El Franco Lee Park: Wood Storks and 200 species for the park list

Last evening a quick walk at the El Franco Lee Park wetlands revealed 17 Wood Storks among throngs of herons, egrets, and ibis, all taking advantage to the concentrated food source as the wetland is rapidly drying up. Large gar are gathered near the water inflow from Clear Creek and Broad-banded Watersnakes are struggling through the thickening mud, probably becoming easy meals for the wading birds.

Wood Storks, El Franco Lee Park Photo Stephan Lorenz

I returned this morning, mainly to take a closer look at dozens of shorebirds seen in the distance last night and I wasn’t disappointed. Near the pavilion the Painted Bunting is still on territory and I came across two Orchard Orioles, a young and adult male. The Wood Storks had left to my surprise, but the shorebirds remained. I walked across the mud to get a good vantage point and after broiling in the heat for nearly two hours managed to round out the shorebird list for the park with a few additions, nothing too unusual, but still good numbers for the park. Both Yellowlegs were present in good numbers, with slightly more Lesser than Greater. A dozen Solitary Sandpipers were mixed in. Among the peeps, at least two Western Sandpipers (new for the park) and several Semipalmated Sandpipers (new for the park) and plenty of Least Sandpipers. The best birds were a single Stilt Sandpiper, still nearly in breeding plumage, and a Short-billed Dowitcher, both species new for the park list. The park list now stands at over 200 species, I will post an updated list soon.

distant photo of Stilt Sandpiper with Lesser Yellowlegs at El Franco Lee Park Photo Stephan Lorenz

Other birds of interest included a drake Green-winged Teal, summering or migrants? and confirmation of successful breeding of Tree Swallows at the park this year. I watched an adult feed a recently fledged bird. Otherwise just the usual, but it looks like the wetland is shrinking fast. I even noticed a difference from last night to today.

fledged Tree Swallow at El Franco Lee Park, Photo Stephan Lorenz

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