Rare Bird Alert: White-winged Scoter, Egyptian Goose, and More

This is the Austin Area Rare Bird Alert. Last update on 10/15/2019. Send interesting sightings, complete with species name, location, and contact information to Vincent O’Brien at vincentobrienbirds@gmail.com. Justin Bosler and myself will be alternating reporting months.  Here’s my October installment.


Rarities found this week


A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was a nice find at Hornsby Bend, Travis, 10/13. The duck was photographed on Pond 2. Last seen flying towards the river.  Updates appreciated! Scoters can dive to depths of 40 ft. and remain submerged for almost a minute, so patience is in order when searching for this species. Interestingly, this bird has a taste for clams and mussels, including our locally invasive Zebra Mussel! Local lakes with mussel infestations may be worth monitoring for Scoters at this time.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE was photographed at Lockhart City Park, Caldwell, 10/13.
CINNAMON TEAL continues with the report of a solo female type at Hornsby Bend, Travis, 10/13.
A LEAST GREBE was photographed at Parksville Way Retention Pond, Williamson, 10/13.
A WHITE-TIPPED DOVE was photographed at a private residence in Hays, 10/11.
ANHINGAs are in the circle, with one photographed in flight at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown, Williamson, 10/8, and another described from Lake Creek Trail, Williamson, 10/12.
RINGED KINGFISHER reported near Mankin’s Crossing and HWY 29, Williamson, 10/14.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER described from a private residence in Smithville, Bastrop, 10/9.
LEAST FLYCATCHER observed and photographed at Canyon Lake Dam. Bird continued along the nature trail below the dam, Comal, 10/13.
A female VERMILION FLYCATCHER continues at Devine Lake Park, Williamson, 10/12. And another female type photographed at the big pond near CR350 in the Granger Lake area, Williamson, 10/14.
COUCH’S KINGBIRDs were photographed at Lockhart State Park, Caldwell, 10/13. Also had a pair described from Oak Hill Cemetery in Flatonia, Fayette, 10/9.
A vocalizing BELL’S VIREO reported from Berry Springs Park in Georgetown, Williamson, 10/13.
HUTTON’S VIREO continued at a private residence in Gonzales through 10/12. Another individual reported from Cypress Creek Park, Hays, 10/12.
A PURPLE MARTIN was late and reported from Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park, Travis, 10/13.
SEDGE WRENs are back in Travis county! Birds reported from Pioneer Hill Lake through 10/11, Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park through 10/13, and Pace Bend Park 10/12. While still rare for the circle, this species has greatly benefited from native habitat restoration projects. In particular, Commons Ford Prairie has become a reliable wintering spot for this now locally commonplace wren.
A WOOD THRUSH was photographed from W. Fitzhugh Road in Henly, Hays, 10/12. The thrush was observed foraging on the ground.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE was late and photographed at a private residence in Marble Falls, Burnet, 10/10.
A male GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was photographed at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown, Williamson, 10/12. The bird was found near the primitive campground, and observed foraging high up in the tree canopy.
A male HOODED WARBLER was photographed and continued at Cypress Creek Park in Wimberly, Hays, 10/13.
An AMERICAN REDSTART was late and photographed at River Road Park in Boerne, Kendall, 10/12.
A pair of NORTHERN PARULAs were late and described from Danwood Drive, Travis, 10/8.  An additional solo hatch year female reported from a private residence, Travis, 10/14.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER was described from Palmetto State Park, Gonzales, 10/13.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER was found at a private residence in Lockhart, Caldwell, 10/13.
PALM WARBLER reported from Friendship Park at Granger Lake, Williamson, 10/14. The bird was seen foraging along the beach in tall rattle bean.
AMERICAN PIPIT was photographed at Boot Ranch, Gillespie, 10/08.
MOURNING WARBLER was late and described from Joshua Springs Park, Kendall, 10/8.
TENNESSEE WARBLER was noted from Pace Bend Park, Travis, 10/12.
A male PAINTED BUNTING continues at Warbler Woods, Guadalupe, 10/8.


Reports for the Austin area RBA cover a 60 mile radius, centered on the Capitol in downtown Austin. Bird sightings mentioned here have been filtered and studied by the compiler and are believed to be genuine. When documentation or photographs were provided, that is mentioned along with other information about the birds being seen. For questions or updates about birds mentioned here, or to report rare or unusual bird sightings in the Austin area, please send an email to vincentobrienbirds@gmail.com.