Field Notes 2011

 

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.


February 26 Trout Lily Walk was a big success....thanks to all who participated! Special thanks to Tom Frey, Garland Parks and Recreation Department for leading the annual event!

 

 

 

February 22...more Trout Lily photos....location must remain undisclosed in the Forest Preserve to avoid damaging the colonies.

 

 

 

February 21st President's Day - Today we saw Trout Lilies in full bloom!  Last year the trouts were later, peaking around March 9.  The Trout Lily Tour is this coming Saturday so don't miss it. They will be at their peak!  Also a bobcat was seen near the horse ranch adjacent to Spring Creek Preserve on the

western edge near Maple Ridge (seen by Bob)...the bobcat has been spotted there a couple of times before in the same area.

 

 

February 18-21.  The Great Backyard Bird Count is less than two weeks away. If you need to study up on your backyard birds, see the

Cornell Website: The Birds of North America Online!

 

Thanks Marvin for sharing this nice photo of a Pine Warbler in the snow. Nice find!

 

February 2...Hard to believe that trout lilies will be blooming in about 4 weeks. The high today was only 20, with a wind chill of  9!

Low tomorrow is only 9 degrees (that's without wind)!

Trouts in sleet, February 2003.

 

January 29   A nice 73 degree day at Spring Creek Preserve. Spotted at the copse at the top of the "hill" were field sparrows, a couple of bluebirds (one

emerged from the big barn owl next box, and one beautiful male Pine Warbler in full sunlight!

 

Invasive Plant?  We identified this as a Cherry Laurel this morning as Matt was cutting out invasive plants, mainly privet species. Cherry Laurel (Prunus carolinianus) is native to East Texas but is naturalized  here. Any opinions on removing it from the forest as we clear out privet and other noxious species?

 

 

 

January.. From Caleb Frome. Thanks!

Field notes from today.

Location: Breckenridge Park (Richardson)
Observation date: 1/4/11
Number of species: 41

Canada Goose 6
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 15
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 2
Killdeer 15
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Ring-billed Gull 50
Rock Pigeon 50
Mourning Dove 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 10
Carolina Chickadee 5
Tufted Titmouse 3
Brown Creeper 2
Carolina Wren 5
Winter Wren 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10
Eastern Bluebird 10
American Robin 2
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 2
Cedar Waxwing 15
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
Chipping Sparrow 20
Field Sparrow 10
Savannah Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 15
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 15
Northern Cardinal 10
Great-tailed Grackle 4
House Finch 15
American Goldfinch 15

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Caleb Frome
TX Century Club Youth Member

 

 

December

 

Christmas Bird Count results are final!  We had 115 species around Lake Ray Hubbard and Spring Creek and a total of 16,603 birds.  Thanks to

all who helped us again!

 

November 22 images from "The Badlands" north of Spring Creek Preserve and west of Holdford Road. The striking fall foliage is Shumard's and Texas Red Oak (Buckley's Oak)..

 

November 15  Today is America Recycles Day

 

November     Construction of a new Spring Creek Visitor's  pavilion and restroom at 1770 Holford Road may start this month, with a projected completion date of June, 2011.

 

November 2    Marvin sees an FOS Dark-eyed Junco at the Preserve.

 

Oct. 28  Caleb Frome sent us a bird list from Brekenridge Park, located north of Spring Creek along Rowlett Creek. Thanks

Caleb!

 

Here is a list for the field notes from this afternoon at Breckenridge Park in Richardson.  LeConte’s Sparrow was an especially good sighting, though they were reliable last year at the location.

 

eBird Report - Breckenridge Park (Richardson), 10/28/10

 

Location:     Breckenridge Park (Richardson)

Observation date:     10/28/10

Notes:     Beautiful day, many personal first-of-fall (FOF) observations

Number of species:     29

 

Canada Goose     31

Mallard     3

Double-crested Cormorant     2

Great Blue Heron     2

Great Egret     1

Black Vulture     3

Turkey Vulture     1

American Kestrel     2

American Coot     1

Killdeer     15

Mourning Dove     2

Red-bellied Woodpecker     3

Downy Woodpecker     2

Eastern Phoebe     7     Surprisingly high count

Blue Jay     5

American Crow     10

Carolina Chickadee     3

Carolina Wren     2

Eastern Bluebird     5

American Robin     5

Northern Mockingbird     4

European Starling     15

American Pipit     40     FOF

Chipping Sparrow     10     FOF

Savannah Sparrow     1     FOF

Le Conte's Sparrow     1     FOF, in the field I usually see them in (by the pond at entrance B)

