Everything’s bigger in Texas, and so is my life list

While I didn’t add a huge number of birds to my “Big Month” count, my trip to Texas did net me four lifers, two that I had seen before but never recorded and two that truly were new sightings for me.

I racked up a modest 21 species in College Station during the six days I was in the Lone Star state, adding six species to my count for the month.

The true lifers were a white-winged dove and a spotted sandpiper. I saw both at Gabbard Park, a small but delightful city park with a pond in the middle.

Northern mockingbirds were plentiful in Texas, including this one perched on a fence near my daughter’s home in College Station.

I also logged lots of barn swallows and great-tailed grackles, both of which I had seen before, the former many times many years ago and the latter on several visits to Houston. I never did get a photo of the males, who have more pronounced “great tails” than the more slender, brownish females. Fittingly, I got photos of the females on a “ladies night out” in the parking lot of Chuy’s, a popular Tex-Mex restaurant, at the Post Oak Mall.

My other additions to my “Big Month” list were white-eyed vireos and blue-gray gnatcatchers.

Having flown home to Newark Liberty Airport last night, I could not resist the call of the wild when I woke up this morning. I headed to my happy place, the Pole Farm, and saw my first-of-the-year ruby-crowned kinglet. It was tucked away in a thicket in the woods, and I was only able manage a fuzzy frame with my camera that wasn’t worth sharing.

I had heard a brown thrasher at Lick Creek Park in College Station one morning but never did see it. That made things extra special this morning when I spotted one high up in a tree. My photos turned out better than expected, and I’m sharing one here.

Also today, I finally saw a white-breasted nuthatch at our backyard feeder. The bird was a long time in coming, and it brought my count for the month up to 58. I’m closing in on my goal of 60. I have two weeks to go to reach it, and the warbler migration is just beginning.

I’m counting on this week bringing more surprises and even more joy.

A brown thrasher makes his presence known high up in a tree at the Pole Farm side of Mercer Meadows park.

Published by Dan

University media executive by day, blogger by night, I am a well-traveled resident of New Jersey

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