San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666 •  (512)392-7457

The Loop

07
Dec

Exciting Spring Lake birding hike

  There were only seven of us on a cold morning Dec. 5 but the light was golden and steam rose from the lake. And the birds were out. When you read Colton Robbin’s list you’ll see we saw 39 different species of birds and the numbers of each kept our binoculars up and viewing the antics of each species.
  Stephen Ramirez led the hike as we enter the fifth-year of monthly birding hikes around San Marcos. Colton brought persistence as he tried to identify the hummingbird who continued to visit a nearly leafless, small tree on the lake. The sighting was unusual for the time of year but the tiny bird refused to stay in one place very long. Colton’s persistence paid a dividend when he studied the circling vultures too numerous to count. One bird flew a little lower and had different characteristics from the Turkey and Black Vultures was a Zone-tailed Hawk.

Zone-tailed Hawk photo by Colton Robbins

   Colton said, “ Seen with the San Marcos monthly birding group. Juvenile due to lack of strong bands in tail and lack of dark trailing edge along the wings. Distinguished from Turkey Vultures by the curved yellow beak. The bird circled the area repeatedly, sometimes flying alone and other times flying with nearby vultures. It generally flew lower than the vultures and several times flew directly over the group of birders, giving fantastic views. We watched it for at least 20 minutes and it was still present when we left the location.  At one point it burst through a close sycamore tree full of American goldfinches and sent them scattering. Very Exciting!!”
   We also watched one of two Belted Kingfishers as he downed a small fish while perched on the handrail of the boardwalk that was damaged in the October flood. 
   The birding walks occur on the first Saturday of the month in the early morning. Contact Steph[email protected]  to be notified of time and location. Lists can be found in earlier posts to this blog and at eBird. –LJ


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Spring Lake, San Marcos December 5, 2015
Fall colors as we view the Osprey perched across the lake.
39 species

Snow Goose  22     Flyovers
Pied-billed Grebe  4
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  1
Black Vulture  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Osprey  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  2
Zone-tailed Hawk  1   
White-winged Dove  12
Mourning Dove  2
Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher  2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Couch’s Kingbird  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  2
Carolina Chickadee  3
Black-crested Titmouse  1
Carolina Wren  3
Bewick’s Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
European Starling  30
Cedar Waxwing  25
Yellow-rumped Warbler  10
Chipping Sparrow  1
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Great-tailed Grackle  2
House Finch  3
American Goldfinch  20
House Sparrow  2

 

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