Nalle Bunny Run 2020-10-24

Today I enjoyed a cool morning in the 50s with a north wind blowing on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve. Bird activity was a little slow to start but I enjoyed two mixed-species foraging flocks in the denser areas of the parkland habitat area. On windy days little songbirds find areas sheltered from the wind, so that's where I went. Returning winter residents included Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Orange-crowned Warblers, a heard-only Northern Flicker, and a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I got this photo of the sapsucker while I was playing an Eastern Screech-Owl recording to attract one of the flocks:

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The two flocks included several Nashville Warbler too, which are just passing through on their way further south, but I was unable to get a photo of one.

Down on the sandy prairie I was excited to discover that the croton (dove weed) was full of sparrows! Lincoln's Sparrows were most numerous but there were also Savannah Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and a few White-throated Sparrows. The sandy prairie area is great habitat for these sparrows. They forage on the ground and in the low mix of native plants like croton and Camphorweed. But there are plenty of scattered trees and shrubs around that they can fly into when alarmed. A few winter-resident House Wrens were also using this habitat.

Here's one o the Savannah Sparrows, a species I don't have many records of for the Bunny Run:

Savannah Sparrow - 1

Another much larger returning winter resident flew over me as I looked for sparrows, this Osprey:

Osprey

Near the northeast corner of the preserve, still on the sandy prairie, I noticed an interesting plant. People have asked me about it before but I've never been able to tell them what it is. Today it was flowering, so I took some photos and later got it identified as Yakeeweed (Eupatorium compositifolium). It might be the first record of it in Travis County!

Unknown Plant - 1 - 2

On my way back up the hill I spent some time in the sometimes waterfall that the spring drains into. In the last large pool at the bottom I was surprised to find a dead floating Red-tailed Hawk! I made a video of the experience. Be warned it contains footage of the dead carcass that some might not like to see:

Here's my complete eBird list.

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

And see my attached observations.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, October 25, 2020 16:59

Observations

Photos / Sounds

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What

Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 09:18 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

I played an Eastern Screech-Owl trill and brought in a good mixed flock.

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 11:14 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

It was very weird coming across this dead headless Red-tailed Hawk floating in the last pool below the sometimes waterfall. There were tufts of feather scattered around. The carcus still had unconsumed meat and organs. I think crawfish were slowly consuming it. I wonder if it was killed by a Great Horned Owl? Pure speculation. I'll have a short video of it posted on YouTube soon.

Photos / Sounds

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What

House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 09:46 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 10:50 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

There was a nice abundance and diversity of sparrows on the sandy prairie habitat type this morning.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Orange-crowned Warbler Leiothlypis celata

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 08:48 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 10:24 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

I usually discard shots like this but this on made me laugh. Maybe I'll submit it to the terrible bird photos Facebook group!

Photos / Sounds

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What

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 09:57 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 10:32 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

There was a nice abundance and diversity of sparrows on the sandy prairie habitat type this morning.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 10:46 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

There was a nice abundance and diversity of sparrows on the sandy prairie habitat type this morning.

Photos / Sounds

What

Coastal Dog Fennel Eupatorium compositifolium

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 10:19 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

Any help identifying this plant is appreciated. It's growing in sandy soil in a tight bunch and has been there for years. I happen to catch it blooming today. It's 3-4 feet hight.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius

Observer

mikaelb

Date

October 24, 2020 09:16 AM CDT

Description

Taken on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve.

I played an Eastern Screech-Owl trill and brought in a good mixed flock. It included this juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

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