Friday, December 11, 2009

Coastal Bend Birds 12/1-12/11

Birding in the coastal bend this winter keeps getting better by the day. Most of our winter residents are back in good numbers and lots of "rare" birds have been seen. Huge numbers or sandhill cranes and geese are finally back, most are North of the Rockport area. The majority of the whooping cranes are back at their winter homes in the Aransas NWR. I saw 3 whooping cranes along hwy. 35 just North of Rockport last week as well. Here are some of the rarer birds that I've seen in the past 10 days.

A extremely rare RUDDY GROUND-DOVE was seen on CR360 near the town of Sandia on 12/10. This is one of the Northernmost records of the eastern subspecies.

LARK BUNTINGS (see photo) are in huge numbers this winter. I had 300+ birds near Sandia on 12/10. I have heard reports of 1000's of birds west of Corpus Christi in Duval county.

A rare YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was on hwy. 35 between Rockport and Tivoli on 12/7. The bird was mixed in with thousands of Red-Winged Blackbirds, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Great-Tailed Grackles, and Boat-Tailed Grackles.

The FERRUGINOUS HAWK near Sandia on CR360 continues this winter, I last saw the bird on 12/10. I also found another FERRUGINOUS HAWK on 43 near Chapman Ranch on 12/6.

A GREEN KINGFISHER continues at the Port Aransas Birding Center. I saw the bird last on 12/6.

An adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL has returned for the 6th winter in the town of Port O'Connor. I saw the bird on 12/3.

A single HORNED GREBE was seen at the Aransas NWR across from the picnic area on 12/3.

Up to 8 STILT SANDPIPERS have been seen at the Port Aransas Birding Center all winter. I also had a single bird at the pond in Hazel Bazemore Park in Corpus Christi on 12/10.

SPRAGUE'S PIPITS are present in good numbers in proper habitat throughout the coastal bend. My last sighting of one was 12/3.

Up to 4 BURROWING OWLS continue on private property in Refugio and Nueces counties.

RED KNOTS continue up and down the gulf beaches this winter. I had 5 near marker 27 on 12/6. They are more common further south on the National Seashore.

A single AMERICAN BITTERN was seen on the Rail Trail at the Aransas NWR on 12/3.

Jon McIntyre
(361) 549-5677

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