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.


Spring Season: March 1 - May 31, 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 2850 reports of 319 species from 1 March to 31 May 2003.

Weather reports:

Tim Fennell, Williamson County, "Although there was low rainfall for the area during the period, the rainfall from the winter kept area lakes and ponds full. South winds dominated throughout the period."

Randy Pinkston, Bell County, "Obviously the spring was warm and dry. The migration here in Bell County was pretty typical with one exception. Something was wrong with shorebird movements. In particular, the flooded field fare such as yellowlegs, Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers, dowitchers, even Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Black-necked Stilt. They just weren't around, some with depressed numbers, others not here at all. We had plenty of habitat for these species as the flooded fields from last autumn and winter began to dry up in April and May. In contrast, Upland Sandpipers and American Golden-Plovers were unusually widespread and numerous this year. I'd be interested know if other central Texas observers noticed similar phenomena."

Brush Freeman, Central Texas, "It was a very dry spring in central Texas and the wildflowers went to seed early. As of this writing June 1 no rain has fallen in Bastrop County at my place that was measurable, since March 28. Not even a sprinkle in April, normally one of our wetter months here and only one light sprinkle in May."

David Wolf, East Texas, from Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "Spring was somewhat 'late' this year. A major cold front on Feb. 24 caught early migrant swallows, and then another front on March 28-29 brought a late freeze that set back tender vegetation. On April 6 a line of fierce storms whirled up from the southwest, bring tornado activity to some areas, and dropping shorebirds and other migrants. Then, on April 8, another major front rolled in and it was barely above freezing on the mornings of April 9 & 10. Beautiful cool and dry weather persisted for a week afterwards and apparently held up migrants to the south of us, but when we returned to normal humid and warm days with south winds a wave of new arrivals appeared. As of this writing [April 19] we still have not had large numbers of migrants - but we are all anxiously awaiting the next big rain and frontal shift and hoping that it brings us birds!"

Populations shifts this spring:

Mississippi Kite nestings increased in Central Texas
Willets migrated in numbers through Central Oaks & Prairies region
Eurasian Collared-Doves now cover virtually all Texas counties
Greater Roadrunners increased in East Texas
Buff-bellied Hummingbirds continue to increase in Central Oaks & Prairies region
Lazuli Buntings spread eastward into Bell, Gonzales and Travis counties

Early arrivals:

Snowy Egret in Freestone
Upland Sandpiper in Angelina
Chuck-will's-widow in Travis
Whip-poor-will in Nacogdoches
Eastern Wood-Pewee in Angelina
Great Crested Flycatcher in Bastrop and Angelina
Painted Bunting in Angelina

Out of season lingerers:

Greater White-fronted Goose in Williamson
American Woodcock in Travis and Bastrop (possibly breeding)
Hermit Thrush in Williamson and Angelina
Cedar Waxwing in Washington
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Travis
Harris's Sparrow in Travis
White-crowned Sparrow in Brazos

At range limits:

Least Grebe in Travis
Neotropic Cormorant in San Augustine
Greater Scaup in Bell, Williamson and Freestone
Harris's Hawk in Travis
Zone-tailed Hawk in Bastrop
Common Pauraque in Guadalupe
Green Kingfisher in Williamson and Travis
Eastern Phoebe nesting in Brazos
Couch's Kingbird in Travis
Warbling Vireo nesting in Travis and perhaps Bastrop
Tree Swallows nesting in Harrison, Rusk, Bell and Williamson
Clay-colored Robin in Gonzales
Long-billed Thrasher in Guadalupe
Bachman's Sparrow in Montgomery
Great-tailed Grackle in Bowie and Angelina
Bronzed Cowbird in Brazos
House Finch in Walker

Rarities:

Pacific Loon in Marion
Glossy Ibis in Travis
King Rail in Nacogdoches
Virginia Rail in Austin
Whooping Crane in Bell
Piping Plover in Bell and Harrison
Hudsonian Godwit in Brazos
Ruddy Turnstones in Bell, Travis and Harrison
Royal Tern in Bell
Barn Owl in Williamson
Long-eared Owl in Travis
Whip-poor-will in Bell
Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Travis
Rufous Hummingbird overwintered in Angelina
Horned Lark in Bowie
Black-throated Blue Warbler in Montgomery
Prairie Warbler in Washington
Blackpoll Warbler in Bell and Guadalupe
MacGillivray's Warbler in Guadalupe
Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco in Bell
Lazuli X Indigo Bunting mating in Bell

Bird Sightings:

LOONS THROUGH ANHINGAS

PaLoFennell.jpg (21447 bytes) Pacific Loon:  (1 apparent first basic) 11 March (Tim Fennell), Tejas Village, Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [casual; photographed].

Tim Fennell, "This morning, 3/11/03, I saw and digiscoped images of a first-winter Pacific Loon from Tejas Village on Lake O' the Pines. Lake O' the Pines is in Marion County, northeast of Longview. The Pacific Loon was associating with a flock of 18 Common Loons, one of which was in full alternate plumage."

Least Grebe: (1) 11 March (Eric Carpenter), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Pied-billed Grebe: (37) 8 March (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [good count].

Pied-billed Grebe: (built 2 nests) late March (Jesse Fagan, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [occasional nester].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "Pied-billed Grebes built two nests at Alazan Bayou in late March, but did not lay eggs (JF et al.)."

Pied-billed Grebe: (50+) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [high count].

Pied-billed Grebe: (1) 19 April (Darrell Vollert); (2 swimming together) 27 April (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake, Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare in late April; thought to be possible breeders, but not seen on repeated visits in May].

Pied-billed Grebe: (1 at large lake) 23 April (Darrell Vollert); (1 adult with 2 juveniles on pond) 18 May; (2 juveniles on pond) 31 May; (1 juvenile on pond) 1 June (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County [rare breeder].

Darrell Vollert, "This morning (4/23) I saw a lone Pied-billed Grebe at the large lake in Chappell Hills subdivision. This lake would be a good nesting site, as there is a lot of vegetation around the lake. The west side of Polk's Lake would be a good nesting site for Pied-bills. Hughes Lake is the only site in Washington County where I have seen grebe chicks. I will keep my eyes open for grebe chicks."

Darrell Vollert, "This evening (5/18) I saw one adult Pied-billed Grebe with two juvenile grebes on a small pond near the main entrance to Chappell Hills subdivision. The pond lies along the east side of FM1155 two miles north of downtown Chappell Hill. The pond is surrounded by vegetation on all sides except for the southwest side. One of the juvenile grebes made a continuous peeping call while swimming near the adult grebe. Had never heard this call before. ... I called the young grebes I saw juveniles, as they were the size of the adult grebe they were swimming with. Their heads were striped."

Pied-billed Grebe: (4) 22 April (Tim Fennell); (6) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley); (1) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [breeding?].

Horned Grebe: (2) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos Couny [casual; this and one on 26 March 2000 are the only Central Brazos Valley records during the January to August period].

Horned Grebe: (2 in full alternate plumage) 6-11 April (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [uncommon].

Randy Pinkston, "Well-represented this spring on Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Several individuals in high breeding plumage 6-11 April were a surprise."

PELICANS THROUGH ANHINGAS

American White Pelican: (5) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone); (160+) 22 May (Tim Fennell); (18) 25 May (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare after mid-May in Oaks & Prairies region].

Brown Pelican: (1) 23 April (Tim Fennell), flying over Highway 290 in direction of Decker Lake, Travis County [casual].

Tim Fennell, "Leaving work today in northeast Austin (Travis Co.) about 5:00 pm, I noticed an odd looking bird battling the strong south winds over HWY 290 East. It turned out to be a Brown Pelican that sometimes flew as low as 100 feet over the highway. It was heading in the direction of Decker Lake so it may be there in the morning."

Brown Pelican: (1) 1-4 May (Oscar Carmona), Huntsville State Park, Walker County [casual].

Brown Pelican: (1) 11 May (Rich Kostecke), Belton Reservoir as viewed from Temple Lion's Park, Bell County [casual].

Brown Pelican: (1) 31 May (Andrew Dickinson), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [casual].

Neotropic Cormorant: (1 adult) 3 April (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge over Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [very rare in April; no records shown on Pineywoods checklist for March and April].

Anhinga: (1) 10 March (Randy Pinkston), over Temple, Bell County [very early arrival; rare].

BITTERNS, EGRETS, HERONS AND IBISES

American Bittern: (1) 1 March; (10+) 12 March to 5 April; (7+) 19 April (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [occasional in March, uncommon in April].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "An American Bittern at Alazan Bayou on March 1 was the first all winter (JF), and then March 12 - April 5 at least 10 were present and calling a lot (JF, DW, et al.); on April 19 at least 7 were seen, but none heard (DW, JF et al.)."

American Bittern: (1) 4 April (Hayden Haucke), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

American Bittern: (1) 7-11 April (Randy Pinkston, Rich Kostecke), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [occasional].

American Bittern: (1) 12 April (D. D. Currie, Gail Morris, Simone Jenion, Ruth Games), Gus Engling WMA, Anderson County [rare].

American Bittern: (1) 13 April (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare].

Snowy Egret: (3) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [early arrival].

Little Blue Heron: (75+) 18 April (Peter Barnes, Hayden Haucke), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [good count].

Tricolored Heron: (1) 4 April (Hayden Haucke), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare in spring].

Tricolored Heron: (1+ adults) 25 April-5 May (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [rare in spring].

Tricolored Heron: (1) 4 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [rare in spring].

Black-crowned Night-Heron: (2) 4 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone); (2 adults) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Murphy Park, Taylor, Williamson County [late for county; photographed].

White Ibis: (no.?) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft. Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip); (5) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [early arrival].

White Ibis: (1 adult) 23 April (Randy Pinkston), Temple [rare in spring in Bell County].

Glossy Ibis: (1 among group of White-faced Ibis) 31 May (Katherine McWright), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [casual].

fide Isaac Sanchez, Austin RBA, "On May 31st: Katherine McWright and two birders from Dallas (on their way to see the Green Violet Ear) identified a Glossy Ibis among a group of White-faced Ibis at Hornsby Bend. The ID included the observation of a narrow pale blue face skin and dark eye."

WATERFOWL

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (4) 19 April (Tim Fennell), CR 435, Williamson County [rare in county].

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (1) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [rare in county].

Greater White-fronted Goose: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Murphy Park, Taylor, Williamson County [late departure; origin?].

Ross's Goose: (20+ with White-fronted and Snow Geese) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County [unusually large number for Oaks & Prairies region].

American Wigeon: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [rare in May].

Mottled Duck: (3) 2 and 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

MoDuFennell.jpg (28693 bytes) Mottled Duck: (2) 4 May; (1 pure Mottled, 1 Mallard/Mottled cross) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare; photo on 4 May].

Blue-winged/Cinnamon Teal (hybrid): (1 male) 11-13 March (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [rare].

Cinnamon Teal: (2) 8 March (survey with 7 participants, fide Tim Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Cinnamon Teal: (2 males) 12 March (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].

Cinnamon Teal: (1 male) 13 June (Rich Kostecke), Slough Ponds near Temple, Bell County [rare].

Northern Shoveler: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [occasional].

Northern Shoveler: (2) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].

Redhead: (6) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Redhead: (40+) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].

Greater Scaup: (2) 1 March (Rich Kostecke, Pat Kostecke), Salado Creek at Salado Country Club, Bell County [rare; ID based on head shape and size of nail on bill tip; no spring records on Bell County checklist].

Greater Scaup: (3) 2 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [very rare in Oaks & Prairies region].

Bert Frenz to Peter, "According to my records for RCWMA the only previous Greater Scaup sightings is yours 3 Feb 2002. I have a note with the 2002 sighting stating that this is the first record for the WMA. RCWMA is in the 'Southern' Oaks & Prairies region. The only other O&P records is one 17 Jan to 8 Feb 1993 in Lee County and one shot in or near Brazos County in 1953. There is also a disputed CBC record in College Station. There are a few other reports but I discount them as spurious. In a couple of cases I went out after the report and checked myself and found Lesser Scaup instead. I have never seen a Greater Scaup in the Oaks & Prairies region, although I have many experiences with the species elsewhere.

"There are more records (13+) since 1964 for the Blackland Prairies, but it is still considered a rare species. In the northern Blackland Prairies (and Oaks & Prairies), Pulich considered Greater Scaup as 'extremely rare.'

"However, in the Pineywoods (including Smith Co.) the situation is much different. Here I agree with you (and Matt) that Greater Scaup are uncommon, as opposed to rare or very rare. I have records of 13 sightings since 1999 and I know there are many more because, as you say, they go unreported in East Texas. So, my point is that your RCWMA sightings are quite significant, and of much more importance than those further east (in the Pineywoods)."

Greater Scaup: (3 males, 1 female) 12 March (Tim Fennell), CR 351 stock pond, Williamson County [very rare or rarely identified].

GrScFennell.jpg (19880 bytes) Greater Scaup: (1 male; 1 female) 5-12 April; (1 male) 19-22 April (Tim Fennell, et al.), pond at CR 359 and FM 971, Granger Lake area, Williamson County [very rare or rarely identified; this location is ~6 miles from the 12 March sighting; photographed on the 19th].

Common Goldeneye: (1) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County [rare].

Common Goldeneye: (10) 2 March (Peter Barnes); (no.?) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft. Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip); (2) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA [rare in March].

Common Goldeneye: (3 males) 8 March (survey with 7 participants, fide Tim Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Hooded Merganser: (1 female) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County [occasional].

Hooded Merganser: (9) 2 March (Peter Barnes); (no.?) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft. Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip); (11) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Hooded Merganser: (1) 1 April (Georgette Guernsey), south Angelina County [occasional].

Hooded Merganser: (1 female) 6 April (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [late migrant; rare].

Ruddy Duck: (12) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [occasional].

