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Thread: Rookery Timeline

  1. #21

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Oh wow, I have not seen that anhinga nest. Is that in the area where the weeds/plants/wildflower (not sure what they are, no blooms) have grown so high you can no longer see in there? Do you have the basket ball court at your back when you are looking at the tree top anhinga nest? What was at your back when you saw it and would a person like myself, 5 foot 2 inches be able to see?
    The anhinga nest I have seen was with the path between the two parking garages at your back and have only seen the nest with a parent brooding on it, never seen eggs or chicks, the parent is always sitting hiding contents from view. That is the anhinga nest that has the tricolor nest a few feet to the left of it. You have to look thru a bush/shrub and up to the right a bit, it is not where a clearing is. It is between the anhinga nest clearing and the next clearing to your left.
    Kaptured by Kala

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Grand Prairie

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    This website has a labeled map of the rookery - maybe it'll help when I describe areas.

    The area marked as J is where I stood to see the anhinga nest. It's interesting that the author's annotations indicate white ibis in this area with anhingas back in the taller trees, which is also what I found. I guess they've stuck to the same spots this year.

    So right there in that area, if you're walking counter-clockwise around the rookery (away from the parking garages and towards the park bench area), the corner of the no-trespassing zone makes kind of a zig-zag. You have to turn left to round the corner away from the garage, but then you turn right to follow the edge of the nesting area, and then left again to go toward the park benches. Right there in that little nook before you make the right turn is what I would label that J on the map. There is a clearing right there where the ibis can be seen in the trees 30-40 feet in or so. Now about halfway between that right turn and the second left turn is where I stood to see the anhinga nest. Face straight into the rookery and then look a little to the left, at the top of the trees. I was able to spot it because of the contrast between the chicks' necks and the green foliage. If an adult isn't present or the chicks are laying down it might be hard to spot. Next time I go, I'd like to see if I can spot it from the top of the parking garage. Last time, I had already been up there and didn't want to climb the stairs again.

    I'm 6'3", and the window of branches I saw the nest through was rather small, so I can't say for sure that it'll be visible to you. I did point the nest out to someone else that passed by. He was quite a bit shorter than me and was able to see it without any problems.

    The other anhinga nest I saw must be somewhat close to the one you saw, because it was in the general area of the path between parking garages. Though from where I was standing, I was looking to the left to see the nest. There were a lot of branches in the way so I didn't get a good shot. This is the same area I've seen tricolor herons before, but they didn't appear to be nesting when I saw them.

    Maybe we should plan a field trip so we can compare notes in person. I'm available this Saturday morning (6/11) or Sunday afternoon (6/12) if anyone is interested.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    The spot where you saw the second anhinga nest, yes, it is probably the same one I'm seeing and yes, it is difficult to get shots but it can be done. So stand there at that anhinga nest then continue in the direction of the second parking garage just a little bit but before you get to the next clearing/indentation. You have to look thru the shrub branches up and to your right like you are trying to see if you can see the anhinga from there (you can't) but you should see the tricolor heron standing on the nest with at least 3 big older chicks in the nest under it.

    For the 2 ibis nests I saw. I walk clockwise and as I approach the parking garage area, I spot the first little blue heron nest, not too far in and usually has its butt towards you on the nest. The next clearing/indentation after that has a bunch of cattle egret nests but if you stand right by the sign on the left hand side of that clearing and look way in and up to the right a bit, look for red and you can spot one ibis nest. Once you find that one, look across the clearing to the other side and behind a cattle egret nest and look for red again to spot the second ibis nest. Is this the area you are speaking of where ibis gather?

    Going in the direction of 2nd parking garage from there and before the anhinga nest area, is where I have seen the second little blue heron on a nest and this is the one that has a habit of standing up to shift its position and giving you a look at the blue eggs.

    I have prior commitments this weekend so will have to stick with my weekly trip being on a week day. I don't want to clutter this timeline thread with photos but will be glad to send you shots of the ibis/ anhinga, tricolor nests if you have a preferred email to help you. I will try my darnedest to find that high up anhinga nest.
    Kaptured by Kala

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Grand Prairie

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptured by Kala View Post
    For the 2 ibis nests I saw. I walk clockwise and as I approach the parking garage area, I spot the first little blue heron nest, not too far in and usually has its butt towards you on the nest. The next clearing/indentation after that has a bunch of cattle egret nests but if you stand right by the sign on the left hand side of that clearing and look way in and up to the right a bit, look for red and you can spot one ibis nest. Once you find that one, look across the clearing to the other side and behind a cattle egret nest and look for red again to spot the second ibis nest. Is this the area you are speaking of where ibis gather?
    If you walk around clockwise, the ibis gathering area that I'm speaking of would be just before you make the right turn toward the side with the parking garages. If you start at the monument and park benches, and walk up north toward the parking garage, following the edge of the rookery, you'll turn right (1), then a quick left (2) and then right again (3) and you're on the side with the garages. The anhinga nest viewing area would be right between (1) and (2), and the ibis that I'm talking about would be right at (2).

