Field Notes 2008


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see

if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.   Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Dedicated to Bobby Scott, the local explorer who led an effort of save Spring Creek as a Preserve in the 1980’s.


A good urban ecologist link : http://www.bootstrap-analysis.com/

"chronicles and musings of an urban field ecologist"


December 20


Note from Derek:   Wow check out this guy's flight shot of a Short-eared Owl

from Parkhill Prairie!  He'd mentioned Parkhill Prairie in

an earlier email and Derek asked if he'd ever looked for

this owl there...and sure enough he goes out and finds

THREE there for his lifer list on Friday afternoon! Rodents

must be plentiful this year. Look at the eyes on that bird!

Photo by Mike Cameron.



December 18


Robert Agnew sends us this note:  The Osprey you identified for me is still hanging around Lake Ray Hubbard and Miller Rd. 

I went back twice this weekend before the weather turned bad and both times the bird had a fish on his perch. 

Unfortunately, he had taken favor to a snag about 300 feet from the road (he had been frequenting a snag about 175' from the road).

He is looking for other photo enthusiasts!  (Image was cropped to save space and get detail)



December 14


This osprey was spotted by Derek off Miller Road in Rowlett as we scouted out birding spots

for the upcoming Dec. 21 Lake Ray Hubbard Christmas Bird Count:





This summer, Courtney Blevins, Fort Worth Regional Forester for the Texas Forestry Service

presented the City of Garland and the Parks and Recreation Board/Tree Board the official

Tree City USA  plaque, street signs and Tree City U.S.A. flag. Congratulations Garland!!!


Bob Woodruff Park is in Plano and has a larger area of forest and open fields than Spring Creek.

Birding is excellent most months of the year.    Peter Assman's bird records are here:


Bird records for Fall 2008 for the Plano Outdoor Learning Center
and Bob Woodruff Park are posted here:

Photos here:


December 6


During the work day removing invasive privet, Ann McKay found two new plants to add to our list, one

of which is an escape:  Chinese Holly (Ilex cornuta) and Reverchon's Hawthorn (Crataegus reverchonii).

Thanks Ann and thanks to all who helped remove Chinese Privet and Japanese Privet today.


December 4

Texas Rat Snake (Bunker Hill Park) Garland, TX

unidentified foliose lichen  Muddy Creek Preserve, Rowlett, TX

Photos by Derek Hill



November 26  The Preservation Society wishes all of our readers a Happy Thanksgiving!


Here is a field note with very good photos of an Eastern Pipistrelle bat...thanks Peter!


An Eastern Pipistrelle, clinging to the outside wall
on the stairs to my dentist's office in Richardson.



Nov. 17

Dallas Audubon Chapter announces Christmas Bird Count date of December 20, so we will do the Lake Ray Hubbard Count

on Sunday, December 21st.  We will publish the Christmas Bird Count page today with maps location meeting times.


Nov. 11


Peter Assman's latest bird sightings


Plano Outdoor Learning Center/Bob Woodruff Park

A good day for sparrows (10 species; both towhees).
American Goldfinches in good numbers, also FOS Pine Siskins 
(one heard, another seen, in 2 different flocks of goldfinch).


Mallard X
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Blue Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Killdeer 28
Ring-billed Gull 40
Franklin's Gull 5
Rock Pigeon 75
White-winged Dove 10
Eurasian Collared Dove 6
Mourning Dove 12
Barred Owl 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 7
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 4
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 6
Eastern Phoebe 4
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 16
American Crow 22
Carolina Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 9
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 12
Winter Wren 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 8
Eastern Bluebird 9
Hermit Thrush 3
American Robin 15
Northern Mockingbird 2
European Starling 62
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4
Chipping Sparrow 10
Dark-eyed Junco 6
Vesper Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 8
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 1
Spotted Towhee 2
Northern Cardinal 7
Red-winged Blackbird 14
Great-tailed Grackle 150
Pine Siskin 2 FOS
American Goldfinch 50 FOS
House Finch 35
House Sparrow 11


Nov. 10 Barbara Keeler sent us these images of a Cooper's Hawk that apparently hit her back window and was recovering from

being stunned....thanks Barbara!





Nov. 2  Today was one fine fall day....see the fall colors before they're gone.



Oct. 29  Rat Snake and Texas Garter Snake field notes (Oct. 26):


Leighton Thompson sent us these professional field notes and accompanying images. Thanks Leighton, its

about time we had a real herpetologist visiting Spring Creek!


Here attached are a few pics of a Rat Snake that I observed sunning itself on the trail (Rat Snake figure 1 in-situ)

at the 1787 Holford location on 10/26/2008 at about 5:20pm.  At first glance the specimen appeared to be a fairly

typical (in my limited experience in this region) neonate Texas Rat Snake (Pantherophis o. lindheimeri),

however upon further examination, two black stripes on the underside of the tail were noted (Rat Snake figure 2).

These stripes reportedly occur only within subspecies of Pantherophis guttatus - the Corn Snake / Great Plains Rat Snake clade,

the latter of which has also been documented in this region of Texas. I recorded a few key data points on the morphology

of this specimen and cross referenced them with data on both Pantherophis o. lindheimeri and P. g. emoryi for comparison

((Texas Snakes, Werler & Dixon, 2000.), & (Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado: Revised Edition, Geoffrey A Hammerson, 2000.)).

Here are some results:

P. g. emoryi:

1.)  Typically 42-55 mid-dorsal blotches.
2.)  27-29 scale rows midbody.
3.)  2 dark colored stripes on underside of tail.
4.)  2 or more rows of blotches on sides of body.

P. o. lindheimeri:

1.)  Typically 27-37 mid-dorsal blotches.
2.)  27 scale rows midbody.
3.)  Underside of tail gray in color.
4.)  1 row of smaller blotches on sides of body.
5.)  Skin between scales (& some times scale edges) reddish in color.
6.)  Top of head in neonates/juveniles slightly darker in color than rest of body.

Pantherophis sp. - (Spring Creek Preserve):

1.)  31 mid-dorsal blotches (consistent with P. o. lindheimeri).
2.)  27 scale rows midbody (consistent with both species).
3.)  2 dark colored stripes on underside of tail (consistent with P. g. emoryi).
4.)  1 row of smaller blotches on sides of body (consistent with P. o. lindheimeri).
5.)  Skin between scales - reddish in color (consistent with P. o. lindheimeri).
6.)  Top of head in slightly darker in color than rest of body (consistent with P. o. lindheimeri).

