Date: 1/24/17 2:22 pm From: <dmarc-noreply...> (Redacted sender drbirdie for DMARC) Subject: [texbirds] 20 sparrow species yesterday, Monday Jan 23, 2017, in Central Texas (Austin area)
Hi Texbirders, Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day to be outside in central Texas and I was able to finally accomplish a long-cherished private goal of seeing all 20 regularly-occurring winter sparrow species of central Texas in a single calendar day. I didn't start the day with that in mind, but was headed over to Alligator Prairie, a private property in southwestern Milam County, to try to photograph an American Woodcock which had been observed on the Granger CBC 3 weeks previously. No luck photographing the woodcock, but we had such an abundance and variety of sparrows, that I was up to 15 species before the morning was over, including several of the harder ones (Eastern Towhee, Grasshopper, LeConte's and Swamp Sparrow), and I couldn't help thinking, "this might be the day for 20." Fortunately I had no pressing work obligations, so after a brief stop at the office and then home for lunch, I headed out to Pace Bend Park in western Travis County to see if I could find Lark and Chipping Sparrow and the 3 "plateau specialties," Black-throated and Rufous-crowned Sparrows and Canyon Towhee. A pair of Canyon Towhees and a Black-throated Sparrow obliged at the first stop, and then I started to sweat, wondering if I would be able to find the others before darkness intervened. Finally, I found a cooperative pair of RC Sparrows, so was up to 18 for the day, which I have done on several occasions. I knew there were a couple of small flocks of Lark Sparrows out here this winter, but they move around a bit, so I wasn't sure I could get them, and on my last trip here in early December I had seen exactly 1 Chipping Sparrow in 4 hours, so I knew they weren't guaranteed. Finally, I pushed and owl-whistled a small flock of birds and in came a small band of Larkies for #19. And then I spotted not one, but two first-winter Chipping Sparrows for my 20th sparrow species of the day. Mission accomplished!
I have had 19 sparrow species in a single day on at least 2 occasions over the last decade, but never before have I had 20. Following is the sparrow list for the day, and mention of whether I was able to photograph it or not (I think I got 10 species photographed, but I wasn't really trying early on).