Northern Cardinal     5

Red-winged Blackbird     15

meadowlark sp.     7

House Finch     10

 

This report was generated automatically by eBird (http://ebird.org)

 

Caleb Frome

TX Century Club Youth Member

Richardson

 

Oct. 25  
Hey Jim the Great Plains Ladies' Tresses orchids are here . . .counted a scattered dozen in an arc about 100 feet southeast to northeast of bluebird box #3.

 

Oct. 13. Notes from Jim Varnum..thanks!

Howdy.

 
I went to Spring Creek Forest (1770) early yesterday morning to look for Spiranthes orchids - we found them on October 15 last year.  But the field was covered by waist-high wet grass and I became soaked after just a few steps.  Went back later... and did not find any orchids.  Saw lots of other wildflowers, though.  And a pair of wood ducks in the creek off the concrete cul-de-sac.  I attached a photo of the dew on the grass taken at 7:45 AM.
Jim

 

 

Sept. 30 more fall flowers:

 

pigeon-berry, bloodberry
frostweed
buffalo burr - prairie

white prairie aster

camphorweed, golden aster - prairie

silverleaf nightshade - prairie
goldenrod - prairie/forest
violet wood-sorrel

mealy sage  - prairie
telegraph lettuce

cardinal flower (Marvin spotted them!) below left - streambank

Mexican petunia (escape) - streambank

 

 

 

Sept. 28   Martin sent us these photos (click to enlarge) of a copperhead at Brekinridge Park along Rowlett

Creek in Richardson. Thanks Martin!   His notes follow:

This small copperhead was on the path at Breckinridge Park this past Sunday afternoon. 

 

It was a little nervous because several bicycle riders just missed running it over. 

 

After a few pictures, I got it safely back into the brush along the creek……and people out there on casual strolls wonder why I wear really heavy boots, especially when I am crawling through the grasses looking for photo ops.

 

 

Sept. 26   fall-like weather....overcast, 70, temperature dropping  and windy.   Muddy trails.

 

Sept. 20 Casual observations: at the Preserve.  Now in bloom :

fall gumweed

palafoxia
gay feather (Liatris mucronata)
frostweed (in woods)
broom whitlow-wort
broomweed
tick clover (in woods) - (showy along the dirt trails)
prairie agalinis (showy on the prairie now)
fall boneset

 

The tick clovers (Desmodium species) are sometimes difficult to identify..here are a few images:

 

 

September 8 More flood photos from Marvin. Thanks!

It was the highest I had seen it. I think it has been higher, from the debris left
along the trail, but this was high enough. We had 4 inches at noon today.

Left to Right: This is on east side - 1770. The water is over the sidewalk, so didn't get down to the bend and the big tree; About midway on the trail, on the way to west side, where the trail goes down and back up, with the low area off to the left feeding in to thecreek. You can climb over the roots and on down to the gravel bar area in the creek bottom. It is 'bank to bank' water, with it coming up trail;

A rabbit's eye view of a rabbit run....all the better to escape coyotes and hawks. Thanks

Marvin!

 

We had heavy rains from Tropical Depression Hermine...Marvin took these

shots of Spring Creek at Holford Road.

 

These shots are the Fred E. Harris Section near Shiloh Road:

Just two days ago we were in a drought....this shot was Fred E. Harris Section lake:

 

Fall migrants are passing through....from Dr. Peter Assman's posting:

Friday and Sat. (Sept. 3-4) were very productive for migrants
at BWP/POLC/Oak Point. Here are the highlights.

