Panhandle Spring

Spring is in full swing here in the Texas Panhandle.  I wish that meant April showers and May flowers but mostly it just means wind.  Heat also, wind and heat.  Unless it’s cold, then it means wind and cold.  Dry, don’t forget dry, as in windy and dry, really, really dry.  How dry is it, you ask?  It’s so dry that the dirt leaps into the sky (aided by the wind; did I mention the wind?) just on the outside chance of meeting a cloud and sucking up a little moisture.  Little chance of that happening, though.  We’ve had a grand total of 4/100ths of an inch of rain in the last 60 days.  Good news though, it might snow a little tonight.  Yesterday we had a record high of 94°F and tonight it is going to freeze.  And, it’s still windy.

Spring also means a changing of the avian guard.  There’s been lots of birds through Hutchinson County the last month.  The gulls and pelicans and eagles have gone, replaced by flycatchers and warblers.  The Northern Mockingbirds and Cassin’s Sparrows are singing and skylarking.  There’s been a steady march of shorebirds and waders out at Meredith.

So here’s a few photos.

Western Kingbirdwestern-kingbird-64-1024x658

Northern Mockingbird.northern-mockingbird-64-1024x684

This Red-tailed Hawk has a couple of newly hatched chicks.  I could see them through a scope from up on a rise about 100 yards away, but was unable to get any pictures of them.  If I can do it without disturbing them, I,ll post pictures later.red-tailed-hawk-117-1024x684

A late season Canvasback.  canvasback-6-1024x643

An Eared Grebe and a pair of Blue-winged Teals.eared-grebe-blue-winged-teal-3-1024x647

This is a Northern Shoveler.northern-shoveler-blue-winged-teal-4-1024x688

A close-up of the Blue-winged Teal couple.blue-winged-teal-24-1024x633

A Northern Bobwhite strikes a pose.northern-bobwhite-11-1024x684

A couple of sparrows that I’ve not been able to positively ID.  The first may be a Vesper Sparrow.  The second one is complete mystery to me.vesper-sparrow-8-1024x673

img_8514-1024x677

Lark Buntinglark-bunting-3-1024x630

There have been dozens, if not hundreds of American Avocets on Meredith the last few weeks.  One of my favorite birds-how can you beat long blue legs, red heads and necks, black and white bodies and a long up-curved bill.american-avocet-58-1024x574

And a couple of new lifers.  Sorry about the photo quality.  I wish some of the playas around would get some water, it’s a lot easier to get close to the birds in them rather than having to climb down a 200 foot cliff at Meredith.

Black-necked Stilt and American Avocets (the stilt is in the lower left corner.)black-necked-stilt-american-avocet-1024x645

Pretty sure these are Long-billed Curlews.  Only other choice is Whimbrels and that would be very unusual.long-billed-curlew-1024x683

More birds in the galleries.

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