Texas: Summer 2018

1 June – 31 July

Eric Carpenter
[email protected]

Recommended citation:

Carpenter, E., et al. 2020. Summer 2018: Texas. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8YO> North American Birds.

Contributors (subregional editors in boldface)

T. Jay Adams (TJA), Noah Arthur, Ruben Ayala, Angela Bailey, Chris Bailey (CBa), Cissy Beasley (CBe), Mikael Behrens (MBe), David Bell, John Berner (JBe), Brian Berry, Brandon Best (BBe), Stephanie Bilodeau, Gary Binderim (GBi), Gene Blacklock (GBl), Justin Bosler (JBo), Michael Braun (MiB), John Brush (JBr), MJ Brush (MJB), Tim Brush, Kelly Bryan, Winston Caillouet, Skip Cantrell (SkC), Steve Cardiff (StC), Eric Carpenter (Central Texas), Katherine Cavazos (KCa), Lynn Chapman, Jack Childs (JCh), Kevin Cochran (KCo), Sheridan Coffey (SCo), Tom Collins, Greg Cook, Mel Cooksey, Dan Cowell, Jim Crites (JCr), Betsy Cross, D.D. Currie (DDC), Thelma Dalmas, Chuck Davis, Donna Dittmann, Andrew Dunn, Mark Elliott, Paul Fagala, Merriwood Ferguson, Brush Freeman, Bert Frenz (Central Oaks & Prairies), Joaquin Galindo (JGa), Richard Galindo, Steve Glover, Brenda Gonzales, Javi Gonzalez (JGo), Kathy Griffin, David Grise, John Groves (JGr), Martin Hagne, John Hale, Chris Hammond (CHa), David Hanson (DaH), Ken Hartman, Drew Harvey (DrH), John Haynes (JHa), Sheila Hebert (SHe), Gerard van Heijzen (GvH), Pat Heirs (PaH), Elaine Hendricks (EHe), Anthony Hewetson (Northwest Texas – Panhandle and South Plains), Troy Hibbitts, Chris Hill (CHi), Petra Hockey, Peter Holder (PHo), Ben Horstmann, Eric Hughes (EHu), Gary Hunter, Sandy Hurwitz (SHu), Matthew Janson, Dan Jones, William Kaempfer, Steven Kasper (SKa), Delaney Kempf, Peter Keyel, Simon Kiacz (SiK), Scott Kiester (ScK), Mary King (MKi), Ruth King (RKi), John Kiseda, Ad Konings, Rich Kostecke (RKo), Mark Kulstad (MKu), Terry Lashley, Rick Laughlin, Clayton Leopold, Dell Little, Mark Lockwood, Scotty Lofland (ScL), Jason Loghry, Susie Lower (SuL), Barry Lyon, James Manchester (JMa), Michael McCloy (MiM), Andrew McCullough, Mark McDermott (MaM), Kelly McDowell, Liam McGuire (LMc), Jon McIntyre (JMc), Bonnie McKenzie, Tyler Miloy, Leslie Morris (LMo)

Contributors (cont.)

Derek Muschalek, Bruce Neville, Michael O’Brien, Andrew Orgill, Sue Orwig, Tira Overstreet, Greg Page (GPa), Barbara Pankratz (BPa), Mike Parr (MPa), Jim Paton (JiP) (Trans-Pecos), Rob Pendergast (RPe), Glenn Perrigo (GPe), Mike Petrick (MPe), Barrett Pierce (BPi), Randy Pinkston (RPi), Charlie Plimpton (CPl), Carl Poldrack (CPo), Ross Rasmussen (North Central Texas), Martin Reid, Bill Reiner (BRe), James Rieman (JRi), Barrett Riess (BRi), Cecilia Riley (CRi), Colton Robbins (CRo), Jack Rogers (JRo), Eric Salazar, Joe Salazar (JSa), Mike Sanders (MSa), Ben Sandifer (BSa), David Sarkozi (DSa), Rick Schaefer, Susan Schaezler (SSc), Bobby Schat (BSc), Georgina Schwartz, Willie Sekula (South Texas), Dennis Shepler (DSh), Doug Smith (DSm), Sue Smith (SSm), John Sproul (JSp), Don Stanley (DoS), Denise Stephens (DeS), Jim Stevenson (JSt), Harlan Stewart, Les Stewart, Mike Stewart (MSt), Bill Supulski (BSu), Tim Vasquez, Darrell Vollert, Lee Wallace (LWa), Pat Wallace, Ron Weeks (RWe) (Upper Texas Coast), Ed Wetzel, Laura Wilson (LWi), Mary Dabney Wilson (MDW), Dale Wolck, David Wolf (DWo) (East Texas Pineywoods), Janey Woodley, Leeca Woods (LWo), Sue Wright, John Yochum, Gary Yoder, Barry Zimmer.