Double-crested Cormorant 8 (distant view, not well seen)
Upland Sandpiper heard overhead both days
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2, unidentified Archilochus 5
Eastern Kingbird 22 (in 2 flocks flying over, BWP Fri. AM)
Eastern Wood Pewee 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 2 
Traill's Flycatcher 1
Empidonax sp. 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 7 
Yellow Warbler 3 Fri 
Wilson’s Warbler 6
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1 female/imm. (woods behind Learning Center)
Mourning Warbler 1 each day (dried out pond in BWP)
Black-and-white Warbler 2 Fri. 
Canada Warbler 1 Sat. (behind Learning Center)
Common Yellowthroat 1 Fri. 
Painted Bunting 1 fem/imm.
Indigo Bunting 2 "
Blue Grosbeak 1 POLC " 
Dickcissel 15 at Oak Point
Lark Sparrow 1 Oak Point
Baltimore Oriole 6 BWP
Orchard Oriole 2 BWP
Armadillo 1 
 

 

August 1 Around 5:21PM, a record breaker at Spring Creek and elsewhere.....what's scary is that these readings were about 2 minutes apart.

 

 

July 19  Spotted sandpiper seen feeding along the creek this morning.

 

July 15.  Possible breeding pair of White-Breasted Nuthatches near Maple Ridge section of Spring Creek. 6 juvenile Western Kingbirds at the Preserve in the remnant prairie.  Juvenile copperhead crossed the path near Maple Ridge parking lot.

June 21st.  Summer solstice...the longest day of the year and hot so I decided to wade a bit. In the mid-afternoon, shallow portions of the creek were warm, but I found a cold spring flowing from the end of a pipe where Shiloh Road crosses the Creek. Under the Shiloh Road Bridge, birds find coolness during the heat of the day.....Great Blue Heron and a dozen cliff swallows.   Nearby I noticed seepage plants you don't normally see further downstream in Spring Creek Forest and Preserve. One was the Shield Fern, a group of hydrocotyls (sometimes call water penny-worts), eleocharis, and a new plant for the area, a Mexican Fern (Anemia mexicana)!  It was growing in one of numerous seepage spots along the limestone cliff (facing north) along Spring Creek, not far from the Shield Fern. The image below is from the Dr. Steve Hatch collection Texas A&M Herbarium.

 

 

June 20th.   A possible breeding bird record?  White-Breasted Nuthatch ....09:32AM foraging in mature Green Ash by Spring Creek. I will check out One-Eleven Ranch Park for more nuthatches.  The coordinates for visual and song this morning: 36058'02.20" N, 96039'40.16".

 

June, 2010 The same Trinity River that Spring Creek eventually drains into (East Fork Trinity) is shut down at the coast. A sad note indeed.

 


 

 

 

 

This island of rock probably began forming almost 2,000 years ago as Cottonwood Creek incised itself on either side of this rock formation.  The downward erosion extended into the white rock here known as the Austin Formation and left the "island" surface over 15-20 feet above Cottonwood Creek. There are interesting  flora around, including white and purple prairie clover on top of the island,  despite hacking of vegetation by neighborhood kids. This place is not known to many local residents simply because they don't explore and/or are scared of snakes. For you geocachers, the coordinates are Latitude 33.08395 Longitude 96.647153 and the "cache" is a pretty scene.  Cottonwood Creek, which is in the same watershed (Rowlett Creek basin) as Spring Creek, also has the rarely seen Southern Maidenhair Fern.

 

June 11:   Two more chinquapin oaks are down near the Preserve trail west of Holford Road.  It seems Chinquapin oaks have been hit more by root disease than either Shummard or Bur Oaks. One of the downed oaks blocks the path to the creek overlook not far from the forest bench installed by Explorer Scouts a few years ago.

 

Memorial Day Weekend...have a great Memorial Day.  Basketflowers in bloom at Spring Creek Preserve.

Best time to hike around is generally before 9:30-10:00am. . . before things heat up!

 

 

May 24  A common snapping turtle walking along the trail today near Maple Ridge section....

 

 

May 10...we are still putting latest bird sighting at Prairie Creek Park on the Prairie Creek Page..around 5PM Ryan Locke found a male Golden-Winged Warbler just south of the "Grotto". Other birds we saw included Kentucky and Canada Warblers, bringing the count to 14 warblers for today. See Prairie Creek Page...also on that page are some bird reports from Bob Woodruff Park in Plano, located in the same

watershed as Spring Creek and Prairie Creek.