The specimen appears to exhibit morphological traits consistent with the Texas Rat Snake with

 the exception of the striped under-tail, common to the Great Plains Rat Snake - which have been

documented in both Collin and Dallas counties, calling into question the potential for this specimen

to be an intergrade between these two closely related (Collins & Taggart, 2008.) species of rat snake,

 respectively.  I would respectfully suggest that the data be reviewed by a qualified herpetologist,

& until or unless further study can be made regarding the population of Rat Snakes in the preserve

and or area, I would list the photo(s) as a neonate Texas Rat Snake.

Snout-Vent Length: approx. 305mm.
Tail Length: approx. 65mm.

UTM Zone 14S - 718804.90E, 3650178.21N (elev. 153m.).

WEATHER DATA (National Weather Service - 3 miles E of Richardson TX):
10/26/2008, 5:50pm - 82f / 27.8c - partly cloudy.





Here attached are some pics of a what appears to be a neonate

Texas Garter Snake (Thamnophis s. annectens) that I observed at approx. 5:30pm

on 10/26/2008. I discovered the specimen beneath a piece of rusted metal of the

south bank of the creek at the 1787 Holford location (Garter Site figure 1).

Due to the similarity of the Western Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis p. proximus) in

appearance, I have listed some morphological differences on both species

(Texas Snakes, Werler & Dixon, 2000.) as well as the specimen observed, below:

Thamnophis s. annectens:

1.)  Striation of dark pigment occurring between upper lip scales.
2.)  Color on side stripes occurring on scales 2-4 above belly plates.
3.)  Dark dorsal color encroaching onto outer edges of belly plates.
4.)  Tail (below anal plate) comprising less than 1/4 of total body length.

Thamnophis p. proximus:

1.)  Upper lip scales light in color.
2.)  Color on Side stripes occurring only on scales 3 & 4 above belly plates.
3.)  Tail below anal plate comprising nearly a third of the total length.

Thamnophis sp. - (Spring Creek Preserve):

1.)  Dark pigment between upper lip scales (Garter figure 2 & Garter Portrait 1) (consistent with T. s. annectens).
2.)  Lateral side stripes occurring on scales 2-4 above belly plates (Garter figure 2 & Garter Portrait 1) (consistent with T. s. annectens).
3.)  Dark dorsal color encroaching onto outer edges of belly plates (Garter figure 2) (consistent with T. s. annectens).
4.)  Tail (below anal plate) comprising less than 1/4 of total body length (Garter Portrait 2) (consistent with T. s. annectens).

The morphology of this specimen appears consistent with that of the Texas Garter Snake .

UTM Zone 14S - 718921.67E, 3650165.94N (elev. 152m.).

WEATHER DATA (National Weather Service - 3 miles E of Richardson TX):
10/26/2008, 5:50pm - 82f / 27.8c - partly cloudy.




Fall colors are here!! Nikon 300mm shot this morning, Oct. 28th, around 8am at Fred E Harris Section on

the Spring Creek Greenbelt...the trees along Spring Creek include Green Ash, Shumard's/Bur/Chinqapin Oaks,

Eastern Cottonwood, and Cedar Elm.......

At around 10:30 Cirrocumulus clouds rolled in....(right image)




Oct. 24:

Richard Prather saw this nice Grey Fox in Forth Worth recently as it roamed around the Arboretum there.

The coyote image is from Rosehill Park near Lake Ray Hubbard.  Nice Shots!




Oct. 21:

Peter Assman posted his latest bird list for the Plano Outdoor Learning Center and Bob Woodruff Park:


Plano Outdoor Learning Center / Bob Woodruff Park
10/18/08 & 10/19/08

In the woods behind the Learning Center on Sat I had 2 brief glimpses of a bird in flight that I'm 92.5% confident
was an American Woodcock. The bird flew from the path flushed when I rounded the corner. Just as it flew,
an outdoor education class came by and stopped right in front of the path where the bird had flown to discuss
forest succession.. I waited until they left and searched the area, and after a while I got a second brief glimpse
of the bird in flight. It had rounded plain brown wings and its wings made a fluttering sound as it flew
into the woods. I returned Sunday morning but couldn't re-find it. Lots of winter birds arrived this week, sparrows
including a group of Swamps on Sunday and a single Fox on Sat morning.  Very lively both days.

Fri Oct 18 a pair of Monk Parakeets were feeding on the ground with a Great-tailed Grackle flock at the north end of
UTD campus (Collin County).

Mallard X
Double-crested Cormorant 7
Great Blue Heron 2
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 9
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 2
American Coot 1
Killdeer 7
Rock Pigeon 150
White-winged Dove 2
Mourning Dove 4
Eurasian Collared Dove 4
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 8
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Downy Woodpecker 5
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 5
Eastern Phoebe 11
Blue-headed Vireo 3 FOS
Blue Jay 32
American Crow 15
Carolina Chickadee 12
Tufted Titmouse 13
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 11
House Wren 1
Winter Wren 2 FOS
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1 FOS
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 11
Eastern Bluebird 11
Hermit Thrush 2 FOS
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird 4
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 63
Orange-crowned Warbler 4 FOS
Nashville Warbler 6
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15 FOS
Wilson's Warbler 1
Fox Sparrow 1 FOS
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1 FOS
Swamp Sparrow 6  FOS
White-throated Sparrow 2 FOS
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting 1
Common Grackle 90
Great-tailed Grackle 120
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
House Finch 16
House Sparrow 5

Good birding






Oct. 19  Update.....5 of the orchids found at the Preserve today.


Oct. 18  A few images from the newly opened Trinity River Audubon Center

revegetation expected soon...



Left to right: new hatch of Pearl Crescents, female Red-Shouldered Hawk, juvenile Eastern Screech Owl, Texas Prairie Crayfish?

new book on crayfish at http://www.texascrawdads.com





Late afternoon discovery of some Great Plains Ladie's Tresses (Derek) north of Spring Creek Forest.





Oct. 15

Thanks to a call from Derek....hundreds of monarchs were seen from Richardson to Spring Creek Forest late this afternoon after

the cold front pushed them southward on their way to Mexico.  Capturing this was next to impossible on camera since they were

scattered and from 10 feet to as high as my eyes could see.  Here are some early fall colors seen at the Preserve as the monarchs

migrated south...Mexican plum, seed heads of coneflower, broomweed and asters color the foreground..






Trinity River Audubon Center opens...free admission this weekend!!




Oct. 7

Added a regional stream map for your use...see thumbnail. 

With this you can see how stream and riparian projects could

be tied together with other municipalities and neighborhoods...


Oct. 6

Martin Selznick mailed us these notes and great images from his hike yesterday at Breckinridge Park along Rowlett Creek

north of Spring Creek...Thanks for sharing this!