Abbreviations

L.R.G.V. (Lower Rio Grande Valley); U.T.C. (Upper Texas Coast).

WATERFOWL Through NIGHTJARS

Casual at best in north-central Texas, an odd sight was a Fulvous Whistling-Duck observed mating with a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at a pond on Parson’s Slough Ranch along Blindsay Road, Dallas 11-21 Jun (DoS, m.ob., ph.). Two Green-winged Teal lingered at Cattail Marsh in Beaumont, Jefferson through 15 Jul with one remaining through the period (ph. HS). It is not terribly unusual to have various duck species over-summer in Texas though Ring-necked Ducks don’t seem to do it as often as some others. This summer, a pair of Ring-necked Ducks spent the entire season in Leander, Williamson (BF) while a lone bird was southwest of Jonah, Williamson 28 Jun (ph. CRo). On the U.T.C., a lingering Ring-necked Duck was at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 1-23 Jul (ph. RPe, et al.).

Least Grebes once again nested at Brazos Bend S.P., Fort Bend as 3 young were documented first on 7 Jul (ph. AM). Nice finds for northwest Texas during the summer, 3-4 Western Grebes were at Lake Meredith, Moore 19-21 Jul (ME, DSm, SSm) -and one was at White River Lake, Crosby 29 Jul (AH, ph.). County records and quite rare for the area, a Common Ground Dove was heard near the Kent County Country Club, Kent 14 Jul (DrH, AH, RKo) and 2 were north of Clairemont, Kent 14 Jul (DrH, AH, RKo). The pioneering White-tipped Dove found in late spring south of St. Edward’s Park in west Austin, Travis remained through the summer (BRe). White-winged Doves have now colonized towns throughout the Central Pineywoods in small numbers, with sightings as far east as Sabine and San Augustine this summer (m.ob.). This rural region is the last part of the Pineywoods to be conquered by this species.

A Greater Roadrunner seen in Vidor 19 Jul was the first eBird record for Orange (MJB). Habitat restoration efforts at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso lured in several territorial Yellow-billed Cuckoos 20 Jun-23 Jul with nesting strongly suspected (JSp). Although cuckoos had been detected in 4 of the last 5 summers, those sightings never gave such strong indications of nesting. A Lesser Nighthawk seen 5 Jul at Demi-John, Brazoria suggested a summering bird as one was seen at this same location in late spring (MH, DeS). A Common Poorwill flushed from a roadside near an abandoned quarry near Fieldton, Lamb 24 Jun (AH) was perhaps a first county record. On the western edge of its range, a Chuck-will’s-widow flushed from the woods along Los Lingos Creek, Floyd 28 Jul (AH).

Hummingbirds Through Rails

A Mexican Violetear spiced up the summer by visiting Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo 7-18 Jun (ph. JBr et al.). Quite unusual away from the mountains of the Trans-Pecos, a Blue-throated Hummingbird was seen intermittently at South Llano River S.P., Kimble 9-12 Jun (PK, SW, LC). A female Broad-billed Hummingbird visited feeders northwest of the Prude Ranch, Jeff Davis 14 Jun (CRi) while a male took up residence at Davis Mountains S.P., Jeff Davis 29 Jul+ (ph. GBi); another female was present much of the summer west of Fort Davis, Jeff Davis (KB, ML).

