Monday morning dawned bright and cool along the San Felipe Creek.
I decided to visit that little section of the creek bank between the Casa De La Cultura and the Canal Street Bridge again in hopes of seeing the Clay-colored Thrush I saw there last week.
The temperature stood at 56 degrees Fahrenheit as I settled myself on the bank at the very edge of the water.
A Great Blue Heron perched high in the branches of a mature pecan on the other side of the creek kept a close eye on me. He skwonked indignantly a few times, then pointedly ignored me.
Small flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds flew back and forth over the creek, sometimes settling to forage in the carrizo brakes at the edge of the water, skreeking and chattering all the while.
In the topmost branches of a big old sycamore on my side of the creek, several Great Kiskadees and Couch’s Kingbirds greeted the rising sun with raucous cries.
An unfamiliar, high-pitched whistling-whinnying caught my ear, and as I looked up into the clear blue sky over my head, I saw a large flock of dozens of American Robins flying in. They settled in the top of a pecan tree growing close to the Canal Street Bridge. They stayed a few minutes, then flew off again.
I always enjoy seeing robins here.
We are the opposite of much of the rest of the country, which can gauge the arrival of spring as the time when their “robin red-breasts” come back. We, on the other hand, know winter is at hand – by the calendar, if not by the actual weather – when the robins land here.
The robin flocks will stay mainly in south Del Rio, where they can gorge themselves on chinaberries and the small insects that are abundant along the creek all year long. I’ve rarely seen robins in north Del Rio.
On the creek proper, Common Yellowthroats and Northern Cardinals were active in the carrizo.
A lone female Wood Duck flew in from downstream and landed in the water at the edge of the cane, but she took off again when she saw me.
Several Green Kingfishers flew back and forth close to the water just yards from where I sat. I also heard, but didn’t see, the Green’s huge cousin, the Ringed Kingfisher.
I heard a pair of Barred Owls hooting at each other from the Wardlaw property across the creek. I’ve heard them before in the Rincon and in other areas farther south, but this is the farthest upstream I’d ever heard them.
I didn’t see the Clay-colored Thrush again, but I’m still hopeful and will try again on the weekend.