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.


Winter Season:  December 1, 2000 - February 28, 2001


The 66 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, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Walker, Waller, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson.  

Reduced from over 688 reports of 201 species from 1 December 2000 to 28 February 2001.

Weather reports:

David Wolf, for Pineywoods, "Weather summary: mid-winter (i.e. mid-December to mid-January) was characterized by repeated major cold fronts, a lot of freezing nights, a light snowstorm Dec 31-Jan 1, and generally the coldest winter weather we have had in quite a few years. After that the temperatures abated and it never got really cold again, but instead we had a prolonged chilly and wet period, with especially heavy rains from mid-Feb to mid-March."

In his winter report, David Wolf states, "We had more records of small numbers of this species [Common Goldeneye] this Dec-Feb than in recent winters, presumably because we actually had some winter weather this year (and lakes to the north of us in the Midwest froze up)."

Tim Fennell, for Williamson County, "This winter we actually had a winter! While we did not have a lot of freezing weather, temperatures were consistently cool to cold and we had abundant rain. Mountain Plovers seemed to wander more than usual this year. My hypothesis is the wet weather made a wider area favorable for foraging than in drier winters past. The wet, cool weather might have also contributed to some apparently late migrants. It was a great season for Burrowing Owls with 7 (or 9, see note in species account) different birds present. The wet weather probably contributed to good numbers of Sprague's Pipits and Le Conte's Sparrows. And finally, it was the best longspur year I've experienced with Laplands especially making an incredible showing."

Darrell Vollert, on 5 March, for Washington County, "This has been a very wet year so far. We are getting systems through here every 3-4 days that are bringing rain. The grasses are very green and the trees are starting to leaf out. We seem to have an over-abundance of insects now, so insectivores are having no problem finding food."

Species we saw more of, perhaps owing to weather:

Because it was colder further north:
Common Goldeneye, in East Texas
Common Merganser in East Texas
Northern Harrier in Central Texas
Short-eared Owl in East and Central Texas
Horned Larks in Central Texas
NOT Red-breasted Nuthatch
American Tree Sparrow in East and Central Texas
Most sparrow species, including longspurs
Rusty Blackbird in East Texas
Purple Finch in East Texas
Red Crossbill in East Texas
Common Redpoll? in East Texas
Pine Siskin in East and Central Texas

Because it was wetter:
Sedge Wren in East and Central Texas
Marsh Wren in East and Central Texas
Sprague's Pipit in East and Central Texas
LeConte's Sparrow in East and Central Texas

Western species found further east than usual:
Mountain Bluebird in Central Texas
Spotted Towhee in Brazos Valley
Lark Sparrow in Central Texas
Lark Bunting in Central Texas
Oregon Junco in East and Central Texas
Gray-headed Junco in East and Central Texas

Bird Sightings

LOONS TO CORMORANTS

Red-throated Loon (?): (1) 4 December (John Arvin), westernmost causeway across Lake Livingston, Polk County [very rare; could be county record].
"Crossing the causeway (the westernmost one) across Lake Livingston today I saw a slight, slender-billed loon whose bill seemed slightly upturned. It dived just north of the bridge just as I drove past it. As I was in a place impossible to stop I was not able to verify my impression. Perhaps someone from the Huntsville area can check it out."

Red-throated Loon: (1) 2 January (Matt White), Lake Tawakoni, Hunt County [rare].

Pacific Loon: (1) 10 December (Derek Hill); (1) 2 January (Matt White), Lake Tawakoni, Hunt County; (1 side-by-side with Common Loon) 26 December (Tim Fennell), Cedar Creek Reservoir viewed from Harbor House Marina, Henderson County; (2) 30 December (David Brotherton, Sarah Brotherton, Hazel Bluhm), Lake O' the Pines CBC, Marion County [rare].

Common Loon: (1) 10 December (John O'Brien), above the Lake Livingston Dam near spillway, Polk and San Jacinto Counties [rare].

Common Loon: (1) 19 December (Chris Merkord), on a large pond on reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [rare].

Common Loon: (4) 26 and 28 December (Tim Fennell), Cedar Creek Reservoir viewed from Harbor House Marina, Henderson County [uncommon?].

Common Loon: (2) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County [rare; this is the second record for February for the Central Brazos Valley area].

Horned Grebe: (160) 1 January (David Brotherton), Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus County [large count].

Horned Grebe: (1) 21 January (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [occasional].

Eared Grebe: (1) 9 December (Tim Fennell); (10) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy); (2) 30 December (Tim Fennell, et al.), Granger Lake, Williamson County [occasional].

Eared Grebe: (2) 27-28 December (Bert Frenz, Mike Manson), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].

Eared Grebe: (1) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Flag Pond, Lake Somerville, Lee County [occasional].

Eared Grebe: (1) 17 February (Ron Gutberlet), Lake O' the Pines, Marion County [uncommon].

Eared Grebe: (3) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Rocky Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County [occasional].

American White Pelican: (8) 17 December; (3) 26 December (Darrell Vollert), Hughes Lake and small pond nearby, near Chappell Hill, Washington County [unusual at very small lakes and ponds].

American White Pelican: (25) 1 January (Andrea Holman), Quail Run subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [uncommon in the county, but rarely seen over the city].

Neotropic Cormorant: (6) 26 and 28 December (Tim Fennell), City of Trinidad Power Plant Lake, Henderson County [occasional in East Texas].

Neotropic Cormorant: (1) 15-27 February (Jesse Fagan, et al.), Nacogdoches sewage ponds; (1) 13 March (David Wolf, Mimi Wolf, Jesse Fagan), 6-8 miles south, Nacogdoches County [David's comments, "one was found at the small Nacogdoches sewage ponds Feb 15-27 (JF) and was seen by a number of local observers (inc DW). Another bird (or possibly the same one?) was found about 6-8 miles south on March 13 (DW, MW, JF). There are very few county records of this species, and these are the first ones from winter. For the record, we (JF, DW) did not find any on visits to Lake Livingston from Dec-Feb (though they are regular here later in the year)."].

Double-crested Cormorant: (166,000) 30 December (Trinidad CBC), Henderson County [unusually high count].

BITTERNS TO SPOONBILLS

Continuing a trend started this past fall, American Bitterns, typically rare, were reported more often than usual:
American Bittern: (1) 1-16 December (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake in east Round Rock, Williamson County.
American Bittern: (1) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), Sore Finger WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County.
American Bittern: (1) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Randy Pinkston, et al.), below dam at Granger Lake, Williamson County.
American Bittern: (2) 4 January (Bert Frenz), CR124, Yegua Creek Component (south side), Somerville WMA, Lee County.
American Bittern: (1) 23 January (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County.

Snowy Egret: (1) 28 December (Sandy Dillard, Cindie Dillard), Gibbons Creek floodplain south of Hwy 30, near Carlos, Grimes County [rare in winter in Central Brazos Valley]. Identified by yellow feet.

Snowy Egret: (1) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart) stock pond on FM 2780 near Alum Creek Crossing, Washington County [rare in winter].

Tricolored Heron: (1 adult) 29 December (David Wolf), TX 147 bridge on Lake Rayburn, San Augustine County [David, "unexpected at this season and one of our few recent "winter" records; it did not stay around"].

Cattle Egret: (12) 11 December; (3) 17 December; (4) 4 January (Darrell Vollert), Hughes Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in winter].

Cattle Egret: (2) 17 December (Darrell Vollert); (1 sick) 31 December; (1 dead) 1 January (Ann Polk), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in winter].

Cattle Egret: (2) 28 December (Darrell Vollert, Billie Bernard, Sue Ruotsala), off Hwy 90, south of Roans Prairie, Grimes County [occasional in winter].

Cattle Egret: (2) 4 January (Bert Frenz), Nails Creek Unit of Lake Somerville State Park, Lee County [occasional in winter].

Green Heron: (1) 23 January; 27 February; 6 March (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County [rare in winter].

Black-crowned Night-Herons, typically rare in the Central Prairie and East Texas, were more prevalent this winter than most.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 2 December (Sheridan and Fort Worth Audubon Society field trip), Alcoa Lake, Milam County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (3 immatures) 13-16 December (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake in east Round Rock, Williamson County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (3 immature, 1 adult) 16 December (Sandy Dillard), Nature's Haven on Leonard Road, Bryan, Brazos County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1 immature) 16 December (Mike Manson), Forest Lake, Brazos County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 24 December and 7 January (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1) January through at least mid-February (Nancy Bird, Georgette Guernsey), Lufkin County Club Lake and Ellen Trout Lake, Angelina County.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 11 February (Peggy and Charles Watts), FM1669, Angelina County.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: (1) 30 December (Trinidad CBC), Henderson County [rare in winter].

White Ibis: (2 immatures) 2 December (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), TX 147 bridge on Lake Rayburn, San Augustine County [latest area record].

WATERFOWL

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, often absent in winter in Brazos County, were noted in three different locations this season.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (85) 16 December (Sandy Dillard); (80) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Eye's of Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center off Leonard Rd, Bryan, Brazos County.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: (7) 15 February (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck: (2) 24 February (Jennifer Reidy and Chris Merkord), stock pond on Hopes Creek Road near Dowling Road, Brazos County.

An unusual number of reports of Greater White-fronted Geese came from the Brazos Valley, where they typically do not winter.
Greater White-fronted Goose: (15) 18 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines, Milam County [rare in winter].
Greater White-fronted Goose: (flocks of 33 and 91) 28 December (Bert Frenz), flying over Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [rare in winter].
Greater White-fronted Goose: (1) 29 December; 23 January; 15 February (Keith Arnold), Country Club Lake, Bryan, Brazos County [Keith's description, "what seems to be an immature Greater White-fronted Goose - the bird's plumage and leg and bill color fit to a 'T', but the bird seems rather small, smaller than the LSGO - like the latter, bird, this bird also is hanging out with the domestic geese."].
Greater White-fronted Goose: (18) 30 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].
Greater White-fronted Goose: (mixed flock of 100 GWFG with 200 SnGo) 24 February (Jennifer Reidy and Chris Merkord), OSR 2 miles east of FM 2223, Robertson County.

Populations of Ross's Geese, generally mixed with Snow Geese, are increasing. The status of Ross's has gone from accidental to rare in East Texas, from very rare to occasional in the Central Prairie, and from uncommon to common in the Coastal Prairies.
East Texas sightings:
Ross's Goose: (1) 13 January (Phillip Hight), Toledo Bend, Sabine County [rare in northeast Texas].
Central Prairie sightings:
Ross's Goose: (1 in flock of Snow Geese) 11 December (Bert Frenz, Darrell Vollert), Moore Farms, south Brazos County [occasional].
Ross's Goose: (5 in one group, 2 with other geese and 200+ wigeon) 23-24 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy, Randy Pinkston); (6) 26 December (Randy Pinkston), Granger area, Williamson County [only 4 Snow Geese and 19 Canada Geese in area, so high concentration of Ross's].
Ross's Goose: (5-6) 24-26 December (Randy Pinkston), Alligator Rd, Williamson County [increasingly common].
Ross's Goose: (3 in flock of 48 Snow Geese) 24 February (Jennifer Reidy and Chris Merkord), Camp Creek Lake, Robertson County [first record in this underbirded county].
Coastal Prairie sightings:
Ross's Goose: (4) 11 December (Fred Collins), near Cochran, Baethe, and Brown Roads area, Waller County [4 Ross's Geese with 6 Snow Geese is a high ratio; Fred Collins, "The little flock of white geese were particularly interesting which is why I sent you the observation. In the 70s I would estimate 1 Ross per 1000 Snows. I now frequently find 5-15% Ross Geese. If white geese are eating themselves out of house and home in the artic maybe smaller animals have an advantage? At any rate, Ross's Geese are very easy to find in any flock of snows in Waller County."].
Ross's Goose: (8) 6 January (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County [common].
Ross's Goose: (52) 28 January (Fred Collins), Morrison-Pattison Road-FM2855 area, Waller County [common; Fred Collins, "Snow/Blue Goose 7500, Ross's Goose 52 (I counted till 50 and stopped, probably 2-4% of light geese are Ross)"].
Ross's Goose: (4 in flock of Snows) 2 February (Fred Collins), Morrison-Pattison Road-FM2855 area, Waller County [fairly common].

Canada Goose: (2) 16 December (Bert Frenz), Wood Lake, College Station, Brazos County [occasional in December/January].

Canada Goose: (22) 17 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in December/January].

Canada Goose: (flock) 25 December (Brush Freeman), between CR358 and CR360, Granger area, Williamson County [occasional in December/January].

Canada Goose: (60) 28 December (Judy Winn, Terry Smith), west of Anderson, Grimes County [occasional in December/January].

Canada Goose: (77) 30 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].

