It was an early morning walk.
The sun was just starting to rise.
There is a large bare tree sticking up in the middle of a church parking lot.
Unusual place for a tree to be.
Even more unusual that it was filled with large black birds with white polk-a-dots.
In my 45 years of life, I have never seen a European Starling in Mineral Wells. Strange looking birds with a robust shape. According to an online friend, these Starlings and their polk-a-dots were out of season. This was their winter coat. They are shimmery black with hues of blue in the summer. I also discovered that these birds are great songsters and can mimic. I grabbed a few photos and went back to the house. Later in the day I returned but the birds were gone without a trace. For the last few days, I have returned and searched the area but to no avail. Is this the last time these birds will visit the neighborhood? I hope not. Another personal friend said that these birds were a “problem” in Stephenville, Texas. If I want more photos, I will be travelling 40 minutes south of my current location.
Once upon a time, there was a guy that really, really wanted to locate a Kite. Not the kind you fly. During his journey he stumbled upon a black bird with a really deep red chin and throat. This bird had light rufous underpants and a deeply forked tail. The guy did not have a clue as to what he was looking at. Later, he discovered it was a Barn Swallow. More research. This bird eats only insects and bathes in flight by skimming bodies of water. Cool, he thinks. So, he researches further.
Notes on Barn Swallows: They are only in Texas for the summer. They group up and migrate south in large flocks. They are approximately 6-7 inches tall. The white spots on their tail feathers form a distinctive white bar in flight. They do not glide, always flapping to stay in flight. Very agile fliers. They are one of seven species of Swallows in Texas. Don’t slam on the brakes to get a photo without looking in rear-view mirror first. Make apologies. Take single photo before the bird flies off and then return home disgusted. I needed a better photo for identification purposes. A site friend was able to immediately inform me that it was indeed a Barn Swallow.
I did return to the area just before dark. The bird was back and he brought a friend. A Red-Bellied Woodpecker. The bird was on the wire while the Pecker was on a Pole. The low-light photos barely show the Swallow. The Pecker shots were silhouette only. The location is the hill overlooking my neighborhood (North West Mineral Wells, Texas); photo included. It is a heavily wooded area with several large structures. Perfect for a Swallow. Lots of insects in the flora and buildings for them to setup broods. This neighborhood has a plethora of birds. They have divided up by blocks. One for Grackles, two for American Robins, one for Blue Jays (always hiding), and now I find the Barn Swallow just on the edge of their domain overlooking this “valley” and my neighborhood. Hopefully they return tomorrow.