A Sora heard at Lake Rita Blanca, Hartley 28 Jul (WK) was quite likely an early fall migrant. Up to 9 Purple Gallinules continued at Carlos Lake, Grimes throughout the summer season (MaM, JBe, DV). An adult Purple Gallinule with a chick seen at the Convention Center on South Padre Island, Cameron 21 Jun (NA) was noteworthy as was a single bird seen at Estero Llano Grande S.P., Hidalgo 24 Jun (JGa, RG). This species took advantage of the heavy June rains in Kleberg which filled up playas (GPe). A Black Rail heard calling was recorded from brackish saltmarsh habitat in San Patricio, 10 Jun (SkC). The species is known to have year-round occurrence at this location (MC).

Shorebirds

Up to 5 Black-necked Stilts again summered near the Texas A & M Research Annex, Brazos, but as yet there has been no evidence of breeding (MaM, ph. JH). Quite tardy or perhaps a wandering non-breeder, a Black-bellied Plover was a bit unexpected at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 17 Jun (CPl). American Golden-Plover is a very rare fall migrant anywhere in Texas, so a basic-plumaged bird photographed at a Robstown, Nueces, turf farm on 8 Jul, was quite surprising and early (ph. MR, SCo, WS). Single Piping Plovers were found at Lake Benbrook, Tarrant 30 Jul (EW), Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 31 Jul (MPe, ph.), and Lake Lewisville Park, Denton (KCa). A Snowy Plover took advantage of some exposed flats at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 9 Jun – 26 Jul (ph. MSt, m.ob.).

A Northern Jacana was discovered at Delta Lake, Hidalgo 29 Jun (ph. ES, JSa); it was present to 3 Jul (m.ob.). A good number so early were 16 Upland Sandpipers at Rio Farms, Hutchinson 3 Jul (BPi). A Whimbrel seen on 4 Jun at Indian Point, San Patricio, was a very late migrant (SkC). A count of 4 Whimbrel at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 20 Jun were notable as few on the U.T.C. are seen away from the Bolivar Flats area, Galveston in fall (DSh). A Long-billed Curlew at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 17 Jun (CPl) was unusual for early/mid-summer. A lingering Marbled Godwit was seen at the Convention Center, South Padre Island, Cameron 16 & 17 Jun (JGo, DG).

Perhaps non-breeders wandering away from the coast, 2 adult Sanderlings were at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 21 Jul (RW) with at least one remaining until 12 Aug (ph., m.ob.). Fifteen Dunlin reported from Boca Chica, Cameron 20 Jun (AD) were notable. An impressive 124 White-rumped Sandpipers were counted at Port Aransas, Nueces 9 Jun (WS), a very noteworthy number for the date, even for this late migrant (fide MC). Another odd mid-summer shorebird was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 16 Jun (ph. MSt); a substantial flock of 500+ 28 Jul (ph. JH) were in Brazos at Sims Cutoff turf farm, a location not previously known to support such large numbers. A first June record for Brazos and only the second for the Central Brazos Valley, was a Pectoral Sandpiper 6 Jun (†JH) at Sims Lane. A Semipalmated Sandpiper reported from the Convention Center, South Padre Island, Cameron 23 Jun (MO et al.) may have been exceptionally early fall migrant. Further up-coast, the usual large numbers found in late Jul were not reported this season in the Cayo del Oso, Nueces, with only scattered birds, rather than the normal hundreds (MC). This may be due to heavy rains in Jun which changed the salinity in the species favored mudflats.

