Monday, February 2, 2015

Starting off February Right

Sunday's February 1, 2015 weather forecast was for the rain to start about 10 am. I figured the day would be mostly a rain out but decided this was my best chance to get the Greater Pewee that continues at Bear Creek Park in the area around Restroom 9.

The weather couldn't have been nicer and the place was very birdy. Bluebirds and Chickadees were singing everywhere. The last time I saw this bird was in November and it was in the trees to the west of the restroom along Kunz Rd. I checked this area and had plenty of activity but no Greater Pewee. I then stared to circled the area slowly and carefully. Circle number one, no luck.

My 1.94 mile route to find the Greater Pewee  in Bear Creek Park
My 1.94 mile route to find the Greater Pewee
in Bear Creek Park
I started circle number 2. On this pass I did pick up Red-headed Woodpecker for year bird 259. At least I wasn't going to go home empty handed. I finished circle number 2 with no pewee yet. I had been here over an hour too. 

Patient is a virtue and I know the bird is here So I decided to concentrate on the area I saw the bird in before. At this point I toyed with he idea of just getting out the speaker and playing calls for it. Tempting because there is no prohibition on it here. I was alone, virtually no one else within a quarter mile of me in the park.

I'm personally not against playing calls to attract birds. Its not that its bad, its about how much is bad. So here is my personal checklist on when is ok to use playback. 1) is there a  prohibition on it here? 2) is there a chance that others would use playback here. To me #2 is the the important one. If the site is publicly accessible and popular you can never be sure how many people have been there before and after you. Just because I'm alone now doesn't mean ten other parties won't follow me today, and everyone could be playing calls.

So no playback would be right here. I'm not kidding myself, someone is surely coming to this park and using playback, someone will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it won't be me. So back to waiting. 

I got up to check out a drumming woodpecker close by. It was so loud I was guessing a Pileated, but it turned out to be a Downy that had found a VERY good hollow branch to drum on. Something right at the edge of my field of view caught eye. Hooray! it was the Greater Pewee! It gave me a couple of seconds of good looks the flew up to a spot I couldn't see and gave a few "pip-pip" calls that are diagnostic. Greater Pewee became year bird 260.

So expecting the weather to turn on me I headed home. Unfortunately the weather did not turn and it was great weather all day and I should have headed to Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR and chased Sprague's Pipit and Grasshopper Sparrow. Hopefully I'll find a way to get out there before the end of February.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Jim Crab telling me about the Texbirds list, I just found your blog. I'm an amateur birder/photographer who dreams of one day doing a big year. But for now I have a lot more to learn about identifying birds and finding more places to look for them. I look forward to reading and learning from your posts. :)
    Good luck! I hope your exceed your goals!

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