Home > Birding, Insects, Landscapes > Pedernales Falls – Oct 20

Pedernales Falls – Oct 20

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

On a cool morning (45F), we visited Pedernales Falls. The birds has just been fed, so that was a good sign. As usual, we started in the North blind since it’s closest to the entrance. A surprise here was that the two small photography openings had been combined into one larger opening. I didn’t use it enough to form a strong opinion, but I do like having more room manuever. Anyway, nothing remarkable initially besides Northern Cardinals. However, a little longer wait gave me a good photo of a male Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

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Later the female appeared as well.

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We hung out awhile longer, and a White-throated Sparrow flew in! Not an uncommon bird, but one I rarely see, or at least photograph.

White-throated Sparrow

The first I noticed when we left to the South blind, was that it had been remodeled! The glass now had angles out (a picture speaks a thousand words):

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We were told this was going to happen after the North blind was built in 2010, but I didn’t think it would take this long. The angles cut down on the reflection. At least the birds will stop sitting on the ledge and hammering at the glass. Here too, the openings on the right side have been consolidated into one or two (I forget).

While watching absolutely nothing happen, I turned off my camera to switch lenses to take the above photo. As I was about to switch, something flew into the branches near the front, facing away from us. This is almost always a dove and this bird was not too much bigger than a dove. I stared at it for a few seconds and realized that it had much bigger tail with horizontal white stripes and it finally dawned on me that this was some sort of hawk! Of course by the time I turned my camera back on, it flew off and Doris missed it also.

As we were about to leave, I got tricked yet again by a tall dead tree branc far above. Everytime we think there’s a hawk up there, but it’s always just the tree. Except this time, there actually was a hawk up there. I couldn’t get a good photo, since it flew away immediately. This is likely why the blind was so quiet.

In the butterfly garden I found a Queen Butterfly that sat still longer than 2 seconds. Not my first sighting of one by any means, but my first photo.

Queen Butterfly

The rest of watching was uneventful. I recorded a Carolina Chickadee and a warbler, most likely Orange-crowned. I did spy an Eastern Phoebe hiding in the trees of the North blind, an uncommon sighting for me. Over in the field next door they were burning trees.

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We then headed down to the river. With all the flooding lately, I wanted to see how the river was doing. I was very surprised to see a family of deer in the parking lot. Deer at 11am is not normal. They kept going in and out of shadows, so this was the best I could do.

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As the staff told me, the river was in fact, a river! Definitely the most water I’ve ever seen. Usually you can just walk across it.

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Also as expected, I found a lizard sunning itself on the rocks.

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All of the rain we’ve been getting lately has provided for Spring Round 2. Granted, I’ve only seen yellow flowers, but they are everywhere and provide some nice color. Maybe they’ll still be around if and when the trees ever turn.

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Finally, I have a couple of unknown flappers to close out the post. I apparently need to get a butterfly book. I’d welcome any help in identifiying these.

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And the second one.

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A pretty good outing for late October! Larger versions of these photos and a couple more are located in the gallery.

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  1. November 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Looks like a fantastic outing! I love the woodpeckers….are they very common where you are?

    Your first unknown butterfly is a crescent of some sort, maybe a Pearl Crescent which is actually a species that we have here in Ontario. The crescents we have here (Pearl, Tawny and Northern) are difficult to tell apart, and it’s not certain whether they are even full species.

    Vesta Crescent is also a possibility…a picture of the underside would help.

    The white one is a Common Mestra. No, I’ve never seen one before, and googling “white butterfly with orange hindwings” didn’t help (usually my last resort to identifying insects!). I checked under the whites (Pieridae) first, had no luck, then took a closer look at your butterfly. The shape and scalloped edges on the wings reminded me of a White Admiral, so I looked under the brushfoots and there he was! This was using the Kaufman guide to the butterflies of North America; I actually prefer field guides that are specific to localities than general North American ones, but it’s a good one to have in case I travel!

    Your butterfly shots are awesome, by the way. Our butterfly season is just about over.

  2. November 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you Gillian, as always. You’re a wealth of information. I spent 20-30 minutes googling for these but came up short. Next time I should ask you before posting :) I will look into these some more.

    I see woodpeckers almost everytime I go to Pedernales. It’s not uncommon for me to see them in parks around town as well. I wish we had more variety than Ladder-backed since that’s almost all I ever see.

  3. November 10, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Nice shots. Gillian was dead on and awful close with the ID’s. Definitely a Common Mestra and they apparently are relatively common this year as opposed to in most. Hornsby Bend at the Platt Lane entrance apparently was very well covered with them this past week.

    The Vesta Crescent is the right answer based on wing patterns. I see Vestas and Phaons most often at Pedernales. I have seen Pearls as well. They can be as tough to ID as sparrows some days.

    I wish I had read the post before I went up to Pedernales Falls this past weekend. I didn’t notice the newly expanded photographer’s window until just before I was getting ready to leave. It was a very short visit by my standards–my brother and his brood were in town and thirty minutes was probably twenty minutes too long. I noticed also the “spike strips” in front of the windows in both blinds to hopefully discourage the littlest visitors from tapping on the glass.

    I need to return in the next couple of weeks–it had been far too long.

  4. November 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Thanks Jim. Hopefully I’ll be better prepared next year once I get a butterfly book.

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