Here are a few pics from yesterday.  This is the first venomous snake I have come across at the local (Breckinridge) park…..

but it did not smile for the camera.  I was actually looking for green grass snakes, but the copperhead

was a good alternative.  It is a good thing I was looking for snakes, otherwise I would have stepped on it…..

no joke there…..really.  I had glanced up for a moment to look for owls, but then I went back to looking along the brush

…..and there it was…..2 steps in front of me. 


Oct. 4


Three interesting migrants at Spring Creek Preserve....Clay-Colored Sparrow (FOS), Wilson's Warbler, and Monarchs.

Fall colors in Poison Ivy, Mexican Plum, Virginia Creeper and goldenrods/prairie asters are abundant.


Sept. 29   Two new plants to our list found along the wet margins of Spring Creek:


Left :Monkey Flower (Mimulus alatus)

RIght: Coffee-bean  (Sesbania herbaceae)



Sept  19   An earlier posting by Peter Assman from Bob Woodruff Park

POLC/BWP 9/14/08

No post-Ike seabirds (my note: no Ike related birds blown into Dallas) at POLC, only a few migrants ;-(
an early(ish) flicker, Gray Catbird, Eastern Kingbirds,
Baltimore Orioles near the lake, Olive-sided Flycatcher,
a lingering Yellow-throated Vireo - still singing robustly
near the Learning Center - and some nice butterflies.


Mallard X
Great Blue Heron 1
Green Heron 1
Cattle Egret 15
Great Egret 1   
Turkey Vulture 2
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 5 (4 soaring overhead + 1 calling)
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Killdeer 3
Rock Pigeon 150
Eurasian Collared-Dove 1
White-winged Dove 45
Mourning Dove 10
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Barred Owl 1
Archilochus hummingbird 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 7
Downy Woodpecker 9
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1 yellow-shafted female
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Traill's Flycatcher 1 (probably Alder)
Eastern Phoebe 4
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 3
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 25
White-eyed Vireo 8
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 13
Carolina Chickadee 14
Tufted Titmouse 11
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 12
Eastern Bluebird 7
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 4
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 33
Nashville Warbler 1
Northern Parula 1
Wilson's Warbler 5
Northern Cardinal 15
Indigo Bunting 2
Dickcissel 1
Common Grackle 2
Great-tailed Grackle 80
Brown-headed Cowbird 6
Baltimore Oriole 6
House Finch 10
House Sparrow 5


Sept. 17 late summer blooms... seen yesterday during early evening around 7 pm...

This is Liatris macrunata, which blooms later than its relative L. glandulosa, which can be found

on shallow caliche soils in the Preserve:


September 6

Boy Scout Troop 1199 helped the Society cut back invasive hardwood seedlings today at the Preserve.  We also had

help from Texas Master Naturalist Jim Varnum and Dallas Chapter National Audubon Society's Sandy Schriever. 

With loppers, saws, and pruning shears along with roundup they helped halt the encroachment of Bois D'Arc, Honey locust, elm, cedar elm,

and other invasive plants . Thanks all for a successful workday.


September 3

1-2 PM

Saw three more warbler migrants at Prairie Creek Park in Richardson. 


Overcast, windy, 72o F

American Redstart 1

Canada Warbler 1

Wilson's 2-3

Yellow-Breasted Chat 1

Brown Thrasher 1

Eastern Wood Pewee 1

Baltimore Oriole 2-3

White-eyed Vireo

September 1

Washington Thorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) at Bob Woodruff Park in Plano.  A rare escape that has become a nice size shrub here along Rowlett

Creek. We haven't seen this species at Spring Creek Preserve.



Unidentified snail on lichen encrusted hackberry tree......



No better way to start off Labor Day than birding during migration!  Will post the list to Texbirds too. B.Gibbons just called saying he found n photographed a Sabine's Gull near Dalhart in the TX Panhandle on his way to Colorado.  I emailed Dale Clark about the whitish butterflies we saw yesterday and today and he seems to think they're the White Angled-Sulphurs. I guess cabbage whites would be smaller and not such strong fast flyers, but I dunno for sure.  Will have to wait for a nice perched look before fully enjoying the tropical lifer
9/1/08 Bob Woodruff Park, 7:15-10:25am, still warm humid, clear sunny to partly cloudy
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 ad
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
Upland Sandpiper - 2 flyovers
Archilocus hummingbird sp. - 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1-2
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 15-25 including several day-migrants
White-eyed Vireo - 5
Blue Jay - 2
Barn Swallow - 1
Tufted Titmouse
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 3-4
Eastern Bluebird - 10-15
American Robin - 1-2
N. Mockingbird - 3
Northern Parula - 2
Black-and-white Warbler - 1 fem/imm
Yellow Warbler - 2
Mourning Warbler - 1 imm
Wilson's Warbler - 3
Yellow-breasted Chat - 1
Northern Cardinal
Brown-headed Cowbird - 100
Orchard Oriole - 1-2 fem
Baltimore Oriole ~ 5
House Finch ~ 5
Large wetland along Prairie Creek, Renner Road @ Synergy Park Blvd.
Wood Duck - 2
Green Heron - 3
Great Blue Heron - 1
Snowy Egret - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 3
Prairie Creek Park
Chuck-will's-widow - 1 flushed





August 23

Bill & Elaine Cox took this nice photo of a Mississippi Kite on their property.  This bird is on our Spring Creek list as a flyover...

This adult if part of a family of 5 including 3 juveniles....

left to right: Hayhurst's Scallopwing, Roadside Skipper sp., Blanchard's Cricket Frog


Visit to Bob Woodruff Park on August 21 in Plano.

Rowlett Creek runs through this park, the same major stream system as Spring Creek. Frogs and toads

were out in force after the recent heavy rains....

Cooper's Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 2 (ad, juv)
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 heard only
Solitary Sandpiper - 1 at meadow rain pool
Black Tern - 2 flyby
hummingbird sp. - 4
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1
Empidonax sp. - 3-4
Eastern Phoebe - 3
Western Kingbird - 1
Eastern Kingbird - 2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - 10-15
White-eyed Vireo - 4 inc. a dark-eyed immature
Blue Jay - only 1!
Barn Swallow
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 3-4
Eastern Bluebird - 6+ inc. a spotted juv.
Black-throated Green Warbler - 1
Lark Sparrow - 8
Indigo Bunting - 8
Dickcissel - 2
House Finch - 5
dark swallowtail sp. - 2
Pearl Crescent - 2
Zabulon Skipper - 1 male at Spring creek
Hackberry Emperor - 1 at Spr. Crk
Cloudless Sulphur - 2
Gulf Fritillary - 1
Gemmed Satyr - 2 at Spr Crk
Hayhurst's Scallopwing - 1 fem. at Bob Woodruff
roadside-skipper sp. - 6, probably Bell's Roadside-Skipper
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
Southern Leopard Frog
narrowmouth toad - Gastrophryne sp., probably Eastern?

list by Derek


Peter Assman shares his bird observations for late summer...

