Thursday, June 16, 2005

Birdwatching in the Highland Lakes Area

We have plenty of birds in the Highland Lakes area of central Texas. A lot of birds also migrate through our area during the fall and spring months.

Members of the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society take part in the Annual Christmas Bird Count and identify 100 to 120 species each year. It is part of the National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count.

One spring, I was taking a video tape of a flock of over 100 white birds circling overhead, thinking that they were a large flock of seagulls. When I looked at the movie on our TV, I was surprised to learn that they were actually white pelicans that were migrating to the north for the summer.

On another occassion, I saw 6 giant white birds with black wing tips taking off from the edge of Lake Buchanan. Their wing strokes were very slow and deliberate as they were slowly rising in circles, one behind the other, and slowly gaining altitude. I am sure they were Whooping Cranes migrating from the gulf through our area that spring.

We have also spotted flocks of snow geese, Canadian geese, cranes and lots of ducks as they migrate through the area. One spring we also saw some vacant lots that were full of hundreds of robins, waiting for it to warm up enough up north so they could make their trip.

The eagle family that nests through the winter on Hwy 29 east of Llano is starting to become famous now. This is their second hatching in that nest. Birdwatchers gather along the highway taking photos of the eagle family about 100 yards off of the highway.

The rare painted buntings are also an interesting and beautiful bird. They remind us of small parrots with their bright colors.

Birds that are common to our area year-round are: wild turkeys, great blue herons, several types of ducks, seagulls, scissor-tail flycatchers, bobwhite quail, kingfisher, hawks, doves, painted buntings, cardinals, blue jays, turkey buzzards, roadrunners, sparrows, chicadees, titmouse, mocking birds, and more.

To see more information on birds in the Highland Lakes area, you can go to this web site:



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