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Rylirk's 2019 list

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Old Sunday 24th February 2019, 04:35   #26
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February 23 - Quitaque, TX, USA

A very windy day at Caprock Canyon state park yielded a few birds for the list, including an unexpected lifer (who knew swifts wintered in Texas!?):

188. Ruddy Duck
189. Field Sparrow
190. * White-Throated Swift

But the real excitement happened during the 2 hour drive back to Lubbock; 2 lifers in a single journey, and both were pretty damn high on my Texas wishlist! Unfortunately the roadrunner didn't stick around to have its photo taken, but luckily they are pretty unmistakable birds.

191. * Greater Roadrunner
192. Green-Winged Teal
193. * Sandhill Crane
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 00:21   #27
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February 24 - Lubbock, TX, USA

A full day's birding locally around Lubbock... partly motivated by the continuing quest to get a photo of the apparently elusive roadrunner. Still no roadrunner pic, but got a few new birds from today. First up to Mackenzie Park for my second attempt at burrowing owls (no luck there either!):

194. * Western Meadowlark
195. Belted Kingfisher

Then up to Lubbock Lake National Monument for another trio of lifers:

196. * Bufflehead
197. * American Kestrel
198. * Sage Thrasher



Summary for February:

72* year ticks
27 lifers

* see entry for May 11

Last edited by rylirk : Sunday 12th May 2019 at 05:08.
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Old Friday 1st March 2019, 22:50   #28
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March 1 - Lubbock, TX, USA

I don't exactly get a lot of birding done sat in the office all week, but today I got a lifer at work! Only the second time that's happened for me (I got my first grey wagtail at the University of Southampton back in c.2014) and the first time at Texas Tech

199. * Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Last edited by rylirk : Friday 1st March 2019 at 23:03.
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Old Saturday 2nd March 2019, 21:51   #29
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March 2 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Went birding in the East of town with a friend of the owners of the B&B I'm staying in! The targets were Burrowing Owl and Ferruginous Hawk; 1/2 again!

200. * American Wigeon
201. Greater Yellowlegs
202. * Canvasback
203. Wood Duck
204. * Ferruginous Hawk

Last edited by rylirk : Sunday 3rd March 2019 at 23:02.
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Old Sunday 3rd March 2019, 23:06   #30
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March 3 - Lubbock, TX, USA

It was a cold one today! Started off at the Lubbock cemetary in -5C and light snow:

205. * Western Bluebird
206. * Audubon's Warbler

Then onto the trails behind 'Lake 6'; its amazing how quickly Lubbock stops and becomes wilderness...

207. * Eastern Phoebe
208. * Eastern Bluebird
209. Marsh Wren
210. * Lesser Scaup
211. * Redhead

Last edited by rylirk : Tuesday 5th March 2019 at 04:41.
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Old Saturday 9th March 2019, 23:41   #31
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March 9 - Lubbock, TX, USA

I guess I'm running out of common winter birds in Lubbock because, despite an all round good day's birding, I only got one bird to add to this list! Also found another roadrunner, but still no photo...

212. * Brown Creeper

Last edited by rylirk : Sunday 10th March 2019 at 23:59.
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Old Monday 11th March 2019, 00:02   #32
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March 10 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Perhaps I spoke too soon in my March 9 update, or perhaps the summer birds have started to come in. Retraced the same route as yesterday with significantly more success! By far the best birding day I've had in Lubbock, and finally got the last of the "Big 3" birds I wanted before moving to Lubbock (Roadrunner, Burrowing Owl, Sandhill Crane):

213. House Wren
214. * Lincoln's Sparrow
215. * Burrowing Owl
216. * Northern Bobwhite
217. Black-Crowned Night Heron
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Old Tuesday 12th March 2019, 23:17   #33
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March 12 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Had to sit through a 'new employee orientation' meeting all morning, so I treated myself to a spot of birding after work, aiming to find a Wilson's Snipe which had been reported at McAlister Park. Conditions were... challenging to say the least; extremely foggy and quite damp. But I did manage one lifer.