Ruddy Duck: (2) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [uncommon].

KITES, HAWKS AND EAGLES

Osprey: (1) 14 March (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge over Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [early arrival; occasional].

Osprey: (pair) 20 March (George Russell), Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County [nesting again?].

George Russell, "On March 20th a pair of ospreys came back to their nest at the Wilderness Cathedral. This was the third year. One eventually sat on the nest but subsequently I have not seen them. Yesterday I may have caught a glimpse of one."

Osprey: (active nest) spring (Cliff Shackelford), on a highline tower over the Angelina River arm of Sam Rayburn Reservoir south of the highway 103 crossing, Angelina County [very rare].

Cliff Shackelford, 12 June, "Speaking of Osprey, there was an active nest on a cell phone tower by the San Jacinto River north of Houston this year. It created quite a stir back in March or April as the wireless phone company wanted to paint the rusting tower while the nest was active. In the end, they were convinced not to paint the tower. Yet another active Osprey nest was on a highline tower over the Angelina River arm of Sam Rayburn Reservoir south of the highway 103 crossing this year. Another nest was reported this year a few miles downstream of the latter, but I'm not sure if anyone confirmed its activity or not. This means that there were two or three active Osprey nests this year in Texas -- these are the only ones that I am aware of for 2003."

Swallow-tailed Kite: (1) late April (fide Darrell Pogue), Old Sabine Bottom WMA, Smith County [a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites spent some time at this location last spring and it is possible that they may have returned, fide Peter Barnes].

Swallow-tailed Kite: (12) 3 May (Sopharia Hurst), land adjacent to Sabine River, Newton County [good count].

Swallow-tailed Kite: (1) 11 May (Hugh Brown), his property, Lee County [casual; 2nd record in past 75 years].

White-tailed Kite: (2 pairs) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County [rare].

Mississippi Kite: (250+) 23 April (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [unusually large number coming into roost in the riparian areas along Willis Creek and the San Gabriel River in flocks of 10-50 birds].

Mississippi Kite: (85) 26 April (Brush Freeman), 9 mi. south of Gonzales along 183, Gonzales County [good count].

Many more nesting Mississippi Kites have been noted in late spring in Central Texas. It will be interesting to see what June/July records will tell us about this spread.

Mississippi Kite: (pair returned to nesting site) 28 April; (1 carrying nesting material) 1 May; (2) 18 May (Darrell Vollert), near downtown Chappell Hill, Washington County [nesting behavior].

Darrell Vollert, "A pair of Mississippi Kites returned to Chappell Hill on Monday, April 28. I have observed a pair of kites flying over my residence daily since Monday. This morning (5/1) I observed a kite carrying nesting material towards the southeast. Appears as though the kites will build a nest near downtown Chappell Hill."

Mississippi Kite: (pair returned to nest) ~4 May (Fred & Nancy Gehlbach), Woodway Ravine, Waco, McLennan County [pair nested last year for the first time in McLennan County].

Fred & Nancy Gehlbach, "Woodway Ravine report" in The Roadrunner, CTAS, Issue 205, May 2003, "May 2-5th was the best migration so far but not spectacular: … plus the first Mississippi Kites returned to nest. … This is the second year for kites, not definitely recorded nesting in McLennan County before last year (raised 2 young). "

Mississippi Kite: (1) 8 May; (1) 13 May; (1) 23 May; (1 over FM 577) 29 May; (1) 30 May (Darrell Vollert), Harrison Street, Brenham, Washington County.

Mississippi Kite: (1) 10 May (Bert Frenz); (1) 17 May; (3) 31 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County.

Mississippi Kite: (1 female on nest) 18 May (Brenda Muncrief); (1 incubating eggs) 24 May (Darrell Vollert, et al.), Huntsville, Walker County [rare breeder].

Brenda Muncrief, "We found a Mississippi Kite nest in a pine tree just outside our backyard this afternoon in Huntsville. The female was in the nest for quite a while, so perhaps she is already incubating eggs?"

Mississippi Kite: (1) 20 May (Rob Tizard), flying along Cedar Creek, Pecan Valley Ranch, south of OSR just east of Wheelock, north Brazos County [late migrant or nesting?].

Mississippi Kite: (1) 24 May (Darrell Vollert, et al.), soaring at Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area on Forest Road 215, Walker County.

Mississippi Kite: (2) ~23 May to at least 23 June (Terry Smith), N. Rosemary, Bryan, Brazos County [new nest location, or not recognized in past].

Mississippi Kite: (3 soaring and calling) 11 May; (2 in dead tree) 12 May; (2) 27 May (Pat Holman), Timbercrest subdivision, Wellborn area, Brazos County [nested in 2002 and probably nested each year for 3-5 years before that].

Mississippi Kite: (1) 25 May (Graham Gips), Weches BBS route, Crockett National Forest, Houston County [new species for the BBS; rare].

Graham Gips, "The Weches BBS was conducted on 25 May 2003. Species total was much higher than in previous years, with a total of 74 species. The route is mostly contained within Crockett National Forest in Houston County."

Mississippi Kite: (1) 27 May (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill Subdivision, Washington County [nested late in 2002, but not yet started this year].

Mississippi Kite: (female on nest) ~18 May (Pamela & Benedikt Davison); (1 flying to nest) 21 May (Darrell Vollert, Pamela Davison); (2 adults) 28 May (Darrell Vollert), Davison yard along FM 1155, Chappell Hill, Washington County [nest is near tree where kites nested 3 years ago].

Darrell Vollert, 21 May, "My neighbor Pamela Davison and her husband Benedikt showed me a Mississippi Kite nest in their yard along FM1155 on Wednesday, May 21. Pamela stated that she and Benedikt noticed the nest a few days before and had seen the female kite on the nest. While we visited in their yard a kite flew to the nest. The nest is about 40 feet above the ground and in a Hackberry tree. Pamela and Benedikt had a pair of kites nest in their yard three years ago. This year's nest tree is not too far from the nest tree from three years ago."

Darrell Vollert, 22 June, "Mississippi Kites like an area with tall trees near an open area. They also prefer to have a dead or dying tree near the nest. Mississippi Kites like to perch at the top of the dead tree and look for insects below.

"A female Miss. Kite is still on the nest at Pamela Davison's residence on FM1155 near downtown Chappell Hill.

"For the past two weekends during my surveys at Clarann estate I've seen four kites. On the 21st I observed three adult birds and one sub-adult with a few tail feathers missing. Last weekend Jerry Walls and I observed a kite carrying nesting material a the estate. Well, yesterday (6/21) I found a kite nest in a large Sycamore tree near the east gate entrance. At one point a kite was on the nest, but I believe she was shaping the nest with her body. The nest does not look complete just yet.

"In Chappell Hills subdivision there are one or two pairs of kites. Haven't found a nest yet.

"In the Harrison Street-Walnut Hill Street neighborhood of Brenham there is one pair of kites. Haven't found a nest yet.

"There is always a pair or two soaring over Washington-on-the-Brazos SHP during the summer months."

[Darrell's Washington County list cites 5 locations with probably 6-8 nesting pairs].

Mississippi Kite: (2) 28 May (Brush Freeman), near Mullin, Mills County [not previously known to breed in this county].

Mississippi Kite: (~12 in a colony) 28 May (Brush Freeman), Bangs, western Brown County [not previously known to breed in this county].

Brush Freeman, "I was surprised to find a colony of at least 12 Mississippi Kites in Bangs, in western Brown County as well as two more birds over a patch of pecan (?) trees near Mullin, in Mills Co. (BLOT shows no breeding records for either Co.)."

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, Rio Brazos Audubon Society Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County.

Bald Eagle: (2) 2 March (Peter Barnes); (2, including 1 seen near the spillway) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft. Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip); (1 adult) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip); (1 subadult) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County

Bald Eagle: (1) 24 March (David Brotherton), Texas Eastman in Longview, Harrison County.

Peter Barnes, "A Bald Eagle was still at Texas Eastman in Longview on March 24 (DB) and another was at Richland Creek WMA on March 30 (PB), reflecting the fact that an increasing number of birds stay in north-east Texas outside of the winter season."

Bald Eagle: (adult with young) late March (Brent Ortego), Lake Somerville, Burleson County.

Bald Eagle: (nest) spring (fide Brent Ortego), Bell County.

Brent Ortego, "...  a recent federal aid report. ... This spring I added new nesting sites in Waller, Matagorda and Jackson Counties, + the county with Lake Sommerville."

Bald Eagle: (1 recently fledged) 30 March (Jerry Walls), Lake Conroe, Montgomery County [breeding data].

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 10 May (Rich Kostecke), up river from Maxdale area, western Bell County [local breeder?].

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 17 May (Andrew Russell), Wilderness Cathedral, Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County.

Cooper's Hawk: (1 female attending nest) 6 April (Rich Kostecke), Maxdale Rd, West Fort Hood, Coryell County [rare nester in Edward's Plateau].

Cooper's Hawk: (1 adult male) 18 May (Fred Collins), Hwy 6 between Green's Prairie and Rock Prairie Roads, College Station, Brazos County [very late departure?].

Cooper's Hawk: (2) 20 and 24 May (James Phelps), woods behind Shenandoah subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [late departure?].

Harris's Hawk: (1, unable to relocate) 8 March (survey with 7 participants, fide Tim Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Broad-winged Hawk: (3) 13 March (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [early edge of migration]

Broad-winged Hawk: (2) 24 March (Georgette Guernsey), Lufkin, Angelina County [FOS for East Texas, occasional].

Swainson's Hawk: (2) 7 May (Tim Fennell); (2) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger Lake area, Williamson County.

Swainson's Hawk: (1) 2 May (Darrell Vollert); (1 light-phase adult, 1 light-phase immature) 12 May (Darrell Vollert, Mary Ann Grahmann), along FM 2447, near Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare].

Darrell Vollert, " Have summered in the river bottom east of Chappell Hill for the past two years. … We found (2) Swainson's Hawks- one light phase adult and one light phase sub-adult along 2447. I got two pics of the sub-adult perched on a fence post with Mary Ann's camera."

Swainson's Hawk: (1 adult) 7, 18, 24 and 29 May (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park and San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [suspected but not confirmed nesting].

Tim Fennell, Spring report, "Swainson's Hawk: Observations below indicate this species may be nesting at Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake again. 5/7/03: one adult soaring low and lazily in the area of Willis Creek Park where previously suspected to nest. It went down in woods on north side of creek and I heard strange screeches (don't know if they had anything to do with the hawk or not). 5/18/03: one bird perched outside entrance to Willis Creek Park. 5/24/03: one bird flying low over San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake. 5/29/03: one bird perched outside entrance to Willis Creek Park."

White-tailed Hawk: (1 second-year) 9 May (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County [first in several months].

Zone-tailed Hawk: (1) 16 May (Jeff Munday), on Highway 71 just east of Travis-Bastrop county line, Bastrop County [casual].

Krider's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

American Kestrel: (1) 2 May (Darrell Vollert), FM 2447 near Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure or breeding?].

Darrell Vollert, "Have noted this species in the county every month except June."

Merlin: (1) 15 March (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [rare].

Merlin: (1) 16 March (Rich Kostecke), along Peaceable Kingdom Rd, western Bell County [not listed on 2000 Bell County list for spring].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 29 March (Jeffrey Hanson), at the intersection of Hwy 183 and CR 177, aka Williamson Rd., Caldwell County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 11 April (David Wolf), along Attoyac arm of Lake Sam Rayburn, San Augustine County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 13 April (James Phelps), Shenandoah Subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 1 May (Rich Kostecke, Scott Summers), Fort Hood, Bell County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1) 10 May (Nada Wareham), WMARSS (sewage ponds), McLennan County [occasional].

TURKEYS THROUGH CRANES

Ring-necked Pheasant: (1) 7 March (Jane Purtle), her yard, Cherokee County [presumed escapee].

Wild Turkey: (1) 15 March (Rob Fergus), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Rob Fergus, "My last monthly Travis Audubon Society field trip this morning located a male Canvasback on Pond 1W. As we were getting ready to finish up the trip, a tom turkey ran out of the grass near the digester buildings and climbed up onto a compost pile. As we watched, it took off and flew across Pond 1W to the central dike. One of the strangest things I've ever seen flying over that pond!"

Wild Turkey: (2) 15 March (Dell Little), Gus Engling WMA, Anderson County.

Wild Turkey: (1) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [occasional].

Wild Turkey: (1) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [uncommon].

Wild Turkey: (1 charging) 7 May (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel WMA, Williamson County [occasional].

Wild Turkey: (1) 16 May (Ann Hinton), Meyersville Road, north of Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional].

Northern Bobwhite: (4) 26 April (Guy Luneau), TXU mine, Rusk County [rare].

Peter Barnes, "Northern Bobwhite are rarely seen these days in north-east Texas, but 4 were at the TXU mine in Rusk Co. on April 26, and 2 were at the TXU mine in Panola Co. on April 27 (both GL)."

Northern Bobwhite: (2) 27 April (Guy Luneau), TXU mine, Panola County [rare].

Northern Bobwhite: (pair) 17 May (Darrell Vollert), Sempronius Road in northern Austin County [occasional].

Northern Bobwhite: (1 heard) 22 May (Ellen Ratoosh), along N. Forest Parkway, Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

King Rail: (1) 4 March to 10 April (Jesse Fagan, John Hass, David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County [rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A very vocal, but elusive, King Rail was discovered at Alazan Bayou on March 4 (JF, John Hass) and continued to be heard through April 10 (JF, DW, Et al.); this is our first local report in several years."

Virginia Rail: (4 heard) 12 March (David Wolf, Robert Truss), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [occasional].

Virginia Rail: (1 seen, 2 heard-only) 15 March (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), marsh below Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [rare].

