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Birds of Williamson County TX Seen at Scurlock Farms in Texas Hill Country

Published on April 17, 2017 by sherons

Many avid bird watchers have stayed with us at Scurlock Farms.

These birders have visited to see as many birds of Williamson County as possible.  2/3 of all birds seen in Texas are seen in Williamson County.  We are located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and so far, all have seen a lifer – a bird they had never seen in person before!

I was giving a tour to a couple from Kansas when she noticed something fluttering in the dried dusty area where we were going to pass through a gate.  It was a Roadrunner taking a dirt bath!  She was so excited as she had never seen one.  Last week while giving a couple a tour around the farm, a Roadrunner ran, then flew across the road right in front of us.  The woman was from Ukraine and she was very excited to see the Roadrunner as she had never seen one!  Yesterday, again giving a tour, this time to a young family from Grand Cayman, the young mother also saw a Roadrunner as it ran into the pasture.  A Roadrunner nesting near Indian Bluff would pause for photos for a family from Canada as they returned home!

The Roadrunners are nesting around the farm now and I see one every time I go up or down the drive.  When they are feeding their babies, they will be up and down the drive constantly, chasing bugs and lizards.

This baby Roadrunner fell out of his nest too early.  The nest was in a large cedar tree near Indian Bluff.  We tried to reach the nest in a cedar tree near Indian Bluff with our tallest extension ladder, but could not.  At dusk the mother Roadrunner was leading the baby into heavy brush inside the pasture fence.  I hope the baby made it!

The terrain of Scurlock Farms lends itself to seeing many varied species of birds.

The top pasture is prairie; we have heavily wooded bluffs and heavily wooded acreage with many dead snags for woodpeckers, owls and squirrels to nest in; a 20 acre pecan orchard; and river bottom wetlands.

I have had guests visit Scurlock Farms from Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio that have enjoyed just sitting under the trees, reading a book and listening to the many different song birds and the owls in the evening.  Some didn’t even care what kind of bird it was.  They were just enjoying the peace and serenity as they listened to the birds.  I get the impression that folks from the larger cities are really able to relax and unwind at Scurlock Farms.  It is a perfect place to simply chill out, relax and de-stress from busy, hectic schedules.

Great photos of birds of Williams County here!

A pair of Scissor-tails at Scurlock Farms was very unhappy with this pair of Vultures

Beautiful Scissor-tail Flycatcher

We have several pair of Scissor-tail Flycatchers that nest around Scurlock Farms each year.  For several years, one pair built a nest on a metal platform on the top of Dan's 55' tower.  Another couple of pair make their nests near Rocky Overlook.  They do not like it when I do landscaping near where they are nesting.

The Scissor-tail Flycatchers are very vocal in their displeasure and luckily have never dive-bombed me the way they did the Vultures!!  These are beautiful, graceful birds, and they eat a lot of mosquitoes and other flying insects.

The Mockingbird is the state bird of Texas and there are many of them on the farm.  One lives in a pyracantha bush at the end of the drive near the farm entrance.  Another nests in one of the trees in my front yard, and during the spring and summer, both are singing constantly!

Brave Mockingbird 5' from me as I worked in a pasture

Dan and I were working picking up the remains of a burned brush pile early in the spring, and this little guy was totally unafraid of us!  He visited us several times.

Mockingbirds are territorial and one way they "mark" their  territory is to constantly sing a repertoire of songs.  The one at the end of the drive will sit on the top of a telephone pole near the entrance, fly a few feet into the air, then back down to the pole, all the while singing!  During the winter he sits in the pyracantha bush and sings away.  The grandchildren love seeing and hearing him in the mornings as they wait on the school bus.  He is a ball of fluff on cold days and is beautiful sitting on the end of a branch among the red berries.

 

Now you see him, now you don't!  Whoops, here he comes!!

https://youtu.be/MS0QsXZjoFo

Last spring we had a problem with coyotes killing our goats.  In this video David is at the goat barn using an infrared night-vision scope looking for coyotes.  He sees a pair of eyes (the smaller "light" just to the left of the target and in the lighter shaded grass) about 200 yards out in the pasture and thinks it is a coyote until it begins to float around in the air, then flies right towards him and lands on an electric line just above him.  It was a Great Horned Owl!  At about 2' tall, very impressive.

Did you know . . .

