Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jackpot on Mountain Plovers

Most thrill seekers heading westbound on Hwy. 57 toward the casino in Eagle Pass wouldn't pay much attention to a drab sod farm out in the middle of nowhere. But for me, the sod farm was worth an hour drive to add Mountain Plovers to my life list.

If I was willing to wait long enough, I could probably find plovers in Bexar County. However, just like a gambler is eager to cash in his chips, I was eager to follow a week-old Ebird Alert for the plovers. (In case you're wondering what Ebird Alerts are, they are the most recent reports of sightings of a particular species in a certain state or country.)

I usually peruse the Texas Alerts on a weekly basis just to see what birds have been reported in my area. Tripp Davenport, a birder from Uvalde, reported seeing at least 150 plovers at the sod farm. Seeing Tripp's report got my hopes up since February is usually the last chance you get to see plovers until next winter. Even though the report was about a week old, I figured there would be some plovers still around. So... I rolled the dice and headed south.

When I got to the field, I spotted my target bird within 5 minutes. About 28 plovers were scampering about the fields, each darting in different directions. Each plover ran about a foot, paused for a few seconds, and then continued running. The plovers exercised this the whole time I watched.

One of the plovers darted toward me and came within about 40 yards.
After enjoying the show, I decided to drive down the road a bit to see what I could find. About a half mile down, I saw a group of at least 100 Sandhill Cranes foraging in an Ag field.

Earlier that morning I visited the Medina River Natural Area in San Antonio and got some photos of some more common birds. Watching Cedar Waxwings feeding on a cluster of mistletoe berries is a classic sight in winter.

The chilly morning had this Pyrrhuloxia (Desert Cardinal) bundled up to conserve energy.

He wasn't the only South Texas resident braving the cold. I found these two Inca Doves huddling next to each other in my back yard before I left.


  1. I recently discovered your blog through Abbey at Down to Earth and am enjoying your birding expeditions around the area. I'm finding a lot of helpful information here and even posted about it on my blog today.

  2. Thanks so much! I responded on your blog and offered a little help with the thrasher you've been studying.