Seasonal Sightings for Central Prairie and East Texas

Compiled by Bert Frenz,
North American Birds, Subregional Editor, East Texas and
Texas Ornithological Society, Director, Region VI, Central Prairie, Texas.


Fall Season: August 1 - November 30, 2003


The 67 Texas counties included in this report are:  Anderson, Angelina, Austin, Bastrop, Bell, Bowie, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Coleman, Comanche, Coryell, DeWitt, Falls, Fayette, Franklin, Freestone, Gonzales, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hamilton, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Karnes, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, Marion, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Travis (eastern), Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Walker, Waller, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson.  

Reduced from over 3600 reports of 318 species.

Weather reports:

Darrell Vollert, 9 August, Washington County, "The high pressure system that has been parked over southeast Texas for two weeks is slowing retrograding to the west. Winds have switched back to the southeast. During the work week winds were blowing out of the south and southwest pumping in that hot air from Mexico. High temperatures during the middle and latter part of the week were 100-105 degrees. The hottest day was Thursday, the 7th, at 105 degrees. Parts of Brenham had some rain on Friday. Chances for rain will increase this weekend."

Rich Kostecke, 14 August, Belton Reservoir, Bell County, "On the morning of August 14, Becky Peak and I birded along Cowhouse Creek and the Cowhouse Creek arm of Belton Reservoir on Fort Hood (Bell County). Water levels have dropped substantially, creating some nice mudflats. Although decent numbers of waders and a few shorebirds were present, there was nothing too unusual to report."

Darrell Vollert, 2 September, Washington County, "Heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Grace grounded some nice birds in the Chappell Hill area the past couple of days. We received 4.50 inches of rain from Sunday-Tuesday. The Brandt's in Chappell Hills Subdivision had a total 7 inches of rain over the holiday weekend.

Ellen Ratoosh, 13 October, Brazos County, "You've missed some interesting weather. On 10/5, we had a violent storm blow through with 2.75" of rain in 1.5 hours, and confirmed tornadoes in both Millican and Bryan. The next day, we received an additionally 1.25". The ground was still saturated on 10/9 when it started to rain at about 9 a.m. In the next 6 hours, my rain gauge measured five inches. Bee Creek went totally out of its banks, joined the floodplain behind my house, flooded Emerald Forest Park to a depth of three feet, and poured over Appomattox Dr. in a 40' wide river. Needless to say, the road was closed. For the first time in the five years we've lived here, the water came inside our back fence at the low corner by the storm sewer outlet and was within five feet of the back gate that is on higher ground. Fortunately, the floodwater receded rapidly. I'm still finding lizards in odd places though."

Brush Freeman, 26 October, Bastrop County, [after arrival of cold front], "Last night I posted about the numbers of migrants I heard passing over and suspected that a fair number of the chips I heard were Orange-crowned Warblers. Well after a very slow few days, the property here is very active with lots of new arrivals, including 8-9 Orange-crowned Warbler which were absent before last night. There is also an increase of Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows, a Lincoln's. A Yellow-breasted Sapsucker is new as is a Chipping Sparrow and Catbird."

David Wolf, 18 November, Nacogdoches County, "Raging winds hit from the northwest."

David Wolf, November, Nacogdoches/Angelina/San Augustine counties, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "With the extensive habitat on Rayburn and mild weather, long-legged waders were found later than normal. … With lake levels on Rayburn very low we finally got some migrant shorebirds. ..."

Tim Fennell, Fall Report, Williamson County, "This season has been a dry one. We are 10 inches behind in rainfall, Granger Lake is at the lowest levels I have ever seen since I began birding the area in 1995, and many stock ponds are dried up completely."

Randy Pinkston, Fall Report, Bell County "Fall 2003 was a season of many exciting finds in Bell County, including three first confirmed county records (Surf Scoter, Short-billed Dowitcher, Thayer's Gull). The primary reason for the season's productive birding was increased effort on my part associated with a County Big Year in 2003. By 30 November my list stood at 272 species, exceeding my pre-2003 expectations by more than 50 species! I look forward to sustained local coverage in the years to come. The region continued under drought conditions with Stillhouse Hollow's lake level the lowest I've seen it in ten autumn seasons. November was characterized by many days of unseasonably warm weather."

Highlights of the season

Casual

Surf Scoters in Bell, Bastrop and McLennan counties.
Brown Pelican in McLennan, Bell, Nacogdoches counties.
Glossy Ibis in Bell and Travis counties.
Swallow-tailed Kite in Williamson County.
White-tailed Kite in Nacogdoches County.
Crested Caracara in Marion County.
Whooping Cranes in McLennan and Coryell counties.
Marbled Godwit in Bell County.
Short-billed Dowitcher in Bell County.
Thayer's Gull in Bell County.
Sabine's Gull in McLennan County.
Black-legged Kittiwake in Travis County.
Monk Parakeets nesting in Brazos County.
Common Pauraque in Guadalupe County.
Black-chinned Hummingbird in Montgomery County.
Calliope Hummingbird in Bell County.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Brazos County.
Green Kingfisher in Bastrop, Caldwell and Guadalupe counties.
Lewis's Woodpecker in Travis County.
Pileated Woodpecker in Burleson County.
"Western" Flycatcher in Bastrop County.
Vermilion Flycatcher in Smith County.
Ash-throated Flycatcher in Nacogdoches County.
Great Kiskadee in Bastrop and west Harris counties.
Couch's Kingbird in Travis, Waller and Burnet counties.
Rock Wren in Williamson County.
Chestnut-sided Warbler in Travis County.
Magnolia Warbler in Travis County.
Black-throated Blue Warbler in Travis County.
Black-throated Gray Warbler in Travis County.
Palm Warblers in Nacogdoches and San Jacinto/Polk counties.
Cerulean Warbler in Nacogdoches County.
Scarlet Tanager in Marion County.
Smith's Longspur in Franklin County.

Very rare

Greater Scaup in Bell and Williamson counties.
Least Grebe in Guadalupe County.
Reddish Egret (white morph) in Bell County.
Roseate Spoonbill in Bell County.
Long-billed Curlew in Bell County.
Dunlin in Bell County.
Bell's Vireo in Brazos County.
Common Raven in Bell County.
Louisiana Waterthrush in Bell, Guadalupe, Karnes, and Washington counties.
MacGillivray's Warbler in Guadalupe and Washington counties.
Henslow's Sparrow in Smith County.

Early Arrivals

Snow Geese in Coryell County on 15 September.
Common Loon oversummering in Bell County.
American Bittern in Bell County on 13 August.
Sandhill Crane in Austin County on 27 August.
American Woodcock in Travis County on 30 October.
Whip-poor-will in Brazos County on 13 August.
Black-throated Green Warbler in Smith County on 5 August.
American Redstart in Guadalupe County on 20 August.
Fox Sparrow in Nacogdoches County on 30 October.
Dark-eyed Junco in Guadalupe County on 15 September.
McCown's Longspur in Travis County on 28 October.

Late Departures

Little Blue Heron in San Augustine County until 16 November.
Tricolored Heron in San Augustine County until 19 November.
White-faced Ibis in Travis County until 30 November.
Roseate Spoonbill in Freestone County until 23 November.
Purple Gallinule in Angelina County until 10 October.
Purple Gallinule in Travis County until 27 November.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in San Augustine and Harrison counties 7 October.
Yellow-throated Vireo in Nacogdoches County until 16 October.
Cave Swallows in Brazos and Williamson counties through period.
Prairie Warbler in Nacogdoches County until 27 September.
Prothonotary Warbler in Bell County until 21 September.
Summer Tanager in Gregg County until 16 November.

Bird Sightings:

Sightings of particular note are in red. Very rare or casual sightings are in red and bold.

Waterfowl

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (2) 5 August (Randy Pinkston), near Rogers, Bell County [rare to occasional in this county].

Randy Pinkston, "This species is rare, certainly less than annual, and always noteworthy in Bell County, despite its more common status in Travis and McLennan counties."

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (26+) 15 August (Jeff Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [high count].
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (3) 13 October (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [occasional].
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (1 adult with 5 half-grown ducklings) 18 October (Darrell Vollert), stock pond on Porter Lane, Waller County [late date for ducklings].
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (no.?) 29 November (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [rare this late in fall].

Fulvous Whistling Duck: (1) May to at least 27 August (Fred Collins), unmarked Road north of FM 2855 that turns into Morrison Road, Rice irrigation reservoir, Waller County.

Greater White-fronted Goose: (flock of 27) 27 September (Shawn Ashbaugh), southwest Austin, Travis County [rare in late September].
Greater White-fronted Goose: (2000-3000) 30 October (Fred Collins), Stockdick Road north of the airport on 362 north of Brookshire, Waller County [good count].

Snow Goose: (~100) 15 September (Scott Summers), flock flying over Fort Hood, Coryell County [very early; probably earliest sighting ever reported for the region, and an incredibly large number. Why?].

Ratio of Ross's Goose to Snow Goose in mixed flocks:

(15-18 in 1000) 2 Nov (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.
(2 in 54) 2 November (Shawn Ashbaugh, Jeffrey Hanson), Wershon Lane, northeast Travis County.
(~1 per 100) 3 November (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.
(19 in 400) 5 November (Brush Freeman), various locations in eastern Travis County.
(4 in flock of 40 Snow Geese) 5 November (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.
(~5 in 500 Snow Geese in two flocks) 9 November (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.
("a handful" in flock of 5000 geese) 14 November (Fred Collins), McGregor Rd, southern Waller County.

Ross's Goose: (4) 13-16 November (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "A rare surprise was a family group of 4 Ross's Geese on the exposed flats off the TX 147 bridge from Nov 13-16 (DW,JF)."

Cinnamon Teal: (1 male) 22 November (Richard Kaskan); 24 November and 2 December (Allan Hook), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Three reports of Greater Scaup in the Oaks and Prairies region is an atypically large number.
Greater Scaup: (1 female) 8 November (Tim Fennell), CR 359 stock pond, Williamson County [very rare].
Greater Scaup: (2) 9 November (Jesse Fagan, Rick Schaefer), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [occasional].
Greater Scaup: (adult pair and young male) 22 November (Randy Pinkston), near Rogers, Bell County [very rare].
Greater Scaup: (8-10) 30 November to at least 7 December (Randy Pinkston), Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [very rare].

Randy Pinkston, Fall Report, "Fall 2003 was exceptional for this normally accidental species in Bell County. I had an adult pair and young male near Rogers 22 Nov. A second group of 8-10 birds discovered on Stillhouse Hollow Lake 30 Nov remained through at least 7 Dec."

Greater Scaup: (3) 30 November (Matt White), small pond in Titus County [uncommon].

Peter Barnes, NETFO newsletter, "Greater Scaup are not uncommon on some of the large lakes of the region but three on a small pond in Titus Co. on Nov 30 were notable (MW)."

Wow! What caused the big influx of Surf Scoters into Texas!
Surf Scoter: (1 first-winter) 15 November (Randy Pinkston), Slough Pond near Temple, (same) 16 November (Randy Pinkston) and 17 November (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [casual, first county record].

Randy Pinkston, 15 November, "The bird was a young Surf Scoter in its first winter. Initially it was alone on the water but it soon joined up with a group of Ring-necked Ducks, N. Shovelers, and Lesser Scaup. The whole group was gone when we returned but I would bet they probably relocated to a gravel pit north of Slough pond. I didn't have time to search for it.
Randy Pinkston, 16 November, "This evening at 1700 I found a first-winter Surf Scoter at Union Grove Wildlife Area on the south shore of Stillhouse Hollow Lake in Bell County. This time I was able to study the bird for over half an hour. It appears to be the same individual I found yesterday on Slough pond in Temple. The two locations are roughly eleven miles apart as the scoter flies.
Rich Kostecke, 17 November, "Following up on the tip that Randy Pinkston posted, I went chasing (luckily before the rain hit) the Surf Scoter first thing this morning 17 Nov at Union Grove WMA at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County. Between 0700-0730, I actually found 2 Surf Scoters basically in the same location as Randy did, about half way between the point and the tree line near the south shore. They were actively foraging together about half-way to 2/3 out from the shore to the end of the snag line. One of these birds I would probably call an adult female based on the vertical white patch at the base of the bill and a distinct white patch at the back of the head. The bill looked to be grayish. The other bird looked to be the 1st winter bird that Randy observed."

Surf Scoter: (1 female) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Shipp Lake, Smithville, Bastrop County [casual].
Surf Scoter: (3) 15 November (Al Bjelland); (3 female or immature) 16 November (Joe Yelderman); (1 female) 29 November (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [casual].

Report submitted by Joe Yelderman: 16 Nov 2003 4-5 PM. observed through 7x35 binoculars and 20X spotting scope at 30-40 yards for 45 minutes. "All three birds were very similar: dark bill, 2 white patches on side of head, one in front of eye and one behind the eye, dark brown to black color, 2 birds flew and I could tell with certainty there were no white wing patches. I heard no vocalizatiions. White-winged Scoter was eliminated because there was no white wing patch. I have seen a few White-winged Scoters and their face patches did not seem as pronounced. Other species in the pond could be compared side by side - Gadwall, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Shoveler and Ruddy Duck. Notes were made during observation."

Surf Scoter sightings this fall were unusually numerous and widespread in Texas. Besides the 7 birds at 3 sites listed above are the following sightings:
(1 female) 10 November (shot by hunter, fide Terry Maxwell), Twin Buttes Reservoir, southwest of San Angelo, Tom Green County.
(9) 23 November (Eric Carpenter, Fred Land); (2) 26 November (Eric Carpenter); (5) 27 November (D. D. Currie, Dell Little), Lake Balmorhea, Reeves County.
(1) 1 December (George & Scarlet Colley), Port Isabel and Brownsville ship channel, Cameron County.

Common Goldeneye: (2) 26 November (Alan Byboth), Lake Tyler, Smith County [rare].

Hooded Merganser: (1 male) 29 October (Rob Fergus), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare this early date].
Hooded Merganser: (8 males, 9 females) 16 November (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [good count].

Red-breasted Merganser: (2 female) 7 November (Rich Kostecke), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [occasional].
Red-breasted Merganser: (4) 8 November (Andy Balinsky); (4) 11 November (Terry Wilhelm), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Red-breasted Merganser: (1) 9 November (Jesse Fagan, Rick Schaefer), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].
Red-breasted Merganser: (3) 13 November (David Wolf), Etoile Park, Lake Sam Rayburn, Nacogdoches County [rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "Always scarce on our lakes, one Red-breasted Merganser was seen from the TX 147 bridge on Nov 9 (JF,RS) and 3 were off Etoile Park on Nov 13 (DW)."

Red-breasted Merganser: (1 female) 13 November (Rich Kostecke); 14 November (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park on Lake Belton, Bell County [occasional].

Randy Pinkston, "Red-breasted Merganser: probably this species is an uncommon but regular fall migrant in Bell County, but a female on Lake Belton 14 Nov was my first in ten years here. Rich Kostecke discovered this bird(s) a week earlier."

Red-breasted Merganser: (1) 29 November (Cheryle Beck. Jane Purtle, Carolyn Kelley, Denis Scott), concession area of Lake Tyler, Smith County [rare, ~6th or 8th county record].

Peter Barnes, NETFO newsletter, "The concession area also had a Red-breasted Merganser on Nov 29 (CB, JP, CK, DS) and a Horned Grebe on Nov 30 (PB), both of which are rarely observed in Smith Co."

New World Quails

Northern Bobwhite: (1) 14 August (Margaret Cook), Lynn Road, northern Austin County [rare?].
Northern Bobwhite: (covey of 10) 20 September (Sharon Kersten), northeast Milam County [rare].
Northern Bobwhite: (1) 16 October (Darrell Vollert), perched on fence post at junction of New Wehdem Road and Sander road, Austin County [rare? occasional?]
Northern Bobwhite: (10) 3 November (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, central Waller County.
Northern Bobwhite: (10) 15 November (Byron Stone and Travis Audubon Society Sparrow Class), along Turnersville and Satterwhite Roads, a few miles south of Austin, northeast Hays County
Northern Bobwhite: (6) 17 November (Jane Purtle), Smith County [rare].

Loons

Common Loon: (2 in basic/immature plumage) 17 August (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [casual; same location of reports for 25 June and 13 July of this year].

Randy Pinkston, "At Union Grove Wildlife Area on Stillhouse Hollow Lake I had … two Common Loons in basic/imm plumage. The loons are most likely the same bird(s) that have been observed on the lake all summer."

Grebes

Least Grebe: (1) 10-20 August (Ernest Jasek), small stock tank south of I-35, northwestern Guadalupe County [rare; second county record].

Noreen Baker, "Yesterday morning (8/10) my Dad, Ernest Jasek, found a Least Grebe on his small stock tank. The fact that a Least Grebe appeared on his pond is in itself interesting, but more interesting is the fact that prior to Saturday night, the pond was bone dry and had just filled up during the night not as a result of rain but as a result of prolonged line flushing at the new water tower that was built just north of his property. Amazingly, within hours of filling up, the Least Grebe appeared out of nowhere and settled in. My first thought was 'poor guy, what will it eat?' but apparently I didn't need to worry as its been happily eating drowned earth worms ever since it arrived. I imagine it will run out of that food supply pretty soon and move on, but it just goes to show that one never knows what's out flying around at night looking for a good opportunity. My Dad's place is located just south of IH-35 in far northwestern Guadalupe County, and while I expect that Least Grebes have been recorded in Guadalupe County before, it was certainly a first for his little pond."
David Sarkozi, "Actually this is only the second record of Least Grebe, the first was on the New Braunfels CBC this year."

Least Grebe: (4) 30 September (Derek Muschalek), near Old Davy Community, DeWitt County [breeding confirmed-FL].
Least Grebe: (1) 3-4 October (Jeffrey Hanson, Richard Kaskan); 7 October (Eric Isley); 16 October (Sally Breed); 11 November (Terry Wilhelm); 16 November (Ted Eubanks); (1) 28 November (Joe Skraba), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].
Least Grebe: (1) 2 November (fide Georgina Schwartz and the San Antonio Audubon Society hotline); (4) 23 November (Mike Creese, Marge Lumpe, et al.); (4) 27 November with additional sightings in December (Mike Creese), Bird Pond, Mitchell Lake Wetlands, San Antonio, Bexar County [rare].

Pied-billed Grebe: (2) May to at least 27 August (Fred Collins), unmarked Road north of FM 2855 that turns into Morrison Road, Rice irrigation reservoir, Waller County [chicks produced].

Horned Grebe: (2) 13 November (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [first of season; occasional].
Horned Grebe: (1) 30 November (Peter Barnes), Lake Tyler, Smith County [occasional].

Eared Grebe: (1) 2 September (Jeffrey Hanson), in P1E, Hornsby Bend, Travis County [very early; rare].

Pelicans

With the increased success of coastal breeding of Brown Pelicans, there seems to be more inland vagrants each season.
Brown Pelican: (1 adult, but 2 on opposite ends of the lake on 22 July) 10 July to at least 2 October and maybe 2 December (Richard Howard with details and photos, Jeffrey Sammon, Eric Haskell, Joe Yelderman, et al.), Lake Waco, McLennan County [casual; very long length of stay].

Bert Frenz, "The longest staying inland Brown Pelicans that I've uncovered in my research are:
    18 days at Alcoa Lake in fall 2002.
    24 days at Lake Travis in May 1991.
    30 days at Lake Buchanan in spring 1991.
    The Lake Waco bird this year has already stayed at least 85 days (to October 2).
    Also, I've only come across two other occasions where two Brown Pelicans have been found at the same time:
    2 at Lake Travis on 27 May 1991
    2 at Lake Belton on 8 May 2002
By my count, this is the 4th or 5th Brown Pelican for McLennan County, the others being: 21 September 1988, 14 May 1991 and 22 June 1996. Since the species is listed as an "extremely rare visitant" on the 1962 McLennan County checklist, I assume there must be an earlier record that I have not yet found.

Brown Pelican: (1 adult) 18 and 22 October (Randy Pinkston); 22 October (Rich Kostecke, Gil Eckrich); 3 November (Rich Kostecke), Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [casual].

Randy Pinkston, "This morning at roughly 10 AM a Brown Pelican was present at River's Bend Park on the south shore of Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. The bird was an adult and apparently healthy. Skies were bright and blue, the lake was like glass, and it was quite a sight to watch this pterosaur flying around and diving for fish. In the 15-20 minutes that I watched the bird it moved upriver on the lake but was still in view from River's Bend Park."
Randy Pinkston, Fall report, "I discovered this bird, an adult, on Stillhouse Hollow Lake 18 Oct. I also observed the same individual at a nearby location 22 Oct. I believe Rich Kostecke and others observed it on several occasions after the 18th, and perhaps into November. The species should be considered accidental in Bell County with only a couple of other sightings from Belton Lake in the spring seasons of 2002 and 2003."
Rich Kostecke, 3 November, "Likely the same bird that Randy Pinkston found on the lake in October."

Brown Pelican: (1 immature) 2 November (Kreg Ellzey); 9 and 11 November (Jesse Fagan, Rick Schaefer, Georgette Guernsey), Etoile crossing on upper Lake Sam Rayburn, Nacogdoches County [casual; 4th area record and 1st fall record].

Kreg Ellzey (from Hornbeck, LA), "After making a Sunday afternoon bird survey through east Texas I was returning home from Lufkin when I came across a BROWN PELICAN on Sam Rayburn Reservoir south of the Hwy 103 bridge (Angelina River) on the Nacogdoches County side. The bird was on the water and began to take off as I drove by. U-turning at Etoile Park, I recrossed the bridge but the pelican had moved off southward toward the highlines that cross the lake as good distance south of the bridge. I was a bit astonished as this was the first time I've EVER seen a Brown Pelican away from the coast, much less deep in the pineywoods! After referencing several books I noted in Matt White's Birds of Northeast Texas that there have been several fall reports for this species from Lake Tawakoni and one from Lake O' the Pines."
David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "The biggest news this month was an immature Bronw Pelican found on Nov 2 at the Etoile crossing on upper Rayburn by Kreg Ellzey, a Louisiana birder passing through. It was seen by local birders on Nov 9 & 11 (JF, RS, GG) thanks to Kreg's posting on TexBirds. This is our 4th area record and the first in the fall."

Cormorants and Anhingas

Neotropic Cormorant: (1 adult) 10 October (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].

David Wolf, in Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, XXXI, No. 3 (Nov 2003), Fall Migration Bird Report (Sep 21 - Oct 20, 2003). "The only Neotropic Cormorant was an adult off the TX 147 bridge on Oct 10 (David Wolf). Water levels on Lake Rayburn finally fell low enough to expose some mudflats and shoreline, and long-legged waders stayed later than expected."

Neotropic Cormorant: (2) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties [occasional].

John O'Brien, "2 Neotropic Cormorant (not unusual at this location in my experience; there were 200-300 Double-crested)"

Double-crested Cormorant: (1 color-banded hatch-year among 200-300 others) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties.

John O'Brien, "In a visit to Lake Livingston (San Jacinto and Polk Counties) this Saturday I came across a color-marked hatch year Double-crested Cormorant below the dam. It had a standard metal band on the left leg and a very large (covered almost the entire tarsus) light blue color band with white lettering on the right leg. It was too distant to read the lettering on the color band. If anyone knows of a cormorant color banding project, I would like to know the details. I did a quick web search and could not find the project, but did find a sighting of a color-banded DCCO from Tennessee in late October of last year (a hatch year bird with a green color band on the right leg). I've reported the sighting to the bird-banding lab."

Anhinga: (1) 16 August (Margaret Cook), at lake on Lynn Road, northern Austin County [occasional].
Anhinga: (5+) 17 August (Shirley Wilkerson, Dan Wilkerson), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].
Anhinga: (2) 11 November (Georgette Guernsey), Kurth Lake, Angelina County [late departure; occasional].
Anhinga: (2) 30 November (Mike Austin), flying over Pattison Road, eastern Waller County [rare this late in season].

Herons

American Bittern: (1) 13 August (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [very early, very rare in August].

Randy Pinkston, "One bird flushed from the lakeshore at Stillhouse Hollow 13 Aug was a total surprise on this date, preceding typical migrant dates by a couple of months."

