Date: 2/19/18 8:25 am From: CK Franklin <meshoppen...> Subject: England yesterday
I spent yesterday scouring the area on either Hwy 165 from I-440 south to England. Even though commercial strips line the road at the north end, there is a fair amount of habitat off the main road if you go look. I go down every road that doesn't look like a driveway or displays a glowing neon sign discouraging visitors. Further south agricultural fields take over but the old oxbow landscapes persist and some are actually accessible.
Take aways from the afternoon.
It was cold and damp with periods of mist. Visibility varied from okay to why am I out here. The weather kept the sparrows and brush birds busy.
The area around the England fishing pond was ripe with the smell of souring grain. Oh, boy, it was ripe. If anything the odor drew in more birds than usual. Feral pigeons almost outnumber the Eurasian Collared-Doves. Both numbers were over 100. A horde of Red-winged Blackbirds drew long inky brush strokes across the field between the pond and the grain elevators. Great White-fronted Geese were there in numbers with a lesser number of Snow Geese among them. Careful observation yield 8 Ross's Geese in a tight clump among the others. Twenty some Gadwall were hidden among the geese. The Eastern Meadowlark numbers were somewhat diminished from previous visits. Four Red-tailed Hawks watched from on high and on occasion did lazy turns around the complex.
Now that duck season is over, the flooded fields are being drained. All those mudflats and other than a scant number of Killdeer, there were no shorebirds to be had. I did not see a single Wilson's Snipe yesterday. Pintails were hard to find.
Keo area. I looked for the merlin reported out there last week. It was not there. Most of that area tends to be swampy even when it's dry. Yesterday the swampy areas were a little fuller than usual. I could here ducks in the distance but they were keeping themselves out of sight.
Hwy 15 runs north out of Keo toward Hwy 70. On the west side of the road maybe a half mile up, there is a small pecan orchard. Just past the orchard Cobb Road takes off west. It's really more of a public farm field road. I'd seen a reservoir headed down to England and thought Cobb might be nearby. Sure enough, Cobb Road ran along one edge and it had a bonus brush screen not that the ducks were fooled by my hiding behind it. Nice selection of ducks on the pond and one Ross's Goose. No rarities. Cobb Road empties on to Toltec Rd. Turn left and you are shortly back on the main road north.
Back across the river in the LR Port area, more specifically by the asphalt shingle pile, local birders know about the two sunken fields. When it rains and water accumulates, I have discovered all kinds of interesting birds visit that area. Last evening with the light fading, I found a significant flock of Snow Geese settled on the fields. Visibility was terrible and it was trying to rain. I found some Ross's Geese. My impression was more than a few of those geese were undersized but it was hard to tell.