I tend to sleep in during my days off, especially since I arrived home around eleven last night after a 13-hour shift at work. But not today because we’ve been looking forward to join the beginner’s bird walk at McKinney Falls State Park organized by the Travis Audubon Society. The walk was headed by expert birders Virginia Rose and Judith Bailey and we learned a lot from them.
Our first sighting was a ladder-backed woodpecker. It has a barred pattern on its back and wings resembling the rungs of a ladder. I wasn’t able to take a good photo of it but saw it through Ms. Judith’s birding scope.
After that we walked towards the upper falls path and our leaders heard a white-eyed vireo’s song. It’s supposed to sound like, “Quick, get me the beer check.” That’s if I heard it correctly. 🙂 The vireo was quick and elusive to my photographic efforts. The mockingbird on the other hand was very cooperative.
About 10 minutes past the upper falls, we saw a red-breasted nuthatch which hubby was quick enough to capture.
Then, we stopped for a few moments to listen for bird calls and Ms. Judith was making sounds that she called pishing. While she was doing this, we saw 2 huge birds flying above us. It happened so quickly but we’re sure that we saw owls. According to our leader it looked like barred owls based on its size and patterns. It was very exciting although we didn’t get a glimpse of the owls again.
After that, we also saw 3 female ring-necked ducks, blue-winged teals, snowy egret and a great blue heron hiding behind a rock.(Click on photo to view larger size.)
It was probably about 10 o’clock when most of the group decided to head back, but hubby and I decided to keep going. Aside from us, four people also had the same idea. Thus, we showed them the area in the park where we usually see some bird activity and we were rewarded with great views.
On our way back, we saw another mockingbird and I finally got to capture a white-eyed vireo which seemed to have a nest nearby. Yay! A nice ending to an awesome bird walk. Thanks to the organizer, Travis Audubon Society.
List of identified birds: ladder-backed woodpecker, white-eyed vireo, crow, carolina wren, great blue heron, red-breasted nuthatch, barred owls, cardinal, ring-necked ducks, blue-winged teals, snowy egret, great blue heron, yellow-throated warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, Lincoln’s sparrow, turkey vulture & cormorant.