Mary Gustafson (MGu), Alan Gutsell, Martin Hagne (MHa), John Hale (JHl), Greg Hall (GHa), Jeff Hall (JeH), Lawrence Haller (LHa), Cullen Hanks, David Hanson, Brian C. Harris (BCH), Drew Harvey (DrH), Yvette Haughney, Dave Hawksworth (DHa), John Haynes (JHa), Susan Heath, Michael Heather (MHe), Thomas Hellwig (THe), Rhandy Helton, Alice Hempel (AlH), Brian Henderson (BHe), Joey Henderson, Jodi Hendricks (JHe), Anthony Hewetson (AnH) (Northwest Texas – Panhandle and South Plains), Marla Hibbitts (MHi), Troy Hibbitts (THi), Petra Hockey, Melanie Hoffman (MHo), Fran Holmes, Gary Holmes (GHo), Lisa Holmes (LHo), Bob Honig (BHo), Joanie Hubinger (JHu), Mark Hubinger (MHu), Adam Hudson (AdH), James Hughes (JaH), Huck Hutchens, Michael James, Will Jaremko-Wright (WJW), Claire Johnson, Suzanne Johnson, Virginia Johnson, Andrew Kasner (AKa), Stephen Kasper (SKa), Susan Keefer (SKe), Missy Kerr (MKe), Simon Kiacz (SKi), David Kirsch, John Kiseda, Ethan Kistler, Phillip Kite, Christina Klein (CKl), Cathy Knoll (CKn), Alan Knue (AKn), Ad Konings (AKo), Rich Kostecke, Billi Krochuk, M. Kwan (MKw), Harvey Laas, David Larson (DLa), Jody Lawrence (JLa), Dominic LeCroissette (DLe), Cin-Ty Lee (CTL), Jason Leifester (JLe), Tim Lenz (TLe), Tony Leukering (ToL), Lila Lewis (LLe), David Liang (DaL), Duke Liebler (DuL), Glen Lindeman, Tim Linz (TLi), Scotty Lofland, Laurie Looper (LLo), Ben Lucking, Robbin Mallett, Alberto Manterola (AlM), Joseph Manthey (JMa), Michael Marsden (MMa), Steve Mayes (SMa), Anne Mayville (AnM), Curtis McCamy (CuM), Suzie McCann (SuM), Michael McCloy (MiM), Wendy McCrady, Martha McDermott (MaM), Steven McDonald (StM), Todd McGrath, Liam McGuire, Jon McIntyre (JMc), Patty McLean (PMc), Connie McNabb (CoM), Anita Meagher (AMe), Collette Micallef (CMi), Paul Micallef (PMi), Jennifer Miller (JMi), Vicki Milne, Iliana Mock, Joanna Morelli (JMo), Arman Moreno (AMo), John Muldrow (JoM), Jane Murtinshaw (JaM), Derek Muschalek, Stuart Nelson, Ron Newhouse, Daniel Newman, Brandon Nidiffer, Edward Noack (EdN), Cody Norris, Emily Novak (EmN), John O’Brien, Michael O’Brien (MiO), Vincent O’Brien, Ryan O’Donnell, Kyle O’Haver, Pat O’Neil, Matt O’Sullivan (MaO), Duane Och, Andrew Orgill, Sue Orwig, Jay Packer (JaP), Greg Page (GPa), Christina Parks (CPa), Larry Parmeter, Jim Paton (JiP) (Trans-Pecos), Michael Pease, Jackelyn Ferrer Perez (JFP), John Pike (JPi), Randy Pinkston, Charlie Plimpton (CPl), Carl Poldrack (CPo), Shantel Porterfield, Gene Prejean (GPr), Niler Pyeatt (NiP), Nathaniel Pylant (NaP), Nina Rach (NiR), Nancy Raginski (NaR), Kyle Rambo, Ross Rasmussen (North Central Texas), Martin Reid (MRe), Bill Reiner (BRe), Adriel Resh, Mary Richards (MRi), James Rieman, Barrett Riess (BRi), Cecilia Riley (CRi), Colton Robbins (CRo), Ryan Rodriguez, Sarah Roper, Peggy Rudman, Chris Runk (CRu), Bill Sain (BSa), Carlos Sanchez (CSa), Laura Sare (LSa), David Sarkozi (DSa), Sam Saunders (SSa), Jeff Schaberg (JeS), Kelly Schaeffer, Bobby Schat (BoS), Mark Scheuerman (MSc), Bill Schneider (BiS), Susie Schneider (SSc), Jamie Schubert (JaS), Tyler Scott (TSc), Willie Sekula (South Texas), William Seleen (WSe), Charles Seniawski (CSe), Brenda Shelton (BSh), Dennis Shepler (DSh), Dan Sherick (DaS), Matthew Sim (MSi), Letha Slagle (LSl), John Smelser (JSm), Dough Smith (DSm), Sue Smith (SSm), Hugh Smyth, Tanya Smythe (TSm), Rick Snider (RSn), John Sproul (JSp), Don Stanley (DoS), Denise Stephens (DSt), Mike Stewart (MSt), Mary Beth Stowe (MBS), Michelle Summers (MSu), Steve Svedeman (SSv), Romey Swanson (RSw), Bryan Tarbox, Sandi Templeton, Lila Theis, Diane Theriault (DTh), Ian Thompson, David Tonnessen (DTo), Peggy Trosper, Tina Trost, Abbie Valine, William Vanderpoel, Martha Vanoy, Linda Vegh, Darrell Vollert, Christian Walker, Jim Weber (JWe), Lynne Weber, Mike Weber (MWe), Ron Weeks (RWe) (Upper Texas Coast), Bert Wessling (BWe), Ed Wetzel, Deborah Whiting (DWh), John Whittle (JWh), Brad Wier (BWi), Shirley Wilkerson, Kenneth Williams, John Wilson (JWi), Max Wilson (MWi), Dale Wolck (DWo), John Yochum, Gary Yoder, Fred Zagst, Kay Zagst, Louise Zemaitis.
