Rare Bird Alert: Violet-green Swallow, Ross’s Geese, and More

This is the Austin Area Rare Bird Alert for the week of 10/30/2019 through 11/07/2019. 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 justin.bosler@gmail.com. If submitting a bird sighting, please include species name, location details, and contact information. County names below appear in italics.

Two ROSS’S GEESE were mixed in with a southbound flock of Snow Geese over Lake Pflugerville, Travis, on 11/7.

An immature female SURF SCOTER was discovered at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, on 11/3 and continued through at least 11/5.

A group of three female-type RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS circled over Lake Pflugerville, Travis, on 11/7 before continuing south.

Two LEAST GREBES were reported from Salt Lake, south of Luling in Guadalupe, on 11/3. One continues at the Parksville Way rentention pond in Williamson, as of 11/6.

A VIRGINIA RAIL was heard grunting from a cattail wetland on Paint Creek Road, east of McDade in Bastrop, on 11/2. On 11/3 a VIRGINIA RAIL was found at the Pearce Lane pond adjacent to the Meadows at Berdoll subdivision. That bird was reported through 11/5.

An adult WHOOPING CRANE was photographed along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River outside of Georgetown, Williamson, on 11/7.

Two first basic AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were photographed from the Sore Finger Unit at Granger Lake, Williamson, on 11/4.

A LONG-BILLED CURLEW was heard-only at Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, on 11/5. It was heard from the direction of the recently cut hay meadow due east of Pond 2. Another was observed in flight near downtown Cibolo, Guadalupe, on 11/6.

An adult WHITE-TAILED HAWK was well photographed along SH 95 between Circleville and Granger, Williamson, on 11/6.

An ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was photographed on Earl Callahan Road, southeast of Cedar Creek in Bastrop on 11/4. These late fall vagrants are believed to be reverse migrants from Mexico after their post-breeding molt-migration in summer.

A silent WOOD-PEWEE, tentatively identified as Eastern, was discovered along the San Marcos River Walk, Hays, on 11/3 and continued through 11/5. Follow-up reports encouraged.

A late LEAST FLYCATCHER was photographed and audio recorded at West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Travis, on 10/29.

A COUCH’S KINGBIRD continues to be seen and photographed along Lake Creek Trail near Anderson Mill, Williamson, through 11/2.

A HUTTON’S VIREO continues at a private residence in Gonzales through 11/5. Hays (2) and Travis (1) have had a few HUTTON’S VIREOS of late, including one at Aquarena Springs on 11/3, another at a private residence on 11/2, and one at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School on 10/30.

The adult male VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW was reported from Hornsby Bend WTP, Travis, through 11/1, before it and the Barn Swallows it was closely associating with moved on.

Violet-green Swallow seen at Hornsby Bend. Photo by T. Jay Adams.

Small groups (2-4 birds) of CEDAR WAXWINGS have been reported in the area starting in the last week of October.

A very late, if not attempting to over-winter, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was described from Onion Creek at Camp Ben McCulloch, Hays, on 10/30.

A male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was noted on the Mason Creek Trail in Leander, Williamson, on 11/1.

A probable immature male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER was photographed at Latta Branch Greenbelt in Oak Hill, Travis, on 11/3.

The juvenile MOURNING WARBLER at West Bouldin Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Travis, continued through at least 10/29 and was photographed. An apparent adult male MOURNING WARBLER was described from Lake Negley in Kyle, Hays, on 11/3.

An immature GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE continued at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (limited access) in Austin, Travis, through 10/31.

A lingering BLUE GROSBEAK was reported from Lake Creek Trail near Anderson Mill, Williamson, through 10/31.

An immature male PAINTED BUNTING was photographed at Commons Ford Ranch Park in Travis on 11/3.

Late DICKCISSELS were reported from Gonzales and Travis and in the first week of the month.

Visitor instructions Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary:

  1.  Please briefly introduce yourself to help expedite, i.e. you are a birder in Austin
  2.  We only schedule a week out, unless a group
  3.  Pick a day and approximate time of visit to expedite
  4.  Use the contact form
  5.  You have to make a request each time, or at the time of first note