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Birding with Jack

Thank you, Jack Chiles,

for the photos below.

March 2: Bird Census Results

Today was a beautiful March day for our census, with clear skies and little wind. Surprisingly there are about 3500 white geese still present. There is some new growth on the wheat and they have been feeding in the fields near Wildlife Drive. The male Cinnamon Teal is still present and was feeding in Mineral Marsh near the dike. The lake level continues to drop and there are now lots of exposed sandbars and mudflats. Shorebirds that we were able to locate today included, Long-billed Dowitchers, Dunlins, American Golden-Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers and many Killdeer. We saw the newest pair of Bald Eagles, that includes one with immature plumage, soaring over the road to Sandy Point. Once again we were not able to locate any Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebes or Yellow-rumped Warblers adding to our concerns of the mortality rate of certain species especially insect feeders from the recent severe cold.. We saw 21 hawks today. The Red-headed Woodpecker that hangs out at Deaver Pond was present today. We saw several hundred ducks today. We finished the day with 70 species which is pretty good for early March.

Immature Bald Eagle

Male Spotted Towhee

Fox Sparrow

Western Meadowlark

March 6:  

There were at least 10 Cinnamon Teal at the refuge, plus this Hybrid Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal. It is a beautiful day. Enjoy.

March 9:  Bird Census Results

Today’s Census was pretty uneventful. Lake level is still below normal and there are lots of sandbars and mudflats.Somewhat encouraging was the return of some species that had not been seen since the big chill. We saw a couple of Eastern Phoebes, 7 Eastern Bluebirds and 7 Yellow-rumped Warblers. It was very windy today and birds were staying low which accounted for a very low number of Sparrow sightings. About 350 white geese were still present, the majority of which were Ross’s Geese. Duck numbers were pretty good and we counted 8 Cinnamon Teals in Mineral Marsh. We did see a Barred Owl. We saw a couple of Rough-winged Swallows at Dead Woman Pond. We finished the day with 74 species.

Hybrid Cinnamon Teal x Blue-winged Teal

Red Shouldered Hawk

March 16:  Bird Census Results

Today was a pleasant day with not much wind. The change in season is evident and shorebird numbers were very good. Shorebirds counted were, 55 American Golden-Plover, 110 Killdeer, 2 Dunlin, 2 Baird's Sandpiper, 63 Least Sandpiper, 39 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Western Sandpiper, 105 Long-billed Dowitcher, 13 Wilson's Snipe, 71 Greater Yellowlegs and 19 Lesser Yellowlegs. Lake level is still down and there are lots of mudflats and sandbars. We saw a total of 3 Bald Eagles. Eastern Phoebe numbers were up with 8 sighted. We only saw one Eastern Bluebird. At least 7 Cinnamon Teal are still present, most of which were in Mineral Marsh. Duck numbers are still good with 377 Gadwall, 83 Blue-winged Teal, 92 Northern Shovelers, 74 Green-winged Teal, 4 Wood Ducks and several other species. We saw 6 Woodpecker Species. We finished the day with 79 Species. Today's photo is a Logger-head Shrike. This mockingbird sized species captures insects, small rodents and small birds and likes to impale them on barbed wire fences or thorn bushes and come back later and retrieve them.

Logger-head Shrike

March 23: Bird Census Results

The morning started out cool with a southwesterly wind picking up later in the morning making it feel even cooler. There appears to be only 6 white geese still present, those being Snow Geese. We found a good number of shorebird species early on but the majority of them seemed to have moved on later in the day as well as a flock of American White Pelicans that were present early on. A good number of ducks are still present but their numbers are also down from last week's totals. We did see 6 Wood Ducks and a couple of hundred Gadwall along with other species including 2 Cinnamon Teal. A couple of Great Egrets have returned along with a couple of first of season Cattle Egrets. We heard 3 White-eyed Vireos singing on the road to Meadow Pond. We got into a large group of White-crowned Sparrows on the way to the Goode area. We did see a lone Lincoln's Sparrow so they will probably be more plentiful in the coming days. We finished the day with 77 species. Today's photo is a Field Sparrow. They are present in the winter time at the refuge and a few nest here and the rest go farther north to nest. They can be confused with the immature White-crowned Sparrow but the Field Sparrow has a prominent light eye-ring.

Field Sparrow

March 30: Bird Census Results

It was a cool, breezy, mostly cloudy morning for our census. Bird numbers were low today but we did have some exciting sightings including a Crested Caracara near the north low water crossing and a Merlin cruising over the marshes by the road to Plover pad. The Merlin finally sat on a dike and gave us good views. We saw one female Yellow-headed Blackbird near the end of Plover. Shorebird species were few and we did not see a single Killdeer, but we did find a total of 110 Long-billed Dowitchers. Duck numbers continue to decrease but there were still 3 Cinnamon Teal present along with 120 Blue-winged Teal, 46 Northern Shovelers, 77 Gadwalls,10 American Wigeons, 3 Mallards, 5 Northern Pintails, 8 Green-winged Teal and a Redhead. Snowy Egrets have returned in good numbers and we saw our first of season 3 Little Blue Herons. We had a flyby Pileated Woodpecker on the road to Sandy. We saw 4 first of season Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. We had a total of 42 Pine Siskins for the day. Sparrow numbers were low today. We finished the day with 77 species. Today's photos, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Crested Caracara and Merlin.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Crested Caracara


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Sherman, TX 75092

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