L.R.G.V. (Lower Rio Grande Valley); L.R.G.V. N.W.R., (Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge); U.T.C. (Upper Texas Coast).
Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks continue to expand through northwest Texas with two at Andrews Park, Lubbock 31 Mar-7 Apr (AnH, RK, m.ob., ph.), 16-32 at Dimmitt City Park, Castro 13-27 Apr (BB, DrH, AnH, m.ob., ph.), and 2-21 at Veterans’ Park, Deaf Smith 22 Apr-25 May (GCo, PT). Two Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were rather far north just east of Belton, Bell 7-8 May (RP, ph. CPl). Ross’s Goose have rarely been reported in recent years in the Central Brazos Valley, so four mixed on a large group of Snow Geese 10 Mar (AlM) near Calvert, Robertson was noteworthy. A Canada Goose present near Eagle Lake, Colorado 19-22 Apr (GL et al.) was quite late. A rare winter visitor state-wide, a Tundra Swan stopped at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson 1 Mar (MEl, ph.).
A great find anywhere in Texas, a male Eurasian Wigeon at O.C. Fisher Lake outside San Angelo, Tom Green 6-21 Mar (ph. SJ, m.ob.) was one of the seasonal highlights in central Texas. A count of 17 American Wigeon at J. J. Mayes Wildlife Trace, Chambers 4 May was a large number that late in the season (CPo). With Mexican Duck now recognized as a full species in eBird, they are getting more attention and it is likely that we will learn more about the extent of their range in Texas; two were at the O’Donnell Playa, Lynn (GCo, SG) and one was at Guy Park, Lubbock 2 Apr (JoC). Out of place was a Mottled Duck on Lake Travis, Travis 3 May (ph. SuM). A late pair of Northern Pintails were at Pearland Nature Park, Brazoria 12 May (DO). Late Ring-necked Ducks were at Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Jefferson 30 Apr and in Liberty, Liberty (ph. CMi, PMi) 9-24 May.
A nice inland group of three Surf Scoters lingered on the west end of Belton Lake, Bell 3-17 Mar (ph. CPl) and two were at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 5 Apr (ph. GCo); two at Lake Bridgeport, Runaway Bay, Wise from this winter lingered until 23 Mar (MSu, ph.). A male Black Scoter from the ferry at Port Aransas, Nueces 25 Apr (BE) along with a female bird in Aransas Bay, Aransas 12 May (MGu et al.) were notable for the locations and dates. The last report of the winter-invasion Black Scoters on the U.T.C. were 23 seen at Galveston Island S.P., Galveston 7 May (SKe). A Long-tailed Duck was a one-day wonder at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 3 Mar (ph. SSv); the wintering bird at Southside Water Treatment, Dallas lingered until 14 Mar (EW, m.ob., ph.). A female Bufflehead lingered late at Ascarate Park, El Paso through the period until 17 Jun (JK, ph.) for a rare summer record. Quite late was a Hooded Merganser was at Lake Marvin, Hemphill 27 May (GCo). Amazing for the date and location were 38 Hooded Mergansers reported from the King Ranch, Kleberg 2 Apr (BDi). The Common Merganser at White Rock Lake, Dallas lingered until 23 Mar (MC, m.ob., ph.).
Grebes through Nightjars
A pair of Least Grebes at seldom-birded Ruidosa, Presidio 24 Mar (ph. WS) was a new location for the species and farther up-river than all previous records in Big Bend country. A Least Grebe at Lakeside Park in The Woodlands 22 Mar was perhaps the second record for Montgomery (GPr). A single Least Grebe was at Carlos Lake, Grimes 23 Apr (ph. JPi) where they have been seen occasionally in the past. A late Horned Grebe was at Bolivar Flats, Galveston 4 May (ID, CH, TLe, MP, KS). An outstanding spring sighting for the Pineywoods was a Western Grebe at Lake Bob Sandlin, Titus 1 Mar (ph. DBr). A Western Grebe at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley 26 May (EK, BK) and 8 at Lake Meredith, Moore 30 May (MEl) were quite late in the season for the Panhandle. The easternmost Clark’s Grebe was a lone bird on O.C. Fisher Lake outside San Angelo, Tom Green 19-28 Mar (ph. LHa) while 4 at Lake Meredith, Hutchinson 13 May (RGo) and 6 at Lake Meredith, Moore 30 May (MEl) were unusual, and late, for the Panhandle.
Last year’s pioneering White-tipped Dove returned to far west Austin, south of St. Edward’s Park, Travis 19 Mar+ (BRe) while another was at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 19 Mar-4 May where as many as 2 birds were first found last fall (WM). Two Groove-billed Anis at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 17 Mar-19 Apr were rare for spring (ph. LSl, AG). A Black-billed Cuckoo just north of Canadian, Hemphill 27 May (ph. GCo) was late and west of expected areas, one of only a few records for the Panhandle; another late bird was at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 25 May (JY). One or more Lesser Nighthawks were seen 6-13 Apr at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria (ph. WM, m.ob.) and 10-14 Apr at Sabine Woods, Jefferson (ph. GBy, ph. JeC). A Common Nighthawk in Lubbock, Lubbock 20 Mar (AnH) was quite early. A Common Pauraque almost 10 miles south-southeast of San Marcos, Hays 16-26 Apr (BT) was the most northerly individual reported. A very approachable Eastern Whip-poor-will in a North Padre Island, Nueces yard 12 May (JMc) along with a calling bird in San Benito, Cameron 13 May (MMa) were notably late.