American Bittern: (1) 5 October (Richard Kaskan), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (2) 7 October (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WMA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (1) 17 October (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (1) 21 October (Fred Collins), Pattison Road off Morrison Road north of Hwy 529, eastern Waller County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (1) 2 and 4 November (Scott Young, et al.), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (1) 5 November (Eric Isley), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].
American Bittern: (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Fayette Lake, Fayette County [occasional].

Great Egret: (1000+) 21 August; (25) 23 August (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto [massive migration].

George Russell, 23 August, "1000+ Great Egrets flew past our house on Lake Livingston in San Jacinto County on Thursday, August 21 at sunset. Today, we saw no more than 25."

Great Egret: (100s) 28 August (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County [good count].

George Russell, 28 August, "From the time I opened my eyes this morning at around 7 am until about five minutes ago which was around 7:20, Great Egrets were passing in front of my window in groups of from 3 to perhaps as many as 100 birds. Several groups had between 30 and 50 egrets. They streamed from the E. side of the lake where I believe they have been roosting for the night and up the little cove in front of my desk. When they get to the end of the cove they rise over the trees and continue over the peninsula. It is a shortcut on their way to their feeding grounds along the shoreline where they disperse to feed along with the Great Egrest and Snowys."

Great Egret: (400) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County

Snowy Egret: (171) 9 August (monthly count), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [high count].
Snowy Egret: (100) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County.
Snowy Egret: (5) 18 November (Georgette Guernsey); (1) 19 November (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [late departure; occasional].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "With the extensive habitat on Rayburn and mild weather, long-legged waders were found later than normal. Records of note from the flats and brushy islands off the TX 147 bridge were a Cattle Egret on Nov 13 (DW); a juv. Little Blue Heron on Nov 16 (DW,JF); 5 Snowy Egrets on Nov 18 (GG) and 1 on Nov 19 (DW); and a Tricolored Heron on Nov 18-19 (GG,DW). 13 late White Ibis were at the TX 147 bridge Nov 16-18 (JF,DW,GG)."

Snowy Egret: (1) 20 November (Hazel Bluhm), Marion County [late departure; occasional].
Snowy Egret: (3) 22 November (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel Park, Georgetown, Williamson County [occasional at this time].
Snowy Egret: (3 roosting with 9 Great Egrets) 22 November (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel Park, Georgetown, Williamson County [late departure; occasional].
Snowy Egret: (2) 30 November (Fred Collins), Pattison Road, central Waller County [occasional].

Most Little Blue Herons leave the area by the second week in October, yet this season we had some remain through November.
Little Blue Heron: (7) 8 November (Hornsby Bend monthly count, 5 observers, fide Russell Nelson), Travis County [rare].
Little Blue Heron: (1) 14 November (Fred Collins), reservoir at FM 2855 and Hwy 529, southern Waller County [late departure].
Little Blue Heron: (1) 16 November (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [very rare this late for East Texas].
Little Blue Heron: (1 adult) 16 November (Ed Fair); (1 immature) 19 November (Stu Wilson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [late departures; rare].

Ed Fair, "I located a Little Blue Heron on one of the "islands" in the southeast corner of Pond One West. While a Little Blue would not generally be of interest at Hornsby, I note that the Travis Audubon seasonal distribution list for Austin does not contain any sightings of Little Blue Heron for the month of November."

Little Blue Heron: (2 adults, 2 immature) 30 November (Isaac Sanchez), Colorado River Park, Austin, Travis County [late departure; rare].

Tricolored Heron: (1) 18-19 November (Georgette Guernsey, David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [very rare this late].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "With the extensive habitat on Rayburn and mild weather, long-legged waders were found later than normal. Records of note from the flats and brushy islands off the TX 147 bridge were a Cattle Egret on Nov 13 (DW); a juv. Little Blue Heron on Nov 16 (DW,JF); 5 Snowy Egrets on Nov 18 (GG) and 1 on Nov 19 (DW); and a Tricolored Heron on Nov 18-19 (GG,DW). 13 late White Ibis were at the TX 147 bridge Nov 16-18 (JF,DW,GG)."

The white morph Reddish Egret that appeared at Stillhouse Hollow Lake in mid July remained until 4 August, making it the longest stay (21 days) for the species in the Oaks and Prairies region.
Reddish Egret: (1 juvenile white morph) 14 July to at least 4 August (Randy Pinkston, Grant Critchfield), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [rare as Reddish Egret; even rarer as white morph (second occurrence); longest recorded stay of Reddish Egret in Oaks & Prairies region].

Cattle Egret: (2) 3 November (Brush Freeman), St. Mary's Community area, Bastrop County [somewhat late departure; uncommon].
Cattle Egret: (4) 8 November (Hornsby Bend monthly count, 5 observers, fide Russell Nelson), Travis County [somewhat late departure].
Cattle Egret: (25) 30 November (Fred Collins), Pattison Road, central Waller County [late departure; occasional]

Green Heron: (1) 9 October (Rich Kostecke), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [late departure; occasional].

Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 9 August (monthly count), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [occasional].
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1 juvenile) 31 August (Peter Barnes); (2) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: (1 adult) 13 and 20 September (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure; occasional].
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 20 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Bell County [late departure; occasional].

Ibises, Spoonbills

White Ibis put on a good showing this fall, with a few lingering into November.
White Ibis: (~50) 8 August (Debbie Moore), farm in Burleson County.

Debbie Moore, "We got up this morning and found a flock of about 50 white ibis foraging in a freshly cut hay field just past our front yard. We have seen one or two before near one of the ponds, but never such a large group at one time."

White Ibis: (2) 9 August; (2) 17 August (Randy Pinkston), Bell County.

Randy Pinkston, Fall Report, "White Ibis: Two reports of two individuals each in Bell County 9 & 17 Aug was above our average. Fall 2003 was a banner season for ibises in general."

White Ibis: (25+) 17 August (Shirley Wilkerson, Dan Wilkerson), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County.
White Ibis: (2 juveniles) 30 August (Darrell Vollert), north of Chappell Hill along FM1155, Washington County.
White Ibis: (200) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [good count].
White Ibis: (1 juvenile) 31 August and 6 September (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park, Bell County.
White Ibis: (1) 1 September (Ted Eubanks); (1 immature) 11 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
White Ibis: (1) 6 October (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County.
White Ibis: (38, including 2 adults) 11 October (Darrell Vollert), foraging in hay field along FM 1155 at New Year's Creek, Washington County [occasional].

Darrell Vollert, "I saw (38) White Ibis foraging in a hay field along FM1155 at New Year's Creek. The ibis were eating crayfish in the freshly cut hay field. Only two of the birds were adults."

White Ibis: (13) 16-18 November (Jesse Fagan, Georgette Guernsey, David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [late departure; occasional].
White Ibis: (38) 30 November (Fred Collins), Pattison Road, central Waller County [high count so late in season].

Glossy Ibis: (1 among 20 White-faced) 11 August (Randy Pinkston), between Temple and Belton, Bell County [casual; first fall record for Bell County; second county record].

Randy Pinkston, "This afternoon between Temple and Belton I discovered twenty-one Plegadis ibis busily foraging at the edge of a favorite water hole. I decided to check every individual closely. In the process I discovered twenty White-faced and one nice Glossy. All were adults but their head and neck parts were mostly in basic plumage already. Even so, the distinctive facial markings of the Glossy stood out very clearly. What a treat it was to find and then watch and compare this rare bird with its very similar counterparts."

Glossy Ibis: (2 adults) 21 August to 28 November (Jeffrey Hanson, Russell Nelson, Andy Balinsky, Joe Skraba, et al.), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [casual].

Jeffrey Hanson, 21 August, "As of 1:45pm there was at least 2 adult Glossy Ibis in Pond 1 West, at Hornsby Bend - Austin. The birds are almost in the exact middle of the pond. The way I was able to get a good enough look at them for positive ID (a challenge with a fixed 22X scope) was to slowly go east from the western edge ~1/3 of the dike between the large pond (Pond 2) and Pond 1 West. The birds were still almost due NE from where I stopped, but were meandering into a little alcove, and that was my best angle at the time. One of the birds has relatively bold lining around the lores, for a Glossy. The other far less so, but the right characteristics were still there, including the powder blue. There are two other Plegadis Ibis with them, but I couldn't make out what they were at 22X. It may be of note that all four of these ibis are new arrivals. The two White-faced Ibis that have been here for several days were feeding by themselves a few hundred feet east of this group of four."
Jeffrey Hanson, 8 October, "At least one non-breeding adult was in with a very skittish group of 8-9 Plegadis Ibis spp. Another bird appeared to also be an adult Glossy. Most of the other birds were imm.s thus were unidentifiable. These birds didn't seem to be of the same group of 20-30 that had been around for a week but appear to have left.)"
Jeffrey Hanson, 28 October, "I got several decent digital images of an ad. Glossy Ibis that was feeding in the slough part of the extreme western and northwestern part of Pond 1 West at Hornsby this morning. This bird was last seen just before 11. I have a strong hunch that this bird has been here for weeks if not months (I believe I posted seeing an individual here some weeks back)."
Austin RBA, 8 November, for Russell Nelson and Andy Balinsky, "The Glossy Ibis is probably the same bird that has been seen by many observers since first reported on Aug. 21 by Jeff Hanson."

Plegadis species: (1) 2 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [late departure; occasional].
Plegadis species: (2) 8 November (Hornsby Bend monthly count, 5 observers, fide Russell Nelson); (4) 16 November (Ted Eubanks), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare]
White-faced Ibis: (1) 8 November (Tim Fennell), CR 435, Williamson County [late departure; rare].
White-faced Ibis: (4) 30 November (Isaac Sanchez), Colorado River Park, Austin, Travis County [late departure; very rare after mid November].

Roseate Spoonbills had a good breeding year, resulting in many more inland sightings than usual. Typically, they are uncommon through the first week of October, with sightings dropping off quickly thereafter. Sightings are occasional in the second week of October, rare in the third week, and very rare in the fourth week.

Terry Maxwell, "Following Lorrie Black's report of a flock of spoonbills at Abilene, our report pales, but this does seem to be the year of the spoonbill out here on the southern plains. Delbert Tarter reported one today at San Angelo's municipal pond (Lake Nasworthy). There was another seen on the Concho River in downtown San Angelo back in July. One wonders why so many are dispersing inland this summer? Does anyone know if reproduction went well for them on the coast this year? When the great wood stork nesting colony in the Carmen Swamp of Tabasco fails (usually due to high water conditions), the storks tend to show up early in Texas and perhaps in larger number. I wonder if anything happened to spoonbill reproduction this year?"
Winnie Burkett, "It appeared that spoonbills had a very productive breeding season on the Upper Texas Coast. I wonder if birds being seen inland are adults or juveniles."

Roseate Spoonbill: (1 juvenile) 2 August (Randy Pinkston), Milam County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 3 August (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County
Roseate Spoonbill: (2) 6 August (Karen Arquette, James Loesch); (3) 14 August (Joe Yelderman), WMARSS, Waco, McLennan County [rare in this county].
Roseate Spoonbill: (6) 24 August (Tim Fennell), Mankin's Crossing and Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (4) 28 August (Rich Kostecke), Cowhouse Creek on Fort Hood, Bell County [first record for Fort Hood, although not unexpected].
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (15+ adults and immatures) 20 and 22 August; (10+) 1 September (Darrell Vollert), slough along US290, 2 miles east of Brazos River, Waller County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (8) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County
Roseate Spoonbill: (6) 8-9 September (Terry Junek), pond on CR 265, Burleson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 55 days until 14 September (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [long stay].

Scott Young, "Sunday's cold front blew away our recent resident Roseate Spoonbill after 55 consecutive days on the course."

Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 17 September (Oscar Carmona), FM 60 between College Station and Snook, Burleson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (13 roosting in one tree) 20 September (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (1 immature) 22 or 23 September (Fred Collins) Schmidt Road, Waller County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (8) 30 September (Rick Schaefer), fare south-east Angelina County [occasional].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "... one more record for an excellent fall for this species"

Roseate Spoonbill: (5) 1 October (Eric Haskell, Jane Derrick), Flat Rock Park, Lake Waco, McLennan County [rare in this county].
Roseate Spoonbill: (2) 4 October (Rich Kostecke), Rogers sewage ponds, Bell County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (9) 6 October (David Wolf), TX 103 at Attoyac, Lake Sam Rayburn, Nacogdoches County [occasional].
Roseate Spoonbill: (7) 31 August; (1) 4 September; (5) 6 September; (9) 20 September; (1) 4 and 7 October (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park at Leon River inlet into Belton Reservoir, Bell County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (4) 10 October (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (3) 27 September; (1) 8 and 11 October (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Roseate Spoonbill: (16) 11 October (Tim Fennell, Joe and Holly Skraba), Granger Lake, Williamson County [unusually large number, especially this late in the season; photographed].
Roseate Spoonbill: (3) 11 October (Ellen Carpenter Spracklen), Lake Limestone, Limestone County [occasional in Oaks & Prairie region at this time; only third county record].

Ellen Carpenter Spracklen, "I am not a birder, but saw what I thought to be an unusual bird Saturday, Oct. 11. While fishing on Lake Limestone in Limestone County, we spotted 3 pink birds, took pictures and identified them as Roseate Spoonbills. While this may be common, I thought I would let someone know."
Bert Frenz to Ellen, "Not many people have reported birds from Limestone County, so almost any sighting is interesting. In fact, in my database of 100,000 bird records for our area, I have only two records of Roseate Spoonbills in Limestone County: 10 Sep 1996 and 25 Sep 1992. Roseate Spoonbills nest along the Texas coast and post-breeding they wander inland to our area, mostly in August and September. By mid-October, the time of your sighting, most of the spoonbills have drifted south. They are occasionally still found, but not so much as before. In another week they will be rare and by the end of October it would be quite unusual to find them in the area."

Roseate Spoonbill: (14) 29 September (David Wolf); (11) 10 October (David Wolf); (1) 14 October (Georgette Guernsey), Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina County [occasional].

David Wolf, in Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, XXXI, No. 3 (Nov 2003), Fall Migration Bird Report (Sep 21 - Oct 20, 2003). "Roseate Spoonbills continued their good showing, with 14 at Marion Ferry on Sept 29, 9 at TX 103 at the Attoyac on Oct 6, and 11 at Marion Ferry on Oct 10 (all DW), and the last one still at Marion Ferry on Oct 14 (Georgette Guernsey)."

Roseate Spoonbill: (1) ~25 October (Eric Carpenter), Salt Lake, south of Luling, far northeastern Guadalupe County [rare].

Brush Freeman, 25 October, "Eric Carpenter sent me a note saying he had a Roseate Spoonbill in far northeastern Guadalupe Co at Salt Lk. south of Luling. There are very few reports of this species from that county for some reason."

Roseate Spoonbill: (16) 2 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [very late departure, especially for such large numbers].
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 23 November (Mike Creese, Marge Lumpe, et al.), rookery area of Mitchell Lake Wetlands, San Antonio, Bexar County [late departure].
Roseate Spoonbill: (1) 23 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [very late departure; very rare].

Storks

Wood Stork: (200+) 17 August (Shirley Wilkerson, Dan Wilkerson); (2) 31 August (Peter Barnes); (200) 7 September (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [high concentration].
Wood Stork: (1) 7 October (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare in this county].

Jeffrey Hanson, "In a few seconds the bird started to soar, and by then I could see that it held it's neck out straight, and had one whopping bill. The scope revealed an imm./bird-of-the-year WOOD STORK. Not that big of a deal just ten or so miles east of here (essentially Bastrop Co.), but once you get within sight of downtown Austin (easily seen from Hornsby) Wood Storks are exceedingly rare with 1-2 sightings per year at best."

Wood Stork: (114) 29 September; (80) 10 October (David Wolf), Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina County [occasional in October].

David Wolf, in Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, XXXI, No. 3 (Nov 2003), Fall Migration Bird Report (Sep 21 - Oct 20, 2003). "The high count on Wood Storks for the fall was 114 at Marion Ferry on Sept 29, but 80 were still present on Oct 10 (David Wolf); none were seen after this."

Wood Stork: (3) 11 October (Ben Tedrick), Lake Bryan, Brazos County [occasional in mid October].

Ben Tedrick, "I'm not a birder but I fish often and am into outdoor and wildlife photography. While fishing at Lake Bryan on Saturday evening I observed a single stork-like bird of which I had never seen before, fly in and roost in a tree, at first I though it was a whooping crane but after getting a few photos, I still wasn't sure what it was. I returned home and searched the Internet and I believe it is a wood stork. What's even cooler is just as it was getting dark there were three wood storks that came in to roost near the camping area. I tried to get pictures but they spooked and my camera failed to take the picture. I'll be going back out to the lake and if I can get better pictures I will send them to you if you would like."
Bert Frenz, "Ben, they're Wood Storks alright. They breed in Florida and along the Gulf Coast and then wander in our direction post-breeding. They start showing up in July and through summer and early fall. It's getting a bit late to find them in our area, so yours was a good sighting."

Vultures

Black Vulture: (97) 27 November (Brush Freeman), circling around power plant at Lake Fayette, Fayette County [good count].

Turkey Vulture: (300 migrating) 14 October (Sue Wiedenfeld, 11 others), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [good count].
Turkey Vulture: (1555) 26 October (Jeffrey Hanson), north and east of Carlson, eastern Travis County [massive migration accompanying arrival of cold front].

Brush Freeman, "This is good weather for the BIG push of Turkey Vultures that normally start passing through in greater numbers about this time of the year though I have not noted any so far today. I would be curious as to what birds this front brought into the lakes in West and North Texas. [arrival of cold front].
Jeffrey Hanson, "Spent vast majority of 5+ hours on Sunday north and/or east of Carlson in Travis Co., with almost 1.5 hours spent within literal spitting distance of the intersection where Travis, Bastrop and Williamson counties meet. Highlights were ... large numbers of migrating Turkey Vultures, etc. I reached Giese Ln. by 8:40 or so, and for the next hour I saw just about nothing of interest. I eventually wended my way up to (and a bit beyond) the aforesaid intersection of the three counties. On my way back as I rounded the corner I looked up and immediately slammed on my brakes (thankfully I was in the middle of nowhere) as I could see hundreds of TVs streaming right overhead to the SSW. For the next hour I conducted an impromptu hawk watch, tallying some impressive results (below). ... All of the birds were traveling towards whatever direction the wind was blowing. By the end of the counting the wind was due north. I decided to stop counting not just because the birds were becoming so few that it didn't seem worth my time, but also because nearly all of the birds were coming from far north and east of me. With the shift in the wind they were mainly migrating 1+ mile east of me, barely visible even with my scope, and my eyes were seriously hurting after 20+ minutes of squinting and counting."

Hawks, Eagles, Kites

Bert Frenz, "I tabulated an amazing 52 reports of Osprey this season [m.obs.]. Generally considered an uncommon species fall visitor in Central and East Texas, this season certainly had a good showing. Counties represented include: Bell, Fayette, Marion, McLennan, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Smith, Titus, Travis, Washington, and Williamson."

Swallow-tailed Kite: (1) 22 August; (1) 27 August (Dan Calloway), CR 464 about 3 miles east of Coupland in southeast Williamson County [casual].

White-tailed Kite: (1) 10 August (Ed Fair), Caldwell County [rare].
White-tailed Kite: (1 adult, 1 juvenile) 30 September (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), campground at Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [casual; only one other September record shown on Pineywoods checklist].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "Two White-tailed Kites, an adult and a juvenile, were a surprise at the campground at Alazan Bayou on Sept 30 (DW, JF), but they were not seen again in spite of numerous visits to the area. Were these birds migrants from somewhere?"

White-tailed Kite: (1) 4 November (Brush Freeman), north of Garfield, eastern Travis County [rare].
White-tailed Kite: (1) 14 November (Darrell Vollert), over his residence on FM 1155, Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare].

Mississippi Kites remained in nesting areas of Brazos and Washington counties until 17 August and migration was noted the next day. First migrants were reported in Montgomery County on 5 August.
Mississippi Kite: (6) 5 August (Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, Montgomery County [first migration report].
Mississippi Kite: (at least 6, probably 1 nest site) June to at least mid August (Matt Wagner), Woodlake, Wellborn area, College Station, Brazos County [summer sightings for 5+ years, increased numbers this year].
Mississippi Kite: (up to 3 adults, and 2 juveniles) through July; (2 adults, 1 juvenile perched and soaring) 2 August; (1 adult soaring) 4 August; (5 adults) 9 August; (1 adult soaring) 16 August (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Washington County [breeding data].
Mississippi Kite: (2 juveniles, 3 adults) 4 August; (8 adults soaring) 11 August; (1 juvenile being fed by 2 adults) 12 August (Darrell Vollert); (1 juvenile being fed by 2 adults) 17 August (Fred & Mary Brandt), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County [breeding data].
Mississippi Kite: (20 adults, 1 sub-adult, 1 HY) lift-off 9 AM 18 August (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County [migration].
Mississippi Kite: (8 roosted) 28 August (Sharon Kersten), XE Ranch Nature Preserve, Milam County [few reports for this county].

Sharon Kersten, "We have been fortunate this past few weeks to have several Mississippi Kites roosting in snags on the Preserve. In the past three years we owned the property, this is the first time we observed this. Eight Miss. Kites spent the night (and a good part of the next day) on a snag just below the cabin while another group roosted in a snag in a bottomland pasture. Several times in the past few weeks we have observed Kites on both of these snags, but no others, although there are plenty of snags on this 220 acres."

Mississippi Kite migration peaked on 3 September in Bastrop County when Brush Freeman counted ~550 kites over Utley and Alvin Cearley watched ~300 near Smithville.
Mississippi Kite: (~550) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [substantial migration].

Brush Freeman, 1st post, "Next came the Mississippi Kites seen on and off all morning which I suspect over-nighted nearby given their low altitude. Did not do a count of them but est. 160-170"
Brush Freeman, 2nd post, "I mentioned a number of Miss. Kites in my previous post. Well I just got back from a ~3/8 mile walk to the mailbox and the kites are really coming over today along with a few other raptors etc. I saw a string of kites a few minutes ago that contained well over 80 birds but also a few smaller groups in addition to the ones seen this morning. Corpus is about 160 miles to the due south of here so assuming they can cover at the minimum of 25 mph, you will likely start seeing herds of them by 5:30-6:00 pm. assuming they fly straight through. I am not sure where the hawk watch is conducted, as I have never been there, so maybe you are even closer. Just a rough guess but suspect I have seen close to 400 kites today and it is only 1:00pm. Maybe Hornsby will pick up on some of these but that watch is a bit west for the bulk of raptor migration."
Brush Freeman, quarterly report, "Mississippi Kite, ~550, 9/3 Utley, Bastrop Co."
Jeff Hanson, at Hornsby Bend Hawk Watch, "After reading Brush's posts it is clear where the migrant hawks were today - Bastrop! Try as I may, I was only able to muster three total migrant hawks; one Swainson's, and two Mississippi Kites."

Mississippi Kite: (14) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Elgin, Bastrop County.

Brush Freeman, "Notable also are the crickets. Looks like another explosion of them at least in Bastrop Co. this year. At the HEB in Elgin, there were 10's of thousands of them on the front of the building to the point that small drifts of dead ones were at the base of the walls. The parking lot was well oiled with smashed ones. I saw this same thing at two other locations in Elgin and one in Utley.. I did not see any birds that appeared to be interested in them. Perhaps they are already sick of them. I did see about 14 Miss. Kites working very low over a close cropped field and perhaps this is what they were feeding on (?) as Dragonflies were scare this morning."

Mississippi Kite: (300) 3 September (Alvin Cearley), Smithville, Bastrop County.

Alvin Cearley, adding to Brush Freeman's post, "Ah yes! Just south of Bastrop/Smithville, we have had several large kettles of kites today. Yesterday afternoon we had +-300 kites come in to the trees at the top of our driveway to roost. It was a pretty spectacular sight. This is the second time this year we have had large numbers of kites come in for the evening."

Mississippi Kite: (50) 3 September (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill Subdivision, Washington County.

Darrell Vollert, "This afternoon around 3:15PM in Chappell Hills Subdivision north of Chappell Hill about (50) Mississippi Kites sailed by heading south. At least a third of these kites were birds of the year. The kites skirted the eastern edge of a thunderstorm."

Mississippi Kite: (1) 1 November (Sumita Prasad), Smith Point Hawk Watch, Chambers County [very late sighting].

