Sunday, March 8, 2015

South Padre Island, 3/8/15

With rainy weather ahead in the forecast, Honey and I ran out to South Padre Island so see if any early migrants were around.  There was a Hermit Thrush at the Valley Land Fund's Sheepshead lot that had thus far avoided confrontation with this Cooper's Hawk.

We then ran up to the Convention Center only to find it commandeered by spring breakers, so we went to the SPI Birding Center instead.  There was nothing great around but despite the cloudy conditions we did get some good photos.  You don't usually see Red-breasted Mergansers up on shore so I think this female may have an injury.

My first Least Bittern of the year only gave me a quick shot.

There were several Common Gallinules but we could not find the reported Purple Gallinule.

A couple of male Red-winged Blackbirds were trying to out-display one another.

Little Blue Heron was doing some fishing.

Here's a Tricolored Heron.

The boardwalks are a good place to observe Soras.

The color of the speculum may be helpful to identification of ducks in the hand, but be careful when using it in the field.  Just by my walking a few feet, the speculum of this male Mottled Duck changed dramatically.

A return to the Sheepshead lot found that the Cooper's Hawk had been busy.  My guess is the victim is a Eurasan Collared-Dove as there were several around.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

White-throated Thrush at Estero, 2/18/15

A White-throated Thrush was found about ten days ago at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslco.  I missed seeing it the first day and then left the next for NE Texas.  The thrush was seen the next day but then disappeared till I got a brief glimpse of it this past Satuday.  Meanwhile yesterday someone reported seeing an all black thrush with a yellow bill and yellow eye ring.  Could this have been the first US record of the Mexican Black Thrush?  I thought it was worth a search.  I put in four hours but nary a trace.  However I did get to see the White-throated Thrush.  This is the fifth I've seen in the RGV.

The White-throated Thrush has been feeding lately in a large fruiting Banyan (Ficus religiosa).  Several Clay-colored Thrushes were also taking advantage of the small figs.

It's not every day one can see three Turdus species in the same location.  Here's an American Robin.

Identification of soaring hawks has become more complicated this winter by the presence of Broad-winged Hawks across the Valley.  This one has been hanging out at Estero.

This Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet has been a lifer for many visitors to the park.

A Black Thrush in the RGV would be really neat.  Let's hope there is one and that someone can photograph it.  Namely me!