Friday, May 13, 2016

When in Dallas-Fort Worth, Go Birding!

Yes, it's not the Rio Grande Valley, but if you're here on business or for a convention or just checking out Dealy Plaza to see grassy knoll,(and I have done just that, twice), there are numerous places to go birding within a half hour drive of Fort Worth.  I spent Thursday checking out a number of the them.  Some better than others and others probably better at different times of year.  Still, I added 8 species to the year list, including a Lifer, a Mississippi Kite.  Seems strange that it took half a dozen trips for me to score this bird, but it was Lifer Number 2 for the trip, giving me 846 for the ABA List.

I reserved a rental car just that morning and my first stop was to the River Legacy Parks area.  Several spots proved to be good birding.  The first was a stretch of path beginning at Green Oaks Rd where it was a festival of Dickcissels.  It was also supposed to be good for the Mississippi Kite, but that would have to wait until later.  I did see Painted Bunting and Orchard Oriole, before moving on to the main entrance to the River Legacy Park.  There, I was supposed to see Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the long red flowers in one of the parking lots.  Instead, I heard a Barred Owl, got a dozen mosquito bites while checking out Carolina Chickadees in the woods next to the parking lot and spied the first of three Mississippi Kites I would see that day.

After giving up on the hummingbird for the time being, I ventured on to River Legacy East, where, wouldn't you know it, I found the first of 3 Black-chinned Hummingbirds I would see that day, along with a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

From there I checked out Cedar Ridge Preserve, where I saw two more Mississippi Kites, and added a Yellow-billed Cuckoo to the list.  Next was Twelve Hills Nature Center, a small urban space created by and for the people who live nearby.  White Rock Lake and Fish Hatcherywas the next stop, where, in addition to adding Bell's Vireo to the year list, I enjoyed watching Monk Parakeets preparing their nests and saw the cutest little baby Wood Ducks.  Down the road a bit at Wite Rock Lake Park I found a lone Wilson's Phalarope at the edge of the dam, where a number of Spotted Sandpipers were enjoying  walking on the inclined concrete wall,(or not).

Over all a pretty good day of birding in and around the urban environs of Dallas-Fort Wortrh.  Day two was not quite as productive as I only had limited time to bird within walking distance of the hotel, but did enjoy a walk through the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

Yesterday was my last morning and my research into the area convinced me that Benbrook-Holiday Park was the place to be and it didn't disappoint.  The park's day use area is built around the Benbrook Reservoir.  There were hundreds of Franklin's Gulls, dozens of Black Terns, Westrern, Baird's, Least, Spotted, Semipalmated and White-rumped Sandpipers.  There were American Avocets, Wilson's Phalaropes and even a lone Whimbrel.

Today was a quick birding walk in downtown Fort Worth before heading to our last game against the Rangers in Arlington.  Tonight, once again, I am writing from 35,000 feet, as we head back to Toronto.  My first west coast trip added 60 species to my year list.  The next 3 days will be spent hunting warblers in Col. Sam Smith and Tommy Thompson Parks.  I'm hoping the late migration and cooler weather will result in some good sightings before heading to Minnesota and New York.

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