Tundra Swan: (4) 30-31 December (Russell Storemski), Black Lake on private land near Royalty Pecan orchard at Hwy 21 and CR229, Burleson County [first county record; only 4 prior records for the 10-county area].
RBA report, fide Bert Frenz, "On 30 Dec, four TUNDRA SWANS were among flocks of Snow and Canada Geese at Black Lake on private land near Royalty Pecan orchard at Hwy 21 and CR229 in Burleson Co. Russell Storemski was hunting geese at the marshy lake, which covers hundreds of acres, and the gunfire did not disturb the swans. On the 31st the geese were gone, but the swans remained. There are only two other records of Tundra Swan in the 10-county area: a single swan in Grimes Co. in 1995 and another single in Brazos Co. in 1988. This sighting is a new county record."

Mottled Duck: (2) 1 January (David Brotherton), Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus County [rare].

Mottled Duck: (2) 6 January (fide Austin RBA), Granger area, Williamson County and flew into Bell County [occasional].

Blue-winged Teal: (2) 29 December (David Wolf); (1) 3 January (David Wolf, Robert Truss), TX 147 bridge on Lake Rayburn, San Augustine County [David, "rare lingerers; we have remarkably few winter records of this species within the Pineywoods."].

Cinnamon Teal: (up to 6) 21 January through 28 February (Tim Fennell), Meadow Lake, Round Rock, Williamson County [rare; peak of 6 was on 15 February].

Cinnamon Teal: (1 male) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Lake Somerville WMA, Nails Creek Unit, Lee County [rare].

Cinnamon Teal: (1 male) 25 February (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].

Canvasback: (17) 5 February (Darrell Vollert) Wichita Ranch stock pond, near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional].

Canvasback: (15) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Flag Pond, Lake Somerville, Lee County [occasional].

Canvasback: (2100-3000+) 2-10 December (David Wolf, et al.), TX 147 bridge on Lake Rayburn, mostly San Augustine County; (4600+) 3 January (David Wolf, et al.), Attoyac arm of Lake Rayburn, Nacogdoches / San Augustine Counties [David, "found on Rayburn in excellent numbers this winter"].

Long-tailed Duck: (1 female or first winter male) 28-30 December (Bob Metzler, David Weaver), Lake O' the Pines seen from road on west side of Johnson Creek, Marion? County [rare].
NETFO Report, fide Peter Barnes, "There were unusual numbers of Long-tailed Ducks reported, with 3 at Lake Tawakoni in Hunt Co. on Dec 2 (Matt White, Mark Adams), 1 at Lake Tawakoni in Rains Co. from late November through Dec 10 (Derek Hill) and another at Lake O' the Pines on Dec 29 and 30 (Bob Metzler)."

Common Goldeneye: In his winter report, David Wolf states, "we had more records of small numbers of this species this Dec-Feb than in recent winters, presumably because we actually had some winter weather this year (and lakes to the north of us in the Midwest froze up)."
Common Goldeneye: (4) 20 January (Nancy Bird, Louis Debetaz, Jesse Fagan, Heinz & Julie Gaylord, Georgette Guernsey, Gladys Guthrie, Ruth Heino), Kurth Lake, Angelina County.
Common Goldeneye: (1 male, 2 females) 26 December (Tim Fennell), City of Trinidad Power Plant Lake, Henderson County.
Common Goldeneye: (several) December-February (fide David Wolf), Nacogdoches/San Augustine Counties.

Hooded Merganser: (3) 28 December (Judy Winn, Terry Smith), 0.5 mile west of Little Flock Church near Anderson, Grimes County [rare in winter].

Common Merganser, a duck that usually winters further north, made it to East Texas this winter, perhaps because of frozen water further north.
Common Merganser: (1) 9 December and 10 February (Ron Gutberlet, Carol Gutberlet), Villages Marina on Lake Palestine, Smith County [rare].
Common Merganser: (1 female) 19 December (Jesse Fagan, David Wolf), Cassells-Boykin Park on Lake Rayburn, Angelina County [David, "a gorgeous female was seen at close range ... during a howling norther. This was our first record for Rayburn and only our fifth record for Nacogdoches / Angelina Counties in 30 years."].

Red-breasted Merganser: (1 male, 1 female) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), Granger Lake area, Williamson County [rare].

Red-breasted Merganser: (1 male, 1 female) 28 December (Judy Winn, Terry Smith), on small pond on south side of CR185 across road from Little Flock Church near Anderson, Grimes County [rare]. Description, "one bird with green head, one with reddish head; definitely mergansers with swept-back fan of feathers behind the head."

Red-breasted Merganser: (2) 1 January (David Brotherton), Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus County [occasional].

Red-breasted Merganser: (1) 18 February (Louis Debetaz), Kurth Lake, Angelina County [occasional].

KITES, HAWKS AND EAGLES

White-tailed Kite: (2 adults) 19 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [rare, particularly in December; second record for county].

White-tailed Kite: (1) 27 January (Shirley Wilkerson, Dan Wilkerson), near the TMPA power plant on County Road 190, about 3 miles from Hwy. 30, Grimes County [rare].

White-tailed Kite: (1) 18 February (Darrell Vollert), Brazos River Road, Washington County [rare].

White-tailed Kite: (1 adult) 18ff February; (2 exhibiting territoriality) 10 March (Jesse Fagan, Claudia de la Cruz), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County. on Feb 18 (JF, ) [first confirmed record in county area since June 1994].

Bald Eagle: (1 or 2 adults) 28 December (David Phalen, Shane Raidal, Bert Frenz), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [one adult eagle seen by David and Shane at boat ramp at dawn carrying nesting material, seen at weir on opposite side of lake at 3:30 pm by Bert, and seen again at boat ramp at 5:30 by Bert, again carrying nesting material. Eagle headed from lake, across boat ramp and park road and then into woods].

Brent Ortego, "The southern population of Bald Eagles arrive in Texas in early fall, start nest maintenance on pre-existing nests or building new nests generally in October, lay eggs in November, hatch eggs around Christmas and young fledge normally in March."

Chris Gregory, "Thanks for the eagle sighting information on Gibbons Creek. We are currently aware of two eagle nests near Gibbons Creek Reservoir. One of those nests is south of the dam and the other is just west of the lake. That's all I can tell you about the location of the nests. TPWD policy does not allow us to disclose the exact location of bald eagle nests. However, we survey all known nests annually to monitor eagle activity, production of young and habitat conditions. Surveys are conducted from a TPWD airplane and we check nests monthly from February through May. As you probably know, East Texas has a large number of wintering eagles as well as nesting eagles. The nests at Gibbons Creek are the westernmost nests that we are aware of in this area."

Bald Eagle: (3 adults) 3 December (Truman Powell), Lake Palestine at Big Eddy, Smith County.

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 28 December (Tim Fennell), Cedar Creek Reservoir viewed from Harbor House Marina, Henderson County.

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 30 December (Tim Bradle), Nails Creek Unit, Lake Somerville State Park, Lee County.

Bald Eagle: (1 adult, 1 immature) 6 January (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County.

Bald Eagle: (1 adult) 21 & 28 January (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County.

Bald Eagle: (1 immature) 2 February (Fred Collins), Morrison Road, Waller County.

Bald Eagle: (1 immature) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Rocky Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County.

Following the trend started this fall, this has been a good winter for seeing Northern Harriers.
Northern Harrier: (12, including 2 males) 2 December; (12+, including 4 males) 30 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County.
Northern Harrier: (several) 11 December (Bert Frenz, Darrell Vollert), Moore Farms, Brazos County.
Northern Harrier: (~40) 14 December; (~20) 18-19 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines, Milam County [high counts].
Northern Harrier: (1+4+9+1=15) 28 December (CBC), Gibbons Creek count centered near Roans Prairie, Grimes County.
Northern Harrier: (1 male) 4 January (Bert Frenz), Flag Pond, Somerville WMA, Lee County.
Northern Harrier: (many) 27 January (Shirley Wilkerson, Dan Wilkerson), near the TMPA power plant on County Road 190, about 3 miles from Hwy. 30, Grimes County [more common this winter]; Shirley, "The area around TMPA on both sides of CR 190 is reclaimed land from the lignite mines, which has been restored to a natural prairie land. Also, the area is covered in Northern Harriers."].
Northern Harrier: (8) 28 January (Fred Collins), Morrison-Pattison Road-FM2855 area of Waller County.
Northern Harrier: (1) 4 and 18 February (Peter Barnes), Whitehouse, Smith County.

Harlan's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 3 December (Truman Powell), intersection of Hwy 344 and US 69 near Bullard, Smith County [rare form; Turman states, "Today at just before noon, I saw a 'grizzled' Harlan's Hawk at the intersection of Hwy 344 and US Hwy 69. The bird is very skittish, and flew as soon as I rolled the window down for a better view. I feel this is the same bird I saw earlier. The Harlan's seems to have changed it's preferred viewing area just south of the post office to a more open area."].

Harlan's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 23 December (Randy Pinkston), I-35 about 1/4 to 1/2 mile south of Exit 281 Rest Stop, Bell County [rare form].

Harlan's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1-2) 23 & 31 December (Randy Pinkston), Bell County [rare form].

Harlan's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 4 January; 25 January; 10 February (Ellen Ratoosh), perched in the trees in one of the pastures alongside the east frontage road of the Hwy 6 bypass, just south of N. Forest Parkway, near Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare subspecies; Ellen has seen a Harlan's at the same location 27 Jan 2000].

Red-tailed (dark phase) Hawk: (1) 6 January (Gael Simons, Randy Pinkston, Travis Audubon Society field trip), CR360, Granger area, Williamson County.

Krider's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (1) 28 December (Mike Manson), TMPA mining area, Grimes County [uncommon form].

Krider's (Red-tailed) Hawk: (2) 27 January (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), East Yegua Creek and Hwy 21, just west of Caldwell, Burleson County [occasional form; Chris writes, "The bird was perched below eye level in a tree about 100 feet off the road. We turned around to get another look and a second "Krider's" Hawk took wing from a telephone pole nearby. Lighting was perfect as we watched the beautiful perched bird for 10 minutes in my spotting scope. Its head was almost completely white, with small black marks behind the eye and on the side of the face. The paleness faded from white to streaked brown, forming a nice light bib on the bird like a Rough-legged Hawk. The back was about 40% brown and 60% white. The white was vaguely arranged into two large patches on each wing. I have never seen a bird this pale."].

Red-tailed Hawk: (~30) 14 December; (~20) 18-19 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines, Milam County [high counts].

Red-tailed Hawk: (1+7+2+2+19+3+2=36, including 19 over mining area at TMPA) 28 December (CBC), Gibbons Creek count centered near Roans Prairie, Grimes County. [the reclaimed mining areas have increased the population of wintering red-tails].

In spite of what appear to be very good numbers of Red-tailed Hawks in the Brazos Valley, Keith Arnold reported, "I did the eagle survey around Warren Lake [Waller County] on 13 January. … Many fewer Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrel and Loggerhead Shrike this year."

Ferruginous Hawk: (1) 5 December (Fred Collins), Cochran Road, south of Beath, Waller County [uncommon].

Ferruginous Hawk: (1 juvenile) 18 December; (1 juvenile, 1 light morph adult) 19 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [rare; first county record].
18 December, "1 juvenile light phase for sure, and 1 probable bird in addition to this, but I couldn't be sure it was not a rough-legged... I know it was not a red-tail by its flight style and its tendency to hover for long periods of time."
19 December, "2 or 3. the same two birds as yesterday (1 juv. and one probable hawk, hovering too distant to see, both in the exact same location as yesterday). plus 1 light morph adult also."

Ferruginous Hawk: (1) 30 December (Sandy Dillard), Hwy 6 bypass and Briarcrest, Bryan, Brazos County [rare].

Rough-legged Hawk: (1 juvenile) 14 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [rare].

Rough-legged Hawk: (1) 18 Dec (Lee Hoy), over the IH 35 / FM1325 intersection, Round Rock, Williamson County [rare].
"Today at approximately 1:00 pm, a Rough-legged Hawk was soaring directly over the IH 35/FM 1325 Intersection. The bird was literally over IH35. Pretty Cool sight along IH 35!!! Probably the same bird that hangs out at the Z. There are still some large, vacant fields near this intersection, so probably enough furry critters for this fellow to hunt the area."

Rough-legged Hawk: (1) 30 December (Truman Powell, Dale Hartsfield), south of Hwy 31, just east of Kerens and west of Trinidad, Trinidad CBC, Henderson County [occasional].

Rough-legged Hawk: (1 light morph) 22 January (Eddie Ray, Nancy Ray); 30 January (David Brotherton, Luanne Brotherton); 1 February (Guy Luneau); 6 February (Bob Scott), Sabine Mining company land, Harrison County [occasional].

Crested Caracara: (1) 7 December (fide Carol Thompson), between Priddy and Goldthwaite on SR16, Mills County; (2) 10 December (Carol Thompson), on FM 1602 about 3-4 miles north of Fairy, Hamilton County [status?]. [Mills Co. is just west of Hamilton Co.].

Crested Caracara: (1) 18 February (Charlotte Woods), between Tabor and Edge, Brazos County [rare in this county].