 

May 4

An newly discovered pterosaur once flew near Spring Creek and the rest of north central Texas...Aetodactylus halli would have soared over what is now the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the Cretaceous Period.

 

May 2

Texas Parks and Wildlife has included Spring Creek in Prairie and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail system Great Texas Wildlife Trails! Other active trails include Rowlett Creek Preserve (Garland), Lake Lavon Trinity Trail (Plano), Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (Plano),

Connemara Conservancy (Plano), and Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary (McKinney).

 

The grapevine says Peter Assman and his birding group had a 10 warbler morning at Bob Woodruff Park yesterday!   Congratulations.  Prairie Creek was dead this morning.....nothing after 1/2 hour.

 

April 26

Visit to Oak Point Park and Preserve in Plano....thousands of Texas Paintbrush in bloom now.

 

April 24 Spring Creek Preserve Bird Walk. Thanks to all who participated!

 

Wood Duck

Mallard

Eastern Bluebird

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting

Northern Cardinal

Cedar Waxwing

Carolina Chickadee

Brown-headed Cowbird

American Crow

Mourning Dove

White-winged Dove

Great Egret

Great Crested Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Western Kingbird (seen later)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Red-tailed Hawk

Great Blue Heron

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Blue Jay

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Northern Mockingbird

Eastern Phoebe

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Harris's Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Brown Thrasher

Tufted Titmouse

Red-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo

Downy Woodpecker

Carolina Wren

 

April 23 Prairie Creek.....neotropical migrants are coming in.  Seen this am: male summer tanager, several Nashville warblers,

one Tennessee warbler, a dozen or so Swainson's thrushes.

 

April 20...SAIL birding field trip at Spring Creek Preserve:

 

Eastern Bluebird

Double-crested Cormorant

Northern Cardinal

Cedar Waxwing

Carolina Chickadee

Brown-headed Cowbird

American Crow

White-winged Dove

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Red-tailed Hawk

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Blue Jay

Eastern Phoebe

Harris's Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Tufted Titmouse

White-eyed Vireo

Nashville Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Carolina Wren

 

April 14....Plant walk. We had a good turnout of  about 10 people at Spring Creek Preserve, including members of

Prairie and Timbers Audubon Chapter.  Welcome back Katrin & Lium.  Among the early spring flowering plants seen were:

 

Buffalo Plum, Ground Plum

Coral Honeysuckle

Corn Salad

Crow Poison

Dotted Blue-eyed Grass

Golden Alexander (forest)

Golden Groundsel (still blooming)

Least Hop Clover, Shamrock

Lyre-leaf sage (in forest)

Meadow flax

Mealy blue sage

Missouri primrose

New Jersey Tea, Redroot

Pin clover, Filaree, Stork's-bill

Plains Yellow Daisy, Slender-Stemmed Hymenoxys, Tetraneuris

Prairie fleabane

Prairie Spiderwort

Prairie verbena

Roadside Gaura, Bee-Blossom

Rusty black-haw (forest shrub)

Slim Pod Milk Vetch

Small flower Milk Vetch

Southern Dewberry

Coralroot Orchid (post bloom in forest)

Ten petal Anemone (mostly post bloom)

Texas Honeysuckle, White Honeysuckle

Texas Paintbrush

Wedgeleaf Draba

Wild hyacinth (some early blooms)

Wild Onion

 

 

April 10 TRASH OFF Scenes...left to right: Trashed Cathode Ray Tubes , Mike and Grand-daughter, "Hill Country" scene on Holford Road (WOW). Thanks to all

who participated!!

 

 

April 5    new, but unwanted variety of fish was spotted at Spring Creek. The Koi, an domesticated ornamental variety of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio),

looks like one giant goldfish (about 1.2 footer) someone might have released into Lake Ray Hubbard or Rowlett Creek.....  The drab female is in the upper left of the photo.

 

 

 

April 3

FOS (first of season) spotted: Texas Paintbrush, Prairie Verbena, Fringed Puccoon, Scarlet Honeysuckle, Blue-eyed Grass

 

Redbuds in peak bloom.

