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Prairie Facts

Report on Maddin Breeding Bird Survey May 20-22, 2017 by Kirsti Harms

Submitted by Kirsti Harms


Pat Merkord and I were joined by Tom Willard (Blackland Chapter) and Kelly Walker (Houston Chapter for our annual breeding bird survey on the weekend of May 20, 2017.

The area had just received about 8 inches of rain and there was water and mud everywhere! The creek was flowing and showed signs of having been up at least 15 feet.  Because of the storm fronts and rain-cooled air, it turned out to be a much cooler weekend than I had expected.

Because of the cool temperatures, we didn’t see any horned lizards or any other lizards (photo by Pat Merkord, Maddin Prairie, 2016). 

However! the Couch’s Spadefoot toad Scaphiopus couchii (left: photo Google.com)
 
and Great Plains Narrowmouth toads Gastrophryne olivacea (right: photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife) did put on quite a concert Friday and Saturday night in the ponds that were formed by all the rain. Amazing how fast they went into action!

This part of the state has been getting rain all spring, and it was apparent in the bird numbers.  We had our usual summer residents in good numbers as well as the not-as-usual breeding birds like Dickcissels Spiza americana
and LeConte’s Sparrows Ammodramus leconteii (photo: Cornell Labs).

Of course, Kelly was keeping track of our butterflies and other insects. 
We made a couple of trips to a blooming lotebush Ziziphus obtusifolia
that was covered in insects of all kinds.

(photo of lotebush blooms by Louis R. Nugent, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

Kelly and Pat took lots of photos (to be posted soon).
Thanks to our great volunteers,
we’re getting a very nice collection.
Perhaps someday we can start a photo gallery for Maddin Prairie.

It is on my to-do list! -Kirsti Harms