Virginia Rail: (1) 3 April (turned in to TCWC by rehabilitor Linda Hoffer after someone else found it injured), 5 mi. nw of Bellville, Austin County [first county record; rare in region].

Virginia Rail: (1 heard scolding) 28 April (Rich Kostecke), Union Grove WMA, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [rare].

Sora: (10+) 15 March (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), marsh below Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [good count].

Common Moorhen: (1) 15 March (Dell Little); (5) 12 April (D. D. Currie, Gail Morris, Simone Jenion, Ruth Games), Gus Engling WMA, Anderson County [rare regionally, regular here].

Peter Barnes, "Common Moorhens are rare in north-central and north-east Texas but they are regular at this location in spring, according to Hayden Haucke, the Engling WMA manager."

Whooping Crane: (2 adults) 11 April (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [casual; only transient observed this spring].

Randy Pinkston, "An aerial census of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas on April 09, 2003 estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 113 adults + 8 young = 121 total. The flight indicated that 5 whooping cranes had started the migration since the previous flight on April 2. Two adult Whooping Cranes took a pit stop this morning (11 April) at Union Grove Wildlife Area on Stillhouse Hollow Lake in Bell County. I discovered the birds between 10:55 and 11 AM near the south end of an irrigation canal/slough about 75 yards from the lakeshore. Observing the birds in the slough was difficult because they were behind an embankment and some tall tufts of grass. I suspected they were Whooping Cranes even before any field marks were seen because their gigantic white forms dwarfed a nearby Great Blue Heron. Both birds eventually walked into view and I enjoyed scope views of their facial markings for about a minute. Though I didn't move closer, one of the birds suddenly started running and then the other joined it as both birds took flight toward the south, presumably to take advantage of a south breeze for extra lift on take-off. They circled around to the west and headed north, passing very close to me, not more than 100 feet high. I had spectacular views of these ancient and majestic marsh birds, flapping giant wings in slow motion as they gained altitude, making a quick flick of the upturned black primaries with each downstroke. The leading crane appeared to be slightly larger than the other. Also the leading bird gave a short bugling call several times as they passed by. The cranes crossed Stillhouse Hollow Lake, circled again over the bluffs on the north side, and then disappeared to the north around 11:10 AM. When they were closest to me in flight I looked very carefully for leg bands, wing tags, neck collars, etc. Neither bird had any sign of these from my vantage point."

Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator, fide Patty Beasley, 9 April, "The migration appears to be on schedule, with 14 cranes (7.6% of the flock) departing by March 26, an additional 44 cranes (23.9%) having departed the following week by April 2nd, and 5 cranes (2.7%) having departed between April 2 & April 9. These 5 cranes were one family group and one pair. Conditions for migration were very good on April 3-4, the most likely time that the 5 cranes started north. Conditions were less favorable on April 5-6, and totally unfavorable April 7-9 as a cold front brought strong north winds to the Texas Coast. The total of 63 whooping cranes that have migrated include 7 family groups and 21 adult pairs. All 35 subadults estimated present in the flock were located on todays flight. A majority of the cranes remaining on the Texas coast are expected to start migration April 12-13 when the winds are forecast to turn around."

PLOVERS THROUGH SANDPIPERS

American Golden-Plover: (1) 30 April (Rob Tizard, Heather Lewis, Stennie Meadours), Overlook Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County [late migrant].

American Golden-Plover: (12) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Snowy Plover: (1) 21 May (Eric Carpenter), Hornsby Bend, Austin, Travis County [rare].

Semipalmated Plover: (1) 6 April (Jesse Fagan, Doug Holder), Nacogdoches airport, Nacogdoches County [rare; after big storm].

Piping Plover: (1) 13 May (Randy Pinkston); (1) 15 May (Rich Kostecke), Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [casual].

Piping Plover: (1) 17 May (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Texas Eastman, Longview, Harrison County [casual; no May records shown on Pineywoods checklist].

MoPlbathFennell.jpg (25091 bytes) Mountain Plover: (5 bathing in a puddle) 7 March (Rich Kostecke, Matt Mecklenburg); (35, including 19 bathing) 12 March (Tim Fennell), north side of CR 346, just west of junction with CR 347, Granger area, Williamson County [unusual behavior].

Tim Fennell, "On my way back into town this afternoon (3/12/03), I made a swing through the Granger area. I had 35 Mountain Plovers on the north side of CR 346, ~.5-.6 mile east of the railroad tracks. At least 18 of the birds came into to a small drainage within 30 m of the road to bathe, only the second time I have observed this behavior. This spot is about .25 mile west of where Rich Kostecke and Matt Mecklenburg observed MOUP bathing on 3/7."

Mountain Plover: (8, many near alternate plumage) 22 March (Tim Fennell), Hwy 95 and CR 124, Granger area, Williamson County [plumage unusual].

Tim Fennell, "On a quick swing through the Granger area this evening, I found 8 Mountain Plovers foraging on the east side of HWY 95 (due east of its intersection with CR 124) at 5:15 pm. ... Seven of the plovers were well along in their molt to alternate plumage and two were the brightest individuals I've ever seen (including the few individuals I've seen on their breeding grounds)."

Mountain Plover: (5) 26 March (Brush Freeman), Highway 95 south of CR 346, Granger area, Williamson County [last of season; compares to last dates of: 21 March 2002, 28 March 2001, 25 March 2000, 1 March 1999 and 21 March 1998].

Tim Fennell, Spring report, "Mountain Plover 3/1- 3/26/03: High count of 35, some of which were bathing (rarely seen behavior), on 3/12. Photos obtained. My last sighting for season on 3/22. Last report for season by Brush Freeman of 5 birds on 3/26, Granger Lake area."

Black-necked Stilt: (1) 30 April (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [rare in county].

Black-necked Stilt: (1) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare in county; photographed].

Black-necked Stilt: (2) 13 May (Terry Junek), at pond on CR 265, Burleson County [rare; not known to be breeder in this county].

Greater Yellowlegs: (260) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [high count].

An unusually large number of Willets migrated through the Central Oaks & Prairies region:

Willet: (4) 21 April (Randy Pinkston), Lake Belton, Bell County [rare].

Willet: (27) 22 April (Tim Fennell); (45) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), island across from Friendship Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [unusually large number; photographed on 22nd].

Tim Fennell, Spring report, "Willet numbers present on 4/22 and 4/26 are high for the area: 4/22/03: 27 birds on island across from Friendship Park boat ramp, Granger Lake. 4/26/03: 45 birds on island across from Friendship Park boat ramp, Granger Lake. 4/30/03: one bird at Meadow Lake, Round Rock."

Willet: (8) 27 April (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [rare].

Randy Pinkston, "Usually a rare migrant, four were observed at Lake Belton 21 April, and another eight on Stillhouse Hollow 27 April."

Willet: (1) 30 April (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional].

Willet: (12) 30 April (Rob Tizard, Heather Lewis, Stennie Meadours), Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County [rare].

Willet: (1) 30 April (Rob Tizard, Heather Lewis, Stennie Meadours), Rocky Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County [rare].

Upland Sandpiper: (1) 11 March (Georgette Guernsey), Ryan Lake, Angelina County [very early migrant; earlier than any on Pineywoods checklist].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A very early Upland Sandpiper was at the Ryan Lake field on March 11 (GG), and then small numbers were seen in both counties through mid-April, with the highest count 55 in Central Heights during the storm on April 6 (DW). This nasty storm on April 6 dropped a variety of shorebirds at the Nacogdoches airport and nearby, including 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 2 Semipalmated, 2 Least, 3 Baird's and 3 Stilt sandpipers (JF, DH) ..."

Upland Sandpiper: (4) 15 March (Derek Muschalek), 11 miles northwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County

Upland Sandpiper: (2) 18 March (Jeff Hanson), southeast Austin, Travis County [rare].

Jeff Hanson, "Not much after midnight last night (technically today), I heard two (2) Upland Sandpipers calling over my apartment in SE Austin. It seemed kind of early to me, however our soon-to-be printed updated checklist says that they are only "rare" right about now."

Hudsonian Godwit: (1 alternate plumage male) 22 April; (2 bright alternate males) 23 April (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake area, Williamson County [rare; photographed].

camera.GIF (1399 bytes)  Hudsonian Godwit: (1) 23 April (Rob Tizard), Lake Bryan, Brazos County [very rare; 6th Central Brazos Valley record since 1974; photographed].

Hudsonian Godwit: (1) 3 May (Mollie Kloepper); (9) 10 May (Hornsby Survey, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Hudsonian Godwit: (1 alternate male) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare; photographed].

Ruddy Turnstone: (2) 3 May (Rob Fergus, Mollie Kloepper), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Ruddy Turnstone: (1 adult in alternate plumage) 14 May (Randy Pinkston), Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [casual; fourth county record].

Ruddy Turnstone: (1) 17 May (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Texas Eastman, Longview, Harrison County [very rare].

Sanderling: (4) 10 May (Rich Kostecke); (1) 14 May (Randy Pinkston); (2) 20 May (Rich Kostecke), Dana Peak Park, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell County [rare].

Baird's Sandpiper: (1) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft. Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Baird's Sandpiper: (2, reduced to 1) 29 March (Chris Harrison), Turf Farms on CR 443 at FM 50, Brazos bottoms, Burleson County [behavior].

Chris Harrison, "As I was watching a group of Plovers and trying to get a better look at the two Bairds among them, something scared the flock and they took off and flew across the county road I was stopped on. As they flew over me, I saw something spiral down to the ground a few feet from my truck. I got out and found one of the Baird's Sandpipers freshly dead. By its trajectory, it seems clear to me that it struck one of the power lines that run along the road and was killed by the collision. We always hear about the incidence of power lines killing larger birds like hawks and cranes. It seems even the little guys aren't immune to this danger."

Dunlin: (2) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].

Dunlin: (1) 23 April (Rob Tizard), Lake Bryan, Brazos County [rare].

Long-billed Dowitcher: (2500) 10 April (Ted Eubanks), Hwy 359 and FM 529, Waller County [impressive concentration].

Ted Eubanks, "... near the corner of FM 359 and FM 529 did I find impressive concentrations of birds. ... I scanned for rough estimates, and recorded the following: Long-billed Dowitcher (2500), Lesser Golden-Plover (1000), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (200)."

Wilson's Snipe: (5-6) ~1 May (Margaret Cook), her property, north Austin County [rare in May].

American Woodcock: (1 territorial) 15, 17 and 22 March (Brush Freeman), near Utley, Bastrop County [very late, probable breeder but not confirmed].

Brush Freeman, 17 March, "Since the evening of the 13th I have been out listening for the first Whip-poor-wills. None of those yet but I have had a single male Woodcock that continues here. Typically the last of those here are heard and seen no later than about Feb. 20 around here. Since this bird has been seen in the same area of land on a neighbors property, I am beginning to consider the possibility of breeding. The ground is wet, and if my compost heap provides any indications, the near surface ground is saturated with earthworms just now. In addition I heard this male doing a call that I am completely unfamiliar with, it almost was somewhat dove-like in quality, I really can not describe it and there is no mention of this call in NGS or Sibley, it certainly was not the Peent call we all know. Much less loud and softer and in two syllables. A very weak description might be something like koo-oo or maybe too-oh. I am certain this call came from the bird on the ground as I saw it land on a pasture road and the call came directly from that spot. Is anyone familiar with this alternate call and if so is it directly related to breeding activity?. By the time I had heard this all passerines were already quiet and nothing else could be heard except a very distant Barred Owl."

Brush, 17 March, "As of this evening still no Whip-poor-wills here. However a male Woodcock continues and this is the latest by far that I have ever had one here in Utley, Bastrop Co.. The behavior/calls I mentioned before, according to Lytle Blankenship, is indeed indicative of breeding. Lytle told me he did his PhD work on Am. Woodcock."

Keith Arnold, "That the woodcocks might breed near you is not that surprising. The species tends to "extend" its breeding range in Texas with wet winters and springs and we certainly have had a wet winter. We know that the bird has bred in Travis and San Patricio counties and likely in several others not too distant from you. W.B. Davis reported breeding in Brazos County from the 1940s and we had at least two years of breeding in the late 70's or early 80's. I suspect more frequently, if any one really looked for them."

American Woodcock: (1) 20 May (Scott Young), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [very rare in May].

Scott Young, "This morning at 05:30, I had good long looks at an American Woodcock on the tenth hole at Kizer Golf Course. I came upon the bird as I crested a small hill. The headlights on the equipment I was operating illuminated the woodcock sitting on the ground facing directly away from me no more than 20 feet away. I immediately stopped, and the bird stood and turned into profile. We regarded each other for about a minute at which time it turned 180 degrees and looked at me for another half minute or so with the other eye. I guess it decided I wasn't any threat and went (back?) to probing the soil. I was able to observe it for about 10 more minutes through binoculars, and could clearly see bars on the crown, and orange on the flanks and belly. As the lights on our equipment are dimmer than car headlights, the bird looked darker than pictured in Sibley, but pretty close to the one in the NGS fourth edition. I believe that drought brings animals out of the usually moist riparian corridors, and up onto the irrigated golf course, where the ground is softer. We always have a lot more snail/insect-eating mammals like armadillos and skunks digging up the course during drought, and I notice crows and grackles ripping up the grass in the fairways as well. Whatever the reason, it certainly was a thrill to get such good looks!"

Wilson's Phalarope: (1) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare in late March].

GULLS AND TERNS

Ring-billed Gull: (2) 4 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [rare in May].

Ring-billed Gull: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), island across from Friendship Park boat ramp, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare in May].

Herring Gull: (4) 23 April (Tim Fennell), island across from Friendship Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare]

Caspian Tern: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), island across from Friendship Park boat ramp, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].

Royal Tern: (1) 12 May (Randy Pinkston), Lake Belton, Bell County [casual; first county record].