Crested Caracara: (1) 24 February (Jennifer Reidy and Chris Merkord), OSR 6.0 miles East of FM 46, Brazos County [rare in this county].

Crested Caracara: (2) 6-28 February (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [apparently a mated pair involved in courtship].

Merlin: (1 female or immature) 2 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [rare in winter].

Merlin: (1 female or immature) 9 December (Tim Fennell), Alligator Road, Granger Lake, Williamson County [rare in winter].

Merlin: (1) 28 December (David Phalen, Shane Raidal), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [rare in winter, first time on Gibbons Creek CBC].
"The Merlin was seen from 150 ft, with a pair of 10X binoculars. The sun was shining from behind me. The bird was in flight the entire time that I saw it. It darted across a field just above the tops of the grasses, flew up at a crow in a tree, made a 180 degree turn and made another pass at the crow and then was gone. During its flight across the field, I could clearly see that it was a small falcon (pointed wings, long tail, constant flapping), the size or slightly larger than a kestrel. Its entire dorsum (back, wings, and tail) was blue grey."

Merlin: (1) 6 and 11 February (Matt White, Randy Treadway, David Hurt), Sabine Mining Company land, Harrison County; (1) 19 February (Eddie Ray), Harrison County [rare].

Merlin: (1 Taiga male) 11 February (Randy Pinkston), Belton Lake, Bell County [occasional].

Peregrine Falcon: (1 adult) 1 December (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy), Texas A&M University campus, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Peregrine Falcon: (1 adult) ~10 February (Ruth Dillard), her yard in College Station, Brazos County [occasional].
"on the weekend of the backyard count I had a peregrine falcon in my backyard! I was sitting at my computer and had myriads of cowbirds and grackles in the yard (where from and when do they leave?) when suddenly there was a huge swoosh of wings and they didn't fly up to the trees but all of them flew out of the yard. I looked and saw a hawk fly into a tree right outside the window. Its back was to me - all grey and tail dark gray and lighter gray bands. Then it turned its head and it was easy to see the nice wide "side burns" on its face. Then it flew off. But there is no mistaking that face. ...
Was just looking at the Spoonbill and they mentioned an unusual no. of sightings of peregrines around Houston in Feb this year."

Prairie Falcon: (1) 26 December (Bob Doe), area roughly bounded by FM Road 758, Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Road and Barbarossa Road, Guadalupe County.

TURKEYS TO CRANES

Wild Turkey: (1 heard) 9 December (Jeffrey Musser), Leonard Road near the Brazos River, Brazos County [extirpated, then reintroduced; still rare].

Sandhill Cranes were reported in much larger than usual numbers. Although more common in Waller County, where Fred Collins reported 200+ on his farm, the only winter resident crane population in the rest of the RBA area has traditionally been around Buffalo Ranch in the Brazos River bottoms of Burleson County. This year Cathy Liles counted 764 cranes flying over the nearby Turf Farms at roost time, 5:00-5:30. This winter, another resident flock was reported by Ed Scearce in the FM 1227 and SH 105 area near Navasota. The flock was first noticed in early January and counted 120-150 on 21 January by Darrell Vollert. The flock appears to be roosting near Allenfarm in southern Brazos County and foraging in a feedlot in eastern Washington County. The flock was last reported on 17 February by Robert and Kathy Reeves, but may be included in Darrell Vollert's sightings on 10 March when he saw 15 at Washington-on-the-Brazos SHP, 50+ at FM 1155 and FM 912, and 50+ at Hughes Lake, all in Washington County.

NETFO report, fide Peter Barnes, "6 Sandhill Cranes flew over Richland Creek WMA in Freestone Co. on Dec 24 (PB) and 3 more were seen on the Lake O' the Pines CBC (PH, DM). This species has been sighted 3 times this fall and winter, whereas there are only 4 previous sightings in the NETFO database."

Reports of a Coastal Prairie flock in Waller County:
Sandhill Crane: (330) 5 December; (50) 7 December; (250) 11 December; (20) 12 December; (200) 6 January; (210) 7 January (Fred Collins), near Cochran, Baethe, and Brown Roads area; (500) 14 December (Fred Collins), Repka Road, Waller County [fairly common winter residents in Waller County].

Reports of a Brazos River bottom flock in Burleson County:
Sandhill Crane: (11) 16 December (Bert Frenz), along Brazos River, south of Batts Ferry Rd., Brazos County.
Sandhill Crane: (5) 10 January (Ellen Ratoosh, Cathy Liles), Buffalo Ranch on Hwy 50, Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County.
Sandhill Crane: (764) ca. 20 January (Cathy Liles), Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County [high count; Cathy reported, "I counted 764 Sandhill Cranes fly over at roost time 5:00-5:30 in the same area."].
Sandhill Crane: (50) 10 February (Sandi Elsik, Warren Pruess), FM1361 west of intersection with FM 50 in Wilcox, Burleson County [Sandi reports, "on Feb 10 included about 50 sandhill cranes easily visible from FM 1361, not far west of its intersection with FM 50 in Wilcox. They were feeding in a field on the north side of the highway. This is only a few miles south of Buffalo Ranch, where at sunset on Christmas Day, 1999, we witnessed at least 500 sandhills coming in to roost for the night."].
Sandhill Crane: (9) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), near Tunis, Burleson County.

Reports of a new wintering flock near Navasota:
Sandhill Crane: (15) 24 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County.
Sandhill Crane: (flock) early January (Ed Scearce); (120-150) 21 January (Darrell Vollert, Ed Scearce); (130-150) 29 January (Darrell Vollert, Ellen Ratoosh); (~70) 17 February (Robert and Kathy Reeves), FM1227 near SH105, Navasota, Grimes County [seems to be a winter resident flock].
Darrell Vollert on 21 Jan, "Mr.Scearce showed me an area in Navasota where the day before he saw Sandhill Cranes foraging. They are foraging in a field along FM1227 about a half mile from SH105. We saw 120-150 cranes in the field. Mr. Scearce told me that he sees Sandhill Cranes flying over his residence near the Brazos River throughout the winter months. He thinks they are roosting or foraging in the fields near Allenfarm."
Ellen Ratoosh & Darrell Vollert on 29 Jan, "Darrell and I also stopped at a field on Hwy 1227, about two blocks south of Hwy 105 in downtown Navasota, where there were about 130-150 Sandhill Cranes feeding very close to the road. I believe they were eating crayfish."
Robert and Kathy Reeves on 17 Feb, "We saw approximately 70 sandhill cranes just west of the Navasota city limits on the north side of Hwy. 105 on Sat., Feb. 17. They were in two separate flocks about 1/2 to 1/4 mi. apart feeding in pastures close to the highway. The nos. are rough estimates, since we were driving at highway speed and didn't stop to count."
Darrell Vollert, "Ed Scearce says that the cranes flew over his property in the mornings and evenings from the Moore's property at Allenfarm and in eastern Washington County. The property in Wash.Co. is a feedlot according to Ed. The flock that had been foraging along FM1227 since early January later moved to a field owned by the Moore family across from the Navasota golf course according to Taylor Moore and Ed Scearce. That is on SH105 on the west side of Navasota. Taylor's cousin owns the property. Don't know when the cranes migrated."

Other reports:
Sandhill Crane: (6) 24 December (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare here].
Sandhill Crane: (3) 30 December (Peggy Harding, Dorothy Metzler), Lake O' the Pines CBC, Marion County [rare in East Texas].

Whooping Crane: (9-10) 23 February (Beth Hogan), Tyler, Smith County [very rare; observed without binoculars; fide Peter Barnes, "The birds were described as very large, all-white with black wing tips, and with long necks, straight pointed bills and dark legs. The observer was confident that the birds were not gray and that they were not White Ibis because they were too large, with straight bills and the black wing tips were too large."].
SHOREBIRDS

Randy Pinkston in his winter report, "Relative to last year, Mountain Plovers in the Granger area were less numerous and more widely scattered this winter. I eventually found them every time I searched but numbers were usually <20 individuals/day. Tim Fennell has the best data on specific locations and numbers. Maybe the change has something to do with reversal of drought conditions resulting in widespread foraging habitat, but I'm not sure."

camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Mountain Plover: (up to 67 on 20 January) throughout winter 1 December to 28 February (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake area, Williamson County [Tim, "This winter we actually had a winter! While we did not have a lot of freezing weather, temperatures were consistently cool to cold and we had abundant rain. Mountain Plovers seemed to wander more than usual this year. My hypothesis is the wet weather made a wider area favorable for foraging than in drier winters past."].

Mountain Plover: (6) 14 December (Chuck Hamilton), flock crossed Hwy 21 between US290 and Texas 77, Lee County [rare; first county record; only other records in the 10-county RBA area are in Waller County before 1992].

Lesser Yellowlegs: (1) 28 December (David Phallen), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].

Solitary Sandpiper: (1) 24 February (Randy Pinkston), Sayers Road, Bastrop County [rare].

Long-billed Curlew: (1) 12 December; (41) 6 January; (12) 7 January (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County [fairly common in Waller County; rarer in more inland counties].
Fred, "I know that LGBC are rare on the current checklist which is why I attempt to remember to report them. However, about 100-300 winter in Waller County and about 100 can be found on any given day in winter in the area of FM362 and Hebert, Pattison, Morrison Road. I generally see them on my property about once a week or ten days. I will endeavor to report them more frequently so your data base will eventually reflect their true abundance and status at least in Waller County."

Long-billed Curlew: (1) 14 December (Gary Fritcher), sod farm in Brazos bottoms on FM50, Burleson County [rare].

Long-billed Curlew: (1) 16 December (Guy Luneau), Longview CBC, Gregg County [rare; only third winter record for the NETFO region].

Long-billed Curlew: (30+) 3 February (Chris Merkord, Heather Mathewson, et al.), Tonkaway Ranch Road, off Bird Pond Road, Brazos County. [rare in Brazos County; Chris, "The birds flew overhead early in the morning, whizzing by at high speeds in a nice V formation."].
Bert Frenz, "While fairly common in the Coastal Prairies of Waller County and in the Blackland Prairies of Williamson County, Long-billed Curlews are rare in the Post Oak Savannah of the Central Brazos Valley. We have 17, now 18, records since 1953 distributed as follows: Brazos - 3 records, Burleson - 4 records, Lee - 1 record, Washington - 1 record, other Brazos Valley counties not specified - 9 records. By season, the records distribute as follows: Fall - 8 records, Winter - 5 records, Spring - 3 records, Summer - 2 records."

Pectoral Sandpiper: (3) 29 December (Truman Powell), Henderson County [very rare in winter].

Long-billed Dowitcher: (8) 20 February (Ellen Ratoosh), Bee Creek floodplain in Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare in county, especially in the city; only prior winter records for the Post Oak Savannas of the Central Brazos Valley are 16-20 January 1974 and 21 December 1985].

GULLS AND TERNS

Laughing Gull: (11) 19 January (Guy Luneau), Texas Eastman, Longview, Harrison County [rare].

Ring-billed Gull: (1) 16 December (Cathy Liles, Elaine Owens), Turf Farms on FM50, Brazos Bottoms, Burleson County [rare on College Station Christmas Bird Count].

Ring-billed Gull: (1) 28 February (Karl Kosciuch), Texas A&M University campus, College Station, Brazos County [rare over city and campus].

Herring Gull: (1 in first year plumage) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Lee County [occasional].

Herring Gull: (1 in first year plumage) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Rocky Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County [occasional].

Herring Gull: (3 in first year plumage) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), pullout on FM 1948 between Rocky Creek Park and Yegua Creek Park, Lake Somerville, Washington County [occasional].

Lesser Black-backed Gull: (1 adult) 18 February (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [first county record; first Central Brazos Valley record].
Peter writes, "Here is a description of the Lesser Black-backed Gull at Richland Creek WMA in Freestone Co. on Feb 18, written a few hours after observation : The bird was seen from approximately 50 yards in flight for one minute, mostly through 10 x 40 Zeiss binoculars, then briefly through a TSN 4 Kowa scope at 20x magnification. It was a gull that was significantly larger than the surrounding Ring-billed Gulls and somewhat smaller than the single Herring Gull that was also flying around. It was less deep-chested than the Herring Gull and had noticeably slimmer wings. The dorsal surface of the wings and back were predominantly very dark gray, much darker than a California Gull. The wing tip pattern and trailing edge of the wing were not well seen. The upper surface of the tail was white and the underparts were white. The under surface of the wing and the color of the feet were not observed. The bird's head was seen briefly in the telescope and was white with heavy streaking throughout. The bill was yellow with a red spot on the lower mandible. The eye color was not noted."

Peter in his January report, "Lake Tawakoni was the place to be this month, with reports of Red-throated Loon, Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and Parasitic Jaeger. The Lesser Black-backed Gull invasion continued with a bird spotted at Lake Tawakoni in Van Zandt Co. on Jan 12 (Matt White). "

Black-legged Kittiwake: (1 first-year) 9-11 December (Damien Carey, John O'Brien, Lake Houston Nature Club, Nicholas Block, Tim Perkins), Lake Livingston Dam spillway, San Jacinto County (at Polk County line) [very rare; probable new country record; probably less than a handful of records for East Texas].

DOVES TO ROADRUNNERS

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (2) 11 December (Bert Frenz), FM159 and Allen Farm Rd., south Brazos County [first county record; photographed; Bob and Taylor Moore at adjacent Moore Farms said they have seen these doves recently in the area but didn't know what they were].
Bert, "relatively plump doves with black cut at collar, no white in the wing as in White-winged Dove, looked like the EuCD that I used to raise. 7:45 am, observed for about 10 minutes, took 3 photographs under overcast skies, viewed through 10X binoculars, perched on electric wires and on crossbar of utility pole along railway tracks.
Taylor Moore, "As far as the doves go, we just noticed them about a week or so before you came to visit."

Eurasian Collared-Dove: (1) 6 January (Gael Simons, Randy Pinkston, Travis Audubon Society field trip), Granger, Williamson County [uncommon in this area].

Common Ground-Dove: (2) 3 January (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan, Robert Truss), at base of TX 147 bridge on Lake Rayburn, San Augustine County [very rare and irregular in its occurrence in this region.]

Greater Roadrunner: (2) 28 December (Sandy Dillard, Cindie Dillard), near Shiro, Grimes County [occasional].

Greater Roadrunner: (1) 6 January (Dita Geary, Kristin Garcia, Toni-Ann Mistretta), Yager Road leading to the Texas A & M Water Treatment Plant, College Station, Brazos County [occasional].

OWLS

Barn Owl: (1) 16 December (Mike Manson), College Hills subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare or rarely identified because of nocturnal habits].

Barn Owl: (1) 28 January (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [occasional].

Barn Owl: (1) 18 February (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].

A very good year for Burrowing Owls, one was reported in Brazos County, one to three in Bell county and six in Williamson County.

Burrowing Owl: (1) 17 December (Cathy Liles, Sandy Dillard), FR 440, off FM50 in Brazos bottoms, Burleson County [rare; photographed by Sandy at close range].

Burrowing Owl: (2) 15 November (Tim Fennell); (2) 16 November (Tim Fennell, Jeff Hanson); (1) 19 November (Tim Fennell); (2) 21 November; (2-3) 26 November (Tim Fennell, Sheila Hargis, the Rochet's); (2) 27 November (Tim Fennell); (2) 28 November (Tim Fennell, Mike Creese); (3, all hover hunting at once) 30 November (Tim Fennell); (1) 6 and 12-14 and 16 December (Tim Fennell); (1) 30 December (Tim Fennell); (1) 6 January (fide Austin RBA), CR110 in east Round Rock, Williamson County [rare; probably same owls that wintered there last year].

camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Burrowing Owl: (1) 19 November (Tim Fennell, Scott Brandes, Toby Hibbitts); 21 November (Bob Doe); (1) 2 December (Tim Fennell); (1) 3 and 9 December (Lee Hoy); (1) 9 December (Tim Fennell), (1) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy); (1) 26 December (Randy Pinkston); (2) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston); (1) through 28 February (Tim Fennell, Randy Pinkston), concrete slabs on the north side of FM971, about 0.8 mile w of CR358, Williamson County [rare; probably same individual that wintered there last year; nicknamed "Rebar" by Tim Fennell and photographed by him].

Burrowing Owl: (1) 20 January (Tim Fennell), in cow pasture on CR 350, north of Granger Lake, Williamson County.

Burrowing Owl: (1) 5-28 February; (3) 11 March (Tim Fennell), on a pile of boards and logs on Harber Road , 1.5 miles west of HWY 95, Bell County.

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000
From: "Trefry,Helen [Edm]" <Helen.Trefry@EC.GC.CA>
Subject: Update on Canadian Burrowing Owls found in Texas
"As a final chapter in the aerial search for transmitter clad Canadian burrowing owls, two more signals were heard the last day of flying. One is north of Refugio and the other between Karnes City and Stockdale. We were able to locate one on the ground but could not get landowner permission in the remaining time to determine if the bird was from Alberta or Saskatchewan (we use the same frequency on more then one owl). The other signal was located in a large pasture area with poor road access. Both signals were in areas with many trees and shrubs but when we drove closer to the specific sites, we saw the owls had selected open pastures.
"This brings the total number of signals located to 4 (in 4 days of flying), and confirms our earlier findings that some Canadian burrowing owls are wintering in south Texas. We will continue to search for signals in January and extend the work into Mexico as well. We are working with the King Ranch and USGS in the Corpus Christi area to encourage experiments with artificial roosts in the intensive agriculture areas.
"Please continue to watch for these owls and to check for bands (not always easy I know)."
Helen Trefry
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Room 200, 4999-98 Ave
Edmonton, AB T6B 2X3
780-951-8693
FAX 780-495-2615
Email: helen.trefry@ec.gc.ca

Long-eared Owl: (1) 27 December (Keith Arnold), ranch south of Hwy 30 between Carlos and Anderson, Grimes County [very rare; first record for county; first time on CBC; only 4 prior records for Brazos and Burleson County and none for other counties in RBA area; previous records are pre-1975].
Keith Arnold's description: "Moderate-sized owl; clearly smaller than Great Horned or Barred, but much larger than Screech; similar in size to Barn. Long warm wings; overall dark coloration. Bird flew across ranch road (extension of county road) from one wooded thicket to another. Could not find the bird again. Habitat and dark coloration (with size) strongly support Long-eared!"

Short-eared Owl: (1) 9 December (Lee Hoy), flying over field at intersection of CR 356 and FM 971 around 7:15 am, Williamson County [rare].

Short-eared Owl: (1) 16 November (Tim Fennell); 21 November (Tim Fennell, Mike Creese); 13 December (Tim Fennell); (1-2) 14 and 16 December (Tim Fennell); (1) 30 December (Tim Fennell); 5 February (Tim Fennell); 6-25 February (Eddie Ray), CR110 in east Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional in fall, uncommon in winter; known to winter at this spot in past years].

Short-eared Owl: (3) 3-31 December (Eddie Ray, Guy Luneau, et al.); (1) through 30 January (Eddie Ray, Guy Luneau, David Weaver); 6-25 February (Eddie Ray), Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Hallsville, Sabine Mining Company land, Harrison County [rare, but regular].
NETFO December report, "Short-eared Owls reported included 3 at their usual wintering area at the Sabine Mining Company land from Dec 3-31 (GL, ER), 1 or 2 birds on the Clymer Meadow near Celeste in Hunt Co. on Dec. 2 (MW, MA), and 4-6 scattered around Delta Co. during the month (MW)."
Peter Barnes' report, "Short-eared Owls were reported more often than usual, with 2 birds in Hunt Co. on Jan 14 (MW, RT, DH), 1 in Hunt Co. on Jan 29, 1 in Cass Co. on Jan 25 (RB), and continuing birds at the Sabine Mining Company land in Harrison Co. until Jan 30 (ER, GL, DW)."

** Short-eared Owl: (1) 24 January (Dan Wilkerson), near the TMPA power plant on County Road 190, about 2 miles from Hwy. 30, Grimes County [first county record; rare in Central Brazos Valley].

Short-eared Owl: (1) 25 January (Ray Berry), Cass County [rare].

Short-eared Owl: (1) 26 & 31 January; 18 February (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [uncommon].

Common Poorwill: (1) 28 November to 2 December (fide Tim Fennell), inside Walmart on I-35, Georgetown, Williamson County [out of season]. "Continuing the recent thread on I-35 sightings of Common Poorwills, I was at a Wildlife Rescue holiday party in Austin yesterday when one of the rehabbers pulled out at a Common Poorwill. It had been turned into him on Saturday 12/2 from the Walmart on I-35 in Georgetown. Apparently, it had been present IN the store (taking advantage of the low prices no doubt!) for the 4-5 days previous to its capture. The rehabber said it seemed to be doing fine and would be released this week. I was able to get several pictures with my digital camera of various views of the bird (ones I've certainly never seen in the wild!)"

HUMMINGBIRDS

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 first winter male) 3-16 December (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Selasphorus sp., probably Rufous Hummingbird: (1 female) 15 November through at least 18 December (Leigh Sanders), northeast of Bastrop, Bastrop County [rare].

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 immature male) 14-24 December (Jack Windsor, Chuck Ely), Lufkin, Angelina County [rare; captured, identified and banded by Chuck Ely].

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 male) 13 November to at least 31 December (Darlene Henderson), her feeder in north Bryan, Brazos County [rare].

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 adult male) 13 August 2000 to at least 19 March 2001; (1 immature male) 4 January to 6 March 2001 (Gail Cole, Scott Cole, Darrell Vollert), Brenham, Washington County [occasional].

Rufous Hummingbird: (1 female) 27 November through February (Roger and Shirley Hughes, Chuck Ely), Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County [rare; captured, identified and banded by Chuck Ely].

WOODPECKERS

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1) 16 December (Jack Anding), near Olive Garden restaurant, College Station, Brazos County [increasingly uncommon].

Red-headed Woodpecker: (1) 17 December; 20 January (Randy Pinkston), Belton, Bell County [uncommon].

Tim Fennell, for Williamson County, "Red-headed Woodpecker: Conspicuous in their absence this season."

Hairy Woodpecker: (2, by call) 7 December (Chris Merkord), waste water treatment plant on White Rock Rd, Brazos County [rare].

Red-shafted (Northern) Flicker: (1) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), CR337 Granger area, Williamson County [1 red-shafted and 4 yellow-shafted; red is rare this far east].

Red-shafted (Northern) Flicker: (3 different Bell and Williamson County locations) 2 December; 6 and 13 January (Randy Pinkston), [rare form].

FLYCATCHERS

Eastern Phoebe: (1 leucistic) 10 December (Colin Bludau, Willie Sekula), southwestern Karnes County [Colin's description, "normal coloration except for white wings and broad white bill to nape crown stripe dividing dark cap."].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 26 December (Randy Pinkston); (1) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston), Granger Lake dam, Williamson County [occasional].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 30 December (Byron Stone), junction of CR352 and CR356, Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 23 January (Randy Pinkston), Temple, Bell County [occasional].

Say's Phoebe: (1 adult) 22 October to at least 19 February (Eddie Ray, Guy Luneau, et al.), Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Hallsville, Sabine Mining Company land, Harrison County [one of only a few records for East Texas].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 17 February (Tim Fennell), Sayers Road, Bastrop County [occasional].

Say's Phoebe: (1) 18 February (Darrell Vollert), Brazos River Road, Washington County [first county record; fourth record for the 10-county Brazos Valley area].

Couch's Kingbird: (1) 2 December (Darrell Vollert and Rio Brazos Audubon Society field trip); (2, calling) 25 March (Tim Fennell and TOS field trip), near the beginning of the levee on its left side at Eagle Lake LCRA site, Eagle Lake, Colorado County [rare].

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: (1) 25 December (Brush Freeman), CR419, Granger area, Williamson County [very late].

VIREOS TO LARKS

White-eyed Vireo: (1 immature) 9 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [rare in winter].

White-eyed Vireo: (1) 10 December (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill, Washington County [rare in winter].

Cassin's Vireo: (1) 16 December (Sandy Dillard), Horse Auction area near Turkey Creek and FM2818, Brazos County [very rare; first county record; second record for RBA area].

John Arvin, while birding near Uvalde on 15 Dec, "At a roadside picnic area that fronts on Canyon Grande Creek, one of the several spring-fed creeks in the area, I called in a vireo with a screech-owl tape + pishing that was a Cassin's Vireo if these can be identified from extremely dull first year Blue-headed Vireos. I don't know the answer to that. The bird I observed closely exhibited all the characters given in various guides and identification articles as being indicative of Cassin's Vireo. My only hesitation is that there seems to be a seamless continuum between dull examples of Blue-headed Vireo and Cassin's Vireo."

Hutton's Vireo: (1) 25 February (Mark Lockwood); (1) 10 March (Brush Freeman), Park Rd 1C ~1.4 mi. west of it's intersection with Old Antioch Rd. in Buescher State Park, Bastrop County [very rare; third record for Austin checklist area].

Common Raven: (1) 25 December (Brush Freeman), CR412, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

Randy Pinkston, in his winter report, "Normally Horned Lark numbers are also much lower than they were this year."
Horned Lark: (50+) 2 December; (35+) 9 December; (100+) 30 December (Tim Fennell), CR358, Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].
Horned Lark: (4) 16 December (Cathy Liles, Elaine Owens), Buffalo Ranch on FM50, Brazos Bottoms, Burleson County [occasional].
Horned Lark: (35-50) 23 December (Randy Pinkston), Althea Loop, Bell County.

SWALLOWS

Purple Martin: (2 adult males) 15 February (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [first arrival].

