Monday, August 26, 2019

Prairie Warbler at Progreso Lakes, 8/15/19

I'm a little behind on the blog.  We've been having a lot of hot, windy, dry weather but fall migration is underway so there has been some stuff to see.  My little bird bath with its solar powered pump has been popular.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch it for a few minutes in the afternoon heat and was rewarded with a young Prairie Warbler.  I've only seen five of these in Hidalgo County over the past 25 years so getting one for these yard list was really unexpected.  Yard bird #210.

Yesterday the bath was busy.  Both Hooded and Orchard Orioles came in to cool off.

As did several Yellow Warblers.

This Trail's type flycatcher was frustrating.  It feeding around our brush patch and was making a "fwit" call.  I was sure it was a Willow Flycatcher which is hard to see down here.  We just don't get many calling birds.  But the "fwit" didn't seem quite right to me.  It was a little too sweet.  And then the empid popped up and again and I heard a "pep" while watching the bird's mouth move.  So it was was the expected Alder Flycatcher.

So who was making the sweet "fwit" call?  How about this young Mourning Warbler.  It's been skulking and calling a lot the past three days. 

Doves have been enjoying the bath.  Here's White-winged, Mourning and an Inca who seems to be proud of his colorful wings.

While Honey and I ate breakfast yesterday, I counted an all time high six Clay-colored Thrushes in our front yard.  Seemed to be mostly young birds searching for food.

This morning I got a poor shot of a young Gray Hawk.  Hopefully it will hang around the neighborhood.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Eastern Screech-Owl preys on Four-lined Skink, 7/6/19

As an active naturalist living out in the country I get to see some pretty cool stuff.  This afternoon I was making an afternoon check of butterflies in our Progreso Lakes yard when I noticed a commotion in our big ash tree.  A Golden-fronted Woodpecker had just flushed an Eastern Screech-Owl into view.  I quickly raised my camera as all of my screech-owl shots in our yard are of partially obscurred roosting birds and was surprised to see it with prey.  Closer inspection revealed the prey item to be an adult Four-lined Skink.

Wow.  I have never seen anything like this before.  I moved around the tree to get shots aft different angles.

Not wanting to pressure the owl, I moved to our back porch about fifteen yards away.  After a few minute the Eastern Screech-Owl began to call with the distinct purring trill that is characteristic of our Rio Grande Valley subspecies, mccallii.  Then it flew with the skink across the tree to a leafy area where I lost sight of it.  Then I spotted a second owl.

I left the porch to get a better view and fortunately found both owls together.    Reading the "All About Birds" account I see they eat about anything they can get in their mouth.  I'm guessing this is a pair rather than an adult with a youngster.

So a dull day with not much going on turned out pretty exciting.