“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard...
Why can't we all be like that bird?”
― Edward Hersey Richards




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I Am a Witness...

I HAVE A NOON SCHEDULED POST FOR SATURDAY [october 31st] ON I'd Rather B Birdin' with much more information and photos. If you're interested, stop by again to see what I witnessed. I took, and will share DOZENS of photos at that time...on my bird photo blog.  Just follow the link.

The sky was a cobalt blue, the wooded area of Pollywog Ponds was dense with a bit of Autumn Colors showing up for the season...



The small clump of sunflowers was found at the entrance to the nature sanctuary.  With last week's flooding storms, and predicted scattered showers this coming weekend, it's been, and will be,  a bit of a mix-up for the bird migration. By that I mean, instead of the usual thermals that are used for flight patterns for the migratory birds found much farther northwest of our city, some of the larger kettles usually found away from us...they have been seen MUCH CLOSER to us by only a few miles instead of having to drive to see it all.  [did that make any sense?  I guess I shoulda stated that the migratory paths for the day or two after the storms were closer to the city in proximity  There, that's better.] Tuesday was a morning out and about for me. And I witnessed thousands of turkey vultures in one area!! It was an experience that truly humbled me, knowing I was just one person on the planet...and all these birds that blackened the sky made me feel quite small. In all the years I have been birding, I have never EVER seen such a scene. I can't describe the feeling that came over me as I stood and watched this.

Just a few miles from where I stood -Pollywog Ponds-, there is a hawkwatch platform. In a park, in Calallen, Texas. There, from August 1st to November 15th each year there is a daily watch and count of migrating hawks and other kettles and raptors recorded migrating to the south. On Tuesday, according to the official count that day: 

    The official tally of migrating Turkey Vultures at Hazel Bazemore County Park on October 27, 2015 was an amazing 83,994!!!! This single day count was enough to eclipse EVERY previous SEASON TOTAL for Turkey Vultures at the Corpus Christi Hawk Watch! The previous TV Season Record was 78,684 in 2013.


What did I see at Pollywog Ponds? My guess-timation would be anywhere from 2500 to 5000 in the few minutes I stood watching. After taking photos of the peppered with vultures sky, I hopped back in the car and headed to Bazemore Park where the hawkwatch platform is. The birdwatchers ON the platform, with their scopes, binoculars and tallying triggered counters were very busy....counting. I'm sure by the end of the day, at sunset when all birds roost, the trained volunteers' necks were very sore.


Just minutes ago, I had seen this phenomenon of nature so I stayed away from the crowds and walked around the park, drove around the park's paved lanes along th river and ponds. Looking for other birds....egrets, herons, ducks, avocets, sparrows, cardinals, scissortail flycatchers, woodpeckers, shrikes, stilts and more were seen by me. For some reason, tho I did take photos, what I saw after the migratory mass of turkey vultures...they didn't impress me much today. Not that I didn't enjoy it...on the contrary....but, I was still on cloud 9 from what I had witnessed earlier. I needed to get home anyway, so after taking a few photos, I left.

Cardinal, House Sparrows, Scissortail Flycatcher, Wigeons, Avocets, Shrike, Egret and Heron.



28 comments :

  1. Wow! I can't imagine what that many Turkey Vultures must have looked like!
    I am anticipating finding out what you witnessed. I will be on my way to Mission, TX for the Texas Butterfly Festival so it will be Saturday evening before I can check in.

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  2. Beautiful captures as always, Anni!! I really love the cardinals!! Hope you have a lovely weekend!! Enjoy!!

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  3. Hello Anni, cool sighting of the TV's. It is awesome to see these huge kettles. Love the Cardinals and the Scissortailed Flycatcher is one of my favorites. It would be a new bird for me! Great post, enjoy your day!

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  4. Not sure what sort of Vulture we have here. There amazing watching then clean up something after it died.
    Coffee is on

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  5. Once, years ago, I was driving past an old farm, on my way to visit my father rather early on a chilly morning and crested a hill...

    Lined up, row upon row, on every fence, tree, and outhouse were turkey vultures with their wings outspread, warming and drying themselves in the sunlight - there'd been a rain shower just before dawn. It was rather an eerie sight, especially with the steam rising from their feathers.

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  6. enjoyed the pictures.

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  7. That count of vultures is unbelievable! Can't wait to see those photos. I love the cardinals, too - wish they could visit at altitude.

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  8. holy smokes, that's a lot of turkey vultures. Love the picture of the cardinal

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  9. Lovely sky shots among other wonderful photos ~

    Wishing you a happy weekend,
    artmusedog and carol

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  10. Now that is a WHOLE LOT of turkey vultures. Who knew there were that many in the world? How do they know that they are not counting the same guys over and over? They must have a system, eh? :-)

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  11. Astounding numbers.That would be an awesome sight.

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  12. Yipes! And I thought three TV in the pine trees here earlier this summer was creepy.
    So let me say I love the red cardinal splashing around.

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  13. Very enjoyable post Anni and I can't get my head around so many birds, what a magical sight that must have been.

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  14. Beautiful photos today! And that is an incredible amount of vultures!

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  15. I always love your photos and admire your passion for birding!!

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  16. I love the birds photos most. They are so clear as if you are standing next to them . Hmmm will try and stop by tomorrow if time permits.

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  17. Hi Anni. So glad you witnessed that awesome and spectacular migration event. I've seen such things happen or seen the aftermath of large falls of passerines but never seen 85,000 raptors - amazing. Such things might happen once in a lifetime. Your enthusiasm for the event was palpable through your words and pictures.

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  18. I love fall skies....sunrises and sunsets!!
    Our sky is cobalt blue today after a very cloudy and rainy Thursday.
    Happy weekend
    Hugs madi and mom

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  19. We saw huge numbers of vultures on our way home from Dallas this past weekend. They appeared to be black vultures. Your photos are just so excellent.

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  20. I love your cardinal shots!

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  21. All I can say is WOW! I never would have believed such huge numbers! And I loved your cardinal and scissortail photos.

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  22. Hello Anni, great birds and sightings. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

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  23. The photos of the cardinal are amazing!

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  24. Amazing to see so many birds Anni.Love the Red Cardinal shots. Have a lovely weekend.

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  25. The first thought that came to mind when I saw your buzzard migration was pepper! Can it be messy when being under all of them? Just wondering.... Great event!

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  26. Lovely birds! I don't know how the counters can possibly keep up with that many birds.

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  27. Anni, so glad to visit your blog again. The photos here are amazing and enjoyed the newer post as well. Have the feeder moved to the front yard, as we put a small shed in the back and so the birds will have to find it again. All ready to find them this winter. Lots of cardinals here.

    If you have a moment, please drop over to the Writing Nook. I have a new post I think you might enjoy.

    Glad you and Bud are well.

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