Posts Tagged ‘great-tailed grackle’

Birding Bonelli in February

It was a beautiful day to get up and go birding in Bonelli Regional Park. I was there by about 7:30 AM with my beloved miniature dachshund, Joyful. Walking in from the airport, I could see white-crowned sparrows and distinctly hear the red-winged blackbirds:  the females are nesting (so unseen), the males are guarding (and so very visible!), and together, they’re singing their highly identifiable song. I noticed the “point man” redwing on a fence. I love the communal nature of redwing blackbirds.

A sweet black phoebe greeted me as I came to the wooded area at the end of the road. Once at Puddingstone reservoir, it was very rewarding to see a flotilla of white pelicans, who were sailing, big-bodied, past slender great white egrets. A black-crowned night heron winged his way over the water and took up residence in a tree branch.

 

WhitePelicans

There were the usual suspects, of course: American coots, Canadian geese, Mallard ducks … later, the Muscovies and Greater-White Fronted Geese. But I saw no Great Blue Herons or Kingfishers. No doves or finches. I was not a little distressed to see someone had plowed under a large patch of a section of reeds where finches and several other birds have their homes.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a fabulous day for birding:  I saw the sweetest female blue bird in a pine tree … yellow-rumped warblers … a lincoln’s sparrow. A great-tailed grackle went striding through the grass at one point! Brown-headed cowbirds and redwings kept company. Along the shore were killdeer and sanderlings in their breeding plumage. Tree swallows were darting over the water, radiating happiness.

 

On the water were greater and lesser scaups as well as cinnamon teal ducks! At one point, a male cinnamon teal did me the favor of rearing up in the water and flapping his wings so I could see the white under-feathers, confirming his identity. I also saw red-headed ducks. The females were lovely! Scaups, cinnamon teals, and red-headed ducks were all new IDs for me, so very exciting.

 

When I retraced my steps, heading back, I was delighted to see the pelicans and many more great white egrets than I had two or so hours before. An osprey was perched high in a tree, and a raft of common mergansers were swimming and diving together in synchronous harmony. The night heron I saw earlier had been joined by his mate. The green heron had also come out and perched on a branch in the water. Beautiful!

 

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“A Great-Tailed Grackle Goes Dancing in Austin, TX” by Jane Beal

fatgrackle

You had clearly left the river
that flows through downtown Austin
on the other side of the hotels.

No need for the bridge, of course –
you just flew to your favorite bake shop
and plunked down where the music was playing.

Through the speakers above you, that music
came down like early morning sunlight,
and you waddled in time to its rhythm:

your brown-hooded head bobbing
left and right, your feet dancing, side to side,
your black wings tucked in as you tucked in

to more sweet crumbs on the sidewalk:
happy, honky-tonk, round and robust,
a cute little fatty, a ladybird in a good mood –

O, that golden eye, shining bright
on one side of your light-hearted head!
I take the memory of you, hustling to that music,

home with me, sweet Texas pea,
great-hearted grackle-ma’am,
like a harmony woven into the melody!

jb

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