Sunday, February 04, 2007

ENV: Real/Kerr Cos. Survey, 3 Feb 2007

Brandon Best, Ken Cave, Tom Collins, Mitch Heindel and Jason Penney joined me for a survey in Real County Saturday, 3 February 2007. Despite a morning cold enough to keep us and the birds shivering, we managed to find some neat things. The list below details things we found new to the ranch, among them some notably common species. This is our first winter survey however. The best birds for the day were not notable because of the species, but because of the numbers, especially considering recent TexBirds posts about their abundance elsewhere in Texas – our most common birds were kinglets – both species, with Golden-crowns slightly outnumbering the Ruby-crowns. While active, they were feeding mostly along the river’s edge from overhanging branches. We saw only five insects for the day, but watched Black and Eastern Phoebes actively feeding as well as the kinglets. Something was flying.

The other neat things seen on the ranch were three Porcupines high in trees on the slope above the big springs. One was first noted in the outer canopy of a Lacey Oak. Chewings seen on the outer canopy of a Sycamore led us to another, and then a third curled on a large limb below. Considering the size of these critters it’s amazing that they can get to the outer canopy twigs (literally) to feed but we saw them perched there. Mitch got digiscoped photos, and perhaps others got photos as well. Very cool. Not often you see a live Porcupine, much less three in one view.

On the way back into Kerr County, Tom Collins and I stopped at the Boneyard Draw eagle roost and had a single adult Bald Eagle perched there. It was early in the day yet for numbers. Further down the road i spotted a large gull in the river at the Kerr WMA and quickly turned around and parked long enough to glass an immaculate adult Ring-billed Limestone Rock. It had an unmarked white head, and a silvery gray back. No mistaking that one!

Here is the preliminary list; additions may be coming from the other observers.

UPDATED 6 February 2007

TX: Real County, Big Springs on the Frio Rive, 1900’ elev., 3 February 2007, 8:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CST, 32-50dF, overcast to partly cloudy [clearing about 2 p.m.!], occasionally breezy, cold to cool; Brandon Best (Lubbock) Ken Cave (Sabinal), Tom Collins (Center Point), Tony Gallucci (Ingram), Mitch Heindel (Utopia), Jason Penney (Carrizo Springs).

p = photographed
f = filmed
n = new to ranch survey

2 Water Boatman sp.
1 Dytiscid, Thermonectes marmoratus
1 Moth sp.
1 American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax nymph p

25 Rainbow Trout, Oncorhyncus mykiss
4 Mexican Tetra, Astyanax mexicanus
300 Pug-nosed Minnow, Opsopoeodus emiliae emiliae
200 Blacktail Shiner, Cyprinella venusta
2 Shiner sp., Notropis sp. np
4 Roundnose Minnow, Dionda episcopa n
50 Mosquitofish sp., Gambusia affinis affinis
12 Redbreast Sunfish, Lepomis auritus
3 Longear Sunfish, Lepomis megalotis

1 Tadpole sp.

1 Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans n

2 Green-winged Teal n
20 Ring-necked Duck n
2 Great Blue Heron
6 Black Vulture
1 American Kestrel
6 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Ladder-backed Woodpecker p
3 Golden-fronted Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker n
4 Belted Kingfisher
2 Green Kingfisher
12 Eastern Phoebe
2 Black Phoebe
2 Western Scrub-Jay
8 Common Raven
4 American Robin n
8 Hermit Thrush n
15 Cedar Waxwing n
20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet p
25 Golden-crowned Kinglet
8 Carolina Chickadee
12 Black-crested Titmouse
3 Bewick’s Wren
7 Canyon Wren
7 Carolina Wren
1 Marsh Wren n
5 Orange-crowned Warbler
1 Pine Warbler n
12 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler n
20 Northern Cardinal
20 Chipping Sparrow
1 Clay-colored Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow n
3 Lincoln’s Sparrow n
2 Spotted Towhee
2 House Finch
5 American Goldfinch n

1 Edwards Plateau Fox Squirrel
3 Porcupine p
1 Coyote (dead at springs)
3 Domestic Dog (Miniature Schnauzer, Harrier)
12 Afghan Ural/Persian Red Sheep, Ovis ammon gmelini f
1 Barbados Sheep f
2 Domestic Goat (Spanish, Spanish X Ibex)
2 Blackbuck, Antilope cervicapra f
4 White-tailed Deer
2 Llama
6 Domestic Horse (Quarterhorse, Tobiano, Mustang)
1 Domestic Donkey (Sicilian)


TX: Kerr County, road species found on the way to and from Big Springs. All were in west Kerr County, on TX39 in the a.m. and on TX41 and FM 1340 in the p.m. Tom Collins and Tony Gallucci.

1 large botfly sp.

2 Wood Duck
40 Black Vulture
12 Wild Turkey
1 Bald Eagle
1 American Kestrel
20 Rock Pigeon
20 White-winged Dove
1 Belted Kingfisher
2 Common Raven
12 American Robin
4 Eastern Bluebird
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet (HCYR)
20 American Goldfinch (HCYR)
2 Lesser Goldfinch (HCYR)
400 Spizella sp. (likely all Chipping)
4 Vesper Sparrow
12 Great-tailed Grackle
1 Meadowlark sp.

1 Striped Skunk (HCYR)
60 White-tailed Deer
200 Axis Deer
40 Fallow Deer
6 Sika Deer
400 Domestic Goat (Spanish, Boer, Angora)
200 Domestic Cattle (Texas Longhorn, Black Angus, Hereford, Black Baldy, Limousin,
Charolais, Simmental, Gelbvieh)
10 Mouflon
18 Aoudad
2 Red Lechwe
2 Dama Gazelle
30 Black buck
30 Domestic Horse (Quarterhorse, Tobiano, Overo, Arab, Thoroughbred)
1 Domestic Donkey (Mexican Burro)

TX: Real County, road species found on the way to and from Big Springs. All were along US83, Tom Collins and Tony Gallucci.

1 Accipiter sp.
4 American Kestrel
12 Common Raven
40 Meadowlark sp.

6 Axis Deer
4 Feral Hog (all DOR)
40 Domestic Cattle (Black Angus, Hereford, Black Baldy)
2 Blackbuck
18 Mouflon
30 Barbados Sheep

2 Air Force jets



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