Date: 4/13/17 12:23 pm From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] Polishing off my TCC list - Day Four - Gregg and Smith Counties
Greetings All: Thanks to my efforts the day before, Smith County was only 18 species away from done - with a serious duck deficit. Accordingly, first light found me at the fantastic pond off of Highway 69 just south of the Wood/Smith County line - STANDING IN ICE-ENCRUSTED GRASS - and looking at seven species of duck and, as a bonus, one species of snipe. I then wandered down Highway 69 to the most excellent Faulkner Park (wow!), further down Highway 69 to Lindale, along FM 16 to Winona, and then along FM 16 and Highway 271 to the Smith/Gregg County line. In just a bit under four hours I pushed the list over the top, making it to 102 from 82 (based on visits in November of 2006 and the two days previous to this). Number 100 was a House Wren near Winona. Pad species: White-crowned Sparrow at 101 and Le Conte's Sparrow at 102. Highlights were scraping ice off my care before I could get started and a Bewick's Wren near Red Springs - I always forget how far east these adorable, little critters get.
This put me in Gregg County at 10:50 and it proved to be a tough sell! I started at 51 species (based on a visit in October of 2014) and I worked it hard, starting at Di-Jac Park in Gladewater, wandering down Highway 135 to Kilgore, working the CR 2276 hotpots, wandering east to Lake Cherokee Dam, covering the entire Easton Loop, wandering back to Kilgore, working the FFA/Wilshire Road swamplands, working the Elder Lake/Synergy Park hotspot, wandering back up to Gladewater and desperately searching for pad species in the form of town birds before ambling across the Gregg/Upshur County line. I did make it, slowly notching the list up to 103 species by 6:15. Number 100 came in the form of 4 American Pipits at Lake Elder. Pad species: Green-winged Teal at 101, Rock Pigeon at 102 (how happy I was to not have this one come in at #100), and White-winged Dove at 103. Highlights were the solid diversity of butterflies at the Wilshire Road swampland DESPITE the icy morning and a gorgeous Yellow-crowned Night Heron (the only one of the trip) on a Lake Cherokee piling just visible from Highway 149.
TCC Counties 245 and 246 were in the bag - and an error in my last post has been discovered: Cherokee County was, in fact, #244 but that only left ten counties to go (not the eleven mentioned in my post) and I was now down to eight counties to go and right on schedule.
On the way back to Mineola, I boosted Wood County up to 58 species - nibbling, ever nibbling away at the edges of the list ... and, though it had been a long day, I did get the precious time I needed to ensure that blood levels in my cider stream did not get too elevated.