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)

Jun 2, 2013


About this time of year fledgling birds are noisily following around their parents asking for food. They are pretty recognizable not only from the noises they make but also by behavior. You will often see them rapidly flapping their little stubby wings, appearing to be throwing a toddler like bird fit (the baby stage is the constant crying for food when sitting in their nest). The other day I happened to be under a tree as a foraging group of these birds came through above me. I was surprised to see more than the usual chickadees, titmice and cardinals. A young Red-Bellied Woodpecker was even taking part in the action! Along with the other birds also expressing themselves verbally in their usual ways, it created quite a concert. Feeding Time For Fledglings at Bella Vista Creek by Gideon McClure Earlier that morning I was also able to capture a usually quiet Summer Tanager vocalizing from the treetops. Summer Tanager at Bella Vista Creek by Gideon McClure Though the highlights of Spring migration are behind us, each part of the birding year is filled with some purpose.

May 12, 2013

The Warblers are Back

I have been out of town the past two week-ends. Not a great time as Spring migration really picks up in the transition from April to May. I have tried to get out to Bella Vista creek a few times for brief forays but had little luck with finding many migratory Warblers. I found a Grey Catbird, some Vireos, and one or two Yellow Warblers, but not much else. I was a little skeptical and worried that last year may have been a fluke. Today, however, I ran out quickly after a brief Mother's Day breakfast. In just the hour I was out there I found a Magnolia, Yellow, Wilson's, and Chestnut-sided Warblers. These little guys were busy gathering treat with the usual Vireos and Chickadees and Titmice. Looks like we might officially have ourselves a little "hotspot". I'm glad there is a little patch for them to refill so close to the house on their way North. Now let's make sure we protect it for them!
Below is a sound clip of a Golden-cheeked Warbler found on the creek last month. You will hear it twice. This is the second year I have found this bird in the same location (even the same set of trees. This is great news as the species is endangered.

Nov 20, 2012

Red-breasted Nuthatch

His face reads, "I'm caught!" The Nuthatch ceases his probing, Hanging upside-down.

American Bittern

Each step is silent. Near, a crayfish is spotted-- The Bittern lunges.

Jun 14, 2012

Patience is a Virtue...

For those of you that use eBird, you already know what an incredible resource it can be for birders. If you have never used it, there is a link on the right side of this page that will take you there. In fact, many of the gadgets that list sightings on this page are using eBird data. Birders can use this site to look up what birds they might see at different locations at different times. The data is there because birders enter in details of species seen when they are out in the field. There is so much data provided by this site that almost every time I log in I find something new and interesting. The following link will take you to a chart describing when and where the first of each species was spotted in Travis county for this year. Travis County Arrivals Looking at this data, you'll see that the first Golden-cheeked Warbler was spotted in Travis Co. on March, 6th. Along Bella Vista creek I expected to see one perhaps as early as April; knowing the habitat was good for this endangered species which spend their Summer here in Central Texas along hillsides with a mix of Ashe Juniper and Oak. I had been keeping a look out each time I birded the area hoping to see my first in this location. As the days have been getting hotter, I have been out less. Having just a few minutes this morning on my way to work, I decided to stop by and try my luck. Sure enough one Golden-cheeked Warbler diligently made its way through a clump of trees, rewarding my patience.

Jun 13, 2012

Summer Sparrows

For the most part, I think of sparrows as being Winter birds in central Texas. From late Fall through early Spring it is possible, if not easy to find seven species in a day. On a good day, one might see 10 or more. During the summer the number of Sparrows available decreases. Lark Sparrows are fairly common, and of course House Sparrows are always around. But there are a couple other year-round Emberizidae to be found during the dog days of birding if you are lucky. The Rufous-crowned Sparrow is one of these, though I do not seem to encounter them that often. This morning, I was lucky to find this one singing near by. Rufous-crowned sparrow at The Creek By Bella Vista by Gideon McClure