Randy Pinkston, "While trying to re-locate a Brown Pelican on Lake Belton this morning, I was casually studying the many Forster's Terns and Franklin's Gulls that were milling around when my attention was suddenly drawn to a larger white tern with an orange bill that passed overhead. Honestly, my first thought was Royal Tern. One would guess Caspian Tern, but no way, this was a definite adult Royal in full alternate plumage. It was much too white in the wingtips, much too slender and streamlined, too small, and its bill, which I saw well, was too petite and very clearly the color of cheddar cheese. Not a hint of red color or dusky tip to the bill. The bird circled around and worked the shoreline a little bit before crossing the lake and disappearing to the north. I also saw its deeply notched tail very well. Total observation time was less than 30 seconds. Don't ask me what a Royal Tern was doing in central Texas, especially after the cool north breezes of the past couple of days, but it is interesting that the Brown Pelican appeared under similar circumstances. Unfortunately, the pelican was a no-show for me.

I'm sure this is a first Bell County record, perhaps a first regional record in recent years. Oberholser shows a couple of old records for Travis County. I'd appreciate input from anyone else out there with more information."

Keith Arnold, "Randy, we have a specimen of a Royal Tern that I picked up on the dam at Lake Somerville, Burleson County, many years ago."

Jeffrey Hanson, "Per research done for the newly published/updated checklist "Birds of the Austin, Texas, Region", during the past 25 or so years there are only two other records of Royal Tern within a 60 mile radius of Austin (specifically the Capitol). The first one, for which I have no details yet, appears to be a single bird that was present for enough time that it was recorded in the first and second thirds of August in 1996 (somewhere in the 1-20th date range). The second was actually multiple sighting event, on the 12th and 13th of September, directly associated with Tropical Storm Frances in 1998. I don't know what the date was when Keith found his bird along Lake Somerville, or what Oberholser mentions, but for our entire checklist area this is the first spring record for this species of which I'm aware. A truly remarkable find!"

Willie Sekula , "Randy et al., I've seen Royal Terns on the San Antonio Lakes (Mitchell, Braunig and Calaveras) several times both with and without tropical storm assistance. I've also seen this coastal tern at Choke Canyon a couple of times. I suspect that these strong southerly winds that seem to be endless the past several springs and summers may contribute to some of these non-storm related inland observations. I know that a number of years ago when I was birding Mitchell Lake intensely, I found two Royal Terns after near gale force southerly/southeasterly winds in July. I think those were my first non-tropical storm related Royal Terns in Bexar County. Hurricane Allen deposited a nice collection of coastal and pelagic birds at Mitchell Lake in 1980, the most notable being up to seven Sooty Terns and a Magnificent Frigatebird. I remember seeing several Royal Terns in amongst the hordes of Laughing Gulls that got blown inland. By the way a number of Texas birders got their life or state Sooty Tern thanks in part to Hurricane Allen. You may want to check BLOT. Seems like Hurricane Carla deposited some nice birds on Town Lake in Austin. Royal Tern may have been one of those coastal/pelagic waifs seen after Carla. While I'm on the subject, it seems like we are way overdue for a repeat of some of these historical records. Maybe this year."

Keith Arnold, "Randy & Jeff: I picked up the bird on 12 February 1977...highly unlikely for a tropical storm occurrence."

Bert Frenz, "Other area records: 13 Sep 1998 - Milam Co. - storm related; 19 Aug 1983 - McLennan Co. - storm related; 12 Feb 1977 - Burleson Co. - found dead at Lake Somerville; 26 Apr 1975 - Burleson Co. - found dead at Lake Somerville; 6 May 1964 - Travis Co. - found dead after hitting TV tower; 12 Sep 1961 - Travis Co. - storm related."

LeTeFennell.jpg (22531 bytes) Least Tern: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell); (1) 10 May (Tim Fennell); (2) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone): (1-2) 12 May (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional, photographed].

Least Tern: (1) 16 May (Randy Pinkston, Rich Kostecke), Temple Lake Park, Bell County [rare].

Rich Kostecke, "On the 16th, a brief stop at Temple Lake Park in the afternoon turned up 1 Least Tern (seen earlier in the morning by Randy Pinkston)."

Least Tern: (5) 17 May (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Texas Eastman, Longview, Harrison County [rare].

DOVES AND PIGEONS

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1 singing) 12 March (Tim Fennell), Harleton, Harrison County.

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 29 March (Darrell Vollert), along FM1456 near FM1371, Austin County [new location].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (3) 12 April (Ron Gutberlet), Bullard, Smith County [continued spread].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, April, "Eurasian Collared Doves continue to spread with reports of 2 in Rusk Co. on April 11 and 18 (GL, JL), 1 in Gregg Co. on April 30 (GL, JL, SL) and 3 in Bullard in Smith Co. on April 12 (RG). The birds in Bullard have apparently been regular there for the past 6 months (Jane Purtle)."

Eurasian Collard-Dove, (1) 13 April (James Phelps), Wellborn Road, Wellborn, Brazos County [new location, species spreading].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 18 April (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau), Rusk County [continued spread].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1-3) week of 20 April (Srinand Karuppoor); (1) 26 April (Ellen Ratoosh), TAMU Graduate University Housing Apartment complex, College Station. Brazos County [new location].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 20 April (Darrell Vollert), Navasota, Grimes County [as many as 15 have been seen in this neighborhood].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 11 April (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau), Rusk County [continued spread].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (several) 23 April (Darrell Vollert), FM 577, Brenham, Washington County [now fairly common at this location].

Darrell Vollert, "Eurasian Collared-Doves are now fairly common in the neighborhood across FM577 from the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham. One of the streets in that neighborhood where I have seen the doves is Leslie D. Lane. ... Collared-Doves are also fairly common along South Day Street in Brenham. One of several sites along that street where I have seen the doves is at the Trinity Medical Center. Floridians on the TOS trip in March warned me that we will "regret" having Collared-Doves in our area."

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 30 April (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Gregg County [continued spread].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (3) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County.

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (pair observed breeding) ~6 May (Neal Thornton), south Liberty County [breeding record for Liberty County].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Taylor, Williamson County.

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1-3) entire period (m. obs.), Granger, Williamson County.

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 12 May (Rob Tizard), corner of Tabor Rd. and FM 2223 in N. Brazos County [new location].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 24 May (Darrell Vollert), along FM149 at Hwy. 90 in Anderson, Washington County [new location].

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 24 May (Darrell Vollert, et al.), along I-45 on the south side of Huntsville, Walker County.

http://www.nctexasbirds.com/ecdobigmap.htm
As of 13 April, sightings of Eurasian Collared-Dove have occurred in 208 (out of 254) Texas counties. Confirmed nesting has been observed in 15 counties (Angelina, Calhoun, Bastrop, Burnet, Harris, Llano, Lubbock, Mason, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Randall, Reeves, San Patricio, Travis and Val Verde).

Counties in red indicate areas in which Eurasian Collared-Dove has been observed. Last Updated 04/13/2003. Counties with Observations in Alphabetical Order: Andrews, Angelina, Aransas, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Austin, Bailey, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Childress, Clay, Collin, Collingsworth, Coke, Coleman, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, Dewitt, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, El Paso, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Foard, Franklin, Frio, Fort Bend, Gaines, Galveston, Garza, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hale, Hansford, Hardeman, Hardin, Harris, Harriston, Hartley, Hays, Hemphill, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Howard, Hopkins, Houston, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jackson, Jeff Davis, Jack, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kenedy, Kent, Kerr, Kimball, Kinney, Kleberg, Lamb, Lampasas, LaSalle, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Loving, Lubbock, Lynn, Madison, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, McCulloch, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Montgomery, Montague, Moore, Nacodoches, Nolan, Nueces, Oldham, Orange, Palo Pinto, Parmer, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Reeves, Refugio, Roberts, Robertson, Runnels, Rusk, San Patricio, San Saba, Scurry, Shackleford, Sherman, Smith, Somervell, Sutton, Starr, Stephens, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde, Val, Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, Young, Zapata

Brush Freeman, early May, "I have several reports from Liberty Co. and forward to Jim along with several other counties but he has not updated the map. … By my count there are now 215 counties reporting them, but it is really moot at this point as they are everywhere and it is just a lack of coverage at this stage that prevents every county in Texas reporting in. We had herds of them in Rock Springs, Edwards County, of all places this week. I get on average 4-6 emails a week on sightings in Harris and Brazoria counties alone. I think the website has about run its course. I really think there is no county left where these animals can not be found."

White-winged Dove: 15 April (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [still few records in this area].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A White-winged Dove migrated north over Central Heights on April 15 (DW); this species is rapidly expanding its range, but we still have few records."

Common Ground-Dove: (~6) 20 April (Sue Ruotsala, Billie Bernard) south of Kenney (other side of Hwy 36), north Austin County [not much known about the status of these in Austin County; the person who lives there says they have the doves all the time].

CoGDFennell.jpg (26080 bytes) Common Ground-Dove: (pair) 22 April (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare for county; photographed].

 

Tim Fennell, Spring report, "Common Ground-Dove: Rare for county, especially in this blackland prairie area. 4/22/03: one male (singing) and one female at Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake. Photos obtained."

 

Common Ground-Dove: (1) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [rare].

CUCKOOS THROUGH OWLS

Black-billed Cuckoo: (1 heard) 1 May (Ellen Ratoosh), Bee Creek floodplain, Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Black-billed Cuckoo: (1) 3 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare; second county record (other was in 1988)].

Darrell Vollert, "5/3/03. Black-billed Cuckoo (1) - Clarann estate. A new species for the estate bird list. Species number 184. This is my first county record for this species as well. The cuckoo was found in the riparian area between the Polk's Lake dam and Little Cedar Creek on the north side of the estate."

Black-billed Cuckoo: (1) 13 May (Chris Merkord), Hornsby Bend, Austin, Travis County [rare].

Black-billed Cuckoo: (1) 26 May (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare].

Greater Roadrunner is listed as rare on the 1999 "Birds of Northeast Texas" checklist and it is labeled "scarce, occasional or highly localized in a few localities" on the 2001 "Birds of the Pineywoods of Eastern Texas" checklist. Yet the Luneau's see them regularly in Rusk County and we are getting an increased number of reports for other counties as well. It seems the current status is somewhere between "occasional" and "uncommon."

Greater Roadrunner: (2) 2 March; (1) 23 March (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau); (1) 2 April (Joan Luneau); (1) 11 and 13 April (Guy Luneau), different locations in Rusk County.

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 13 April (Peggy Harding), Gregg County [rare].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 18 April (Hazel Bluhm), Marion County [rare].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 27 April (Peter Barnes, Ron Gutberlet), Henderson County [rare].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 29 April (Sean Conklin, Tal Roberts), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, April, "There are a growing number of reports of Greater Roadrunners. This month, single birds were observed in Rusk Co. on April 2 (JL), 11 and 13 (GL), in Gregg Co. on April 13 (PH), Marion Co. on April 18 (HB), Henderson Co. on April 27 (PB, RG), and at Richland Creek WMA on April 29 (SC, TR)."

Greater Roadrunner: (pair mating) 3 May (Sue Ruotsala, Billie Bernard), north Austin County [breeding data].

Bert Frenz, "I visited Billie Bernard on 10 May 2003 and he told me a roadrunner story. A week earlier, it seems he came upon a male roadrunner with a live snake in its bill. The male started chasing a female and then successfully copulated with her while maintaining the snake in its bill. After finishing the act, he dropped the snake in front of his mate - payment for services as Billie put it - and then watched as she killed the snake. After the female consumed her meal, the male left the area."

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 7 May (Bert Frenz), Nantucket subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 16 May (Ann Hinton), Meyersville Road near Wiesepape Road, north of Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 24 May (Peter Barnes), Smith County.

fide Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, May 2003, "Single Greater Roadrunners were in Cherokee Co. on May 2 (JP), in Harrison Co. on May 18 (DM) and in Smith Co. on May 24 (PB). From April 2000 through March 2001, 6 Greater Roadrunners were reported. From April 2001 through March 2002, 9 were reported. From April 2002 through March 2003, 16 were reported. For April and May 2003, 9 have been reported so far, suggesting that this species is becoming significantly more widespread."

Barn Owl: (1 observed through night vision binoculars) 11 April (Rob Fergus); (1) 12 April (Hornsby survey), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rarely reported].

Barn Owl: (1) 8 May ff (fide Clayton Copeland), Round Rock, Williamson County [rare or rarely reported; only one other reference to Barn Owls in this county].

Clayton Copeland, "My wife and friend were outside our duplex inside the city limits of Round Rock tonight, and about 10pm CST saw an owl leave a tree across the street. The owl lost a little altitude as it began its take off, and swooped down very close to them standing on the sidewalk before it took roost in a tree 50 yards down the street on our side of the street. We came and looked up various species of owl on the web, and after review they both are very firm in their conclusion it was a barn owl."

Bert to Clayton, "Barn Owls are hardly ever reported, probably because they are nocturnal and their call is quiet and hard to recognize. In my database of Oaks & Prairies bird sightings I have only one other record for Williamson County. That is a 1994 book reference to the Barn Owls nesting at Granger Lake."

Clayton Copeland, 24 May, "Here is an article from this past Thursday's local Austin paper, mentioning they have found where the barn owl nest is located! http://www.statesman.com/asection/content/auto/epaper/editions/thursday/news_3.html

"As the crow flies" (or, in this case, how the owls fly) our duplex is probably about a mile and a half or so from the nest. So, my wife and friend were accurate in the type of owl they saw a few weeks ago!"

Long-eared Owl: (2) 24 March (Brush Freeman), River Place Golf Course, western Travis County [very rare].

