Date: 4/14/17 4:52 pm From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] Finishing off my TCC list - Day 5 - Upshur and Camp Counties
Greetings All: My subtitle for this day would have been 'The Day I Got Ahead'. Looking back at my prologue, this day was to be dedicated towards clearing Upshur County and starting to clear Camp County. Things worked out just a little bit better on the 15th of March than anticipated.
As per this trip's norm, I got up early so as to get to my first early enough to make a difference. So it was that first light found me closing in on Lake Gladewater in Upshur County. I spent quite some time at this site, then worked my way along CR 2685, FM 155, Highway 271, and FM 852 to Lake Gilmer, then along FM 852 and FM 556 to Soules Chapel, and, finally, further up FM 556 to the Upshur/Camp County line. This gave me a couple of shots at deep water, lots of time in the woods, and plenty of time to look for good ponds in more open, agricultural country and, from 7:20 to 12:20 (a mere five hours) I moved the list up from 52 (seen during a single visit in October of 2014) to 102. Number 100 was a very startling and stunningly beautiful male *Indigo Bunting* on the ground at Simpsonville Chapel. Pad species: House Wren weighing in at 101 and Fox Sparrow weighing in at 102. Highlights included, well - obviously, the aforementioned Indigo Bunting as this was definitely not even on my 'hoped for' list and an interesting interaction, over Lake Gladewater, between an Osprey, a Bald Eagle, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and 2 Red-tailed Hawks. I don't know who started it but, when all was said and done ... and defying expectations, the Red-shouldered Hawk was the only bird perched in the open.
This left me with plenty of time to explore Camp County which also started at 52 species based on a single visit in October of 2014. In just over four hours I bumped this list up to 101 and I was startled, to say the least, to find myself partway through the next day's efforts ... with a good chunk of this day left! My route involved a drive along FM 556 and CR 1519 to the completely inaccessible Lake Ferndale, a very good loop (CR 3332, CR 3510, and CR 3512 ) around Lake Ferndale - which featured some good creek crossings and a great pond, the cruise along Highway 11 and Highway 21 to the south access of Lake Bob Sandline, the cruise over to Barefoot Bay Marina and Nature Trail (where I just seem to stumble into really cool birds), and then the cruise down to Pittsburg and thence along Highway 11 to the Camp/Wood County line. Number 100 came in the form of 2 Blue-winged Teals on a small pond just west of Pittsburg. The sole pad species: Purple Martin at 101. Highlights were 9 Common Loons, including a couple of calling birds (a sound I am not sure that I have heard in Texas before), and a female Purple Finch at Barefoot Bay Marina and Nature Trail.
This left me with TCC Counties 247 and 248 well in check and some time to wander slowly across Wood County. I managed to get that list up to 72 species - not bad considering that I was only at 10 species on the 11th and had mostly been birding the county incidentally in my wanderings from, to, and about Mineola.