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Nighthawks, revisited

 A Shadowy Flight   Central Texas is known for its huge bat flights, but at Ft. Sam Houston, those wings in the summer darkness aren’t just bats, they’re  nighthawks — bobbing erratically against a backdrop of marble and moonlight. Nighthawks, like whip-poor-wills, are members of that most cryptic family of birds, the goatsuckers. Unlike chupacabras of course…

The Phoebes of Leon

Ebony and Ivory… The half-lit world of Leon Creek under Old US 90 in San Antonio: dingy, dripping, and draped in vines and poison ivy. Debris is lodged at all levels of the road supports, showing how high the waters can flood after a storm.       But even so, this is reliable nesting…

SECTION 8

A diverse birdlife is still holed up among the tract houses of far western San Antonio      Welcome to Section 8 birding! Yep, we no longer try to shoot birds on Christmas Day as they did in the Dark Ages before 1900. Instead, the Christmas Bird Count  is a survey of ALL the birds, year after year, a…

Night Riders

A shadowy flight, around the Ft. Sam Houston national cemetery and the adjacent golf course. They’re not bats, they’re nighthawks, and in late summertime they congregate to cruise low over the marble headstones in the gathering dusk. Despite their name, nighthawks are most active not at night, technically, but around dusk — they need a bit of…

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A Mesquite, and What Came After

Hobson, Texas. I tramped forty miles to keep an appointment with a blackbird. Bare dust; not much going on in empty fields where the coastal bermuda had already been baled.  I stopped in a patch of mesquite shade to catch a spot of wind. A little squawk drew my eye back to my shade tree,…

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Bastille Day Tricolored Herons

I didn’t have binoculars  at Elmendorf Lake yesterday so I spent some extra time checking out the heron rookery with bare eyeballs.  I’ve never noticed it before, but there’s at least one family of tricolored herons  roosting around the southeast corner of the heron island, easily observed from Our Lady of the Lake’s parking lot.…

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Wild Parrots of Concepcion

A nanday (black-hooded) parakeet of the group sometimes appearing around Jefferson High School.   I spent months checking for these birds all around the neighborhood and Balcones Heights. Finally they showed up out of nowhere, and that day, immediately started a nest-building exercise, using scraps of palm bark.  There are lots of big old palm trees…

The Hummingbird in Winter

Visited Patty Paztor to check out a green hummingbird she’s been seeing, wondering if this could be the interesting Anna’s hummingbird which neither of us gets to see often.  I called out a few vague pointers.  “Does it look fat?  Dark?  Big headed?  Neckless?  Green underneath?”  When I arrived Patty had milk and cookies ready…