Nalle Bunny Run 2019-01-19

Ten people joined me this morning for the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run wildlife preserve. It was cold and clear, and very windy! A norther came through early this morning and when we started at 9:00 AM the wind was blowing steady at 10-15 mph with gusts up to 30! Temperature started in the mid-40s and probably got up to 50 by the time we finished the walk shortly after 11:00 AM. Despite the wind we found 24 species of birds and here are some highlights.

I joked to the group that we might not even leave the parking area by the gate, because before we even started walking a Common Raven flew over us croaking, then an Osprey, then a Red-tailed Hawk! We did eventually leave the parking area and on our way to the spring we found a nice mixed-species foraging flock of songbirds that included Carolina Chickadees, Black-crested Titmice, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Chipping Sparrows, Bewick's Wrens, and a single briefly seen Blue-headed Vireo. The spring was overflowing, and a small Rio Grande Leopard Frog made a brief appearance just before we closed the spring box lid.

On the sandy prairie area the cute little boy with the group found a really cool feather. When I got home I looked it up and I'm 99% sure it's a tail feather from a Red-tailed Hawk:

Red-tailed Hawk Feather - 2

Shortly after starting back up the hill we spotted our best bird of the morning, a Merlin perched in a bare tree not far from the driveway. As we watched it we realized it was eating something, and when I got home and looked at my photos I found this:

Merlin - 1

That's a little bird foot hanging from its mouth!

On our way back up the hill through the cedar elm parkland habitat the birds were slow. But I found this very interesting scat in the trail:

Possible Bobcat Scat

I've never seen any evidence of bobcat on the preserve, but this scat sure does look like it could be from a small bobcat. The hard and white surface, and the segmented structure are the clues I'm going by. I'll have to get out my tracking field guides and research it more.

Here's our complete bird list on eBird.

And here are a few more photos on Flickr.

Attached are a few observations.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, January 19, 2019 22:31

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

January 19, 2019 10:04 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife preserve.

Photos / Sounds

What

Merlin Falco columbarius

Observer

mikaelb

Date

January 19, 2019 10:38 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife preserve.

The best bird of the mornign was this Merlin we spotted eating another small bird it had killed. (We didn't see it kill the bird.) I wasn't sure it was eating a bird until I looked at my photos at home and one showed a small bird foot hanging from the Merlin's mouth!

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Bobcat Lynx rufus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

January 19, 2019 11:00 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife preserve.

We've never seen evidence of Bobcats on the Bunny Run, but this scat sure does look like it could be from a small bobcat. The hard all-white and segmented appearances support bobcat.

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

January 19, 2019 10:10 AM CST

Description

Taken during the monthly group walk on Hill Country Conservancy's Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife preserve.

This month we had a kid around 6 or 7 years old with us, and he found this feather. I'm pretty sure it's a tail feather from a Red-tailed Hawk. Compare here:

https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/feather.php?Bird=RTHA_tail_adult

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