Northern Rough-winged Swallow: (6+) 2 December (Darrell Vollert and Rio Brazos Audubon Society field trip), near the beginning of the levee on its left side at Eagle Lake LCRA site, Eagle Lake, Colorado County [late departure].

Northern Rough-winged Swallow: (1) 16 December (Toni-Ann Mistretta, Dita Geary), Firemen's Training School next to Easterwood Airport, College Station, Brazos County [maybe first record for December].

Cave Swallow: (1) 18 February (Karl Kosciuch), Old Reliance Road overpass at Highway 6, Bryan, Brazos County [Karl comments, "I observed one Cave Swallow at the Old Reliance Road overpass at Highway 6. We also found a dead adult Cave Swallow in a Barn Swallow nest at the Green's Prairie Road overpass at Highway 6. From the condition of the bird it appears it was overwintering and died."].

Barn Swallow: (3+) 2 December (Darrell Vollert and Rio Brazos Audubon Society field trip), near the beginning of the levee on its left side at Eagle Lake LCRA site, Eagle Lake, Colorado County [late departure].

NUTHATCHES THROUGH WRENS

Red-breasted Nuthatch: (1) 5 January; 12 January; 26 January; 2 February; 9 February; 11 February (Darrell Vollert, Margie Young), Harrison Street, Brenham, Washington County [uncommon; Margie has had a nuthatch in her yard every winter since the winter of 95-96].

Tim Fennell, for Williamson County, "White-breasted Nuthatch: Conspicuous in their absence this season. I hope this species will continue to breed in the area after their successful nesting last year."].

Brown Creeper: (1) 10 December (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [first county record].

Bewick's Wren: (1 eastern bewickii form; 1 western cryptus form) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), Willis Creek WMA, Granger Lake, Williamson County [eastern form is rare this far west].

Bewick's Wren (bewickii subspecies): (1) 28 December (Sandy Dillard, Cindie Dillard), near Shiro; (1) 28 December (Mike Manson), TMPA mining area near Carlos; (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz), wooded area adjacent to Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].

Winter Wren: (1) 23 December (Darrell Vollert), FM1155 in Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional].

Winter Wren: (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].

Sedge Wrens and Marsh Wrens:
Randy Pinkston in his winter report, "Water levels on area lakes were higher than I remember in recent years. Submerged grasses and dense bamboo cane at the lakeshore of Stillhouse Hollow (Bell Co.) held Marsh Wrens reliably throughout the season. Sedge Wrens too were present this winter in adjacent wet meadows. Both species often intermingled, sometimes side-by-side, at the edge of marsh and meadow. While neither 'marsh wren' is rare or unexpected in our area in winter, neither can be 'counted on' in a typical year."
Sedge Wren: (1) 18-19 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [occasional; first county record in this underbirded county].
Sedge Wren: (1) 17 and 24 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional]
Sedge Wren: (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz); (1) 28 December (David Phalen, Shane Raidal), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional].
Sedge Wren: (2) 30 December; (1) 13 January; 10 February (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional].

Marsh Wren: (4) 14 December; (1) 19 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [uncommon].
Marsh Wren: (7) 28 December (Bert Frenz), shores of Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [high count].

GNATCATCHERS

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: (1) 9 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in winter].

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: (1) 24 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [occasional in winter].

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: (2) 28 December (Bert Frenz), wooded shore of Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [occasional in winter].

BLUEBIRDS TO PIPITS

Mountain Bluebird: (no.?) ~10 February (Brush Freeman); (13, including 2 bright males) 17 February (Tim Fennell); (5 females) 24 February (Randy Pinkston); (4 males, 1 female) 26 February (Fred Collins, et al.), Sayer's Road, Bastrop County [rare].

Western Bluebird: (1) 10-11 February (Brush Freeman); 13 February (Marj Sweis, et al.), Sayer's Road, Bastrop, Bastrop County [rare].

Gray Catbird: (1) 17 December (Cathy Liles, Sandy Dillard), FR 440, off FM50 in Brazos bottoms, Burleson County [rare in winter].

Sage Thrasher: (1) 30 December (Byron Stone), on CR353 one mile west of junction with CR352, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

American Pipit: (100) 14 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines near Rockdale, Milam County; (62) 28 December (CBC), Gibbons Creek area, Grimes County; (100s) 10 January (Ellen Ratoosh, Cathy Liles), turf farm on Hwy 50, Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County [appeared in good numbers this season].

Randy Pinkston in his winter report, "In a typical year Sprague's Pipit is a common migrant through the Granger area in October-November, and again in March, becoming very scarce in the winter months. This year they remained fairly common through December and January." From the reports, it appears that Randy's comments could be generalized to include the Brazos Valley and perhaps East Texas.
camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Sprague's Pipit: (3) 9 December (Tim Fennell), 1 at sharp 'L' turn on Friendship Land/CR359/CR360 and 2 at 'megafield', Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].
Sprague's Pipit: (1-2) 11 December (Bert Frenz, Darrell Vollert), Moore Farms, south Brazos County [rare].
Sprague's Pipit: (6) 16 December (Toni-Ann Mistretta, Dita Geary), Valley View and River Road, south of Hwy 60 near Easterwood Airport, College Station, Brazos County [rare].
Sprague's Pipit: (11) 30 December (Tim Fennell, et al.), below dam at Granger Lake, Williamson County [occasional; Sprague's present in Granger area throughout the winter].
Sprague's Pipit: (1) 10 and 20 January (Ellen Ratoosh, Cathy Liles), turf farm on Hwy 50, Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County [occasional].
Sprague's Pipit: (1) 14 January (Guy Luneau), airport, Rusk County [rare].

WARBLERS

Palm Warbler: (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz), at hotwater runoff for TMPA powerplant at Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [rare, especially in winter]
Bert Frenz, "in group of about 10 yellow-rumped warblers; bobbing tail; bright yellow undertail covets; olive-brown back; creme supercillium; white under eye; rusty edges of cap; white chin; faint streaking on sides and chest." Description fits winter plumaged palmarum subspecies.

Ovenbird: (1) 1 January (Joan Dziezyc), Wellborn area, Brazos County [accidental in winter; the only other winter record in the Brazos Valley is one on 14 December in Lee County].

Common Yellowthroat: (1) 2 and 9 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [occasional in winter].

Common Yellowthroat: (1 female) 28 January (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [uncommon].

SPARROWS

General impressions:
An excellent winter for sparrows in Central and Eastern Texas, there were many reports of northern species occurring further south than usual (American Tree Sparrow) and western species shifting east (Spotted Towhee, Lark Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Oregon Junco, Gray-headed Junco). Birders reported seeing more than a dozen species in a day. The exception was Lincoln's Sparrow, which was found only occasionally and then in low numbers.

Tim Fennell on 9 December, Williamson County, "14 species of sparrow plus Junco, McCown's and Lapland Longspur."

Darrell Vollert on 21 January, Washington County, "I birded the nature trail at Washington-on-the-Brazos SHP. I found 11 species of sparrows in one hour and 15 minutes of birding the nature trail, including a Spotted Towhee, both "slate-colored and Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos, and 2 singing Fox Sparrows."

Ellen Ratoosh on 24 January, Brazos County, "This continues to be an excellent year for sparrows: most mornings and evenings I have Song, Savannah, White-throated, Chipping, Field, and two ssp. of Junco eating millet on my patio, and many Swamps out in the floodplain. Lincoln's are scarce, however. I don't know why there should be Savannahs this year, when they've been so rare in the past. The Towhees have now been here about two months."

Ellen Ratoosh & Darrell Vollert in Washington County, "On 29 January, I had a 13 sparrow species day. I met Darrell Vollert at Washington-on-the-Brazos SP, where we found Fox (singing), Song, Swamp, Lincoln's, White-throated, White-crowned, Harris', Slate-colored Junco, Field, Vesper, and Chipping. At home that day, I also saw the two Spotted Towhees and a Savannah. Not bad."

Darrell Vollert on 10 February at Chappell Hill, Washington County, "At Fred and Mary Brandt's residence I found 60-70 sparrows throughout their property, including singing Harris' Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. … I saw at least 16 Harris's Sparrows and probably 10 Song Sparrows foraging on the ground. Never have I seen so many Song and Harris' Sparrows in the Brandt's yard. This has been a great winter for sparrows in our area."

Ellen Ratoosh, in Brazos County, on 11 Feb, "I continue to have several Savannah Sparrows in my yard. In previous winters, I've had none, although I've never understood why not. Numbers of Field, Chipping, and especially Song Sparrows also seem higher than usual, but I've seen VERY few Lincoln's Sparrows this winter. Darrell [Vollert] says that he's not seeing many either."

Ellen Ratoosh reported on 24 March, Brazos County, "Lincoln's Sparrow - remain absent, Darrell has noticed this too. It's been generally such a good winter for other sparrows that this seems odd. Where have they wintered?"

Randy Pinkston, for Bell and Williamson Counties, in his winter report, "Maybe the change has something to do with reversal of drought conditions resulting in widespread foraging habitat, but I'm not sure. Perhaps a similar phenomenon of increased moisture and cover made this the best winter for Grasshopper Sparrows in memory."

David Wolf, regarding Henslow's Sparrow in East Texas, "not much good habitat this winter (because of extreme drought last summer and fall), but scattered singles were found in at least four localities from mid-Dec through March 3 (DW, MW et al)."

Jesse Fagan's report of TOS Field Trip, February 24, in Nacogdoches area, "This year has not been good for locally wintering Henslow's Sparrows. There had been several sightings of Henslow's Sparrows this winter, but many of the local "hotspots" had yielded very little in resent weeks. David Wolf, having scouted several backup areas, did find a single Henslow's at the Nacogdoches airport. After arriving at the airport, the group made its way to the field and began to march shoulder to shoulder through the grass. Almost immediately a bird flushed up and flew to a pine tree just adjacent to the field. With the wind howling, we managed to scope the bird for excellent looks at a Henslow's Sparrow."

Tim Fennell, "Le Conte's Sparrow: all over Williamson County this season. Easy to find. High count of 10+ at Friendship Park, Granger Lake on 9 December."

David Wolf, in his winter report, "We had a 'mini-invasion' of this species [Harris's] into the Pineywoods this winter".

Spotted Towhees extended further east this winter and were more common than the typical Eastern Towhees.
Spotted Towhee: (1) 9 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [uncommon].
Spotted Towhee: (1) 14 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines, Milam County [occasional?; status not well known in this county].
Spotted Towhee: (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz), Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [rare].
Spotted Towhee: (1) 21 January (Darrell Vollert), Washington-on-the-Brazos SHP, Washington County [occasional].
Spotted Towhee: (1) 3 February (Darrell Vollert, Habib Rahman), ranch near Franklin, Robertson County [rare; first record in this underbirded county].
Spotted Towhee: (1 female) 29 November; 6 and 13 and 19 December; (1 male, 1 female) 30 December and 2 and 4 January; (1 female) 8 January; (1 male, 1 female) 12 January; (2) 15 January; (2) 24 January; (2) 29 January; (2) 2 February; (1 male) 12 February; (1 male and a different female than earlier) 22 February; (1 male, 1 female) 5 March (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [occasional; also unusual to find two sharing the same territory in winter].

Eastern Towhee: (1 male) 28 December (Keith Arnold), between Carlos and Anderson, Grimes County [occasional].

Eastern Towhee: (1 female) 11 February (Randy Pinkston), Belton Lake, Bell County [rare; west of typical range].

Eastern Towhee: (1 female) 24 February (Randy Pinkston), Sayers Road, Bastrop County [rare; west of typical range].

American Tree Sparrow: (1) 30 December (Guy Luneau, Eddie Ray), Lake O' the Pines CBC, Marion County [rare].

American Tree Sparrow: (1) 31 December (Byron Stone, Walter and Aletha Snowden), Hwy 971 and CR360, Granger area, Williamson County [very rare winter visitant].
Byron writes, "The Granger area produced another outstanding bird today! At about 9 a.m. today, Sunday, 12/31/00, Walter and Aletha Snowden and I found a beautiful American Tree Sparrow in a hedgerow on the south side of Hwy 971 just across the hwy from its junction with CR 360. To find this area, go east on Hwy 971 from Granger about 6 miles (a very rough estimate) to where CR 360 intersects 971 from the north. To the right, there is a gravel lane with a small plowed field on the left (east) and a small pasture planted in grass to the right. The gravel lane appears to go down to the edge of Granger lake, but the lane becomes very muddy and I did not go past a large stand of cane on the west side of the lane about 150 yards from Hwy 971.
We found the sparrow in the wet, weedy ditch/hedgerow on the west side of the gravel lane, near the highway with a small flock of sparrows - one Harris' Sparrow and several other Spizellas which we didn't see well enough to identify with certainty.
All three of us had excellent looks at the bird as it sat near the gravel lane in a tall weed stalk or small bare tree, and all field marks were seen well - a large Spizella-type sparrow with clean grayish breast and belly with a distinct dark gray circular smudge on the center of the breast; rusty crown paler in the center than on the sides; narrow dark line through the eye, becoming rusty-brown as it extends behind the eye and widens noticeably posteriorly; two distinct white wingbars; and pale lower mandible with dark upper mandible.
This sparrow and the others in this small flock seemed unusually skittish after flushing, and we "chased" the bird to the south end of the lane without being able to get additional good looks at it. We returned about mid-day and found no sparrows in the hedgerow other than the ever present Savannahs and a few Vespers, both of which are foraging in the fields on either side of the gravel lane.
I'd be interested to know whether others are able to find this bird. I'd also be interested to know of any other records of American Tree Sparrow from the Austin checklist area. I don't think this species is on the current checklist.

camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Chipping Sparrow: (1 partially albinistic) ~11-18 January (Billie and Sue Bernard), their yard, north Austin County [photographed beside normally plumaged Chipping Sparrow].

