David McDonald Photography
December 9, 2007
Bulletin #22 – Texas Hill Country - part 1
I was in the Hill Country, west of Austin for a weekend in early November. I have birded there numerous times in the last 5 years and I never expect to see a new life bird, but this trip I did.
The only wren in the ABA area that I had not seen is the Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus). I found the bird sitting on a low rock wall along a creek that I had birded at least 10 times previously. As these birds are non-migratory, I guess I just missed him all those other trips. The bird is 5.75” long with long bill, white throat and breast, chestnut belly, and spotted back. The sexes are similar coloration. To me, it is the prettiest of the wrens and so distinctive that when I saw him, I knew exactly what he was and started snapping photos.
http://www.pbase.com/image/109499406 click ‘next’ once
There are 9 species of wrens in the ABA area. The same morning I found the Canyon Wren, I saw 3 other wren species along the same 50 yard stretch of the creek. These photos were taken previously.
The next is Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludivicianus). This is the common wren in the southeastern USA. The bright eye stripe and rufous breast and belly are diagnostic.
The Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) is more common in central USA. This photo was also taken in the Texas Hill Country. It also has a bright eye stripe, but gray underside.
And the 4th wren I saw there was the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). This bird breeds in northern USA and Canada, but winters in Texas. It is drab brown with some barring on belly.
http://www.pbase.com/davidmcd/image/109499411 click ‘next’ once
The day was hot for November (low 80’s). There were a number of birds bathing in pools along the creek. I captured this male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) trying to cool off.
Driving along the back roads, you always come across some roadkill. And where there are dead animals, there are vultures. A pair of Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) were sitting on power poles and stayed still while I unpacked my camera and set up to get these close-ups.
http://www.pbase.com/image/109499414 click ‘next’ once
Lastly, I saw this beautiful white and orange butterfly along the same creek as the wrens. I took the photo, and after buying a butterfly field guide, I was able to ID it as a Common Mestra (Mestra amymone). This Mexican species extends its range into south Texas.
All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
photos copyright 2007 David McDonald
Notice – photos with name preceded with an asterisk (*) were updated for this blog and the text was edited accordingly