[texbirds] Peregrine mayhem in Junction.

  • From: "Rhandy Helton" <rjhelton@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 02 May 2013 21:46:57 -0500

What a brutal day in Junction, Brush expressed my sentiments 
exactly---especially after a near 100 degrees yesterday. Since my posterior was 
already mostly half-froze from teaching Aquatic Biology to 8th graders today 
out at the Texas Tech University Junction Campus I decided to check out the 
Wastewater Ponds late this afternoon. I pulled into the facility and was 
admiring the 40 or so Wilson's Phalaropes surfing on the first pond when 
suddenly every shorebird, duck and probably sparrow screamed and took emergency 
flight! I started looking for a Peregrine, and I found him. He was on the far 
side ponds defying gravity at full speed and then up, up he went. I knew what 
was coming. He was almost out of sight when the stoop started straight down! He 
didn't catch anything that I observed and so figured he was just frolicking 
with the local avian community. The falcon circled around a couple of minutes 
before he drifted off east. The heart-stricken birds I encountered--what was 
left of them as many must have headed for the Llano River or points north were:
Baird's Sandpiper  20 est.
Wilson's Phalarope 40+
Least Sandpiper  15+
Lesser Yellowlegs 4
Willets  4---this is a "wow" bird for me, don't see here very often.
American Golden Plover  1
White-faced Ibis---25 at least. I get this species 3-4 times per year but this 
may be my high number. 

Other shorebird species were probably present but between the falcon and the 
wind I decided to call it a day. 

The bird blinds at the South Llano River State Park are good right now. Birds 
observed in past few days include:
Black-capped Vireo (Agarita and Juniper Blinds and coming in regularly or was 
before front), Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Rose-breasted 
Grosbeak, MacGillivray's Warbler and some very photogenic Painted Buntings at 
every blind. Lazuli Buntings have been observed at Juniper Blind and in the 
campground and I had one on the Fawn Trail last week. The first two weeks of 
May (a normal May) are usually great in Junction and particularly at the state 
park. They are predicting a low of 29-30 in the a.m., usually the state park is 
always 3-4 degrees colder than town so I may get to see Fall color again. 

No Varied Buntings yet--may be there (Easter Pageant Hill). I just haven't seen 
them but I am checking most days. 

Rhandy J. Helton
Junction, Texas

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  • » [texbirds] Peregrine mayhem in Junction. - Rhandy Helton