Thursday, May 7, 2015

Estero Shorebirds, 5/7/15

This morning I ran over to Estero Llano Grande State Park to checkout shorebirds.  When water levels are low in the spring it's a great place to compare plumages get some photos.  I ran into Mary Beth Stowe and some of her San Diego friends at Dowitcher pond.  We were soon onto a White-rumped Sandpiper.  Notice the fine streaking on the breast and sides and of course the white rump.  Mary Beth also pointed out a field mark I was unaware of, a pale base on the mandible.

There were quite a few Least Sandpipers around,  The yellow legs and long drooping bill give them away. This one is redder than the field guides show.  The second is a little less red.  They are brown during the winter.

The black legs and short, thicker bill make this a Semipalmated Sandpiper.  You can also make out the partial webbing between the toes.

The Stilt Sandpipers are easy to ID in the spring.

The white feather edgings on the tertials and back make this a Long-billed Dowitcher.  The Short-billed Dowitcher has gold feather edgings in spring.

I think this is a first spring female Wilson's Phalarope molting into breeding plumage.

That was fun.  I need to take advantage of these low water levels in the coming days.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 4/25/15

I ran into Mary Gustafson over at Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco and we walked the trails and did pretty good.  Between the feeding stations we heard a "coo-coo-coo" and I suggested Black-billed Cuckoo. Mary spied it in the top on a tree but I missed it.  Luckily I found it again and got a photo by the visitor's center.  I probably average about one Black-billed Cuckoo every three years.

Earlier in the morning we heard a bubbly song which I thought was a House Wren but Mary said was a Mourning Warbler.  Ugh!  My spring warbler songs need a lot of work.  It was my first for the year.

When I visit South Padre Island, I start thinking I'm a pretty good bird photographer because the birds are so easy to approach.  But the brushy confines of Frontera jolt me back into reality.  Here's a Chestnut-sided Warbler.

And a Black-throated Green Warbler.

Any day you get a Black-billed Cuckoo is a very good day!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck2
Plain Chachalaca  8
Green Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  2
Mississippi Kite 7
Inca Dove  2
White-tipped Dove  6
White-winged Dove  20
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Chuck-will's-widow  3
Chimney Swift  5
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird  1
Green Kingfisher  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Green Parakeet  2
Least Flycatcher  3
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Brown-crested Flycatcher  2
Great Kiskadee  1
Couch's Kingbird 1
White-eyed Vireo  3
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  2
Swainson's Thrush  1
Long-billed Thrasher 3
Northern Mockingbird  1
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Tennessee Warbler 2
Nashville Warbler  10
Mourning Warbler  1
Hooded Warbler  1
Northern Parula  1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler  4
Yellow-breasted Chat  8
Olive Sparrow 3
Clay-colored Sparrow  1
Summer Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Bunting  7
Great-tailed Grackle  X
Orchard Oriole  1
Baltimore Oriole 2
Lesser Goldfinch  1
House Sparrow  2