Ted Drozdowski's trip report for the field trip he led around Ellis County of Sunday, February 12, 2017 follows below:

We had nine participants on the field trip to Eastern Ellis County. It was a pleasant day early on, but with strong winds forecasted by 10am. Thankfully those high winds held off until 11:30.

We met at Bluebonnet Park in Ennis and casually found nothing special but had a lot of birds flying over as we gathered together to carpool. On our way to Observation Overlook at Lake Bardwell, we stopped briefly for a pair of Hooded Mergansers. At Lake Bardwell, the best bird of the day was one of the first birds of the day. Brent Franklin alerted me to a LeConte’s Sparrow and after flushing is once it perched up at sat for everybody to get nice long looks at a close distance. This bird stayed up for quite some time. Also here an adult Bald Eagle was briefly seen in flight but it went behind the trees before everyone got a look. We also got decent looks at a perched Brown Thrasher. We made a stop at the Buffalo Wetlands below the Bardwell Dam to pick through sparrows but everything here was skittish and not showing well. Even the Common Yellowthroats were skulking more than usual. We then drove to the eastern border of Ellis County on FM 85. Every winter, thousands of geese roost in this area: Snow, Ross’s and some Greater White-fronteds. This year there has been only a couple hundred Snows and Ross’s around and they were far away in a field when we arrived. We also missed Crested Caracara here, but we did have good looks at a 2nd or 3rd year Bald Eagle that was just massive as it took a few quick flights along the far shoreline. Next we drove up Oil Field Road which has been birdy this winter. We found a few brush piles and picked through the sparrows, low in numbers but eight species wasn’t bad. Birds were just not very cooperative for the remainder of the trip, although most got looks at Field and Harris’s Sparrows. Savannah’s were ubiquitous at several locations. Our last stop was the woods along the east-west stretch of Cut-off Road. The wind was steadily picking up but this area is largely sheltered from north and south winds. We did not relocated the female Purple Finch that Brent Franklin and I had the day before. Barred Owl was heard in the distance and a couple of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers showed better than any other birds here. There were birds around, but just not showing well. A quick drive through the sod farm turned up no Horned Larks and the longspur drought in this spot is now four years old. We headed back to Bluebonnet for a pleasant lunch and participants departed. It was a tough day getting good looks, but it was a fun day to be out. And that perched LeConte’s was a real treat. The full species list (67 in all) follows below. --Ted Drozdowski

1. Snow Goose
2. Canada Goose
3. Gadwall
4. American Wigeon
5. Mallard
6. Northern Shoveler
7. Green-winged Teal
8. Bufflehead
9. Hooded Merganser
10. Ruddy Duck
11. Double-crested Cormorant
12. Great Blue Heron
13. Great Egret
14. Black Vulture
15. Turkey Vulture
16. Northern Harrier
17. Bald Eagle
18. Red-shouldered Hawk
19. Red-tailed Hawk
20. American Coot
21. Killdeer
22. Least Sandpiper
23. Greater Yellowlegs
24. Ring-billed Gull
25. Rock Pigeon
26. White-winged Dove
27. Mourning Dove
28. Barred Owl
29. Red-bellied Woodpecker
30. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
31. Downy Woodpecker
32. Northern Flicker
33. American Kestrel
34. Eastern Phoebe
35. Loggerhead Shrike
36. Bluejay
37. American Crow
38. Carolina Chickadee
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Carolina Wren
41. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
42. Eastern Bluebird
43. American Robin
44. Brown Thrasher
45. Northern Mockingbird
46. European Starling
47. American Pipit
48. Cedar Waxwing
49. Common Yellowthroat
50. Yellow-rumped Warbler
51. Le Conte's Sparrow
52. Field Sparrow
53. White-crowned Sparrow
54. Harris's Sparrow
55. White-throated Sparrow
56. Savannah Sparrow
57. Song Sparrow
58. Lincoln's Sparrow
59. Swamp Sparrow
60. Northern Cardinal
61. Red-winged Blackbird
62. Western/Eastern Meadowlark
63. Brewer’s Blackbird
64. Common Grackle
65. Great-tailed Grackle
66. House Finch
67. American Goldfinch