Summer bird sightings, June 1 - July 31, 2008
Plano Outdoor Learning Center / Bob Woodruff Park

Not much to report. Very hot and dry.

A Yellow-throated Vireo spent the summer (sightings on 6/7/08, 6/14/08, 
7/5/08, 7/13/08). Didn't locate a nest, didn't see or hear more than 
one bird at a time, but the bird was on territory all summer and 
produced loud and persistent songs until early July. Last heard this 
weekend (Aug 9, brief burst of song from the vicinity of the Learning 

Black-chinned Hummingbird (female) photographed on the nest near 
Rowlett Creek on the path to the Outdoor Learning Center 
(http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/polc_0708.html). Male perched 
nearby on nearly every visit.

Northern Parula - two pairs likely nested in different locations 
along the creek, singing heard on nearly every visit.

Very few Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the area this summer.


Swainson's Hawk sightings on 6/13/08, 7/15/08, 7/30/2008, 7/31/08 near 
Custer Rd and Plano Pkwy (Collin County). Two recently fledged 
juveniles perched on a telephone pole near the corner of Custer Rd & 
Plano Pkwy on July 30, 8:15 AM; one was perched in the same spot on 
several dates between July 31 and Aug 10. Probably nested in the 

American Kestrel sightings: 6/15/08, 7/13/08, 7/30/2008, 7/31/08 (all 
single birds) near the railway tracks north of UTD campus (Collin 

Masked Duck female found by Bob Stone at Kaufman Marsh 14-Jun-08. I 
took photos, but Peter Billingham's are better quality.

2 Anhingas soaring over the UTSW rookery on July 19 (Dallas County).




July 22


Jerri Kerr sent us this note on a new bird for Spring Creek:  a Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californiansus)

This brings the total number of species to 170...thanks for this report Jerri.



 I wanted to let you know that a coworker friend of mine,
 Mark Durbin  (copied) has reported seeing a Greater Roadrunner dash out
 onto Holford  Road near the entrance to the east-side parking lot at
 Spring Creek Park  Preserve.  Mark is familiar with Roadrunners and is
 positive of the i.d.  It sounded pretty far north and east for a Roadrunner, so I
 checked your  bird checklist for the preserve and see that you do not
 have one listed  as of the 4/27/08 update.

July 21

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird nests over Spring Creek in a Green Ash....last year she nested in this same spot!

If anyone wants to donate a stronger telephoto image than this Nikon 200 mm feel free thanks! Again she camouflaged

the nest with liverworts growing on the stream bank nearby...





The Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Ted Floyd is on bookshelves.  It comes with 587 downloadable bird songs.

Harper Collins Publishers, 2008  ISBN 978-0-06-112040-4          The photos and songs are excellent!


Don't be surprise if, one day, you see a monk parakeet at Spring Creek since they seem to be expanding their range....(photos courtesy

of Barbara Keeler..thanks!) These images were taken in Addison, Texas.




June report:  Mountain Lion???


A couple reported seeing a mountain lion (Puma concolor) crossing Holford Road on the north side of Spring Creek around 8:30am recently. 

They exclaimed about the "long tail" on it and verified it on Google when they arrived home. This particular area has the largest forested portion along

Spring Creek.


UPDATE: Tom Frey's message regarding the mountain lion sightings......

I spoke with Gary Chambers, Firewheel Golf Park, he has seen a large cat, long tail, several times, especially during the last course construction.  Also have a report from Bill Smith, Engineering Dept., who saw a large cat with long tail along Brand Road near TalleyRd./Provence.  This morning a contractor working in Winters Park, east of Hawaiian Falls, reports seeing a large cat with a long tail in the old amphitheater.



June 30  Thanks to the last field post by James Rusk, I went to Long Branch and saw abundant Rattlesnake Master and a few Bluebells. 

(Eustoma grandiflorum).  This morning I visited the remnant gilgai prairie located off a frontage road on I-30 near Loop 12 exit. 

This and Long Branch Prairie are probably among the most endangered habitat within the metroplex.  Only 4-5 plants found compared to a

hundred or more only a few years ago (4th image)... Development in closing in on the east and west borders of the prairie....

it will probably disappear in the near future.


There are gilgai here, which is hard to image since most are gone.. the bluebells are facultative wetland plants and usually indicate seasonally wet prairies

in Texas.  Native plant & prairie organizations may want to visit this urban jewel as well as the larger Longbranch Prairie (aka Pioneer Prairie), both

only a few miles from downtown Dallas...





June 28 James Rusk sent this field report from Long Branch Prairie (aka Pioneer Prairie).  Thanks James!


I went walking over Longbranch Prairie today. Even though we are about 4 inches below normal rainfall, there was some interesting flora.

Bluebells are blooming a little early this year (they usually don't bloom until well into July). I counted about 20 plants.

I also saw many colonies of Rattlesnake Master (aka Button Snakeroot). And, for the second year in a row, I found a colony of Cardinal flowers.




June 23 Martin Selznick sends us these photos...thanks!

If any of the members like to watch herons & egrets, they have been fishing at the pond in the commons area of the Hills of Firewheel.  The pond level is down for maintenance, so there is a wide shoreline along which the birds can wade.  Last night there were a few green herons & a snowy egret.  The big blue & the great egrets have also been hanging around there.



Image above is from Google Earth showing effects of urbanization on North Central Texas farmlands (former

Blackland prairie) and riparian forests as developers build in traditional archaic ways....it was a

great image to show former and current land use since Google had merged old and new imagery

on this boundary in Allen, Texas near the 121 and Central Expressway 75 interchange. This is upper

Cottonwood Creek and is a tributary to Rowlett Creek like Spring Creek.   Alternatives to this type of development

are found on websites such as  


Smart Growth Online and Vision North Texas and

North Central Texas Council of Governments site (NCTCOG)


For further reading...


Subdivided: Isolation and Community in America (from the Jan 2007 archive)

http://www.subdivided.net (click on Subdivided tab)

This is a good presentation of sprawl in North Central Texas as it engulfs and surrounds our last remaining open spaces, prairies, and woodlands…..a must for those of you who are concerned about rampant development in your environment as well our disconnect from the natural world.   After seeing this Dean Terry movie you will realize even more how much we need Spring Creek and open spaces.    Accompanying photos for the documentary are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/therefore/sets/436293/detail/


June 17 James Rusk has this field observation on our butterfly populations.....



