7/2 - Goodbye to Waco
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Alex bestowed upon us plentiful rainfall - it amounted to an eight hour car wash for both vehicles! Other than a Little Blue Heron near Evant, a Blue Jay over San Saba, a few Turkey Vultures and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers as we neared Fort Stockton, bird life was quiet. The rain even kept all but a handful of bugs off the windshield! Oh, we did have fly-over Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and a stealth Canyon Towhee and some perched Swainson's Hawks towards I-10.
Upon arrival at our destination, we were greeted by angrily fussing Barn Swallows who are nesting above the porch light. While unpacking we overheard the chatter of a Curve-billed Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, seeping of Lesser Goldfinch, warbles of House Finches, White-winged Doves, etc. Great-tailed Grackles were bathing out front and as I checked the view from each window, the bathroom revealed a Bronzed Cowbird out back, a pair of Eurasian Collared-doves out front and an absolutely breathtaking male Vermillion Flycatcher. Evening Common Nighthawks are keeping us pleasantly on alert for their "BEERT" calls.
7/3 - Morning at Post Park
After a wonderfully sound night of tranquility* we headed to Post Park, just south of Marathon, for a bit of early morning investigation.
* there were firecrackers, rockets, sparklers, loud explosions, kids screaming, people yelling, dogs barking and all of the other 2nd of July noises until it started raining around 11 pm.
The park itself is a small bit of land with a swath of riparian heaven running through it. Of the 28 species gleaned from the park itself, the birds most abundantly represented were flycatchers:
We also saw an active Lesser Goldfinch nest, a fledgie Canyon Towhee following and begging from its biological parent, a begging baby cowbird (fed by female Orchard Oriole), food carry by many species, nesting material carry by Summer Tanagers, "Timmy" the resident American Coot, and so much green that it felt like Abilene in March. Considering that we had a nicely wet winter and spring, these summer rains will likely push plants into a late summer bloom that will allow insects as well as birds to thrive for the rest of the summer. (Our porch swallows seem to be working on their second attempt of the year - it wouldn't surprise me if they manage a third if this weather keeps up!)
Anyway, this weather is so fantastic that the road we now live on is a giant puddle! Kind of unexpected for the desert ;-) The porch Barn Swallows, Gladys & Mr. Gladys, still aren't used to our coming and going, so we've minimized porch-sitting until such time as they're more comfortable. The yard Vermillion Flycatcher pair is now affectionately known as the O'Haras. The two Bronzed Cowbirds most commonly seen from the bathroom window are currently unnamed, but the nesting House Sparrows are dangerously close to being dubbed "The Octo Family" due to their high rate of procreation.