Hummingbirds through Cranes
Mexican Violetears made a strong showing with one in north San Antonio 12-16 May (ph. LT, m.ob.), one in Kerrville, Kerr 13 May+ (ph. LLe) and another near Reagan Wells, Uvalde 24 May+ (ph., m.ob.). The hybrid Black-chinned X Anna’s Hummingbird from last year returned to far nw. Austin, Williamson 15 Apr+ (ph. AMo). A male Black-chinned Hummingbird at the Champions Lake access of the Trinity N.W.R., Liberty 19 Apr was late and rare so far east (BSa). The female Anna’s Hummingbird that tended to a nest during the winter at Cottonwood Campground, Big Bend N.P., Brewster fledged 2 young in early March and went on to fledge 2 more young in a second brood in early April (ph., m.ob.); it is unknown which species this bird mated with. A subadult male Calliope Hummingbird that visited Bentsen-Rio Grande S.P., Hidalgo 2-21 Mar (ph. RSn, MGu) provided for a rare spring record for the L.R.G.V. An adult male Allen’s Hummingbird was in Cameron 3 Apr (ph. MCa). The overwintering female Broad-tailed Hummingbird at Nederland, Jefferson was last seen 28 Mar (JWh). An adult male Broad-billed Hummingbird frequented a west El Paso, El Paso yard 6-9 May (JLa, ph.) while the female that spent 24 Feb-6 Mar at Willis, Montgomery (AR) was very rare for East Texas. A Buff-bellied Hummingbird in West Lake Hills, Travis 12 May (HS) was notable north of its regular range.
Three Virginia Rails five miles west of Houston County Lake, Houston 15 May (BRi) were unusual and late migrants through east Texas. Rarely reported in recent years in Brazos, one or possibly two Virginia Rails received a lot of attention in Bryan 9-25 Mar (IM, audio BFo, audio MRi, audio SD, m.ob.). An estimate of 100 Sora from Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Jefferson 18 Apr was a notable total (ToF, MSc, JO). Ranging westward, a Purple Gallinule was a good find on the Edwards Plateau in Marble Falls, Burnet 13 May (ph. FZ, KZ). A Whooping Crane near O’Donnell, Lynn 4 Mar (BoS) was certainly the bird that wintered in the area; 2 migrants heading north stopped at Granger Lake, Williamson 22 Mar (ph. LC). A group of 2 to 4 Whooping Cranes seen by hundreds of birders 31 Mar+ in ne. Chambers were likely part of the re-introduced non-migratory Louisiana flock that has been seen at times not far away in western Jefferson (DH, ph. MKw, m.ob.).
A little early were 3 Black-bellied Plovers at Haskell County Lake, Haskell 17 Mar (GCo, SG). A basic plumaged American Golden-Plover reported from the Superior Turf Farms, Cameron 31 May was late (HH). Always a nice inland prize during migration, a lone Piping Plover stopped at Belton Lake, Bell 24 Apr (JeH, ph. RP) and another was at the turf farm at Sims Lane, Brazos 26 Apr (†MiM, JHl, TSc, †EA, †DoB). Perhaps the most puzzling, out of place bird of the season was a Wilson’s Plover at Lake Lavon, Collin 7 Apr (DoS, MJ, ph.), an unexpected first for north-central Texas. Likely more regular in the region than detected, as many as 25 Mountain Plovers was a sizeable count north of Wingate, Runnels 10 Mar (ph. CW). A dozen Whimbrel 5 miles southwest of Eden, Concho 25 Apr (ph. KD, ToL) was a nice number for such a westerly locale; 2-5 Whimbrels near Wolfforth, Lubbock 27-28 Mar (JoC, DrH) and 3 at the Hart Irrigation Ponds, Castro 22 Apr (GCo) were also nice finds for the western portion of the state. Only the second record for Brazos, the first in 1997, a Whimbrel was at Sims Lane 18 Apr (†BE, †TSc, ph. JHl, et al.). A high count for the region, 311 Long-billed Curlews were near Morton, Cochran 16 Mar (TJA, DrH).
Hudsonian Godwits are regular migrants in at least the eastern portion of the range but a careful count of 47 near Webberville, Travis 6 May (CCr, m.ob.) was still an unusually high count; 168 near Eagle Lake, Colorado 13 May (BoF) was also impressive. A total of 17 Marbled Godwits at Belton Lake, Bell 24 Apr (ph. RP) was also a notably high count for central Texas while 40 at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 21 Apr (ph. AMe) was also a notable number. Up to 11 Marbled Godwits at Sims Lane 18 Apr (JHl, ph. TSc, SW, †BE, †DoB, et al.) provided a second record for Brazos. Another good find for Brazos was a Ruddy Turnstone at Sims Lane 3-4 May (†ph. JHl, et al.). More surprising, and a first record for Robertson, one was near Mumford 13 May (ph. SKi). Certainly, the highlight of the season was Texas’s first Black Turnstone at Sea Rim S.P., Jefferson 3 May (ph. JMo); many searched the local beaches the next day, but the bird was not re-found. A Sanderling at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 25 May (SCo, WS) was late and a bit westward. Impressive early numbers of Dunlins included 16 at Haskell County Lake, Haskell 17 Mar (GCo, SG) and 4 at the Skeen Playa, Lynn 24 Mar (GCo, SG); 2 near Mumford 13 May (ph. SKi, †JHl), were a first record for Robertson.
Only the second documented record for Brazos, a Short-billed Dowitcher was at Sims Lane 25 Apr (†MiM) accompanying two Long-billed Dowitchers. Another or the same was photographed there 11 May (ph. SW); 110 seen at the Skeen Playa, Lynn 24 Mar (GCo, SG) and 27 at the Helium Road Playa, Randall 28 Mar (KDE) were very high numbers for so early in the season. A late American Woodcock was well described from Jones Lake at Aransas N.W.R., Aransas 21 Apr (DN); even later was one flushed from the Katy Prairie, Waller 5 May (BHo). A count of 8 Wilson’s Snipe at Brazoria N.W.R., Brazoria 29 Apr was a high count for so late in the season (LP). A count of 65 Willets on Belton Lake, Bell 24 Apr (ph. RP) must have been a stunning sight. Five Red-necked Phalaropes was a good count at the Tulia Water Treatment Ponds, Swisher 10 May (WE).