    I think the little blue heron with the eggs that you refer to is the same one I've seen. Thanks for the help with the tricolor and ibis nests. We'll see if I can get out there this weekend and find them.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I had a great morning at the rookery this morning. Perfect light and weather although a tad hot. Here is todays update:

    1. Great egrets still in abundance with chicks and juveniles at every stage. Did not see any brooding.
    2. Black-crown night herons still have some brooding, plus there are chicks and juveniles at every stage. Lots still.
    3. Snowy egrets still in abundance. Some brooding. Chicks of every stage including juveniles out of the nest.
    4. Glad I got some shots of the tricolor heron nest and chicks last week because those chicks have flown the coop. Empty nest. Several times I thought I caught a glimpse of tri juveniles as they would scurry out of sight into the brush. Hands down the most elusive bird. Have never found a second nest.
    5. Lots of cattle egrets, many still brooding, but about half have chicks now. From newly hatched to intermediary age, not quite ready to leave nest but bigger than the littlest ones. Saw my first nest with cattle egret eggs and they are blue like the little blue herons eggs.
    6. Speaking of which, the little blue heron nest that kept showing me the blue eggs, they are newly hatched chicks now, looks like 4 or 5 of them. Other blue nests still brooding. And I think I saw two older, not quite out of the nest little blue juvies with no parent in sight. Beaks were two toned and lighter than snowies. Waiting on Betsy to confirm or correct.
    7. I saw 4 ibis nests in 3 different locations today, one fairly close to the memorial area. One showed me an egg and they were not blue like I was expecting by now, they are white with brown speckles. I saw lots of ibis all over today, looks like they are starting to get serious about nesting. Got some shots of that breeding wattle I just found out they have.
    8. And the best for last, the anhinga. First of all, that tree top nest I never knew about, the juveniles have left the nest and scattered, but stayed in the tree tops. I saw two of them in different trees. And from different spotting places. Saw one flap from one tree to another so no predicting where they will be found. The first one I saw was preening, then called for food with hugely open mouth and Dad came and fed it. Then I got a great shot of it snuggling with dad.
    And.....the anhinga nest I did know about and have been watching, she has newly teeny tiny hatched chicks. She was brooding them but one tiny little head popped up and she regurgitated a huge (plum size) globule of food which the chick was trying to eat with mouth wide open.
    9. Lastly, there are more house finch babies with that loud reverberating cry in the basketball gym area.
    Last edited by Kaptured by Kala; 06-08-2016 at 11:09 PM.
    Kaptured by Kala

  6. #26

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I was at the rookery on June 14th.
    1. No sign of tricolor herons
    2. No brooding great egrets but still lots of baby great egrets both in nests and out of nests
    3. Some brooding snowy egrets and lots of babies both in and out of nests
    4. Some brooding black-crowned night herons and babies both in and out of nests
    5. Lots of cattle egrets are brooding and lots have chicks in the nest, did not see any out of the nest
    6. I saw a couple of little blue herons brooding and the one nest with chicks are still in the nest.
    7. Saw about 7 ibis nests spread out all over, no sign of chicks.
    8. I saw a few juvenile anhinga still hanging out in the tree tops. The nest I am watching that had hatchlings last week, I saw one head this week, a bit larger. Still had a parent sitting on them so could not see much of the babies or tell how many.
    Kaptured by Kala

  7. #27

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    Kala and I got back to the Rookery Thursday June 23rd.

    GREAT EGRETS still abound-- though I don't think there were tiny chicks anymore and numbers are thinning.

    BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERONS are also still around in great numbers-- chicks from very young to cliques of juveniles that apparently can hunt together. Adults are much bolder than at beginning of season.

    SNOWY EGRETS -- present,, but thinning quickly

    CATTLE EGRETS are everywhere!

    ANHINGA are getting easier to spot nesting as one couple chose a shot essentially 'out front' (perhaps
    50' to the left of the memorial and only 10' off the path and up about 14'). Another couple was wooing
    in plain sight (as seen from the ground) and, if they nest there, will also be relatively easy to observe.
    We saw the nest Kala has been watching weekly now with three chicks of very good size (it is quite far
    back in the trees and you have to view it just so...).

