(Almost) birdless Dallas

2007 September 5
by David J. Ringer

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — So, things have been pretty quiet on the blog front lately. Sorry about that. Birders always notice birds — we can’t stop that — but sometimes life prevents us from actively seeking them out. I’ve heard crows through the windows and seen Mourning Doves on the wires, but it’s been awhile since I really went birding. My plans for a birdy Labor Day weekend evaporated for a variety of reasons. The Fan-tailed Warbler is still being seen regularly, along with a host of other awesome species, but my hopes for getting out to Big Bend have pretty well died.

By this afternoon, I’d had it. It was time to bird. So after work, I went. It was a gray evening; there were raindrops in the air.

Rarely have I encountered such a birdless wilderness. Everyone else in the state is reporting great numbers and diversity of warblers, shorebirds, first state records, etc. I, on the other hand, heard a couple of chickadees, a few Carolina Wrens, and a Killdeer. Instead of Buff-breasted Sandpipers, there were crows. Instead of warblers, large grasshoppers.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself … OK, yeah, I guess that’s it after all. Hmm.

giant-swallowtail-papilio-cresphontes

In the absence of birds, there are of course many other beautiful and interesting things to look at. Take for instance this lovely Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), which was feeding in a patch of gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa).

argyrodes-sp-silver-dewdrop-spider

Or how about this dewdrop spider (Argyrodes sp.) with a metallic silver abdomen? Astute readers may recall that I saw and photographed a related species in Papua New Guinea.

eryngium-leavenworthii-leavenworths-eryngo

The spiny, purple-and-green Leavenworth’s eryngo (Eryngium leavenworthii) is like some spectacular plant from space. What? Audrey?

milkweed-asclepias-sp

I almost missed this inconspicuous, weak-stemmed milkweed (Asclepias sp.). At first I thought that the small flowers were still just buds. Any thoughts on the species? The flower structure looks similar to Asclepias viridiflora (green comet milkweed), but can that species show pinkish flower parts? See various other photos in today’s photo album.

Related posts:

  1. Brown Pelicans in Dallas County!
  2. Dallas-area Snow Bunting and Little Gull
  3. Birdless Buenos Aires
  4. Y-c Night Herons and Painted Buntings
  5. Singers, movers, and bloomers
3 Responses
  1. September 5, 2007

    Well, beautiful pictures, anyway! I had fun in the mountains seeing birds I hadn’t seen before. But then, I’m fairly new to this, so just watching the ravens soar was pretty fascinating. I am not sure that I have ever actually seen a raven before. I think I must have, but I don’t know.

  2. September 7, 2007

    I am sorry you did not get to bird at Big Bend over the Labor Day weekend…I hate when plans fall through!
    At least you got some great nature photos. I have been birding a bit and even finding some migrating shorebirds, but they are hard to get to based on tons of rain and heavy traffic. On top of that they are so hard to identify. The word I use when the birding gets bland is the “Birding Blahs”. It usually doesn’t last too long.
    So hang in there, more great birding days are sure to be right around the corner!

  3. September 7, 2007

    Very nice, Bird Fella. But I am still more attuned to bird things. Maybe some day your patience will be rewarded.

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