I've noticed a large drop in the North Texas butterfly population this year (you probably have too). Dale has a note about it at:
Just thought you might want to add that to your field notes.



June 15,  2008   From Carroll Mayhew...thanks!


Left to right:

Lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

Round-leaf thoroughwax (Bupleurum rotundifolium)

Round-leaf thoroughwax (Bupleurum rotundifolium)

White pairie rose (Rosa foliolosa)

Wild carrot (Daucus carota)

Lady Bird's centaury (Centaurium texense)




June 9

Called one of the most striking wildflowers in north-central Texas, this species is a favorite for ruby-throated hummingbirds.

These separate colonies were found in the small rocky prairie south of the Special Events Center  4999 Naaman

Forest Boulevard Garland, TX 75040-2734.



Peter Assman posted his bird sightings for March-May on a spreadsheet for birders at http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/polc_spring08.html

Quite a nice list...and we put this our website since Spring Creek is a tributary to Rowlett Creek, where Peter visits a lot.  For those of you who want

to visit Bob Woodruff Park or Plano Outdoor Learning Center here is a map:



While this isn't a field note, we should think about water use during the summer as well as year round

enjoy reading these water trivia and facts......



An ephemeral channel becomes active during a recent rain

at Spring Creek Forest (above).


There is the same amount of water on Earth today as there was 3 billion years ago.

Three percent of the water on Earth is freshwater and only 1 % is avaiIable for human consumption.

Sixty-six percent of a human being is water.

Seventy-five percent of the human brain is water.

Seventy-five percent of a living tree is water.

You could survive about a month without food, but only 5 to 7 days without water.

On the average, each American uses about 160 gallons of water a day at a cost of 27 cents.

Bottled water may cost up to 1000 times more than municipal may not be as safe.

Two-thirds of the water used in an average home is used in the bathroom.

Typically 4 to 6 gallons of water are used for every toilet flush.

On the average, a person uses 2 gallons of water to brush his or her teeth each day.

A 10-minute shower uses about 55 gallons of water.

A leaking faucet can waste up to 100 gallons of water a day.

The average person spends less than 1 % of his or her total personal expenditure dollars for water, waste water, and water disposal services.

There are about 60,000 community water suppliers in America.

Pubic water supplies must meet or exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards. Many public water supplies consistently supply water that is much better than the minimum standards.

The Amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986 increased the number of contaminants to be regulated from 26 to 83 and expanded EPA’s enforcement authority.

If a drinking water supplier violates any federal standard, the utility by law must tell the customer.

Current water treatment methods are designed to make drinking water clear and to kill germs.  These treatments, however, do not remove pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, mercury, pesticides, and other contaminants.

The pipes that carry drinking water from treatment plants to homes are regularly cleaned. This does not, however, remove any contaminants that are in the water after it leaves the treatment plant.

It takes about 39,000 gallons of water to produce the average domestic auto, including tires.

It is not safe for hikers and backpackers to drink water directly from remote streams.

One gallon of gasoline can contaminate approximately 750,000 gallons of water.

One quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 of water.

You can help prevent pollution of drinking water sources by carefully disposing of the chemical products you use in your home.

Water Shortages

Unsanitary waters cause more than 15 million deaths each year. This number of deaths will probably escalate with population increase and potable water shortages. If a climatic phase of severe drought strikes, the present 15 million deaths per year could rise to more than 25 million deaths per year.

The wars for entrepreneurial control: These wars are evidenced by transnational corporations purchasing  water companies and resources around the world. People would cannot afford to pay their bills generally have their water shut off and are forced to used polluted water, often with water-borne diseases. In one African community, this resulted in a six-fold increase of dysentery.  

Water shortages are worsening in many regions and the Worldwatch Institute says that by 2025, 40 percent of the world’s people will be living in countries experiencing chronic water shortages or water stress.

The World Bank predicts that water will become the natural resource most likely to cause wars in the 21st century.

 Already, more than a billion people on the planet are without safe water. And continued population growth will only make these problems worse.

 For an interesting view of your “water footprint”, click on Waterfootprint.org

 Water is nature’s gift and cannot be owned and turned into a commodity.







June 2, Peter Assman's report for Plano Outdoor Learning Center and Bob Woodruff Park..


Migration must have been incredibly successful this year-
because it left no stragglers at all! The 2nd half of May
was hot, dry, windy, and migrant-free. An American Kestrel
is showing up regularly just north of UTD, possibly spending
the summer here. Barely reached 40 species on Saturday.
But I did find a huge wolf spider. Some pictures:



May 26....Jim Varnum's list of flowering plants at Spring Creek Preserve...thanks Jim!


American basketflower
Anglepod milkweed
Arrow-leaf clover
Blue flax
Engelmann’s daisy, Cut-leaf daisy
Field madder
Firewheel, Indian blanket
Green milkweed
Hedge parsley, Beggar’s lice
Japanese honeysuckle
Lemon mint
Low reullia, Wild petunia
Mealy blue sage
Missouri primrose
Nodding thistle - Carduus nutans - new to preserve - invasive
Oxalis, yellow wood-sorrel
Pin clover, Filaree, Stork's-bill
Prairie acacia
Prairie fleabane
Prairie larkspur
Prairie pennyroyal (lemon)
Prairie phlox
Prairie verbena
Purple prairie coneflower
Queen’s delight
Quihoui’s privet
Rabbit tobacco
Roemer’s sensitive vine
Round-leaf thoroughwax - Bupleurum rotundifolium - my first sighting anywhere
Showy evening-primrose, Buttercup
Showy prairie clover
Singletary Pea
Smooth ruellia
Smooth sumac
Standing winecup
Sundrops, Square-bud day-primrose
Texas bindweed
Texas paintbrush
Texas vervain
Texas yellow star
Trailing rhatany
Tweedy’s tick trefoil
White avens, Geum
White Barbara’s buttons
White prairie rose - Rosa foliolosa - my first sighting as SC
Wild carrot
Wooly-white, Old plainsman
yellow sweet clover



May 21 The prairie is in full bloom...


Prairie Plantain, Texas Paintbrush, Mealy Sage, Unknown moth


May 10



Fay and Jack walked the Preserve and here's a list of some of the nice flora we saw:

Plains yellow daisy, Englemann's daisy, Barbara's buttons, Ratany, Two-flower Milkvine, Texas dandelion, Prairie Plantain,

Prairie fleabane, Old plainsman, Firewheel, Foxglove, Texas Paintbrush, Queen Anne's Lace, Antelope Horns,

Green Milkweed, Prairie Larkspur, Bull Thistle, Mealy Sage, and Missouri Primrose, Sundrops, Meadow Flax,

Winecup, Drummond's sundrops, Drummond's skullcap, Prairie verbena, roadside guara


Earlier this morning birding was poor at Prairie and Arapaho Parks.


