Texas ~ Day 2!

A VERY special and sincere note of thanks to our friends, Jane Tillman and Mark Lyons, for meeting up with us early Monday before we headed west.

Together we hit Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park in Austin to try for Chuck-wills-widow and got ’em! After birding the park for a few hours, we had success adding the following new species for the year.

289 Northern Bobwhite – Colinus virginianus Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
288 Chuck-will’s-widow – Antrostomus carolinensis Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
287 Black-chinned Hummingbird – Archilochus alexandri Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
286 Ladder-backed Woodpecker – Picoides scalaris Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
286 Western Scrub-Jay – Aphelocoma californica Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
285 Black-crested Titmouse – Baeolophus atricristatus Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
284 Rufous-crowned Sparrow – Aimophila ruficeps Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016
283 Blue Grosbeak – Passerina caerulea Commons Ford Pk US-TX 23 May 2016

And thanks to Jane for her enthusiasm and sharp strategizing for Mom’s Big Year and to Mark for all his support!  Jane’s recommendations were ‘spot-on’ and produced many more birds throughout the adventure!  Thank you, Jane!

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Birding Commons Ford
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Mark, Jane and David
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Jane & Nancy
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Having fun strategizing our trip west!
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Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park

We spent the afternoon at Pedernales Fall State Park.  A lifer Golden-cheeked Warbler was a REAL treat for me!  And we had a chance to watch a male Painted Bunting take a bath.. That’s a bird I was tickled to see for the first time earlier this year after drooling over it in a book when I was 5 years old. I’ve been dreaming about seeing it ever since then! New year birds at Pedernales included the following–although we did hear Bewick’s Wren loud and clear in the morning at Commons Ford too.

Stay tuned for a review of Day 3 tomorrow..

MORE birds AND friends!……My two favorite things! 🙂 ❤

292 Golden-cheeked Warbler – Setophaga chrysoparia Pedernales Falls State Park (HOTE 050) US-TX 23 May 2016
291 Wilson’s Warbler – Cardellina pusilla Pedernales Falls State Park (HOTE 050) US-TX 23 May 2016
290 Bewick’s Wren – Thryomanes bewickii Pedernales Falls State Park (HOTE 050) US-TX 23 May 2016

A million miles…

Well, I can’t believe it was just over a week ago that I stood face-to-face with a Colima Warbler in Big Bend.  With the long list of end-of-the-year kid activities (picnics, concerts, play-off games etc.) we’ve been running (but enjoying!) this week and it honestly feels like my big Texas adventure was a million miles ago.  I’m finally getting a break in the action to start sharing it with you.  I’ll recap the highlights over the course of the next week.

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Nancy & David after seeing a Pacific-slope Flycatcher in the Rio Grande Valley, Nov 2015

Uncle David from Austin was my fabulous travel companion and we wasted no time in getting our big adventure started!  We went straight from the Austin airport to Hornsby Bend and some local ponds and picked up several species before packing the car to head west on Monday. It was fun to run into The Nature Conservancy’s Rich Kostecke and Vee Na at Hornsby Bend and add some new birds along the way. Other highlights included photographing a Least Grebe mom and chicks and catching a barn owl at dusk. 🙂

Here’s the list of new species we added to MBY (Mom’s Big Year) on day 1:

282 Barn Owl – Tyto alba Austin–Mueller Prairie Restor.& ponds  US-TX 22 May 2016
281 Monk Parakeet – Myiopsitta monachus US-TX-Austin-6801 Burnet Rd – 30.3440x-97.7381 US-TX 22 May 2016
280 Least Grebe – Tachybaptus dominicus Austin–The Triangle Pond US-TX 22 May 2016
279 Lesser Goldfinch – Spinus psaltria Austin–The Triangle Pond US-TX 22 May 2016
278 Dickcissel – Spiza americana Platt Lane (Travis Co.) US-TX 22 May 2016
277 White-rumped Sandpiper – Calidris fuscicollis Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
276 Semipalmated Sandpiper – Calidris pusilla Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
275 Wilson’s Phalarope – Phalaropus tricolor Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
274 Black Tern – Chlidonias niger Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
273 Western Kingbird – Tyrannus verticalis Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
272 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Tyrannus forficatus Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037) US-TX 22 May 2016
271 Great-tailed Grackle – Quiscalus mexicanus Austin–Bergstrom Intl. Airport (AUS) US-TX 22 May 2016

The REAL question….

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I leave Sunday for the BIGGEST of the Mom’s Big Year trips so far and still have oodles of items on the to-do list.  I’m starting to accept the fact that they’re just not going to get done. I kept thinking I had another week and it dawned on me the other day that my plane leaves for Austin early THIS Sunday!

I texted one of my dearest and oldest friends yesterday and confided in her that with everything going on — I just didn’t feel quite ready for this big and exciting adventure.

Her response….

“But is Texas ready for YOU? ……..THAT is the question.”

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Here’s to another 30+ years of friendship, Tamar!  Thank you for always dishing out EXACTLY what I need to hear when I need it most!

XOXO, Nancy