Youth Birding at Richard Moya Park

By Terry Banks and Mary Kay Sexton

Earlier this month, we joined three campers from the recent Youth Birding Camp, Auden, Emmet, and Geo, and their fathers (John, Chad, and Ben) for a morning of birding. Ben not only brought his scope for closer viewing, but a surprise guest – Victor Emanuel. What a treat!

From the minute we arrived at the park, the birds were active, especially for this time of year. We all think it is too hot to go out birding in the heat of summer, but we saw some exciting birds. One of our first sightings was that of Eastern Bluebirds flying around the large pecan trees. We could all see these beautiful blue birds and hear their pleasant song. Geo’s Dad quickly got the scope on these bird so everyone could get a quick look.  Western Kingbirds were also in good numbers, and we got a chance to see several.  Emmet spotted a Yellow-billed Cuckoo skulking in a tree – we couldn’t get a good scope view but we saw it working its way along the branches. One surprising bird was a Green Heron that flew into a pecan tree – we were all able to see it. A quick flyover of 6 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks was a treat, as well. Overall, we had 29 species of birds – some of them were as common as Great-tailed Grackles and Mourning Doves, others not as common, like Summer Tanagers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. 

The campers were so enthusiastic!  We were thrilled to learn that Auden actually started birding during the Youth Birding Camp in June and was inspired to come back.  Geo, with the amazing experiences he has with his dad who is a professional birder, has probably been birding since he was a baby. Emmet has been studying the birds in his neighborhood and reading all the bird books he can find.

Along the way, a variety of nature’s wonders were spotted, such as the cocoon of a polyphemus moth, sensitive-briar, a three-dimensional spider web with the spider hiding in its trash line, an abandoned bird nest on the bridge, and an ant-mimic bug.

It was wonderful to see the campers again. Their enthusiasm for birding, as well as their spotting and identification skills, were impressive. What nice birds, what a great group of birders and nature lovers, and what a great place to go birding!

See the eBird report for this field trip here.