Jaegers through Terns
Pomarine Jaegers were at McFaddin N.W.R., Jefferson 24 Mar (DLe, THe) and East Beach, Galveston 24 May+ (ph. BN, ph. CDa, et al.). A Parasitic Jaeger was studied pirating other birds at McFaddin N.W.R., Jefferson 24 Mar (DLe, THe) while another was observed chasing terns and then heading out to sea on Mustang Island, Nueces 20 May (AO). An immature Bonaparte’s Gull seen at Oyster Lake, Matagorda 8 May was quite late (BoF). One of the Little Gulls at White Rock Lake, Dallas during the winter remained until 24 Mar (CRu, m.ob.). A Laughing Gull visited Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 7 May (ph. AMe) while 2 dropped in at Ascarate Park, El Paso 23 May (JK, ph.) where rare. The first-cycle Western Gull at the White Rock Lake spillway lingered until 9 Mar (MC, CRu, ph., m.ob.).
A first-cycle California Gull on Lake Buchanan, Llano 10 Mar (ph. VO) was a surprising find; another at the Brownsville Landfill, Cameron to at least 4 Mar (ph. MRe, WS) was more expected. The apparent first-cycle Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull continued at the Brownsville Dump, Cameron to 9 Mar (ph. MBS). A first cycle Iceland Gull (L. g. thayeri) found at the Brownsville Dump, Cameron 4-15 Mar (ph. MRe, WS, ToL, KD) was a different individual from a February bird there. Other Iceland/Thayer’s Gulls included one at the White Rock Lake spillway, Dallas from the winter until 19 Mar (CRu, ph.), another 31 Mar at Quintana, Brazoria (FC) and a second cycle 14 Apr at Port Bolivar, Galveston (ph. MiO, LZ). Regular on the coast but still good finds inland, lone Lesser Black-backed Gulls were at Lake Halbert 2 Mar (ph. GCo) for a first county record for Navarro, in Amarillo, Randall 7-21 Mar (KDE, MSi), and on the uppermost portion of Lake Livingston, Trinity 29 Mar (ToF, MAu). The Glaucous Gull from the winter at the Brownsville Landfill, Cameron continued until 4 Apr (m.ob.) while a first-cycle bird was at Sea Rim S.P., Jefferson 15 Apr (ph. JHu, MHu).
Two Sooty Terns were checking out a colonial water bird colony in West Galveston Island, Galveston 24 May (SH). A Common Tern was a good find at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 6-7 May (DrH, JiC). A massive concentration of an estimated 5000 Common Terns at Bolivar Flats, Galveston 4 May was impressive but likely not unprecedented (ID, TLe, CH, KS).
Loons Through Ibis
Toledo Bend Reservoir, Sabine held an impressive count of 65 Common Loons as late as 8 Apr (DBe); late were single birds at Lake Meredith, Moore 25 Apr (MEl), and at Guy Park, Lubbock 30 Apr-1 May (JoC, LM, JMi, m.ob., ph.). There were several April records of Wood Stork on the U.T.C. this spring including one at Riverpark Nature Trails, Fort Bend 5 Apr (ph. MSc), 2 at Sylvan Beach, Harris 19 Apr (ph. JFa, JaM), and 4 near High Island, Galveston 20 Apr (GCh). Four Wood Storks mixed in with pelicans near Lago Vista, Travis 23 May (DaL) was a bit unseasonal and well west of where they can be expected. Brown Boobies continue to be seen with regularity along the coast with one seen flying by the seawall in Galveston, Galveston 12 Apr (CTL), as many as 4 seen flying by Galveston Island S.P., Galveston 17-18 Apr (KO), another at the Texas City Dike, Galveston 3 May (ph. JH, BHe, MWe, WC), and a lone bird offshore on an oil rig in Nueces waters 31 May (AO). A late Northern Gannet was spotted flying over the Gulf near High Island, Galveston 4 May (WV). Lone inland Brown Pelican wandered to Lake Palestine, Smith 22 Mar (SBr), to Lake Stephenville, Erath 7 May (CKn) for a first record for the county, and to Ascarate Park, El Paso 30 May (ph., JK, m.ob.).
The latest American Bittern on the U.T.C. was one at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 10-12 May (ph. TM, WM). Four Least Bitterns heard at Shoveler Pond, Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 28 Mar was early for multiple birds (TiF). Brazos had a surprising number of sightings of Least Bittern this spring. A single Least Bittern was at Country Club Lake, Bryan 19 Apr (SD, CDi). Two male Least Bitterns were at Gabbard Park, College Station 20 Apr (†AB). Another or one of the same was about two miles away in Southwood Valley, College Station 20 May (HD). Much less regular in the El Paso area than Tricolored Heron, an adult Little Blue Heron was at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 25-30 Apr (JSp, m.ob., ph.). A white-phase Reddish Egret at Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 18 May (JBo) was well inland, especially for the spring season. By late May a pair of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons had returned to a west El Paso, El Paso site where present the year before (JGr). A bit to the north, another was in Anthony, El Paso 28 May (MHo). Inland Glossy Ibis included single birds at Judge Rhyne Park, Terry 20-21 Apr (GCo, DrH, AnH, ph.), at Dimmitt City Park, Castro 22 Apr (GCo, ph.), at Village Creek Drying Beds, Arlington, Tarrant 25-26 April (CAy, ph.), 5 miles north of Wingate, Taylor 4 May (ph. JaP), at Junction’s Wastewater Ponds, Kimble 6 May (ph. RH), near Webberville, Travis 9-12 May (ph. AMo), and at Twin Buttes Reservoir, Tom Green 29-30 May (ph. LHa).
