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Common Nighthawk

Member Field Trip to Stephen F. Austin State Park

It was under the veil of dense fog that our hearty group headed west to Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe on Saturday, January 18, 2020. We were a mix of new and old timers and all eager to explore this park. After getting some advice on which trails to venture down from the park volunteers we hit the road. The forest was quite dark and damp from recent rains and there was no sign of the sun. The White-throated Sparrows and Northern Cardinals were singing their hearts out everywhere for all to enjoy. 

As we gradually got closer to the river we spotted the telltale shape of a hawk in the upper canopy. But this was no ordinary hawk. After everyone got their binoculars and cameras on the bird the discussions erupted. Field guides and phones were all pulled out and and the bird remained motionless in the tree as if waiting for us to finally figure out it was a Zone-tailed Hawk. What a delight! The bird continued to sit for us for quite some time before moving to another tree for some additional photos. 

We all shared the sighting with a scout troop noisily making their way down the same trails before heading off to find a new trailhead. We had been hearing Pileated Woodpeckers throughout the morning and finally as we were getting ready to bid farewell the to park one was spotted on the neighboring golf course and some final photos were taken.

Thanks to all who joined me on this great trip!

Here is a link to the photos.

Subject: eBird Report - Stephen F. Austin State Park, San Felipe US-TX (29.8152,-96.1099), Jan 18, 2020

Stephen F. Austin State Park, San Felipe US-TX (29.8152,-96.1099), Austin, Texas, US Jan 18, 2020 8:35 AM - 12:10 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.581 mile(s)
23 species

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)  18
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  7
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)  1     Photographed by two in the birding group will post photos soon
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  5 Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)  3 Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  2 American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1 Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  2 American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3 Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  6 Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  5 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  2 Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  3 American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  25 White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  5 Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  2 Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  32 Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  1 Orange-crowned Warbler (Leiothlypis celata)  3 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  2 Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  23

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (