Well, it’s been a while since I last posted. I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding the blog-maybe it seems too much like work, I don’t really know. I’m going to try making shorter, but more frequent posts to see if that works better for me. I’ve been out birding as much as ever, but I haven’t been focusing on taking pictures as much as just enjoying wandering around the county. I still haven’t gotten the lens that I dropped a few months ago fixed and it acts kinda hinkey, but I don’t think that’s really the reason, either. Maybe I’ve realized that I’m never going to be a great bird photographer, so I don’t try so hard to get photos as I used to. Mostly I just enjoy being outdoors and I enjoy looking at the birds. I still carry the camera around with me everywhere I go and if a great bird poses for I me I photograph it, but just seeing it is the best part of it. I find that I actually enjoy birding more than ever. Another reason may be that I’ve become interested in another hobby and so after I spend a morning birding and taking a few photos, I brew beer instead of blogging. Maybe I should combine the hobbies into a single blog-Birds and Brew.
That being said, a great bird presented itself to me the other morning. I was returning home around noon after stomping around the lake for most of the morning and when I pulled up into the drive there was a strange bird at the sunflower seed feeder. Mostly, my feeders attract House Finches and House Sparrows. In the winter, Dark-eyed Juncos, Red-winged Blackbirds, and White-crowned Sparrows show up to clean up the ground below the feeders. There is usually a quite a few American Goldfinches in the winter as well. There is about a half dozen Blue Jays and a Northern Cardinal pair, and one of my favorite birds, a Curve-billed Thrasher that hang around year-round also.
This bird was larger than the finches and sparrows and was showing a lot of yellow on his head, and white and black on the wings, so he piqued my interest. I grabbed my camera and slowly got out of the truck and snapped a few pictures before a jay dived in and chased everything off. The bird was obviously a grosbeak of some sort and after a minute of looking at Sibley’s I was able to ID it as an Evening Grosbeak. I reported it to eBird and shortly received an email from the regional rep asking me to file a report with the Texas Bird Review Committee, which I did.
I know this brands me as a hopeless dork, but I was so excited. I filed the report and then did some research on the bird. According to eBird records this is the only Evening Grosbeak ever reported in Hutchinson Co-probably more because there aren’t that many birders in Hutchinson Co, and almost none that report to eBird. There were several reports in 2001 in Potter and Randall counties just south of Hutchinson, but that’s it for Evening Grosbeaks in the Texas Panhandle (A few reports in Lubbock this month also, but they’re just barely in the panhandle, it’s more of a West Texas town)