A Spotted Sandpiper at Shoveler Pond at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 11 Jun was extremely late (BG). A Willet at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 19 Jun (ph. RPi) was perhaps a fall migrant rather than a late spring one. Unusual were 2 reports of non-breeding or early returning Western Willets at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 17 Jun and 1 Jul (JCh, ph.). A first summer record in the Central Brazos Valley for Wilson’s Phalarope was 3 at Cotrone Dix Lane, Brazos 14 Jul (ph. †JH). A Red-necked Phalarope at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 28 Jul – 1 Aug (ph. MR, m.ob.) was perhaps an early south-bound individual.

Jaegers Through Terns

In Aransas, an adult Pomarine Jaeger inadvertently flushed off the beach on San Jose Island 1 Jun flew directly out to sea (AO); it was reported the next day from the North Jetty (JMc). A second-cycle Laughing Gull that flew over the Texas 147 causeway on Lake Rayburn, San Augustine 20 Jun (DWo) was a rare sighting this far inland. Franklin’s Gulls are often seen into early June but 4 at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 17 Jun (BL et al.) were a bit tardy; perhaps early was one at Lake Lewisville Park, Denton 27 Jul (KCa, ph.). A California Gull was along the Rio Grande below Fort Quitman, Hudspeth 1 Jul (JP). California Gull can occur at any season in the El Paso area. The most interesting Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the U.T.C. were 2 seen a bit inland at Morgan’s Point, Harris 23 Jun (ph. RW).

Amazingly, a Bridled Tern circled and landed on Oyster Shell Island, Calhoun 21 Jul (ph. CBe). This is an extraordinary occurrence away from the species’ typical pelagic haunts. Two Least Terns seen at the Donna Landfill & Ponds, Hidalgo 1 Jun (JY) was noteworthy for the inland location; one at a pond along County Road 459 3 Jul (†RPi) is first summer record for Falls and only the second overall record for the county. A Caspian Tern was on Lake Amistad, Val Verde 5 Jun (PH) and 3 visited McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 10 Jul (JP), where rare; another was off Lake Livingston S.P., Polk 20 Jul (DSa et al.). A count of 15 Common Terns made at the North Jetty of St. Joseph’s Island, Aransas 1 Jun (RL) was impressive for the date. Common Terns were present in unexpected numbers in the bays at the southern edge of Harris through Jun and the first week of July. Peak counts at each location were 22 at Sylvan Beach Park 20 Jun (ph. DW) and 7 at Morgan’s Point 30 Jun, 3 & 7 Jul (ph. RW, JRi). Rather unseasonal though perhaps an early southbound bird, a Common Tern visited Balmorhea Lake, Reeves 21 Jul (ML). Rare in summer, a Forster’s Tern was at Nails Creek, Lake Somerville, Lee 6 Jul (ph. LWa, †PW).

Storks Through Spoonbills

Early and a bit north were 2 Wood Storks southeast of Cedar Park, Williamson 16 Jul (ph. MBe). An impressive total of 23 Magnificent Frigatebirds was at Seabrook, Harris 19 Jun (BB). At least one of the 2 Brown Boobies at Calaveras Lake, Bexar from early May lingered into the summer as late as 15 Jul (ph., m.ob.). A Brown Booby discovered on lower Lake Livingston, San Jacinto 8 Jul (GC, SG) was seen later that day and 9 Jul by other observers. What was likely the same bird was re-located on upper Lake Livingston off Pointblank, San Jacinto 6 August (MiB). This is a remarkable find inland and the third record for the Pineywoods. Brown Boobies continued to be seen along the Central Texas Coast, including 2 adults and one sub-adult in the southeast portion of Corpus Christi Bay, Nueces on 9 Jun (KCo). On the U.T.C., Brown Boobies continue to be found with singles seen at Morgan’s Point, Harris & Chambers 24 Jun (ph. MKu, CHa), Galveston Bay, Galveston 15 Jun (MPa), and offshore Galveston 4 Jun (CL).