 

April 2

Unidentified plants below...my guesses are

 

Reverchon's Hawthorn (Crataegus reverchonii), 
Little-leaf Buttercup (Ranunculus arbortivus)
Elbow-Bush (Forestiera pubescens)
Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana)
 

March 23

Today at the Preserve:

 

Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk(pair), Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Cardinals, Yellow-rumped Warbler
Red-bellied Woodpecker; Henry's Elfin, Goatweed Leafwing; Monkey Flower, Ten-Petal Anemone (dominant on the prairie),

Golden Groundsel (first yellow composite to bloom), Grape Hyacinth (non-native)

 

Photos of early spring blooms from Dr. Peter Assman.  Last image I took today....can you identify all of these? My answers next week.

 

This is by Dr. Peter Assman, UTD.

Winter season 2009/2010 (Dec 1 - Feb 28) bird report

Plano Outdoor Learning Center (POLC), Bob Woodruff Park (BWP), 
Oak Point Nature Preserve (OPNP) (Collin County)
Photos: http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/polc.html

Over the 3 month winter season I recorded 94 species in the park; for 
the same period last winter I recorded 69 species. That's a 36% increase. 
One reason may be that I'm now including Oak Point Preserve in my weekly 
trek, and it has some habitats that aren't found in Bob Woodruff Park. 
But
the main reason is the extensive rainfall and excellent food crop in 
the park. Nothing really rare, but some noteworthy birds: 

Neotropic Cormorant (OPNP, 2-7-10; photo)
Northern Harrier - one or two individuals hunting over the open fields 
at OPNP;unusual for this location, perhaps a good year for harriers in our 
area? Lots of raptors overall, including Sharp-shinned Hawk which I normally don't 
see often in winter here. 

Merlin (BWP, 12-12-09; photo)

Red-headed Woodpecker (BWP, 30-Jan-10)

Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker (OPNP, 5-Dec-09)

Sedge Wren (OPNP, 4 separate sightings)

Marsh Wren (OPNP, 2 sightings in Dec)

Good variety and numbers of sparrows, including a LeConte's Sparrow
photographed at OPNP on 13-Feb-10 (and another one last weekend).
Many Harris' and Fox Sparrows (for this location).

Rusty Blackbirds: Four sightings between 2-Jan-10 and 22-Feb-10.
(and continuing into March). Estimated high number of at least 50 
individuals after the incredible snowstorm on 13-Feb-10; at least 30 still around 
in the same locations the following week. Found in different places in 
the park, with a major concentration near the horse farm at the edge 
of BWP, but some also found behind the Learning Center, in the fields in OPNP

and in the woods near the lake in BWP.

How unusual is this? Here's a summary of the last 10 years of records 
for Rusty Blackbirds at this location:

2001: 4 sightings; highest number 6
2002: 7 sightings; highest number 153
2003: 8 sightings; highest number 18
2004: 8 sightings; highest number 15
2005: 15 sightings; highest number 43
2006: 3 sightings; highest number 8
2007: 0 sightings
2008: 1 sighting; 1 individual
2009: 0 sightings
2010: 4 sightings (6 if March is included); highest number 50

So at the very least, the first 2-3 months of 2010 have produced the 
highest number of Rusty Blackbirds in more than 5 years, both in 
terms of number of sightings and number of individuals.

Pine Siskin (POLC, 16-Jan-10; photo)

LOTS of meadowlarks of both species, apparently in similar numbers (?)
Westerns and Easterns singing and calling on every visit throughout the
season (a lot more than usual for this location).

Low numbers: Pine Warbler, Common Grackle (but COGRs are here now!)

 


March 13-14   New links to trails in the Blackland Prairie ecoregion...including DORBA bike trails (to steer your bike away from Spring Creek).

 

A quick walk around the Preserve mid-morning:  mating pair of Red-shouldered Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black Vultures, Northern Cardinal,

White-throated and Fox Sparrows, Golden-crowned kinglet, Eastern Phoebe, Swallow in the distance FOS, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker,

Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Carolina Wren, Carolina Chickadee, Goat-weed Leafwing, Ten-Petal Anemone, Filaree, Baby Blue-Eyes,

Missouri Violet, Texas Groundsel

 

March 9  Our old growth mustang grape has been CHAIN SAWED!