Sumita Prasad, "Here are the species totals for the year: … Mississippi Kite 3740. ... Mississippi Kites fell below the 6-yr average by 4%, but this average is largely skewed by the extremely large number of MIKIs counted last year (N = 7879). When compared to the average number of MIKIs seen per season excluding the 2002 count (1997-2001, avg.= 3,100.4), the 2003 MIKI season total is more than 20% above than that 5-year MIKI average. Mississippi Kites and Swallow-tailed Kites are typically early migrants. The last recorded date of MIKI observed at SPHW- fall 2003 was on 1 November -a VERY late date record of a single MIKI, with the next-to-last sighting of 2 MIKIs on 17 Oct."

Bald Eagle sightings were again common this fall, but David Wolf noted that they seem to be arriving earlier than in the past.
Bald Eagle: (2 adults) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County
Bald Eagle: (1) 13 September (Peggy Harding), her yard, Rusk County.
Bald Eagle: (1) 23 September (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County.
Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 23 September (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [early migrant].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "As they increase in numbers, Bald Eagles are apparently moving southward notably earlier than in the past. This year an adult kettled over Central Heights with a flock of Broad-wings on Sept 23, while 7 (6 ad.) at TX 147 and Marion Ferry on Oct. 10 surely includes some early migrants (DW)."

Bald Eagle: (8) 27 September (NETFO hawk watch), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [good count].
Bald Eagle: (1) 23 September; (2 adults) 28 September; (2 immature) 26 October; (2 adults, 1 immature) 2 November and more sightings thereafter (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County.

George Russell, 26 October, "A juvenile Bald Eagle soared only a few feet above the new American flag that I had just raised on the flagpole. Had I had my camera in hand I could have gotten an amazing photo. The Eagle was accompanied by groups of mostly Turkey Vultures (up to 50 Turkey V's) and one Osprey and another darker juvenile Bald Eagle, as well as flocks of soaring Pelicans of up to 50 birds or so."

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 2 October; (2 immature) 15 October (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WMA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County.
Bald Eagle: (1 immature, likely a 2nd year bird) 7 October (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park, Lake Belton, Bell County.
Bald Eagle: (7, including 6 adults) 10 October (David Wolf), TX 147 and Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina and San Augustine counties [early migrants].
Bald Eagle: (2 immature) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties.
Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 2 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County
Bald Eagle: (1) 2 November (Kreg Ellzey), Sam Rayburn Reservoir at Hwy 103 bridge, Angelina County
Bald Eagle: (2) 9 November (Jerry Walls & Darrell Vollert), Gibbons Creek reservoir, Grimes County
Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 14 November (Homer Rushing), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Bald Eagle: (1) 15 November (Harvey Truskett), Harrison County.
Bald Eagle: (2) 16 November (Harvey Truskett), Upshur County.
Bald Eagle: (1 adult, 1 immature) 8 November (Brenda Muncrief); (1 adult) 18 November (Oscar Carmona), Huntsville State Park, Walker County.
Bald Eagle: (1) 30 November (Brush Freeman), Sayer's Road, Bastrop County.

Cooper's Hawk: (1 juvenile) 28 September (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch, Travis County.

Peg Wallace, "This bird put on quite a show! Came blasting into the compost basin from the north, tried to go underneath one of the Scarabs (one of the compost-turner machines)while chasing shorebirds, then came up onto the bank, where it fluttered against the window of a parked van. It ended up on the ground next to the van, then flew up and perched on top for several minutes before disappearing. Obviously a juvenile!"

Broad-winged Hawk: (pair raised 2 young) summer; (4 departed) 12 August (Fred Gehlbach), Woodway Ravine, McLennan County [rare].

Fred Gehlbach, 19 August, "Adults [kites] occasionally sat and foraged under forest canopy like the single broad-winged hawk pair that also raised 2 young about 800 m from the nearest known kite nest. On August 12th, when the broadwings disappeared (presumably migrated) these same kites (same area-behavior) with young were joined by two additional adult kites and appeared to be in a migratory flock."

Broad-winged Hawk: (200) 20 September (Diane Jones, Dorothy Metzer), Caddo Lake, Marion County
Broad-winged Hawk: (250-300) 22 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [common].
Broad-winged Hawk: (410) 26 September (Peter Barnes), UT Health Center, Tyler, Smith County.
Broad-winged Hawk: (523) 27 September (NETFO hawk watch), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [good count].

Peter Barnes, September NETFO Newsletter, "It was a good year for migrating Broad-winged Hawks in the eastern sections of the region, with 200 birds seen over the west end of Caddo Lake on Sept 20 (DJ, DM), 250-300 at Lake Bob Sandlin on Sept 22 (CF, JF), 410 over the UT Health Center at Tyler on Sept 26 (PB) and 523 over Lake O' the Pines at the NETFO hawk watch on Sept 27. In contrast, totals were significantly lower than usual in the western portions of north-east Texas."

Short-tailed Hawk: (1) 20 November (Ben Archer Jr.), San Marcos, Comal County [species not listed on Freeman's 2003 Oaks & Prairies checklist, nor on the Austin area checklist].

Austin RBA, "On the 20th: Ben Archer, Jr. reported a SHORT-TAILED HAWK in San Marcos at LBJ Dr. and Craddock St. This is an accidental species for the Austin reporting area."

Swainson's Hawk: (1) 9 August (monthly count), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [early edge of migration].
Swainson's Hawks: (13) 7 September (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch, Travis County [numbers increasing].

Peg Wallace, "Swainson's Hawks are definitely starting to come through, and I was treated to several that came low enough for me to watch them playing in the breeze above the field across the compost. The local hawks weren't happy, and I saw confrontations between Swainson's and a juvenile Red-tail, a juvenile Red-shouldered, and an Osprey!"

Swainson's Hawk: (300) 18 September; (hundreds) 30 September (Shirley and Dan Wilkerson), large area approximately 2 miles from Gustine on Hwy 36, Comanche County [a peak migration route appears a bit west of where most observers look for this species].

Shirley Wilkerson, 18 September, "Dan was on his way to Comanche this morning [9-18-03], and there is another grounding of Swainson's Hawks, mostly immatures between Hamilton and Comanche, 1 mile West of Gustine on Hwy 36, and there are 100's of Swainson's on the ground. Also saw a few Northern Harriers. He was watching from the side of the road at the entrance to the Deep S_____Cattle Company, just as in the previous past two years. This must be a yearly fly-way stop-over for these huge kettles. We are curious if anyone else in the area has noticed this yearly grounding."
Shirley Wilkerson, 30 September, "Dan and I went to Comanche Tuesday, 9-30-03. We saw another grounding of Swainson's Hawks. Called DeWitt Patton, and he and his wife joined us around 3:30. The hawks were in a field approx. 2 miles before Gustine on Hwy 36 where the Highway Department has all of it's equipment and piles of gravel, in the fields of the Deep S_____ Cattle Company, just past Gustine, and in the county roads to the north of this Cattle Company, on country roads 330, 322 - I think - and FM 1476. They make a square, with Co. Rd. 322 (I think) paralleling Hwy 36. They were in fields just to the west of 330, as well, on Hwy 36. All day long, they were circling above, sometimes in kettles of 1 or 200, but landed once again in the various fields and continued to feed on grasshoppers. I also jotted down Co. Road 591. (They must have been in a field on this country road as well for me to have jotted it down). When we finished chores at the farm, we looked again on the way home, but they were nowhere to be found at sundown in any of these places. Seemed kind of late for them to move on, as I last saw them at around 4:30 p.m."

Swainson's Hawk: (5000+) 11-12 October (Jeffrey Hanson, Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawk Watch, Travis County [unusually large number].

Austin RBA, "On the 13th: Several large kettles of Swainson's Hawks were reported moving over central and west Austin. Number estimates were in the thousands. Large numbers of Swainson's hawks (over 5000) were also reported on the 11th and 12th at the Hornsby Bend Hawk Watch by Jeff Hanson and Peg Wallace."

Swainson's Hawk: (168) 13 October (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Grangaer Lake, Williamson County.
Swainson's Hawk: (2000) 14 October (Sue Wiedenfeld, 11 others), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [unusually large number].
Swainson's Hawk: (kettles of up to 300+) 14 October (David Cimprich), over Kempner, Lampasas County [good count].
Swainson's Hawk: (3) 26 October (Jeffrey Hanson), north and east of Carlson, eastern Travis County [late migrant; rare].

White-tailed Hawk: (1) 10 October (Bob Norris); (1) 18 October (Georgina Schwartz and 5 other Comal County Birders), megafield east of New Braunfels airport, Guadalupe County [very rare; first county record?; this is the same field where sandhills, Burrowing Owls and longspurs have been seen historically].
White-tailed Hawk: (1 adult) 30 November (Mike Austin), Morrison Road, Waller County [rare].

A number of atypical Red-tailed Hawks were reported this season.
Harlan's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 2 August (Shirley & Dan Wilkerson), their farm, Comanche County.

Shirley Wilkerson, "Today, a strong southwesterly wind ahead of a front preceded a very hawky day. Around 10 a.m. Dan and I saw a Harlan's straight above us at our farm in Comanche, 2 miles east of Comanche on Hwy 36."

Krider's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 25 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties.
Western Red-tailed (dark phase) Hawk: (1) 3 November (Fred Collins), Betka Road, central Waller County [presumably the same bird now the 5th year in a row].
camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Fuerte's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1 first-year juvenile light-morph) 12 November (Barry Boyd and ~50 TAMU students), eating a squirrel in front of Scoates Hall, Texas A&M University campus, College Station, Brazos County [photographed].

Barry Boyd, "The hawk in the attached photos is in front of Scoates Hall as I write this dining on a squirrel. There are about 50 students watching it, all within about 30 feet of the hawk. It has been there for about an hour. Letting people get that close is unusual. I'm not sure what hawk this is. Can you identify it? I'm thinking juvenile Broadwing."

Red-tailed Hawk (dark morph): (1) 14 November (Dan Wilkerson), CR 190, Grimes County [rare form].

Shirley Wilkerson, "Friday, coming home from a TMPA meeting, Dan came back through County Road 190 and saw a Dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk. He said it was very, very dark, with no white under the neck, as in the Harlan's, but definitely had the red tail. It was sitting in a dead oak tree. Today, we went back to C.R. 190 to try to relocate him, but with no luck."

Red-tailed Hawk (melanistic): (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), near Kirtley, Fayette County.

Ferruginous Hawk: (1) 2 August (Shirley & Dan Wilkerson), their farm, Comanche County [occasional].
Ferruginous Hawk: (1 light-morph immature) 19 October (Rich Kostecke), near junction of Donahoe and Link roads, south of junction with FR 2268, southeast Bell County [rare].

Falcons, Caracaras

Crested Caracara: (2) 23 August (Rich Kostecke), Slough ponds near Temple, Bell County [presumedly a pair that perennially nests in the area].
Crested Caracara: (1) 27 September (NETFO hawk watch), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [first county record; this species is not even listed on the 2001 Pineywoods checklist, and is rare on the 1999 Northeast Texas checklist where it occurs in the western counties; further evidence of the expanding range of caracara].

Peter Barnes, September NETFO Newsletter, "Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a migrant Crested Caracara at the NETFO hawk watch, providing a first record for Marion Co. on Sept 27. This species is expanding its range dramatically, and this sighting raises the question of where this bird spent the summer."

Crested Caracara: (2) 16 October (Brush Freeman, Dan Ricks), near Goldthwaite, Mills County [rare for region].
Crested Caracara: (2) 24 October (Debbie Moore), Sawdust Ranch, Burleson County [uncommon, but Debbie has noticed that they are getting more common in the county].
Crested Caracara: (2) 30 November (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Rd., Waller County [behavior; fairly common species in county].

Fred Collins, "Our Farm Repka Road Caracara 2 feeding on a pork roast bone we put out for the "animals" within a couple of hours of being placed on the spot near the creek. For the last 2-3 weeks or perhaps longer there are 2-5 Caracara fly south over our property at first light headed south. About sunset they are seen flying north across our property to roost. I suspect they may roost in a live oak grove just north of our property but have not confirmed the roost site."

It was a good season for Merlins, occasional to uncommon migrants in Central and East Texas.
Merlin: (1) 23 August (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Peg Wallace, "The real highlight of the day for me was in the mid-afternoon, when the first Merlin of the season showed up. It announced its presence in typical Merlin fashion, by letting one of this years' juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks know who is really the boss at Hornsby! A little later, it re-appeared to teach the same lesson to one of the Red-tails. You gotta love Merlins!"

Merlin: (1 adult male columbarius) 20 September (Tim Fennell), Friendship Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.

Tim Fennell, "... migrating raptors (including the always awesome sight of of an adult Merlin and an adult Peregrine cruising by at eye-level as they scattered the shorebirds at Friendship Park and Willis Creek Park respectively."

Merlin: (1) 17 and 20 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [occasional].
Merlin: (1) 27 August (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Merlin: (1) 12 October (Stu Wilson, et al.), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Merlin: (1) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties [occasional].
Merlin: (1 female Taiga) 18 October (Robin Dennis), south Austin in the Sunset Valley area, Travis County.
Merlin: (1) 30 October (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [occasional].

Randy Pinkston, 30 October, "The highlight was a nice Merlin that swept along the shoreline and scattered a group of Spotted Sandpipers."
Randy Pinkston, Fall Report, "Fall 2003 was a banner year for this species with multiple sightings at multiple locations 24 Sept through the close of the reporting period."

Merlin: (1) 9 November (Jerry Walls & Darrell Vollert), Gibbons Creek reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].
Merlin: (1) 17 November (Robert Bates), between Leander and Liberty Hill, Williamson County.

Robert Bates, "This morning as I was leaving my home between Leander and Liberty Hill, I was pleased to find a Merlin perched atop a dead tree. The Merlin on the other hand, as Merlin generally are, was unhappy to see the resident Northern Harrier hunting the fields. And repeatedly let the Northern Harrier know, he was now boss!"

Merlin: (1) 18 November (Oscar Carmona), Huntsville State Park, Walker County.
Merlin: (1 female, light prairie race) 30 November (Fred Collins), Pattison Road, central Waller County [occasional]
Merlin: (1) 30 November (Rich Kostecke), central Bell County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 4-5 August (Randy Pinkston), Slough Pond near Temple, Bell County [rare in August].
Peregrine Falcon: (1 immature) 9 August (monthly count); (same) 15 August (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare in August].
Peregrine Falcon: (1 immature) 2 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend hawk watch, Travis County.
Peregrine Falcon: (1 adult anatum) 20 September (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.

Tim Fennell, "... migrating raptors (including the always awesome sight of of an adult Merlin and an adult Peregrine cruising by at eye-level as they scattered the shorebirds at Friendship Park and Willis Creek Park respectively."

Peregrine Falcon: (3) 25 September (Jeffrey Hanson); (1) 27 September (Jeffrey Hanson); (1) 28 September (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch.
Peregrine Falcon: (1) 27 September (Frank Bumgardner, Jane Derrick, John Muldrow, et al.), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [occasional].
Peregrine Falcon: (1) 12 October (Stu Wilson, ~18 others for Big Sit), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Peregrine Falcon: (1) 27 October (Nancy Bird), perched in her yard near Huntington, Angelina County [rare].

Prairie Falcon: (1) 28 September (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch, Travis County [rare].

Peg Wallace, "The Raptor of the Day for me was a Prairie Falcon that went right overhead. It was fairly high and hard to see, but I clearly saw the dark axillaries"

Rails

Virginia Rail: (1) 15-16 September (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [rare].
Virginia Rail: (1) 27 October (Rich Kosteche), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [not listed for fall on the Bell County checklist; rare on the Austin area checklist].

Sora: (2) 26 August; (2 immature, 1 adult) 28 August (Jeffrey Hanson); (1 adult, 1 immature) 1 September (Ted Eubanks), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch, Travis County [rare].

Jeffrey Hanson, 28 August, "Much to my surprise I had no less than 3 Sora (2 imm., 1 ad.) picking around the grassy edges within sight of the hawkwatch this afternoon. Who knows how many I would have found if I spent any time searching the grassy edges in the central and western part of the pond. I also saw 2 Sora two days ago from the hawkwatch. Our new checklist has them as "Very Rare (e.g. 2 or less records per decade)" any time in August. ........ Oooops!..... We'll fix that next time I guess."

Sora: (1) 6 September (Candy Troop, Peggy Harding, et al.), Texas Eastman in Longview, Harrison County [occasional, a bit early].
Sora: (1) 8 September (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [a bit early].

Purple Gallinule: (6 half-adults) 24 September; (2 adults) 10 October (Georgette Guernsey), Kurth Lake, Angelina County [very rare this late; known breeding colony; but late dates are much later than usual, with no September records and only one mid-October record shown on Pineywoods checklist].
Purple Gallinule: (1, injured) late October (Susan Esterson - sp?) to 27 November (Jeffrey Hanson), Mills Pond at north end of Wells Branch community, northern Travis County [no prior records for October; only one for September is shown on the Austin area checklist].

Jeffrey Hanson, "At about 8am this morning, I confirmed that a PURPLE GALLINULE can still be seen along the north and west shore of MILLS POND at the north end of the Wells Branch community in northern Travis Co. … Interestingly, this bird was initially seen about 1 month ago. It will likely stay until its demise as this bird only has use of its right wing. Lastly, I was floored when just before I left I saw it catch, kill (by beating it against a shoreline tree root), and start eating a small fish. What a neat thing to watch."
Austin RBA, "On Nov. 27th: Jeff Hanson confirmed that a PURPLE GALLINULE can still be seen at Mills Pond at the north end of the Wells Branch community in Travis Co. This bird has been at the pond for about a month and appears to have an injured wing. This bird was first reported by Susan Esterson (sp?)."

As is often the case, Stillhouse Hollow Lake held the record this season for American Coots. Numbers started building after mid September and surpassed two thousand by the start of October. By the end of the period they reached an estimated 10,000 coots.

09/20/2003 (95) Rich Kostecke and Anthony Floyd
10/02/2003 (2000+) Rich Kostecke.
10/04/2003 (2925+) Rich Kostecke
10/06/2003 (~3000) Rich Kostecke
10/15/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
10/18/2003 (3950) Rich Kostecke
10/26/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
10/27/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
10/30/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
11/11/2003 (~2650) Rich Kostecke
11/16/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
11/22/2003 (thousands) Rich Kostecke
12/06/2003 (~10,000) Rich Kostecke

Cranes

Sandhill Crane: (3) 27 August (Jeff Mundy), prairie a few miles west of Sealy, Austin County [very early arrival; very rare].

Jeff Mundy, "Three sandhill cranes were on the prairie just a few miles west of Sealy, visible from I-10, yesterday afternoon. During the winter, they definitely frequent this area, but at the end of August, their presence seemed well ahead of normal schedule."

Sandhill Crane: (740) 27 October (Karen Arquette), Elm Mott, McLennan County [good count].

Whooping Crane: (2 in small flock of Sandhills) 27 October (husband of Nada Wareham), Elm Mott, McLennan County [casual migrant].

Karen Arquette, "I received a call from Nada Wareham at 11:00 am this morning Oct 27th that her husband saw two Whooping Cranes in a small flock of Sandhills flying over their ranch in Elm Mott. A year ago and one week later (Nov 5th 2002) I saw two Whooping cranes in a small flock of Sandhills from my back porch ( and I called Nada and told her to watch for them ) . The Wareham's ranch is about a quarter mile south west of my home. While working in my flower beds today I counted 740 Sandhills from 10 am till 12:30 pm and I didnt see that small flock with the Whoopers !! I wasn't looking for the Whooping cranes because it was a full week earlier than last year."
Tom Stehn, "An aerial census on October 23, 2003 of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 5 adults + 0 young = 5 total."
Tom Stehn, "An aerial census on October 29, 2003 of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 45 adults + 4 young = 49 total."

Whooping Crane: (2 adults, 1 young) 10 November (Russ Schaffer, fide Rich Kostecke), Fort Hood, Coryell County [casual migrant].

Rich Kostecke, "This morning, 10 November, Russ Schaffer, one of Fort Hood's game wardens observed a family group (2 adults, 1 young) of Whooping Cranes on a quarry pond on North Fort Hood (Coryell County). I have no information on whether or not these birds were banded. Anyway, these birds were observed ~0830. Gil Eckrich and I, as well as a few other people, tried to confirm the sighting, but were too late. The whoopers had apparently taken off by 0900 when we arrived on the scene."

Plovers

Snowy Plover: (1) 1 August (Mollie Kloepper), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon at this location in August].
Snowy Plover: (1-2) 11-28 August (Randy Pinkston, Rich Kostecke), Slough ponds between Temple and Belton, Bell County [rare].

Randy Pinkston, "I recorded this species 11-28 Aug, regularly from Slough pond (Temple) and once at Temple Lake Park. Two individuals was the daily maximum."

Snowy Plover: (14) 12 September (Rich Kostecke), Lake Belton near Cowhouse Creek, Bell County [rare].

Killdeer: (350) 13 November (David Wolf), along the Attoyac at the TX 103 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [unusually large number, following a cold front].

Mountain Plover: (62) 19 October; (25) 2 November; (29) 8 November; (46) 15 November; (50) 23 November (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Mountain Plover: (5) 15 November (Rich Kostecke), Alligator Road, Bell County [rare].

Rich Kostecke, "On 15 Nov, I spent most of the day in Williamson County (Granger area) on a joint Travis and Twin Lakes Audubon Societies trip. However, we did stray briefly into Bell County (Alligator, right near the county lines). While on Alligator Road, Tim Fennell and Scott Summers were eventually able to get me on a small (5 birds), flying flock of Mountain Plovers that came out of Williamson County and flew well into Bell County air space - my first Bell County Mountain Plovers and #268 on my Bell County list for the year."

Avocets, Stilts

Black-necked Stilt: (9) 14 August (Joe Yelderman), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [nesting].

Karen Arquette, Editor, The Roadrunner. Central Texas Audubon Society, Waco. Issue 203 (Sep). 2 pp. "Joe Yelderman: 8/14 I just visited the sewer ponds ... there are two Black-necked Stilt families. One has 4 almost fully grown chicks and the other had one small chick."

Black-necked Stilt: ("a number", including 2 chicks that were shorter than the rest) 7 September (Peg Wallace), Hornsby Bend Hawkwatch, Travis County [nesting].

American Avocet: (2) 31 October (Matt White), Lake Cypress Springs, Franklin County [rare].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "Two American Avocets were at underbirded Lake Cypress Springs in Franklin Co. on Oct 31, while small numbers were at Lake Tawakoni and Cooper Lake during the month (all MW)."

American Avocet: (3) 2 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].
American Avocet: (4) 16 November (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].

Waders

Willet: (1) 23 August (Peg Wallace); (1) 28 August (Jeffrey Hanson); (1) 31 August to 1 September (Ted Eubanks); (2) 12 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon at this location].
Willet: (9, probably all juveniles) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [occasional].
Willet: (2) 12 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [occasional].

Long-billed Curlew: (1 juvenile) 2 August; (1-4) 2-19 August (Randy Pinkston), Slough pond near Temple, Bell County [early arrival; very rare].

Randy Pinkston, "Previously unrecorded by me inside Bell County, this fall I observed from one to four individuals at Slough pond (Temple) 2-19 Aug. While this was partly the result of my Big Year effort, I believe 2003 was a banner year for this migrant in central Texas."

Long-billed Curlew: (no.?) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare].
Long-billed Curlew: (2 juveniles) 12 September (Rich Kostecke), Lake Belton near Cowhouse Creek, Bell County [rare].

Marbled Godwit: (1) 4 September (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [casual; 3rd county record].

Randy Pinkston, "Single birds observed at Temple Park on Lake Belton 21 Aug and 4 Sept. I'm aware of only one previous record for Bell County."

Marbled Godwit: (1) 12 September (Rich Kostecke), Lake Belton near Cowhouse Creek, Bell County [casual].

Sanderlings, a rare migrant through Central Texas, were found more often than usual this fall in Williamson and Bell counties.
Sanderling: (juveniles) 25 August and 4-9 September (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [rare].

Randy Pinkston, "Juveniles observed at Temple Park on Lake Belton 25 Aug and 4-9 Sept. Sanderling is normally a rare but regular migrant in our area."

Sanderling: (1 adult, 2 juveniles) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [rare].
Sanderling: (3) 20 September (Tim Fennell), Friendship Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare, photographed].
Sanderling: (2) 13 October (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].
Sanderling: (1) 19 October (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [rare].