As many as 100+ Double-crested Cormorants were in the vicinity of 50 nests, only 3 of which still held juveniles, on Toledo Bend Reservoir east of Milam, Sabine 21 Jul (DB). This colony was first reported in 1974 and has been occupied ever since. A Brown Pelican wandered to Imperial Reservoir, Pecos 16 Jun (ph. JBo); one flying over Lake Whitney, Hill 4 Jul (BBe) was a county first. An American Bittern was at Anahuac N.W.R., Chambers 31 Jul where they are a rare nester during wetter years (KM). The only Least Bittern reported in north-central Texas was a single at Hagerman N.W.R., Grayson 21 Jun (JCh). At least one Least Bittern was briefly seen flying above large cattail beds at McNary Reservoir, Hudspeth 10 Jul (JP). Least Bittern was last reported here Jul 2007, but breeding is suspected when habitat conditions are right.

A Little Blue Heron was a bit early to wander to south Abernathy, Lubbock 26 Jun (DK). Westerly ranging Tricolored Herons included one in Boerne, Kendall 9-13 Jul (TL, ph. EHu) and 2 more at Guadalupe Park in Kerrville, Kerr 28 Jul (ph. TC). Along with Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Tricolored Heron is the most commonly seen rare heron in the El Paso area in recent years; an immature was at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 24 Jul (ph., PHo). Early single Reddish Egrets at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, Bell 14 Jul (ph. RPi), on upper Lake Buchanan, Llano 14 Jul (ph. TJA), and at Mitchell Lake, Bexar 15 Jul (GS et al.) were all hints of what would be a very strong fall for them in the region. Two adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were in west El Paso, El Paso 5 Jun (ph., JGr) where breeding was suspected in 2017. A Glossy Ibis joined Cattle Egrets at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone 9 Jun (ph. LWi, BM); although very rare in the region, this is the third summer record for the W.M.A. A single Glossy Ibis was reported from inland Aransas near Rockport on 19 Jun (BH, JL). A White-faced Ibis present near Falfurrias, Brooks 27 Jul was noteworthy for the date and location (AB, CBa). Lone Roseate Spoonbills wandered west to Uvalde’s Cook Slough, Uvalde 24 Jun (ph. TM), Lyndon B. Johnson S.P. & Historical Site, Gillespie 16 Jul (LMo), and Guadalupe Park in Kerrville, Kerr 19-28 Jul (ph. RKi). In the Pineywoods, the first wandering Roseate Spoonbills were 3 in the Trinity River wetlands, Trinity 8 Jul (SG) and one on St’s Rest Road, Nacogdoches 21 Jul (BSa), a bit early for this uncommon and irregular post-breeding visitor.

Osprey Through Falcons

Rare in summer in the Central Brazos Valley, an Osprey was fishing at Frierson Lake #3 28 Jul (ph. †JH), a first summer record for Brazos. White-tailed Kites again made news at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso. After one or 2 adults were seen in early June, an immature appeared 15 Jun. By 26 Jun, up to 10 kites (4 adults and 6 immatures) were in the park and one or 2 nests were under construction. These nests failed, but evidently the birds bred earlier just across the Rio Grande in Chihuahua. One to 6 birds were seen through the rest of the period (m.ob., JSp). As many as 24 Swallow-tailed Kites were counted at Dayton, Liberty 29 Jun and other dates where they are known to nest (LWo). Up to 8 Swallow-tailed Kites were staging in Ganado, Jackson 5-28 Jul (TO et al.). The kites were apparently feasting on baby House Sparrows and other prey items prior to heading to their wintering grounds.

A Northern Harrier just east of Marathon, Brewster 25 Jun (StC, DD) was intriguing as this species has a potential to breed in the grasslands of the Trans-Pecos. A pair of Cooper’s Hawks first seen nest-building in Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 5 March fledged 2 young 15 Jun (DWo). They remained in the vicinity until at least mid-July (DWo, RS). A pair of Bald Eagles at Palo Duro Lake, Hansford 22 Jul (CPo) were an unusual summer sighting for the Panhandle. Mississippi Kites continued to expand their breeding range in towns throughout the Central Pineywoods and successful breeding was confirmed at 2 sites in Carrizo Creek, Nacogdoches 13-15 Jul and early August (KG, SuL) and Lufkin, Angelina 27 Jul (GH). There were additional sightings from Cherokee and Houston east through Angelina and Nacogdoches to San Augustine and Shelby (m.ob.). As stated by Shirley Wilkerson, “Mississippi Kites seem to have really exploded in Brazos County”. Throughout the season, there were dozens of reports of 1-4 at scattered location within the county, topped by 13 kettling in College Station 8 Jul (BN). At a traditional nesting site in College Hills subdivision, young had not yet fledged as of 28 Jul (MDW).

