place to observe the difference in these 2 cormorants. We also saw a lone Red-shouldered hawk and I saw crows chasing another Red-shouldered hawk here.

Northern Shoveler

Shoveler Beak pose

Double-crested Cormorant

Black-crowned Night Heron

Neotropic Cormorant

American Coot

Ring-billed Gull

White-winged Dove

Dark-eyed Junco

Song Sparrow?

Field Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warble.
After this I decided to head towards the sunset bay area to try my luck with Buffleheads. Enroute on the lake I saw lot of Ruddy ducks. They had congregated at at 3 places and in total they were about 50 birds and all of them were kin of sleeping with the necks tucked inside :-). Really liked the way their tail feathers show up :-) Reached the sunset bay area and all I saw were Gulls, Coots and Mallards. There were lot of Cormorants on the lake too. Then I saw lone female Bufflehead and when I was trying to photograph it I saw all the cormorants took to air. And when we tried to see the reason for all this commotion I saw a big bird flying over this group and immediately took a photograph and looking at the bird I thought it had to be an eagle and when I reviewed the photo it was clear that it was a Bald Eagle, my first sighting of this bird:-) I had been waiting to see this bird for a long time. After this I headed back home with Bald Eagle flight running through my mind.

Rudy Duck

American Kestrel


Bald Eagle

Northern Mockingbird
Ebird lists for the day.

WRL Fish Hatchery area :
TD Hills area :
Sunset Bay area :

Birds seen during the day.

1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3 Wood Duck
4 White-winged Dove
5 White-throated Sparrow
6 Tufted Titmouse
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
8 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
9 Ring-billed Gull
10 Red-winged Blackbird
11 Red-shouldered Hawk
12 Red-shouldered Hawk
13 Red-bellied Woodpecker
14 Pied-billed Grebe
15 Pied-billed Grebe
16 Orange-crowned Warbler
17 Northern Shoveler
18 Northern Mockingbird
19 Northern Flicker
20 Northern Cardinal
21 Neotropic Cormorant
22 Mourning Dove
23 Monk Parakeet
24 Mallard
25 Herring Gull
26 Hermit Thrush
27 Great Egret
28 Great Blue Heron
29 Golden-crowned Kinglet
30 Field Sparrow
31 European Starling
32 Eastern Phoebe
33 Eastern Bluebird
34 Downy Woodpecker
35 Double-crested Cormorant
36 Dark-eyed Junco
37 cormorant sp.
38 Carolina Chickadee
39 Bufflehead
40 Bonaparte's Gull
41 Blue Jay
42 Black-crowned Night-Heron
43 Black Vulture
44 Bald Eagle
45 American White Pelican
46 American Robin
47 American Kestrel
48 American Crow
49 American Coot

Audobon Trinity CBC

Trinity River is the longest lake in Texas which has its origins from North of Dallas. And we have Audobon Trinity Center here is south of Dallas which has great birding spots. Somehow never managed to go down there for any birding till now. But when I saw there would be a Christmas Bird Count, I thought it would be a good idea to join and explore the spots around the area. Thankfully I made it to the CBC on Jan 2'nd.

I decided to join for owling which started at around 6AM and we did walk for sometime but had no luck sighting any owls. Owling finished by 7AM and we started out to see the regular birds around 7:30AM. I joined Melissa and others and two other teams took a different part of the area. We managed to see about 70 species on the day. But at the end of the day the total count from all three teams put together was around 140 species.

We did see some good birds on the day. We started of at a park where we saw lot of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Meadowlarks and few Sparrows. There were lot of Ring-billed Gulls. We also saw few Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a lone Hermit Thrush. In our next stop we saw lot of sparrows which included Fox sparrow, Harris, Lincoln's and Field sparrows. we also a Ruby-crowned kinglet which was flashing its red crown. Also lot of Yellow-rumped Warblers were seen. Also we had some flyby Canada Geese and Pelicans.

Fox Sparrow


Hermit Thrush
Downy Woodpecker
Lincoln Sparrow

Harris Sparrow

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Next we stopped at a lake which had lot of waterfowl which included Coots, Mallards, Shoveler and lot of Ring-necked Ducks. We also saw few Canada Geese in the lake. We also went to another park where we saw a Pileated Woodpecker flyby, I missed to take a photograph of the same. The other interesting bird of the day was a Great Roadrunner and this time I got better photos than the one I got from Hagerman.

Canada Geese

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup


White-throated Sparrow

Harris Sparrow

Greater Roadrunner

After lunch we went a Rescue Center where we saw lot of bird acitivity. In the captivity we did see some bird which cannot be taken into consideration for CBC but we did see lot of birds outside. We saw lot of Goldfinches, chipping Sparrows, Harris Sparrows and Lincoln Sparrows. We also saw few Collared Doves and interesting sighting was 3 Inca Doves. Atlast managed to get photos of these birds here. We ended the day with a Northern Harrier.

House Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Filed Sparrow

Eastern Bluebird

Chipping Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Fox Sparrow
Lincoln Sparrow

Cedar Waxwing

Eurasian Collared-dove

Chipping Sparrow

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Inca Dove

Savannah Sparrow

Northern Harrier

Below is the ebird list I prepared for the day.

1 Canada Goose
2 Gadwall
3 American Wigeon
4 Mallard
5 Blue-winged Teal
6 Northern Shoveler
7 Northern Pintail
8 Green-winged Teal
9 Canvasback
10 Ring-necked Duck
11 Lesser Scaup
12 Pied-billed Grebe
13 Double-crested Cormorant
14 American White Pelican
15 Great Blue Heron
16 Black Vulture
17 Turkey Vulture
18 Northern Harrier
19 Red-shouldered Hawk
20 Red-tailed Hawk
21 American Coot
22 Killdeer
23 Ring-billed Gull
24 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
25 Eurasian Collared-Dove
26 Inca Dove
27 White-winged Dove
28 Mourning Dove
29 Greater Roadrunner
30 Red-bellied Woodpecker
31 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
32 Downy Woodpecker
33 Northern Flicker
34 Pileated Woodpecker
35 American Kestrel
36 Eastern Phoebe
37 Blue Jay
38 American Crow
39 Carolina Chickadee
40 Tufted Titmouse
41 Golden-crowned Kinglet
42 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
43 Eastern Bluebird
44 Hermit Thrush
45 American Robin
46 Northern Mockingbird
47 European Starling
48 Cedar Waxwing
49 Yellow-rumped Warbler
50 Chipping Sparrow
51 Field Sparrow
52 Fox Sparrow
53 Dark-eyed Junco
54 White-crowned Sparrow
55 Harris's Sparrow
56 White-throated Sparrow
57 Vesper Sparrow
58 Savannah Sparrow
59 Song Sparrow
60 Lincoln's Sparrow
61 Northern Cardinal
62 Red-winged Blackbird
63 Western/Eastern Meadowlark
64 Great-tailed Grackle
65 Brown-headed Cowbird
66 American Goldfinch
67 House Sparrow