Date: 3/1/18 12:10 pm From: Anthony Hewetson <fattonybirds...> Subject: [texbirds] The 2018 Photographic Game - February Report
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 drought-stricken second month were stunning - in a not so good way. The only significant rainfall in my yard was 0.18 inches - spread across two days mid-month! Usually I have at least three wildflower species (dandelion, wild mustard, and henbit) blooming in my yard by the end of the month. This year, with so little rain, there is nothing in bloom and I scored but a single butterfly - not a single species; a single individual! The only good news, in terms of birds, is that American Robins have started building a nest in my fruitless mulberry tree, the drought is so bad that Mourning Doves are braving the Eurasian Collared Doves and White-winged Doves at my feeders, and there have been a few kettles of hawks overhead. On the other hand, due to drying down of in-town playas, I am no longer on the flight path of waterfowl and waders.
According to the US Drought Monitor my entire region is in severe to extreme drought and, zooming in, over half the region, including my yard, is in extreme drought.
During February I had 1 butterfly, 0 amphibian, 1 reptile, 20 bird, and 1 mammal species in/over/from the yard - far below what is normal for February - putting me at 1 butterfly, 0 amphibian, 1 reptile, 21 bird, and 2 mammal species for the year - 2.5%, 100%, 50%, 25%, and 50% of my taxonomic goals. Of the 25 species seen thus far this year I have photographs of only 21 (a mere 84%) - I really need some butterflies to boost the photographic percentage as flyover birds are very difficult to capture with my non-SLR camera.
The list follows (* = new, (y) = photographed):
Cackling Goose Canada Goose Rock Pigeon Eurasian Collared Dove White-winged Dove Mourning Dove(y) Ring-billed Gull Double-crested Cormorant Sharp-shinned Hawk Cooper's Hawk Red-tailed Hawk*(y) Blue Jay American Robin(y) Northern Mockingbird European Starling Cedar Waxwing* House Sparrow House Finch American Goldfinch* Great-tailed Grackle
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Desperately hoping for rain, blossoms, and critters; Anthony Hewetson; Lubbock