Amy and I went birding this weekend with some acquaintances from Austin who’d come down to see the Ruddy Ground-Dove. Having found the dove on Friday evening, we made quite a day of Saturday, covering a wide area in and around San Angelo. We managed to take a few pictures along the way.
Our first stop was the South Unit of the San Angelo State Park, which was fairly uneventful. Moving on to the North Unit, we focused on sparrows along the river bottom. We had a lot of success and managed to find Vesper, Song, Lincoln’s, Fox, and best of all White-throated Sparrows.
After lunch, we headed out to an area known as the Lipan Flats, an agricultural area east of town where we hoped to find longspurs or a Merlin. The landscape is bleak (empty dirt fields as far as the eye can see), and therefore I don’t bird the place very often.
It wasn’t long before we got out there that we found a flock of Horned Larks and McCown’s Longspurs. Scanning the flock carefully, a picked out a single Lapland Lonspur in amidst this flock!
It was a good thing that I had, because when we got back to the car and looked through Amy’s notes, we realized that the Wilson’s Snipe seen last weekend wasn’t a new bird for her after all. Thus she started the day at 398. McCown’s Longspur was 399 and Lapland 400. Even more surprising, when we got home and I checked my notes, I learned that I hadn’t seen Lapland Longspur either. Though I generally know exactly what I’ve seen and what I haven’t, I just completely overlooked this species, thinking I had already seen it in the Texas panhandle. So Amy’s 400th was also a new bird for me.
Our final destination was Middle Concho Park along the Concho River. We found this Pine Warbler, which was perhaps the best bird of the day. (Lapland Longspurs are probably here every year, just hard to find and see. Pine Warblers on the other hand are not. This was the first I’ve ever seen in west Texas.) Other highlights included this Rock Wren that was extremely cooperative for the camera.