Osprey through Owls
Rather late was an Osprey at Ransom Lake, Lubbock 27 May (BoS). Surprisingly only the second record for McLennan, a White-tailed Kite was at Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir 26 Mar (ph. JoM). Swallow-tailed Kites returned to Devers Creek Park in Ganado, Jackson this spring. Breeding was confirmed when four adults and a recently fledged youngster were seen 15 May (PH). A Swallow-tailed Kite wandered westward to Kerrville, Kerr 10 Apr (NaR, MGa). An incredibly rare find for the eastern Edwards Plateau was an adult Common Black Hawk over Pedernales Falls S.P., Blanco 12 Apr (PO); not as unusual but still a good find was one at Independence Creek Preserve, Terrell 22-23 Mar (ph. RK et al.). The Common Black Hawk found at a resaca in Brownsville, Cameron in January continued to 4 Mar (TB). A Harris’s Hawk wandered northward 13 miles south of Baird, Callahan 29 Mar (ph. RK).
The most out-of-range White-tailed Hawks were 2 far-flung individuals near Truscott, Knox (CoC, ph. SyC, CKl); one near Granger Lake, Williamson 25 May (SAn) could have been the same bird seen a couple times there in mid-winter. Rare but regular in the El Paso area, the only report of Broad-winged Hawk was one near Dell City, Hudspeth 4 May (JiP, ph.). Probably annual on the Edwards Plateau, single Short-tailed Hawks were at Leakey, Real 7 Mar (ph. SSv) and at Government Canyon S.N.A., Bexar 27 Apr (ph. AV); one in the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 23 Apr (ph. CB et al.) was a one-day wonder and the only one reported in the Trans-Pecos this season. Central Texas has large areas where Ferruginous Hawk is absent from so it was a nice to have a flyover in far nw. Austin, Williamson 10 Mar (ph. AMo); one hovering over a field east of Earhardt Road, Bastrop 19 Apr (†MGo, JG) and another near Weedheaven, Jackson 21 Apr (DaS) was both late.
A Western Screech-Owl heard southwest of Nolan, Nolan 9 Mar (CW) was a real outlier. A very late Burrowing Owl was seen well at Attwater Prairie Chicken N.W.R., Colorado 19 Apr (FH); one along F.M. 1663 east Hamkamer, Chambers 20 Apr was the second latest ever for the U.T.C. (ph. JD, EB, et al.). A lone Long-eared Owl was loyal to a roosting spot at Dugout Wells, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 14-22 Mar (ph. AlH, m.ob.). A Short-eared Owl below Lake Six, Lubbock 7 Apr (DrH) was a bit late.
Kingfishers through Falcons
An out-of-range Ringed Kingfisher was an unexpected fly-over at White Lake at Cullinan Park in Sugar Land, Fort Bend 28 Apr (ph. RW); this is the second straight year this species has been found in the county. Quite unexpected was a Lewis’s Woodpecker 15 miles south of Robert Lee, Coke 6 Mar (ph. DWh); the one in Fort Davis, Jeff Davis during the winter lasted until 26 Apr (m.ob.) with a single report of a second bird joining it 24 Mar (DSh, FC). A hybrid Golden-fronted x Red-bellied Woodpecker photographed at the Calliham Unit, Choke Canyon S.P., McMullen 17 Mar (ph. MSt, YH) was well west of the two species’ known hybrid zone. A very later Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was at San Bernard N.W.R., Brazoria 3 May (WM). A male Northern Flicker in Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth 25 May (DHa) was notably late but at a site where nesting occurred in 2007. A Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker observed eating ants on the ground in Alamo, Hidalgo on 29 Apr (AnM) was exceedingly late for far south Texas. A rather odd sight on the Edwards Plateau and well north of expected range, a Pileated Woodpecker was seen well at Pedernales Falls S.P., Blanco 10 Mar (AKn).
Well out of range was a Crested Caracara near Justiceburg, Garza 2 May (AnH). An un-banded Aplomado Falcon was around Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 29 Apr – 2 May (ph. AMe, ph. SF). A Prairie Falcon seen along Military Highway in Hidalgo 13 Mar (ToL, KD) was of note.
An adult male Rose-throated Becard visited Sabal Palm, Cameron 19-21 Mar (AdH) while in Hidalgo another male was at Bentsen S.P. 5 Apr (MaM et al.), a female was at Quinta Mazatlan 6 Apr (RR et al.) and another female at National Butterfly Center 26 Apr – 25 May (BWe, THi, MHi). Up to 3 Dusky-capped Flycatchers were in the upper Chisos Mountains, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 19 Apr+ (m.ob.) while birds were noted at multiple locations in the higher elevations of the Davis Mountains, Jeff Davis 14 May+ (m.ob.). A Dusky-capped Flycatcher was reported from Salineno, Starr 1 Mar (ph. IT, BCH). Continuing their expansion northward, a Great Kiskadee in Menard, Menard 6 May (ph. DSa) was a new location for one; another was calling from a pine tree 7 Apr (ph. JLe) at Paint Creek Road, Bastrop.
A Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher made a brief stop at Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 15 Apr (ph. CPl, JFP); as surprising was one in Boot Canyon, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 25 May (ph. EmN). After first county records in 2018, Tropical Kingbirds returned to sites in both Hudspeth and El Paso in early May. Multiple pairs were at Ascarate Park, El Paso 2 May+ (JK, ph., m.ob.) with ten plus birds including fledglings documented in the summer. In Hudspeth, a pair returned near Dell City 4 May+ with breeding likely but not confirmed (JiP, ph.). A pair of Couch’s Kingbirds built a nest in Katy, Fort Bend 1 May+ (SBu). There have been U.T.C. nests discovered before, but none to my knowledge has been successful other than the mixed Couch’s x Eastern pair at Smith Point, Chambers. One to two Couch’s Kingbirds were again in Brenham, Washington 1 Mar-12 Apr (†DV). An Eastern Kingbird at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 13 Mar was early (ph. GHa, DC). A Gray Kingbird at Sea Rim S.P., Jefferson 5 May (GD, ph. GBi, ph. SMa, et al.) and another in a traveling flock of Eastern Kingbirds at Mad Island Banding Site, Matagorda 15 May (TG) were just the fifteenth and sixteenth records for Texas. Following the spectacular fall and winter invasion, Fork-tailed Flycatchers were spotted along on White’s Ranch Road near the Skillern Unit of Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 12-13 Apr (ph. CCh, ph. JHu, MHu, et al.) at the main unit of Anahuac N.W.R. (about 7 miles west of the aforementioned location), Chambers 17 Apr (DG) and at Smith Oaks at High Island, Galveston 13-15 Apr (SSa, ph. JSm, et al.). The timing of these sightings indicates at least two and perhaps three individuals were involved.
An out of range Eastern Wood-Pewee seen and heard at Boys’ Ranch, Oldham 25 May (GCo). A calling Acadian Flycatcher in Portland, San Patricio 26 May was quite late (SkC). An Alder Flycatcher at Matador W.M.A., Cottle 11 May (WE) was a surprising find though status in the region is likely not fully understood given that many observers probably default to Willow Flycatcher for this tough species-pair. A Gray Flycatcher made a rare Cameron appearance 22-23 Apr (ph. PR, MHa et al.) at South Padre Island Convention Center. A pair of Eastern Phoebes were seen and heard in Katy, Fort Bend 21-22 May implying a rare breeding occurrence for the U.T.C. (ph. GY). A Say’s Phoebe on White’s Ranch Road, Chambers 15 Apr was late (CCh).
Vireos through Kinglets
Bell’s Vireo on the U.T.C. included one that overwintered at Robert Stuart Park, Harris through 23 Mar (ph. JR, NiR, ToF) and another at the Rice University campus, Harris 9 Apr (CTL, SN). A good find for Brazos, a Bell’s Vireo was heard and seen in College Station 4 May (†JaH). Although it nests in small numbers just to the north of El Paso in the Organ Mountains, Dona Ana, New Mexico, Gray Vireo is essentially unknown as a migrant in El Paso; one photographed in the Franklin Mountains 27 Apr (AKo, ph.) was just the second for the county with the previous one seen 22 Sep, 1993. The wintering Plumbeous Vireo at Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, Hidalgo was last seen 5 Mar (MGu et al.); another at Houston, Harris 6 May was just the sixth for the U.T.C. (ph. SO, JBe). A Warbling Vireo seen at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 31 Mar-1 Apr was early (KO, JaS, ph. LLo, et al.). A perhaps overdue local first and the farthest west ever for Texas was a Yellow-green Vireo at a migrant trap in northwest Hudspeth 30 May (JiP, ph.); one at The Post park south of Marathon, Brewster 4 May+ (ph. m.ob.) may very well have been a bird detected there for a few days the prior September. In South Texas, single Yellow-green Vireos this spring included one at Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo 3 May (MGu, HH), another bird at Matagorda Birding and Nature Center, Matagorda 10-12 May (BoF et al.) and a heard-only bird at Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 13 May (SkC).
A Green Jay seen near Baldwin Park in Houston, Harris 7-18 Mar prompted much discussion about possible origin (ph. TD, et al.). This species will undoubtedly make it to the area naturally at some point, but it is hard to take a given individual and know how it got there. This bird was eating seed at feeders and was extremely wary. A Chihuahuan Raven seen with grackles on a corral near High Island, Galveston 29 May was just the twelfth record for the U.T.C. and the first since 2012 (RGi). A Violet-green Swallow was spotted in a mixed swallow species flock at Wesley Seale Dam, San Patricio 19 Mar (PH). A Red-breasted Nuthatch at Clear Lake, Harris 10 May was a very late record of this irruptive species (ph. DWo).
Bewick’s Wren have become rare winter residents on the U.T.C. so one at W.G. Jones S.F., Montgomery 11 Apr was notable (JFe, EK). Four Cactus Wrens south of Glenrio, Deaf Smith 6 May (WJW) were rather far west and north for this species’ expected range in recent times. A late Ruby-crowned Kinglet was recorded singing in Sugar Land, Fort Bend 10-12 May (BiS).
Thrushes through Longspurs
A Mountain Bluebird was a surprise and a bit unseasonal east to south of Cedar Park, Williamson 17 Mar (ph. StM). The farthest wandering Townsend’s Solitaire was one at South Llano River S.P., Kimble 26 Mar (ph. CuM). A Veery was westward and out of place at Coleman Park, Terry 21 Apr (DrH, AnH). Swainson’s Thrushes noted at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston (DuL) and 7 ½ Mile Road, Galveston (LLo) both on 20 Mar were the earliest ever reported for the U.T.C. Late Hermit Thrushes were reported from Cullinan Park, Fort Bend (JeS), and Quintana, Brazoria (JCh) on 4 May. Less than annual in Texas and usually expected in fall or winter, a Varied Thrush that stopped at Davis Mountains S.P., Jeff Davis 3-6 May (ph. BDu, m.ob.) was very surprising. The Gray Catbird from the winter at Clapp Park, Lubbock remained until 8 Apr (JC). A Brown Thrasher reported from Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Matagorda May 6 (RK et al.) along with another bird at Rosehill Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Nueces 5 May were late (JWi).
A late American Pipit was seen at a Jackson turf farm 21 May (MCo). The last of the winter invasion of Purple Finches on the U.T.C. was one in southern Harris 19 Mar (MAu). A male Cassin’s Finch was out-of-range at South Llano S.P., Kimble 12 Mar (ph. GPa); a female at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 14-17 Mar (DSm, SSm, ME, SE) was also notable. A Pine Siskin in northwest Hudspeth 30 May (JiP, ph.) was late. A new county record for Fayette, a Lesser Goldfinch visited a backyard near La Grange 17 May (†MB, RB), a location east of its normal range. Any longspur in deep South Texas is notable nowadays so two Chestnut-collared Longspurs found in an ag field near San Juan, Hidalgo 17 Mar (ph. JHu, MHu) were a good find.