May 7


Peter Assman posted 15 warbler and 6 vireo species at Plano Outdoor Learning Center/Bob Woodruff Park

along Rowlett Creek (Spring Creek is tributary to it).

Tennessee Warbler - Vermivora peregrina     1
Orange-crowned Warbler - Vermivora celata     1
Nashville Warbler - Vermivora ruficapilla     6
Northern Parula - Parula americana     2
Yellow Warbler - Dendroica petechia     4
Chestnut-sided Warbler - Dendroica pensylvanica     1
Magnolia Warbler - Dendroica magnolia     2
Blackburnian Warbler - Dendroica fusca     2
Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia     1
American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla     1
Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla     2
Northern Waterthrush - Seiurus noveboracensis     1
Mourning Warbler - Oporornis philadelphia     2
Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas     5
Wilson's Warbler - Wilsonia pusilla     7
White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus     5
Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons     1
Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius     2
Warbling Vireo - Vireo gilvus     4
Philadelphia Vireo - Vireo philadelphicus     1
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus     4

May 6

Prairie Creek Park


Derek, Jack:


Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson's Thrush


Wood Thrush

Northern Waterthrush

Wilson's Warbler

Kentucky Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeak



1:15-3:15 pm


Mourning Warbler

American Redstart

Nashville Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Black-and-White Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Trail's Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Great-crested Flycatcher

May 5

Spring migration is here!  This morning we saw 13 warbler species at Prairie Creek Park in

Richardson...including Chestnut-Sided, Bay-Breasted, Blackburnian, Magnolia, and Nashville Warblers.

The weather front this morning made conditions ripe for seeing birds today and hopefully all week

at this location.  Derek will post the list on TX Birds (Texas Rare Bird Alert)

Ft.Worth Audubon will have a group looking for these birds on Saturday at 8:30 am...

April 28

Below is a list of flora and fauna seen on the Bird Walk. We will post more photos as they are emailed.

Spring Creek Preserve 4/28/2008        
Birds   Butterflies & Moths Herps Flowers  
Red-Eyed Vireo Indigo Bunting Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Texas Garter Snake Missouri Primrose Drummond's Skullcap     Wahoo
White-Eyed Vireo House Finch American Lady (Vanessa virgiensis) Rough Green Snake Drummond's Sundrops Lyre-Leaf Sage               
Orange-Crowned Warber Yellow Warbler Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) Blanchard's Cricket Frog Evening Primrose Texas Paintbrush
Nashville Warbler Belted Kingfisher Question Mark (Polygonia  Five-Lined Skink Prairie Verbena Wild Four-O'Clock
Eastern Phoebe Barn Swallow Clouded Sulphur (Colius pholodice) Ground Skink New Jersey Tea (Redroot) Roadside Gaura
Great-Crested Flycatcher Morning Dove Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)   Krameria (Ratany) Prairie Phlox
Least Flycatcher Black Vulture Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)   Golden Alexander Prairie Larkspur
Great-Tailed Grackle Eastern Kingbird Common Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis) Antelope Horns Southern Dewberry
Cedar Waxwing Western Kingbird Cloudy-Wing sp. (Thorybys sp.)   Green Milkweed Fox-Glove
Carolina Wren Red-Bellied Woodpecker Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)   Purple Milkweed Vine Texas Vervain
Swainson's Hawk Downy Woodpecker Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola)   Prairie Plantain Prairie Spiderwort
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Tufted Titmouse & young White-Lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata)   Prairie Fleabane Dotted Blue-Eyed Grass
Red-Tailed Hawk Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher     Barbara's Buttons Prairie Onion
Cooper's Hawk Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher     Texas Dandelion Wild Hyacinth
Great Blue Heron Cowbird     Plains Yellow Daisy Mealy Sage
Great Egret Barred Owl     Greenthread Texas Yellow Star
Snowy Egret       Wahoo Queen Anne's Lace
American Crow       Yellow Sweet Clover Japanese Honeysuckle
White-Crowned Sparrow       Filaree (Stork's Bill) Bush Honeysuckle


Left to Right: Five-lined Skink, Rough Green Snake (Jim Folger),

White-Lined Sphinx, Blanchard's Cricket Frog, Monarch caterpillar on Antelope Horns,

Bumble bee on Bush Honeysuckle, Missouri Primrose


Longear Sunfish males guarding their nests in Prairie Creek (tributary to Spring Creek).  (Texas Parks & Wildlife web site: 

"Spawning occurs throughout late spring and early summer. Males scoop nests out of gravel bars. Females are enticed to

lay their eggs on a particular nest by a male who swims out to meet her, swimming around her rapidly and

displaying his brilliant spawning colors. After the eggs have been laid, males chase the females away and guard

the nest vigorously despite their small size, chasing away all intruders. Males may continue to guard the nest for

 a week or more after hatching, until larvae have dispersed."  The males are striking with turquoise fins and

orange bodies, making it our most colorful sunfish in Texas.


April 22  EARTH DAY

The newly mowed prairie looks park-like until you see wildflowers coming up along with native grasses....


April 21 Thanks James for sending these images from Spring Creek..



Dr. Peter Assman submitted a TX Bird list for Plano Outdoor Learning Center...a river forest located north of Spring Creek Forest

and in the same Rowlett Creek watershed:

April 19-20/08
Plano Outdoor Learning Center / Bob Woodruff Park

Highlights: Yellow-throated Vireo, Wood Thrush, 
Olive-sided Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch

Incredibly active this weekend, with 69 species on
Saturday, added 3 more Sunday. Spectacular vireo chorus 
in the early morning of April 19 with up to 8 individuals 
of 3 species (WEVI, REVI, YTVI) singing at the same time
near the bridge.

YTVI and Wood Thrush heard again Sunday (April 20) 
singing from the same locations.

