Saturday, May 2, 2009

Texas: a Melospiza lincolnii morning and love is in the air at Hemisfair Park

Another 6:00 am conference session this morning - this one on chronic myeloid leukemia and not as good as yesterday's 6:00 am session. Following this I headed back out to Hemisfair Pair to see if I could find last night's migrants.

I like sparrows.  Every time I write a blog entry featuring a sparrow, it's always one of my favorite sparrows.  Yesterday it was the extremely cute Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida.)  Today it's the Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii.)  I saw four or five this morning.  
In Michigan and for me, at least, I don't often find a Lincoln's Sparrow in a tree.  I like the above photo for this reason.  Migration creates circumstances where we see birds in places we are not accustomed to seeing them.  This reminds me of the female Smith's Longspur (Calcarius pictus) I found at Tawas Point State Park in April, 2005.  My MBRC report of that bird was not accepted.  In my report, when I described the bird's behavior, I wrote that it occasionally flew into a tree. When I received the scant feedback on my rejection, apparently one of the records committee members asked, "why would a Smith's Longspur be in a tree?" When a records committee member asks a question like this, it's not going to be good.  Of course, I did not have a photo of the Smith's Longspur either.  Another lesson I've learned.
Without any scrub to hide in, this Lincoln's is still out of habitat, but at least it's on the ground.
Trying to hide without much success.

Overall I did not find it as birdy this morning.  It's cooler here this morning so perhaps there was a wind shift.  The Yellow-breast Chat (Icteria virens) was still here.  Other warblers included a female Northern Parula (Parula americana), American Restarts (Setophaga ruticilla) and Common Yellowthroats (Geothlypis trichas.)  There was also a female Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) in the flower garden. Not a single butterfly presented itself.

You've heard of Central Park's Red-tails in Love; perhaps Hemisfair Park should be known for its White-wings in love.
Copulating White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica.)  There were doves trying to attract mates, doves building nests and doves on nests all over the park.
Another close photo of this attractive dove.

Unless something remarkable happens, this will probably be my last blog entry from San Antonio, Texas.  The birding has been spectacular and I've enjoyed a great conference.
Historic St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Commerce Street - photo taken from the riverwalk.

1 comment:

Allen Chartier said...


On the breeding grounds in Churchill, Manitoba and in Alaska, I've seen Smith's Longspurs perched in small trees (4-5 feet tall). So, I'd ignore that records committee comment wondering about your bird perching in a tree.