Date: 4/16/17 6:32 pm From: Laas Harvey <hlaas...> Subject: [texbirds] Waller Co. nesters and other observations
First some nesting observations from here on the ranch. The first fledglings I have seen is a pair of young Eastern Bluebirds now hanging out with their parents. The Great-horned Owls that have nested in the giant live oak in our family cemetery for quite a few years have two nestlings that are several weeks old. Last year the nest failed for some reason. Down on Pine Lake the Cypress tree is hosting a small rookery. There are between 10 and 15 pairs of Great Egrets on nests one pair of Great Blue Herons and two pairs of Anhingas.
Another note of interest is has been watching the bird activity on the 100 acre pasture that we did a prescribed burn on in February. The day of the fire confirmed one observation a number of had this winter. Namely, the rodent population crashed this past year. Hawk numbers on our part of the prairie were way down this winter. Speculation has centered on the very low rodent numbers seen. During the burn I saw a total of three rats. Two escaping the fire and one caught by a RT Hawk. There were numbers of other small critters caught up in the fire as evidenced by the number of Crested Caracara that showed over the next week. Two days after the burn I counted 31 in the pasture and the number hovered in the low 20s for about a week. Killdeer, RW Blackbirds and meadowlarks also were plentiful during the early days. Three days after the burn we had a good rain. This brought significant numbers of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs in for a number of days in the wetland area of the bur! n. Numbers were in the 20s and 30s for both species for several days. Since the green up There was an influx of upland sandpipers for over two weeks. Normally I'm lucky to see a handful on the ground during migration, but they have been plentiful until the last couple of days.
Finally passerine migration has gotten off to a really slow start so far on the ranch. I finally saw a single BT Green Warbler today for the first warbler of the season. I have seen one group of 6 indigo buntings, one Baltimore Oriole, one Eastern Kingbird, one Blue-headed Vireo and one Great-crested Flycatcher. Best bird today was a Red-headed Woodpecker. Rare on the ranch and usually seen in the fall if at all.
Harvey Laas 10 miles N of Brookshire Waiting on some more migrants