Canada Goose - Branta canadensis     1
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos     X
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus     1
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias     1
Great Egret - Ardea alba     1
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis     2
Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus     1
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii     2
Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus     1
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis     2
American Coot - Fulica americana     3
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus     1
Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitaria     1
Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda     1
Franklin's Gull - Larus pipixcan     7
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia     37
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica     8
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura     6
Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica     5
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Archilochus alexandri     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus     6
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens     5
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus     1
Olive-sided Flycatcher - Contopus cooperi     1
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe     2
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus     6
Western Kingbird - Tyrannus verticalis     1
Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus     1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus     6
White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus     5
Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons     1
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus     6
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata     6
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos     7
Purple Martin - Progne subis     4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis     1
Cliff Swallow - Petrochelidon pyrrhonota     1
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica     7
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis     7
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor     9
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis     1
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus     11
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula     3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea     4
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis     3
Wood Thrush - Hylocichla mustelina     1
American Robin - Turdus migratorius     1
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos     3
Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum     2
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris     25
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum     15
Orange-crowned Warbler - Vermivora celata     1
Nashville Warbler - Vermivora ruficapilla     3
Northern Parula - Parula americana     2
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata     2
Black-throated Green Warbler - Dendroica virens     1
Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina     5
Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus     2
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis     17
Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii     26
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis     12
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis     18
Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea     1
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus     40
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula     2
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus     35
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater     2
American Goldfinch - Carduelis tristis     77
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus     2

This report was generated automatically by eBird

Added Sunday: Turkey Vulture, Eurasian Collared Dove, Inca Dove

April 16


Good news! Marvin reports that two of our bluebird boxes have babies...thanks for checking them Marvin. Unfortunately others had

wasps and/or ants....

Charles Torello stands beside a huge American Elm (Ulmus americana)measured a few years ago at 157 inches in circumference

This giant is located in Spring Creek Forest between N. Garland Ave. and Namaan Forest High School well off any

beaten paths....  Check with this Dallas Wild Life leader and join him April 20 to explore and work on trails....




April 6


Spring migrants are coming through...Audubon's, Yellow-Rumped, Parula, Orange-crowned, Nashville warblers,

White-Eyed (4), Solitary vireos (3), Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Grasshopper Sparrow (3)

Rough-keeled Green and Lined Snakes (new on reptile list by Derek) also seen.


Work day April 5 was fun clearing out nuisance vegetation around the prairie edges, where it encroaches unless controlled...

Several hawks, Harris's sparrow, and other birds were around as we cleared.  The City of Garland Parks & Recreation bush-hogged

the prairie, helping keep out the invasive hardwoods and other plants....thanks Parks & Recreation! President Barbara Baynham

and her husband are in the far left of the first photo. Leadership Garland and Master Naturalist programs also helped!



March 26 Colors of spring with new leaves on the oaks and blooming Mexican plum...



March 18 Big rain...even at 5:23 PM the rains keeps coming and rainfall so far is around 3.41 inches. These are photos of Spring Creek

at Holford Road around 2:45 PM today: We met with Tom Frey on site earlier to discuss mowing the Preserve on the western side of Holford

Road to control invasive hardwoods and nuisance vegetation...but this will certainly be delayed for a couple or more weeks now. There

was concern about disturbing Bluebirds but none have been spotted in the vicinity or around our bluebird boxes so far.



March 12

According to Dale Clark's site, Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici) flies
from late-February to late-March in our area, and primarily feeds on Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis),
as well as Mountain-Laurel (Sophora secundiflora),Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), Yaupon Holly
(Ilex vomitoria), Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana). The ones at Spring Creek seemed to be fond of perching
on Mexican Plum and Eastern Redcedar.
Update: photo on right is black tiger swallowtail male (March 13)

Today's butterflies:

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) - 1
Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea) - 1
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) - common
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia) - 1
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) - 1
Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe) - 1
Henry's Elfin (Callophrys henrici) - 3
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) - 1-2
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - 1
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) - 1-2
Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria) - everywhere
Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) - 1

I think the white one we saw at Bob Woodruff was a
female Falcate Orangetip. They do indeed show a black
spot on the forewing, which I had forgotten about. It
looked falcate-ish in flight for the brief looks that
I had.


March 10   Martin Selznick sent us these photos of a nice juvenile Cooper's Hawk...thanks Martin! Derek has written up a blurb on how to tell this species from the

Red-Tailed Hawk. This is the "chicken hawk" of the old days despised by chicken farmers but feeds on English Sparrows, field mice and

is beneficial to the woodland ecosystem.



I agree this is a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. The smallersize, slimmer shape, and longer tail separate
Accipters from Buteos, so it's not a Red-tail.  It is a juvenile based on the dark brown upperparts and
underpart streaking. It is a Cooper's rather than a Sharp-shinned, because this bird appears to have a
round-tipped tail (not square or notched), and the streaking underneath is mostly dark blackish-brown,crisp
narrow tear-drop shaped, fading away towards the whiter belly. A juvenal Sharp-shinned on the other hand 
would showthicker (and often paler brown or red-brown) underpart streaking/spotting extending down through the belly.

March 8...This report of destruction of monarch wintering habitat is alarming...we may not see many Monarchs around Spring Creek in the near future.



March 4

1239 AM CST TUE MAR 04 2008


Although it wasn't even that deep at Spring Creek, it was still a nice landscape early Tuesday morning....


Feb. 24: First of season Purple Martins heard by Peter Assmann over Big Lake in Plano.


More Trout Lily shots...thanks to Martin Selznick. Note the honeybee, the main pollinator of this species in second image. A little skink (last image)



Feb. 23   Trout Lily Walk

We had a good turnout for the 15th Annual Trout Lily Walk led by Tom Frey, Landscape Architect for the City of Garland with almost 70 participants!  Thanks also

to President Barbara Baynham and her husband for them setting up a table with pamphlets and maps of Spring Creek Forest.   The Trout lilies didn't appear to be fully in bloom, but we all enjoyed the day! Thanks to Tom for another interesting Tour as he told the crowds about the cultural and natural history of Spring Creek.


Thanks for nice backlit shot of trout lilies Derek....  Birds included Turkey Vulture,Black Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk,Red-shouldered Hawk,Accipiter sp.,
Mourning Dove,Red-bellied Woodpecker,Downy Woodpecker,Hairy Woodpecker,Northern Flicker,American Crow,Tufted Titmouse,Carolina Chickadee,
Red-breasted Nuthatch,White-breasted Nuthatch,Brown Creeper,Carolina Wren,Golden-crowned Kinglet,Ruby-crowned Kinglet,Hermit Thrush,
Orange-crowned Warbler,Yellow-rumped Warbler,Chipping Sparrow,Field Sparrow,Song Sparrow,Harris's Sparrow,Dark-eyed Junco,Northern Cardinal
and House Finch.




Feb. 19 Jim Varnum reported Trout Lilies yesterday...thanks Jim!

Re: Spring Creek Forest Preserve (1770)
Stephanie and I found trout lilies along the back trail to the prairie yesterday afternoon (2/18).  Maybe 50 plants, just a few with flowers, none fully open.
We found none along the long concrete path and between the path and Holford Rd.
Lots of Elderberry coming up.
And a sapsucker.
Someone dumped a large log and a section of tree trunk in the parking lot.