    No tricolored herons.

    WHITE IBIS have sprinkled nests around the backside -- they seem to favor hiding slightly behind
    cattle egret nests. One lively nest showed very young chicks exhausted quickly by the act of
    reaching way up into the adult's beak. But they looked quite healthy.

    LITTLE BLUE EGRET: one nest with big healthy chicks Kala has kept an eye on....and a new
    nest RIGHT out front almost straight in from the memorial-- the parent bird is easily spooked
    (we got to see blue eggs again), but hopefully the young have a good chance despite that
    couple choosing a place where they will be over-observed by humans.

    I am awful with numbers but my eBird report has some photos:

  8. #28

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I visited the rookery the morning of June 30th. Here is the status of the 8 species:

    1. Still lots of great egrets. Some older babies in the nest being fed by parents but more are juveniles out of the nest.
    2. I did not see any snowies brooding but there are still some snowies with young babies in the nest. Also quite a few snowy fledglings both on the ground and out on branches still being fed by parents.
    3. black-crowned night herons are at all stages. I still saw a couple that were brooding. There are babies in nests and there are groups of juveniles out of nests, these juveniles seen to like being in gangs together.
    4. The little blue heron nest that had eggs earlier, than chicks the last 3 weeks is now empty, everyone has left the nest. The new little blue nest that had eggs across from the memorial area last week is gone. The tree/branches it was on is down on the ground. I did not see any little blue nests but I did see a fledgling little blue on the ground, in meadow grass where it stuck out like a sore thumb. After getting some photos, I herded it back into the undergrowth. Did not seem to be able to fly yet.
    5. After several weeks with no tricolor heron sights, I spotted 3 juveniles up in a tree along the perimeter across from Texas Women's University. They had been out of the nest for awhile but still had baby fuzz on their heads. I saw no adults and have only seen one nest this season, it was abandoned a few weeks ago. However, these juveniles were not near that one nest, so maybe there was a second nest.
    6. Still cattle egrets everywhere and still lots of them brooding. Lots with young chicks, older chicks and quite a few out of the nest now.
    7. I did not see any juvenile anhinga out on their own. The nest I've been watching for several weeks has 3 babies and they are quite big now. One chick can take up the whole nest. The youngest looking one pretty much stayed in the nest with the two older looking ones up on a branch by the nest at one point and at a second point they were all three crammed into the nest. So looks like they are at the branching stage. It takes my breath away at how very alien they look. The new anhinga nest Molley discovered last week, had the female brooding on it on both my passes, no sign of hatchlings yet. I saw lots of adult anhingas in the air and perched high on dead tree limbs but these are the only 2 nests I am aware of within sight.
    8. There are several ibis nests way back in that can be spotted due to the red showing up brightly but they are so far in, you just can't see much. However, bless that one ibis who nested in plain sight not far from the memorial area. There is a keep out sign there covered in white. If you rest your camera on that sign like a tripod, you are looking directly at the nest. Last week there were tiny hatchlings with pink bills with black on the tip, this week they are bigger and their bills are pink with several black stripes going around them. The parent feeds them by standing over the nest and reaching down and thumping a chick on the head, this stimulates the chick to wake up and stand up and reach with its entire head and neck into the open beak of the parent who regurgitates. Said chick then sits back down and works on swallowing the food. Parent then thumps the next chick on the head and so on. It looked like there were at least 4 chicks in that nest.
    Kaptured by Kala

  9. #29

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I visited the rookery on July 6th. I witnessed and photographed one really cool thing and one that was rather shocking. The cool thing was a little blue fledgling doing its best to swallow a very large marine worm of some sort. I had hoped to get an id on the worm but have not yet. If anyone (maybe a fisherman) knows quite a bit about large possibly marine worms, let me know and I'll send you some pics of it. It was not a snake and not an earthworm. Anyway the fledgling kept swallowing all but the tip, then bringing it back up again and dropping it on the ground to start over again. The wriggling may have tickled.

    The shocking thing was that right in front of me and above my head, in a clear spot and sunlight, a black-crowned night heron stole a hatchling out of a nest (nest was hidden behind thick leaves so not sure which species) and during the next 4 minutes, it kept repositioning its grip on the live newborn, then proceeded to swallow it whole and alive. I know these things happen but frankly it was a bit horrifying to witness. Not images I'd spring on the public but I let JR publish them on his blog and they can be found here:

    If anyone looks at these and can tell which species of hatchling it is, please let me know, it is one of the white ones, my best guess would be cattle egret since they have the most of the youngest babies but the size of it just might be a late great egret nest.

