Sunday, January 20, 2008

Least Expected

Yesterday my not-so-big year (a.k.a the Smallest Twitch) finally passed the century mark. I had a few hours for birding in the afternoon, so I went to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. First stop was the Skillern Tract. It was there that I found this headless yet fully functioning Least Sandpiper. Probably due to its lack of eyes, ears, and brain I was able to get quite close for this photo. Ross's Geese used to be rare in Texas, but in recent years their breeding range has expanded eastward, and now they commonly winter along the Gulf Coast. Yesterday I made a rough count of about 60 Ross's mingling with Snow Geese in the Skillern Tract. Such large numbers are no longer considered unusual.

After that I birded the main entrance road and Shoveler Pond loop. Raptors and sparrows were disappointing. Best find was a Least Flycatcher along the path that parallels the little drainage between the refuge entrance kiosk and "the willows." Interestingly I had one in this same area in January of 2004. Managed to get some awful pictures, of which this one was least awful:Since the weather turned cold we've had a lot of activity at our feeders. Yesterday a Red-breasted Nuthatch paid us a brief visit, and today a female House Finch was #108 for the year. Lately there have been reports of Purple Finches across Texas, and with luck we might get some here. I'll be watching.


At 5:01 AM, Blogger Larry said...

I'm only at 75 for the month-then again it's a completely different area-Hope to reach at least 90 this weekend.-Keep it going-don't slow down!

At 9:14 PM, Blogger birdchaser said...

Headless Least Sandpiper. Nice. Maybe I can pick one up when I'm down in Texas next month for the Partners in Flight meetings in the valley.


Post a Comment

<< Home