Feb. 11

Derek officially submitted the data for Ray Hubbard the results can be seen by anyone now, at
http://cbc.audubon.org/cbccurrent/current_table.html  type in TXLR count code and there it is!

Enjoy Birding on the Great Backyard Bird Count

 The Great Backyard Bird Count is February 15-18. Organizers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon say they are hoping eBirders will go the extra mile to report their sightings to GBBC this year. Last year, participants reported more birds than ever before: over 11 million individuals of 613 species, and broke the all-time record for total checklists: 81,003. Greater participation ensures better coverage of birds at locations all across the United States and Canada, and provides a more reliable record for tracking bird populations. If you would like to see your counts appear on GBBC maps and tables, please send your counts to the GBBC web site in addition to eBird. For more information about this year's Great Backyard Bird Count, including instructions, birding resources, and images from this year's count, visit GBBC.


February 10  Dr. Peter Assmann posted his observations for Bob Woodruff Park and the Plano Outdoor Learning Center....he spotted an Ovenbird!!!

Plano Outdoor Learning Center/Bob Woodruff Park

Snow geese, Wilson's Snipe, lots of nuthatches, and 
a possible Ovenbird! Please scroll down to 2nd photo
and let me know what you think:


Snow Goose - Chen caerulescens 9 flyover
Gadwall - Anas strepera 2 (on a pond near PESH)
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos X
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus 50
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias 1
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura 4
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii 1 
Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus 2
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis 2
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus 1
Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata 1
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis 275
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 23
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto 1
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica 5
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 21
Inca Dove - Columbina inca 2
Barred Owl - Strix varia 2
Belted Kingfisher - Megaceryle alcyon 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus 10
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius 4
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens 7
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus 1
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus 5
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe 3
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata 9
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos 6
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis 13
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor 11
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis 2
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis 4
Brown Creeper - Certhia americana 1
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus 10
Winter Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula 6
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis 13
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus 3
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos 3
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris 250
American Pipit - Anthus rubescens 1
Orange-crowned Warbler - Vermivora celata 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata 16
Pine Warbler - Dendroica pinus 2
Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla 1
Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina 2
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii 1
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis 7
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis 20
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis 18
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus 50
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula 1
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus 85
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus 18
American Goldfinch - Carduelis tristis 35
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus 18



January 30  James Rusk sent us this panoramic view of Spring Creek Preserve this week...Thanks James!



Wind gusts of 30mph up to 50mph are expected on January 29 and a fews days after so we aware of fire danger! 



January 28

Google Maps now features images of street addresses so type in 1782 Holford Road , 1708 Holford Road, and 1520 Holford Road to see views of Spring Creek Forest and Preserve entrances and a view of Spring Creek. The exact street addresses don't match actual street addresses since map accuracy is not 100% (for now).


January 26

Peter Assmann posted his bird bird list from Bob Woodruff Park. Spring Creek is part of the same Rowlett Creek

watershed where he observed these birds:

Plano Outdoor Learning Ctr / Bob Woodruff Park
Dense fog 8 AM, clearing by noon, birds very active

Purple Finch, Pine Warbler, Am. Pipits, snipe, both nuthatches
(but no Rusty Blackbirds so far this year)

Here are two photos of finches, one male, one female:


I was fairly convinced that the male finch was a Purple 
(based on calls from the vicinity) but there were also 
House Finches nearby, and the field marks seem obscure. 
The bill is not visible and the picture is slightly out 
of focus, and my question is: what field marks would make 
this either Purple or House? Any thoughts? 

I returned Sunday and re-found the birds (in the woods next to
the Learning Center) and took pictures of the female. Sunday
added to the list below 3 American Robins, 2 Brown Thrashers, 
Hairy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Eurasian Collared Dove, 
2 Red-tailed Hawks (pair courting).

Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos 
Ring-necked Duck - Aythya collaris 1 male
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus 10
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias 1
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura 1
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii 1
Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus 1 (3 Sunday)
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus 2
Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata 2
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis 150
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 35
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica 18
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 21
Inca Dove - Columbina inca 2
Barred Owl - Strix varia 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus 10
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius 4
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens 11
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus 8
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe 1
Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius 2
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata 12
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos 9
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis 21
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor 19
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis 2
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis 1
Brown Creeper - Certhia americana 3
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus 17
Winter Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula 5
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis 5
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus 4
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos 6
American Pipit - Anthus rubescens 44
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum 18
Orange-crowned Warbler - Vermivora celata 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata 39
Pine Warbler - Dendroica pinus 1
Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus 1
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis 1
Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca 1
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 5
Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii 1
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis 15
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis 55
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis 23
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus 75
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula 37
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus 67
Purple Finch - Carpodacus purpureus 3
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus 77
American Goldfinch - Carduelis tristis 46
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus 7


January 25

A wet field of dropseed and little bluestem with invading Eastern red cedar ...taken during a light rain today...

The dampened grasses revealed their earthy colors as it rained.  Unfortunate these remnant escarpment

prairies are becoming a rare sight north of Spring Creek Forest and Preserve as developers grab the last

parcels of land adjoining President George Bush Tollway in Garland, TX.


Canon Powershot S3, Nikon D50




January 10


The Sky above Spring Creek


Google Earth now has Sky .  You can explore stars  and planets  and more by clicking on View>Switch to Sky when you are running Google Earth.  

First locate Spring Creek Forest (32057’48.54”N, 96039’16.03”W)  Google Earth then switch to Sky.  Under the Primary Database, click

 on the Sidebar layer Called Current Sky Events and you can listen to the  Earth and Sky Podcasts.  For example, under the Podcast for

January, 2008 you can learn how to observe the Moon and Mars  and the Winter Circle of stars



Martin Selznick sends us photos from Breckinridge Park, located north of Spring Creek

along Rowlett Creek. Thanks Martin!


Left to Right Row 1: young Fox Squirrel, Bar-headed & Snow Goose, Northern Shoveler, Northern Flicker, Barred Owl

Left to Right Row 2: Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Northern Cardinal, Downy Woodpecker





To get us all started in 2008, here’s a short list of environmental blogs and websites for your perusal.   Field notes will continue as members and friends of the Preservation Society protect and enhance Spring Creek Forest and Preserve.



The top 35 environmental blogs


On the growth of environmental websites


Top 20 Environmental Sites You Can Read


100 Top Environmental  Sites



Texas Birding and Nature Festivals for 2008