  • The oldest known wild Great Horned Owl was 28, but one in the San Francisco Zoo was 50 in 2012?
  • Females are larger than the males?
  • Have a wingspan of 3.3' to 4.5'?
  • They live from the Arctic to South America?
  • They are monogamous birds?
  • When they are "hooting" they are claiming their territory?

A pair of Great Horned Owls nests in a tree near our son's home.

One of our granddaughters sleeps upstairs, and many nights she goes downstairs as the Great Horned Owls are "hoot hooting" at each other.  Guests sitting out at dusk and in the evening have loved hearing them call to one another.

Often when I am giving guests a tour late in the evening, we will flush a Great Horned Owl out of the trees in front of Rocky Overlook.  One flew out over the pasture this week right at dusk.  They are majestic as they silently glide down towards the river bottom.

While giving a family a tour at dusk, we flushed a great Horned Owl out of a tree near the drive.  As we came back up the bluff after the tour, the mom spotted him sitting near the top of a tree watching us as we passed below.

Can you can spot him in the photo.  Hint:  He is about 1/3 down from the top of the tree just to the left of center.  Look for his silhouette.

Great Horned Owl Scurlock Farms

Hidden Great Horned Owl at Scurlock Farms

List of Common Birds of Williamson County

* marks birds seen on Scurlock Farms

  1. Bittern, American
  2. Bittern, Least
  3. Blackbird, Brewer’s
  4. Blackbird, Red-Winged *
  5. Blackbird, Yellow-headed
  6. Bluebird, Eastern *
  7. Bluejay *
  8. Bobwhite, Northern *
  9. Bufflehead
  10. Bunting, Indigo *
  11. Bunting, Painted * (male has been seen several years, hundreds of females seen each year)
  12. Canvasback
  13. Caracara, Crested * (Mexican Eagle)
  14. Cardinal, Northern *
  15. Cattle Egret *
  16. Chat, Yellow-breasted
  17. Chickadee, Carolina *
  18. Coot, American *
  19. Cormorant, Double-crested * (this is the bird that my dad called a Water Turkey) *
  20. Cowbird, Brown-headed *
  21. Crane, Sandhill * Seen and heard flying over many times during migration
  22. Creeper, Brown *
  23. Crow, American *
  24. Cuckoo, Yellow-billed *
  25. Dickcissel (looks like a miniature Eastern Meadowlark – sings beautifully and often)*
  26. Dove, Eurasian Collared *
  27. Dove, Inca *
  28. Dove, Mourning *
  29. Dove, Rock (AKA Feral Pigeon) *
  30. Dove, White-winged *
  31. Duck, Ruddy
  32. Duck, Mottled *
  33. Egret, Great *
  34. Egret, Snowy *
  35. Finch, House *
  36. Finch, Purple *
  37. Flicker, Northern *
  38. Flycatcher, Scissor-tailed *
  39. Gadwall *
  40. Gnatcatcher, Blue-gray (we saw 3 of them today) *
  41. Goldfinch, American *
  42. Goldfinch, Lesser *
  43. Goose, Canada *
  44. Goose, Greater White-fronted*
  45. Goose, Snow *
  46. Grackle, Common *
  47. Grackle, Great-tailed *
  48. Grebe, Pied-billed *
  49. Grosbeak, Blue
  50. Gull, Laughing *
  51. Gull, Ring-billed *
  52. Harrier, Northern
  53. Hawk, Common Night *
  54. Hawk, Cooper's *
  55. Hawk, Red-shouldered *
  56. Hawk, Red-tailed *
  57. Hawk, Sharp-shinned *
  58. Hawk, White-tailed *
  59. Heron, Black-crowned Night
  60. Heron, Great Blue *
  61. Heron, Green *
  62. Heron, Little Blue
  63. Hummingbird, Black-chinned *
  64. Hummingbird, Ruby-throated *
  65. Junco, Dark-eyed *
  66. Kestrel, American *
  67. Kildeer *
  68. Kingbird, Eastern *
  69. Kingbird, Western
  70. Kingfisher, Belted *
  71. Kinglet, Ruby-crowned *
  72. Kite, Mississippi
  73. Lark, Horned
  74. Mallard *
  75. Martin, Purple *
  76. Meadowlark, Eastern *
  77. Merganser, Red-breasted
  78. Merlin
  79. Mockingbird, Northern *
  80. Nuthatch, Red-breasted
  81. Nuthatch, White Breasted *
  82. Oriole, Baltimore *
  83. Oriole, Orchard
  84. Owl, Barn *
  85. Owl, Burrowing (Seen near Scurlock Farms)
