Date: 7/17/20 3:49 pm
From: Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: birding in 1882 by shotgun
They are likely late winter residents...I found two once in (March 24,
2003) in SW Austin (now River Place area) during surveys. there I did not
see a date associated with the account. Quoting the TOS Handbook, "spring
migrants have found from early March through mid-April, with a few
remaining into early May" Nesting birds have remained in the state until
early July."

On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 5:22 PM sandfalcon1 <sandfalcon...> wrote:

> I am curious what others think about the note about Long-eared Owls
> encountered with the professor. Were these known to have nested in the
> Hill Country or been permanent residents in the past? Or were these more
> likely misidentified?
>
> Brandon Best
> Arlington, TX
>
>
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> On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 2:36 PM Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...>
> wrote:
>
>> Search for field notes. The first page came up with Wetmore's 1911 kansas
>> notebook and mearns of quail fame has many. Other variations notebooks,
>> field notes etc also work
>>
>> I found them as I check the newest additions periodically and some of
>> them popped up
>>
>> Field notes texas has a lot about the glass mountains.
>>
>> The smithsonian has a major project to make this basic data readily
>> available.
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 10:35 AM Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> One can also use S.O.R.A. (Searchable Online Research Archive) for
>>> journals and papers going back to the 19th century. I'm not aware of
>>> accessible private note transcripts within the collection however.. I was
>>> in there several days ago looking for a paper on the Prehistoric Birds of
>>> Texas.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 9:35 AM Joseph Kennedy <
>>> <josephkennedy36...> wrote:
>>>
>>>> The Biodiversity Heritage Library has quite a few field notebooks of
>>>> early Texas birding, wildlife and exploring.
>>>>
>>>> https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
>>>>
>>>> The ones I checked are hard to read as there is lots of shorthand and
>>>> you have to wander through to get a starting point of the location etc. You
>>>> can search birds texas and get a great listing of data including the early
>>>> years of the auk and other journals which go back into the 1880's. You can
>>>> also select down to years to only get early stuff. Its interesting to see
>>>> the results of study that reference Oberholser starting to do work etc.
>>>>
>>>> On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 10:46 AM <bertf...> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> I’m always searching for old records of Texas birds and comparing
>>>>> birding then and now. I came across this interesting story of birding by
>>>>> shotgun in Kerr County toward the end of the 19th century.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Lacey, Howard. "Notes on the Texan Jay." The Condor V, no. 6
>>>>> (November-December 1903): 151-3.
>>>>>
>>>>> On buying a small ranch in Kerr county, Texas, in the summer of 1882,
>>>>> and stocking it with a few cows and other domestic animals, I began to
>>>>> spend my spare time in studying the habits of the wild creatures that I
>>>>> met, and at first gave nearly all my attention to the birds of the
>>>>> neighborhood. Not finding anyone else who took much interest in such
>>>>> things, I bought Coues’ Key to North American Birds, and with this and a
>>>>> shot gun I by degrees learned the names of most of the birds that I saw as
>>>>> I rode about the range. I dislike having to use the gun, so I made a point
>>>>> of making a rough skin (a very rough one indeed at first) of everything
>>>>> that I shot and could not identify.
>>>>>
>>>>> In 1893 I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of the “
>>>>> professor” who was then living in San Antonio, with whom I have since taken
>>>>> many pleas- ant little excursions, and between us we got to be on familiar
>>>>> terms with most of our bird neighbors. One of the birds that I could not
>>>>> place was our common jay, now known as the Texan jay (Aphelocoma texana).
>>>>>
>>>>> In December, 1894, when deer hunting on the head of the Nueces river,
>>>>> I shot and skinned one of these birds and sent it to the professor. He sent
>>>>> it on, I believe, to the late Captain Bendire, and it is now the type of
>>>>> the species. In March, 1896, I heard that the jays were nesting on the
>>>>> ranch of a friend about sixteen miles north of my place, so I rode over
>>>>> there and on March 29th and 30th found several nests and took four or five
>>>>> sets of eggs. These were carefully packed in an old cigar box and stowed
>>>>> away in one of the saddle pockets, but unfortunately as I was taking a rest
>>>>> and a lunch on my way home, the horse shook himself and of course the
>>>>> saddle also, with the result that most of the eggs were broken.
>>>>>
>>>>> In 1898 the professor arranged to visit this same ranch with me, and
>>>>> on April 4th we started in an old buckboard and had a fairly successful
>>>>> trip, getting some good specimens of the birds and several clutches of
>>>>> eggs. The ranch is situated at the head of one of the main branches of the
>>>>> Guadalupe and takes in some of the divide between that river and the Llano.
>>>>> As in other parts of the county the limestone rocks are in evidence
>>>>> everywhere. Numerous little valleys run down toward the rivers, becoming
>>>>> deeper and steeper as they approach the larger creek, and often forming
>>>>> narrow canyons with high bluffs on both sides. Large trees are not
>>>>> numerous, but the whole face of the country is covered with clumps of shin