Sparrows through Blackbirds
A Black-throated Sparrow at the Lubbock Cemetery, Lubbock 30 Mar (PK) and 4 at Lake Alan Henry, Garza 12 Apr (SKa) were notable for the region. A Brewer’s Sparrow was along the eastern edge of its range at South Llano S.P., Kimble 25 Mar (RH). A Dark-eyed Junco at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 15 Apr was very late for the species on the U.T.C. (ph. TC, MBC, ph. JHu, MHu, et al.). A Golden-crowned Sparrow in Balmorhea, Reeves 17-26 Mar (CRi, ph. MGr) was a surprising find. At a location near the Travis-Bastrop county line west of Cedar Creek, an immature Golden-crowned Sparrow was photographed 27 Mar (ph. CRo) and it is a first county record for Bastrop. A Harris’s Sparrow at the Denver City Nature Trail, Yoakum 30 Mar (DrH, RK) was farther west than expected; one near Eagle Lake, Colorado 24 Apr (SG) was late. A late White-throated Sparrow was at the Laas Farm in Waller 6 May (HL). The wintering Green-tailed Towhee at Commons Ford Park in west Austin, Travis stayed 12 Apr (m.ob.); one in northwest Hudspeth 30 May (ph., JiP) was late.
Especially numerous this season in Brazos, Yellow-headed Blackbirds were reported more than a dozen times 7 Apr-12 May, topped by an estimated count of 150 on 20 Apr (VJ) in large flocks mixed with Red-winged Blackbirds and feeding in trees near a feed lot at Cotrone Dix Lane. Certainly, one of the highlights this spring was an adult male Black-vented Oriole found at Packery Channel, Nueces 23 Apr (CPa, SR, CJ, ph. DTh). A number of birders looked for this furtive rarity with only one other sighting which was on 25 Apr (KR). A Hooded Oriole just north of Boerne, Kendall 30 Mar (ph. EdN) was at the northeast limit of where they can occasionally be found. Bullock’s Orioles were found on the U.T.C. 17 Mar at Kempner Park, Galveston (ph. KO, ph. GHa), Houston, Harris 27 Mar (ph. JO) and 14 Apr on Pelican Island, Galveston (ph. JHe). Quite unexpected and another indicator of northward expansion was an Audubon’s Oriole near Dripping Springs, Hays 26 Mar (ph. EF). An impressive 38 male Bronzed Cowbirds were at Coleman Park, Terry 21 Apr (DrH, AnH). One to two Bronzed Cowbirds were at Country Club Lake, Brazos 16 Apr-27 May (†TSc, m.ob.). Three others were at a backyard feeder in College Station 23 Apr (†RN). Although the species is not annual in Brazos, curiously two were at Country Club Lake the previous year, 8-14 May 2018. A Rusty Blackbird made a rare visit to Paradise Pond, Nueces 5-8 Mar (ph. SkC). Rather late was a lone Brewer’s Blackbird along County Road Z, Swisher 25-29 May (CAn, MAn).
An Ovenbird wandered west to Devil’s River S.N.A., Val Verde 4 May (CRu). A Worm-eating Warbler at South Llano S.P., Kimble 30 Apr (ph. TT) was a nice find on the Edwards Plateau and well west of where they are expected. Out of place was a Louisiana Waterthrush in Marathon, Brewster 21 Apr (JBo). A Blue-winged Warbler seen at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 10 May was late (JHa). Single Prothonotary Warbler ranged well west of expected migrations paths to Neal’s Lodge, Concan, Uvalde 16 Apr (CSa), on the Window Trail in the Chisos Basin, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 20 Apr (ph. MKe et al.), at Coleman Park, Terry 21 Apr (DrH, AnH), and in Rio Grande Village, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 15 May (ph. CEl et al.). Late Orange-crowned Warblers were at Quintana, Brazoria 2-3 May (GHo, LHo), the Edith Moore Sanctuary in Houston, Harris 4 May (NaP), and Hogg Sanctuary in Houston, Harris 7 May (SAl).
A very vocal Gray-crowned Yellowthroat was found on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River and it eventually flew over to the U.S. side at Santa Ana N.W.R., Hidalgo 3 May (ph. RO); it was seen again the next day. A Mourning Warbler that was recorded singing at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 21 Apr was the earliest ever documented for the U.T.C. (TLi, PMc). A Kentucky Warbler singing at Dolan Falls Preserve, Val Verde 7 May (RK, RSw, ECa) was unexpected and quite distant from any breeding areas; one at Quintana, Brazoria 11-29 Mar was the earliest ever for the U.T.C. (MCr, MHe, ph. DSt, et al.). Out-of-range Hooded Warblers included one at Buffalo Springs Lake, Lubbock 17 Apr (DrH), one at Coleman Park, Terry 21 Apr (DrH, AnH), another at San Angelo S.P., Tom Green 6 May (ph. RD) and one more in Abilene, Taylor 29 May (JaP). Early American Redstarts at Lafitte’s Cove, Galveston 13 Mar (DC) and at Discovery Green in Houston, Harris 17 Mar (DK) may have been birds that overwintered north of the normal range.