  86. Owl, Eastern Screech *
  87. Owl, Great Horned *   (nesting near The Studio)
  88. Pelican, American White *
  89. Pigeon *
  90. Phoebe, Eastern *
  91. Pintail, Northern *
  92. Pipit, American (we saw several dozen today) *
  93. Redhead
  94. Roadrunner, Greater *
  95. Robin, American *
  96. Sandpiper, Least *
  97. Sandpiper, Spotted
  98. Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied *
  99. Scaup, Lesser
  100. Shoveler, Northern *
  101. Shrike, Loggerhead (the bird that Daddy called the Butcher Bird) *
  102. Siskin, Pine
  103. Snipe, Wilson's
  104. Sparrow, Chipping *
  105. Sparrow, Grasshopper
  106. Sparrow, Harris’
  107. Sparrow, House *
  108. Sparrow, Lark *
  109. Sparrow, Lincoln’s *
  110. Sparrow, Savannah *
  111. Sparrow, Song *
  112. Sparrow, Swamp
  113. Sparrow, Vesper (very common there in winter) *
  114. Sparrow, White-crowned *
  115. Sparrow, White-throated
  116. Starling, European *
  117. Swallow, Barn *
  118. Swallow, Cliff (These are the swallows that nest on overpasses in mud nests) *
  119. Swift, Chimney *
  120. Tanager, Summer *
  121. Teal, Blue-winged *
  122. Teal, Green-winged
  123. Tern, Forster’s
  124. Thrasher, Brown
  125. Thrush, Hermit
  126. Titmouse, Tufted *
  127. Towhee, Spotted *
  128. Turkey, Wild *
  129. Vulture, Black *
  130. Vulture, Turkey *
  131. Warbler, Black and White *
  132. Warbler, Prothonotary *
  133. Warbler, Yellow-rumped *
  134. Waxwing, Cedar *
  135. Whip-poor-will *
  136. Wigeon, American *
  137. Woodpecker, Downy *
  138. Woodpecker, Harry *
  139. Woodpecker, Ladder Backed *
  140. Woodpecker, Pileated *
  141. Woodpecker, Red-Bellied *
  142. Woodpecker, Red-headed *
  143. Wren, Bewick’s *
  144. Wren, Carolina *
  145. Wren, House*
  146. Yellowlegs, Greater *
  147. Yellowlegs, Lesser
  148. Yellow-throat, Common
Meet The Author
Dan and I were childhood sweethearts and will celebrate our 53 anniversary in May. We moved to the country in 1971 and have loved raising our two boys on the farm. After my parents died, we acquired the 112 acre farm and bought the adjoining 60 acre farm. We now have 172 beautiful acres with a little over one mile of San Gabriel River frontage. We remodeled the three homes on the farm and have offered them as vacation rental homes since 2010. We have hosted guests from every state and 21 countries and have loved meeting many different people. We raise cattle, goats, hay and pecans on the farm and there is always something going on! I love giving tours of the farm to our guests in a Polaris and show them the river, animals, hiking areas and give a little history of the farm. Well behave pets are welcome and the owners and the pets love being able to be off-leash. Wildlife is abundant and guests love seeing deer, bobcat, fox, coyote, raccoon, possom, rabbits, skunks, and armadillo. The farm is a birder's delights with the varied terrains - prairie top pastures, wooded hillside and bluffs, heavily wooded areas, and the river wetlands. Many bird watchers have seen lifers while visiting (a bird they have never seen in person before). Roadrunners are a favorite! Our youngest son was only 6 weeks old when we moved to the farm and he has built a home along the bluff and raised his family here. Our oldest son owns a business in Dallas and when he retires, he will move back to the farm. Guests have loved fishing and tubing the river, looking for fossils, or simply skipping rocks and wading with their little ones. Others have enjoyed hiking the spring-fed creek bed, looking for arrowheads, and hiking about the 172 acres. Others have enjoyed sitting in the outdoor areas of the homes and soaking up the peace and quiet as they enjoy the beauty from the bluffs and watch the birds and wildlife that comes by.
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