Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Great Day at South Padre Island, 11/19/17

A good cold front blew in last night and deep down I knew I should be out at South Padre Island looking for rare birds.  But I got up a little late and decided it might be good to stay in our yard and hope for something good.  Well, I spent an enjoyable morning with lots of raptors and TV's and a Yellow-throated Warbler but nothing outstanding.  Then at 11:30 I discovered I had missed a text saying Brad McKinney had just found a Dark-eyed Junco at the Convention Center at South Padre Island.  Dang!  I should have found that bird.  And being that I needed that one for my Cameron County list, I raced right out there.  And when I arrived, there was the group looking at it in the water feature.  Dark-eyed Junco was my 399th Cameron County bird.



Also present at the same time was this Pine Siskin, only my second for the county.



And down below the siskin, scratching around in the dirt for seeds was this young White-throated Sparrow.  I see one of these almost annually at the Convention Center.


One more good out of range bird was this Brown Thrasher that has been around for a few weeks.


So my intuition was right and I should have gone to the Island.  And another cold front is approaching so we'll see if I learned anything by this.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Falcon State Park Butterfly Garden, 9/24/17

Yesterday I was going to go birding out on South Padre Island.  But as I left our road to Progreso Lakes and turned east on the Military Highway I decided I did not want to go east with the sun in my eyes.  So I headed west with the idea of checking out butterflies at Yturria Brush west of La Joya.  But it was extremely dry and fried after a very hot summer.  So I got back in the car and kept going west to Falcon State Park.  It was really dry out there too but the butterfly garden was being watered and full of blooms and butterflies.  And this brought in birds.

I saw this greenish thing fly low into a bush and I figured it would be an Mourning warbler.  Boy was I wrong!  It was a friendly Yellow-bellied Flycatcher who was hunting caterpillars.  I'm not sure how common they are this far west.





Also allowing close approach was this White-eyed Vireo who had it's own battle with a leaf-footed bug.




My last visit to Falcon was back in June and at the time the butterfly garden looked like it had not been watered in months.  I mentioned this at their office at the time and yesterday was glad to see the problem had been fixed.  They also had a couple of hummingbird feeders up that were getting a lot of business.  Though I've visited Starr County dozens of times this was my first county Black-chinned Hummingbird.



This Black-throated Green Warbler was also a county first for me.  During migration I tend to stay in Cameron and Hidalgo County.


A skulking Yellow-breasted Chat refused a good photo per usual.


A couple of quail zipped around the corner and gave me hope for a Scaled Quail.  But they proved to be the more expected Northern Bobwhite.


Inca and Common Ground-Doves flushed thoughout the morning.


Resident Northern Cardinal and Pyrrhuloxia are regular year around in the butterfly garden.


As are Olive Sparrows.


But butterflies were my focus.  Nothing too rare but there was plenty with my favorite being the big Brazilian Skippers with their super long proboscis.



The weather forecasters are waffling about a cold front coming down later in the week.  It's time for a major onslaught of birds!