Monday, October 31, 2016


We have been on the Texas coast for a few days and are enjoying getting re-acquainted with the many shorebirds. Since we will be leading bird walks at Goose Island State Park for the next couple of months, we're making sure that we know all of their names.
Black-bellied Plover
One of the things we've run into when leading walks is different pronunciations of common bird names. We've had more than one participant insist that we're using an incorrect pronunciation when we understand that there is no single accepted way to say the name.

"Plover" is one example. There are several species of these plump little shorebirds that we'll see during our walks. Pronunciation seems about split between "Pluh-ver" and "Plo-ver".
Semipalmated Plover
We expect to see four different plover species on a regular basis. We'll identify them based on size (Black-bellied is much larger than the others), leg color (yellow/orange for Semipalmated and Piping, gray for Snowy), and back color (light gray for Snowy and Piping, darker brown for Semipalmated).
Piping Plover
But how to pronounce the names?? We've decided to go with "pluh-ver", and expect to hear about it!
Snowy Plover
So how about it birders? How do you pronounce "plover"??


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Leave Me Alone!!!

Teri and I have spent a few days at Inks Lake State Park. Not volunteering here this year, but it makes a nice stop to visit with family and friends.

We spent a couple of hours at Inks Lake National Fish Hatchery looking for birds. The winter birds haven't really arrived yet so birding was slow, but we did witness an American Kestrel harassing a young Red-shouldered Hawk.

The poor hawk was perched in a tree minding its own business when a male Kestrel decided to start dive-bombing. It made about a dozen high-speed passes at the hawk while screaming and carrying on.
Where is it??

It's hard to bend my head back this far...
The Kestrel will be back!
After about a minute of this, the hawk decided to find another place to rest. Mission Accomplished for the Kestrel.
We're heading to the Texas Coast for a couple of months of volunteering. Stay tuned for plenty of Pelican and Duck pictures!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Back in Medina for a Bit

We haven't posted in a while, and that is because we left Leadville Fish Hatchery in mid-September and headed back to our "home base" in Medina, Texas. I needed to get some dental work underway, and we both needed to catch up on doctor, dentist, and eye exams before we head out again at the end of October.

We have had a chance to get out to the Hill Country State Natural area and a couple of the local nature centers. While the birds have been scarce the insects are more cooperative.

By far the most common butterflies in the area are American Snouts. They are flying by the hundreds of thousands, and getting hit by the thousands. The local car washes are doing a brisk business, as a 30 mile trip can net several hundred dead Snouts on your car!
American Snout
More colorful are these two tiny butterflies from the area. Neither is any larger than a fingernail.
Ceraunus Blue
Rounded Metalmark
The Cibolo Nature Center has a small marsh with a boardwalk that turned out to be a pretty good spot for dragonflies. The most colorful was this Roseate Skimmer.
Roseate Skimmer
Less colorful but more common were Common Whitetails.
Common Whitetail
And back home on our deck, this Praying Mantis was prowling around looking for a meal.
Praying Mantis
Hopefully we'll get some cold fronts and some birds shortly. But in the meantime we'll keep looking at what else is crawling about!