_ _t_g !_-_-.
VOLUME XVII, NO. 10
♦ "What is so rare as a day in June?"— *
♦ asks the poet Lowell..we birders in ♦
♦ the Upper Texas Coast area can truly *
♦ say: "A winter replete with avian ♦
♦ goodies that have kept us all stimu- *
♦ lated, running hither and thither
♦ to see such birds as Evening Grosbeaks, *
♦ a lone Jacana, another loner the Purple *
♦ Sandpiper, European Widgeons..."
PUBLISHED BY THE ORNITHOLOGY GROUP, OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB. HOUSTON. TEXAS
The Editors have always encouraged our readers to send in to The Spoonbill accounts of
their vacation comings and goings. We have two very interesting articles for this issue,
given below in the order in which they were received:
BIRD HIGHLIGHTS OF A NOH-BIRDING TRIP - by Marian Washburn
Our flying trip to San Francisco in the camper for the Christmas holidays wasn't intended to be/birding vacation, muoh though we would have liked it that way. "Time was of
the essence," since we would be visiting Dan's family and a couple of friends along the
way. However, birders being what they are, we kept as close a wateh as 60-70 mph would
permit while on the way, and spent a few hours looking about the places where we
The first to join the "lifer" list was the Oregon Junco which, while it has been reported
in this area, had not been seen by this birder. A flock of them were hopping happily
over the snow on top of one of the mountain ranges we crossed going west, and seemed to
be finding just what they wanted for Christmas.
The following day, on a tour of the megalopolis located south of San Francisco, we noted
a small group of Western Grebes paddling about in a yacht harbor in one of the small
towns that crowd so closely together. These long-neoked swimmers seemed more friendly
and less "sensitive-feathered"^ than the members of their tribe who live in these parts.
San Francisco (Would you believe it?) was sunny but COLD, with a coldness worse than the
humid frigidity of the Gulf Coast Area, so birding was something less than desirable,
quite aside from the consideration that we had come 2100 miles to visit with family.
However, a sightseeing run across the Golden Gate Bridge and a momentary stop in Sausalito
(now there's a bunch of vertical real estate!) yielded a Ringed Kingfisher perched atop
one of a forest of sailboat masts. What he was doing there he didn't confide; Peterson
says he occpies tropical Mexico and south; Robbins-Bruua et al. also show him as a southerner. Despite these authorities, however, there was Mr. R. Kingfisher, with his "bright
rusty belly" plainly to be seen.
Overnight in Las Vegas on the return trip (no, not even a nickel!) netted only a few
White-crowned Sparrows in the yard before we left in the morning.
Phoenix, however, was another matter. A couple of hours spent in Enoanto Park added to
the life-list the Gray-headed Junco and the Red-shafted Flicker. The Cactus Wren was
there, of course, with Gila Woodpeckers and many of the other regular inhabitants. The
local Audubon chapter conducts a bi-weekly bird walk through the park and has made up a
sizeable check list, which is available at the park headquarters. A field trip to South
Mountain Park was set for the next day and sounded like fun, but departure was set for
bedtime that night, unfortunately.