Palo Duro Reservoir

Birding in Hutchinson County has been a little slow the last week or two, so today I drove north to Palo Duro Reservoir in Hansford County, about an hour’s drive from my home.  The reservoir was created by a dam across Palo Duro Creek. It isn’t part of the much larger Palo Duro Canyon that is about 150 miles south of us. Like other lakes in the panhandle it is pretty low because of the drought.  The birds don’t seem to mind, though.  There were quite a few Turkey Vultures,turkey-vulture-1280x842 Double-crested Cormorants, double-crested-cormorant-1280x840and Great blue Herons.

There was a large flock of Blue-winged Teals, these 3 seemed to be trying to get a parade Eared Grebes and a single Pied-billed Grebe.eared-grebe-and-pied-billed-grebe-2-1280x760

I watched this Belted Kingfisher make several dives without success.belted-kingfisher-6-1280x903

These last two I’m unsure of.  I think this is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  The colors on his back are a little odd and the tail feathers are kind of short. Maybe he’s molting or a juvenile.scissor-tailed-flycatcher-3-1280x910

I believe this is a Willow Flycatcher, but it could be a Cordilleran Flycatcher.  Sibley’s maps the Cordilleran as rare in the extreme northern Texas Panhandle, which is where I was, and the Willow as a common migrant.  It’s a little early for migrants, but I have seen some other migratory birds already.eBird has both listed as possible for the area.  Either is a new one for my lists.willow-flycatcher-2-1280x779

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