Brush Freeman, "While doing Golden-cheeked Warbler work a closed BCP property in western Travis Co. on Friday (3/21) I flushed what I thought was a Long-eared Owl but it escaped me before I could be positive and I was not able to relocate it. "This morning I returned to the same location in conjunction with the work and after a rather rough hike and careful approach, found not one but two Long-eared Owls. I had good looks at the two birds as they sat in extremely dense junipers that had a sort of barren understory (i.e foliage was shaded out and gone below the canopy) the spindly, closely spaced trunks and dead limbs were almost impenetrable. I was less than 30-35 ft from them and had both in the same view through the bins. In my efforts to get back out of the crackly thicket I startled them and both birds flushed. I looked for but could find no pellets after they left and there was little sign of "white wash" suggesting to me at least that they have not been here all that long. "A few other reports I have heard/seen suggest that others might have seen something that could have turned out to be LEOWs. The southern wintering range of this species remains poorly understood in Texas and Mexico. March birds may be animals that are returning from Mexico or southern Texas or they may have wintered here. In March of 1995 we remember the birds at Mitchell Lk. in San Antonio for example. Perhaps their migration mirrors that of the caprimulgidae. While this property is inaccessible/closed to the public, it may behoove all interested to check those thickets and any owls flushed, closely."

NIGHTJARS

Common Nighthawk: (1) 22 April (Guy Luneau, Scott Luneau), Rusk County [early arrival].

Common Nighthawk: (20-30) 16 May (Ellen Ratoosh), Bee Creek floodplain, Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [good count].

Common Pauraque: (1) 2 April through end of spring period (Susan Schaezler, et al.), her property near Comal-Guadalupe county line, Guadalupe County [casual; very few records for the Oaks & Prairies region].

Susan Schaezler, "4/2/03 Common Pauraque this evening! 705-715 p.m. Yes, I know--we aren't supposed to have them, but that is what it was. … Soon after that, he called and asked me to play the audio sound of the Common Poorwill, which I did. I then played the other birds while he was on the line and I finally went up to the Common Pauraque and it was a perfect match. I could barely hear the bird via the cell phone, so I went out to listen for it. It was moving around the property and moved close to the house and stayed briefly. Don was off on the other part of the property and we used the cell phone to give directions as to where the bird was at any given moment. It was going between me and where Don was.

Susan, 1 June, "We still have Chuck-wills-widow and Common Pauraque around--Don just returned from checking on them tonight."

Susan, "Some interesting excerpts from "The Bird Life of Texas," by Oberholser on Pauraque: 'One specimen record at San Antonio (bird hit by car, Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 28, 1969, C.R. Bender; skin in Welder Wildlife Refuge collection).', page 468 " 'Changes: During the 1960's, some among the ever increasing hordes of bird watchers in Texas have extended the Pauraque's range northward from Webb and Refugio counties to all of the counties immediately south of the city of San Antonio. At this writing (1971), it is not at all clear whether this is a range extension on the part of the bird or whether more bird watchers have finally learned the secrets of Pauraque-finding.', page 469"

Chuck-will's-widow: (2) 24 March (Brush Freeman), River Place Golf Course, western Travis County [early arrival, very rare].

Whip-poor-will: (1 heard) 13 March (Kay Burnell), Appleby, Nacogdoches County [very early; a week or so earlier than earliest records on Pineywoods checklist].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A very early Whip-poor-will was heard in Appleby on March 13 (KB), but the only others were heard in Central Heights on April 4 (Mimi Hoppe Wolf) and Lufkin on April 13 (Charles Kent)."

Whip-poor-will: (1 heard) 4 April (Randy Pinkston), along Salado Creek, Salado, Bell County [first county record].

Randy Pinkston, "After repeated unsuccessful efforts to find this bird at dusk and dawn since 13 March, this evening my diligence paid off on private property near Salado in Bell County. At 7:44 PM I turned on my tape recording of a western Whip-poor-will in a pasture bordering a brushy riparian corridor along Salado Creek. Almost instantly I got an answer from a Whip-poor-will not more than 20-30 feet away. The bird repeated a distinctive 'PURple RIB...PURple RIB...PURple RIB...PURple RIB...PURple RIB' about five times and then shut up. There was a slight difference in the quality of the call between my tape and the real McCoy, not surprising since birds that migrate through central Texas are likely of the eastern subspecies. Despite repeated efforts over the next several minutes, I could not stimulate another response. The satisfaction that comes from this sort of long-awaited and successful search cannot be compared with anything else. How can anyone not find birds and birding absolutely fascinating?"

HUMMINGBIRDS

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1) late January, perhaps 25 January (Gary Spenser, fide Brush Freeman; (1) 2 February to 15 March (Brush Freeman), Spenser's feeder near Utley, Bastrop County [early arrival; rare].

Brush Freeman, 2 February, "Yesterday I met my neighbor at the mailboxes and he said that a hummingbird had been coming into his hummingbird feeder even during the recent cold weather. … He called this morning and I went over and waited for almost an hour with no hummingbird, just as I was about to leave it finally came in and I was surprised to see it was a Buff-bellied. I only saw it once. … I noticed the other day that Darrell Vollert and Fred Collins had one coming to a feeder in Washington Co. I wondered then what such a bird was doing there at this time, and this one is even more odd to me. I wonder if some movement by the species is underway. My neighbor could not remember when their Buff-bellied first appeared but thought it to be about 8-10 days ago."

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2, including 1 banded on 10 May) from 25 March through end of season (Sue Ruotsala, Billie Bernard), their feeders, northern Austin County [reappearing yearly since spring 1997].

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1) from 28 March to at least 10 May (Margaret Cook), her feeders, northern Austin County [reappearing yearly since spring 1995].

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1 adult) 11 April (Noreen Baker), Oakhill, Austin, Travis County [rare].

Noreen Baker, "This evening around 6:30 pm when I got home from work, I found a beautiful adult Buff-bellied Hummingbird coming to one of the feeders in our back yard. I saw it twice before leaving to go out to dinner. I don't know how many records there are for Travis County, but it sure surprised me. It sure seems like those valley birds keep moving north. ... I also still have one female Rufous and several Black-chinned."

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1) 27 December 2002 to 10 May 2003 (Gene & Dorothy Stanford, Darrell Vollert, Fred Collins, et al.), near Brenham, Washington County [rare].

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2, including 2 males banded on 10 May) from 28 March to at least 10 May (Margaret Cook), her feeders, northern Austin County [reappearing yearly since spring 1995].

[Note, the distance between Margaret Cook's and Sue and Billie's is 0.7 mile].

Brent Ortego, "While the Washington County sites might be for individual birds that are isolated. Austin County appears to be a population and do not be surprised if birds regularly shuffle in and out of various yards. To give you an example as to how much shuffling takes place. I netted on Sunday and caught 11 BUFH in my yard. 6 needed bands. 1 recapture was from 3 years ago, 1 from a year ago and the rest were from this spring. There were at least twice that many BUFHs in the yard and I suspect the others were just net shy. I net 3 times per week with 1 day being an intensive effort of 30 nets for 4 hours while the others are 9 nets for 1 hour. Still, I had 6 new BUFHs show up in an area with intensive banding. There are lots of BUFHs out there and they go quite a bit of moving at this time of year. The Turk's Caps are just starting to bloom and birds generally disperse to those woodlands with high densities of this flower when they are available. I expect the density in my yard to decrease in the next 2 weeks."

Buff-bellied Hummingbird: (1-2) from 30 March 2002 to at least 15 June 2003 (Marcia Effinger, et al.), Old Chappell Hill Road, Chappell Hill, Washington County [reappearing yearly since May 1998; now seems to be year round resident].

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: (1) 28 March (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [early arrival; rare].

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: (1) 29 March 2003 (Margaret Cook), northern Austin County [early arrival].

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: (1) 30 March (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [early arrival].

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: (1 subadult) last seen 14 March (Shawn Ashbaugh), south Austin, Travis County [casual].

Shawn Ashbaugh, 16 March, "The subadult Broad-tailed Hummingbird was seen last on Friday, March 14 - his gorget filling slowly. I have not seen him since."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 9 December 2002 to 10 March 2003 (Dick Pike), near Lufkin, Angelina County [casual].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "The Rufous Hummingbird that wintered in the Pike's yard near Lufkin (first seen on Dec 9, 2002) was last seen on March 10 (DP), the day the first Ruby-throated arrived (coincidence?)."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 immature female) 26 October 2002 - 13 March 2003 (Shirley Wilkerson), Kurten, Brazos County [rare].

Shirley Wilkerson, 2 April 2003, "'My' rufous 26 Oct - 25 Dec is the same as 31 Dec - 5 Jan, and she, (finally figured that out--have pictures of her splotchy gorget) was last seen Mar 13. Miss her."

Rufous Hummingbird: (1) 23-24 March (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Rusk County [casual].

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 female) 11 April (Noreen Baker), Oakhill, Austin, Travis County [rare].

KINGFISHERS THROUGH WOODPECKERS

Ringed Kingfisher: (1) 22 March (Stan Wellso, fide Brush Freeman), Tahitian Village subdivision, Bastrop, Bastrop County [rare].

Ringed Kingfisher: (1) 12 April (survey by 11 participants, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Ringed Kingfisher: (pair) ~14 March to at least 14 May (Paul Fushille), Selma Hughes County Park, Lake Austin, Travis County [rare].

Austin RBA, compiled by Isaac Sanchez , "On the 14th: Paul Fushille … reported that for the last 2 months, a pair of Ringed Kingfishers has been observed on Lake Austin in the area of Selma Hughes County Park."

Green Kingfisher: (pair) 25 April (Scott Young), Onion Creek bordered by Kizer Golf Course and McKinney Falls State Park, Travis County [rare].

Scott Young, "This morning I saw a pair of Green Kingfishers along the stretch of Onion Creek bordered by McKinney Falls S.P. and Kizer Golf Course. One was male, and I was unable to determine the sex of the other. For what it is worth, the last time I saw a pair (13 December 2002, about a mile or so upstream from today's sighting) they were male and female. Both gave the descending raspy jeeer call in flight, and while perched. They also gave the tick when perched."

Green Kingfisher: (1) 20-28 April (Tim Fennell), Rivery Park, Georgetown, Williamson County [casual; no nesting observed this year, possibly disturbed by bridge construction upstream along the river].

Green Kingfisher: (1) 10 May (Erik Huebner, Kathy McCormack, Travis Audubon birders), Palmetto State Park, Gonzales County.

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1) 8 March (survey with 7 participants, fide Timothy Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [rare].

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1 adult) 13 March (Darrell Vollert), Shady Lane at Scott Street, Brenham, Washington County [rare in Washington County].

Darrell Vollert, "On Thursday, March 13 I saw (1) adult Red-headed Woodpecker along Shady Lane at Scott Street in Brenham. These woodpeckers are very rare in Washington County. Some years I totally miss this species in the county."

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1) 30 March (Darrell Vollert), Stephen F. Austin SHP, Austin County [status?]

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1) ~4 May (Rusty Alderson), Leander, Williamson County [rare].

Bert Frenz, "Williamson County encompasses both Oaks & Prairies and Edward's Plateau. ... The Red-headed Woodpecker is rare in both regions and not expected in May in the Edward's Plateau."

Golden-fronted X Red-bellied Woodpecker: (1) 4 May (Andy Balinsky), Austin, Travis County [Sibley, "Red-bellied and Golden-fronted hybridize where ranges overlap in Texas and Oklahoma."; see 3 excellent photos on Balinsky's web site].

Andy Balinsky, "We had a Capitol grounds today. ... We've also been seeing a Melanerpes woodpecker that might be a Golden-fronted Red-bellied hybrid. His tail is spotted like a Red-bellied, but the front is pure yellow (not a hint of orange), and so is the belly color wash. The nape becomes yellow-orange at the bottom. I've got a few photos at: http://balinsky.com/gallery/nature for anyone who cares to comment."

Pileated Woodpecker: (1) 1 March (Randy Pinkston), southeast Bell County [rare; second county record].

Randy Pinkston, " A male in southeast Bell County 1 March, my first in nine years here, and only the second-ever report for the county."

Pileated Woodpecker: (1) 10 May (Byron Stone, Brush Freeman); (1) 18 May (Brush Freeman, Roxie Rochat), along Colorado River, Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [rare].

FLYCATCHERS

Olive-sided Flycatcher: (2) 22 May (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [late migrant].

Olive-sided Flycatcher: (1) 25 May (Darrell Vollert), FM1155 near Meyersville Road north of Chappell Hill, Washington County [late migrant; rare].

Eastern Wood-Pewee: (1) 25 March (Nancy Bird), Angelina County [very early arrival; no March or early April records shown on Pineywoods checklist].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "first sightings ... Eastern Wood-Pewee - a very early bird in Angelina Co. on March 25 (NB); the next was one in the Ryan Lake area on April 16 (GG)."

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: (1 banded) 18 May (Dorothy Metzler, James Ingold), Caddo Lake [rare].

Alder Flycatcher: (1 singing) 10 May (Rich Kostecke, Randy Pinkston), Temple Lion's Park, Bell County [rarely reported; not listed on Bell County checklist].

Alder Flycatcher: (no.?) 18 May (Brush Freeman, Roxie Rochat) Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [rarely reported].

Alder Flycatcher: (1 calling) 24 May (Peter Barnes), Smith County [rare].

Alder Flycatcher: (1 calling) 24 May (Guy Luneau), Henderson County [rare].

Traill's Flycatcher: (1) 15 May (Rich Kostecke), Fort Hood, Bell County.

Willow Flycatcher: ("several") 22 May (Rich Kostecke, Wes Bailey, Scott Summers), Cowhouse Creek on Fort Hood, Bell County [rarely identified/reported].

Eastern Phoebe: (1 building nest) 22 April (Tim Fennell), Rivery Park, Georgetown, Williamson County [breeding data].

Eastern Phoebe: (pair) 26 April; (2 nests, but may not both be active) 11 May; (1) 12 May (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [very rare nester in this area; pair nested under same bridge last year].