    Now for the status of the 8 rookery species:

    1. There are still great egret chicks in nests but I didn't see any brooding or young chicks, just older chicks, plus many many juveniles out and about.
    2. Black crowned night herons are still in all stages from brooding to roving groups of juveniles.
    3. I did not see any snowies brooding but do see chicks of all ages in nests, plus juveniles out and about.
    4. I did not see any tri-color herons but on the birds of texas facebook group, someone posted shots taken last week of some juveniles in the tree tops, probably the same 3 I saw the week prior.
    5. The nest of anhinga's I've followed for several weeks is empty now, when I saw the large babies the prior week, I expected them to be fledged since they were branching when I saw them. I did see a couple of juveniles in tree tops. The new anhinga nest is still in the brooding stage with both parents taking turns sitting on the nest. Lots of adults flying overhead and perched in tree tops.
    6. The nest of white ibis I've been watching still have babies in the nest, they are very large now, expect they will be fledged very soon. Several other nests scattered around the rookery but none as easy to see as that one.
    7. I do not see any little blue nests other than empty ones. I saw one adult little blue on the ground. There are quite a few little blue fledglings but I have to take their photo then look closely on my PC to tell them from snowy fledglings. A thank you to Betsy for helping me figure them out sometimes.
    8. tons of cattle egrets and they are in all stages still from brooding to juveniles out of the nest.

    For those interested in insects, there are a lot of saddlebag dragonflies and a lot of American snout butterflies right now.
    Kaptured by Kala

  10. #30

    Default Re: Rookery Timeline

    I visited the rookery on the morning of July 13th. Some changes

    1. Most great egret nests are empty now, saw a few with large juveniles on them. Parents continue to feed the great egret fledglings even when they are out of the nest. Rather violent feedings.
    2. I did not see any brooding snowies. I only saw a couple of snowy nests with large babies in it. There are large groups of snowy juveniles climbing around on branches and I believe there are also little blue juveniles in the same groups intermingling. I have not seen any little blue parents or snowy parents feed their fledglings once they leave the nest area. I do see lots of adult snowy egrets but not interacting with any babies.
    3. I saw a couple of adult little blue herons but not interacting with juveniles and I do not see any occupied little blue nests. The little blue adults don't seem to be paired up anymore either.
    4. I saw a couple of black-crowned adults brooding on nests and a few nests with older juveniles in them. I also saw lots of juveniles on the ground or climbing around in the trees in groups of 4 or so. I have not ever seen an adult feed a juvenile that has left the nest. I ran into another birder I know and she had photographed an adult night heron stealing another young cattle egret chick and eating it.
    5. I did not see any tricolor herons, neither adult nor juvenile.
    6. The nest of ibis I've been watching was still occupied. The juveniles are climbing on the branches around the nest but keep returning to the nest, there are 3 of them. I expect it will be empty by next week. There were several ibis brooding on other nests. And I spotted one more ibis nest with dark babies, 4 of them, slightly younger than the first one. I also spotted my first ibis fledgling running around on the ground, older than the nest group.
    7. Cattle egrets are numerous. Some are brooding, some had newly hatched chicks, lots with older chicks and there are fledglings climbing everywhere and on the ground. There are some bushes with 20 or so juveniles with a mix of snowy, little blue and cattle egrets. The great egret fledglings seem to prefer either on the ground or in the tree tops. I did see a parent cattle egret in the middle of a group of fledglings who were all demanding food. One baby would succeed in violently grabbing the adults beak and would be rewarded with food regurgitation. It is quite possible it was not their own parent, this happened in a bush without nests and several fledglings of different species. However, I did not see interspecies feeding.
    8. I saw several juvenile anhinga hanging out in tree tops. Did not observe any adults feeding them but I have seen it in the past. I also found new anhinga nests. There is a place on the path where you can stand and see 3 anhinga nests with parents brooding in the same tree and just behind that and a bit higher, a fourth brooding anhinga nest. All 4 nests had a parent brooding on it constantly.

    One possible conclusion unless someone has other observations: Cattle egrets, great egrets and anhinga will continue to feed their fledglings even after they leave the nest for good. Little blue herons, tricolor herons, snowy egret, black-crowned night herons and white ibis do not feed the fledglings once they abandon their nests. Does anyone have observations to the contrary?
    Kaptured by Kala

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