218. * Buff-Bellied Pipit

Last edited by rylirk : Sunday 17th March 2019 at 00:36.
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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 00:39   #34
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March 16 - Lubbock, TX

A return to McAlister in better weather in the vain hope of finding that snipe. No snipe of course, but I was treated to fantastic views of Rough-legged Buzzard (<10m away feeding on a jackrabbit) and a few other bits and pieces, including by far my best views of Burrowing Owl!

219. * Rough-Legged Buzzard
220. Least Sandpiper
221. * Say's Phoebe
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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 21:04   #35
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March 17 - Ransom Canyon, TX, USA

I've been trying to work out for a while whether it's possible to Uber to and from Ransom Canyon... turns out it is!

222. Purple Martin
223. * Rock Wren
224. * Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Last edited by rylirk : Monday 18th March 2019 at 02:22.
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Old Thursday 28th March 2019, 03:02   #36
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March 21 - Corpus Christi, TX, USA

Went down to Corpus Christi for a few days birding with an acquaintance from one of the Texas birding groups I'm now a member of. I can't overstate how well it went! Easily the best birding trip I've ever done! Over 3 days we got 109 species (plus 1 on the 4th day while I was doing tourist stuff), and ticked off an awful lot of birds from near the top of my wishlist! Went in with 5 main target lifers (Skimmer, Spoonbill, Green Jay, Caracara and Harris Hawk): got all 5 plus 31 more!!

First day in Corpus I was on my own, and decided to start of searching for warblers in the Rose Hill Cemetery:

225. Laughing Gull
226. * Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher
227. * Blue-Headed Vireo
228. * Orange-Crowned Warbler
229. * Northern Parula
230. * Great Kiskadee
231. * Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Then onto Hans Suter park for my first attempt at Corpus water birds, and the first of my 'big five':

232. * Black Skimmer
233. Forster's Tern
234. Snowy Egret
235. * Willet
236. * Black-Necked Stilt
237. * American White Pelican
238. Tree Swallow
239. * Sedge Wren
240. * Neotropic Cormorant
241. Western Osprey
242. Brown Pelican
243. Tricolored Heron

Then got 1 more back at my accomodation in the city:

244. Barn Swallow

Last edited by rylirk : Monday 22nd April 2019 at 03:30.
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Old Thursday 28th March 2019, 03:21   #37
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March 22 - Corpus Christi area, TX, USA

The first day birding with my local "guide" Hit a lot of local site on one day, from Port Aransas all the way up past Rockport, and the number of year ticks reflect how productive the visits were!

First stop: Pollywog pond in the outskirts of Corpus, where I got to tick off the second of my Big Five:

245. * Loggerhead Shrike
246. * Bronzed Cowbird
247. * American White Ibis
248. * Long-Billed Curlew
249. * Purple Finch
250. * Couch's Kingbird
251. * Black-Bellied Whistling Duck
252. * Northern Crested Caracara
253. Blue-Winged Teal
254. * Least Grebe

*The purple finch remains a little controversial; there was quite a discussion about this bird over in the Q&A forum over whether it was Purple Finch or Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Consensus was mostly in favour of purple finch. Note that south Texas is outside the range of Purple Finch and my sighting, if accepted, would be the second-most southerly in the state...

Then a quick stop at Labontie park to look for Anhinga, which we did find (eventually), followed by another one! Additionally the underside of a concrete bridge carrying Route 77 (where we found the cliff swallows) may have become the least glamorous place I've ever picked up a lifer...

255. * American Cliff Swallow
256. Western Cattle Egret
257. Common Grackle
258. * Anhinga

Next Stop: Hazel-Bazemore Park in Calallen:

259. Carolina Wren
260. * Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Then onwards towards Holiday Beach north of the city. Enroute, picked up two more lifers, including number 3 of my Big Five!

261. * Roseate Spoonbill
262. * Reddish Egret

Got a few more in and around Holiday Beach. I believe whooping crane becomes the rarest and largest bird on my life list (although I believe Great Bustard is heavier). Also got Glossy Ibis: a bird I have tried for and failed many times back in the UK!

263. * Whooping Crane
264. * Glossy Ibis
265. Pectoral Sandpiper
266. Lesser Yellowlegs
267. * Black Vulture
268. * Little Blue Heron

Then onto a couple of sites in Port Aransas, which unfortunately still showed some fairly heavy hurricane damage from Harvey. Still picked up a couple of year ticks at Leona Turnbulle Wetlands:

269. * Common Gallinule
270. American Avocet

All in all, not a bad day's birding Beat my personal record for most lifers in a day, set last year in Playa del Rey, CA.