Ellen Ratoosh, "Eastern Phoebe - one was in the floodplain on 5/12. I believe the active nest is the 2nd one built this spring, under the big bridge rather than in the culvert. ... Cave Swallow … They've completed a nest on top of the E. Phoebe nest, which appeared to have been abandoned. I'm not sure of the timing of this. Last year's phoebe nest is gone, by the way."

Eastern Phoebe: (nesting attempt, 2 eggs, nest abandoned) 15 May (Kathy Baldwin), Bryan, Brazos County [very rare nester].

Kathy Baldwin, "It appears that our Eastern Phoebe has abandoned her nest. We haven't seen her near it for three days. I finally climbed up the ladder last evening and there are two white eggs in the nest. … We've not seen any kind of intruders on our porch or near the nest, so I can't imagine what might have happened. We do know she faithfully sat on those eggs for, what seemed like forever. The book says 16-18 days, and I'm sure she was there at least that long. A sad turn of events."

Say's Phoebe: (1) 8 March (Randy Pinkston, Rich Kostecke), Shallowford Rd and old Hwy 93, Temple area, Bell County [rare].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 9 April (Derek Muschalek), Old Davy Community, DeWitt County [late migrant].

Vermilion Flycatcher: (1 male) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County [rare].

Vermilion Flycatcher: (1 male) 5 March (Roxie Rochat, Richard Kaskan, Scott Young, et al.), Kizer Golf Course, Austin, Travis County [occasional].

Great Crested Flycatcher: (1) 16 March (Brush Freeman), Alum Creek watershed, Bastrop County [early arrival by 6 days for Oaks & Prairies region].

Brush Freeman, "This morning I spent a little over an hour hitting some traditional posts on the Alum Creek watershed ... I mostly just surveyed by ear making no effort to get visuals except in a few cases. At one location I was listening to a Hooded Warbler and a Parula when from a further distance, I heard the repeated "Wheeeep" calls of a Great Crested Flycatcher. This beats the early date (excluding the very rare winter birds) found for the Lost Pines area by 6 days as far as I can determine. I realize that they are frequently found this early (or earlier) further south and I have had them in this timeframe, many times on the Kenedy Ranch and along the Rio Grande etc., also a check of the Clearinghouse shows them to not be that unusual on the central coast now. Other birds this morning in the time I had included, I could have easily bumped these numbers up with a check of additional locations. The morning was thick with bird song."

Great Crested Flycatcher: (1) 28 March (Jimmie Putnam), Putnam Ranch, Angelina County [early arrival; approximately tie with earliest on Pineywoods checklist].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "first sightings ...Great Crested Flycatcher - early sightings at Putnam Ranch on March 28 (JP) and Alazan Bayou WMA on March 30 (JF, CC)."

Brown-crested Flycatcher: (1 territorial) 4 May (Brush Freeman, P. Sunby); (1) 16-17 May (Brush Freeman, Eric Carpenter), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [returning breeder, 2nd county record].

Great Kiskadee: (1) 4 March (Derek Muschalek), Old Davy Community, DeWitt County [rare].

Couch's Kingbird: (2) 12 April (Brush Freeman); (2) 18 May (Brush Freeman, Roxie Rochat) Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [returning for 2nd year].

Brush Freeman, 12 April, "Today I made a very brief stop by Webberville Park in eastern Travis County and found the pair of Couch's Kingbirds in the same tree they nested in last year. They vocalized infrequently."

Brush Freeman, 18 May, "The Couch's Kingbirds were finally relocated and may be nest building in a transmission tower."

Eastern Kingbird: (1) 27 March (Rick Schaefer), Angelina County [early arrival; rare in March].

VIREOS THROUGH SWALLOWS

Bell's Vireo: (1) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare].

Bell's Vireo: (3) 1 May (Rich Kostecke, Scott Summers), Fort Hood, Bell County [occasional].

Bell's Vireo: (1 singing) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Williamson County [rare].

Bell's Vireo: (several seen and heard) 17 and 18 May (Rich Kostecke, et al.), Fort Hood, Coryell County.

Yellow-throated Vireo: (1) 14 March (David Wolf), Angelina County [early arrival; occasional]. Yellow-throated Vireo: (1 seen, 1 heard) 15 March (Dell Little), Gus Engling WMA, Anderson County [early arrival; occasional]. Yellow-throated Vireo: (2) 16 March (Brush Freeman), Alum Creek area, Bastrop County [early edge of arrival; rare]. Yellow-throated Vireo: (1) 16 March (Guy Luneau), Rusk County [early arrival; occasional].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "first sightings ...singles in s. Angelina Co. on March 14 (DW), Huntington on March 17 (Nancy Bird) and Loco Valley on March 19 (Ruth Heino)."

Warbling Vireo: (1-2) 4 May (Brush Freeman; (1) 14 May (Brush Freeman); (1) 18 May (Brush Freeman, Roxie Rochat) Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [territorial; same park they nested last year; rare].

Brush Freeman, 14 May, "I made a very quick visit to Big Webberville Park in Travis County on my return from Austin around 1:30. A Warbling Vireo as singing up a storm and this bird is surely on territory having been present for a couple of weeks now."

Brush, 18 May, "The territorial Warbling Vireo sang consistently for us."

Brush, spring report, "Warbling Vireo 1-2 Webberville Park, Travis, May 4 and continuing. On last year's territory for second year."

Warbling Vireo: (1 gathering and transporting nesting material) 6 May (Chris Merkord), McKinney Roughs, Bastrop County [nesting??].

Chris Merkord, "a Warbling Vireo gathering and transporting nesting material. I believe Brush found a pair nesting upriver in Webberville Park last year. Perhaps a small breeding population exists rather than a couple of random nesting attempts?"

Warbling Vireo: (1) 18 May (Rich Kostecke, et al.), Bell County [rare after mid May].

Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 18 April (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare migrant].

Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 22 April (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, Travis County [rare migrant].

Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 1 May (fide Susan Schaezler), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [rare migrant].

Susan Schaezler, "May 2, 2003 consolidated list from guests on our property today."

Philadelphia Vireo: (1) 3 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare; first county record since 1980].

Darrell Vollert, "Philadelphia Vireo (1)- foraging near the drive-over bridge on the south side Clarann estate. A new species for the estate bird list. Species number 185. This is my first county record for this species."

Philadelphia Vireo: (2, including 1 singing) 7 May (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel WMA, Williamson County [rare].

Red-eyed Vireo: (2) 30 March (Jesse Fagan), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County [early arrival]

Green Jay: (5) 8 March (C. Bludau), southwest of Coy City, Karnes County [unusually large number].

Horned Lark: (2) 7 May (Ray Berry), Texarkana, Bowie County [casual].

Tree Swallows have been increasing their breeding range in Central and East Texas:

Tree Swallow: (at least 8 nests) month of April (Guy Luneau), Texas Eastman at Longview, Harrison County [rare breeder].

Tree Swallow: (nesting) 13 and 20 April (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Lake Cherokee, Rusk County [rare breeder in East Texas].

Tree Swallow: (adults and juveniles) April and May (Randy Pinkston), Lake Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [breeding data; breeding first known for the county in 2000].

Randy Pinkston, " Tree Swallow: Present on Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Lakes throughout the season. Obvious nesting going on with adult birds localized to snags over several weeks in April and May, repeatedly entering and departing nest holes in those snags, and appearance of juveniles in the same areas in mid to late May."

Tree Swallow: (2) 5 April (Tim Fennell); (2 inspecting cavity) 12 April (Tim Fennell, Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy); (2 territorial) 19 April (Tim Fennell); (2, including one at snag on Comanche Bluff Trail) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), Comanche Bluff Trail, Williamson County [rare breeder].

Tree Swallow: (1 chasing other species away from cavity in power pole) 7 May (Tim Fennell); (1 at nest cavity) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone); (1 singing while perched at a cavity in a telephone pole and defending this location) 22 May (Tim Fennell); (up to 6) 25 May (Tim Fennell), Willis Creek Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [breeding data].

Tim Fennell, spring report, "Tree Swallow: This species exhibited nesting behavior again this season at two different locations on Granger Lake. However, I could not confirm it. Below are notes from both locations. Comanche Bluff Trail Location 4/5/03: 2 adults seen among snags of drowned timber. 4/12/03: 2 adults seen on snag in lake; one bird entered a cavity and stayed for ~ 5 minutes while the other perched at various parts of the snag, at one point this second bird entered the cavity while the other bird was in it and stayed for ~ 2 minutes. 4/19/03: 2 adults present at same snag. 4/26/03: one adult seen at same snag.

Willis Creek Park Location 5/7/03: At 2:45, I had one adult harassing a Western Kingbird and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at the sixth power pole east of the entry station (and on south side of entry road). After it drove them away from the area, it perched clinging to the pole at the mouth of a cavity on the south side of the pole for about a minute and then flew away. When I passed back by at 3:30, it was perched on the wire beside the pole. 5/11/03: one adult singing on wire by cavity pole. 5/22/03: One adult singing on wire by cavity pole. Photo obtained. 5/25/03: At 10:50, what appeared to be six Tree Swallows flew by the boat ramp area and I lost them almost immediately so never got scope on them. Then I picked up a lone adult foraging (?) over flooded timber and it disappeared toward cavity pole. Got in car and when got to cavity, an adult flew out and foraged (?) over grasslands and then flew back to cavity, stuck its head in and then perched on wire and sang. Bird left at ~ 11:15 am. Photo obtained. 5/29/03: No Tree Swallows seen. A Red-bellied Woodpecker flew out of suspected Tree Swallow cavity, having possibly taken over the nest cavity."

Byron Stone, "Saturday June 7, at Granger Lake, ... I looked for but did not observe the Tree Swallow which Tim Fennell found about two months earlier at a nest hole in a telephone pole at the same park. A non-birder companion reported seeing a bird enter the nest hole, and later briefly poke its head out of the hole. Both times, of course, I was looking away."

Cave Swallow: (2) 27 April (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake, Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [few records for this county; first record for estate].

VERDIN THROUGH KINGLETS

Verdin: (3 on nest) 21 March (Derek Muschalek), 8 miles southwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County [rare in March, occasional in April].

Bushtit: (7) 25 May (Kathy McCormack); (2) 27 May (Tim Fennell), equestrian trail at the new Williamson County Regional Park, Williamson County [rare; Tim's first record for the county!].

White-breasted Nuthatch: (1 carrying nesting materials) 21 March (Rick Schaefer), Pecan Park, Nacogdoches County [rare breeder].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A White-breasted Nuthatch carrying nesting materials in Pecan Park on March 21 was one of our few recent breeding records (Rick Schaefer)."

White-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 18 April (Peter Barnes, Hayden Hauke), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Bert Frenz in Heart-of-Texas RBA, "Nuthatches probably breed at the WMA and they are likely to be nesting at this time. It is a rare breeder in the Central Brazos Valley with few known nesting areas. One confirmed location is the Navasota River bottoms on Brazos and Grimes counties. One or two locations within the College Station city limits are also likely."

White-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 23 May (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [rare].

Bewick's Wren: (1) wintered to 18 March (David Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [occasional].

Golden-crowned Kinglets often dissipate in late winter, but this spring were still regular occurrences, with sightings as late as 3 April.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (5) 1 March (Darrell Vollert, RBAS Field Trip), Moore Farms, Brazos County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (4) 4 March (Shirley Wilkerson), McKinney Falls State Park, eastern Travis County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 8 March (survey with 7 participants, fide Tim Hissam), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (several) 10 May (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill, Washington County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 12 March (Brush Freeman, Petra Hockey), near Utley, Bastrop County. Golden-crowned Kinglet: (2) 14 March (Tim Fennell), Cedar Breaks Park, Lake Georgetown, Williamson County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 15 March (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Granger Lake area, Williamson County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (5) 22 March (Jesse Fagan), Dorr Creek Rd., Nacogdoches County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 22 March (Darrell Vollert), Clarann estate, Washington County.

Golden-crowned Kinglet: (1) 3 April (Darrell Vollert), Walnut Hill St., Brenham, Washington County [occasional in April].

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (8, some singing) 26 April (Rio Brazos Audubon Society Field Trip led by Ellen Ratoosh), Brison Park, College Station, Brazos County [occasional].

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (2) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [late departure].

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (1) 3 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure]

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: (1) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [late departure].

THRUSHES THROUGH WAXWINGS

camera.GIF (1399 bytes)  Eastern Bluebird: (pair with 5 just fledged chicks) 11 May (Virginia Landeck), Lake Livingston, Polk County [unusual nesting behavior (see below); chick photographed].

Fide Bert Frenz, "Virginia reported that the adult laid eggs, then covered the eggs with grass and laid another set of eggs over the first set. They hatched the second set, but after they fledged, Virginia saw the first set still in the nest box unhatched."

Veery: (1) 13 May (Chris Merkord), Hornsby Bend, Austin, Travis County [rare; only report this season].

Gray-cheeked Thrush: (1) 21 April (Ellen Ratoosh, Lizzie Furuta); (1 eating mulberries) 26 April (RBAS Field Trip led by Ellen Ratoosh), Brison Park, College Station, Brazos County [occasional].

Gray-cheeked Thrush: (1) 13 May (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [rare for county].

Brush Freeman, "I made a very quick visit to Big Webberville Park in Travis County on my return from Austin around 1:30. There is a Gray-cheeked Thrush along the sidewalk down to the small fishing pier. ... The Thrush is very rare, as far as is known, in Travis Co."

Hermit Thrush: (1) 12 April (Tim Fennell, Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), Comanche Bluff Trail, eastern Williamson County [late departure; rare].

Hermit Thrush: (1) 14 April (Georgette Guernsey), Kurth Lake, Angelina County [late departure; about same as last listed on Pineywoods checklist].