Tim Fennell, Fall Report, "Sanderling: 9/1/03-10/19/03: Good year for this species at Granger Lake. High counts of 3 birds on Granger Lake on 9/1 and 9/20."

Dunlin: (1) 2 October (Rich Kostecke), Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [very rare; not listed on 2000 Bell County checklist].

Rich Kostecke, "A Dunlin briefly made a stop at the beach at Dana Peak Park before flying off towards Union Grove WMA."

Dunlin: (2) 2 November (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].
Dunlin: (39) 9 November (Jesse Fagan, Rick Schaefer); (10) 13 November (David Wolf); (16) 16 November (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), along the Attoyac at TX 103 bridge, San Augustine County [high count; occasional migrant in East Texas].
Dunlin: (1) 15 November (Tim Fennell, Travis & Twin Lakes Audubon Societies), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].
Dunlin: (3) 30 November (Randy Pinkston), mudflats at Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [very rare].

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (2-5) 17-22 August (Randy Pinkston), Slough ponds between Temple and Belton and Temple Lake Park on Lake Belton, Bell County [occasional].
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (2) 19 August (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (1) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), CR 360/359, Granger area, Williamson County.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (1) 1 September (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Alligator Road, Bell County
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (9) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (150+) 11 September (Darrell Vollert), Turf farms on FM 50 and CR 443, Burleson County [occasional; good count].
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (at least 20) 21 September (Ellen Ratoosh, Darrell Vollert), Turf farms, CR 443 and Hwy 50, Burleson County [occasional].
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: (2) 27 September (Tim Fennell), CR 352, Granger area, Williamson County.

Short-billed Dowitcher: (1 juvenile) 2 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend hawk watch, Travis County [rare].

Jeffrey Hanson, "A juv. seen very well at relatively close range, high power, and through a quality scope. The folks from whom I borrowed the scope said there were other dowitchers on P1W, but I did not look for them."

Short-billed Dowitcher: (1 juvenile) 6 September (Randy Pinkston, Rich Kostecke, independently), Iron Bridge Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [first county record].

Randy Pinkston, "This morning, among the many regular shorebird migrants at Iron Bridge Park on Lake Belton, I discovered a bright juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher. I actually heard its call first, then located the bird on the lakeshore. As juvenile dowitchers move through the state over the next couple of months, it is a good time to look for SB at inland locations since the two species are much more easily distinguished at this age."
Randy Pinkston, "One bright juvenile heard and observed at Lake Belton 6 Sept for the FIRST CONFIRMED COUNTY RECORD."

Dowitcher species: (3) 12 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [occasional].

Wilson's Snipe: (~50) 16 November (Ed Fair), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [good count].

Ed Fair, "scattered among the other residents on the three islands were approximately fifty (50) Wilson's Snipe. Again, the species is not particularly noteworthy, but the number seemed high."

American Woodcock: (1) 30 October (Stu Miller), twice flushed along Bull Creek in St. Edwards District Park in Austin, Travis County [early arrival].
American Woodcock: (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Lake Fayette, Fayette County [occasional].

Brush Freeman, "Much more enjoyable was the walk along the nature and hike and bike trail that goes around the lake. I did the whole 6 mile round trip walk. Passerines were thick and very numerous, the seed and berry crop outstanding. The woodland were lush and green showing little or no signs of the season and all was untouched by any frost. Even the post oaks were yet to turn or lose their leaves. … The highlight of the day, and perhaps my year, was the find of an American Woodcock, first detected as it walked through some dry leaves. I spotted it as it stopped under some briers. It was less than 25 feet away and was awash in early morning sunshine. Alert and tense, it sat still as stone as I soaked up every detail of its gorgeous plumage. The huge eye stared at me unblinking and I stared back for a good 8-10 minutes, well aware of my good fortune. No photograph or painting could ever remotely capture what I was looking at then. It was one of those rare birding moments that will forever stick in my memory."

Red-necked Phalarope: (1 juvenile/immature) 28-29 August (Jeffrey Hanson); 30 August (Isaac Sanchez); (2 photographed) 31 August; (0) 1 September (Ted Eubanks), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Jeffrey Hanson, 28 August, "By far the highlight of the day (and probably this birding year for me in cent. TX) was when Rich Kaskan and I located what turned out to be a juv. Red-necked Phalarope in the middle of P1W. BTW: It was still spinning and eating in the very middle of P1W as of ~6:00pm when I left it to come here and type this post."
Isaac Sanchez, "My wife and I saw it about 10:30 this morning on Pond 1 West. There are several Wilson's Phalaropes mixed in as well. Look for the one with a darker back, black strip on the back of the head, and a pronounced eye strip."

Gulls

Laughing Gull: (1 sub-adult) 4 October (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Jeffrey Hanson, "Around midday on Sat. the hawkwatch was visited by what initially appeared to be a R-b Gull coming in from the SE. A scope view of this bird from <300', in good light, revealed a sub-adult LAUGHING GULL (!) - which ultimately kettled for a minute or so in front of the hawkwatch over the drying basins then headed north out of sight... go figure, wow!"

Laughing Gull: (2 adults) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties [occasional].

Franklin's Gull: (20) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Chamber Reservoir, Freestone County [early migrants; rare].
Franklin's Gull: (576 in 12 flocks) 18 November (David Wolf), passed high over Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [high count, "as raging winds hit from the northwest"].
Franklin's Gull: (2) 23 November (Rich Kostecke), Temple Lake Park, Belton Reservoir, Bell County [late migrants].
Franklin's Gull: (1) 28 November (Tim Fennell), Lakeside Park, Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [late migrant; photographed].

Ring-billed Gull: (2) 23 August (Rich Kostecke), Slough ponds near Temple, Bell County [early arrival; rare].
Ring-billed Gull: (1) 24 August (Darrell Vollert), Fayette Lake, Fayette County [early arrival; rare].
Ring-billed Gull: (1 adult, 1 first-winter) 4 September (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [rare through first week of September].

Herring Gull: (1+) 26 October (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [early arrival; rare].
Herring Gull: (2) 29 October (Rich Kostecke, Eric Carpenter), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [rare].
Herring Gull: (1) 8 November (Hornsby Bend monthly count, 5 observers, fide Russell Nelson), Travis County [rare].
Herring Gull: (1) 11 and 16 November (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [rare through November].

Thayer's Gull: (1 first-winter) 28 October (Randy Pinkston); 29 October (Rich Kostecke, Eric Carpenter); 2 November (Rich Kostecke); 11 November (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [casual; first county record].

Randy Pinkston, "This afternoon (28 October) at Temple Park on Lake Belton I discovered a first-winter Thayer's Gull in the company of roughly forty Ring-billed Gulls. I found the bird at about 1630 and carefully studied it through my scope for the next half hour. The bird was very cooperative. While my experience with Thayer's is limited, and I hesitate to use the word 'obvious' with this species, this particular individual was a textbook Thayer's down to the finest detail. I wish I were a photographer, alas I'm not, but my best written documentation will be forthcoming to the TBRC. Better than that, I wouldn't be surprised if the bird hangs around and maybe someone interested in chasing their lifer Thayer's can get some nice images. This one would make a superb first Thayer's. Speaking of firsts, the gull certainly represents a first county record for Bell, and perhaps the first regional record in more than seven years.
"At 1700, without provocation, the bird took off and flew away to the west and then the northeast over Lake Belton. I was unable to wait around for it to return but this is the typical route that gulls and terns take when foraging over the lake. They loaf and roost on a boom surrounding a swimming beach at the park where I expect the birds, and hopefully the Thayer's, to be in the morning. "
Rich Kostecke, "This morning, 29 October, I arrived at Temple Lake Park on Belton Reservoir (Bell County) around 6:45AM or so in search of the first winter Thayer's Gull reported by Randy Pinkston on the evening of 28 October. Soon after I arrived, Eric Carpenter, also arrived at the park. Anyway, between approximately 6:45-7:30AM we were both able to get good views of the Thayer's Gull. Initially, the gull was on the water in the middle of the lake out from the swimming area (thus, a scope was necessary to get good views of the bird). Eventually it flew north and out of sight for a while, but we eventually relocated it near its original location. It then proceeded to fly into the near shore area, where it landed on the water within the roped off swimming area, where we were able to get really good binocular and scope views of the bird (and Eric was able to get some digital photos of the bird too). Note, at least 60+ Ring-billed Gulls and 30+ Franklin's Gulls were also in the area, which often made for good comparisons among species, but which also complicated matters at times as the Thayer's Gull would occassionally get lost admidst all of the other gulls."
Eric Carpenter, "I've posted some of my Belton Lake gull photos from this morning (29 October) on my website. They can be found at the following URL:
<A HREF="http://www.emyadestes.com/bps/THGU_20031029.htm">http://www.emyadestes.com/bps/THGU_20031029.htm</A>
Austin RBA, Isaac Sanchez, "... This bird is an accidental and the last record for the Austin area goes back to 1996."
Rich Kostecke, 2 November, "1 Thayer's Gull (Temple Lake Park), 1 Herring Gull (Temple Lake Park), 7 Forster's Tern (Temple Lake Park), ... Identification of the Thayer's Gull has been quite the challenge for me (I do not find the ID to be that straightforward in the least). However, after studying 2 large, dark, 1st winter non-ring-billed gulls for nearly an hour (1130-1230) at the swimming area at Temple Lake Park, I am fairly convinced that I had the Thayer's, as well as a Herring. Both birds spent the whole hour swimming around within the roped off swimming area, as well as perching on the floats, and bathing and preening. Anyway, for those who might still be interested in chasing the Thayer's, there is at least a chance that the bird is still around. However, I would suggest patience, as both the Thayer's and Herring flew into the swimming area after I had been in the park for at least 1/2 hour. So, staking out the swimming area might be worthwhile.
Randy Pinkston, "Tuesday, 11 November, the first-winter Thayer's Gull was observed from ~1030-1210 at Temple Park on Belton Lake. Initially I spotted the bird in flight over the middle of the lake between Temple Park and Belton dam. An hour later it was relocated with Ring-billed Gulls and a first-winter Herring Gull behind a fishing boat near the point that sticks out north from the park itself. There it landed on the water to rest and preen, allowing careful study for half an hour. From there the gull provided super flight views as it moved north and eastward up the northeastern arm of the lake. Ten minutes later it landed in a group of Ring-billed Gulls on the beach at Temple Park swimming area.
To assist folks who might want to chase this bird with distinguishing it from first-winter Herring Gulls, try to note the following:
1) At first glance in flight, the Thayer's appears to be entirely uniformly pale gray. Closer study reveals relatively darker outer webs and tips on the outer primaries, but their inner webs are pale gray and the undersurface of the primaries is translucent silvery-white all the way to the tips.
2) One look at the folded primaries will give it away. This bird is in very fresh plumage and each primary is edged with a delicate whitish-buffy 'V' at its tip. This lineup of white 'V's along the dark folded primaries can be seen 100-200 meters away with a scope. Today's Herring did not show this feature at all.
3) The scapulars and wing coverts are very neatly checkered with gray-brown on white. I realize that this feature is a matter of degree but you'll recognize it when you see this bird. If you find that you're trying to convince yourself that what you're seeing is the right pattern, then it's not the bird.
4) The bill is entirely black and both shorter and thinner than Herrings.' This feature, coupled with the rounded head and lack of a supraorbital ridge, imparts a rather 'gentle' pigeon-like expression to the bird's face. With that I'm sounding WAY too much like one of those crazy larophiles so I'll quit at this point. Best of luck to anyone who tries for this bird. It has now been present at the same location for two weeks."

Sabine's Gull: (2 immature) 5 October (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), off Lacy's Point in Speegleville II Park, Lake Waco, McLennan County [casual].

Frank Bumgardner, "This morning between 1135 am and noon John Muldor and I had two immature Sabine's Gulls on Lake Waco, McLennan County, just off Lacy's Point in Speegleville II Park. There may have been a third bird, but we were unable to confirm it. The two birds were observed on the water and in flight for approximately thirty plus minutes."

Black-legged Kittiwake: (1) 13 November (Jeff Keeny), Town Lake, Austin, Travis County [casual; no details].

Terns

Something strange happened with Caspian Terns in East Texas this season. While most of the area suffered a paucity of the species, a few visited Lake Livingston throughout September and October with a surprisingly high peak of 100+ on 4 October (George Russell).
Caspian Tern: (7) 25 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [uncommon].
Caspian Tern: (9) 27 September (NETFO hawk watch), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [uncommon].
Caspian Tern: (1) 14 October (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [occasional].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, October, "Caspian Tern numbers were well below normal this month with only scattered records from Cooper Lake and Lake Tawakoni, while the number of Forster's Terns was unusually high, with thousands of individuals present all month."

Caspian Tern: (1) ~27 August to 1 September; (small groups of up to 5) 28 September; (100+) 4 October; (15+) 5 October; (15+) 6 October; (several small groups) 8 October; (~6) 26 October (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County [unusually large number].

George Russell, 4 October, "I would like an expert to confirm but I do not know of any other large terns with bright red-orange beaks that flap about with their heads turned down. They have been increasing in numbers over the last couple of weeks and are now quite numerous. I doubt that they could be Royals."

Common Tern: (1) 14 October (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "... but far rarer that day was a Common Tern (JF, DW), a scarce and easily-overlooked migrant here."

Forster's Tern: (~2000) 8 September (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County [unusually large number].

George Russell, "... near sunset on September 8, 2003, I estimated 2,000 small terns in my field of view with the aid of binoculars from my mother s house. Only one large tern which had the characteristics of a Caspian. "
Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, October, "Caspian Tern numbers were well below normal this month with only scattered records from Cooper Lake and Lake Tawakoni, while the number of Forster's Terns was unusually high, with thousands of individuals present all month."

Least Tern: (1 juvenile) 17 August (Randy Pinkston), Slough Pond near Temple, Bell County [rare].
Least Tern: (15-20) 19 August (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [particularly rare in this number].

Jeffrey Hanson, "Much to my chagrin, I discovered via the hotline that whilst I was straining my eyes for non-existent Miss. Kites (early on) a flock of 15-20 Least Terns were in Pond 2 just 800' or so south of me. What makes the situation worse was that I believe I saw them briefly flying above the dike. Since I had initially spied them w/ the naked eye, I wasn't thinking terns of any sp. When I finally got my binocs and trained them on that area, they had either left, or had gone lower out of sight... oiy! For what it's worth this is an incredible number for this species in this part of central TX - as far as I'm aware of."
Least Tern: (1 first-winter) 2 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend hawk watch, Travis County [rare].
Jeffrey Hanson, "The embarrassing story is that this bird was first seen late morning flying over the western side of P1W. I and two birders from FL, who briefly joined me at the hawkwatch site, originally settled on Forster's as an ID. I was never satisfied w/ that, so after the hawkwatch was over I went down to Pond 2 with a prayer on my lips that somehow the bird had stayed. MUCH to my surprise there it was feeding with the Black Terns. Once I finally got the scope on it there was no question about the ID. At long last, my first Least Tern for central TX!"

Least Tern: (2-3) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare].
Least Tern: (several flying with Forster's/Common Terns) 8 October (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County [rare, particularly this late].

George Russell, "6 pm: 3 species of Terns feeding offshore from the Cathedral. Several small groups of Caspians; mixed groups of very small black-billed Terns that must have been Least, mixed with medium-sized, black-billed Terns that must have been either Common or Forster's."
Bert Frenz to George, "Could be Least Terns, but they are rare in your area, probably passing through in migration. This is also later than all other records I'm aware of for East Texas. The latest I know of is 6 September, although the checklist shows some about a week later. Did you notice the leg color or the terns' call?"
George, "I did not get a good look at the feet. I have not seen any tiny terns since. They were in a couple of small vigorously flying groups associated with the medium sized Terns but tended to stick closely together."

Black Tern: (1) 27 August (Fred Collins), unmarked Road north of FM 2855 that turns into Morrison Road, Rice irrigation reservoir, Waller County ["somewhat unusual on Katy prairie, one of a few or perhaps my only fall record"].

Pigeons, Doves

Eurasian Collared-Doves continue to spread to new sites.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 6 August; (2) 9 August; (3) 11 and 14-15 August; (2) 27 August; (3) 2 September (Darrell Vollert), various Brenham locations, Washington County.

Darrell, "Around 3:45 PM this afternoon [6 August] I noticed two Eurasian Collared-Doves in flight over US290 east of Brenham at Woodward Creek. They were flying in the direction of a mobile home park along US290. I have seen Collared-Doves as far east in county as five miles west of Chappell Hill. They are working there way toward Chappell Hill. They have colonized the area around Trinity Hospital on the south side of Brenham and the neighborhoods around Blue Bell Creamery on the east side of Brenham. On July 30th and August 2nd I saw one Collared-Dove in the Bluebonnet shopping center (south side of US290) and at the Four Corners shopping center (north side of US290) at the intersection of US290 and SH36 in Brenham."
Darrell Vollert, "This afternoon (8/9) I saw (2) Eurasian Collared-Doves at the Four Corners shopping center in Brenham. The shopping center is located at the intersection of US290 and SH36."
08/15/2003, FM 577 near Blue Bell Cremeries, Brenham.
08/27/2003, Murski Homestead B&B near Brenham.
09/02/2003, Four Corners shopping center at intersection of US290 and SH36, Brenham.

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 9 September (Mary Lee Archer), College Station, Brazos County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 14 September (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), McGregor, McLennan County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1-12) throughout the period (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger, Noak and Thrall areas, Williamson County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 28 September (Cathy Liles), Hwy 77 near La Grange, Fayette County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 28 September; (1) 13 October (Cathy Liles), FM 50, Brazos bottoms, Burleson County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 9 October (Cathy Liles), Southwood Valley subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.

Cathy Liles, "on Thursday 10-9-03, we had a big rain and just as it stopped I had an ECDO at my feeder. It spent the afternoon there. I was showing it to my son and we heard a bunch of noisy crows fly to a tree, so we took a look and there was a wet great horned owl being mobbed, soon the blue jays joined in, then a mockingbird started dive bombing it an harassing it, then we heard a non-crow sound and located the hawk it was coming from- a Sharp Shinned Hawk, just a few feet from the owl, also wet and irritated. We watched the growing group pf crows and bluejays and the very calm owl for about 20 minutes before we saw a second Sharp Shinned Hawk in the same trees. About this time our resident Red Bellied Woodpecker stared dive bombing one of the hawks. When we went into the back yard for a closer look, we scared off both hawks and the owl left shortly after. What fun for my non-birding son and for me too."

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (9) 20 November (Mike Mathews), around KC Hall, La Grange, Fayette County.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: (12) 30 November (Fred Collins), Schmidt Road near Morgan Road, central Waller County.

Prior to this fall, adjoining counties Waller and Washington have experienced only small numbers of White-winged Doves. What happened this fall that brought in large numbers? Here's how the numbers built up in Washington County from a handful in summer to 500-600 by the end of August. All sightings by Darrell Vollert.

(20-25) 6 August, lining a power line along West Hilltop Drive in Chappell Hills Subdivision.
Darrell Vollert, "Probably the most WWDOs I have ever seen in the county on one occasion."
(60+) 9 August, Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill.
Darrell Vollert, "a flock flying in an extended line toward the southwest. This is the largest flock of White-winged Doves that I have ever seen in Washington County. Could be part of the large flock that I saw in Chappell Hills subdivision on Wednesday morning."
(5) 11 August, along FM 577 across from Blue Bell Creamery, Brenham.
(5) 14 August, Lubbock Street, South Day Street and along FM 577, Brenham.
(1) 14 August, South Day Street, Brenham.
(60-70) 11 August, along FM 577 across from Blue Bell Creamery, Brenham.
Darrell Vollert, "Three birds seen along FM577 near Blue Bell on 8/14. Sixty to seventy birds seen flying in flocks from southeast to northwest across FM577 in Brenham on 8/15. I watched these birds land in the trees in the neighborhood across the street from Blue Bell. This occurred around 5:45PM. Apparently they were returning from the fields and pastures along Mustang Road and Old Chappell Hill Road."
(500-600) 27 August, Murski Homestead B&B near Brenham.
Darrell Vollert, "On Wednesday morning I spent an hour and 30 minutes surveying the Murski Homestead B&B property just outside of Brenham. ... The most amazing thing I saw during the survey was 500-600 White-winged Doves streaming in from the east and landing in a field of sunflowers and lining the powerlines. The birds started coming in around 8:30AM and continued to land on the property at 10:00AM. Pamela's husband Tom told me he saw 1,000 birds on the property within the last week. Tom hunts doves and he has never seen this many White-wings anywhere in Texas at one time. It's a sight to behold."
(11) 29 August, Stone Street at FM577, Mustang Road, Indian Paintbrush Road, Brenham.
(1) 2 September, Tom Dee Street, Brenham.
(1-9) 13 September to 24 November, Chappell Hill.
(20+) ~24 November, Brenham.
Darrell Vollert, "On the afternoon of Monday, November 24th I saw (7) White-winged Doves in flight over FM2447 east of downtown Chappell Hill. White-winged Doves are now very common in Brenham. Seeing flocks of 20+ birds at one time in Brenham is a pretty common sight. They are especially common around the Blinn College campus, in the neighborhoods around Blue Bell Creamery(FM577), and in the neighborhoods along South Day Street(Hwy. 36)."

Here's the story of a huge build up in central Waller County, decimation during hunting season and then a few remnants thereafter, all reports courtesy of Fred Collins.

(200+, but probably many times that number) 16-22 August, Repka Road, Baethe Road.

Fred Collins, 20 August, "This past weekend on Saturday August 16 there were scores of White-winged Doves flying in tight flocks of 8-50 birds moving from west to east. They were first observed about 9:30 AM and although I only was able to watch during times of leaving and arriving my farm on Repka Road, they seemed to be flying most of the day. I saw more than 200 for the day but indications were that it was an all day phenomena. For a couple of days a year or two ago in the early fall I had a similar experience with a couple of large flocks but never for an extended period. Sunday I was around the house most all day, primarily indoors but saw numerous flocks passing west to east that day as well. One flock was 80 birds. I go to work before light but the afternoon of Monday, and Tuesday driving home through about 7 miles of country roads in Waller County I saw numerous flocks of White-wings 8-20 birds. Again except in feeding areas near rows of trees or in recently harvested corn fields where they were obviously feeding, virtually every group of doves was flying from west to east. Single birds could be seen flying in every direction and throughout the 7 mile route. Aside from the migration witnessed last year I had only observed the species in Waller County on the past year's CBC (7 birds). The number of large flocks reminds me of Mexico 35 years ago when I worked in and around a colony of 500,000 White-wing Doves. If they hang around another 12 days there are going to be a lot of hunters that wish they had purchased white-wing stamps."
Fred Collins, 22 August, "Kassie saw numerous white-wings the last week of July on Baethe Road mid mornings. On Wednesday afternoon they were not nearly so prominent but more than 100 were feeding in a field of goatweed (Croton) on Repka Road in a TPWD dove hunting area. I went home via Hempstead Thursday and only saw a few birds on my farm. The goatweed area is east of my house and I didn't pass it on Thursday. This concentration and duration of white-wing doves is unprecedented in Waller County."

(150+ flying over from 6-7 PM) 27 August, Collins farm on Repka Road.
(100+) 27 August, Repka Road just west of Cochran.

Fred Collins, 27 August, "White-wings are wide spread in central Waller County through yesterday. A croton (goat weed) field on Repka has held >100 since the episode started more than a week ago. Yesterday several flocks of 6-70 birds flew from west to east across my property. It's so amazing to me. … Today I drove across the prairie section of Waller County from FM529 west and then north on Morrison, Pattison, Hebert roads then north on FM362 to Richard Frey, then north on Cochran. White-wing Doves were the most common dove throughout the drive with concentrations only at Repka Road but White-winged Doves in the air throughout most of the drive, about 10 miles."

(1000+ est.) 1 September, Waller County

Fred Collins, 7 November, "The other day I ran into the Waller County Game Wardens and I asked them if the checked the opening dove season harvest (Sept 1). They did and the northern areas of Waller County was 90% White-wings with most hunters limiting. The lower portions around and south of FM529 was mostly Mourning Dove with few if any White-wings in the bags. I saw a group of 6-7 white-wings on Cochran about 2 weeks ago after an absence of a few weeks. The August-September influx was so reminiscent of Mexico. And apparently it was widespread throughout the northern half of the county. I wonder if they will return next year. … The limit is either 10 or 12 birds. TPWD can probably give you an estimate about the harvest by county. … I'd guess that more than 1000 white-wings were harvested in Waller County."