A lone Gray Hawk reported from Boca Chica Beach, Cameron 20 Jun (AD) was at an odd very coastal location; a great find both away from the Rio Grande and also so far north was one near the Las Moras Creek on the south side of Brackettville, Kinney 23 Jun (TH). A Swainson’s Hawk in Smith 15 Jul (SG) was outside its known breeding range.

Very rarely detected in East Texas, a dead Barn Owl was found near Big Elkhart Creek, Houston 11 Jun (BRi). Ringed Kingfishers can range far and wide but one at Lake Nasworthy, Tom Green 26 Jun – 27 Jul (ph. TV) was still noteworthy. A Belted Kingfisher 30 Jul at Resaca de la Palma S.P., Cameron was early for the southerly location (SiK); one present along Carney Creek in Bay City, Matagorda 16 & 23 Jun (JMa) was certainly notable for dates. The Aplomado Falcon that visited Balmorhea Lake in early spring was seen there 15 Jun (ph. JBo) and again in mid and late July (ML). A Peregrine Falcon seen in Weslaco, Hidalgo 25 Jun (BSu) was probably an early fall migrant.

Flycatchers

A Great Crested Flycatcher seen near Calallen, San Patricio 30 Jul was probably an early migrant (GBl, MKi). Following up on a heard-only Great Kiskadee from mid-May, the distinct vocalizations were again heard in the same location at Rio Grande Village, Big Bend N.P., Brewster 5 Jun (MJ, JRo).

Tropical Kingbird has now reached the point at which it can be labeled as a low-density resident in the Corpus Christi area, as it is being constantly reported throughout, with both adults and young birds. It has been a true definer of northern encroachment, having been first detected in Nueces in 2001 (MC). Up to 3 Tropical Kingbirds were present most of June at the Norias Division of the King Ranch, Kenedy (m.ob.). After records in the last decade from neighboring Chihuahua and Dona Ana, New Mexico, El Paso‘s long-awaited first Tropical Kingbird was spotted at Ascarate Park 10 Jul (ph., JK). Two were there the next day (JGr, BZ) and up to nine were spotted through Aug (m.ob., ph., audio) with nesting by multiple pairs likely. Like the previous local records these birds were on a golf course. Up to 2 Tropical Kingbirds were present at the Sandia Wetlands in Balmorhea, Reeves 15-30 Jun (ph. JBo, PK). A pair of Couch’s Kingbirds were outliers in Big Lake, Reagan 18 Jun (JBo). Two Couch’s Kingbirds seen and heard singing in Richmond, Fort Bend 30 Jun may indicate local breeding (JW). Up to 2 Cassin’s Kingbirds at Lake Lubbock Landmark, Lubbock 2-5 Jul (JCr, BSc) were rare summer visitors there. Two Western Kingbirds near Huntsville, Walker 13 Jun (DC) were noteworthy; this species breeds right to the western edge of the region but there are almost no summer records from within the Pineywoods. An Eastern Kingbird at the Valley Land Fund Lot, South Padre Island, Cameron 1 Jun was quite late for the location (DJ); one in Glenrio, Deaf Smith 13 Jun (EHe) was a bit west.