>>>>> oak and scrubby live oak. In these clumps we found the jays’ nests,
>>>>> generally placed near the outside of a thicket, at from four to six feet
>>>>> from the ground, and often conspicuous from quite a distance, as the shrubs
>>>>> were only beginning to put out their leaves at that time. As a rule the
>>>>> birds were setting and one nest contained young nearly ready to leave it.
>>>>> The nests were composed of an outer basket of twigs not very firmly put
>>>>> together, and lined rather neatly with grass, hair, and small root fibers.
>>>>> They were rather more bulky than mockingbirds’ nests and the inner nest was
>>>>> saucer shaped rather than cup shaped. Most of them were placed in the shin
>>>>> oaks, but some few were in live oaks, and I have since found several in
>>>>> cedar bushes. The birds are not so noisy as the common blue jay and are
>>>>> particularly silent when near their nests. They have a habit of hopping
>>>>> upwards through a thicket from twig to twig until they arrive at the top of
>>>>> it, when they fly off with four or five harsh squeaks to the next clump of
>>>>> brush, into which they dive headlong. It was a very warm day with the
>>>>> thermometer in the shade of the gallery at the ranch standing well up in
>>>>> the nineties, and tramping about through the thickets and picking our way
>>>>> over the rocks was by no means light work, but the walk was so interesting
>>>>> that we did not have time to think of getting tired. Of course we found
>>>>> much to interest us besides the jays. An untidy platform of sticks in a
>>>>> small Spanish oak tree, proved on investigation to be a road-runner’s nest,
>>>>> containing six eggs, which from their unusually clear appearance, were
>>>>> probably all of them fresh. One frequently finds eggs in different stages
>>>>> of incubation in a roadrunner’s nest and sometimes eggs and young birds or
>>>>> young birds of different sizes. Several times we disturbed deer. They were
>>>>> in their fresh summer suits of red, having already discarded their gray
>>>>> winter overcoats. As is so often the case when one is not hunting them,
>>>>> they would stop to take a second look at us, offering pretty broadside
>>>>> shots at fifty or sixty paces. In one extra dense thicket at the head of a
>>>>> rough little hollow we found a pair of long-eared owls (Asio wilsonianus)
>>>>> the first we had ever seen in the county; and on a rocky ridge just beyond
>>>>> were a couple of burrowing owls. They flew a few yards and then settled on
>>>>> some rocks, nodding their heads at us in their usual ludicrous fashion.
>>>>> These owls do not breed in this county, but we see them every year in the
>>>>> spring and autumn. There are no prairie dog towns on this side of the Llano
>>>>> river, but plenty of them just across it and I have been told that the owls
>>>>> breed over there. Many small flocks of migrating birds were seen, some of
>>>>> them just arriving for the summer and others getting ready to leave us.
>>>>> Conspicuous among the latter were the crown sparrows and lark buntings, the
>>>>> male buntings already about half clothed in their striking summer plumage.
>>>>>
>>>>> Large trees were rather scarce on the divide and were not very large
>>>>> there except by comparison. They were principally isolated live oaks or
>>>>> black-jacks and most of them contained nests of the red-tailed hawk,
>>>>> usually old and deserted, but the new ones already contained either eggs or
>>>>> young birds. Of course all the hollow trees we saw had to be closely
>>>>> inspected and in one old stump we found a large pole cat peacefully taking
>>>>> his siesta. We had a good look at him but were very careful not to disturb
>>>>> his slumbers. He belonged to the white-backed, bare-nosed species and
>>>>> appeared to be very fat, also, fortunately for us, very sleepy. In the
>>>>> winter the Texan jays are generally in small parties of four or five
>>>>> individuals, family parties probably. In the winter of 1896-1897 when large
>>>>> numbers of the common eastern blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) visited us,
>>>>> and it was not uncommon to see flocks of from fifty to one hundred of them,
>>>>> our native jays did not mix with them but wandered about in their usual
>>>>> small flocks. These flocks, however, were far more numerous than they have
>>>>> ever been since. Probably a heavy crop of shin oak acorns in this
>>>>> neighborhood and a failure of the mast in other places, attracted the birds
>>>>> of both species. I have not seen the eastern jay here but once before; in
>>>>> 1887 they were very plentiful. They remained until the middle of April on
>>>>> both occasions, but none of them stayed here to breed.
>>>>>
>>>>> Bert Frenz
>>>>>
>>>>> Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>>>>>
>>>>> eBird reviewer, Central Prairie of Texas
>>>>>
>>>>> eBird reviewer, Belize
>>>>>
>>>>> NAB subregional editor, Central Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>>>>>
>>>>> <Bert2...>
>>>>>
>>>>> www.bafrenz.com
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Joseph C. Kennedy
>>>> on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston
>>>> <Josephkennedy36...>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>> Brush Freeman
>>> <http://www.biospatialsevices.com>
>>> Utley & Cedar Park, Texas
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>> --
>> Joseph C. Kennedy
>> on Buffalo Bayou in West Houston
>> <Josephkennedy36...>
>>
>
>
> --
> You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can
> never repay you.
> -John Bunyan
>
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--

Brush Freeman
<http://www.biospatialsevices.com>
Utley & Cedar Park, Texas

 
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