Saturday, August 31, 2013

Migrating sandpipers.

Here's one.

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)

A significant percentage of fall migration is represented by "shorebirds." Many sandpipers, Family Scolopacidae, are among our longer distance migrating species.

Many of these are "tundra-nesters."  They spend their summer breeding season in the far-edges of northern latitudes.

Here's a range map for the Baird's Sandpiper as an example:

I came across this individual at the *Marathon Treatment Ponds in Brewster County, right here in our corner of the Chihuahuan Desert. When Heidi came by on her lunch break, there were two.

No doubt this bird was quite okay taking advantage of this body of water, even before it has been treated. As you see in the map above, this bird has a long ways yet to go.

A few ID tips on this species would include noting how the outer primary ("flight-feathers") feathers project beyond the tail.  In the photo above we can see a nearly solid black feather projecting further than the white-outlined tail feather.

Additionally, take a look at the first picture.  Notice the buffy breast.  This bird is a fairly "large" sandpiper, and that color existing on its breast also helps eliminate some possible species.  Yes, the bird's overall size does as well.

While water is a key component for many species, they still have to travel great distances, at times, to find another puddle.

While we have migration buzzing all around us right now, many species are nocturnal migrants.  That includes this featured sandpiper.

So look up and listen up.  Even overnight; perhaps particularly at night.

 If you hear the following late at night, you could be hearing the Baird's Sandpiper migrating overhead:

Well, in this recording you would be hearing several.

*Marathon Treatment Ponds are PRIVATE property.  We have been granted access.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Migration is Upon Us..

... and has been for a recent while now.  Discovered yesterday at the treatment ponds, one excellent bird for the Marathon Basin was this individual:

Forster's Tern  (Sterna forsteri)

Also at the Marathon Treatment Ponds were over 30 Wilson's Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

In addition, there were a Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), a Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri), and a Least Sandpiper (C. minutilla).

The Marathon Treatment Ponds are on private property.  We have been granted access.  So do respect, if you are out here, private property.  You might give Heidi Trudell a call or email regarding this property.  As always, it can only take one time to screw up access for all of us.

Anyways, nothing too Earth-shattering but it is nice for us to begin to observe a leading edge of migration happening on our corner of the Chihuahuan Desert.

One of the earliest migrating species is Rufous Hummingbird.  We have played host to them here at Casa de Dos BaƱos (CDB).

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), male.

I had the wrong settings on the camera for this guy, so I had to go with a feeder shot. When spinning the dials on the SLR, I should double-check said dials.

For the bird-people reading this, check the notch on both R2 feathers.

We do get Allen's Hummingbirds (S. sasin) out here during migration.  More so than certain field guides would suggest.  Such data and questions and "seriously??"- type inquires might should be directed toward Kelly Bryan and his West Texas Avian Research.  He has already had one of his earliest (the earliest?) Allen's show up this year.

We have had several Rufous Hummingbirds this early Fall, with some evident turnover.  However, we've yet to get Allen's Hummingbird here at the CDB.  We expect to at some point, as we've hosted them in town in past migrations.

Cheers, and here's to a great migration out here and throughout the state!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Post Park, in photos

Just focusing on the water, not the picnic tables, facilities, etc. filing for future reference.

Monday, August 19, 2013

CLOSURE: Davis Mts State Park Sept. 3 - March 1

Tip of the hat to Texas Mountain Trail Region for this announcement!

Important Announcement regarding Davis Mountains State Park:

FORT DAVIS, TEXAS – Beginning on September 3, 2013, Davis Mountains State Park will begin a temporary closure, which will last through March 1, 2014. Texas Parks & Wildlife staff will be performing major upgrades on the park’s utilities and systems during this time. Many of the park’s amenities, including the campgrounds, trails, and Interpretive Center, will be unavailable to visitors.

In addition to completing much needed utility projects, an extensive new trail system will be put into place in the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. The current system, which consists of 6.5 miles of trail, will be improved and an additional 6 miles will be added to the existing route. The park’s new bird viewing area, which began construction in May of this year, will be completed, as well.

These improvements will add dimension to our park & provide additional opportunities for outdoor recreation for our park visitors. We are eager to unveil them when we reopen in the spring.

Please note that the Indian Lodge and Black Bear Restaurant are unaffected by this closure and will remain open during standard business hours. The Indian Lodge office is open 24 hours a day and can be reached at (432) 426-3254. The Black Bear Restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00AM to 8:00PM, extending hours until 9:00PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Advanced reservations for the Indian Lodge can be made by calling (512) 389-8900.

Davis Mountains State Park and the Indian Lodge are located four miles north of Fort Davis on Hwy118N.