Thursday, May 1, 2014

Apr 30 (Day 120) - New birds around Austin, getting ready for West Texas, friendly BBQ

The main goal for today was to have my bike serviced. I had a 10am appointment today to do just this. However, Victor Emanuel met me early this morning for some preservice, neighborhood birding. I was able to tally several new species in just the 1.5 hours we spent walking around. These were

336 - Ladder-backed woodpecker
337 - Vesper sparrow
338 - Lesser goldfinch
339 - Black-crested titmouse
340 - Black-chinned hummingbird

The Vesper sparrows (2) were a very nice surprise. These normally winter in the area, but I would have expected these birds to have left for their northern breeding grounds. It nice to tick this bird today!

Vesper Sparrow range

Vesper sparrow from my stock

Vesper sparrow from my stock

Ladder-backed woodpecker from today

Lesser goldfinch from today

Clay-colored sparrow from today

I did also manage to mail my telescope to Lecia for some repairs. I think that the constant pounding on the road has taken it toll on the piece. It will be good to have it in for repair during these months when I should be able to function without it. 

My legs are still very tired from the 3 hard days of riding to reach Austin. I have decided to spend an extra day, tomorrow, in Austin. I need to sort out a few additional logistics, and there are actually a few local birds for which I will spend some time looking. There is actually a good spot of Golden-cheeked warbler about 3 miles from where I am staying, so I am going to investigate that area tomorrow morning. 

The highlight of the day was an evening BBQ organized by several of my birding friends here in Austin. In attendance were Victor Emanuel, Barry Lyon, Cullen Hanks, Cullen's fiancé Wilson, and I. I have spent much time with Victor on this this trip, and I am currently staying at Barry's house. Barry was actually a counselor when I attended Camp Chiricahua with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) in June of 1991. I was only 12.5 years old at that time! Barry and I have stayed in touch ever since, and it is really nice when we can see each other face to face. Barry is still employed at VENT, and next tear will have been with the organization for 20 years. Cullen also attend Camp Chiricahua in 1991. Both he and I subsequently attended additional VENT camps: Camp Cascades in Washington State in 1992 and Camp Cielo in Northern Mexico in 1993. Cullen and I have recently connected via Facebook. It was really nice to hear about his work with iNaturalist and conservation policy here in Texas. He and Wilson are getting married in two weeks, so it was nice to hear about their life plans moving forward. Tonight reminded me of the many birding friendships that I have been fortunate to form in my life. The birding community is really fantastic, and no matter where I travel I always feel as though I am among friends.

Environmental tip of the day: drying clothes in the sun - no dryer needed! The Texas sun dried all my stuff in 15 minutes flat. This is much faster than any dryer could have done.

1 comment:

  1. Hey D - Glad you enjoyed your time in Austin and got some quality Texas BBQ out of it. I hit Hornsby Bend (Austin sewer plants) today before heading back here to LA. Got some good stuff there. Not sure I saw anything that's not already on your list though. If you don't get the golden-cheek, I had pretty good success at Warbler Vista up in Balcones. I can give a further description if you need it. Good luck in Texas!