Friday, July 4, 2014

Youngsters at Yturria Brush, 7/4/14

This 4th of July I decided to head over to the Yturria Brush tract of the Lower Rio Grande NWR to check out the butterflies. Of course I checked out the birds too. There were not many things singing but the summer crop of young birds were very much in evidence. Pishing is not always effective on adults but it gets young birds really excited. Here's a young Verdin.
Some might misID this young Black-throated Sparrow.
This teenage Black-crested Titmouse has a lot to learn about grooming.
Is this a thrasher? Nope, it's just a young Northern Mockingbird.
I hope this awkward young cardinal grows up to match his bill.
I'm trying to turn this young bunting into a Varied, but I think it's just a Painted.
So nothing too exciting but it was a fun day in the desert.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Brown Booby at Port Isabel, 6/30/13

Two days ago Scarlet Colley found a Brown Booby in the ship channel near Port Isabel while conducting one of her dolphin trips. I found out about it yesterday and this morning I was in the boat with Scarlet, local birder Madeleine Sandefur, Rozzie the Dolphin Dog and Penelope the Pot-bellied Pig. Yes we were quite an ethnically diverse group. It wasn't long before we approached marker #29 and there was the Brown Booby in the exact same place where Scarlet had found one 13 years ago.
On closer inspection it appears our booby is a bit beat up. I hope it survives. Scarlet said the earlier booby made a living off of the local shrimp boats.
Scarlet then gave us a little tour of the area. We heard the "Mangrove" Yellow Warbler singing but couldn't pick it up in the mangroves. Then we flushed an Osprey. These guys were pretty rare when I made my first trip to the Valley 35 years ago. Now even a few spend the summer.
We checked out a shrimp boat but found only a bunch of Laughing Gulls and a couple of Brown Pelicans.
A spoil island created by dredging the channel serves as a popular breeding ground. Scarlet informed us the American Oystercatchers had raised a couple of youngin's. We saw only the adults. Here's one.
After saying "Bye" to the group (pig included) I drove across the Valley to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse to look for Troy and Robin's Long-tailed Aguna (butterfly). I couldn't find it and not much else was flying in the heat. But I did get a good look at one of the young Black Phoebes. I'm saying it's young because of the brown feather edgings.