 

March 9  Trout Lilies are in peak bloom...left a supercolony of trout lilies; right an unusually colorful bloom.

Since each plant takes seven years to bloom, the cumulative age of such a big colony could be thousands of years!

March 6

 

Thanks to all who participated in our Work Day today clearing nuisance vegetation in the Preserve part of the forest at 1787 Holdford Road.  We had

over 30 participants from North Garland High School (Beta Club and National Honor Society) as well as students from Texas Womens' University and University of North Texas in Denton.


 

At our month meeting, one Scout Leader told us about a new Rails to Trails route for hikers/mountain bikers located in Farmersville, the Chaparral Trail.

More photos (thanks Carroll Mayhew):

 

Thanks to Tom Frey, Garland Parks and Recreation and all who participated in the 17th Annual Trout Lily Walk. 

We will post photos as they come in....this one is from Marvin Rogers.

 

 

 

 

Martin Selznick sends these nice photos of a pair of Great Horned Owls he found in Breckinridge Park along Rowlett Creek not too far

north of Spring Creek.  Thanks Martin!

 

Martin's notes:

The barred owls have been displaced by this pair.

I have actually seen 3 different ones…….2 were quiet & in their usual spot, and a third was across the creek & being pestered by a bunch of crows

(which is how I spotted it).

 

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

 

 

Peter Assman's bird sightings at Bob Woodruff Park and Plano Outdoor Learning Center in Plano.  This park is along Rowlett Creek, the main

creek that Spring Creek is tributary to.

POLC/BWP/OPNP
2/13/10

Highlights: LeConte's Sparrow, large numbers of Rusty Blackbirds (50+) !
huge numbers of robins,waxwings and mixed blackbird flocks.
Photos:  http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/polc_021310.html
     http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/polc.html

Several inches of fresh snow from the storm yesterday, dense 
fog and just above freezing at 8 AM. Warming later, sunny by 2 PM. 
Melting snow everywhere, lots of standing water in the fields by 
mid-afternoon.

Gadwall - Anas strepera     6
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos (Domestic)     X
Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata     1
Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca     2
Ring-necked Duck - Aythya collaris     2
Lesser Scaup - Aythya affinis     3
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus     20
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias     3
Great Egret - Ardea alba     2
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii     2
Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus     4
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis     3
American Kestrel - Falco sparverius     1
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus     6
Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata     1
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis     160
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia     55
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto     2
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica     5
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura     7
Barred Owl - Strix varia     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus     8
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius     2
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens     5
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus     1
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus     7
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe     3
Loggerhead Shrike - Lanius ludovicianus     1
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata     14
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos     8
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis     5
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor     13
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis     1
Brown Creeper - Certhia americana     1
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus     9
Winter Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa     1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula     4
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis     6
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus     1
American Robin - Turdus migratorius     500     Flock after flock 
overhead, also huge numbers in the woods and on the ground in open 
areas with blackbirds. 500 is a conservative estimate.
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos     4
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris     15
American Pipit - Anthus rubescens     20
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum     250
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata     37
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis     45
LeConte's Sparrow - Ammodramus leconteii     1     Well seen and 
photographed. Flew up from the wet meadow near the lake in Oak Point 
Park into the branch of a tree.
Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca     5
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia     11
Swamp Sparrow - Melospiza georgiana     1
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis     8
Harris's Sparrow - Zonotrichia querula     1
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis     11
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis     20
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus     400     Mostly females. 
Eastern Meadowlark - Sturnella magna     10     One singing, others 
calling
Western Meadowlark - Sturnella neglecta     1     One singing.
meadowlark sp. - Sturnella sp.     55
Rusty Blackbird - Euphagus carolinus     50     The largest flock of 
Rusty Blackbirds I have ever seen in this park, feeding at the edge of 
the melting snow with Robins and Red-wings near the horse farm at the 
northern edge of Bob Woodruff Park. Open woods with lots of pecan 
trees, lots of puddles and runoff water. More females than males (30-20 
is just a guess). Some were singing. 50 is likely a low estimate: in 
one flock I counted about 30 before a Cooper's Hawk made a dive at 
them. One photograph shows more than a dozen.
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula     5
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus     100
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater     4
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus     5
American Goldfinch - Carduelis tristis     12

Good birding,
Peter

 

Feb. 15   We have added an "Issues" page

 

Feb. 12...more snow overnight of about 4 inches.. this breaks the record!!!!  Images from Spring Creek Preserve and

Beck Branch, a sister stream to Spring Creek located along the Richardson/Plano city limits.....

