Date: 2/1/18 12:15 pm From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] The 2018 Photographic Game - January
Finding myself beset with the need to paint the exterior of my house and really work the yard back into shape, I decided to see what kind of numbers I can rack up from my central Lubbock yard this year and, accordingly, have made photo-documenting my yard my photography game for the year. Given the habitat available at the site, my goals are going to be pretty modest. I am shooting for 40 butterfly species, 0 amphibian species, 2 reptile species, 80 birds species, and 4 mammal species - of which I hope to photograph over 90%. This may not be as exciting as some of my previous photographic games but it will certainly be hard-fought.
The results from the first month make this even clearer than I feared. The last significant rainfall in my yard was 0.28 inches on 6 October 2017 - that is not a typos - 6 October 2017!
According to the US Drought Monitor my entire region is in severe to extreme drought and, zooming in, my part of Lubbock is in extreme drought.
Consequently, there are no flowers blooming in the yard (not even mustard, dandelion, or henbit) and even warm days have not kicked out a butterfly. Even worse, many of our more common songbirds have given up on our dry yards - American Robins have been flyover only and I haven't had a kinglet, true sparrow, or cardinal (all perfectly normal for my yard in winter) yet this year. To make things even worse, some in-town playas have dried down to the point that my yard is no longer beneath at least one micro-flyway and I have detected no overflights of Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, or ducks.
On the plus side, these conditions will make for some short reports. During January I had 0 butterfly, 0 amphibian, 0 reptile, 18 bird, and 2 mammal species in/over/from the yard - far below where I expected to be at this point. Of the 20 species seen thus far I have photographs of only 16 (a mere 80%) and this is pretty much do to the fact that I have had no Mourning Doves at my feeders nor any foraging American Robins.
The list follows (* = new, (y) = photographed):
Cackling Goose*(y) Canada Goose*(y) Rock Pigeon*(y) Eurasian Collared Dove*(y) White-winged Dove*(y) Mourning Dove* Ring-billed Gull*(y) Double-crested Cormorant* Sharp-shinned Hawk*(y) Cooper's Hawk*(y) Blue Jay*(y) American Robin* Curve-billed Thrasher*(y) Northern Mockingbird*(y) European Starling*(y) House Sparrow*(y) House Finch*(y) Great-tailed Grackle*(y)
Eastern Gray Squirrel*(y) House Mouse*
Here's hoping that things get better as we move towards and into spring.