Master Naturalist Jack Chiles,
Mike Petrick and Dr. Wayne Meyer
Each Tuesday a team of experienced birders, including Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, traverse 35 miles of refuge roads and hiking trails, documenting every bird they encounter. This Bird Census is reported to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use in research, and each week we will bring you a link to their actual bird count, and a summary of their adventures.
Thank you, Bird Census Team!
**Point to bird images for full screen view**
Aug 31: Bird Census ResultsIt felt very much like midsummer today but the marshes were very active with lots of egrets and herons feeding and a good mixture of shorebirds. Some Purple Martins are still hanging around at the end of the pad between Tern and Egret. There have been large numbers of Purple Martins gathering up here in preparation of their migration south. We saw an early season male American Kestrel on the west end of Short Road. We found a couple of Yellow Warblers on Plover Pad. There are lots of Blue-winged Teal hanging out in Mineral Marsh. In the wooded areas on the road to Meadow Pond we saw several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and quite a few Indigo Buntings and 1 Painted Bunting. We finished the day with 57 species. Today's photo is a White-faced Ibis showing off its Iridescent plumage.
Aug 24: Bird Census ResultsPasserines were hard to find today but it was a great day for herons and egrets. We had a total of 220 Great Egrets, most of which were in Mineral Marsh early in the morning. Totals of others included, 163 Snowy Egrets, 14 Great Blue Herons, 37 Little Blue Herons, 2 Tricolored Herons, 2 Green Herons, 14 Great Blue Herons, 43 Cattle Egrets and a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron which we watched finish off a large Crayfish. There was a Wood Stork hanging around most of the morning in the pool by the Martin Branch bridge. It was feeding on small fish. We got a brief look at an Anhinga on our way back from Meadow Pond which flew out of a tree at Deaver Pond. The Short-billed Dowitchers are still hanging around near the mudflats in Silliman Marsh. We had 15 species of shorebirds but none in large numbers. Nothing like Sunday when we were honored by the visit of a very rare Curlew Sandpiper which was first observed around 10 a.m. and stayed all day feeding on the mudflat in Silliman Marsh. This is only the 13th verified sighting of this Eurasian Species in Texas, which is rarely sighted on the both coasts of the USA. Visitors came from near and far to see the bird which was a life species for most, but unfortunately it did not hang around for the crowd that showed up Monday to see it. There was still a large number of Purple Martins at the end of Tern. They are grouping up for migration. We finished the day with 56 species. Photos, Wood Stork, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Curlew Sandpiper accompanied by Western Sandpiper.
Aug 17: Bird Census Results
Aug 10: Bird Census ResultsIt was a good day for shorebirds with a total of 16 shorebird species, including a rare Piping Plover, 4 Short-billed Dowitchers,6 Semi-palmated Plovers and a Buff=breasted Sandpiper. Egrets and herons were numerous with a total of 95 Snowy Egrets, 49 Great Egrets, 24 Little Blue Herons,6 Green Herons, 8 Great Blue Herons, 2 Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and 65 Cattle Egrets. We saw 1 immature White Ibis and 24 White-faced Ibis. There was one group of 20 Blue-winged Teal. We only saw one warbler, a Yellow Warbler. 3 Barn Owls are still in the box in the maintenance shed. We finished the day with 68 species. Photo is a preening White-faced Ibis showing off its iridescent plumage.
Aug 03: Bird Census ResultsThe really good news of the day is that Wildlife Drive is now open. Bennett Lane, west of the Big Mineral Picnic area is still closed but hopefully will be open soon. Being able to go down Wildlife Drive was great and resulted in finding 13 species of shorebirds, including Western Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpipers, a Stilt Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Semi-palmated Sandpipers, a Semi-palmated Plover, Least Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer. We also had a couple of fly over Upland Sandpipers. In a wet area near Silliman Road we saw a mature White Ibis. There is an abundance of egrets and herons. We came upon 3 Greater Roadrunners standing in the road which is a bit unusual. There were still 4 Barn Owls in the nest box in the maintenance shed. There was a late season singing Bell's Vireo on Wright Road. We finished the day with 63 species. Photo is of the 3 Greater Roadrunners we saw in the road today.
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