Wood Thrush: (1) 29 April (Sean Conklin, Tal Roberts), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Wood Thrush: (1 singing) 5-15 May (Hazel Bluhm), Marion County [common?].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, May 2003, "Wood Thrushes, a declining breeding species in north-east Texas and many other parts of its range, were singing in two locations in Wood Co. on May 4 (MW) and in Marion Co. from May 5-15 (HB)."

Wood Thrush: (9) 25 May (Graham Gips), Weches BBS route, Crockett National Forest, Houston County.

Clay-colored Robin: (1) 29 March (Jeffrey Hanson), College St., Gonzales, Gonzales County [very rare; same location as February 2001].

Jeff Hanson, "I birded a few spots in north and central Gonzales Co. today, with some interesting and ultimately rewarding finds. With the miracle of the Internet, I just confirmed that I heard the Clay-colored Robin "meow"-calling, twice, in southern Gonzales proper @ ~11:10am. This is presumably the same bird that Brush Freeman initially confirmed by sight last year (but had heard since Feb 2001). For over and hour I walked/slowly drove the 2X3 block area that Brush had said he has repeatedly heard the bird in. I finally ventured into a different area, and heard the bird where College St. ends, to the south, in a dirt road (another neighborhood road continues to the left). The bird called twice, about 20-30 seconds apart - very unique, and memorable."

Gray Catbird: (1) 16 March (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazso County [rare in March].

Gray Catbird: (1) 16 March (Brush Freeman), Alum Creek area, Bastrop County [rare in March].

Brown Thrasher: (1-2) 11 April to ~11 May (Sue Ruotsala, Billie Bernard), north Austin County [nesting?, late departure?].

Long-billed Thrasher: (1) 26 April (Susan Schaezler), her property near Comal-Guadalupe county line, Guadalupe County [northern edge of expected range].

Sprague's Pipit: (1) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [late migrant].

Cedar Waxwing: (~50) 22 May (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [late departure].

Cedar Waxwing: (20+) 26 May (Darrell Vollert), flew over FM1155 north of Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure].

Cedar Waxwing: (12+) 25 May; (10) 28 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure].

Cedar Waxwings: (heard) 31 May (Darrell Vollert), neighbor's yard, Chappell Hill, Washington County [tied for latest Central Brazos Valley late departure record].

WARBLERS

Blue-winged Warbler: (1) 6 April (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [occasional].

Blue-winged Warbler: (1) 24 April (Darrell Vollert), Harrison Street, Brenham, Washington County [occasional].

Golden-winged Warbler: (1) 29 April (Sean Conklin, Tal Roberts), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Golden-winged Warbler: (1) 2 May (Darrell Vollert), Harrison St., Brenham, Washington County [occasional].

Golden-winged Warbler: (2) 2 May (fide Susan Schaezler) Scahezler property, Guadalupe County [occasional].

Golden-winged Warbler: (1) 4 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [occasional].

Golden-winged Warbler: (1 female) 13 May (Darrell Vollert), Walnut Hill - Harrison St neighborhood, Brenham, Washington County [occasional].

Orange-crowned Warbler: (1) 7 May (Barry Boyd), between Scoates Hall and Langford Architecture Building, TAMU campus, College Station, Brazos County [late departure; rare].

Black-throated Blue Warbler: (1) 28 April (fide Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, Montgomery County [casual].

Jerry Walls, "Birders from New Mexico identified numerous Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, a Black-throated Blue Warbler, 2 Warbling Vireos, a Swainson's Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, several Indigo Buntings and Summer Tanagers, a male Green-backed Heron (bright orange legs!) and many additional migrants at Christmas Creek Nature Preserve today. Also 2 pair of nesting Red-headed Woodpeckers."

Audubon's (Yellow-rumped) Warbler: (1 seen singing) 16 March (Brush Freeman), Alum Creek watershed, Bastrop County [Audubon's is occasional].

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (60+ Myrtle, 1 Audubon's) 17 April (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), McKinney Roughs, Bastrop County [Audubon's is occasional].

Yellow-rumped Warbler: (1 first-year female) 13 May (Chris Merkord), Hornsby Bend, Travis County [very late departure].

Chris Merkord, "Today I found and photographed a Yellow-rumped Warbler at Hornsby Bend. I believe it is a first year female Myrtle, according to Dunn & Garrett, in basic plumage. It's getting late for this species, but given how far south they wintered this year I am not so surprised to see it. What was odd was that the bird sat low and hopped around for over an hour, constantly giving what sounded to me like its flight call, a high, clear seep or sip repeated at a steady interval, maybe every 2 to 1.5 seconds. Aren't flight calls supposed to be given, well, in flight? "

Pine Warbler: (4) 2 March (Derek Muschalek), Yorktown's Coleto Creek Park, DeWitt County [occasional].

Prairie Warbler: (1 male singing) 31 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann estate, near Chappell Hill, Washington County [casual].

Darrell Vollert, "I found a male Prairie Warbler this morning (5/31) at the Clarann estate while doing my weekly bird survey at the estate. … I heard the bird singing. I watched the warbler for 30 minutes. The warbler sang vigorously in the Live Oaks on the east side of Polk's Lake. There is a large field just to the east of the oaks. The Prairie bobbed its tail often while foraging and often preened in between bouts of song. Judging by the pointed ends of the retrices I would guess this warbler is a second year bird. … The Prairie Warbler represents the 28th warbler species documented at the estate. This is only the second record (that I am aware of) for Prairie Warbler in Washington County."

Bert Frenz, "Darrell Vollert's careful study of a Prairie Warbler at Clarann Estate on 31 May prompted me to check other Oaks & Prairies records. I found about 1 record each for Bastrop, Bell, Gonzales, McLennan, Milam and Travis counties. Darrell had one other Washington County record: 31 Aug 2001."

Blackpoll Warbler: (1 male) 18 May (Rich Kostecke, et al.), Fort Hood, Bell County [very rare].

Blackpoll Warbler: (1 female) 2 May (Maren Phillips); (1 female) 25 May (Maren Phillips, Susan Schaezler, et al.), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [very rare; 25 May bird was photographed].

http://www.schaezler.net/birding/gallery-052503_Mystery_Warbler-may25_036.html
Susan Schaezler, " The above link will get you to the picture of the Warbler from the SAAS fieldtrip that the group thought was a Blackpoll female. Most of the comments that I'm getting are strongly for a female Blackpoll. Since this bird is extremely rare for my checklist area, I wanted to make sure that I confirmed the ID as best I can. This bird was seen May 25, 2003. ... An experienced birder also saw a Blackpoll on our property May 2nd and that was documented and posted to my web page- http://www.schaezler.net/birding/gallery-052503_Mystery_Warbler-BlackpollMay2docu.html "

Susan Schaezler, "When Jeff [Hanson] returned, I showed him the original photos of the Blackpoll Warbler of May 25th on my property--with the better clarity, he could clearly see that it was indeed a female Blackpoll Warbler. I sent 4 photos with him in case anyone wants to see an original in Austin."

Prothonotary Warbler: (3 singing on territory) 12 April to 7 May (Tim Fennell, Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), in willows where the San Gabriel enters the Granger Lake, Comanche Bluff Trail, Williamson County [breeding data].

Prothonotary Warbler: (1) ~5-12 April (Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [possible breeding].

Prothonotary Warbler: ("several on territory") 13 April (Grant Critchfield, Randy Pinkston); (3 on territory) 25 April (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park at upper end of Lake Belton, Bell County [breeding data].

Prothonotary Warbler: (1 singing) 15 April (Darrell Vollert), hardwood forest in Brazos River bottoms north of US 290 bridge, Washington County [occasional].

Darrell Vollert, "While birding a 287-acre tract of bottomland hardwood forest along the Brazos River this evening (4/15) I found a singing Prothonotary Warbler. This forest is located north of the US290 bridge. The area in the forest where I found the warbler is flooded most of the year. If we have ample late-spring rains this area of the forest holds water through the summer months. The site is perfect for Prothonotaries to nest in. In April of 1999 or 2000 I found a Prothonotary singing at this site. A large number of willows, hackberries, ash, cottonwoods, and sycamores are standing in shin-deep stagnant water. I have yet to find a nesting pair of Prothonotaries at this site. Maybe this year is the year."

Prothonotary Warbler: (1 territorial) 17 April (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), McKinney Roughs, Bastrop County [breeding suspected; nested there last year].

Chris Merkord, "The highlight was what appeared to be a territorial Prothonotary Warbler. The bird was singing on the banks of the river near the intersection of Riverside Trail and Cypress Trail. In the thirty minutes we were there he sang consistently, only once moving across the river for a bit."

Prothonotary Warbler: (3) 18 April (Peter Barnes, Hayden Haucke); (~12) 27 April (Peter Barnes, Ron Gutberlet), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare in region, uncommon to fairly common here].

Prothonotary Warbler: (1) 29 May (Keith Arnold), Carlos BBS, near Lick Creek Park, Brazos County [rare].

Worm-eating Warbler: (1) 2 May (fide Susan Schaezler), Schaezler property, Guadalupe County [rare; only report this season].

Ovenbird: (9, most singing) 7 May (Tim Fennell), San Gabriel WMA, Williamson County [good count].

Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 12 Marcy (Darrell Vollert), FM1155 in Chappell Hill, Washington County [early arrival; rare].

Louisiana Waterthrush: (1) 23 March - 2 April (Peter Barnes), Smith County [rare in this county; returned to same location for 3rd year].

Louisiana Waterthrush: (1-2 adults) 23 March through April (Randy Pinkston); (2) 4 April (Rich Kostecke); (adults and fledglings) 9 May (Randy Pinkston), Lampasas River, Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Bell County [breeding established; in 2001 breeding was suspected due to territorial behavior; species is rare in spring and summer in Bell County].

Randy Pinkston, "Louisiana Waterthrush: First observed at Chalk Ridge Falls 23 March, at least one adult remained there throughout April, and finally adults and fledglings observed nearby on Lampasas River 9 May."

Kentucky Warbler: (1 male) 30 April (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [occasional on Bell County checklist, but may be rarer].

Randy Pinkston, "Kentucky Warbler: Male in Temple 30 April was my first for Bell County in nine years."

Kentucky Warbler: (1) 24 May (Darrell Vollert), SH105 at Jackson Creek between Flewellen and Gaskamp Road in the northeast portion of Washington County [rare].

MacGillivray's Warbler: (1) 19 and 24 May (Susan Schaezler), her property near Comal - Guadalupe County line [rare].

Susan, "I had the MacGillivray's May 19th and May 24th and I have pictures on my webpage of one of those birds. http://www.schaezler.net/birding/gallery-macgillivray.html

TANAGERS THROUGH SPARROWS

Scarlet Tanager: (1) 12 April (Brush Freeman), Utley, Bastrop County [rare].

Scarlet Tanager: (1 adult male) 2 May (Darrell Vollert), Harrison St., Brenham, Washington County [rare].

Scarlet Tanager: (1 female) 3 May (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate, Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare].

Scarlet Tanager: (1) 4 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [rare].

Eastern Towhee: (1 female) 26 April (RBAS Field Trip led by Ellen Ratoosh), Brison Park, College Station, Brazos County [occasional this late in season].

Bachman's Sparrow: (1) 8 May (fide Jerry Walls), Christmas Creek Nature Preserve, Sam Houston National Forest, Montgomery County [western edge of typical range].

Jerry Walls, "A birding tour group reported a Bachman's Sparrow at Christmas Creek Nature Preserve in Sam Houston National Forest (Montgomery County) on Thursday, May 8. A Bachman's was observed last May in this same area."

Chipping Sparrow: (1) 6 May (Darrell Vollert), one mile west of Brazos River along US 290, Washington County [late departure].

Vesper Sparrow: (1) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [late departure; rare].

Savannah Sparrow: (1) 12 May (Brush Freeman, P. Sunby), State Capitol, Austin, Travis County [late departure].

Savannah Sparrow: (1) 12 May (Darrell Vollert, Mary Ann Grahmann), along FM 2447, near Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure].

Savannah Sparrow: (1) 13 May (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County [late departure].

Savannah Sparrow: (1) 15 May (Rich Kostecke), Dana Peak Park, Bell County [late departure].

Grasshopper Sparrow: (23) 21 March (Derek Muschalek), 8 miles southwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County [good count].

Grasshopper Sparrow: (1) 23 April (Jason Pike); (1) 3-26 May (Eddie Ray), Sabine Mining Company land, Harrison County [casual in northeast Texas, but seen here regularly].

Grasshopper Sparrow: (2) 26 April (Guy Luneau), TXU mine, Rusk County [rare].

Grasshopper Sparrow: (20+) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), mostly at Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [good count].

Henslow's Sparrow: (3) 1 March (Jesse Fagan), Lewis Farm, Nacogdoches County [last of season].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (1) 13 April (Darrell Vollert), Clarann Estate near Chappell Hill, Washington County [late departure; rare].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (1) 16 April (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [late departure; rare].

Swamp Sparrow: (2) 26 April (Tim Fennell, Lester Faigley), San Gabriel WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [late departure; rare].

Harris's Sparrow: (1) 19 April (Shaun Ashbaugh, Scott Young, Jeff Hanson), Richard Moya Park, Travis County [late departure; rare].

White-crowned Sparrow: (2) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [late departure].

White-crowned Sparrow: (1) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Murphy Park, Taylor, Williamson County [late departure].

White-crowned Sparrow: (1) 12 May (James Phelps), Shenandoah Subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [late departure; rare].

Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco: (1) 6 April (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Lane, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [casual].

Randy Pinkston, "This morning (6 April) I found a caniceps race Gray-headed Junco in a mixed flock of gnatcatchers, kinglets, and Lincoln's Sparrows. The location was Union Grove Lane on the south side of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. This bird was my second Gray-headed Junco for Bell County in nine years."

