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Birding with Jack

Master Naturalist Jack Chiles,

Master Naturalist 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!

**Turn Phone sideways prior to image enlargment!  Point to bird images for full screen view**

October, 2022

Oct 18: Bird Census Results

A norther had blown in and there was a chill in the air. It was apparent as we ventured down Wildlife Drive because many of the ducks that had come in the last few days had left. At the end of Plover Pad there was a large flock of at least 1500 Franklin's Gulls. There was also a small flock of American White Pelicans there. Shorebird numbers were down but we still found 39 American Avocets, 105 Killdeer, 163 Long-billed Dowitchers,2 Stilt Sandpipers, 81 Least Sandpipers, 5 Pectoral Sandpipers, 7 Greater Yellowlegs and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. We only found 18 Great Egrets and no Snowy Egrets. White geese are beginning to arrive and we saw 2 Snow Geese and 2 Ross's Geese. We had a good rain Sunday and the wheat should start to germinate and none too soon. We saw a couple of Caspian Terns diving for fish off the end of Sandy Point, They were really creating quite a splash. We saw at least 156 American Crows today, which is more than usual. Just past Meadow Pond we saw a Brown Thrasher, several Northern Flickers and the first Dark-eyed Juncos of the season. We also saw the first White-throated Sparrows of the season near Meadow Pond. The resident pair of Bald Eagles are more in evidence now and Lucy was perched in the large Cottonwood near Big Mineral Picnic area. We finished the day with 62 species. Today's photos, Lucy sitting on the Cottonwood tree and a Red-shouldered Hawk on a bale of hay on the west side of the refuge. Thanks for looking.

Lucy-Bald Eagle

Red- Tailed Hawk
 Lucy-Bald Eagle                     Red-Tailed Hawk 

Oct 11: Bird Census Results

We started out the day down by the bridge on Raasch trail and found a couple of House Wrens scolding us. There we also saw an American Kestrel, Eastern Bluebirds, several Eastern Phoebes and the usual Black and Turkey Vultures that hang out in that area. We then proceeded to Harris Creek Trail and didn't get far because the bee tree near the trail had fallen over and the bees were not happy. We then proceeded on to the Goode Area and Dead Woman Pond and saw Pileated Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers and a juvenile Little Blue Heron. Later as we proceeded down Wildlife Drive we saw a large number of Canada Geese, our first shorebirds of the day near the bridge, including a Semipalmated Plover, lots of Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers and a group of Black-bellied Plovers. A little farther on we saw our first Greater White-fronted Geese, a flock of twelve. When we arrived at the first marsh on the right, we found the continuing Soras. Quite a few American White Pelicans were present and there was a large flock of American Coots near the crossover on Plover Pad. We also saw both resident Bald Eagles, Lucy on her favorite pole and Ricky nearby. On the sandbars off of Plover there were large numbers of swallows, including Barn, Cliff, Cave and Tree Swallows. There was a good number of shorebirds in the marshes including a large number of Long-billed Dowitchers, American Avocets, Stilt Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, both species of Yellowlegs and many Least Sandpipers. 44 White-faced Ibises were still present. More ducks are arriving every day and we saw Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Mallards and American Wigeons. We found a couple of Belted Kingfishers at Deaver Pond. We finished the day with 68 species. We had a van full including some visitors from the Houston area and Greenville. Today's photo, the juvenile Little Blue Heron we saw at Dead Woman Pond. Note the bill color, thick tapered bill and the dull green legs which differentiates it from a Snowy Egret. Thanks for looking.

    juvenile Little Blue Heron

Oct 04: Bird Census Results

It was another nice day for the census but we are in a lull in migration. Some American White Pelicans are still moving thru but nothing like the numbers of a week ago. Shorebird numbers are also decreasing but the Marbled Godwit is still present in Silliman Marsh as well as a good number of White-faced Ibises. We did see Long-billed Dowitchers, American Avocets, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs Pectoral Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Stilt Sandpipers and a good number of large Plovers, both Black-bellied and American Golden-Plovers. We also saw a lone Willet. We were unable to locate a Sora today so most of them might have left. A lot of the Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets have left. We saw a couple of Brown Thrashers. A few Northern Harriers have returned. The dry conditions continue and there are more mudflats each passing day. Most of the marshes have been flooded recently so they should be productive soon. The wheat has been sown so hopefully we will soon get some rain. We finished the day with 57 species. Today's photo, Northern Harrier. Thanks for looking.

   Northern Harrier 

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Sherman, TX 75092


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