PAST EVENTS - OG Field trip to Palmetto S+a+e Park & Seguln, by Jim Morgan
On Sa+urday, February 10, 13 OG'ers met a+ Palme+to S+a+e Park on what had to be one
of the best days of wea+her In the young 1979. We Immediately headed for the area
north of Seguln where Fred Collins observed Mountain Plovers In February, 1978, and
where I had found Chestnut-collared and McCown's Longspurs +wo weeks previous. We
first searched In vain the field where Fred had found the plovers last year. Moving
on down the road we continued to search other plowed fields, when, EUREKA! Ted Eubanks, Jr. called out "I've got a plover!" Training all glasses and scopes on the
area, we alI saw at least 7 Mountain Plovers, both at rest and once In a short flight
All key field marks were noted as we had multiple angle views and excellent light.
Further searching the area for longspurs turned up two early Purple Martins, a Red-
shafted Flicker, a Go I den-fronted Woodpecker and a singing Western Meadowlark. Finally, when we were just about to give up, I spotted a swirling flock of birds across
another plowed field....Longspurs! We were able to approach within good viewing
range of the birds and they turned out to be the expected McCown's Longspurs.
Returning to Palmetto In the early afternoon we casually birded this ecologically
unique park. In addition to the common woodland species, a Caracara was spotted
flying over the San Marcos river. For the day, 65 species were tallied and all
agreed that It was a most successful venture.
P.S. Fred Collins points out that the Mountain Plovers tend to be found In the same
fields year after year. For those who may try next year, follow Fred's directions
In the March 1978 SPOONBILL. If not successful, continue east on Hwy 758 a mile or
two and look for the road called 140 Schwarzlose. We found the plovers west of this
road on the north side of 758.
[Ed. note: Though the Mountain Plovers may be gone by the time this SPOONBILL gets
to you, here are those directions for those of you who may want to gamble they will
stay a little late this year. "At Seguln, turn north on Hhy 46, drive 8 miles to
FM 758, then 1.4 miles east on FM 758 to the first paved road, which Is called
Dauer 129". The birds were found at this spot for several years. Including the 1977
Christmas Count. Alma Barrera, of Austin, saw a number of these birds, February 24,
1979, on Pleper Road, which she says is one road south of FM 758 off Hwy 46. A word
of caution: do your homework on this bird....American Golden Plovers start coming
through about now, most still In winter plumage; don't let expectations of seeing one
species lead you to a "shoot-from-the-hip" mis-lden+lfIca+Ion of a like species.j
A NOTE ON OUR BAPTIST BURROWING OWL by D. Randall Pinks+on (subscriber from Arizona)
(Randy sent a slide of +hls dellgh+ful visi+or +o our OG Slide Library). Excitement
over +he HBU "jogger-wa+cher" has probably produced mul+I+udes of pho+ographs. If
so, +hen please forgive me for adding s+ill another. This one was taken on 7 January
1979. I tried to photograph the bird from the ventral side, but, just like a grasshopper, it would always orient it's back toward me (probably to be at best vantage
Birding in the mountains, since my return to Flagstaff, leaves much to be desired
after participating in UTC Christmas Counts. Our lakes are now blanketed heavily
with snow so that waterfowl and shorebirds are nowhere to be found. This also leads
to dispersion of bald eagles onto open-water lakes and rivers at lower altitudes.
Such a situation Is quite in contrast to the late summer and fall birding when surprising appearances of waterfowl and shorebirds were quite frequent. Adult and Immature bald eagles were seen In good numbers on any trip to the lakes at that time.
Winter walks through the forests seldom turn up more than ten species, most of which
are our typical residents (e.g. hairy woodpecker, common raven, Steller's and plnyon
jays, mountain chickadee, white-breasted and pygmy nut-hatches, gray-headed and dark-
eyed juncos). One interesting note, however, I found feeding flocks of bushtlts on
two consecutive days on the Northern Arizona University campus at 7000 feet elevation.
This Is an unusually high altitude for this species to be found in the winter, especially when the recent Inclement weather conditions and heavy snows are considered.
[Ed. note: If any subscriber wishes to send some of his/her good slides, or duplicates thereof, to our Slide Library, we wi11 all be very grateful. Send them to Avis
Brister, 0G Resource Chairman, 2314 Saxon, Houston, Texas 77018, Some of you may
have slides of a species with which you are very familiar In your area, but which Is
an unusual, or even rare visitor to the UTC; having a slide of such a bird could be
very helpful the next time controversy erupts over Identification of a wanderer. It
took Alan Wormlngton's print of an Iceland Gull to settle a few last, lingering doubts
about the Freeport "white" gull being the albinistic Herring gull It was!]