McCown's Longspur: (150+) 7 March (Rich Kostecke, Matt Mecklenburg), ~2 miles east of Holland at Flag Branch and FM 2268, southeast Bell County [rare].

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (6) 23 March (Rick Harman), Round Rock, Williamson County [rare].

Rick Harman, "There were at least six Chestnut-collared Longspurs at Luther Petersen soccer fields in Round Rock yesterday. Both seen and heard clearly. They were within 20 yards of the road about 0.5 miles from the eastern end. These fields are close to Meadow Lake - turn north off 3406 and take a left on Sunrise for 1 mile."

GROSBEAKS THROUGH ORIOLES

Blue Grosbeak: (1) 6-7 April (Heather Mathewson), Glade St., College Station [FOS; rare].

The occurrence of more than a dozen Lazuli Buntings in Bell, Gonzales and Travis counties this spring is probably unprecedented. This includes a documented record of Lazuli X Indigo Bunting breeding.

Lazuli Bunting: (1 male) 13 April (Grant Critchfield, Randy Pinkston); (1) 3 May (Rich Kostecke), Iron Bridge Park at upper end of Lake Belton, Bell County.

Randy Pinkston, "This afternoon (13 April) at Iron Bridge Park at the upper end of Lake Belton I heard and observed a male Lazuli Bunting. This was about 4 PM. It was either a first spring male or an adult male in basic plumage. I'm not familiar enough with the various plumages of this species to be sure. A male Indigo Bunting was singing nearby, making for a nice comparison of the two species' songs. Many thanks to Grant Critchfield of Temple for first locating the Lazuli Bunting around 11 AM this morning while making his rounds as a Corps of Engineers ranger."

Randy Pinkston, spring report, " Lazuli Bunting: Young male singing at Lake Belton 13 April. Another singing (young) male and a nearby female at Union Grove Wildlife Area 9 May. I had not observed them previously but apparently this species is a rare but regular breeder in Bell County."

Lazuli Bunting: (4) 22 April (Brush Freeman), Bliss-Spillar Road, Travis County.

Brush Freeman, spring report, "Lazuli Bunting: A remarkable showing by this species this year on the eastern plateau. Many were reported by others and during late April I encountered them almost daily during peak migration, sometimes in numbers. Many were singing."

Lazuli Bunting: (1 male) 28 April (Richard Kaskan), Hornsby Bend, Travis County.

Richard Kaskan, <kaskan@ieee.org>, "At 7:30 am today (Monday, 28 April) I observed a male Lazuli Bunting near Platt Lane on the Hornsby Bend property, southeast of downtown Austin. … I stopped here because there appeared to be a lot of activity, and among the several Indigo and Painted Buntings in the area I got a brief look at a small bluish bird with a prominent white wing bar. The bird then flew up into a mostly dead tree and sat in the open facing me for perhaps 40 seconds. Its structure was very much like an Indigo Bunting -- same size, posture, and the same sort of bill. I could not see the wing bar from this position, but the light blue head, reddish breast, and white belly were quite evident. After treating me to this show, it dove back down into the brush, and I was unable to locate it again. … It is perhaps interesting that Jeff Hanson reported a Lazuli Bunting at Hornsby almost exactly three years ago."

Lazuli Bunting: (1 male, perhaps 3 females) 30 April (Rich Kostecke), Gravel Crossing WMA, Bell County.

Lazuli Bunting: (2 males) 8 May (Brenda Muncrief); 10 May (Erik Huebner, Kathy McCormack, et al.), San Marcos River, Palmetto State Park, Gonzales County [casual; first record for state park; May records do not appear on the new Oaks & Prairies checklist].

Brenda Muncrief, "I just returned from four days in Palmetto State Park, south of Luling, in Gonzales County (I believe). On Thursday the 8th, we identified two male Lazuli Buntings hanging out with some Indigo Buntings along the banks of the San Marcos River, seen best from campsite #35. There were some females seen originally, but we were never able to get a positive ID on them (whether they were Indigo females or Lazuli females). These birds were not on the park checklist, and the area appears to be east of their migratory path. The sighting was confirmed by several other birders. When we left the park this afternoon at 2:00 p.m., the bird was sitting on his favorite brush pile, singing. He certainly had all the characteristics of defending a territory.

Erik Huebner, "Brenda Muncrief of Huntsville found 2 male Lazuli Buntings at Palmetto State Park (Gonzales Co.) this weekend. Kathy McCormack and I were at the park Saturday morning (5/10/03), leading a Travis Audubon bird walk and we confirmed their presence. Both males were actively singing from perches along the San Marcos River, and at one point one of the birds was chased across river by the other male. The birds were seen just upstream from Campsite #36. This represents the first recorded occurrence of Lazuli Bunting in the park. Thanks to Brenda for finding them and for reporting the sighting."

Lazuli Bunting: (1 singing young male; 1 female), 9 May (Randy Pinkston), Union Grove Wildlife Area, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County.

Lazuli Bunting: (1 male, possibly some females also) 1 May (Rich Kostecke, Scott Summers); (1 male) 15 and 18 May (Rich Kostecke); (1 male with female Indigo Bunting, their nest and 3 nestlings) 22 May (Rich Kostecke, Wes Bailey, Scott Summers); (1 male, nest depredated) 31 May (Rich Kostecke, Charlie Lyons), Cowhouse Creek on Fort Hood, Bell County.

Rich Kostecke, "On the 22nd, Wes Bailey, Scott Summers, and I decided to determine, once and for all, whether or not the territorial male Lazuli Bunting we have been seeing along Cowhouse Creek on Fort Hood (Bell Co.) was actually breeding or not. We were able to locate his mate, apparently a female Indigo Bunting, and their nest, which had 3 nestlings."

Rich Kostecke, "Charlie Lyons joined me on 31 May to check up on the Lazuli Bunting in the willow-bottomland along Cowhouse Creek on Ft. Hood (Bell Co.). The male Lazuli Bunting was still present, singing, and territorial. Although his first nesting attempt with a female Indigo Bunting failed (the nest was depredated, perhaps by a snake), it is likely that he now has another nest nearby."

Rich Kostecke, "I am interested in gathering more information on the occurrence of potentially breeding Lazuli Buntings and on Lazuli X Indigo Bunting hybrids in Texas. Since Texas is not really considered a part of the Lazuli's breeding range, I think it has been assumed that the hybrids have been originating elsewhere (at least that would have been my assumption). However, after finding a male Lazuli on Fort Hood that mated with a female Indigo this spring, I can not help but think that we are actually producing some of these hybrids here in Texas. In light of the numerous reports of breeding Lazuli males and occurrence of hybrids on Fort Hood, esp. over the past 3 years or so, I would like to get a better idea of the scope of this "hybrid zone". Is this just something weird occurring on Fort Hood or is this possibly a more general phenomenon that perhaps has gone unnoticed? It could be the latter as the Lazuli on Fort Hood did show up at the beginning of May, during migration. Without us repeatedly checking up on this bird and eventually finding his nest, we would have probably written him off as a migrant. So, I wonder if a few of the supposedly migrant Lazulis that have been observed in Texas were potentially local breeders. Our bird here on Fort Hood may have already is appeared, which may further confuse matters as breeding can occur and be completed before the beginning of June, which marks the end of the spring migration. Basically, Lazulis that might have bred here in Texas could disappear by early June and no one would think much of it as these birds would be potentially categorized as late or lingering migrants."

Painted Bunting: (1) 4 April (Jimmie Putnam), near Putnam Ranch, Angelina County [very early arrival; a few days before earliest record on Pineywoods checklist].

Bobolink: (3) 2-3 May (Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau), Panola County [rare].

Peter Barnes, NETFO Newsletter, May 2003, "Three Bobolinks were in Panola Co. on May 2 and 3 (GL, JL, SL), while several dozen spent a week or more in Fannin Co. in early May (MW, RT)."

BoboFennell.jpg (29513 bytes) Bobolink: (2 adult males) 22 May (Tim Fennell), Sore Finger Wildlife Area, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare migrant; photographed].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (5 males) 22 April (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1) 26 April (Guy Luneau), TXU mine, Rusk County [occasional].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (36) 5 May (Derek Muschalek), 11 miles northwest of Yorktown, DeWitt County [unusually large number].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (1) 6 May (Peter Barnes), Camp Tyler, Smith County [rare].

Yellow-headed Blackbird: (13 in 3 groups) 11 May (Tim Fennell, Byron Stone), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional].

Rusty Blackbird: (100) 2 March (Peter Barnes); (no.?) 15 March (D.D. Currie, Dallas, Ft.Worth & Prairie & Timbers Audubon field trip); (1 each in north and south units) 16 March (Peter Barnes, NETFO field trip), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [occasional].

Great-tailed Grackle: (1) 1 March (Mike Dillon), Lake Wright Patman, Bowie County [very rare].

Peter Barnes, "Several Brewer's Blackbirds and 1 Great-tailed Grackle, the latter continuing to expand its range in north-east Texas, were spotted at Lake Wright Patman in Bowie County on March 1 (Mike Dillon)."

Great-tailed Grackle: (1) 4 April (Louis Debetaz), Lufkin, Angelina County [very rare].

David Wolf, Pineywoods Scissor-Tales, 30, 8 (May, 2003), "A Great-tailed Grackle, still very rare in our area, was over Lufkin on April 4 (LD)."

Bronzed Cowbird: (1 male) 29 March (Jeffrey Hanson), Gonzales, Gonzales County

Bronzed Cowbird: (1 male) 21 April (Ellen Ratoosh), Lizzie Furuta), Brison Park, College Station [casual; 7 Central Brazos Valley records pre-1980, but only one other bird thereafter (in 1997)].

Ellen Ratoosh, "The really interesting bird was a male Bronzed Cowbird, a lifer for both of us. It was in the pecans just south of the footbridge at about 11:15, but we did not find it when we went back about an hour and a half later. When we first spotted it, it looked like a peculiarly dumpy blackbird with a shortish tail, and I was puzzled. The first thing we noticed through our binocs was the very bright red eyes - really striking. It was bigger and stockier through the body than a Brown-headed Cowbird, with a rather short, squared off tail. The primaries reached about 1/4-1/3 of the way down the tail. The legs were gray. Its bill was black, wide at the base, and long and heavy - much more like a grackle bill than a cowbird bill. The wings and tail were a bluish black which contrasted slightly with the rest of the bird, which was a duller, more brownish black. This contrast was subtle, but we were close and had excellent views, since it turned and preened while we watched. It usually fluffed up its nape and upper back feathers, giving a ruffed, Count Dracula effect. It called several times: long fairly clear whistles on different pitches, once ending with a rattle. We watched it for 10-15 minutes."

FINCHES

Purple Finch: (1 female) "stayed for 3 months total from early January / late December through March" (Sandy Dillard), Bryan, Brazos County [rare, photographed].

House Finch: (1) 12 May (Oscar Carmona), Huntsville, Walker County [rare in this county].

Oscar Carmona, "I was in the Office Depot parking lot in Huntsville, located right on I-45, on Monday when I heard a House Finch singing. I looked around and eventually spotted the bird sitting on a utility wire. This is the first time I have ever seen this species in Huntsville."

American Goldfinch: (1) 4 or 5 May (Rusty Alderson), Leander, Williamson County [late migrant].

American Goldfinch: (7) 4 May (Rich Kostecke), Bell County [late].

American Goldfinch: (1 alternate plumage, singing) 7 May (Tim Fennell), Murphy Park, Taylor, Williamson County [late].

American Goldfinch: (2) 10 May (Byron Stone, Brush Freeman), Webberville County Park, eastern Travis County [late].

 

Contributors

Rusty Alderson, Keith Arnold, Shawn Ashbaugh, Noreen Baker, Kathy Baldwin, Wes Bailey, Andy Balinsky, Peter Barnes, Billie Bernard, Nancy Bird, C. Bludau, Hazel Bluhm, Fred & Mary Brandt, David Brotherton, Kay Burnell, Oscar Carmona, Eric Carpenter, Fred Collins, Sean Conklin, Margaret Cook, Clayton Copeland, Grant Critchfield, D. D. Currie, Pamela & Benedikt Davison, Louis Debetaz, Andrew Dickinson, Sandy Dillard, Mike Dillon, Marcia Effinger, Ted Eubanks Jr., Jesse Fagan, Lester Faigley, Tim Fennell, Rob Fergus, Bert Frenz, Brush Freeman, Lizzie Furuta, Paul Fushille, Fred & Nancy Gehlbach, Graham Gips, Mary Ann Grahmann, Georgette Guernsey, Ron Gutberlet, Jeffrey Hanson, Rick Harman, Chris Harrison, John Hass, Hayden Haucke, Ann Hinton, Timothy Hissam, Linda Hoffer, Doug Holder, Pat Holman, Erik Huebner, James Ingold, Terry Junek, Richard Kaskan, Mollie Kloepper, Rich Kostecke, Heather Lewis, Dell Little, Guy Luneau, Joan Luneau, Scott Luneau, Katherine McWright, Heather Mathewson, Stennie Meadours, Matt Mecklenburg, Chris Merkord, Dorothy Metzler, Brenda Muncrief, Jeff Munday, Derek Muschalek, Brent Ortego, James Phelps, Maren Phillips, Dick Pike, Randy Pinkston, Jane Purtle, Jimmie Putnam, Ellen Ratoosh, Eddie Ray, Jennifer Reidy, Tal Roberts, Roxie Rochat, Sue Ruotsala, Andrew Russell, Isaac Sanchez, Rick Schaefer, Susan Schaezler, Willie Sekula, Terry Smith, Gene & Dorothy Stanford, Byron Stone, Scott Summers, P. Sunby, Neal Thornton, Rob Tizard, Robert Truss, Darrell Vollert, Jerry Walls, Nada Wareham, Stan Wellso, Shirley Wilkerson, David Wolf, Mimi Hoppe Wolf, Scott Young.


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