(6-7) ~24 October, Cochran Road [seen after absence of a few weeks following hunting season].
(8) 30 November, Schmidt Road, near Morgan Road

Parrots

MoPaWilkerson2.jpg (7780 bytes)Monk Parakeet: (nesting pair) 19 September (Shirley Wilkerson); 4 October (Betty Vermeire, Chuck Hamilton), Bryan, Brazos County [first report of nesting in Brazos County].

Shirley Wilkerson, "We now have a pair of Monk Parakeets in Bryan. They have a nest. Not sure if they are still constructing, or occupying it. As far as I know, this is the first for our area. Photos can be viewed at http://community.webshots.com/user/shirleyyw "
Bert Frenz, "Except for the incident Keith refers to in November 1985, Monk Parakeets are a very recent addition to the Central Brazos Valley. After that first occurrence, the next was August 2001, followed by October 2001 and then the winter of 2001-2002, all sightings being in College Station. In July 2002, three Monk Parakeets were found in Brenham. In summer 2003, they were again found in Brenham, including the presence of nests - the first such occurrence in the Central Brazos Valley. One Monk Parakeet has been visiting a feeder in College Station since this spring.It seems the 1985 incident is simply escapees that never became established. But this recent spurt of sightings apparently may be a sign of more permanent establishment in the Brazos Valley."

 

History in Central Brazos Valley:
Nov 1985 - College Station
Aug 2001 - College Station
Oct 2001 - College Station
Winter 2001-2002 - College Station
July 2002 - Brenham
Spring/Summer 2003 - College Station
Summer 2003 - Brenham, probable nesting

Betty Vermeire, "October 4: Chuck and I saw the previously-reported 2 Monk Parakeets in Bryan. They were feeding on the ground with starlings and House Sparrows, and adding sticks to their nest. There were lots of Purple Martins and 3-4 Chimney Swifts in the same location. In addition to the recent article on the Monks in "Birding", one has also appeared in "Bird Talk". They build their huge nests not just for breeding, but also for living. The nests have several rooms, with each pair of Monks having a bedroom, and multiple couples sharing the living room. Other creatures, such as squirrels and bats, may also occupy a bedroom!"
Betty Vermeire, 8 Dec 2003, "I looked for the Bryan Monk Parakeets a couple of weeks ago, but their nest was gone. I'll scout more of the area, in case they moved because the City of Bryan thought construction on their substation wasn't appropriate."
Shirley Wilkerson, 11 Dec 2003, "I know the nest was removed, but I don't have the date. The power plant workers told Dan that there were 3 birds seen before the nest was removed. I don't have a date for that, either. "

New World Cuckoos & Ground-cuckoos

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: (1) 4 October (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in October].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 3 August (Dorothy Metzler, Bob Metzler), Marion County [occasional].
Greater Roadrunner: (1) first week of August (Margaret Cook), Lynn Road, northern Austin County [occasional].
Greater Roadrunner: (1) 18 August (Sue Ruotsala), north Austin County.

Sue Ruotsala, 18 August, "I may be seeing more road runners. Seem to see them often. Tonight I saw one at the intersection of Stokes and Lynn Rd."

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 7 September (Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, near Richards, Montgomery County.
Greater Roadrunner: 14 September (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), Flat Rock Park, Lake Waco, McLennan County.
Greater Roadrunner: (1) 7 October (Fred & Mary Brandt), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County [occasional].

fide Darrell Vollert, "On October 7th the Brandts had a Greater Roadrunner in their front yard. Ellen, you may remember the Brandts large juniper in the front yard. That is where the Chapparal was seen. The Brandts have never had a roadrunner in their yard before."

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 29 November (Randy Pinkston), Temple Lake Park, Belton Lake, Bell County.

Barn-owls & Owls

Barn Owl: (1) 25 October (Tim Fennell, Todd Council), CR 107, east Round Rock, Williamson County [rare].
Barn Owl: (1) 2 November (Shawn Ashbaugh, Jeffrey Hanson), FR 1100 near Wershon Lane, northeast Travis County [rare].

Eastern Screech-Owl (red phase): (1) last few days of November to at least 10 December (Cliff Shackelford), 3 miles west of the Oak Hill "Y" in southwestern Travis County [red form is very rare this far west].

Cliff Shackelford, "Last Christmas I gave away almost 40 homemade screech owl boxes as gifts to officemates and a few local friends. The boxes were a big hit and, in return, I asked folks to please document occupancy of the box and keep me posted. Sadly, not all of the boxes have been mounted even after almost a year has passed. However, some of the boxes were mounted almost immediately in the Austin area; two of which were occupied rather quickly by Eastern Screech-Owls. Success! Photos and onsite visits last winter revealed that these two boxes each had a typical morph of the Eastern Screech-Owl for this part of the state -- the gray morph.
I can't describe the feeling when you see a screech owl occupying a new box (and not by a different non-target occupant like a fox squirrel!). In my experience, these boxes serve mostly as cold weather roost sites (roughly Nov thru March). To my knowledge, only twice has one of my boxes served as a nesting site for screech owls in springtime. And there's not many things cuter than a couple of fluffy baby owls.
Now, the recent news. One of those occupied boxes from last winter has a new occupant as of a few days ago -- a beautiful red morph Eastern Screech-Owl. My wife and I stopped by this evening and snapped several photos of "Red". The gray morph is certainly a looker, but the red morph is so much more vibrant and striking. This morph gets increasingly rare as you head west out of the Pineywoods. Mark Lockwood's book on the birds of the Texas Hill Country states that the gray is typical and the red is very rarely found. Red resides about three miles west of the Oak Hill Y in southwestern Travis County (the "Y" is where highways 71 and 290 split as they proceed westward out of Austin)."
John Ingram, "This evening we went to visit "Red" the Screech Owl with the help of Cliff Schackelford. I've posted a set of images of "Red" as he comes awake, including a yawn. The last shot he looks up and leaves the box in a shot. Go in at: http://windowsonnature.com/Nature_Pages/Nature_Map/Nature_Map.html
and click on 'Red' the Screech Owl."

Burrowing Owl: (1) 14 October (Stan Vansant), Southeast Metropolitan Park, eastern Travis County [rare].

Austin RBA, "On the 14th: Stan Vansant reported seeing a Burrowing Owl in Southeast Metropolitan Park, Travis Co. This is a relatively new county park that is on Rt. 71 just east of the airport near Del Valle HS. The owl was seen standing on the ground between trail markers 35 & 36."

Burrowing Owl: (1) 2 November (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), north of 'Z' on CR 435, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Burrowing Owl: (3) 2 November (Shawn Ashbaugh, Jeffrey Hanson), Wershon Lane, northeast Travis County [rare].

Shawn Ashbaugh, "We had 1 Barn Owl along 1100, 3 Burrowing Owl on Wershon Lane in the same location they were located along with the Short-eared Owl last year."

Burrowing Owl: (1) 4-5 November (David Cimprich); 13 November (Rich Kostecke); (3) 28 November (Scott & Crissy Summers); (1) 2 December (Rich Kostecke), its usual wintering spot in a culvert along Elijah Road, Fort Hood, Coryell County [rare].
Burrowing Owl: (1) ~18 November to at least 11 December (Mike Creese), Dauer Ranch Road, southeast of New Braunfels Airport, Guadalupe County [rare].

Mike Creese, 24 November, "I went east on Hwy 46 to Clear Springs and then took a left onto FR 758 towards the NB Airport. I birded Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Rd, barbarosa Road and back onto 758. On Dauer Ranch, just east of house on left side of road, found a Burrowing Owl on the hay bales. This bird was reported last week and I saw him in same place last week."
Fide Georgina Schwartz, 11 December, "In the fields east of New Braunfels airport along Dauer Ranch Rd a Burrowing Owl is reported perching on a hay roll."

Barred Owl: (1 attacked man on two occasions, sending him to the emergency room) mid October (fide Donna Krise), Englewood area of Lufkin, Angelina County.

Short-eared Owl: (3) 23 November to end of season (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].
Short-eared Owl: (1) 25 to at least 30 November (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [rare].

Nightjars

Common Nighthawk: (1) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [notable for WMA].
Common Nighthawk: (1 calling) 12-13 October (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [somewhat late; occasional].
Common Nighthawk: (4) 21 October (Susan Schaezler), her property, Guadalupe County [somewhat late; rare].

Common Pauraque: (1) 2 April to 16 August; (2-3) 17 August to at least 19 November (Susan Schaetzler, et al.), her property near Comal-Guadalupe county line, Guadalupe County [casual; very few records for the Oaks & Prairies region].

Susan Schaetzler, 17 August, "Common Pauraque--TWO calling from different locations--finally, company"
Susan, 18 August, "We returned home last night and Don stayed out until late and heard 2 Common Pauraques calling. Tonight, I stayed out to listen and we had at least 2 Pauraques calling from different areas. I slowly moved inbetween the two calls and then, 3 of them flew up and went over my high-rise golf cart and went towards the other end of the property. I sat and listened to make sure that was them and it was quiet. After 5 min., I went down to the other part of the property and could hear them calling that direction.
"Now, many of you have been here to see and hear the one Pauraque, but does the fact that I saw 3 mean that there were actually more of them and they nested here? Do both sexes call?"
Susan, 27 October, "As many of you know, I've been following the progress of the Common Pauraque that showed up here in March, which is out of its "normal" range. Every time we have a major weather event, I go back to check on it again. Tonight I did so, since we had a major front go through this weekend--it was still there! … As darkness came, I heard a rustling in the brush near me, but didn't see anything. I soon heard the "warming up" sound of a Pauraque. I waited patiently, but finally decided to go to the other side of the field, where I had seen the Pauraque last week--no luck there, so I returned to the original spot--as I approached, I suddenly had a Pauraque fly at the "Birdmobile", which is a high-clearance golf cart that has never seen a golf course. The bird came right to the front of the cart and circled back and landed on the ground. Luckily, I have excellent binoculars and I was able to look at where the bird landed and see it in the dark. I watched briefly and then, it flew to the brushy fenceline. I was delighted--I had managed to get down there w/o the 4 dogs tonight and found the Pauraque.
This weekend, we were at the TOS Meeting in Uvalde. One of my favorite vendors, "Naturally Curious", who has a knack for offering books that interest me, had one on Nightjars. I have tried via the internet to find out if female Common Pauraques call and asked the email list, w/o luck. There were 2 pages on the Common Pauraque and it did mention that the female Pauraque does call, but mostly used the beginning warming up sound, w/o the trill that the male ends with.
So, the above info makes me wonder what we were hearing, starting last March. We saw and heard one Pauraque and watched and listened at least once/week to confirm its progress. Suddenly, in the Summer, we had 2 adult Common Pauraques and one small Common Pauraque and two distinct calls from different distinct locations, so I'm assuming that this will confirm breeding on our property.
Susan, "12-9-03 Probable Pauraque Cibolo, ... On our way back, at Town Creek and Borgfield Road at 9 p.m., we saw 2 probable Common Pauraques fly up from the road. They had the distinctive size and shape of Common Pauraques. This location is several miles from our property. I have not seen our Pauraques for 2 weeks, but it is most difficult to find them this time of year, since they don't call. I go out every few weeks and sit past dusk and hope they fly while I'm watching."

Chuck-will's-widow: (3 heard) 21 August (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [very late to still be calling].

Brush Freeman, "Chuck-wills-Widow. 3 birds heard between 8:24 and 8:26 before going silent. I was very surprised to hear these birds calling at this date here. I returned from the coast fully expecting I would not hear them again this year. Believe my latest record for singing birds was around 8/14-15 but am to lazy to look through the notes."

Whip-poor-wills are rarely heard or found in fall migration, so four reports for the Oaks & Prairies region is a good showing.
Whip-poor-will: (1 heard) morning of 13 August (Judy Winn), Oak Forest Estates, Bryan, Brazos County [very early and very rarely detected in fall; only other August records for Central Brazos Valley are 20 August 1981 and 30 August 1987].
Whip-poor-will: (1 heard) 21 August (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [early].

Brush Freeman, "1 bird heard at 8:37 on the dot. 5 rapid calls within the space of about 12 seconds before going silent. This is about a week early from when I normally hear the first one in the fall."

Whip-poor-will: (1 road-kill) 6 September (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare].

Darrell Vollert, "I spotted a road-killed Whip-poor-will along FM2447 just west of downtown Chappell Hill on my way home from Brenham on the afternoon of Sat., Sept. 6th. Returned a few minutes later with a ziploc bag and a can of Raid, as ants were on the bird's head. The ants had already eaten the eyes out of the bird. Other than that, the bird was in pretty good condition considering it had been hit by a car. I believe the bird had been hit by a vehicle at dawn on the 6th. Took the Whip to the TCWC facility on Wednesday. Dr. Arnold examined the Whip on Thursday and told me it is a female. I looked at the facility's collection of Whip-poor-will specimens on Wednesday. There are two specimens in the collection that were collected in the CBV. One was found in Brazos County by K.L. Dixon in Brazos County in '52 and another collected by Dr. Arnold in Brazos County in '73. There is another specimen that was collected from San Jacinto County in '94. The other specimens are from Brewster County in west Texas and from Mexico."

Whip-poor-will: (2 calling) 12-13 September (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [very rare in early fall, according to 2003 Comal County area checklist].

Swifts & Hummingbirds

Chimney Swift: (1160) 7 September (Andy & Julia Balinsky), O. Henry Middle School, Austin, Travis County [unusually large number].

Andy & Julia Balinsky, "We counted 1160 Chimney Swifts dropping into the old chimney at O. Henry Middle School in Austin this evening. This was over twice the number we had there on August 16th. When we arrived at 7:30, we thought maybe we had missed the spectacle, as only about 10 birds were circling overhead. But as we set up our lawn chairs by 8:00, large numbers were gathering. In 15 minutes from 8:07 to 8:22 they all vanished into the chimney. The last dozen or so were visible only with binoculars in the dark."

Chimney Swift: (1) 23 October (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [somewhat late].

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2) from 28 March to at least 17 August (Margaret Cook), her feeders, northern Austin County [reappearing yearly since spring 1995].
Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2) ~1 June to at least 17 August (Jean Anderson, Darrell Vollert), Old Chappell Hill Road, Chappell Hill, Washington County [~0.7 mi. from Effinger's].
Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2) from 30 March 2002 to 11 October 2003 (Marcia Effinger), Old Chappell Hill Road, Chappell Hill, Washington County [extremely long stay; seen almost daily for 560 straight days!!].

Marcia Effinger, 2 November, "I haven't seen the buffbelly since 8:00am on the 11th of October. I guess he decided to go south. That is a good thing."

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2) from 25 March to mid October (Sue Ruotsala, Billie Bernard), north Austin County.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (leucistic): (1) 23-24 September (Diane Garner), Smith County.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird: (2) to 17 October (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station [last report; occasional].

Based on banding studies done by Brent Ortego in Victoria, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds almost always are gone 10 November and the Archilochus hummingbirds that remain are almost always Black-chinned Hummingbirds. In the Central Brazos Valley, Black-chinned Hummingbirds have very rarely been documented, so the reoccurring and wintering two birds in Washington County are of some interest.
Archilochus Hummingbird: (2) early October at least 11 December (Fred & Mary Brandt, Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County [rare].

Darrell Vollert, "Today (12/11) at Fred and Mary Brandt's residence in Chappell Hills subdivision I saw two Archilochus hummingbirds. The two hummers have been present in the Brandt's yard since the end of the last major push of hummingbirds through the area in early October. … Fred and Mary had two Archilochus hummingbirds winter in their yard last winter season. At least one them was most likely a Black-chinned. Might they have returned?"

Black-chinned Hummingbird: (1 female/immature) 3 October (Jerry Walls, et al.), Christmas Nature Preserve, near Richards, Montgomery County [first county record?; only three records indicated on Pineywoods checklist].

Jerry Walls to Texbirds, 3 October, "Have Rufous (bright male), Black-chinned and Ruby-throated at Christmas Creek Nature Preserve. All are visiting hummingbird feeders."
Jerry Walls to Bert, 3 October, "Longer bill than Ruby-throat(s). Quite a bit of tail bobbing/flipping when feeding. At first, I thought it was a female Ruby-throat. After further review, noticed the differences. Have an experienced California birder arriving tomorrow. Her partner (arrived yesterday) id'd this bird as a Black-chinned as well."

Calliope Hummingbird: (1 female) 31 August (Jim & Mary Voss, Rich Kostecke), along the Owl Creek arm of Belton reservoir, Bell County [casual].

Rich Kostecke, "On the morning of August 31st, I stopped by Jim and Mary Voss' place along the Owl Creek arm of Belton Reservoir (Bell Co.) to do some hummingbird watching. The main bird I was after was the male rufous hummingbird that has been frequenting their feeders, and I was not disappointed as he put on a good show during my visit. An added bonus was a female calliope hummingbird that perched briefly by the Voss' feeders until chased off by the rufous. My ID of the calliope was based on size (smaller than the numerous black-chinned and ruby-throated hummingbirds that were hitting the feeders); short, square tail; wingtips that did not extend past the tail tip while perched; a short bill; and a light buffy color on the breast."

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: (1 female) 17 October (Sandy Dillard), Bryan, Brazos County [first record for Central Brazos Valley area].

Sandy Dillard, "We had a first for the yard - a Broad-tailed hummer. Good looks at the bird. Was a female. rusty in the tail and was under wings into the belly. otherwise green. Bigger than other hummers by some big tail."

Selasphorus hummingbird: (1 non-adult male) 8-9 August (Randy Pinkston), Salado, Bell County [rare].
Selasphorus (probable Broad-tailed) hummingbird: (1 female) sporadically throughout late October and November and 6 December (Randy Pinkston), Salado, Bell County [rare].
Selasphorus hummingbird: (1) 30 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County.
Selasphorus hummingbird: (1 female or immature) 9 November to at least 8 December (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.

Ellen, 9 Nov, "It had a green back and rufous flanks."
Ellen, 12 Nov, "It appears to be a female/immature type Rufous, but I can't rule out other Selasphorus. It doesn't perch, and doesn't stay long, which makes it hard to get details."
Ellen, 17 Nov, "It has an entirely green back, rusty flanks and undertail coverts, a few red feathers in the center of the white throat. There's a grayish line around the throat area. I did not get a look at the tail. There's nothing to make me suspect anything other than Rufous, but it's a tough call."
Ellen, 20 Nov, "I'm thinking that it's a first year male, but still cannot say definitely that it's this species (and may never be able to)."
Ellen, 26 Nov, "The Selasphorus hummer was at my feeder again today 11/26. That thing, whatever it is, has a totally green back."
Ellen, 1 Dec, "I'm increasingly unhappy identifying my visiting hummer as a Rufous. It's still here, and seems to be visiting the feeders more often, maybe because many of the flowering annuals were killed in last week's frosts. I'm wondering if it could be Sandy Dillard's Broad-tailed, gone south from Bryan to College Station. What I really need are some good looks at the tail, but I haven't been lucky yet."
Ellen, 7 Dec, "The Selasphorus hummer appeared again at my feeder. Its tail definitely extends past the folded wingtips. I can't see any rufous on the folded tail, which has black and white tips, but I've still failed to see the tail spread at all. Still don't think I can diagnose the bird."

Brush Freeman has marked Rufous Hummingbird as a rare fall and winter resident/migrant from August through February in his Oaks & Prairies and Osage Plains Checklist. It seems with each year, the number of reports increases, probably proportionate to the number of feeders and feeder watchers, so much so that a more appropriate classification might be occasional or even uncommon fall migrant and rare winter visitor.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 8 and 23 August (Rusty Alderson), Leander, Williamson County.

Rusty Alderson, "I just had a Rufous Hummingbird at one of my feeders. It's a new yard bird, and indeed, is the first time I have ever seen one of them in Texas. Very cool (though it is currently 105 in Leander)."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 11 August (Susan Schaezler), her property, Guadalupe County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 immature female) 14-19 August (Karen Arquette, James Loesch), Elm Mott, McLennan County.

Karen Arquette, "James Loesch and I had a immature female Rufous at our feeders today. It was here from about 3pm till late evening. We will be looking for it again tomorrow. We have 19 feeders up and there is still a constant war going on. We have lots of Ruby-throated and Black-chinned and so far the one Rufous."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult male) 15-16 August (Joan Manning), Bluebonnet Hills subdivision, west of Chappell Hill, Washington County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 subadult male) 16 August (Kinjo Yonemoto), west Katy, Waller County.

Kinjo Yonemoto, "I had a FOS Rufous Hummingbird this afternoon. It was a subadult male bird just like shown on Sibley's guide P.301. The current resident Ruby-throated Hummingbird seems to have chased him off. Let's see if he comes back again tomorrow. The only rufous I had in the past was in December, so it is very early for me. I guess I just started to feed them in 2000 and finally the words got out in the Hummer community."
Petra Hockey, "Kinjo, it is quite normal for migrating Selasphorus hummingbird numbers to start increasing around mid August. The Golden Cresent Nature Club's database shows them trickling in starting early August and increasing by the last third of August. This year Brush Freeman, who was house sitting my place here in Port O'Connor while I was in SE Arizona, actually observed the first Rufous in late July. That was our first July sighting I am aware of.
In my experience those early Rufous just migrate through despite the often-parched Texas summer conditions (not this year) and the temptation of a reliable nectar source). My late July and early August birds this year only stayed a couple of days. My wintering birds have always arrived later (September/October/November).
Hummer migration in Arizona was well under way when I departed on August 11th and the situation in Big Bend NP on the 12th confirmed that. Rufous Hummingbirds were already plentiful in the high country but the peak is yet to come."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 18 August (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 19 August (Derek Muschalek), 11 miles northwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 23 August to at least 5 November (John Ingram), Austin, Travis County [return of rufous that wintered last year].

John Ingram, "This morning our female Rufous Hummingbird put in her first appearance of the season. Although one can never be completely sure, comparing her markings with the those in my photographs from last year I'm reasonably certain that it is the same bird. Just as sassy as ever she is dominating a couple of feeders. I would guess that she made a very long trip to the Northeast to nest."
John Ingram, 5 November, "We still have our Female Rufous Hummer. She spent the winter with us last year so I expect she'll do the same thing again. She got here on exactly the same date as last year."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 male) 24 August (Eric Haskell), Airport Beach Park, Lake Waco, McLennan County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 male) 30-31 August (Brenda Muncrief), Huntsville, Walker County.

Brenda Muncrief, 30 August, "We thought we'd seen a rufous hummer last week, but while I lounged on the deck this cool August afternoon watching the 20-30 ruby-throated hummers fight over the five feeders, in zipped a definite rufous hummer to stir everything up. Talk about aggressive! He had everyone chased off in a matter of minutes."
Brenda, 31 August, "The rufous hummingbird has been around quite a bit this morning, and if voice is diagnostic, he's definitely a rufous and not an Allen's. He sounds like he's blowing a little traffic whistle as he herds the ruby-throated hummers and defends his chosen feeder. I've got some pretty decent photos which I'll try to get uploaded later today, and I'll post a link. ... I have the page up with the rufous hummingbird photos. I put the best shots toward the end, so if you're disenchanted with the fuzzier ones, be patient, they get better.
The link is: http://home.earthlink.net/~butterflybren/rufous.html

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 male) August thru mid October; (3) starting 13 October (Jim and Mary Voss, Rich Kostecke), along the Owl Creek arm of Belton reservoir, Bell County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult male; 1 non-adult male) 1 September (Randy Pinkston), Lake Belton, Bell County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 male) 1 September to at least 21 October (Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, near Richards, northwest Montgomery County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult female) 1-2 September (James Phelps), backyard feeder in Shenandoah subdivision, College Station, Brazos County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 20 September (Anthony Floyd), Milam County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 female) 1-16 November (Rich Kostecke), Copperas Cove, Coryell County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult male) 15 November to at least 11 December (Gail & Scott Cole), Walnut Hill Drive, Brenham, Washington County.
Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult male) 26 October to at least 30 November (Randy Pinkston), Salado, Bell County.

