[texbirds] Highlights from the June visit to the Canyon Lakes of Lubbock

  • From: Anthony Hewetson <terrverts@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "leas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <leas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 17:53:04 -0700 (PDT)

Greetings All:

I finally got my June visit to the Canyon Lakes of Lubbock in today.  I realize 
it is July but I lost all of my June weekends to breeding bird surveys and the 
first couple of July weekends to yard work that I wasn't able to do in June - 
better late than never and my July visit to Hale County should occur in July:)

I wanted to get in some long hikes so I only covered the lakes from East Loop 
289 north and west to Upper MacKenzie Park.  I spent three hours hiking the 
river below Lake Six, one and a half hours covering Lake Six, half an hour 
eating lunch at Mae Simmons Park, and three hours hiking as much of MacKenzie 
Park as the heat would let me cover - I believe we topped the century mark by 
the time I was done.

The highlights from below Lake Six: 1 male Rufous Hummingbird, 2 Northern 
Flickers (I note that they were Red-shafted for Steve Collin's benefit), 2 male 
Common Yellowthroats, 2 adult Yellow-breasted Chats being harassed by three 
subadult Yellow-breasted Chats just below the water plant, 3 adult 
Yellow-breasted Chats in a willow thicket just above the lower bridge (2 were 
distinctively brighter in the breast and more contrasty in the face and I am 
presuming there were 2 adult males and 1 adult female in the group), 1 female 
and 1 male Indigo Bunting, and 2 male Bronzed Cowbirds.

Highlights from Lake Six: 1 Ruddy Duck, an adult Least Bittern flying upriver 
with a subadult Least Bittern hot on its tail, 2 Yellow-crowned Night Herons, 1 
Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, 1 
Northern Flicker (Yo, Steve, it was a Red-shafted!), and 2 Cave Swallows.

Highlights from Mae Simmons Park: 1 Snowy Egret and 1 male Common Yellowthroat.

The sole highlight from MacKenzie Park: 1 Northern Flicker (drum roll, please - 
this one was a Yellow-shafted).

Three comments:

Least Bitterns now breed annually along the Canyon Lakes.  Most are found by 
kayakers at Lake Six.  Had I not seen these birds in flight I would have missed 
them ... and I was scanning the entire inner edge of the lake vegetation; 
pretty much foot by foot.

There were lots of Black-chinned Hummingbirds about as well (I tallied eight 
during the day) - all were adult females or subadults.  The males appear to 
have fled the region.

The Yellow-breasted Chats were a real surprise!  This is, so far as I know, the 
first documentation of breeding for the species in Lubbock County though a 
large 'colony' exists about fifty miles to the west at White River Lake and 
there are also breeding-season reports from just east of Crosbyton as well.  As 
the woodlands along the various forks of the Brazos River mature we may see 
further expansion of the species into the region.

Anthony 'Fat Tony' Hewetson; Lubbock

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  • » [texbirds] Highlights from the June visit to the Canyon Lakes of Lubbock - Anthony Hewetson