Although a notoriously late spring migrant regularly seen into early June, 2 Olive-sided Flycatchers in El Paso, El Paso 10 Jun (JP) were notably late as was one at Lake Alan Henry, Garza 21 Jun (SKa). An Acadian Flycatcher at Frontera Audubon, Hidalgo on the weird date of 25 Jul may have been an extremely early migrant/failed nester (SiK). An early “Western” Flycatcher was in El Paso, El Paso 26 Jul+ (JP); conventional wisdom in Arizona is that lowland migrants at this season are Pacific-slope Flycatchers.

A Black Phoebe observed at Presidio Park/Bookout Lake in Dimmit 3 Jul was of note (DDC, DL). Not expected in summer and not known to breed in Austin, an Eastern Phoebe was chasing another 6 Jun (DV) at Old Nelsonville Road in the northern part of the county. In the New Ulm area, 1-2 Eastern Phoebes were heard 9 Jul (JL); another summered on the edge of its range in Fort Bend 5 Jun+ (ph. GY). A Vermilion Flycatcher seen at Melrose, Goliad 6 Jul (DM) may have been a local post-breeding dispersant while one at Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo 19 Jun (MiM) was really odd.

Vireos Through Thrashers

A Bell’s Vireo on a Bee Breeding Bird Survey 2 Jun was noteworthy for the location (DDC); one at Lamb County Sandhills Historical Marker, Lamb 24 Jun (AH) and another in Longview, Harrison 30 Jul (MSa) were both out of range. A Red-eyed Vireo seen near Mathis, Live Oak 20 Jun was interesting for the date and location (SkC). A complete surprise was a singing Red-eyed Vireo in a west El Paso, El Paso neighborhood 13-14 Jul (ph., JP) for a first local summer record. A Yellow-green Vireo was at Sabine Woods, Jefferson 24 Jul, making it the second consecutive summer this species has appeared there (JHa).

Steller’s Jay staged one of its best ever irruptions into El Paso from fall 2017 to spring 2018, but records of lone birds in different west El Paso, El Paso neighborhoods 23 Jun (ph., JK) and 29 Jul (ph., JK) were still a shock. Tamaulipas Crow continued to be reported from South Texas: In Cameron a single bird was mobbed by Least Terns near Boca Chica 12 Jun (SB) while another was bird reported from the Brownsville Landfill 28 Jun (SiK). Fish Crows continue to creep westward along the coast with as many as 7 birds seen and heard in the Wallisville area, Chambers 15 & 17 Jul (audio DSa, JBe, DaH, audio CD). Two Northern Rough-winged Swallows seen in Brownsville 17 Jun (MF) and another 2 near Rio Hondo 28 Jun (JBr) were notable for the Cameron locations since this species is normally found much further upstream on Rio Grande.

A late Veery was singing in west Houston, Harris 4 Jun (audio KH); this is the first summer record for the U.T.C. Something odd was going on with Gray Catbirds this summer. Without a summer record of Gray Catbird in Brazos in over 50 years, one found 2 Jun (MaM) at Lick Creek Park is significant; another at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso 27 Jun (ph., AK) made for a very rare summer record. Quite unusual was a juvenile 15 miles north-northeast of Brackettville, Kinney 6 Jul (ph. SHu) that seemed to be indicative of local breeding though this species is not one that is known to even summer in the area. A recently-fledged Gray Catbird was found in Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 28 Jul (ph. LS) for confirmation of breeding; this species is a scarce summer resident throughout the Pineywoods.

Finches through Grackles

A very late Pine Siskin visited feeders in Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches 22-24 Jun (TD). A flock of 32 Lark Buntings near Plains, Cochran 30 Jun (AH) was a remarkable number for mid-summer. A Chipping Sparrow at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 20 Jun (DSm, SSm) might have been a late migrant while 13 at Buffalo Lake N.W.R., Randall 29 Jul (DSm, SSm) were early, especially for such a high count. Seaside Sparrow has apparently suffered habitat loss and population decline as a result of hurricane Harvey according to studies by Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (MC); 6 were found in San Patricio 10 Jun (SkC). A Lincoln’s Sparrow still in Comfort, Kendall 3 Jun (ph. BPa) was quite late. An Eastern Towhee was unusual and rather unseasonal at Palo Duro Canyon S.P., Randall 23-25 Jun (DSm, SSm, ph.).

