This is the Austin Area Rare Bird Alert for the weeks of 1/01/2019 through 1/15/2020. To report rare or unusual bird sightings in the Austin area, provide recent sighting updates, or inquire about location details on birds listed below, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If submitting a bird sighting, please include species name, location details, and contact information. County names below appear in italics. Abbreviations are as follows: SP = State Park; NWR = National Wildlife Refuge; NHP = National Historic Park; WMA = Wildlife Management Area; SH = State Highway; CR = County Road; WTP = Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Rare in winter, a young male GREATER SCAUP has been present at Devine Lake in Leander, Williamson, since at least 1/06 and reported as recently as 1/15.
On 1/07, a pair of COMMON GOLDENEYES were reported from Friendship Park at Granger Lake, Williamson.
An ANHINGA, scarce in winter, was soaring over the quarry off of FM 973, Travis, on 1/05.
An AMERICAN BITTERN resurfaced at the ponds at the Southeast Greenway in Mueller, Travis, on 1/10. It is likely the same bird reported from that location in late December.
A GREEN HERON was photographed at Brushy Creek Lake Park in Cedar Park, Williamson, on 1/12.
As many as TWO first basic WESTERN SANDPIPERS are attempting to overwinter with the hundreds of Least Sandpipers at Hornsby Bend WTP in Travis through 11/29.
A rare AMERICAN BITTERN was reported from Laguna Gloria on Lake Austin, Travis, on 11/24.
A ZONE-TAILED HAWK was described flying along the Colorado River across from Mary Quinlan Park, Travis, on 1/13. Another one was photographed on 1/15 at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis.
An adult WHITE-TAILED HAWK continues in the Granger Lake area, Williamson, as of 1/05.
Austin’s most-sought-after bird this month has been a BURROWING OWL that has taken up residence in a rock pile in the development adjacent to the Southeast Greenway in Mueller, Travis. It was discovered in mid- to late December and continued thru 1/15.
One male RINGED KINGFISHER was well seen on the Monthly Colorado River Survey in the Utley area, Bastrop, on 1/04. RINGED KINGFISHER has also been reported from Mankin’s Crossing in Williamson, with no recent sighting information.
A very rare RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, an apparent adult female, was discovered on private property in far northern Travis on 10/19 and continued through at least 1/07.
A PRAIRIE FALCON was described from Old Sayers Road, Bastrop, on 1/11. Details mention the McCall Ranch gate and east side of road.
The now-resident BLACK PHOEBE continued at Hamilton Pool, Travis, through 1/14.
The most recent report of the returning SAY’S PHOEBE at Lakeway City Park, Travis, was on 1/02.
Two immature male VERMILION FLYCATCHERS have been present at the north end of Pond 3 at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, since 11/22 and continued through 1/14.
A GREAT KISKADEE was once again reported from private property in Caldwell on 1/05.
COUCH’S KINGBIRDS have been reported from Fairview Cemetery and downtown Smithville in Bastropearly this month, with the latest report on 1/15.
A very rare WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH was described from the feeding station at Lake Bastrop SP, Bastrop, on 1/07.
A rare wintering GRAY CATBIRD was reported from Legacy Hills Park, Williamson, on 1/12.
An immature GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE continues at the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Nature Trail, Travis, as of 1/14.
As many as 12 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been well-documented at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, thru 1/15.
A single male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER is wintering at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, with reports thru 1/12. A report of two at that location was likely in error.
A remarkably rare CAPE MAY WARBLER was discovered at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, Hays, on 1/07 and continued thru 1/14.
A wandering male PYRRHULOXIA was discovered at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, on 11/21 and continued through at least 1/11. Another PYRRHULOXIA was discovered at Blanco Shoals Natural Area, Hays, earlier in the month and continued thru 1/14. Bastrop also picked one up at Shipp/ Stagners Lake on 1/04.