Friday, January 6, 2017

Correcting Past Mistakes

In my 2015 Big Year I considered missing Purple Finch one of my biggest mistakes. They were being seen at the Lone Star College Campus in Kingwood. They were there for the taking and I told myself I'd get them in the fall. Then time ran out on me. I've already picked up one miss from 2015, Great Black-backed Gull, time to take care of another.

I did a few chores around the house and caught up on somethings before heading out. I was on the trail just before 10 am. Immediately I hear a Winter Wren for Year Bird 161. 

Not far down the trail I was able to get a big flock going with pishing and owl calls, Bingo! three Purple Finches landed above my head for Year Bird 162. In the same flock I found a Brown Creeper for Year Bird 163 and a group of American Goldfinches made Year Bird 164.

Cypress Grove Boardwalk in the Lone Star College Lowlands
The BirdsEye app on my phone indicated that Wood Duck was also found here so I pressed one. Way down the trail I spooked a group of six Wood Ducks for Year Bird 165.

All of this habitat looked great for Rusty Blackbird so I spent time on the way back to the car looking for them. At the end of the Cypress Grove boardwalk a Winter Wren bounced around for some good looks at a secretive species. No luck on the Rusties though.

This was my first visit to this site and I was very impressed. I can see why this site is turning up such good birds. I had 29 species on a late start in dreary wet weather in about an hour.

I had some time left and decided to head over to Bear Creek Park and look for the Greater Pewee. The weather didn't get any better. I spent about an hour there looking with just not much moving except all the guys parked outside the rest rooms. Funny how when I walked by with my big camera over my shoulder all the cars would start up and drive over to another rest room. Bear Creek Park is getting positively creepy.

I've since learned that a Greater Pewee was found on January 2 in the cemetery across I10 from the park and some speculate that this is the same bird. I'm skeptical about that. I think its likely a different bird. Its 3.3 miles as the Pewee flies straight line distance to that cemetery across hundreds of acres of good habitat and a 400 foot wide interstate highway. I think interstate highways are a big barrier to the local movement of small birds. Bigger birds that fly long distances daily not so much, but I bet cardinals, phoebes, and yes Greater Pewees don't cross them much.

I digress. I dipped on Greater Pewee, I hope it doesn't haunt me this year! Saturday I'm chasing the Amazon Kingfisher, hope the cold doesn't chase it off.


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