Rare Bird Alert: Hurricane Harvey Summary

The following is a summary of the coastal species associated with Hurricane Harvey that have been found in Central Texas between 8/25 and 8/29/17. Notable were the incredible number of MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRDS that were pushed inland, with an estimated 58-68 birds seen within the Austin Circle alone. Also notable was an adult SOOTY TERN in Austin, providing what appears to be a 1st Travis County record. The only previous record from the Austin Circle was from Bell County in September of 1998, a bird associated with Tropical Storm Francis. Other rarities include SABINE’S GULL, ROYAL and SANDWICH TERNS.

Below are the estimated totals per location across Central Texas of some of the birds believed to be associated with Harvey. A sum of birds can be found next to the species name. The dates of the sightings are also listed next to each location. Where applicable, I’ve excluded birds that were viewed from different parts of the same lake (i.e. Sabine’s Gull viewed from Windy Point and Mansfield Dam Park is probably the same bird). The BROWN BOOBY is likely a continuing bird from earlier this year and not storm-associated, but still notable.

Finally, while the storm provided many of us opportunities to observe species we’d likely never see this far inland, my thoughts and well wishes go out to our fellow birders along the coast, who continue to struggle with the disastrous flooding and destruction. Many of us spend a great deal of time along the coast in pursuit of birds and the images we’re seeing are unbelievable. I’m hoping that your families are safe and that damage to property has been minimal.

MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (58-68 total)
16 – Prairie Park, Lake Fayette, Fayette County (8/26)
15 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/26- 8/29)
6-16 – Lakeway/Lake Travis, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)
5 – Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County (8/26)
4 – Capital of Texas Highway, Travis County (8/26)
3 – Plum Creek Golf Course, Hays County (8/27)
3 – Llano County Park, Lake Buchanan (8/27)
2 – Granger Lake, Williamson County (8/27 – 8/28)
2 – Cranes Mill Park, Canyon Lake, Comal County (8/27)
1 – Toll 130 & FM 973 area, Travis County (8/26)
1 – Hwy 183 & Great Hills Trail, Travis County (8/27)

BROWN BOOBY (1)
1 – Overlook Park, Canyon Lake, Comal County (Likely continuing bird)

SABINE’S GULL (1)
1 – Mansfield Dam Park, Travis County (8/27 – 8/29)

Laughing Gull (7)
2 – Salt Lake, Guadalupe County (8/27)
2 – Granger Lake, Williamson County (8/28 – 8/29)
1 – Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County (8/26)
1 – Canyon Lake Park, Comal County (8/27)
1 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/25)

SOOTY TERN (1)
1 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)

SANDWICH TERN (1)
1 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/28)

ROYAL TERN (13)
3 – Granger Lake, Williamson County (8/28)
2 – Temple Lake Park, Bell County (8/28)
2 – Canyon Lake Park, Comal County (8/27)
2 – Mansfield Dam Park, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)
2 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)
1 – Pace Bend Park, Travis County (8/28)
1 – Salt Lake Road, Guadalupe County (8/28)

Least Tern (34)
12 – Temple Lake Park, Bell County (8/26 – 8/28)
4 – Granger Lake, Williamson County (8/27 – 8/28)
2 – Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County (8/26)
2 – CR 232 & CR 266, Hays County (8/28)
2 – San Marcos Fish Hatchery, Hays County (8/28)
2 – Windy Point Park, Lake Travis, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)
2 – Barkley Meadows, Travis County (8/26 – 8/28)
2 – Hornsby Bend, Travis County (8/28)
2 – Pace Bend Park, Travis County (8/27)
1 – Salt Lake Road, Guadalupe County (8/28)
1 – Lake Buchanan, Llano County (8/27)
1 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/28)
1 – Lake Pflugerville, Travis County (8/28)

Common Tern (6)
4 – Windy Point Park, Lake Travis (8/28)
2 – Jones Brothers Park, Travis County (8/28)

Caspian Tern (3)
1 – Welch Park, Lake Somerville, Burleson County (8/26)
1 – Walter E. Long Park, Decker Lake, Travis County (8/27 – 8/28)
1 – Mansfield Dam Park, Travis County (8/28)

White-tailed Kite (1)
1 – Mansfield Dam Park, Travis County (8/28)

White-tailed Hawk (1)
1 – CR 232 & CR 266, Hays County (8/28)

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