Aug 082014
 
Yellow-billed-Cuckoo-18-1024x693

I consider myself lucky to see Yellow-billed Cuckoos once or twice a year, but this year I’ve spotted one four different times. They are medium-sized birds related to the much more common (at least around here) and somewhat larger Greater Roadrunner. They lay their eggs over a week or so in a rather flat nest. Occasionally they will lay eggs in another bird’s nest, but are not obligate brood parasites like their Eurasian cousin, the Common Cuckoo. In lean times they have been observed pushing the smaller, younger chicks from the nest.

This photo was taken at Palo Duro Canyon State Park about an hour’s drive south of my house.  I’ve also seen them at Lake Meredith’s Spring Canyon, Harbor Bay, and McBride Canyon, as well as at the Palo Duro Reservoir, about an hour north of  Lake Meredith.Yellow-billed Cuckoo (18) (1024x693)

In this picture the white spots on the under side of the tail and the reddish color of the upper side of the wings are noticeable.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (21) (1024x684)

This photo of a Greater Roadrunner was taken last year at Lake Meredith.greater-roadrunner-117-1280x845

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbirds are considered to be a bit of a pest.  They are brood parasites, meaning they lay their eggs in other species nests and leave the work of raising them to the host parents.  Ornithologists point out that this behavior was beneficial for their nomadic life-style. Before the arrival of Europeans and their cattle, [Read the full post...]

Time Flies

Time Flies

Time sure gets away from me.  I’ve not published anything in a month.  I have been birding, just not as much as usual, lots of things vying for my time.  Some of the them I wish I could just skip, work and mowing spring to mind.  Others are things I should have been doing all [Read the full post...]

Palo Duro Reservoir

Palo Duro Reservoir

I drove up to Palo Duro Reservoir north of Spearman, Texas a few days ago and logged one of the highest species counts I’ve ever had-31 different birds in about 3 hours of hiking and driving around the lake and the area below the dam.  One of the sightings was a Swainson’s Thrush.  They aren’t [Read the full post...]

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

I’ve been watching a Great Horned Owl raise her babies since Valentine’s Day. On May 11 there was a huge fire at Lake Meredith that destroyed over 200 homes and buildings and damaged a hundred or so more.  The bright spot of this disaster was that there were no deaths or even serious injuries, but [Read the full post...]

More April Birds

More April Birds

Black-necked Stilt Spotted Sandpiper Northern Cardinal from the Missouri trip Blue Jay, also taken in Missouri Great Blue Heron in Missouri.  All three of these birds are common in the Texas Panhandle.  Green is not. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher after a bath Yellow-headed Blackbird in a mesquite bush. Red-winged Blackbird on last year’s cattails Western Kingbird in [Read the full post...]

Watercolors

Watercolors

The day after we got back from Missouri we had our first real rain since last summer.  The next morning I went out to Spring Canyon to see if there was anything interesting down there.  While we were in Missouri an itinerant birder had posted on eBird that he had heard a Black Rail and [Read the full post...]

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

My wife and daughters and I went to Missouri last week to visit my parents.  They live in the foothills of the Ozarks in a pretty thickly forested rural area.  The climate and geographical change between the Texas Panhandle and southwestern Missouri is stunning- from dry, parched prairie to lush, green, forest covered hills as [Read the full post...]

Birds  of Summer

Birds of Summer

I’ve really been enjoying the changing of the guard around here for the last month or so.  Most of the winter birds are gone, migrating shorebirds and warblers are still on the march, and in the last week or two the summer residents have started arriving.  Two of my favorites showed up this morning-a Swainson’s [Read the full post...]

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