Kingfishers

Ringed Kingfisher: (1 male) 2 August (Tim Fennell), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].
Ringed Kingfisher: (1 female) 11 October (Homer Rushing), Colorado River Park, Austin, Travis County [rare].
Ringed Kingfisher: (1 male) 26 November (Ed Fair), low water crossing bridge on Lake Austin side of Mansfield Dam, western Travis County [rare].

Ed Fair, "I watched a male Ringed Kingfisher flying and perched several times over the course of two hours Wednesday afternoon at the low water crossing bridge on the Lake Austin side of Mansfield Dam. I often see Belted Kingfishers in this area (including two today), but never a Ringed. The bridge is less than 1/2 mile off of FM 620. There is a sign indicating the turnoff to the bridge just on the northeast(?) side of Mansfield Dam."

A good showing this season for Green Kingfishers, there were reports in eight Central Prairie counties, along five rivers.
Green Kingfisher: (1) 26 August ~9 AM (Brush Freeman, Greg Lasley, Tony Gallucci), Guadalupe River off US 183, south of Gonzales, Gonzales County [rare].
Green Kingfisher: (1) 26 August ~10 AM (Brush Freeman, Greg Lasley, Tony Gallucci), San Marcos River off US 90, west of Luling, Caldwell and Guadalupe counties [first country record for both counties].
Green Kingfisher: (1) 26 August ~1 PM (Tony Gallucci), San Antonio River at Floresville City River Park, southwest of Floresville near Mision de las Cabras, Wilson County [rare].
Green Kingfisher: (1) 15 September (Scott Young), Williamson Creek near Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [rare].
Green Kingfisher: (1 female) for several weeks to at least 30 October (Gene Majors), Aquarena in San Marcos, eastern Hays County [rare].
Green Kingfisher: (1) 4 November (fide Georgina Schwartz and the San Antonio Audubon Society hotline), San Antonio River at Avenue A in Brackenridge Park, Bexar County.
Green Kingfisher: (1) 15 November (Bryan Hale), Town Lake, Austin, Travis County [rare].
Green Kingfisher: (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Shipp Lake, near Smithville, Bastrop County [casual].

Woodpeckers

Lewis's Woodpecker: (1) 25 November (John Chenoweth, Bill Reiner Jr.); 26 November (John Chenoweth, Bill Reiner Jr., Jason Fidorra, Greg Lasley, Chuck Sexton); 28 and 30 November to at least 10 December (Bill Reiner, et al.), Balcones Canyonlands NWR, western Travis County [first refuge record; ~4th Austin-area record].

Chuck Sexton, "John Chenoweth discovered a Lewis's Woodpecker on a tract of Balcones Canyonlands NWR on Tuesday afternoon (11/25). Bill Reiner Jr. confirmed the identification late Tuesday and the bird was refound and photographed this morning (Wednesday, 11/26, 8-10 a.m.) by John, Bill, Jason Fidorra, Greg Lasley, and myself. This is a first Refuge record, and about the fourth Austin-area report but perhaps the first one well-documented in Travis County. Previous reports were in March 1956 (Marshall Ford Dam) and Dec 1967-Feb 1968 (Travis Co., unknown location) [Bert: Lake Austin]. The new Austin-area checklist lists the species as "Historical", i.e. not recorded since 1993, and recites a Feb. 22, 1980 report. (Does anyone know the details of that last record??)."
Chuck Sexton, 28 November, "Bill Reiner just notified me by radio (Friday, 10 a.m.) that their effort to find the Lewis's Woodpecker at Balcones Canyonlands NWR this morning was successful."
Bill Reiner, 8 December, "The Lewis's Woodpecker is still being seen at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge northwest of Austin."

Pileated Woodpecker: (1) 15 September (Tyson Hart), Flag Pond, Lake Somerville, Lee County [occasional].
Pileated Woodpecker: (1 heard) 30 September (Darrell Vollert), Leachman Ranch, Lee County [occasional].
Pileated Woodpecker: (1 heard) 30 September (Darrell Vollert), Leachman Ranch, Burleson County [long overdue first county record in this often-birded county].

Darrell Vollert, "As I have mentioned before, Leachman Ranch lies on 1,600 acres in Lee County and Burleson County. Mack Farr, ranch foreman, wants to make the ranch accessible for eco-tourism. Yegua Creek cuts through the heart of the ranch. The main entrance to the ranch (Lee County) is on the north side of FM696 about one mile west of East Yegua Creek. The most productive areas for birds were the wooded area on the east side of the main ranch road heading toward to Yegua Creek, the Yegua Creek corridor, the wooded area along the periphery of the 100-acre hay meadow in Burleson County, the boggy area in Lee County, and the field just north of Yegua Creek in Burleson County. … I saw/heard the Pileateds in an oak woodland. At least half of the ranch is very wooded."

Tyrant Flycatchers

Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 24 August (Derek Muschalek), 8 miles southwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County.
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 27 August (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County.
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 3 September (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Washington County [rare].
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (2) 4 September (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park at Leon River inlet into Belton Reservoir, Bell County.
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 21 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County.
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 28 September (Rich Kostecke), Gravel Crossing WMA, Bell County.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: (1) 6 October (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare and very late; no prior October records listed on 1999 NETFO checklist; prior fall records listed on 2001 Pineywoods checklist extend through first week of October; no October records mentioned in Matt White's book; only other late record is Bert Frenz's in Cass Co. on 10 Oct 1999].

Matt White, in his book Birds of Northeast Texas, "in the fall the species is recorded from mid- to late September"

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: (1) 7 October (Jack & Cathie Foster), Longhorn Ammunition Depot in Karmack, Harrison County [rare and very late].

Cathie Foster, in written report, submitted on TBRC form, dated 4 Dec, but written from notes made during observation, and sent to Bert Frenz, "Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, one (1) [possible] 1st fall adult. Location: Karnack, Harrison County; Longhorn Ammo plant entrance. 7 Oct 2003 2:00 pm. Optical equipment: Pentax 9X63 DCF and Bushnell 8X42. Distance: ~125 ft. Duration of observation: 1 minute. Habitat: Edge of tall pine and deciduous trees with very thick underbrush next to a very large, open expansed field of mowed grass. Ruled out Acadian by call, no light/white throat; Acadian lighter underside, Willow has no eye ring. Experience with Acadian and Willow observing and recording sightings on personal farm/home each breeding nesting season. Relative size: approx 5-1/4 to 5-1/2". Vocalization: 'chu-wee' (rising) or 'perwee' rising on 2nd syllable; verified with bird calls CD. Behavior: perched approx. 30-40" up on an outer branch, sallying out to catch insects in flight occasionally. Color: olive above, underparts definite yellow from chin through under-tail coverts with breast having an olive wash; distinct yellowish eye ring; rects were dark olive; wings were blackish with two (2) thick wing bars."

Acadian Flycatcher: (1) 19 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [occasional].
Acadian Flycatcher: (1) 22 September (Ted Eubanks), Shoal Creek in Pease Park, Austin, Travis County [rare in late September].

Alder Flycatcher: (3) 25 August (Darrell Vollert), along FM 2447 at New Year's Creek, Washington County.

Darrell Vollert, "Alder Flycatcher- Two heard calling("pip" call) along FM2447 at New Year's Creek on 8/25. Heard two calling("pip" call) at my residence on 8/25."

Alder Flycatcher: (2) 25 August (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill, Washington County.
Alder Flycatcher: (1) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County.

"Traill's" Flycatcher: (1) 27 August (Darrell Vollert), Murski Homestead B&B near Brenham, Washington County
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (2) 6 September (David Pueppke), Freiheit Lake, county line, Guadalupe and Comal counties.
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (7, including one Alder) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County.
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (1) 14 and 21 September (Rich Kostecke), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County.
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (1) 20 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Bell County.
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (3) 25 August (Darrell Vollert), along FM 2447 at New Year's Creek, Washington County.
"Traill's" Flycatcher: (1) 30 August (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Washington County [called like a Willow; no eye-ring].

Western Flycatcher: (1) 1 November (Brush Freeman), Fisherman's Park, Bastrop, Bastrop County [casual].

Vermilion Flycatcher: (1) 14 October (Truman Powell), Tyler, Smith County [first county record].

Peter Barnes, "This morning, Truman Powell reports a Vermillion Flycatcher on the main power line, across from the Radiology Center on Clinic Drive, across from the main entrance to Trinity Mother Frances hospital, which is on Beckham Street in Tyler, Smith County. The bird made some flights to the poplar and pecan trees, but returned to the power line. It was viewed for 15 minutes from between 20 and 35 feet. This is the first record for Smith County of which I am aware."

Vermilion Flycatcher: (1 female) 29 November (Cheryle Beck, Jane Purtle, Carolyn Kelly, Denis Scott), concession area at dam at Lake Tyler, Smith County [very rare in East Texas; second county record].

Cheryle Beck, "We first noticed a flycatcher flycatching from a small perch at the bottom of the Pine tree on the shore adjacent to the parking lot at the Lake Tyler dam. It would fly out 3-6 feet and get a bit, then perch. It pumped its tail much as an E. Phoebe does. There was also an Eastern Phoebe in the area at the same time. It had a white breast with light streaking and peach wash on the flanks. When it flew it looked as if the peach color extended around the lower belly. The back was a brownish gray, fairly dark. The head looked a little grayer to me. but the differences could be due to lighting. There was a black line through the eye. It was a classic female Vermilion Flycatcher. We checked Say's Phoebe to makes sure that the immature might not resemble the bird but of course it wasn't even close. It also was not large enough for a Say's. It was approximately the size of the E. Phoebe, if anything it was slightly smaller, but I think that was because of posture. It seemed to sort of hunch down when it perched. I ruled out an immature male because the was no sign of red splotching which in my experience imm. males have by this time of year. The bird was observe for about five minutes at about 9:30 AM November 29, 2003, by Jane Purtle, Carolyn Kelly, Denis Scott, and Cheryle Beck."
Peter Barnes, 30 Nov, "This morning, I had no luck with the Vermilion Flycatcher at Lake Tyler, although there is plenty of suitable habitat around and it could still be in the area."
Peter Barnes, NETFO newsletter, "A female Vermilion Flycatcher was a great find at the Lake Tyler concession area on Nov 29 (CB, CK, JP, DS). This bird and the male seen in Tyler earlier this fall are the only two records for Smith Co. "

Ash-throated Flycatcher: (1) 7 September (Rich Kostecke), riparian woodlands along the Lampasas River (Maxdale, Chalk Ridge Falls Park), Bell County [rare in September; not listed in fall on Bell County checklist].

Rich Kostecke, "1 Ash-throated Flycatcher (granted, I have not birded in their habitat much lately, but this is the first ash-throated that I have seen in the county in a long time)"

Ash-throated Flycatcher: (1) 18 October (Robert Truss, Susie Lower, David Wolf, Jesse Fagan, Georgette Guernsey, Sarah Stovall); 19 October (Jesse Fagan); 20 October (Rick Schaefer), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [first record for area; most conclusive record for Pineywoods].

David Wolf, in Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, XXXI, No. 3 (Nov 2003), Fall Migration Bird Report (Sep 21 - Oct 20, 2003). "This period began with a very weak cool front that marked the end of summer and brought some moisture and lower temperatures to East Texas. Then, on Sept 26-27, a major mass of cool air gently slipped into our area and brought a week of delightful fall weather. It never got hot again and in the next weeks a steady procession of minor fronts pushed back and forth. Some days brought clouds and scattered rains, while others were clear and dry, but the wind shifts were not dramatic and the temperatures did not vary much. There were no dramatic fallouts, but persistent observers found a steady trickle of interesting migrants and a number of rarities, the best by far a very cooperative Ash-throated Flycatcher on our Oct 18 field trip."
fide David Wolf, "By far the rarest bird of the season was the Ash-throated Flycatcher found at Alazan Bayou WMA on the Oct 18 field trip. First spotted by Susie Lower and identified by Robert Truss, this very cooperative bird was studied in detail for 30 minutes while Jesse Fagan photographed it, David Wolf confirmed the id, and Georgette Guernsey and Sarah Stovall helped to keep an eye on it. This is a first record for our area and the most conclusive record for the Pineywoods to date."

Ash-throated Flycatcher: (1) 28 November (Isaac Sanchez), Commons Ford Range, Austin, Travis County [rare].

Great Kiskadee: (1) 3 and 17 August (Jason Leifester), Elgin, Bastrop County [casual].

Jason Leifester, "While reading the paper this morning (8/3/03) at about 8:00, I heard the unmistakable call of a Great Kiskadee from our back yard in Elgin, located in northern Bastrop County. The bird was sitting in a willow tree above our goldfish pond, making repeated dives towards the water (but never actually grabbing a fish). It did this for about 10 minutes before getting into a heated battle with a Northern Mockingbird, which succeeded in driving the Kiskadee out of the yard. It returned a few minutes later and sat on a nearby powerline, where I saw it eat a large insect. About 45 minutes later I could hear it calling in the distance from a wooded lot behind our back fence. A quick scan of the Texbird archives shows several central Texas records of this bird over the last couple of years, including one in nearby (less than 20 miles away) Bastrop by Brush Freeman last December. So, although this isn't a record of enormous importance, it was certainly an unexpected and welcome visitor to our yard!"
Jason, 17 August, "Two weeks to the day after I first saw a Great Kiskadee in our yard in Elgin (northern Bastrop County), I finally saw the bird again. This morning I heard it calling at 8:15, about fifteen minutes later than I did the previous time. It was in a large hackberry tree in a yard a few houses down from us. It called frequently for about five minutes, and even plucked and ate quite a few berries. I watched it fly to a large oak tree about fifty feet farther away from our yard, and I haven't seen or heard it again since then. Since I'm typically not around the house at this time of morning, it's certainly possible that it has made more frequent visits to the neighborhood over the last few weeks than my two reports would indicate."

Great Kiskadee: (1) 8 August (Derek Muschalek), Old Davy Community, DeWitt County.
Great Kiskadee: (1) 23 October (Derek Muschalek), 11 miles northwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County.
Great Kiskadee: (1) 1 November (Bob Honig), Katy-Hockley Road between Sharp Road & Katy-Hockley Cutoff Road, west Harris County [casual].

Bob Honig, "Sunday morning, 1 November 2003, I saw and heard a single Great Kiskadee on the Katy Prairie, west Harris County. It was on Katy-Hockley Road between Sharp Road & Katy-Hockley Cutoff Road (i.e., the mile-long east-west portion of Katy-Hockley road). It was between the Harris County juvenile detention center and the east end of Sharp road -- where there were brush & scattered trees along the roadside and a field beyond to the south. I initially saw the bird as I drove past while it perched on a roadside electric wire on the north side of Katy-Hockley Road. I then was able to view it briefly with binoculars before it bird flew off the wire, across the road, and disappeared beyond the tree/brush line on the south side of the road. I never saw the bird again, however I did hear the loud call of the bird coming from across the field to the south of the road -- it was the "ree" or "weer" call (as described by Brush & Fitzpatrick, 2002, BNA species account #622) that is very commonly given by Great Kiskadee -- in this case the bird only called once before I had to continue on my way. Detailed notes have been submitted to the Clearing House of the Outdoor Nature Club - Ornithology Group, Houston, TX (http://www.ornithologygroup.org/)."

Great Kiskadee: (1) 16 November (Sue Levy), east of Sequin on I-10, Guadalupe County [rare].

Couch's Kingbirds continue their push into new territories, increasing their hold in eastern Travis and central Waller counties and establishing a (probable) new record in Burnet.
Couch's Kingbird: (2) 20 August (Brush Freeman, Eric Carpenter); (4) 29 August (Brush Freeman); (1 HO) 3 September (Brush Freeman); (1) 12 September (Rob Fergus), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [casual and a record number for this area].
Couch's (or Tropical) Kingbird: (2) 2 October (David Bryant, et al.), Marble Falls Library, Burnet County [probable new county record].

David Bryant, "I, along with 2 other members of the Highland Lakes Birding club, saw 2 Couch's Kingbirds in front of the Marble Falls Library this morning while taking part in a bird walk preceding the monthly meeting. We concluded that the birds were not Western Kingbirds because the bright yellow color of the chest extended to the neck area, there were no white feathers in the tail and the back was green. The only other possibility would be Tropical Kingbird, but we didn't hear any singing or calling and that possibility would seem even more remote. We decided that Sibley would need to add another green dot to his range map for Couch's."

Couch's Kingbird: (1) 4 and 11 October; 12 and 15 November (Homer Rushing), Colorado River Park, Austin, Travis County [casual].
Couch's Kingbird: (4) 21 October (Mike Creese), Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, Bexar County [rare].

Mike Creese, "Went up the to Botanical Gardens after a hour and birded it. It was a little better with two good finds. One, above the field between the Auld and Schumacher Houses, I noticed 4 birds flying out and then back to the tops of some trees. They turned out to be Couch's Kingbirds. In past years we have had a pair of them over the winter but never found a nest or signs of nesting. I first thought maybe out of these four we would get two of them to nest and breed. Then I thought maybe two did nest and the other two were their young. whatever, we do have new hope for them."

Couch's Kingbird: (1) 21 October (Brush Freeman), Cuero City Park, DeWitt County [rare].
Couch's Kingbird: (1) 19 October and 27 November (Jim Hinson), Betka Road, 1 mile west of FM 362, central Waller County [rare].
Couch's Kingbird: (1-2) 26 October to at least 6 December (Thomas Kihn, Bob Honig, Howard Smith, et al.), area of juncture of Hebert Road and Pattison Road, eastern central Waller County [rare].

Fred Collins, "It would appear that Couch's Kingbird have moved into Waller County at least as a winter resident. This dispersal or expansion seems to defy our current knowledge of the species range. A quick search of the Texas Clearing House produced: Brazoria 0, Matagorda 1, 1994, Fort Bend 1, 1996, Harris 2, 1993 Galveston 2, 1992 Why would they leap frog Matagorda and Brazoria Counties on the coast and Colorado 2, 1994 & 1996 and Fort Bend 1, 1996 inland to get to Waller? However, the clearing house only has 3 records for Waller, 1992 & 1993 if I recall (I didn't write them down for Waller). Have Couch's become regular but unreported in Matagorda, Brazoria, Colorado and Fort Bend, yet reported in Waller? The distribution and range expansion of birds is fascinating and its study always more questions than answers. The Couch's seems the vanguard of tropical species moving north. It would be a great species to tract say the first 50 records for each County as well as the first 10 nest. Sounds like a project to me."
Bert Frenz, "Fred, Couch's Kingbirds reached Waller County at least by September, 1986. The first Travis County record was April 1991, a date when another bird in Victoria was still considered north of its range (Am. Birds, 45(3): 471). The next year, a sighting in Karnes County was considered out of range. Brush had a Bastrop County sighting 19 July 1997.
A December 1997 quote is interesting: ABA Field Notes, Vol. 52, No. 2 (1998), Greg W. Lasley, Chuck Sexton, Mark Lockwood, and Willie Sekula, p. 224, "Very substantial numbers of Couch's Kingbirds wintered as far north as Goliad and Victoria. Also of note were two Couch's in San Antonio Dec. 21 (Egon & Sue Wiedenfeld) and up to three in Fort Bend from Dec. 6 onward. At least one Fort Bend Couch's remained into January (m.ob.)."
You may recall that Couch's Kingbird reached Washington County in 2000. Even more unusual, from 2 Nov to 21 Dec 2002 a Couch's Kingbird was observed in Nacogdoches County.
I only have a scattering of Couch's Kingbird records in my database, but from what I see I agree that a thorough study of the expansion would make an interesting report."

Western Kingbird: (1) 5 September (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [late departure; rare; his LOS].

Brush Freeman, "I found a Western Kingbird near a pond on Old Settlement Rd. east of Seadrift in Calhoun Co. I am quite positive of the ID, but see below. This is the 3rd of this species I/we have found since Nov. 15. After about August 8-15 the vast majority is gone from at least central Texas and these late birds are somewhat confounding. Theories are as thick as hairs on a mink as to where they hail from and why. I doubt there is anyone that can fully explain the origins of this easterly dispersal pattern with what little we currently know. But perhaps there have been some banding results and research to explain some of it.
"On Nov. 15 Petra Hockey and I found one at Magic Ridge near Indianola. We worked on it quite a while before making absolutely sure we could convince ourselves that it was a "standard" Western given the fact that the white outer retrices were not obvious at all though we did manage to see them faintly eventually. Couch's/Tropical were completely ruled out for a number of obvious reasons, especially the smaller bill size. A hybrid would not have been completely surprising but we didn't think we messed up the ID at the time. In all respects all 3 birds seen since Nov. 15 appeared to be typical Westerns.
"One peculiar observation actually relates to vocalization. The Indianola bird was silent except for a very subdued kingfisher type rattles when it flew, a vocalization that I don't think I have ever heard in this species on its breeding grounds. This same muted rattle was heard twice in the bird seen today and one needed to be fairly close to hear it (<40 yds.). This puzzles me a lot as I have never heard this before from the species that I remember and have to wonder about its significance as a regional dialect from elsewhere further away than Texas. A DNA analysis would prove interesting I think on these very late birds on the Texas coast and Florida. Some of those studies may have already been done, but I can't find anything in the limited lit. I have here on the subject."

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: (1000) 4 October (Cliff Shackelford), TPWD headquarters, Austin, Travis County [unusually large staging].

Cliff Shackelford, "There has been a longtime late summer/fall Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (STFL) roost at the TPWD Headquarters in southeast Austin. It was incredibly covered with STFLs on Saturday night October 4 -- about one thousand STFLs! Even the Wildlife Expo's evening event for staff, volunteers, and vendors did not bother these birds. There are some bushy trees scattered about the well-lit parking lots that the birds favor. I first witnessed this roost when I started working there in 1997 and a couple hundred birds this time of the year was not unusual, but last weekend had the most individuals I've ever seen there. The birds really get going around 7:00 or 7:15 PM and last until darkness settles in. At times, certain spots in the sky were thick with diving and darting STFLs, but the neatest part was when the power lines were absolutely coated with perched STFL -- all those long tails sticking out like Popsicle sticks. They eventually try to settle into one of the bushy trees for the night.

Bert Frenz, "On Texbirds, many birders reported the continuing presence of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, longer than they remembered for prior years. Old-timers suggested we often have lingering Scissor-tails and this was to be expected. Whether we indeed had more lingering this November than other years is hard to tell. Certainly we had many more reports. I received 53 reports for November for the Central Prairie, including 15 sightings after 20 November. In 2002, there were 22 reports for the month, with 4 after 20 November. My own opinion is that there may have been a few more lingering Scissor-tails this season, perhaps because of fewer or less severe cold fronts, but that overall the migration pattern in the Central Prairie was about the same as the last five years. Differing opinions are included below."

Cliff Shackelford, 14 November, "I was interested to read that other folks are still seeing Scissor-taileds Flycatchers (STFL) around. I typically think of the first week of November for most STFLs to disappear from Texas -- especially from points north of IH-10 -- that is, away from the milder Coastal Prairie and South Texas Brushlands. Any date from mid-Nov and thereafter is getting to be quite late. However, I saw 5 STFLs at three different localities on a long drive from Caddo Lake to Austin last Friday (Nov 14th). I saw singles in southeastern Freestone Co. and central Robertson Co. followed by three individuals in southern Robertson Co.
Dick Payne, 17 November, "I saw a half dozen Scissor-tails sitting in the rain along a fence after lunch today here in Huntsville (Walker County). In my opinion, we have now moved from "Isn't it interesting that they're still around" to "My Gosh! Those birds are late." If it were just a couple seen now and then over the last few days, it might make more sense. However, we've been seeing what looks like the staging common in late October or, in a few instances, birds that act like they've settled in. They are fairly regular at spots where I've seen them off and on since Spring."
Randy Pinkston, 30 November, "Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: Despite messages on TEXBIRDS to the contrary, fall 2003 saw numbers of this species lingering later than usual in Bell County. A 'roost' of 20+ birds continued in Belton through early Dec. I'm still seeing them here and there at the time of this writing, which is unprecedented in my ten years here."

Shrikes & Vireos

Loggerhead Shrike: (46) 8 November (Rich Kostecke), SW corner to SE corner, then up to NE corner, Bell County [good count].

