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Day 6:  Sayersville Road and Attempted Clean-up

So I was rarin’ to go the next morning, and I even kept numbers for later input into EBird!  (Guess I just can’t do the BBS Protocol without doing that… )  The only place I broke with the plan was at that gorgeous woodland along the Colorado River, because if I was gonna bag at least one reported rarity around here, I was gonna hafta work the woods!  Glad I did, as a peek into the river itself yielded a flock of Gadwall, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch yanked from a tree!  Miraculously, just as I was hitting the Record button to tape the Redbreast, the Whitebreast called from another tree!  I really should have tried to find that and get a photo, because I didn’t realize until later how rare that bird was for these parts and warranted a special entry in EBird!  I didn’t worry about it too much, though, because several had recorded it long before I ever got there!  That particular stretch was also Woodpecker Heaven, with five species represented (including Pileated), and a lady Flicker giving me a great look! Singing Lark Sparrows were new for the trip, and a wave of at least 1000 Common Grackles wafted overhead at one point! One marshy little farm pond had three Shovelers in it, and the blackbirds and meadowlarks loved the cow pens!  Couldn't kick up any longspurs, but since I was stopping and listening every half mile, I felt I covered it pretty well!

The yanking of a Red-breasted Nuthatch near the Colorado River (looped twice)

A couple of Shovelers hanging out in a small farm pond along Sayersville Road

   

Lark Sparrows    Notice the preponderance of snorts in his song!

Sharing the road with the locals...

A huge wave of Common Grackles flying overhead

    

White-crowned Sparrows

After getting an e-mail from Eric Runfeldt, another local who had done a CBC around Granger, I decided to use the afternoon to try and bag some of the birds around Elgin and Granger that I missed, as he gave me another road to check for longspurs.  After grabbing what will probably be my last Golden Chick for awhile we headed over to Carlson Lane, ate lunch, and then took a walk!  No sapsucker or Brown Thrasher, but I did add a flock of Cedar Waxwings and a singing Roadrunner to the trip list!  Up in the Granger area we got lost once again trying to find Macedonia Cemetery, but after finally finding it we couldn’t find the Red-headed Woodpecker (and a gentleman was there eating lunch himself, so I didn’t want to hang around too long).  Then we really worked that entrance road at Friendship Park to try and pish up a LeConte’s Sparrow, but nada, and no Bald Eagle was hanging around the lake, so we went on up to CR 360 as suggested (and also combed through a huge blackbird flock for a Rusty as suggested), but no longspurs.  I’m getting the impression that they’re actually quite rare for here, so in the future, if I really wanna study longspurs, I should probably go further north… [Update:  just this morning – January 23rd – Jack Chiles, the guy at Hagerman NWR, reported their “first of season” Lapland Longspurs, so even had I gone that far north I might have missed them!]

Where you go to look for longspurs...

Scene along CR 360, north of Granger Lake

Passed two “incidents” on the way back to Bastrop (both between Elgin and Bastrop):  one had every cop car in the county along the road, so it might have been a chase, but the next one involved a semi-truck that overturned and had all the fire trucks in the county at that one!  I was wondering if I should have checked out McKinney Falls SP that afternoon instead of going on a Wild Longspur Chase, but just seeing those incidents reminded me that God’s timing is always perfect:  He could have been sparing me from something!

At the last minute decided to forego going after the Flammulated Owl at SPI, and picked up a huge flock of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese along “Hawk Alley” for the trip!  Made it home fine, and my neighbor greeted me at the door with a broken foot!  I can’t leave anyone home alone!

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