Thursday, January 5, 2017

It Takes a Village

Long-tailed Duck, Lake Baunig
It is impossible no matter how hard I try to monitor every outlet for bird reports in Texas these days, so I rely on people telling me about good birds that pop up around the state. Tuesday I got a message from Sandi Wheeler about the Long-tailed Duck at Braunig Lake on the south side of San Antonio. Bonus that there is a Greater Scaup there too.

Greater Scaup
So up at 4:30 am, out of the house by 5 am and headed west from Houston. I made the lake by 8:30 and the weather wasn't as dark and gloomy as I expected. I started working the north shore looking for my target. The Greater Scaup was just about the first duck I saw. There was quite show of Bonaparte's Gulls and Cormorants feeding on something together. Worked the area scanning every few minutes the whole of the cove. I even managed to pick up a Green Kingfisher. No Long-tailed duck yet.

After about 2 hours I decided to check the south side of the lake. Lots of waterfowl, but no Long-tailed duck. I headed back and there was another couple there just starting to look for the duck. I was kinda ready to give up but decided to join then and scan for a few minutes. Suddenly there it was across the lake! Not great looks but I'll take it. I was chit chatting about the Big Year and I looked back at the lake and the Long-tailed Duck was not 30 feet from us. Never saw it come across the lake. It posed for dozens of pictures.

Broad-billed Hummingbird
It was still pretty early so I decided to head south and try for the White-winged Scoter in Alice, TX. I was driving out the exit of the park when Derek Muschalek called to tell me about a Broad-billed Hummingbird in San Antonio. I pulled over and got contact info and make the arrangements and was on the way. 

Ruben Ayala greeted me in the driveway and took me around back where the bird had been seen. We saw it perched in its favorite bush immediately. Another good one in the bag for the year!

I waited a while longer to see of any other hummers would make an appearance but no luck. I headed home after a very good day. I added 12 species and finished the day with 160. 

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