Chipping Sparrow: (1 partially albinistic) 21 January (Darrell Vollert), Washington, Washington County [nape and mantle were white].

Lark Sparrow: (15) 28 January (Sandy Dillard, Cindie Dillard), Shiro area during Gibbons Creek CBC, Grimes County [high count for uncommon species].

Lark Sparrow: (13) 5 January (Fred Collins), his farm on Repka Road, Waller County [high count for uncommon species].

Lark Bunting: (1) 3 December (Tim Fennell), CR353, Granger area, Williamson County [occasional to rare].

Lark Bunting: (40) 11 December (Colin Bludau), 2 miles north of Karnes City, Karnes County [occasional and erratic].

Lark Bunting: (small flock) 31 December (Byron Stone, Walter and Aletha Snowden), Hwy 971 and CR360, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"Had a small flock of Lark Buntings today (12/31/00) in the Granger area at the same location where we found the flock of Chestnut-collared Longspurs. This was at the edge of a field with short green grass to the north of CR 360 where it makes a 90 degree bend from east-west to north-south. To reach this spot, drive approx 6 miles east of Granger on Hwy 971, then turn left (north) on CR 360 and go about 1 - 1.5 miles until it makes a 90 degree bend to the left (west). In my experience, Lark Buntings are irregular in the Austin area in the winter; they don't show up on the Austin CBC many years. Chalk up one more species for the 'western invasion.'"

Lark Bunting: (1) 8 January (Barbara Ballentine, Jeremy Hyman), Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].

Lark Bunting: (24) 16 January (Tim Fennell), CR107, east Round Rock, Williamson County [occasional].

Henslow's Sparrow: (7 netted and banded) 20 December (James Ingold, Dorothy Metzler), Tom Walker's land, Marion County [large number].

Henslow's Sparrow: (1) 30 December (Eric Carpenter), W.G. Jones State Forest, Montgomery County [rare].

Henslow's Sparrow: (1) 5 January (Robert Tizard, Barbara Ballentine, Jeremy Hyman), along the trail that heads out of the parking lot and parallel to the road, Lick Creek Park, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (1) 28 December (Bert Frenz), field near Carlos Lake; (~12 identified out of two dozen similar sparrows) 28 December (Bert Frenz, Mike Manson), field near boat launch, Gibbons Creek Reservoir, Grimes County [large count of uncommon sparrow].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (4-5) 30 December (Darrell Vollert), Polk's Lake near Chappell Hill, Washington County [uncommon].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (15+) 6 January (Gael Simons, Randy Pinkston, Travis Audubon Society field trip), Granger area, Williamson County [large count].

Le Conte's Sparrow: (1) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County [uncommon].

camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Le Conte's Sparrow: (10+) 9 December (Tim Fennell), Friendship Park, Granger Lake, Williamson County [Tim, "all over Williamson County this season; easy to find"].

Lincoln's Sparrow: (2) 14 December (Chris Merkord), Alcoa Sandow Mines near Rockdale, Milam County [low count during survey].

Lincoln's Sparrow: (15) 28 December (CBC), Gibbons Creek, Grimes County [typical count].

Harris's Sparrow: (6) 11 December (Colin Bludau), 2 miles north of Karnes City, Karnes County [occasional and erratic].

camera.GIF (1399 bytes) Harris's Sparrow: (50+) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), Granger area, Williamson County [large count].

Harris's Sparrow: (1-4) mid-late December (David Wolf, et al.), Alazan Bayou WMA, Nacogdoches County; (4) 1 January (David Wolf, Jesse Fagan), northeast Rusk County; (1-4) all winter (David Wolf, Mimi Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [David, "we had a 'mini-invasion' of this species into the Pineywoods this winter"].

Harris's Sparrow: (4 females, 2 males feeding on parakeet seed on deck) 1 January (Shirley Wilkerson), Kurten, Brazos County [not typically found at feeders].

Harris's Sparrow: (16) 10 February (Darrell Vollert) Chappell Hill, Washington County [large count; Darrell comments, "Never have I seen so many Song and Harris' Sparrows in the Brandt's yard. This has been a great winter for sparrows in our area."].

Harris's Sparrow: (flock) 17 February (Chris Merkord, Jennifer Reidy, Tyson Hart), Harge Road off FM 594, Lake Somerville, Washington County [rarely reported in February].

Dark-eyed Junco: (20) 11 December (Bert Frenz, Darrell Vollert), Moore Farms, south Brazos County [more common this winter than usual].

Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco: (1) 11-12 December (Leigh Sanders), northeast of Bastrop, Bastrop County [rare form].
"And to my list of Juncos I added the one Red-backed Dark-eyed Junco, who showed up for two days only on Dec. 11th, and 12th. He had virtually no white on his belly, but I really couldn't tell if the bill was bicolored. It could have been, it was so cloudy, it was too dark to tell for sure. But he, the leucistic and most of the others are gone today and yesterday (12/13,14/00). Just a handful of Slate-colored's are still around. ... I am using Sibley to make my deductions. On page 502, he describes both a Gray-headed (J.h. caniceps) and Red-backed Dark-eyed Junco (J.h. dorsalis), which are very similar. I am noticing that the Red-backed has a much smaller range. On page 418, the National Geog. Field Guide to the Birds of N.A., also mentions that the Red-backed has a slightly larger bill, which I didn't note on the bird I saw. So yes, I guess since I didn't see a larger, bi-colored bill, I would have to say it was probably the Gray-headed instead of the Red-backed."

Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco: (3) 16 December with (1) staying until 20 January; (1) 13 February (Jill McAfee), Smith County [rare form].

Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco: (1) 11-12 January (Beverly Nichols, Sonny Long) Atlanta, Cass County [rare form; photographed].
Beverly, "We had a Gray headed/Rocky Mt. race Junco in our back yard today. We did get a good Video of him. We had never noticed one here before. Has anyone else from this area reported one???"

Peter Barnes, "As far as I am aware, there are no documented sightings of this race of Dark-eyed Junco prior to this winter, when 2 birds were observed in Morris County on Oct 15 and 2 more were found in Hunt County on Dec 31. Presumably this is a result of the cold weather."
John Cys, "A Gray-headed Junco has been observed at the same backyard feeder [in Wichita Falls] on Dec. 26, 2000 and Jan. 10, 2001.
Peter Barnes' January report, "Reports of Gray-headed Juncos continued to come in, with one bird in Atlanta on Jan 11-12 that was photographed (BN, SL), and 3 in Smith Co. on Dec 16, one bird staying until Jan 20 (JM). Perhaps this is part of a larger trend. For example, a report from Caddo Parish last winter provided Louisiana's first state record of this Rocky Mountain bird."

Gray-headed (Dark-eyed) Junco: (1) mid-January (Mimi Wolf), Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [David, "This is only our second record ever of this form (first is a specimen from Feb 77 in Nacogdoches); this Rocky Mountain form is not expected anywhere within Central and East Texas, but apparently there were a number of records from the Tyler/Longview region this winter also."].

Dark-eyed Junco: (100 Slate-colored, 13 Oregon) 28 December (CBC Gibbons Creek), Grimes County [good number; high percentage of Oregon form].

Slate-colored and Oregon (Dark-eyed) Junco: (several) 3 February (Darrell Vollert, Habib Rahman), ranch near Franklin, Robertson County [common this winter, usually uncommon].

Longspurs had an incredible season in East and Central Texas.

McCown's Longspur: (up to 300+) 1 December through 28 February (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake area, Williamson County [usually rare, but not this season].

McCown's Longspur: (12) 2 December; (150+) 9 December (Tim Fennell), 50+ at sharp "L" turn on Friendship Lane/CR359/CR360, 100+ at "megafield", Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

McCown's Longspur: (40+) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy), Alligator Road "megafield" and pasture north, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

McCown's Longspur: (~12-24) 23 December (Randy Pinkston), inside the Althea Loop, Bell County [rare; Randy, "I estimated 300-400+ Laplands inside the Althea Loop in Bell County on 23 December. That flock contained 2-3 McCown's Longspurs and a dozen Horned Larks per 50 Laplands by my estimation."].

McCown's Longspur: (many) 27 December (Bob Doe); (4 mixed flocks of 50-300) 29 December (Mike Creese), area roughly bounded by FM Road 758, Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Road and Barbarossa Road, Guadalupe County [rare].
Bob, "The longspurs east of New Braunfels were much less in evidence today than yesterday; a few hundred birds as opposed to thousands. However, with persistence, a group of us were able to get close-up, on the ground looks at many Lapland, McCown's and 2 Smith's Longspurs ..."
Mike, "This area was good on Wednesday and today I got about 4 flocks with 50 to 300 birds in them. Again these were mostly McCown's and Laplands, didn't locate any Smith's that Bob got on Wednesday."

McCown's Longspur: (300+) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston), primarily CR360, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

McCown's Longspur: (200-500) 31 December (Byron Stone, Walter and Aletha Snowden), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"We were able to find large flocks (1000 - 2000 birds) of Lapland Longspurs in the same area I reported finding them yesterday, along with smaller numbers (200-500) of McCown's Longspurs in the same location. We also had a small flock (50-100 birds) of Chestnut-collared Longspurs in a field with short green grass north of the 90 degree turn where CR 360 turns from east-west to north-south about 1.5 miles north of Hwy 971."

McCown's Longspur: (100s) 24-26 December (Randy Pinkston), 30-31 December (Randy Pinkston), 6 January (Gael Simons, Randy Pinkston, Travis Audubon Society field trip), Granger area, Williamson County.
Randy, "Both longspurs were unusually cooperative along CR 360. One male McCown's in particular, that appeared to be in alternate plumage, foraged on bare ground along the roadside while all participants enjoyed prolonged scope-filled views."
Randy Pinkston, in his winter report, "I tallied large flocks numbering in the hundreds of both Lapland and McCown's Longspurs both north and south of Granger Lake (Williamson Co.) on 24-26 Dec, 30-31 Dec, and 6 Jan."

McCown's Longspur: (100s) 8 January (Barbara Ballentine, Jeremy Hyman), CR360, Granger area, Williamson County.

Lapland Longspur: (up to 3000+) 1 December through 6 February (Tim Fennell), Granger Lake area, Williamson County [usually rare, but not this season].

Lapland Longspur: (1 heard) 9 December (Tim Fennell), "megafield", Granger area, Williamson County [rare]. Count included "14 species of sparrow plus Junco, McCown's and Lapland Longspur."

Lapland Longspur: (6) 14 December; (5) 18-19 December (Chris Merkord), reclaimed mine land at Sandow Mines division of Alcoa near Rockdale, Milam County [rare; first county record of infrequently birded county].
14 December, "2 groups of three birds each. One landed on the road about 30 feet away, the other flew overhead calling."
18 December, "5 single flyovers at different spots in the grassy hillsides of reclaimed land."
19 December, "3 single flyovers, calling. One pair of birds flew over, calling with both the tic-tic-tic call and the teuu call, then both birds landed in perfect light in the middle of the road not 20 feet from me."
"In all I say that the reclaimed mine land on Alcoa property is great grassland habitat with good numbers of Lapland Longspurs (although no large flocks) and grassland raptors. You might be able to scan the one large field I saw some of the hawks in from U.S. 77. Pull off just south of the entrance to Alcoa and scan the large field on the other side of the lake. This lake is also where I saw the Loon. There should be a locked gate there to provide a place to pull off, but don't try to cross the fence since they are not nice to trespassers."

Lapland Longspur: (100+) 23 December (Tim Fennell, Lee Hoy); (250-350 in mixed flock) 24 December (Randy Pinkston), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Tim Fennell, "Lapland Longspurs were spread out throughout the area. We heard their calls at 3 different stops and saw them in flight and heard them calling at two other stops. The largest concentration was 100+ mixed in with Horned Larks in a field (freshly and finely plowed in parts, short green grass in other parts) on the eastern side of the Althea Loop off of Alligator road."
Randy Pinkston, "I visited the east side of the Althea Loop off Alligator road east of Bartlett between 4-5 p.m. today. Two or three large flocks of longspurs and Horned Larks totalling ~300-400+ birds were working the freshly plowed ground with scattered fresh green turf. I was able to park my car near one large flock and use my window-mounted scope to view the birds. The vast majority were Lapland Longspurs, with 2-3 McCown's and a dozen Horned Larks thrown in for every 50 or so Laplands. Birds in flight mirrored this with many 'tew' notes heard as they passed overhead."