Last edited by rylirk : Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 15:52.
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Old Thursday 28th March 2019, 03:34   #38
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March 23 - vicinity of McAllen, TX, USA

The third and last day of birding in South Texas was spent in the Rio Grande valley along the Mexico border. All sorts of strange and tropical birds down this way, including the green jay I have been dreaming of seeing for years

But first of all, we picked up a couple of birds enroute to the valley in the vicinity of Falfurrias, TX, including #4 of my Big 5:

271. * Harris's Hawk
272. * White-Tailed Hawk

Then onto Bentsen State Park in Mission, TX, where I completed my Big 5 at last In terms of the sheer quantity and quality of birds seen, I think this was easily my favourite stop of the whole trip, and green jay was definitely the standout star I had hoped it would be :)

273. * Lark Sparrow
274. * Clay-Colored Thrush
275. * Plain Chachalaca
276. * Inca Dove
277. * Black and White Warbler
278. * Broad-Winged Hawk
279. * Buff-Bellied Hummingbird
280. * Green Jay
281. * White-Tipped Dove
282. Black Phoebe
283. Common Yellowthroat
284. * Altamira Oriole

The B&W warbler was a relief because one of the others in my group had spotted one at Pollywog Pond the previous day which I had missed!

Then onto a final stop at Estero Llano where we picked up, among other things, a beautiful sora which I've been looking for ever since I moved to TX :)

285. * Mottled Duck
286. * Sora
287. * Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
288. * White-Eyed Vireo
289. * Olive Sparrow

In total for the entire trip: 65 year ticks, 49 US ticks (including 2, ruddy turnstone and red-breasted merganser, which were not year ticks) and 36 lifers. Certainly can't complain



Summary for March:

92 year ticks
53 lifers

Last edited by rylirk : Sunday 6th October 2019 at 19:22.
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Old Sunday 7th April 2019, 00:46   #39
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April 6 - Lubbock, TX, USA

April hasn't started anything like as well as March did; after my first ever lifer-less birding trips in Lubbock last weekend, I did manage to get a couple new birds for the list today; although the star for me was a Greater Roadrunner that *finally* stayed long enough for me to get a photo!

Both year ticks today were from Clapp Park:

290. Chipping Sparrow
291. * Cassin's Sparrow

Last edited by rylirk : Saturday 27th April 2019 at 02:29.
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Old Sunday 7th April 2019, 20:26   #40
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April 7 - Wolfforth, TX, USA

Technically left Lubbock again today to go check out the various sites in neighbouring Wolfforth. Got a couple for the list:

292. * Brewer's Blackbird
293. Cinnamon Teal
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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 01:42   #41
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April 14 - Lubbock, TX, USA

I'd planned to go up to Amarillo this weekend, but poor weather quashed that idea. Instead I went into work on Saturday, and hit up a couple of the usual sites today. First to McAllister Park, where I saw both new birds for the year list, then onto Clapp Park.

294. * Swainson's Hawk
295. * Vesper Sparrow

Aaand Vesper Sparrow becomes the 600th bird on my life list!
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Old Sunday 21st April 2019, 04:03   #42
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April 20 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Another couple from up at the Lubbock Lake Landmark today. Was hoping for my first chimney swift, but not yet...

296. Western Kingbird
297. * Grasshopper Sparrow
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Old Sunday 21st April 2019, 23:58   #43
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April 21 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Started off Easter Sunday birding Clapp Park, which yielded nothing of particular note; that's becoming quite a theme for Clapp Park for me... Then down to one of my more regular spots at the East end of Lake 6. Nothing of particular note there either, so I called an Uber and then, of course, a bird I've been wanting for quite some time showed up

298. * Bullock's Oriole

Last edited by rylirk : Saturday 27th April 2019 at 02:13.
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 02:13   #44
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April 26 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Well, didn't expect this one! Went in the B&B pool after dinner because it was a lovely evening, and then suddenly one of these flew over! Then another, and another, and I ran back inside to go get the camera... not every day you get a lifer from a swimming pool!

