San Antonio Ruddy Ground Dove + Houston Greater Pewee = One long day

The day started too early with a 3:30 am wake-up call and a rush to Adam’s house from which we left quickly for San Antonio. Due to efficient use of the gas pedal by our skilled driver we arrived early with the sun still well below the horizon. Janet, Adam and I searched diligently for the dove as soon as there was enough light to see, we wandered along the paved roads between spots were the bird had been seen the previous day. Eventually the lack of breakfast and several other birders coming up empty-handed got the better of us and we planned to get breakfast. One last check of the main location revealed a tight cluster of birders, usually a good sign and after a quick enquiry we learned that the bird had indeed been spotted in the road just a few minutes earlier. The same spot we had double checked earlier that morning. The bird had flown from sight, but was flushed by two folks walking down the gravel trail and after some patient waiting strolled across some open patches and fed beneath dense ragweed at times fully visible for several minutes. Elated we grabbed our postponed breakfast and started the drive back to Houston.
We arrived at Bear Creek Park in the early afternoon and joined a small troop of birders that had been searching unsuccessfully since mid-morning. Around three we headed for a late lunch and Janet and I returned to the park before five. We combed the picnic area and its edges, but returned to the promising looking clearing. After being joined by a third birder we were conversing quietly when I happened to look up and saw the bird perched prominently on a tall snag almost right overhead. We had great scope views, heard it vocalize and I took many poor pictures. Fortunately Adam and others were able to catch up with it just before sunrise when we finally called it quit after a long day. Almost forgot also added a single Red-breasted Nuthatch to the county list.

Record shot of Greater Pewee Harris Co. Photo Stephan Lorenz

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