Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seen on a mesquite

As we're getting settled in Abilene, Texas, I'm getting accustomed (again) to the slimmer set of avifauna that prevails in these parts as compared with southeastern Uganda. There have been some changes in bird populations here since the last time I spent much time in Abilene. White-winged doves were not present, at least per my observation, in Abilene in the late 1980s. Now they are the most numerous dove species here. Eurasian collared doves have also become common residents over the past several years. The mourning doves and Inca doves that are long-time indigenous species are still around, but they seem to be fewer than before.

A few minutes ago I was treated to the sight of a golden-fronted woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons) working the gnarled trunk of a mesquite tree in our neighbors' front yard. This was the first one I've seen in this neighborhood since moving here a few weeks ago, so definitely not an everyday sighting.

I caught sight of a Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni) briefly overhead as I was standing in front of the house yesterday -- another one that we don't see on a daily basis inside the city limits.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Driving across Abilene yesterday afternoon, passing through a park in the central part of the city, we came upon a yellow-crowned night heron out for a day-time stroll. It had been uncharacteristically rainy for this time of year, so I suppose the normally nocturnal bird was taking advantage of the cooler, overcast weather to squeeze in more eating hours than it usually gets.