299. * Chimney Swift
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Old Sunday 28th April 2019, 00:13   #45
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April 27 - Lubbock area, TX, USA

First a morning trip to Lubbock Lake to pick up another lifer and the 300th species of the year:

300. * Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

Then, continuing the theme of working out how far away I can get Uber to, onto the town of Buffalo Springs!

301. * Rufous-Crowned Sparrow
302. * Ash-Throated Flycatcher

Interestingly I had never even heard of this sparrow before, so that definitely wasn't an expected lifer!
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Old Monday 29th April 2019, 00:56   #46
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Had planned to stay local today to recover from the canyon hike in yesterday's sweltering heat. But there's nothing I love more than a phalarope, and I heard a flock had been reported...

28/4/2019 - Smyer, TX, USA

Today's birding took me to a nondescript flooded field about 3 mi. south of the tiny town of Smyer, about 20 or so miles west of Lubbock. As the Uber driver dropped me off she said 'good luck getting back!', and I didn't see another human soul until the next driver picked me up 4hr later...

Well, found the phalaropes pretty quickly... 100 of them, in fact! And a whole bunch of other good stuff to boot, including three lifers. Probably the best day's birding I've had since Corpus!

303. * Wilson's Phalarope
304. * White-Faced Ibis
305. * Baird's Sandpiper
306. Stilt Sandpiper
307. * Yellow-Headed Blackbird



Summary for April:

18 year ticks
13 lifers

Last edited by rylirk : Tuesday 30th April 2019 at 15:55.
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Old Thursday 2nd May 2019, 00:45   #47
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1/5/2019 - Lubbock, TX, USA

May's gotten off to a good start! Word got to me that there was a Great Northern Diver (one of my favourite birds) in Guy Park in the south of the city, so I snuck out of work a bit early to go look for it. Also picked up my first Clay-Colored Sparrows while I was there:

308. Common Loon
309. * Clay-Colored Sparrow

Then, after returning to work, I got another lifer flying over head as I walked home!

310. * Mississippi Kite
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Old Sunday 5th May 2019, 02:28   #48
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4/5/2019 - Lubbock, TX, USA

Went in search of more Wilson's phalaropes today at one of my local sites in Lubbock, but no such luck. Killdeer chicks had also been reported but I didn't find any of them either. Still, got another couple of ticks for the year list:

311. Spotted Sandpiper
312. Sand Martin

But the totally unexpected star of the day came on the walk back to the carpet shop where I start and end my McAlister loop. Walking through fairly long grass, a totally hidden bird leapt out of the grass in front of me and flew off; I had no idea what it was, so I watched where it flew to. Followed it to a clearing under a tree ~50m or so away and was rewarded with my first ever proper views of a nightjar; I have only ever seen nightjars in flight at night, and now I had one at point blank right in front of me! What a bird!

313. * Common Poorwill

Last edited by rylirk : Monday 6th May 2019 at 03:59.
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Old Monday 6th May 2019, 03:56   #49
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5/5/2019 - Lubbock, TX, USA

The good start to May continues with another few solid birds for the year list at Lake 6, including a Hermit Thrush which has been eluding me for a while. Day was somewhat hampered by my ailing camera finally deciding not to let me zoom at all...

314. * Hermit Thrush
315. * Orchard Oriole
316. American Yellow Warbler
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 05:07   #50
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So, first things first, I discovered there was a bird I saw in February which I forgot to add to the list. Rather than go back and update all the numbers, I'm just going to add it here I've updated the totals for February to include this one.

11/2/2019 - Doylestown, PA, USA

317. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Now onto the birds I actually saw today...

11/5/2019 - Buffalo Springs, TX, USA

I was supposed to be trying for Canyon Wren and Woodhouse Scrub Jay at Big Spring today, but when I found out my bus was THREE HOURS delayed (!!!) I made other plans. Interestingly, the canyon towhee was actually one of my targets for Big Springs... overall, pretty good haul for a plan B!

318. * Canyon Towhee
319. * Painted Bunting
320. * Verdin
321. * Blue Grosbeak
322. * Olive-Sided Flycatcher
323. Green Heron

Last edited by rylirk : Saturday 10th August 2019 at 02:29.
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