Date: 4/15/17 9:10 pm From: Clay Taylor <Clay.Taylor...> Subject: [texbirds] GTBC Big Sit! at Hazel Bazemore County Park, Corpus Christi, 4/15/2017
Hi all - Joel Simon and I walked into the park at 4:10am, Common Pauraques serenading us in SenSurround. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensurround ) That was the first official bird at 4:15am, followed by (what else?) multiple Northern Mockingbirds sounding off by every streetlight. The only Common Nighthawk of the day beeped-by at 5:00am, Purple Martins were on the wing by 5:22, followed by Northern Cardinals, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Great Kiskadees, and the rest of the dawn chorus.
The first species identified by sight was a pair of Mottled Ducks, then the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds started assaulting the feeders at 6:47, immediately followed by the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. The waders started with a Cattle Egret flyby at 6:54, immediately followed by Brown-crested Flycatcher, Long-billed Thrasher, and White-eyed Vireo. The run of hyphenated species ended with a Great Egret at 7:00am, but an immediate Great-tailed Grackle made it 4 out of 5.
That opened the floodgates, as another 17 species hit during the next 20 minutes, including the highlight of the day - 4 Monk Parakeets that flew right by the Hawk Watch Platform. Joel immediately said "I bet that is a new species for the Park!" OK, so just now I just looked up the Hazel Bazemore County Park Bird List, and Joel is correct - that makes 328 species for the Park! BTW - still NOT recorded: any godwit, Common Tern, Red-naped Sapsucker, Clay-colored Thrush, Sage Thrasher, Blackpoll (!!!), Western Meadowlark, and Yellow-headed Blackbird. All of these have probably passed through, but the trick is to be there to see them.
We were to see Monk Parakeets on two more occasions, with a total of five different groups passing by. We were debating where they were 1) coming from, and 2) going to, as they were headed in the general direction of Judy Kestner's house. BTW - I have seen them in the past twice at my house, which is only ½ mile to the East.
....and now, back to the Big Sit!
A male Painted Bunting took a bath in the drip fountain that was paid for with a GTBC Conservation Prize from one of our earlier GTBC-winning teams, and I photographed it from the Hawk Watch Platform Photo Blind built with yet another GTBC Conservation Prize. Hazel has done well with the GTBC!!!
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was species #50 at 7:40 am, #60 was a male Indigo Bunting at 8:17, and #70 was a Turkey Vulture at 9:07. That started a run of raptor sightings, including Peregrine Falcon (#71), Swainson's Hawk (#72) and Cooper's Hawk (#73). We would later add-in Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Mississippi Kite, and Swallow-tailed Kite, most of which were first spotted by sharp-eyed Libby Even. All told, we would see 16 raptors on the day (yes, we DO count vultures as raptors!) plus two owls. Hazel Rocks the Raptors!
The Swallow-tailed Kite was #89 at 11:44, and the Sharp-shinned Hawk was #90 at 12:07. It got REALLY slow from there!
Shelly hates us giving away the final totals for the day, but suffice to say that we did NOT match last year's record tot al of 125 species. However, we finished with a little flurry that ended the day with a Barn Owl swooping low along the shoreline of the lower ponds as the light was getting really poor, and all in all, it was a great day at the Park.
Many thanks to all of the people who participated. We will do two more Big Sits! In the upcoming week, both in conjunction with the 1st Annual Birdiest Festival in America - the Corpus Christi Bird Festival. If you would like to participate in the Big Sits! or the other festival activities, come on down!