What to watch for in November: Duck, duck, duck
Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis
Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.
Bufflehead by Cris Hazzard via Creative Commons
Buffleheads, small, marshmallow-headed ducks, will be showing up on Lady Bird Lake soon. This striking-looking diving duck calls to mind a Rubber Ducky for its amazing buoyancy. It will bob up and down on our waterways through the winter.
Males are black and white from a distance, but up close you can see glossy green and purple that sets off the striking white patch. Females are a subdued gray-brown with a neat white patch on the cheek.
Other ducks coming in on the next cold front will include Lesser Scaups and Canvasbacks. Lesser Scaups are black and white, with black heads, bluish bills and bright yellow eyes. Canvasbacks are larger ducks; the males have white bodies and rusty brown heads, and females are grayish-brown all over. If you see a duck with a sloped head reminiscent of a ski slope, it’s probably a Canvasback.
Northern Flicker by Shanthanu Bhardwaj via Creative Commons
Our year-round Downy, Ladder-backed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are being joined by related winter residents, such as Northern Flickers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with black scalloped edges on their wings, red patches on their heads and white rumps. Sapsuckers are small black-and-white birds with distinct red and white face patterns.
Look for the new arrivals in the same wooded areas as the “locals.” With all the dead trees from the drought, woodpeckers are a happy bunch, with plenty of dry wood to hammer on. Many have been spotted in Bastrop County in areas hit by wildfires in recent years.
Monthly Travis Audubon meeting, 7 p.m. Nov. 21:
Topic: Why Does Sparrowman Love Central Texas So Much?
Join us in November as Byron Stone, aka Sparrowman and Dr. Birdie, presents on one of his favorite topics: sparrows! His presentation will feature a pictorial overview of sparrows of Central Texas, with commentary about their abundance, identification, distribution and conservation needs.
Field Trips — Check the Travis Audubon website for details
Monthly Bird Count at Hornsby Bend
Saturday, November 9, 7 a.m. & 4 p.m.
TAS/FOB Field Trip at Balcones Canyonlands
Sunday, November 10, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Super Tuesday at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks, led by Terry Banks
Tuesday, November 12, 6:30 a.m. to early afternoon
Balcones Preserve/Water Quality Lands Friday Birding Hikes — Bear Creek
Friday, November 15, 8 to 11 a.m.
Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk
Saturday, November 16, 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Commons Ford Monthly Walk
Sunday, November 17, 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Two hour Tuesday at Lake Creek Trail, led by Ray and Ginny Steelman
Tuesday, November 19, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Love Creek Preserve – Birding, Maple Color and Car Camping
Friday-Sunday, November 22-24
Super Tuesday at Northeast Metropolitan Park, led by Dan Callaway
Tuesday, November 26, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jane Tillman and Raeanne Martinez