It being the Sunday before Xmas, FM 99, usually busy with large semi trucks from the Eagle Ford oil projects, was empty enough to allow us some "old time" birding. Though not as birdy as in the past, it still gave us a good start to the day.
Disappointment hit when we reached the Choke Canyon reservoir areas near the intersection of 99 and 72. They are virtually dried up, with virtually no habitat for the usual ducks, shorebirds, kingfishers, cormorants, anhinga, etc.
It was a Kingbird, but was much too light for it to easily be counted as a Couch's Kingbird, the most likely in the park this time of year. The three of us who saw it all agreed it was right for a Western Kingbird; but they aren't supposed to be there in December. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to photograph it, so it might well remain a conundrum, unless someone refinds the bird.
Once again, as in our past several visits, Olive Sparrows were nowhere to be seen. I wonder if the prolonged drought has affected their habitat that much?
As usual, butterflies caught our eye and I managed to get photos of two different species:
|I'm not sure what type of butterfly this is.|
The interesting birds here were four Black-winged Stilts past their season (though not as unlikely as that Kingbird!).
We also saw the good-sized Alligator that tends to inhabit this body of water.
After a quick drive through the RV area, with nothing of interest, we drove to the exit of the park and came upon about six Northern Bobwhite by the side of the road. Three flew off as we approached. The remaining three seems unbothered by my photographic efforts, the best of which I share below.
Green-winged TealNorthern Bobwhite
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Greater YellowlegsEurasian Collared-Dove
Loggerhead ShrikeWhite-eyed Vireo
Blue-gray GnatcatcherRuby-crowned Kinglet