Bella Vista Creek

Welcome to Bird of the Day!

You might notice some recent changes to the blog. For one, the banner image above has changed from Mustang Island on the Gulf coast to a picture of a local birding spot near my house. Likewise, I plan to focus many of the upcoming posts on birding that area. On the right hand side of the page you will also see the addition of a new gadget that lists what birds have been seen in that area in the last 30 days. Further below, there is a link to ebird for more historic information about the birds seen at Bella Vista Creek. Feel free and contact me on the blog about what you think. Click on images to enlarge. (All photos by gbmcclure)

Mar 23, 2011

2 Birds with 1 Stone

The story behind this blog entry is a familiar one over the past six months; birding as it occurs in conjunction with running. Because I mostly run the pavement I am usually limited in the species of birds I see. But on days like last Thursday, an opportunity to trail run out of town afforded me the chance to see some new species after my run.

In this case, I headed out to a nearby National Wildlife Refuge with a couple 20oz. water bottles and a morning off of work. There are plenty of hills in this area and I have run the small back highways before in order to find long-runs with serious more serious total elevation gain...oops sorry forgot this was the birding blog for a minute...

Anyway, while running the birds were really vocally active but the sky remained overcast and gusts of winds kept push 15mph. I decided I would keep running hoping the clouds wold burn off and the winds would die down even though I knew the bird activity might also fall off as the morning went by. As it turned out, the clouds and the wind remained, the morning wore on, I wore out waiting, and by the time I got back to the camera it seemed as the though the birds had disappeared. Lesson learned: Bird First!

Nevertheless, on my way home I did notice a small group of Eastern Bluebirds on the powerlines and ranch fences. As i stopped my car on the side of the road, they flew back into the oaks, but I did manage to get a few pictures of both males and females, such as these ones.


Mar 2, 2011

Birders of a Feather...

This past weekend, feeling guilty from all the hours I've spent weekend mornings running, I invited the whole family to come birding with me. Two things helped seal the deal: donuts for the kids and leaving out the part that we were headed to a smelly waste-water treatment plant.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to this location was to try and see any wintering ducks still hanging around, but I also wanted to try and get a decent photo of American Coots running on the water. Unfortunately, the day was windy and overcast, but you can see the series of photographs in the previous post. Interestingly, The Birdwatcher's Companion states that there may be some relationship between their name and the pejorative for the elderly--a slow and awkward head-bobbing.

In addition to the coots, I was also able to get this poor photograph of a Loggerhead Shrike. I have not seen one in almost a year after seeing a bunch last year. These guys are also referred to as butcher birds, I believe, due to their habit of impaling bugs on barbed-wire in order to more easily devour.

Loggerhead Shrike

When I went back to check the Loggerhead reference in TBC I was interested to find that the word also can be used to refer to a "dunce". In the case of this bird, I think it more likely refers to the size of its head. Hopefully, I can get a better picture of one soon.