The last two months have been even drier than the regular drought around here. Lake Meredith is below 29 ft and getting lower daily. The playa near Panhandle is gone as well and so birding has been a little dry lately. The dried weeds around Meredith and Palo Duro Reservoir north of us host hundreds of Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds. The south end of Meredith has hosted quite a few American White Pelicans over the last few weeks. I’ve also seen hundreds of Canada Geese flying over and occasionally stopping on the lake. Both Meredith and Palo Duro are stop overs for Mallards, Lesser Scaups, Common Goldeneyes, Redheads, and Pied-billed and Eared Grebes. Ring-billed Gulls by the dozens have taken up winter residence here and you can almost always see 2 or 3 Bald Eagles at either lake. Other wintering birds are Western and Eastern Meadowlarks, and Northern Harriers. Actually, I guess it has been all that bad, birding-wise. I think that last year when I was seeing these birds, it was for the first time, and so it seemed like there was a lot more going on.
A few of the birds I saw the last couple of weeks: first some sparrows, to give you an idea of how similar they are and how much trouble I have telling them apart.
Song Sparrow. Note the streaks on the breast and the dark upper bill
An immature White-crowned Sparrow. No streaks on the breast, and a yellow bill. (Thanks to Heidi from Big Bend-Texas Nature blog for help with the ID.)
American Tree Sparrow. Unstreaked breast and bi-colored bill.
Adult White-crowned Sparrow
More in the Galleries.