12:20 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 | Filed in: Round Rock
Richard Kostecke stood on the side of a Williamson County road for more than two hours peering on and off through a telescope. Then he quietly said, “I’ve got it.”
Right in the middle of his lens was a bird never before seen in the wild in the United States.
The striped sparrow, recognizable by a black mask-like stripe on its head, was perched on a shrub 200 feet away on a sunny February afternoon. It was 700 miles away from its home in the western mountain ranges of Mexico, said Kostecke, the associate director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy in Texas.
The striped sparrow has been seen mixed in with a variety of other small birds feeding on crushed pecans and other food resources, with plenty of water nearby from a Williamson County creek.
It was the second sighting of the bird for Kostecke. He was the first person to see it on Jan. 11 on County Road 428, east of its intersection with County Road 361 near Granger Lake. Since then, more than 100 people from across the country have traveled to the area to glimpse it.