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Saturday, February 16, 2013

This week in birds - #57: GBBC, day 2

This week, instead of doing my usual roundup of the week's news stories about birds and the environment, I'm going to focus on the Great Backyard Bird Count, which went international this year and is now receiving reports on birds from around the globe. It's fascinating to watch the maps light up as new reports come in from the far corners of the earth.

My own bird count took place in two separate areas today. I started the day early in my own yard and ended the day late in that same yard, but, in between, I spent most of my day at Brazos Bend State Park, one of my favorite places to bird. It gave me a chance to see and report, and also photograph, something other than backyard birds. It was a gorgeous day for it, if a bit cool, and I was able to get a few reasonably good pictures, which is always satisfying.

This Great Egret was watching very closely as that white bird on the right, a White Ibis half hidden by foliage, was extracting some juicy tidbit from the water.

As usual, there were plenty of Double-crested Cormorants around. This one perched on a tree limb to do his preening.

A Yellow-rumped Warbler shows you how he got his name!

The Pied-billed Grebes were numerous. This one actually stayed above water long enough for me to take his picture. They usually dive immediately after I notice them.

This Common Gallinule was too busy with his preening to care that I was snapping his picture.

A couple of pairs of Blue-winged Teal seemed to be feeling quite amorous this afternoon. Here is one of the pairs.

Vermilion Flycatchers seem to be turning up in our area more and more frequently. There was a time not so many years ago when you had to go quite a bit farther south to see one of these beauties.

This Anhinga was enjoying the warmth of the winter sun as he sat on a limb just above the water. These birds are sometimes colloquially known as "snakebird" or "water turkey." When they swim, they extend their long neck and beak above the water while the rest of their body is submerged. I suppose to some they look like a snake, or perhaps a turkey, swimming.

 The American Coot. Look at those wonderful toes! They help him walk on aquatic vegetation.

White Ibises were very plentiful in the park today. In the past, I've seen White-faced Ibis and even occasionally a Glossy Ibis here, but not today.

A small flock of White-throated Sparrows were going after the fruit on this tree, which seemed to be some kind of wild cherry.

I ended my day at the park with a species count of 28. Then I returned home and finished up my backyard count for the day. Here, I was able to count 21 species, including four that I had missed yesterday: Cooper's Hawk, Eurasian Collared-dove, American Crow, and Northern Mockingbird. That brings my two-day species count for my yard to 27. Tomorrow, I hope to be able to add a few more of the missing to my count.

So, are you counting birds this weekend? And if so, how's it going?

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