White-eyed Vireo: (1 fledgling) 9 September (Maren Phillips), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [late nesting; Oberholser gives timeframe for eggs as 1 April to 4 July and migration as late August to late October].
White-eyed Vireo: (1) 10 November (Randy Pinkston), along the Lampasas River, Bell County [his latest ever for Bell County].
White-eyed Vireo: (1 singing) 25 November (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [occasional].
White-eyed Vireo: (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Lake Fayette, Fayette County [occasional].

Bell's Vireo: (1) 6 September (David Pueppke), Freiheit Lake, Guadalupe/Comal county line [rare].
Bell's Vireo: (no.?) 14 September (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), Rattler Hill Road, McLennan County [rare].
Bell's Vireo: (1) 15 September (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest, College Station, Brazos County [very rare].

Ellen Ratoosh, "Best sighting though was a Bell's Vireo, which I saw at close range (10') but briefly. It had a pale gray head, white spectacles which were not as wide or distinct as on a Blue-headed, pale yellowish underparts, olive back, dark tail, and a light somewhat indistinct wingbar. The plumage appeared very fresh. The eye was dark. The lower mandible was paler than the upper, and it was a heavy bill. It flitted out of the ragweed at eye level, observed me observing it for a moment, and was gone. I couldn't find it again."

Bell's Vireo: (1) 18 September (Eric Isley), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].

Yellow-throated Vireo: (1) 7 September (Rich Kostecke), riparian woodlands along the Lampasas River (Maxdale, Chalk Ridge Falls Park), Bell County [late end of breeding period; occasional].
Yellow-throated Vireo: (2) 21 September (Jim Hughes), College Station, Brazos County [rare in fall].
Yellow-throated Vireo: (1) 16 October (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [late departure; last date on Pineywoods checklist is mid October].

Philadelphia Vireo: (2) 20 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Miller Springs Nature Area, Bell County [rare fall migrant].
Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 21 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [rare fall migrant].
Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 24 September (Mimi Hoppe Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [rare fall migrant].
Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 24 September (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [rare fall migrant].
Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 25 September (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [rare fall migrant]..
Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 7 October (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [rare fall migrant].

Red-eyed Vireo: (1) 14 October (Sue Wiedenfeld, 11 others), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [rare this late in fall].

Crows, Jays

Green Jay: (7) 6 October (C. Bludau), 4 miles west of Coy City, Karnes County.
Green Jay: (1) 2 November (Willie Sekula), Cestohowa, Karnes County.

Fish Crow: (40+) 11 October (Jason Pike, David Ringer), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [new territory].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "An unusually large flock of 40+ Fish Crows were seen at Lake O' the Pines on Oct 11 (JPi, DR). This species was also moving up the Sabine and Sulphur Rivers in late October to Lake Tawakoni and Cooper Lake. Three Fish Crows were first records for Hunt Co. on Oct 24, 3 were at Lake Tawakoni on Oct 26, and 20 were at Cooper Lake on Oct 20 (all Matt White).

Common Raven: (3) 3 August (Jeff Mundy), northwest Austin, western Travis County [rare].

Jeff Mundy, "There were 3 (com.?) ravens present in NW Austin yesterday afternoon. The birds were in the Bull Creek corridor on Spicewood Springs at 360 aka the Capitol of Texas Highway, on the west side of 360. While ravens are regular about 40 miles to the northwest in the Balcones NWR, I have never seen them in Austin proper during the last 5 years, so thought I would forward this for what it is worth."

Common Raven: (1) 30 November (Randy Pinkston), along Peaceable Kingdome Road, southwest of Dana Peak Park on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, western Bell County [very rare; not listed on 2000 Bell County checklist; probably 3rd county record; Randy's first-ever for the county].

Randy Pinkston, "Heading southwest from there in search of Lark Bunting, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Pyrrhuloxia, Canyon Towhee, etc., I stumbled upon my first-ever Common Raven for Bell County along Peaceable Kingdom road. Interestingly, the raven was circling and soaring over a herd of domestic bison."
Rich Kostecke, "Randy's record is likely not the first for Bell County. Apparently, ravens have been seen irregularly on Fort Hood for years now. Last spring (2003) Ron Taylor observed 1-3 common ravens on the Coryell Co. side of Fort Hood. He was doing point counts and there is the possibility that this was a single bird observed multiple times. On the same day, Matt Mecklenburg observed a common raven on West Fort Hood (that should be Bell County). While I can not easily dig up the details (though we do have them buried in the rest of our copious point count data), there has been a handful of other raven records from Fort Hood, all picked up on point counts in April."
Randy Pinkston, "Discussions with John Arvin and others over the past ten years have given me the impression that Common Raven is the "default species" in fall and winter in the Hill Country and adjacent prairies. Chihuahuan Raven is unexpected, and I would assume that any old Chihuahuan Raven records on the Bell County list most likely pertain to Common Raven. Having said that, I'm personally unfamiliar with these old records and I certainly stand corrected if they were well-documented. Otherwise, I would assume that these records pertain to Common Raven. Based on winter habitat preferences of the two species in core range, it makes sense to me that our central Texas birds would be Commons. As for my bird on the 30th, I saw it very well, but only in flight, and it was silent the whole time. Overall gigantic size and a really honking schnozz were its most distinctive features. How's that for sophisticated documentation? "

Larks & Swallows

Horned Lark: (20-25) 11 September (Darrell Vollert), Turf farms on FM 50 and CR 443, Burleson County [occasional].
Horned Lark: (1) 11 October (Jason Pike, David Ringer), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [rare].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "... and a flock of Horned Larks was reported from Lake Tawakoni on Oct 17 (MW). Another Horned Lark, rare in the pineywoods, was at Lake O' the Pines on Oct 11 (JPi, DR)."

In the Central Prairie, when do Cave Swallows leave and do some of them stay?

Tim Fennell, "Hey Bert, this is a question I've wondered about as well. I stopped by the Cave Swallow colony site under the freeway in Round Rock this morning (11/22) and could see at least 3 Cave Swallows huddled in the old nests. I suspect some of these guys overwinter. Randy Pinkston first reported them in winter a couple of years ago. I had some there on 2/8/02. I'm going to try to remember to monitor this site on a regular basis this winter.

Cave Swallow: (30+) 29 August (Darrell Vollert), Indian Paintbrush between Brenham and Chappell Hill, Washington County.
Cave Swallow: (100's) through August; ("all but left") 4 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Jeffrey Hanson, "When I tried to point out our usual 100s of Cave Swallows to some British birders, late in the day, I found that they had all but left."

Cave Swallow: (1) 14 September (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [his last of season].
Cave Swallow: (2) 27 September (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
Cave Swallow: (2) 30 September (Darrell Vollert), Leachman Ranch, Lee County.
Cave Swallow: (15-20) 1 October (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County.
Cave Swallow: (no.?) 25 October (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County ["continue to feed over the house"].
Cave Swallow: (2) November (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), flying over CR 353 'megafield', Granger area, Williamson County.
Cave Swallow: (no.?) 9 November (Mike Creese), San Antonio area, Bexar County.
Cave Swallow: (3) 22 November (Tim Fennell), under the freeway in Round Rock, Williamson County.

The most interesting story is Ellen Ratoosh's observations of two and sometimes three Cave Swallows roosting under a bridge near her home in Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County. Previously not known to stay after October in the Brazos Valley, her studies show them through November and into December at least.

14 September (mixed flock of 30 Cliff and Cave) 14 September (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest, College Station, Brazos County
18 September (12)
27 September (~12)
Ellen, "Cave Swallow - there were still about a dozen over the floodplain on 9/27. I'm still frequently seeing them around the bridge. The Barns and Cliffs that also nested under the bridge seem to have gone."
6 October (~15 feeding with about 100 swifts)
13 October ("I saw more Cave than Cliff Swallows from my yard this season, which is a remarkable statement.")
1 November (2)
Ellen, "This evening 1 November at sunset, … we saw two Cave Swallows disappear under the bridge. I assume they were roosting for the night, and wonder if they have been hanging around all along - I'm not usually there right at sunset."
Bert Frenz, "This is the first November record for the Central Brazos Valley. The wintering status of Cave Swallows in Central Texas is only partially known. Cave Swallows have overwintered in Travis and Bastrop counties at least since 1993 and there is a 3 December 2001 record in Williamson County. Further north, and in particular in the Central Brazos Valley the only winter record is 4 January 1999 in Lee."
2 November (0)
Ellen, "I was at the bridge again this evening, but didn't see the Cave Swallows. Some neighbors of mine who are frequently there at dusk and casual birdwatchers said that they haven't been seeing swallows. So maybe it was a fluke, but I will keep watching for them."
3-6, 9 November (2)
Ellen, 4 November, "Now I know why I haven't been seeing these guys, if they've been roosting at night under the bridge all fall. I went down to the bridge just before sunset this evening, hoping to get a really good look at them. I was facing west, and turned just in time to see one disappear under the bridge. It did not reappear. I climbed down under the bridge, but couldn't see it/them. There are many old Cliff, Cave, and Barn Swallow nests down there, and a bird roosting in one of the deeper ones would be invisible. The birds are not in the area during the day. They seem to appear out of nowhere right at sunset, and fly immediately under. In three days of seeing them, I've heard a call note only once. So unless you're looking in the right direction at the right moment, you won't know they're there. Very different from usual circling swallow behavior. I've seen huge flocks of Barn Swallows and Martins heading to roost, and they swirl and circle in a very obvious way, like swifts do. Maybe these Caves are so secretive because they're so few? Or maybe this is a Cave Swallow habit in winter? I have no experience with this."
10 November (3)
Ellen, "This evening, 11/10, was brighter than it's been the last few days, without clouds, also much warmer (mid 70s). I got to the Appomattox St. bridge at about 1710, and was joined by Barb and Ken Emery. Much to our surprise, three Cave Swallows appeared at about 1720 (this is a little later than the two had been showing up over the weekend). The three circled over the bridge for nearly 10 minutes, and I heard many call notes, which is also different. The two I've been seeing have been silent. Maybe the calling was because there was a new bird? At 17:32, two of the swallows made their dive under the bridge and stayed there. The third circled again, made an approach dive, then pulled up at the last minute without going under the bridge. It then took off high and rapidly east down the floodplain, and did not return. I'm fascinated that the two that I've been seeing appear to have found a third somewhere, and that it decided not to roost with them. Maybe my theory is right and there are a number of these guys lurking around the county."
11 and 13 November (2)
Ellen, "The Cave Swallows are interesting to observe. Every evening they seem to behave differently. Last night, 11/11, the first one appeared at 1718, then went to roost at 1722. A minute later, the (a?) second one arrived. It went to roost at 1725. I wonder if this is an indication that they spend the day foraging separately? Both were completely silent. No sign of a third bird this time. They seem to have a preference for roosting under a particular sector of the bridge, and always enter it in the same way. They do seem to be sensitive to people (me) standing on the bridge and will sometimes go to an adjacent area. Since I realized that, I'm standing off to the side of the bridge."
14 November (3)
Ellen, "I was unable to watch the Cave Swallows yesterday, 11/14, so Barb and Ken Emery said they would do it for me. Here is Barb's report: 'At 8:17 AM -0600 11/15/03, Barb Emery wrote: Hi Ellen, the first swallow arrived about 5:16 and did high flying, then a second arrived approx. 5:17 pm and joined the other. Then about 5:19 a third one joined and flew for less than a minute and took off for parts unknown. Then the remaining two flew under the original side of the bridge one right after the other. It was as usual very interesting!' ... There you have it - there's a third Cave Swallow in the area, but as before, roosting elsewhere. Very interesting."
18 and 20 November (2)
Bert, "These sightings are particularly interesting and unprecedented for the local area. Although now a common summer breeder, little has been reported about fall residency. Ellen has found that two Cave Swallows have been roosting under a bridge and an occasional third swallow sometimes shows up, but roosts elsewhere. The Cave Swallows only have been seen at dusk and very quickly disappear under the bridge. Her observations beg the question: How many other Cave Swallows are roosting in the area that are going unnoticed by observers?"
23 November (2, but arrived separately)
Ellen, "Today (11/23) the two swallows came in separately. One appeared at 5:10 and went to roost at 5:14, the other appeared at 5:21 and roosted at 5:24. Does this suggest that they do not forage together during the day? I dunno. Might be a good strategy when insects are scarce. Insects must have been scarce today - the temperature dropped about 20 degrees in an hour this morning, and by roosting time was only in the upper 40s with a 15 mph north wind."
25 and 29 November; 1-2 and 4-8 December (2)
Ellen, 29 November, "the two Cave Swallows appeared at the bridge at 5:20 and went to roost two minutes later. They come in later on clear bright days than on cloudy days."
Ellen, 7 December, "The Cave Swallows appeared separately this evening. One went to roost at 5:22 after four minutes of flying around, the second didn't appear until 5:26, then immediately went to roost."

Barn Swallow: (9) 1 November (Rich Kostecke), SE Bell County [rare in November].
Barn Swallow: (10+) 2 November (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Barn Swallow: (8) 8 November (Hornsby Bend monthly count, 5 observers, fide Russell Nelson), Travis County [rare].
Barn Swallow: (1) 11 November (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [rare; late departure].

Tits & Nuthatches & Creepers

Tufted/Black-crested (hybrid) Titmouse: (1) 26 October (Byron Stone, Aletha Snowden), Dawn View, Hays County

Byron Stone, "Aletha Snowden and I birded the DawnView area of Hays County northwest of Dripping Springs this morning ... a hybrid Black-crowned x Tufted Titmouse (as indicated by the reddish-buffy forecrown in front of the black crest). I was surprised to see a hybrid titmouse this far west of what I usually consider to be the zone of hybridization below the Balcones escarpment."

Tufted/Black-crested (hybrid) Titmouse: (3) 8 November (Byron Stone), Riata Pond, Austin, Travis County
Byron Stone, "Black-crested Titmouse - 3 of the hybrid, "brown-fronted" form"

So far this season, Red-breasted Nuthatches have been quite rare in East and Central Texas.
Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1 adult male) 29 August (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [first report]
Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 12 November (Carroll Moore), Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County [only area report up to 22 Nov, fide Pineywoods Scissor-Tales].
Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 18 November (Oscar Carmona), Huntsville State Park, Walker County.
Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 29 November (Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, Montgomery County [one of few reported so far this season].

White-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 7 September (Peter Barnes and Dallas Audubon Society), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].
White-breasted Nuthatch: (1-2) 20 August (Brush Freeman, Eric Carpenter); (1) 29 August (Brush Freeman); (1 HO) 3 September (Brush Freeman); (2) 7 September (Byron Stone); (1) 12 September (Rob Fergus); (1) 5 November (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [rare in area, but consistent at this location].
White-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 16 November (Rich Kostecke), of Belton at the Elm Grove Road crossing of the Little River, Bell County [his first-of-year and #270 on his Bell County year list; occasional on Bell County checklist].

Brown Creeper: (1) 21 October (Rick Schaefer), near Norwood, north Angelina National Forest, San Augustine County [first of season; rare at this date, but expected].

Wrens

Cactus Wren: (1) 26 October (Byron Stone, Aletha Snowden), Dawn View, northwest of Dripping Springs, Hays County [northern and eastern edge of range].

Rock Wren: (1) 25 October (Tim Fennell, Todd Council), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [casual this far east].

Tim Fennell, Fall Report, "Although they apparently breed at the Lake Georgetown Dam, they only get this far east occasionally."

Bewick's Wren: (1) 1 October (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [early arrival, but did not stay].

House Wren: (1) 14 September (Rich Kostecke), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [early arrival; rare].
House Wren: (1) 20 September (Darrell Vollert, Gary and Kathy Adams Clark), Brazos River Road, Washington County [early arrival].
House Wren: (1) 20 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Bell County [early arrival].

Winter Wren: (1) 26 October (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare; his FOS].

Brush Freeman, "Last night I posted about the numbers of migrants I heard passing over and suspected that a fair number of the chips I heard were Orange-crowned Warblers. Well after a very slow few days, the property here is very active with lots of new arrivals, including 8-9 Orange-crowned Warbler which were absent before last night. There is also an increase of Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows, a Lincoln's. A Yellow-breasted Sapsucker is new as is a Chipping Sparrow and Catbird. Perhaps what was most interest to me was my first fall Winter Wren. As I was watching a few birds at the bird bath, this tiny dark animal popped out for just a few seconds to join them."

Winter Wren: (1) 27 October (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [rare in October].
Winter Wren: (1) 5 November (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [still rare in 1st week of November].

Randy Pinkston, "Winter Wren: sightings at Stillhouse Hollow Lake 27 Oct and Lake Belton 29 Nov are more than I usually get in the fall, perhaps predictive of a good winter for the species."

Sedge Wren: (8) throughout August (Matt White), Delta County [breeding suspected].

fide Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "Pairs of Sedge Wrens were singing at Cooper Lake throughout August, and at least 4 pairs were present on Aug 29 (Matt White). Breeding has not been definitively documented for this species in north-east Texas, although a bird resembling a fledgling was observed on Aug 29 (MW). Nesting was also suspected this month at Red Slough, on the Red River just north of Bowie Co. "

Sedge Wren: (2) 30 September (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), campground at Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [first of season, early edge of arrivals, occasional].

Marsh Wren: (1) 30 September (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), campground at Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [occasional].

Kinglets

Not many Golden-crowned Kinglets have made it to East and Central Texas as yet this season.
Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 16 October (Georgette Guernsey), Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina County [occasional; FOS].
Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 26 October (Richard Kaskan), Platt Lane at Hornsby Bend, Travis County.
Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 1 November (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County.
Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 7 November (Ellen Ratoosh, Jackie Girouard), Lick Creek Park, College Station, Brazos County.
Golden-crowned Kinglet: (2) 30 November (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (1) 15 September (Tyson Hart), Flag Pond, Lake Somerville, Lee County [early edge of arrival dates].
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (1) 20 September (David Wolf, Robert Truss, et al.), Etoile Park, Nacogdoches County [earliest arrival].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "the Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Etoile Park on the Sept. 20 field trip was our earliest ever by one day."

Thrushes

Gray-cheeked Thrush: (1) 15 October (Jack & Cathie Foster), Caddo Lake State Park, Harrison County [extremely rare; no prior fall records listed on 1999 NETFO checklist; no prior fall records listed on 2001 Pineywoods checklist].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "Caddo Lake State Park hosted a Gray-cheeked Thrush on Oct 15 ... The Gray-cheeked Thrush is extremely rare in the fall."
Matt White, in his book Birds of Northeast Texas, "... possibly a very rare fall migrant. ... Its status in fall is uncertain, though there are apparently one or two sight records at this season from the eastern sections of the region." [Note, Caddo Lake is the eastern section].
Cathie Foster, in written report, submitted on TBRC form, dated 4 Dec, but written from notes made during observation, and sent to Bert Frenz, "Gray-cheeked Thrush. One (1) adult. Caddo Lake State Park, Harrison County. 15 Oct 2003 10:30 AM. Sunny, clear with tree covering. Optical: Bushnell 8X42, Pentax 9X63 DCF. Distance to bird: 50 feet. Duration: 4-5 minutes. Habitat: Tall pine/deciduous woods with limited brush on ground (leaves on ground, dead limbs, vines, etc. but very few 'shrubs'; on large slope-underside. Relative size: 7-1/2". Behavior: Stayed perched on a bare branch approx. 6' above the ground 'sunning' in the tree-filtered sunshine. Turned around on branch when it became aware of our presence, hesitated - looked back at us - then flew low, gliding into the woods down the slope away from us. Being higher on the slope gave us the advantage of being 'eye level' with the bird. Color: grayish-brown head, forehead, crown; thin broken eye-ring; no buff in eye-ring or auricular. Upper parts were grayish-brown with no rufous anywhere; heavy spots on throat and breast; no buffy coloring on sides or flanks; undertail coverts were light/white; wings grayish-brown with no rufous; had the 'cold stare' look with no buffy color in cheek or auricular. Eliminated Hermit: no rufous on tail, no tail flicking, more breast spots. Eliminated Swainson's: no distinct 'spectacles', no rufous as in W. Swainson's. Previous experience: banded Gray-cheeked; recorded/observed all species in TX and MO during migration."

Swainson's Thrush: (1) 25 September (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [rare fall migrant].

Brush Freeman, "Bert: I have had a couple of Swainson's this fall but the one I heard sing was at Lake Sweetwater."

Hermit Thrush: (1 singing) 20 November (Bert Frenz), Buescher State Park, Bastrop County [rare to be singing this late].

Bert Frenz, "A crisp late-fall morning, the chilled air not yet warmed by the morning sun, I was driving Park Road 1C of Buescher State Park and stopping frequently to hear the dawn chorus of rising birds. About 6:45 AM I heard the most beautiful song even before I stepped out of the car. Deep in the woods enveloping Alum Creek I heard the sweet song of the Hermit Thrush. My favorite of songsters, I relish spring times in Canada and Alaska hearing the varied verses, changing a half-note up and down the musical scale with each chorus. How rare to hear this in the oak-pine forest of central Texas in mid November!"

Wood Thrush: (1) 5 November (Brush Freeman, Ron Giles), Alum Creek, Bastrop County [rare; late migrant].

Brush Freeman, "Just a couple of weeks ago Ron Giles and I heard a Wood Thrush singing on a closed area of Alum Ck."

Mockingbirds, Thrashes

Gray Catbird: (1) 26 October (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [new arrivals with cold front; late migrant; rare at this date].
Gray Catbird: (1) 26 November (Ted Eubanks), Shoal Creek, Austin, Travis County [rare in November].

Ted Eubanks, "One Gray Catbird came in this morning to bathe in the sprinkler at my home along Shoal Creek."

Some apparently late nesting reports were received, but Oberholser lists young just out of nest as late as 19 October.
Northern Mockingbird: (nestlings fledged) 24 August (Brenda Muncrief), Huntsville, Walker County [late nesting].

Brenda Muncrief, "We also have what seems to be very late nesting by mockingbirds. The nestlings fledged today."

Northern Mockingbird: (juveniles) 20 September (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [late nesting].

Ellen Ratoosh, "Mockingbirds and Mourning Doves in juvenile plumage are still appearing in my yard - some still with evident gape flanges."

Long-billed Thrasher: (1) 27-29 September; 7 October; 28-29 October; 10 November (Susan Schaezler, Maren Phillips, et al.), Guadalupe County [edge of normal range].

Curve-billed Thrasher: (1) 16 November (Sue Levy), east of Sequin on I-10, Guadalupe County [rare].

Pipits

Sprague's Pipit: (2) 5 October (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Alligator Road, Bell County [rare in early October].
Sprague's Pipit: (4) 19 October (Tim Fennell), CR 346, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Sprague's Pipit: (2) 15 November (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches Airport, Nacogdoches County [occasional].
Sprague's Pipit: (9) 16 November (Tim Fennell), Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Williamson County [good count].
Sprague's Pipit: (27) 16 November (Tim Fennell), CR 112, east Round Rock, Williamson County [unusually large number].

Tim Fennell, Fall Report, "Sprague's Pipit: 10/5/03- end of season: On 11/16/03 a total of 36 birds were detected as part of an apparent movement of this species through Williamson County. Nine birds were seen and heard at a brief stop at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in the morning and 27 birds were seen along a half-mile stretch of CR 112 in east Round Rock in the evening. No birds were detected at the CR 112 location on 11/22."

Sprague's Pipit: (~6) 27 November (Brush Freeman), near Kirtley, Fayette County [good sighting in an infrequently birded county].
Sprague's Pipit: (8) 11 November (Matt White; (15) 30 November (Matt White, TOS Field Trip), Daphne Prairie, Franklin County [occasional].

New World Warblers

Although fall migration certainly pales in relation to spring migration, it often produces many rarities. In that regard this season was quite good, with a total of 29 warbler species in Central and East Texas.

Blue-winged Warbler: (1) 20 September (Rick Schaefer), Nacogdoches Sewage Ponds, Nacogdoches County [rare fall migrant].

Tennessee Warbler: (1) 7 September (Jesse Fagan); (1) 20 October (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [occasional fall migrant].
Tennessee Warbler: (1) 21 August and 23 October (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [rare fall migrant].

Nashville Warbler: (1 adult male) 8 November (Mike Manson), College Hills, College Station, Brazos County [late migrant, rare].
Nashville Warbler: (1) 10 November (Randy Pinkston), along Lampasas River, Bell County [rare this late].

Northern Parula: (1) 13 September (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [late migrant].