 

Cedar waxwings and a robin wait for seed near the parking lot copse (tree island).

 

Eastern Red Cedar look like spruce or fir or Eastern Hemlock when they are weighed down with snow!

 

Feb. 11....Snow! several of these images were pre-dawn snow shots.....

4th image from left shows a flicker....this bird is the first occupant of our three new barn owl boxes.

last image on right: cottontail tracks

 

 

 

February 12-15 is the Great Backyard Bird Count.  See this site for more details. http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

 

 

Feb 06    During work day we had about 15 volunteers to help remove invasive privet species from Spring Creek Forest...the

section located south of Naaman Forest High School. Thanks!  Found an Oil Beetle, probably Meloe impressus

(a species of blister beetle), in some rotten wood, a species rarely seen here. It exudes a toxic yellowish

liquid when disturbed that raises blisters on human skin. 

 

Jan. 28

 

During the Big Tree Walk on January 23rd we noticed a huge accumulation of plastic waste in that part of the forest located behind

Naaman Forest High School.  Apparently the fall and winter floods were very high and deposited a sea of plastic waste as well

as aluminum cans. Do your part in helping reduce such garbage by depending less on plastic containers, whether its drinking water

, energy drinks, or plastic bags from grocery stores.  The plastic bags usually adorn the branches along Spring Creek and do

not travel inland like the bottles and cans below. Plastic breakdown compounds are chemical pollutants, particularly phthalates and other

compounds. Please recycle aluminum cans and plastic containers; don't litter...a can tossed out in an upstream shopping area could wind up in

our forest for many many years.

 

 

 

 

National Geographic ran a recent article by Edward O. Wilson, a prominent biologist best known for his writing on biodiversity

with his specialty as a myrmecologist, or ant expert. If you take a cubic foot of forest soil at Spring Creek Forest or a cubic

foot of water and stream bottom in the Creek itself, you would find similar species to those depicted in the National Geographic

article for a Deciduous Forest (Central Park, NY) and Freshwater Stream (Duck River, TN).  The diversity may differ slightly,

but Spring Creek's microcosms escape the eyes of most people who walk or wade there. 

 

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/02/cubic-foot/liittschwager-photography

 

 

Two new field guides worth getting!

 

Birds of Eastern North America - A Photographic Guide, Paul Sterry & Brian E. Small, 2009, Princeton University Press  ISBN 978-0-691-13420-6

 

The Sibley Guide to Trees, David Allen Sibley, 2009, Alfred A Knopf, ISBN 978-0-375-41519-7

National Geographic ran a recent article by Edward O. Wilson, a prominent biologist best known for his writing on biodiversity

with his specialty as a myrmecologist, or ant expert. If you take a cubic foot of forest soil at Spring Creek Forest or a cubic

foot of water and stream bottom in the Creek itself, you would find similar species to those depicted in the National Geographic

article for a Deciduous Forest (Central Park, NY) and Freshwater Stream (Duck River, TN).  The diversity may differ slightly,

but Spring Creek's microcosms escape the eyes of most people who walk or wade there. 

 

 

 

 

The mystery seed is.....Leather Flower

 

Mystery seed:  This was found during the December CBC.  Does anyone care to identify it?

 

Thanks to all who participated in the Lake Ray Hubbard Christmas Bird Count.  We had about 11 pairs of eyes birding around the count circle from dawn to dusk for 6 areas.  Numbers were down this year as well as number of species.  Below are a couple of photos taken by Dr. Peter Assman at

Spring Creek Preserve...(Left, a Northern Flicker seeks shelter in one of the new Barn Owl Boxes at the Preserve; Right: heavy morning frost made for a beautiful scene early Sunday morning as the Area 5 count began.)

 

Peter's other CBC photos can be seen at http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/POLC/cbc09.html

 

The barn owl boxes were an Eagle Scout project by William Nguyen....Thanks!