A stellar find was a female Cape May Warbler at Prairie Creek Park, Collin 12 May (MaO, ChC, MV, ph., m.ob.), the first documented spring record for north-central Texas. West of normal range and casual in north-central Texas was a female Cerulean Warbler at Pecan Valley Park, Benbrook Tarrant 4 May (JA, CN, et al., ph.). Scarce in recent years, a singing male Cerulean Warbler was at Lick Creek Park, Brazos 30 Apr (†MiM, †LSa) and another at Brison Park, Brazos 12 May (†SKi). The same day (†RP) in Bell, one was at Temple Lions Park. A female Northern Parula was west to near Dell City, Hudspeth 4 May (JiP, ph.) for a rare county record. A male Tropical Parula was at the Armand Bayou Nature Center, Harris 6-13 Mar (MAu, CEs, ph. NiR, et al.) while a nice record for Travis was one at Commons Ford Park in west Austin, Travis 23 Apr -4 May (ph. JBo, m.ob.). A male Tropical Parula first found near Big Bend’s Hot Springs, Brewster 18 Apr (ph. TSm et al.) was thereafter seen at around nearby Rio Grande Village through 14 May (ph. m.ob.).
Mostly an eastern migrant, a Magnolia Warbler in the desert at Blue Creek Canyon in Big Bend N.P., Brewster 29 Apr (ph. MWi) must have been an odd sight. A rare find in northwest Texas was a Bay-breasted Warbler at Clapp Park, Lubbock 19-20 May (DrH, JMi, m.ob., ph.). A Blackburnian Warbler near Dell City 19 Apr (JiP, ph.) was just the second ever for Hudspeth. An extremely early Chestnut-sided Warbler was reported from the Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston 16 Mar (WSe). The ninth and tenth Brazos records for Blackpoll Warbler since the first in 1964 were 4 May (†RA, TA) at Bryan and 10 May (†SW) at Kurten. A male Black-throated Blue Warbler photographed 16 Mar at Lakeside, Montgomery was most unexpected and likely was a bird that overwintered locally (CoM). Surprising inland finds for the spring were single Black-throated Blue Warblers at Breckenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar 11 May (BWi, ph. CF), the Old Fish Hatchery, White Rock Lake, Dallas 27 Apr (BSh et al.), and at Pecan Valley Park, Benbrook, 14 May (JA, ph. PC). In South Texas, a male was well described from Quinta Mazatlan 2 May (DTo) and a female was reported from Edinburg Scenic Wetlands 7 May (CSe).
A western Palm Warbler at Iron Bridge Park, Belton Lake 20 Apr (†RP) was the fifth county record for Bell. A late Yellow-rumped Warbler was at the Cross Creek Wetlands, Fort Bend 7 May (NaP). A Prairie Warbler made an extended stay for a migrant at The Willows on Mustang Island, Nueces 28 Mar – 7 Apr (MCo et al.). A very rare migrant to Bastrop, a Prairie Warbler was heard near Alum Creek, Bastrop S.P. 11 Apr (BrF). Perhaps a wandering bird that wintered locally, a Black-throated Gray at Breckenridge Park, San Antonio, Bexar 9-12 Mar (ph. WS) was still a nice find. A male Townsend’s Warbler was at Packery Channel, Nueces 20 Apr (DM, WS). Out of range Hermit Warblers included singles in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 29 Apr (JCl), at Corpus Christi’s Rosehill Cemetery, Nueces 2-5 May (ph. MCo et al.), and at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 4 May (ph. KF, VM), where it is unusual to have one as lowland migrant, especially in the spring. Highly unusual and a first for Falls, a Golden-cheeked Warbler was out-of-range at Rosebud City Park 4 Apr (†KW).
A Rufous-capped Warbler was detected in the species usual haunts at Devil’s River Preserve, Val Verde 6-7 May (RSw, ECa, RK). A slightly lost Canada Warbler ran into a window in a Lubbock yard, Lubbock 25 May (JMa, ph.). A male Painted Redstart well out of range at Wayland Baptist University, Hale 2-3 Apr (AKa, NiP, ph.) was an outstanding find. The definite highlight of the season in the Trans-Pecos was a pair of Slate-throated Redstart in Boot Canyon, Big Bend N.P., Brewster. One bird was first noted 19 Apr (ph. ST) and found consistently for a few weeks until a pair of birds were first noted 16 May (DLa, JWe, LW) building a nest. No signs of successful breeding were noted though the pair of birds would be seen intermittently through the rest of the spring and summer seasons.
Tanagers through Seedeaters
A male Scarlet Tanager near Westfield, Harris 21 Mar was very early (MAb) while a female in Marathon, Brewster 11 May (ph. WS) was well west of typical migration routes. The latest Western Tanager on the U.T.C. was a singing make near the Johnson Space Center area, Harris 13 May (SBe). A female Flame-colored Tanager visited the South Padre Birding & Nature Center/Convention Center, Cameron 26 Apr (ph. JGo). The Crimson-collared Grosbeak found at Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo in January lingered until 25 Apr (m.ob.).
Texas’s first Yellow Grosbeak from the winter season near Concan, Uvalde continued until at least 5 Apr (m.ob.). Rare but regular, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was in El Paso, El Paso 4 May (ECh, ph., SSc). Single male Black-headed Grosbeaks seen at Tuleta, Bee 6 Mar (ph. LV) and San Patricio 29 Apr (SkC) were notable. Rare but increasingly regular as a migrant in north-central Texas were two Black-headed Grosbeaks along the Chat Trail, L, Wichita Park, Wichita 3 May (SL). Late Black-headed Grosbeaks were at Sugar Land, Fort Bend 4 May (ph. RM) and Dos Vacas Muertes, Galveston 10 May (SP). A male Lazuli Bunting was well described from Sunset Lake, San Patricio 26 Apr (CEs) while a female was seen at Paradise Pond, Nueces 28 Apr (MRe, SCo); another female was at Quintana, Brazoria 30 Apr-1 May (ph. GPa, KC, MHa). A Morelet’s Seedeater in Brackettville, Kinney 30 Mar (ph. BL) was unexpected, though with other sightings in the area in past years, perhaps this species is coming up the drainages that lead to the Rio Grande.
Report processed by Byron Swift, 4 Oct 2020