Cattle Egrets and Song Sparrows

They’ve been paving roads and parking lots all over Meredith the past few weeks and seem to have scared off all the birds.  About the only place I’ve seen anything was on the south end of the lake and it’s a bit hard to get to.  I saw about 60 American Avocets (here’s one group)american-avocet-and-blue-winged-teal-2-1280x843 mixed in with several hundred waterfowl, mostly Blue-winged Teals, I think, blue-winged-teal-26-1280x923but I’m pretty sure I saw 4 or 5 American Coots out there also.  I haven’t seen any of those around since late spring.

I drove out to the playa north of Panhandle Sunday morning.  State highway 207 splits the pond in half and the western half depends on rainfall to fill it, while the eastern side gets runoff from a cornfield just south of it.  We’ve had a bit of rain last week but it wasn’t enough to drain into the western side of the playa. The cornfield is nearing harvest and they have stopped irrigating so the eastern half is not as full as it was.

There were still lots of birds feeding in what was left, though.  I drove east down county road 16, a dirt road between the cornfield and the playa, to try to get a better angle between me, the sun and the playa, but that put me too far away from the lake to get any shots.  With binoculars I could see 30 or so White-faced Ibis, about 50 Blue-winged Teal (there have been a few Northern Shovelers, Mallards, and Northern Pintails mixed in in the past weeks, but I couldn’t get a good enough view to tell if they were still there), a couple Northern Harriers, several dozen Barn Swallows chasing flies and mosquitoes over the water, Killdeer and some unidentifiable waders.

There was a small herd of cattle feeding near the fence and 4 Cattle Egrets following them around and I was able to get a few nice pics.cattle-egret-1280x778

Just before I got back onto 207 I saw a couple of small birds fly across the road and land on top of some volunteer milo plants growing next to the cornfield.  I could be wrong, and as a matter of fact am wrong more often than right, but the look like Song Sparrows to me. It’s possible that this is a Savannah Sparrow, also.  I looked in several guides and at photos on the internet and there are color variations of both that look like this.   It’s a little early in the year for either of them, though, so I’m not sure.




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