Yellow Warbler: (5) 9 August (monthly count), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [early arrival; rare].

Chestnut-sided Warbler: (1) 15 September (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [casual in fall migration; only 1-2 prior September records in past decade for Austin area].
Chestnut-sided Warbler: (1) 22 September (Ted Eubanks), Shoal Creek in Pease Park, Austin, Travis County [casual in fall].
Chestnut-sided Warbler: (1 male) 6 October (David Wolf), Cassells-Boykin Park, Angelina County [rare and late].

Magnolia Warbler: (1) 22 September (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [casual in fall; only 2-3 prior fall records for Austin area in past decade].

Black-throated Blue Warbler: (1 male) 2 October (Sally Breed), Barton Creek Greenbelt off the 360 entrance, Austin, Travis County [casual; very few records for Austin area].

Audubon's Warbler: (1 with 2 other Yellow-rumped) 6 October (David Wolf), Cassells-Boykin Park, Angelina County [rare this far east and also early].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "In general this was not an outstanding fall for warblers, but some rare migrants were found. The best were an 'Audubon's' with 2 other Yellow-rumped at Cassells-Boykin Park on the early date of Oct 6 (DW) ..."

Audubon's (Yellow-rumped) Warbler: (1) 6 October (Randy Pinkston, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [occasional].

Black-throated Gray Warbler: (1) 1 November (Julie & Cliff Shackelford), far south Austin about 3 blocks west of Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park, Travis County [casual; first November record for Austin area; photographed].

Cliff Shackelford, "At 11:20 a.m. today while working in our wildscaped backyard, my wife Julie spotted and identified a beautiful male Black-throated Gray Warbler coming to our bird bath. The location is Far South Austin about three city blocks west of Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park. The new 50th anniversary edition of the Travis Audubon Society's checklist to birds of the Austin region does not include a November record for this species. Luckily, our digital camera was close by so I snapped a few good and identifiable pictures of this western-breeding warbler -- even the yellow spot on the lores can be seen in our photos. We will e-mail those pictures to the local bird records committee shortly. Along with a calling Common Poorwill in 1999, this warbler has to be our best "yard bird". The Black-throated Gray Warbler was traveling in a mixed-species flock with Black-throated Green and Orange-crowned warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The flock stuck around for less than 10 minutes and then disappeared -- a quick drink of water and bath was required on their long journey."

Black-throated Green Warbler: (1) 5 August (Ron Gutberlet, Carol Gutberlet), Smith County [very early; very rare].
Black-throated Green Warbler: (1) 9 August (Nancy Bird), Angelina County [very early; very rare].
Black-throated Green Warbler: (1 male) 11 August; (1) 14 August (Susan Schaezler), her property, Guadalupe County [very rare; early migrant].

Susan Schaezler, 11 August, "This morning, I was entertained by a beautiful Black-throated Green Warbler and actually got 2 good pictures of him. Look at how bright the cheek is, but we still have yellow in the vent area. He was in the sun with one of the pictures. http://www.schaezler.net/birding/gallery-album12.html "
Susan, 14 August, "I had a different Black-throated Green Warbler today."

Black-throated Green Warbler: (2) 6 November (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [late migrant; rare].
Black-throated Green Warbler: (1) 14 November (Homer Rushing), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [late departure; rare].
Black-throated Green Warbler: (1) 21 November (Derek Muschalek), Hwy 80, 3.7 miles north of Gillett, Karnes County [late migrant].
Black-throated Green Warbler: (1) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Lake Fayette, Fayette County [late migrant; rare].

Blackburnian Warbler: (1 male) 16 October (Georgette Guernsey), Marion Ferry, Lake Sam Rayburn, Angelina County [rare].

Prairie Warbler: (1 juvenile) 27 September (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [very late departure].

Palm Warbler: (1) 7 October (David Wolf, Mimi Hoppe Wolf, Jesse Fagan), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [casual in East Texas].
Palm Warbler: (1) 18 October (John O'Brien), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto and Polk counties [casual].

Cerulean Warbler: (1 female) 29 August (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [studied at length; extremely rare; no prior fall records listed on 1999 NETFO checklist; no prior fall records listed on 2001 Pineywoods checklist; no fall records mentioned in Matt White's book].

American Redstart: (1 male) 20 August (Lee Clausen, Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [very early migrant; very rare].

Susan Schaezler, "Lee Clausen came to visit our wildlife today and saw an American Redstart, male! I came out later and also saw it and took a poor picture. From the checklists, this is very rare. The bird was seen from 9:15-10 a.m."

American Redstart: (1) 6 September (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park, Lake Belton, Bell County [rare in early September].
American Redstart: (1) 7 September (Rich Kostecke), riparian woodlands along the Lampasas River (Maxdale, Chalk Ridge Falls Park), Bell County [rare].

Prothonotary Warbler: (1) 21 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [very late; casual].

Ovenbird: (1) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare fall migrant].
Ovenbird: (1) 15 October; (1) 25 October (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare].

Northern Waterthrush: (2) 24 August (Tim Fennell), 1 at Mankin's Crossing and 1 at Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare fall migrant].
Northern Waterthrush: (1) 31 August (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County
waterthrush sp.: (1) 3 September (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Washington County [rare fall migrant].
Northern Waterthrush: (1) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare fall migrant].
waterthrush sp.: (1) 20 September (Rich Kostecke, Anthony Floyd), Iron Bridge Park, Lake Belton, Bell County

For a warbler that is listed as a very rare fall migrant on most area checklists, Louisiana Waterthrush had a very good showing in Central Texas.
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 8 August (Derek Muschalek), six miles southeast of Gillett, Karnes County [very rare fall migrant].
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 9 August; (1) 23 August; (1) 3 September (Darrell Vollert), along creek north of Polk's Lake dam, Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill, Washington County [very rare].
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 23 August (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake dam, Clarann Estate, Washington County [very rare].
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 24 August (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County [very rare].
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 12 September (Rich Kostecke), Cowhouse Creek, Bell County [very rare].
Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 27 September (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [very rare, particularly this late in fall].

Darrell Vollert, "During my weekly bird survey at the Clarann Estate I found a Louisiana Waterthrush on 9/27. The waterthrush was observed foraging along Little Cedar Creek on the north side of the estate. All of the field marks I noted on the waterthrush pointed to Louisiana. Buffy flanks, white/unstreaked throat, white supercilium which broadened behind the eye, and the waterthrush bobbed in tail in circular motion."

Mourning Warbler: (6) 3 September (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [a bit early, rare, his FOS].
Mourning Warbler: (1 male, 1 female) 6 September (David Pueppke), Freiheit Lake, Guadalupe/Comal county line [rare].
Mourning Warbler: (1 immature male) 10 October (salvaged by Andy Conley), window collision at Texas A&M University, College Station, Brazos County [rare; late edge of migration].

MacGillivray's Warbler: (1 male) 6 September (David Pueppke), Freiheit Lake, Guadalupe/Comal county line [very rare].

David Pueppke, "The best bird of the day was in a small shrub along the edge of the trees, and surrounded by ragweed. I heard a sharp chip that sounded like a yellowthroat, and went to investigate as this is early for yellowthroats. The bird came out in the open and I got a good look - it had a gray hood with a little black along the bottom and some bold white around the eye. When it flew into another bush, I noted that it's tail looked longer than on Mourning Warbler. I never got another look as good as the first one, but did find the bird again later and noted the tail when it flew. I have some experience with Mourning Warbler call notes, but none with MacGillivray's, having only seen that species a few times in my life. When I first heard it call, it never occurred to me that the bird was anything other than a yellowthroat - I had no idea that the call notes of Mourning and MacGillivray's were different. Several books said that since Mourning Warbler is so variable in plumage, the call note is the best way to separate them. I also didn't know about the difference in tail length - one book said it is particularly noticeable in flight. Of course, the bold white around the eye is a good field mark, but I don't like to trust just one field mark on a bird that rare. I'm beginning to wonder if MacGillivray's isn't a rare but somewhat regular migrant this far east - Lockwood says they're an uncommon fall migrant in the western half of the Edwards Plateau and a very rare to rare fall migrant through the remainder of the region. Freiheit Lake is on the eastern edge of the region covered by his book."

MacGillivray's Warbler: (1 male) 9 September (Maren Phillips), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [very rare].
MacGillivray's Warbler: (1 immature) 14 October (Sue Wiedenfeld, 11 others), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [very rare].
MacGillivray's Warbler: (1 female or immature) 1-2 November (Darrell Vollet), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [very rare and certainly very late].

Darrell Vollert, "This morning at the Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill in eastern Washington County I found a warbler that appears to be a strong candidate for a female or immature MacGillivray's. My view of the warbler was distorted by thick vegetation so I cannot completely rule out Mourning Warbler. The warbler was found foraging in a tangle of vines and ragweed under a small stand of Gum Bumelia trees. The warbler was seen at a distance of about 20 feet and was foraging five feet about the ground. When I initially saw the warbler my impression was that it was an Orange-crowned. But the warbler's belly, sides, and undertail coverts were too yellow. The warbler had a gray head with a black eye-line. I noticed at least one bold white eye-arc. There was quite a contrast between the gray on the bird's breast and the yellow belly. The back of the bird was olive/brown. The warbler did not call during my brief observation of the bird. Orange-crowns usually call at least a little bit when they are foraging. I will attempt to re-locate the warbler tomorrow morning. If I find the bird again and positively ID the warbler I will post to the list."
Darrell, "Below are two responses I received from Willie Sekula and Susan Schaelzer in regards to the probable MacGillivray's Warbler at the Clarann Estate on the 1st. On Sunday morning I tried to re-locate the warbler. Did not see it, but I did hear the chip note of an Oporornis warbler in the adjacent Masonic Cemetery. The warbler chipped only once. I feel confident the warbler I saw was a MacGillivray's. Today's cold front probably pushed the bird south of here."
Willie Sekula, "Nice find! I bet it's a MacGillivray's Warbler. I remember seeing one at Blucher Park in Corpus Christi a couple of years ago in early November. I don't recall ever seeing a Mourning Warbler past mid-October. I think all the Mourning's have gone through the state by mid-October. By the way, Tennessee had it's first record of MacGillivray's this past week. I think it's a female also."
Bert Frenz to Darrell, "There are about a half-dozen MacGillivray's records for the Brazos Valley, including one banded east of Bryan on 23 Sep 1980 after it was found stunned. Waco has a few records, first one in spring 1963 and a fall record 31 August 1963. Later records are 5 Oct 1996 in Bosque County, 12 Oct 2000 at Hornsby Bend, 14 Oct 2003 at Schaezler's. Although the Austin area checklist marks a late October record, I haven't been able to find a literature reference to it (it is probably in the Balcones Canyonlands and/or western Travis Co.). Further west, in the Hill County, fall migrants pass through the region between late August and mid-October. The latest fall migrant record for the Texas Panhandle is 20 Oct 1986 in Randall Co. Pulich did not find any valid fall records for North Central Texas, although he does mention an Oklahoma record for 18 Sep 1959. There are no fall records for the UTC, but curiously there is one at the end of December, probably a CBC record, followed by some January and February records which suggest early spring migrants. There are almost no records for the Coastal Bend and no last date. The Guadalupe Delta WMA has only a single fall record, 11 Oct 1998.
Mourning Warbler migrates about the same time and also stops by mid October, or at least usually stops. I've got a list of 10 records between 1 Oct and 12 Oct, followed by 14 Oct, 19 Oct and 3 Nov, the last being in College Station in 1979 and reported by Tony Gallucci. Lockwood gives the fall migration window as late August to mid-October with a few stragglers into late October. The latest fall migrant for North Central Texas, listed in Pulich, is 20 October. The latest for the Panhandle is 13 October, although there aren't many records for that part of Texas. In east Texas the last migrants are mid-October. On the UTC, the last is just short of the end of October. The last fall date for the Coastal Bend is 7 October. The Guadalupe Delta WMA has a late record of 3 November.
Whether MacGillivray's or Mourning, your 1 November Oporornis sighting is unusually late."

Common Yellowthroat: (1) 20 November (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [late; occasional].

Canada Warbler: (2) 4 September (Jane Purtle), Cherokee County [occasional].
Canada Warbler: (1) 5 September (Jack & Cathie Foster), Lake Bob Sandlin, Camp/Titus counties [occasional].
Canada Warbler: (1 male) 25 September (Homer Rushing), Barton Creek Greenbelt, Austin, Travis County [occasional].

Tanagers

Summer Tanager: (1 female) 9 October (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare this late].
Summer Tanager: (1) 16 November (Jane Purtle), Gregg County [casual this late in fall].

Scarlet Tanager: (1) 26 September (Peggy Harding), Rusk County [very rare in fall].
Scarlet Tanager: (1) 11 October (Dorothy Metzer, Jack & Cathie Foster), Tom Walker's farm, Marion County [casual fall migrant, no prior October records and very few in September].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, "A Scarlet Tanager was seen at Tom Walker's Farm in Marion Co. on Oct 11 (DM, CF, JF). This is unusually late, with previous records being through mid-September."

Buntings, Sparrows

Olive Sparrow: (1) 12 August (Derek Muschalek), 1/2 mile east of Hwy 119 & Muschalek Rd, Karnes County [breeding probable-T].
Olive Sparrow: (1) 21 August (Derek Muschalek), new locality six miles southeast of Gillett, Karnes County.

Eastern/Spotted leucistic Towhee: (1 photographed) 16 November (Susan Schaezler), Guadalupe County.

Susan Schaezler, "11-16-03 Leucistic Towhee with pictures - http://www.schaezler.net/birding/gallery-album21.html . You can imagine my shock when I saw this white head coming out! Now, since I have both Eastern and Spotted Towhees, which is this one? "

Clay-colored Sparrow: (1) 30 September (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), campground at Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [occasional].
Clay-colored Sparrow: (no.?) 1 October (Mikael Behrens), Yett Creek park area north of Riata Pond, Travis County.

Vesper Sparrow: (1) 4 October (Rich Kostecke), southeast Bell County [early arrival; rare].

Grasshopper Sparrow: (1, along with 30 other Ammodramus sparrows) 30 November (Matt White, TOS Field Trip), Daphne Prairie, Franklin County [occasional].

Henslow's Sparrow: (1) 18 October (David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [early arrival].
Henslow's Sparrow: (1 dead) 14 November (Darrell Pogue), UT Tyler campus, Tyler, Smith County [photographed; very rare].
Henslow's Sparrow (probable): (1, along with 30 other Ammodramus sparrows) 30 November (Matt White, TOS Field Trip), Daphne Prairie, Franklin County [rare].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (1) 18 October (David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [early arrival].

Fox Sparrow: (1) 30 October (Georgette Guernsey), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [very early arrival; occasional].

Lincoln's Sparrow: (1) 29 September (Derek Muschalek), near Old Davy Community, DeWitt County [early arrival; rare].

Harris's Sparrow: (no.?) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Lake Fayette, Fayette County [few records for this underbirded county].
Harris's Sparrow: (1) 30 November (Dick Bello), west of Huntsville, between SH 75 and SH 30, Walker County [rare in East Texas].

Dick Bellow, "Harris's Sparrow--great looks, adult bird, a lifer for me (a recent transplant from Louisiana, where they are very hard to find)."

White-crowned Sparrow: (1) 18 October (David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [early arrival; rare].
White-crowned Sparrow: (3) 19 October (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [early arrival; rare].

Dark-eyed Junco: (1) 15 September (Susan Schaezler), her property, Guadalupe County [very early arrival; earlier than any other records shown on the Austin area checklist or on the Oaks & Prairies and Osage Plains checklist].
Dark-eyed Junco: (2) 28 October (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [FOS; early arrival].

McCown's Longspur: (1 immature) 28 October (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Travis County [no October records on Austin area checklist; at the very edge of arrival dates on the Oaks & Prairies and Osage Plains checklist; casual].

Scott Young, "After researching field guides and magazines, and speaking with other birders, I am now certain that I saw an immature McCown's Longspur on the 8th green Tuesday 10/28 busily trying to eat the winter grass seed that we put out on Monday. Because we topdress the seed with sand, few players brave the miserable putting surface for the first few days after overseeding. This uncharacteristic lack of activity combined with the approximately 300 pounds of seed we put out on each green suited the longspur well. Twice while I was watching this bird it sat bolt upright in an alarm posture, possibly from a calling Red-Shouldered Hawk nearby. However neither my 20 minutes of observation from ~20 feet away, nor the comings and goings of my golf cart seemed to have any effect, as the longspur was quite intent on undoing as much of our work as it could :-)"

McCown's Longspur: (3) 2 November (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), east of 'Z' on CR 360, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
McCown's Longspur: (100+) 15 November (Tim Fennell, Travis & Twin Lakes Audubon Societies), CR 353 and CR 360, Granger Lake area, Williamson County [rare].

Smith's Longspur: (125) 30 November (Matt White, TOS Field Trip), Daphne Prairie, Franklin County [very rare in state, but regular at this newly discovered location].

Longspur species (probable Chestnut-collared): (2) 19 October (Tim Fennell), CR 360, Granger area, Williamson County [rare; his FOS].

Rose-breasted Grosbeak: (1) 7 October (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [occasional fall migrant].
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: (1) 8 October (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [occasional fall migrant].
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: (1 female) 12 October (Richard Kaskan), Blunn Creek Preserve, south Austin, Travis County [rare in fall].
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: (1) 18 October (Tyler Audubon Society), Old Sabine Bottom WMA, Smith County [rare in fall].

Cardinals, Grosbeaks

Indigo Bunting: (2) 28 October (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [late departure; occasional].

Dickcissel: (7) 24 September (Georgette Guernsey), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [good count].
Dickcissel: (2) 18 October (David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [late].
Dickcissel: (1) 23 October (Derek Muschalek), 11 miles northwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County [late migrant].

New World Orioles

Western Meadowlark: (1) 11 November (Matt White), Daphne Prairie, Franklin County [rare in north-east Texas].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1 female) 2 September (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Bell County [rare].
Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1 male) 14 September (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), Rosenfeld Dairy, McLennan County [rare].
Yellow-headed Blackbird: (4 female, 1 male) 19 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].
Yellow-headed Blackbird (5) 27 September (Tim Fennell), cattle trough on Alligator Rd, just west of Friendship Lane, Bell County [rare].
Yellow-headed Blackbird: (no.?) 27 September (Frank Bumgardner, Jane Derrick, John Muldrow, Sue Rhodes), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [rare].
Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1 female in flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds) 8 October (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].
Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1 in flock of 100+ blackbirds) 12 October (Jeff Mundy), Hwy 183, south of Lockhart, Caldwell County [rare].

Rusty Blackbird: (1) 22 November (David Wolf), west Nacogdoches County [early; rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "Amidst 110 Brewer's Blackbirds and other icterids at a regular site in w. Nacogdoches County on Nov 22 was a single early Rusty Blackbird (DW)."

Rusty Blackbird: (3-4 heard) 27 November (Brush Freeman), Lake Fayette, Fayette County [rare].
Rusty Blackbird: (6-7) 29 November (Frank Bumgardner, John Muldrow), WMARSS sewage ponds, Waco, McLennan County [rare].

Great-tailed Grackle: (1 male) 14 October (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf), TX 147 bridge, Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-tales, "A male Great-tailed Grackle was back on the TX 147 bridge on Oct 14 (DW, JF), possibly the same bird seen here in the summer."

Bronzed Cowbird: (20+) 13 October (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake area, Williamson County [rare].

Orchard Oriole: (1 juvenile female) 27-28 September (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [very late; only late fall records on Pineywoods checklist are the first day or two of the month and one at beginning of October].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, "A very pale juv. female Orchard Oriole at the Nacogdoches ponds on Sept 27-28 (JF, DW) (DW) was neither easy-to-see nor identify and provided a good lesson in carefully checking the often-tricky identification of out-of-season young birds."

Bullock's Oriole: (1 female) 3 September (Jeffrey Hanson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare migrant].

Jeffrey Hanson, "The bird-of-the-day (by far) was encountered on the dike on the way to the forest. In a flock of ~7-10 Baltimores, and 3-5 Orchard Orioles I had a FOS (as a migrant) female Bullock's Oriole. Since Sibley's was in hand, and with plenty of female Baltimores for comparison, the ID was pretty straight forward. FWIW: This species had been pretty much at the top of my "nemesis bird" list for central TX."

Baltimore Oriole: (1 adult male) 13 October (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [late departure; rare].

Purple Finch: (1) 15 November (Jesse Fagan), Nacogdoches ponds, Nacogdoches County [first of season; occasional; only report received for fall season].

American Goldfinch: (1 male in breeding plumage) 24 August (Brenda Muncrief), Huntsville, Walker County [very early and coincidentally Brenda also had very early goldfinch in 2002].

Brenda Muncrief, "Last year, we had an American goldfinch visit in July. Today, another showed up. Early or late!? :-) Here's the image.
http://home.earthlink.net/~butterflybren/_uimages/amgo.jpg

American Goldfinch: (1) 1 September (Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, near Richards, Montgomery County [early arrival].

Contributors:

Jean Anderson, Ben Archer Jr., Mary Lee Archer, Keith Arnold, Karen Arquette, Shawn Ashbaugh, Mike Austin, Andy & Julia Balinsky, Peter Barnes, Cheryle Beck, Mikael Behrens, Dick Bello, Billie Bernard, Nancy Bird, Al Bjelland, C. Bludau, Hazel Bluhm, Barry Boyd, Fred & Mary Brandt, Sally Breed, David Bryant, Frank Bumgardner, Alan Byboth, Dan Calloway, Oscar Carmona, Eric Carpenter, Alvin Cearley, David Cimprich, John Chenoweth, Gary & Kathy Adams Clark, Lee Clausen, George & Scarlet Colley, Fred Collins, Margaret Cook, Todd Council, Mike Creese, Grant Critchfield, D. D. Currie, Jane Derrick, Sandy Dillard, Gil Eckrich, Marcia Effinger, Kreg Ellzey, Mark Elwonger, Susan Esterson, Ted Eubanks, Jesse Fagan, Ed Fair, Tim Fennell, Rob Fergus, Anthony Floyd, Jack & Cathie Foster, Bert Frenz, Brush Freeman, Tony Gallucci, Diane Garner, Fred Gehlbach, Ron Giles, Jackie Girauard, Georgette Guernsey, Bryan Hale, Jeffrey Hanson, Peggy Harding, Tyson Hart, Eric Haskell, Jim Hinson, Bob Honig, Richard Howard, Jim Hughes, David Hurt, John Ingram, Eric Isley, Ernest Jasek, Diane Jones, Terry Junek, Richard Kaskan, Jeff Keeny, Carolyn Kelley, Sharon Kersten, Thomas Kihn, Mollie Kloepper, Rich Kostecke, Donna Krise, Fred Land, Greg Lasley, Jason Leifester, Sue Levy, Cathy Liles, Dell Little, Susie Lower, James Loesch, Marge Lumpe, Mike Manson, Mike Mathews, Terry Maxwell, Dorothy Metzler, Stu Miller, Carroll Moore, Debbie Moore, John Muldrow, Brenda Muncrief, Jeff Mundy, Derek Muschalek, Russell Nelson, Bob Norris, John O'Brien, Maren Phillips, Jason Pike, Randy Pinkston, Darrell Pogue, Truman Powell, Sumita Prasad, David Pueppke, Jane Purtle, Ellen Ratoosh, Bill Reiner, Sue Rhodes, Dan Ricks, David Ringer, Sue Ruotsala, Homer Rushing, George Russell, Jeffrey Sammon, Isaac Sanchez, Rick Schaefer, Russ Schaffer, Susan Schaezler, Georgina Schwartz, Denis Scott, Willie Sekula, Cliff Shackelford, Julie Shackelford, Holly Skraba, Joe Skraba, Howard Smith, Aletha Snowden, Ellen Carpenter Spracklen, Byron Stone, Sarah Stovall, Scott Summers, Ben Tedrick, Candy Troop, Harvey Truskett, Robert Truss, Stan Vansant, Darrell Vollert, Jim & Mary Voss, Matt Wagner, Peg Wallace, Jerry Walls, Nada Wareham, Matt White, Sue Wiedenfeld, Dan Wilkerson, Shirley Wilkerson, Stu Wilson, Judy Winn, David Wolf, Mimi Hoppe Wolf, Joe Yelderman, Kinjo Yonemoto, and Scott Young.


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Revised: April 20, 2004.