I've passed this site before and didn't have time to stop. I took a different route home from Rockport so I could finally visit. The Attwater Prairie-Chicken NWR is home to the very endangered bird for which it is named. One of my field guides lists it as a smaller, darker race of Greater Prairie-Chicken that is nearly extinct. They are always here, but you may or may not see them. Even though I didn't catch a glimpse of the prairie chicken, I did add two birds to my life list.
I found the first at the very beginning of the auto loop. A Bobwhite stepped in front of my car. I took a few photos through the windshield to make sure I didn't frighten him, then waited. He showed no sign of moving on so I opened the door, stood up behind it, and took more photos. Still, he didn't budge. I probably photographed him for 10 minutes before he finally joined his friends in the grass beside the trail. I couldn't see his buddies, but heard them calling, "Bob-white...bob-white..."
This one looks like the Florida subspecies. What's he doing in Texas?
This leads to a question one of the more experienced birders reading might be able to answer: If I see the other subspecies, do I count each one on my life list?
I saw the other new one soon after. Some other birders and I were trying to figure out what he was. "Maybe some kind of warbler, but I don't know the name."
"I'll call him George," said one of the guys.
"George" was everywhere. Not in large groups, but one here and one there throughout the entire reserve. I must have seen at least 100. I saw so many, I stopped looking at the birds singing from their perches atop the tall grass. It's just George again, I thought to myself.
"George" turned out to be a Dickcissel, one of our summer birds who breeds here and flies south to Mexico and Central America for the winter.
After the auto trail, I took a short stroll along the Pipit Trail. Most of the reserve looks like this, similar to what you would expect to see in the Great Plains. For those who might not know, Texas contains beaches, swamps, prairies, forests, canyons, caverns, mountains, valleys and deserts. I'm not sure there is another state with such diversity.
We do have lakes as well, but only one is natural.
Along the Pipit Trail, I found another butterfly to photograph - the Buckeye.
I also found his caterpillar.
80's, overcast, windy
Species Identified (13): Little Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Crested Caracara, Red-winged Blackbird, Dickcissel, Northern Bobwhite, Anhinga, Northern Mockingbird, Common Moorhen, Barn Swallow, Great Egret, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Northern Cardinal
I'm linking up with I'd Rather B Birdin'. Another Texas birder hosts a linkup for birders around the world.