Randy Pinkston, in his winter report, "The winter season of 2000-01 in central Texas was both cold and wet relative to the previous couple of years. THE hallmark phenomenon of the season was unprecedented numbers of Lapland Longspurs in Bell and Williamson Counties, and presumably elsewhere in the state. I estimated 300-400+ Laplands inside the Althea Loop in Bell County on 23 December. That flock contained 2-3 McCown's Longspurs and a dozen Horned Larks per 50 Laplands by my estimation. Similarly, I tallied large flocks numbering in the hundreds of both Lapland and McCown's Longspurs both north and south of Granger Lake (Williamson Co.) on 24-26 Dec, 30-31 Dec, and 6 Jan. In a typical year Laplands number less than 50 individuals CUMULATIVE for an entire winter. Normally Horned Lark numbers are also much lower than they were this year."

Lapland Longspur: (5-6000) 26 December; (100s) 27 December (Bob Doe); (4 flocks of 50-300) 29 December (Mike Creese), area roughly bounded by FM Road 758, Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Road and Barbarossa Road, Guadalupe County [rare].
on 26 December, "I spent the early afternoon in the Dauer Ranch Road area east of New Braunfels. The place is CRAWLING with longspurs! I estimate 5-6,000 (yes, thousand!) longspurs in an area roughly bounded by FM Road 758, Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Road and Barbarossa Road. Every field that I looked in had longspurs. Most appeared to be concentrated in the stubble field at the corner of Dauer Ranch and FM758, and in the field immediate SE (along Dauer Ranch) and NE (along FM758) from that stuubble field.
"All of the birds that I positively identified were Laplands, although I had several flocks of probable Chestnut-collared, and at least one possible fly over. Also present in the general area are Sandhill Crane, Prairie Falcon, a single Ross' Goose, Horned Lark, American Pipit, Sprague's Pipit, and several sparrow species.
"To reach the area, from IH 35 and SH 46 in New Braunfels, take SH 46 SE (toward Seguin) for 2.7 miles to FM 758 (watch for "New Braunfels Municipal Airport" sign). Turn left on FM 758 for 1.5 miles to Dauer Ranch Road.
"By parking on Dauer Ranch Road, I had longspurs in sight, on the ground, often within naked eye range, continuously for over an hour. There is no need to get out of your car. Once the birds retreat deep into the fields, or into the stubble field, they are virtually invisible."
on 27 December, "The longspurs east of New Braunfels were much less in evidence today than yesterday; a few hundred birds as opposed to thousands. However, with persistence, a group of us were able to get close-up, on the ground looks at many Lapland, McCown's and 2 Smith's Longspurs (Smith's being a "lifer" for me!). The best site seems to be on Dauer Ranch Road at the SE edge of the stubblefield at the corner of Dauer Ranch Road and FM 758, at the post with the "Cable Crossing" sign on it. This is the spot I sat yesterday and had birds constantly in view. Today, flocks of birds were coing in to bathe in a rain puddle here. The key is to stay in your car. The birds won't come with a standing figure, but don't mind cars, even cars passing at 40 MPH less than 50 feet away."

Lapland Longspur: (3000+) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston), "everywhere", Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"Today (12/30/00), Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston and I spent from 7:00am - 6:00 pm birding the area between Round Rock and Granger Lake (which is in eastern Williamson County about 35 miles northeast of Austin). As you can see from the list, we spent the majority of the day birding the fields around the lake. The big story was the numbers of longspurs, especially Lapland's. I thought there were a lot of Lapland's last weekend. Today it seemed as if we were never out of earshot of Laplands. As Andy said, it seemed easier to find a field with Lapland's than one without.
McCown's Longspur (300+, primarily CR 360)
Lapland Longspur (3000+, everywhere)
Chestnut-collared Longspur (15, pasture south of CR 353)"

Lapland Longspur: (1000+) 30 December (Byron Stone), junction of CR359 and CR360, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"I found several large flocks of longspurs, some numbering over a thousand birds in large stubble fields near the intersection of CR 359 and CR 360 (a couple miles east of where the Thrasher and phoebe were found). There were at least two species of longspurs in the area, but I could only identify Lapland Longspur with certainty - both visually through 22x scope of birds on the ground, and also based on their call notes. I suspect the other flocks were McCown's Longspurs, based on tail patterns in flight and flight calls. I never definitely heard Chestnut-collared Longspur call notes, though I saw some birds in flight with very dark breasts/bellies which may have been Chestnut-collared. Best views of birds on the ground was early in a.m. when birds were coming to ground water. By mid-morning, the flocks were flying/landing in middle of huge fields, making observation and specific identification difficult to impossible."

Lapland Longspur: (1000-2000) 31 December (Byron Stone, Walter and Aletha Snowden), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"we were able to find large flocks (1000 - 2000 birds) of Lapland Longspurs in the same area I reported finding them yesterday,"

Lapland Longspur: (1) 1 January (David Brotherton, Luanne Brotherton, John Brotherton), Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus County [occasional].

Lapland Longspur: (1) 22 December (David Wolf, Mimi Wolf, et al.); (60+) 3 January (David Wolf, Mimi Wolf, Jesse Fagan, Robert Truss), Nacogdoches Airport, Nacogdoches County [David, "the arrival of very cold weather and repeated fronts in late Dec-early Jan brought our first records of this species in several winters; this species typically appears here only during very cold/icy/snowy weather on the Great Plains. ... 60+ here on Jan 3 ... a high count for our region."].

Lapland Longspur: (100s) 6 January (Gael Simons, Randy Pinkston, Travis Audubon Society field trip), Granger area, Williamson County.

Lapland Longspur: (~12) 8 January (Barbara Ballentine, Jeremy Hyman), CR260, Granger area, Williamson County.

Lapland Longspur: (1) 9 January (Georgette Guernsey); (8) 13 January (Georgette Guernsey, Louis Debetaz, Nancy Bird), Ryan Lake, Angelina County [first county record].
"On Tuesday, Jan. 9th, Georgette Guernsey found the first Angelina County sightings record of a LAPLAND LONGSPUR in a privately owned irrigation field with a several hundred American Pipit. Today, Jan. 13th, Georgette Guernsey, Louis Debetaz and Nancy Bird found 8 Lapland Longspur in the same area of southwest Angelina County."

Lapland Longspur: (40+) 10 January (Ellen Ratoosh, Cathy Liles), turf farm on Hwy 50, Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County [rare].
"at the turf farm along County Road 443, just down Hwy 50, on the river side. ... There were also hundreds of Water Pipits and one flock of Lapland Longspurs. There were about 40 in the flock, and I can't say that they were all Longspurs, but most were. We saw them on the ground briefly at a distance, saw enough to know they were Longspurs, and when they flew I recognized their calls. Later, we drove around a little bit on the other side of the highway on the Buffalo Ranch property (the mud was getting pretty bad), and were lucky enough to find another large flock of Pipits, this one mixed with Laplands on the ground close enough to see well."

Lapland Longspur: (1+) ca. 20 January (Cathy Liles, Ellen Ratoosh), Brazos River bottoms, Burleson County [rare].
Cathy, "Ellen Ratoosh and went out to the Brazos Valley last week in search of the Burrowing Owl and Longspurs. We thought we heard a flock of Lapland Longspurs and we got a good look at one walking around by the water in the same area I saw them and suspected they were Longspurs on the Christmas Count."

Smith's Longspur: (2-8) 13 December through 3 January, seen on 8 different days (David Wolf, et al.), Nacogdoches Airport, Nacogdoches County [David, "two were found at the Nacogdoches Airport on Dec 13 as an ice storm abated; they increased to 6 birds by Dec 18; and then up to 8 were present through Jan 3 (DW et al); they were seen on 8 different days. Extremely rare winter visitant in our region, and the highest numbers we have ever recorded; this is only our fifth record in 30+ years for Nacogdoches County (Angelina Co does not have any)."].

Smith Longspur: (120+) 25 December (Brush Freeman), flock of 40 at CR360 and FM971; flock of 80+ at CR418 and FR1331, Granger area, Williamson County [very rare; not seen in this area in 25+ years].
Brush Freeman, "Today between frequent rain showers, at least 2 flocks of Smith's Longspurs were found in the Granger area. One flock of about 40 birds was first heard then seen flying from NW to SE on Co. rd. 360 just north of its intersection with 971 north of Granger Lk. Another flock of at least 80 was seen on Co. Rd 418 over a field of Milo stalks just south of 1331. Several birds in this flock could be seen in flight and the buffy underparts, white outer tail feather overall darker appearance and distinctive call notes nailed them as to ID. A group of birds that landed in a grassy field near the V & R Team Roping Arena on 351 east of Bartlett MAY have been Smith's as well though they were not heard well enough to be positive. It has been more than 25 years since this bird has been found in the area as far as I know though a friend in the northern part of the state reports seeing over 2000 birds of this species in the state this year. Lots of McCown's and Laplands in the area though no Chestnut-collareds were ID'ed, nor were any Mountain Plovers found. Due to sometimes heavy rain a number of Longspur flocks remained unidentified."

Smith's Longspur: (2) 27 December (Bob Doe), area roughly bounded by FM Road 758, Dauer Ranch Road, Pieper Road and Barbarossa Road, Guadalupe County [rare].
"The longspurs east of New Braunfels were much less in evidence today than yesterday; a few hundred birds as opposed to thousands. However, with persistence, a group of us were able to get close-up, on the ground looks at many Lapland, McCown's and 2 Smith's Longspurs (Smith's being a "lifer" for me!). The best site seems to be on Dauer Ranch Road at the SE edge of the stubblefield at the corner of Dauer Ranch Road and FM 758, at the post with the "Cable Crossing" sign on it.
This is the spot I sat yesterday and had birds constantly in view. Today, flocks of birds were going in to bathe in a rain puddle here. The key is to stay in your car. The birds won't come with a standing figure, but don't mind cars, even cars passing at 40 MPH less than 50 feet away."

Smith's Longspur: (1) 1 January (David Brotherton, Luanne Brotherton, John Brotherton), Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus County [occasional].

Smith's Longspur: (3) 6 January (fide Austin RBA), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

Smith's Longspur: (8) 14 January (Guy Luneau), Longview airport, Gregg County [occasional].

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (17) 2 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
Tim Fennell, "Chestnut-collared Longspur (17; 6 mixed in w/McCown's above; 11 spooked repeatedly out of tall grass of Sore Finger WMA on south side of FM 971)."

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (30+) 1-14 December (Tim Fennell), CR110 in east Round Rock, Williamson County [rare].

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (15) 30 December (Tim Fennell, Andy Donnelly, Todd Council, Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston), pasture south of CR 353, Granger area, Williamson County [rare].

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (50-100) 31 December (Byron Stone, Walter and Aletha Snowden), Granger area, Williamson County [rare].
"We also had a small flock (50-100 birds) of Chestnut-collared Longspurs in a field with short green grass north of the 90 degree turn where CR 360 turns from east-west to north-south about 1.5 miles north of Hwy 971."

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (100s) 8 January (Barbara Ballentine, Jeremy Hyman), CR 422 and FM 487 just before Davilla, Milam County [first county record; last Brazos Valley record was in Brazos Co. in 1972].

Chestnut-collared Longspur: (50+) 20 January (Tim Fennell), CR353, Granger Lake area, Williamson County.

CARDINALS AND GROSBEAKS

Pyrrhuloxia: (1 female) 24 February (Randy Pinkston), Sayers Road, Bastrop County [east of normal territory].

Rose-breasted Grosbeak: (1 female) 2-6 December (Mary Dabney Wilson), at her birdbath, College Hills subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare in December].
"white-streaked breast, no buffy, white streak above eye, huge beak."
"The reason I think it was a Rose-breasted rather than a Black-headed was that the bill was pale, almost pinkish, and not bicolor as Sibley indicates. I did see a flash of yellowish when it flew, but I couldn't say if it was bright lemon yellow or duller. I just saw some yellow, so that isn't definitive. The pictures in the National Geo. didn't help. To me there is no buffy on the breast. The breast appears whitish with dark streaks down to the belly where it turns white. When facing me, the streaking seems to form a necklace pattern. The differences that Sibley shows in his renditions seemed to me to point toward Rose-breasted, but if those pictures are not good. It was at the feeder and birdbath again Sunday and again today (Monday) between 7:00 and 7:15. I've gotten extended looks at this bird. "
on 7 Dec, "It was not here this morning for the first time. It was present Sat-Wed."

