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

The Loop

03
Nov

It just gets better everytime …

   The birding hikes led by Stephen Ramirez just get better each month.
   November’s hike at the Meadows Center and Spring Lake boardwalk proved colorful if not a bit chilly. Two Red-shouldered hawks provided entertainment from our start in front of the Meadows Center with the loud cries and flying from pecan tree to sycamore near the boardwalk. Our group of 17 ranged in age and experience level were treated to new sightings not found on previous hikes.

Ringed Kingfisher (Colton Robbins photo)

   The waterfowl were typical of the lake; cormorant, egret, and pie-billed grebes but the vibrant color was provided by the lone Wood Duck that chased insects across the surface. Before entering the boardwalk we scoped a Ringed Kingfisher sitting on the railing. The dark rust-colored breast and white ringed-neck were vibrant in the early morning light. More at home on the lake in central Texas was a Belted Kingfisher sitting on a snag in the lake. Both took flight at different times and their size difference was evident.
   The highlight for me was watching an Osprey in flight with breakfast in the talons. One of a pair of recent arrivals landed on a light standard across the lake and proceeded to feast on the fish. Stephen’s scope brought the colors of the raptor [Pandion haliatus] and tail fin of the fish into close focus.

Osprey with fish in talons. (Colton Robbins photo)

  Strolling along the inside boardwalk we counted five Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting between the branches.  The appropriately named warblers are here for the winter.
  Returning to the parking lot the morning sun shone on the silver bluestem grasses that were part of the restoration project. An Egyptian goose on the balcony of the former hotel made its’ obnoxious honking presence known as human activity picked up around the glass bottomed boats.
   Birding hikes are held on the first Saturday of each month.  The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance sponsored hikes feature popular birding areas around the city and often feature the river or greenspaces.  Contact [email protected] to be added to the contact list.  Photos and the complete listing were provided by Colton Robbins.  — LJ

27 Species Observed in 70 minute walk
1   Wood Duck
11  Pied-billed Grebe
5   Double-crested Cormorant
1   Great Blue Heron
1   Great Egret
4   Black Vulture
70 Turkey Vulture
1   Osprey
2   Red-shouldered Hawk
1  Red-tailed Hawk (Juvenile)
2  Killdeer (Flyovers)
X White-winged Dove
1  Mourning Dove
1  Ringed Kingfisher
1  Belted Kingfisher
1  Golden-fronted Woodpecker
2  Downy Woodpecker
4  Eastern Phoebe
1  Couch’s Kingbird
2  Blue Jay
4  Carolina Chickadee
3  Black-crested Titmouse
2  Carolina Wren
3  Northern Mockingbird
5  Yellow-rumped Warbler
3  Northern Cardinal
60 Great-tailed Grackle

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