What to watch for in October: Welcome, water birds
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.
Double-crested and pied-billed
Double-crested Cormorants begin arriving in substantial numbers throughout October and soon will be a familiar sight as they roost along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake in the cypress trees. Cormorants are large, gangly black birds with orange faces, long necks and long hooked bills. You can sometimes see them sitting with their wings spread out awkwardly to dry.
You also may see newly arrived Pied-billed Grebes on the lakes and small ponds of Central Texas. These very small water birds are common in most of the U.S. year-round, but they gather in larger flocks come winter (which, for birds, is approaching fast, even though we humans might not think so). These grebes are brown and compact, with very short bills and no tail to speak of. They are noticeably smaller than other birds out on the lake, with heads that are large relative to their bodies.
They do lots of diving and can actually control their buoyancy, sinking into the water like submarines. In spring and summer, the bird’s bill is pied — white with a black stripe — but in winter is a yellowish brown.
It’s the weekend and you have a few spare hours and a desire to bird some place new — but where? It’s a weekday and you could slip in to work a little late, or leave early; where can you get the best birds for your time invested? In this talk by Laurie Foss you will get lots of ideas about places to go and birds to look for when you get there.You will also learn how you can use eBird to find out where the birds are. As a member of Travis Audubon, as well as other local, state, and national birding organizations, Laurie Foss is active leading field trips, teaching birding classes and making presentations to various groups, as well as working and advocating for habitat conservation.
Monthly Bird Count at Hornsby Bend
Saturday, October 11, 7 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Big Sit! at Balcones Canyonlands NWR
Sunday, October 12, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Two-hour Tuesday! at Platt Lane, led by Ken Zaslow
Tuesday, October 14, 7:30 to 10 a.m.
Commons Ford Monthly Walk with Diane Sherrill (plants this time)
Saturday, Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m. to noon
Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk
Saturday, October 18, 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Super Tuesday! at Berry Springs Park, led by Dan Callaway
Tuesday, October 21, 8 to 11:30 a.m.
Two-hour Tuesday! at Devine Lake, led by Ray and Ginny Steelman
Tuesday, October 28, 8 to 10 a.m.
Balcones Canyonlands/Water Quality Preserves – Part 2
Friday, October 31, 8 to 11 a.m.
Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jane Tillman and Raeanne Martinez