In north-central Texas, unusually early were 6 reports of Yellow-headed Blackbirds with the first on the very early date of 16 Jun at the Hwy 287 Quanah Rest Area, Hardeman (ScL) and last near F.M. 423 Bridge, Denton 27 Jul (WC). Rare in July, a single Yellow-headed Blackbird joined Red-winged Blackbirds at Richland Creek W.M.A., Freestone 18 Jul (†GvH). An adult male Bobolink flushed from long grasses at the base of the boardwalk at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Nueces on the crazy date of 14 Jun was most likely a very late migrant (AO). A singing male Baltimore Oriole was out-of-place at Morgan’s Point, Harris 14 Jul (ph. GPa); this is the first modern day summer record for the U.T.C. Unexpected in summer, 4 Brewer’s Blackbirds were notable in Alpine, Brewster 21 Jun (ML). Three Common Grackles were found at Welder Wildlife Foundation, San Patricio 2 Jun with one bird there 3 Jun; it is not known if this species nests in the general area (MiM).

Warblers

A Prothonotary Warbler in Del Rio, Val Verde 18 Jun (TB) was odd for the western locale and season. A Nashville Warbler lingered into early summer in San Marcos, Hays 6-8 Jun (ph. BC). A Mourning Warbler reported from Alamo, Hidalgo 2 Jun (PaH) was a bit tardy. Rare in summer in the Central Brazos Valley, 2 Common Yellowthroats were heard singing in the Navasota River bottoms at Peach Creek, Brazos 17 Jun (audio DV). Unexpected was a late migrant or possible breeding Hooded Warbler at Clear Creek Natural Science Center, Denton 2 Jun (ScK et al.).

An American Redstart below the dam at Canyon Lake, Comal 9 Jun (SCo, MR) was unseasonal. The latest Magnolia Warbler was one north of Cibolo, Guadalupe 6 Jun (ph. SSc). A returning Yellow Warbler at Dinosaur Valley S.P., Somervell 17 Jul was nearly 2 weeks early (CHi). Two Prairie Warblers seen along Tram Road in northern Jefferson 8 Jul hinted at possible breeding (SHe); this species is not currently known to breed on the U.T.C. and this is the earliest “fall” record in recent years.

A Townsend’s Warbler in El Paso, El Paso 29 Jul (JP) was a bit early. A migrant Golden-cheeked Warbler at Big Bend’s Hot Springs, Brewster 20 Jul (ph. LMc) must have been a strange sight. A singing Black-throated Green Warbler present at Quinta Mazatlan, Hidalgo 7-8 Jun (SiK) was definitely late. A very early male Black-throated Green Warbler was present at a residence in Houston, Harris 27-29 Jul was just the second U.T.C. record for the month of July (ph. SO). A female Canada Warbler reported from Santa Ana N.W.R., Hidalgo 2 Jun (TB) was on the late side.

Tanagers Through Dickcissel

Out of season and place was a male Western Tanager near Bulverde, Bexar 28 Jul (ph. RA). Up to 3 Northern Cardinals were seen through the period at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, El Paso (m.ob., JSp) where nesting has occurred in previous years. Outside of Rio Bosque, Northern Cardinal is very rare to casual in the county. An apparently lost female Rose-breasted Grosbeak frequented feeders at a residence in Chambers 15 -21 Jun was the latest ever for the U.T.C. (ph. PF); there are 2 previous records from the first 2 weeks of June, with one of those being an injured bird. A male Indigo Bunting at a migrant trap on West Galveston Island, Galveston 23 Jul was unexpectedly on the move (ph. JSt). Five Dickcissels seen in Rockport, Aransas 17 Jun were perplexing for the date and coastal location (JL); 2 near Dell City, Hudspeth 30 Jul (ph., JP) were at least a week early of expected arrival dates.

Report processed by Byron Swift, 10 Oct 2020.