Fall, Finally

It’s been a strange fall in the Panhandle.  Last week it was hot, dry and windy with temperatures in the mid and upper 80s and a southwest wind that has brutalized us without mercy.   Four days ago the winds were 40 mph with gusts up to 60; a miserable, dirty day.  Sunday we had our first hard freeze and the weather has been much more fall like, although it’s still a bit windy. The playa I’ve been visiting for the last couple of months is completely dry now with nary a bird in sight.  Lake Meredith is as low as it has been since it was initially began filling in the early 60s.  At it’s fullest the south end of the lake was about 5 miles south of where it is now.  The good news is the smaller lake makes it easier to see the migrating waterfowl.

I’m finally starting to see waterfowl on the ponds at Spring Canyon.  While it doesn’t have the sheer numbers that Meredith has, it offers the best opportunities for photographing migrating and wintering birds.  I’ve been waiting for Hooded Mergansers, one of my favorite water birds, and they’ve arrived, copy_0_hooded-merganser-1280x854

along with Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, copy_0_bufflehead-1280x849and Canada Geese. There’s a couple of Snow Geese in the middle of the throng as well. copy_0_canada-goose-and-snow-goose-1280x664

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I’ve also seen a couple of Bald Eagles at Meredith two or three times in last few weeks, but nothing steady yet and nothing close enough to get a good pic.  This one was at Palo Duro Reservoir just north of Spearman, texas in Hansford Co.bald-eagle-370-1280x749

White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere, now.  I don’t remember seeing this many last year.white-crowned-sparrow-25-1280x825 white-crowned-sparrow-29-1280x875

A few more birds-Greater Roadrunner.

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greater-roadrunner-132-1280x890

Song Sparrow.song-sparrow-32-1280x840

Pied-billed Grebe,copy_0_pied-billed-grebe-12-1280x758

Greater Yellowlegs,greater-yellowlegs-44-1280x861

and a Rock Wren.  These are bold little birds that sit on boulders on the canyon walls and fence posts, and sometimes even NPS signs, and bounce up and down, singing loudly.rock-wren-96-1280x863

More birds in the Galleries.

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