BUNTINGS

Painted Bunting: (1 female or first-year male) visited a feeder throughout the second half of January (fide Mike Manson), Lightsey Road in west Brazos County; (1 male) 27-28 January and several times the following week (fide Mike Manson), Carter Lake, Brazos County [extremely rare in winter; the only other winter area record is one on the College Station CBC on 20 December 1986].
Mike, "The buntings were reported to me my non-birders, although a male Painted Bunting is pretty hard to misidentify. I'll try to get more details. I believe the male, also. After all, it was my department head who saw it. I am also somewhat dubious about the other, but the coincidence is striking."

MEADOWLARKS THROUGH FINCHES

Western Meadowlark: (1) 28 December (Sandy Dillard, Cindie Dillard), Shiro area, Grimes County [rare; east of normal range; identified by song].

Rusty Blackbird: (5) 5 December (Brush Freeman), Walmart parking lot, Bastrop, Bastrop County [first wintering bird observed; occasional].

Rusty Blackbird: (1 male) 17 December (Randy Pinkston), Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Bell County [occasional].

Rusty Blackbird: (a few) 25 December (Brush Freeman), CR260 and Alligator Road, Granger area, Williamson County [occasional].

Rusty Blackbird: (3) 29-31 January (Danny Perkins), Longview, Gregg County [uncommon].

Rusty Blackbird: (9) 10 February (Peter Barnes), Camp Tyler, Smith County [uncommon].

Rusty Blackbird: (2) 25 February (Peter Barnes), Richland Creek WMA, Freestone County [rare].

David Wolf in his winter report for Angelina/Nacogdoches area, "Rusty Blackbird - more reports this winter than in the past mild winters, not surprising given that this was a much colder winter (which drives this species southward into our region in greater numbers)." [no specific dates mentioned].

Brewer's Blackbird: (6) 13 December (David Phalen), north side of West campus, Texas A&M University, College Station, Brazos County [once uncommon, now declining in the Brazos Valley].

Brewer's Blackbird: (100+) 30 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County [still fairly common in this Blackland Prairies area].

Great-tailed Grackle: (1) 11 February (Eddie Ray), Harrison County [rare this far east].

Baltimore Oriole: (1) 14-28 January (Mike Lovell, David Brotherton), Harrison County [very rare in winter; Peter Barnes, "A beautiful male Baltimore Oriole in Harrison Co. from Jan 14-28 (ML, DB) provided the first winter record for north-east Texas. Winter records of Baltimore Orioles this far inland are quite unusual, with Bullock's Oriole being the predominant oriole at this season."].

After a hiatus of many years, Purple Finch appeared in good numbers this winter.

Purple Finch: (multiple males and females) 21 December (Richard Payne), Huntsville, Walker County [absent for past few years, but many more sightings this season].

Matt White, Hunt County, "What I am about to relate would not have been noteworthy about 10 years ago, or perhaps even 7-8 years ago, but recently Purple Finch has become a very tough bird to find my neck of the woods. Yesterday morning I went to a mature Bur Oak bottomland forest remnant in the Sabine River bottoms near the Greenville Electric Utilities power plant in Hunt County to look for Purple Finches. Though I found many American Goldfinches right away feeding on young buds in the tops of the elm trees, it took a while to find Purple Finches. Finally, I found a tree that was full of them. One tree had 12 of them including 2 males. Overall, I had between 15-20 birds there. For perspective, in the late 80s and early 90s this was an annual species and though it stll may be, this was my first local sighting in 5 years."

Purple Finch: (1 male, 1 female) 4 January (Mary Brandt), Chappell Hill subdivision, Washington County.
Darrell Vollert, "I remember visiting with the Brandts one day in Jan. 1996 an their yard was full of Purple Finches. There must have been 25 Purple Finches in their back yard visiting their feeders. They were a life bird for me on that day. I remember the winter of 95-96 was very much like this winter. The winter of 95-96 was the last winter that was cold throughout until this winter. It takes cold weather to bring down large numbers Purple Finches into our area."

Purple Finch: (1 male, 1 female) 8 January (Darrell Vollert), Rucker Street, Brenham, Washington County [rare].

Purple Finch: (1) 11-12 November; 9 January (Brenda Muncrief), Huntsville, Walker County [once a fairly common winter resident, but now rare except in deep East Texas].

Purple Finch: (1) 9 January (Darrell Vollert), Chappell Hill, Washington County.
Darrell Vollert, "Yesterday evening (the 9th) around 5:15PM I heard a Purple Finch singing in the wooded area behind my property. So I believe more Purple Finches will be seen in the Central Brazos Valley in the coming weeks."

Purple Finch: (1 male) 16 January (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [rare].
"This winter being an invasion year, I was pleased but not overly surprised to see a male Purple Finch at my feeders this morning, 1/16, along with the usual House Finches, Am. Goldfinches, and Siskins. This is only the second PUFI I've seen in Texas, and the first male."

Purple Finch: (3) 11 February (Mike Manson), Lick Creek Park, College Station, Brazos County [rare].

Purple Finch: (4) 16 December (by two parties on CBC), Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County; (many) late December through January (almost all feeding stations), Nacogdoches and Angelina Counties; (20+) through 26 February (David Wolf, Mimi Wolf), feeders in Central Heights, Nacogdoches County [David, "Purple Finch - our first good flight year for this species in several winters. They did not appear until mid-December, but during the late Dec-Jan cold spell they were reported at almost all feeding stations in Nacogdoches/Angelina Counties. Highest count was 20+ birds at DW, MW feeders in Central Heights; these numbers were seen through Feb 26. Last report (so far) was one in s. Nacogdoches Co on March 13 (JF, DW, MW)."].

Peter Barnes' January report for NETFO area, "The winter invasion of Purple Finches continued, with reports from many locations, and a high count of 6 in Fannin Co.on Jan 14 (MW)."

Purple Finch: (4-6) still present 28 February (Hazel Bluhm), Marion County.

Red Crossbill: (1 male, 4 females) 12 January (Nancy Bird, Georgette Guernsey); (several heard) 13 January (Jesse Fagan, Claudia de la Cruz), near Marion Ferry on upper Lake Rayburn, northern Angelina County [rare].
"Directions: From Lufkin take 103 East to Marion Ferry Park Road (FM 1699). Turn left on to Marion Ferry Park Road. (If you get the to Angelina River bridge you have gone too far). You will find a clear cut area that has been planted in small pines on the left. The birds were first located across the road from the clear cut area on the ground in the grass next to the road. They flew up into the tall pines and on the telephone wire. They then flew across the road into a bare hardwood at the far end of the clear cut area where we got close long views of the five. When we first located the birds we believe there were possibly three males, but we were able to relocate the one male."
Jesse Fagan, "Claudia and I went out to the Red Crossbill location today, 1/13/00. I would first like to say "Great find!!" to Georgette and Nancy. We did not SEE the birds, but we did HEAR them. In fact, they were very vocal ("kip-kip-kip"), but about 200 yards from the edge of the road. We could not find them despite intense looking for about an hour."

Red Crossbill: (2) 30 January (Rick Schaefer, Chris Collins), Upland Island Wilderness Area, south Angelina County [David Wolf, "totally unexpected reports ... There is no way of knowing whether these records reflected a "mini-invasion" this winter (was this species on the move southward in other regions?), or birds lingering in the Pineywoods from the major flight year of 96-97."].
rschaefer@sfasu.edu, "This morning Chris Collins and I saw 2 Red Crossbills just north of the Upland Island Wilderness Area, on Forest Service road #312. One male and one female at 10:15am."

Common Redpoll (?): 8 January (Beverly Nichols, Sonny Long), Atlanta, Cass County [extremely rare].

Peter Barnes, "There was remarkable report of two possible Common Redpolls in Atlanta, Texas, on Jan 8 (BN, SL). The birds were described as 'finches with black around the beak, a cap with a dark spot behind it, very streaked with only a tinge of red on the rump.' Unfortunately, no photographs were taken. The only other record for the region is a report from Hunt Co. in 1978 that were not accepted by the TBRC."

Beverly's reply, "I first noticed the black around the beak almost like a Cardinal. Black chin??? And then the red cap seems to have a dark spot right behind it which is different from a Purple Finch and others. The Red Polls also seemed to be a lot more streaked with just a tinge of red on the rump (the male, I believe). And the female did not have the red on her rump. I was not more than about 6 feet from them as they landed and sat on the end of a tree limb in front of my Kitchen window. I observed them a couple of more times during the day all the while checking with my bird book to make sure I was really seeing Redpolls. AND - I really believe I did. I KNOW they were a LONG way from home. I just wonder if they were traveling with the cold front or what??? I really didn't see them except that one day. :( :( And I didn't have the camera ready to take their photo. I wish I had.

Pine Siskin: (2) 2 and 30 December (Tim Fennell), Granger area, Williamson County.

Pine Siskin: (1) 10 December (Willie Sekula), southwestern Karnes County [occasional and erratic].

Pine Siskin: (2) 17 December, (several) occasional to 28 December (~8) regularly to 24 January; (~12) regularly to 11 February; (3-4) to 11 February; (up to 8) to 19 February (Ellen Ratoosh), Emerald Forest subdivision, College Station, Brazos County [occasional in December].

Pine Siskin: (up to 15) 9 December throughout month (Barbara Tilton), south of Dayton, Liberty County [more than usual at her feeders after 3 years of none wintering].

Pine Siskin: (7) 2 January (Sandy Dillard), Bryan, Brazos County [uncommon in January].

Pine Siskin: (7-8) 4 January; (3-6) 8-13 January; (8-25) 27 January to 9 February; (20-30) 11-28 February (Darrell Vollert), various Chappell Hill and Brenham locations, Washington County [best winter for Pine Siskins since at least 1996].

Pine Siskin: (39) 27 January (David Brotherton, Luanne Brotherton), Morris County [Peter Barnes, "Pine Siskins were more common than usual, with a high count of 39 birds in Morris Co. on Jan 27 (DB, LB)."].

Pine Siskin: (up to 250+) late December through late February (m.ob.), northern Nacogdoches County [David Wolf, "our first good flight year since the mid-90's, though the species was unevenly distributed and not all feeding stations ever got them. Largest numbers were reported in northern Nacogdoches County, from late Dec-late Feb (i.e. the Wolf s had 250+ using their feeders); at feeders in s. Nac Co and Angelina Co they showed up only in small numbers, during the coldest weather from late Dec-late Jan. Still present in numbers in mid-March but no longer using feeders much."].

Contributors

Mark Adams, Jack Anding, Keith Arnold, John Arvin, Barbara Ballentine, Peter Barnes, Billie Bernard, Ray Berry, Nancy Bird, Nicholas Block, Colin Bludau, Hazel Bluhm, Tim Bradle, Scott Brandes, Fred Brandt, Mary Brandt, David Brotherton, John Brotherton, Sarah Brotherton, Damien Carey, Eric Carpenter, Gail Cole, Scott Cole, Chris Collins, Fred Collins, Mike Creese, Claudia de la Cruz, Louis Debetaz, Cindie Dillard, Ruth Dillard, Sandy Dillard, Bob Doe, Andy Donnelly, Joan Dziezyc, Sandi Elsik, Chuck Ely, Jesse Fagan, Tim Fennell, Brush Freeman, Bert Frenz, Gary Fritcher, Kristin Garcia, Heinz & Julie Gaylord, Dita Geary, Chris Gregory, Georgette Guernsey, Carol Gutberlet, Ron Gutberlet, Gladys Guthrie, Peggy Harding, Chuck Hamilton, Jeff Hanson, Tyson Hart, Dale Hartsfield, Ruth Heino, Darlene Henderson, Toby Hibbitts, Phillip Hight, Derek Hill, Andrea Holman, Lee Hoy, Roger and Shirley Hughes, Jeremy Hyman, James Ingold, Karl Kosciuch, Cathy Liles, Mike Lovell, Guy Luneau, Jill McAfee, Mike Manson, Heather Mathewson, Chris Merkord, Bob Metzler, Dorothy Metzler, Toni-Ann Mistretta, Brenda Muncrief, Jeffrey Musser, Sonny Long, Beverly Nichols, John O'Brien, Elaine Owens, Richard Payne, Danny Perkins, Tim Perkins, David Phalen, Randy Pinkston, Truman Powell, Warren Pruess, Habib Rahman, Shane Raidal, Ellen Ratoosh, Eddie Ray, Nancy Ray, Robert Reeves, Kathy Reeves, Jennifer Reidy, Sue Ruotsala, Leigh Sanders, Ed Scearce, Rick Schaefer, Willie Sekula, Gael Simons, Terry Smith, Walter and Aletha Snowden, Byron Stone, Russell Storemski, Carol Thompson, Robert Tizard, Robert Truss, Darrell Vollert, Peggy and Charles Watts, David Weaver, Matt White, Dan Wilkerson, Shirley Wilkerson, Mary Dabney Wilson, Judy Winn, Jack Windsor, David Wolf, Mimi Wolf, Charlotte Woods, Margie Young


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