Monday, May 9, 2011

Bobolink at South Padre Island, 5/5/11

Last spring I failed miserably at chasing good birds on South Padre Island. I missed 'em all. But this last week has been different with the Black-vented Oriole and Lazuli Bunting. And now I can add another of my nemesis species to my Texas and Cameron County lists....Bobolink! They are usually one day wonders out on the island, but with conscientious birders putting out a little seed at the Valley Land Fund lot on Sheepshead, this one stayed for one more day so I could see it. Not a great shot but I'm still quite happy to have Bobolink on my Texas list.

At the Convention Center this late scruffy Prothonotary Warbler had his face covered with the sticky maroon pollen that this species occasionally picks up in Central America. I have no idea what kind of plant it comes from.

I learned a new field mark for the Yellow-headed Blackbird. I guess that's a better name than 'Yellow-sphinctered Blackbird".

Though primarily insectivorous, lots of warblers will eat an occasional berry. This Bay-breasted has a fiddlewood berry. I frequently see Yellow-breasted Chats feeding on pigeon berries in my yard. And of course berry-eating is what allows Yellow-rumped Warblers to winter so far north.

Usually we ignore female Painted Buntings in favor of their more birghtly colored mates. This female in the sun is a good looking bird in its own right.

Several Blackpoll Warblers have been seen on the Island this spring.

Willacy County, 5/4/11

With the north winds continuing for another day, I figured heading up to Willacy County to look for migrants and work on the county list might be a good idea. Turned out great as I added eight new species to my Willacy County list (now at 257) and several new for the eBird county list. This Veery was new for the county.

Scarlet Tanager was also new for the county.

Lots of Chesnut-sided Warblers about.

Not new for the county, this Yellow Warbler looks almost bright enough to be the Caribbean race.

This Wild Turkey tried to attract my attention away from migrant passerines.

Finished the day with 109 species!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 20
Northern Shoveler 8
Lesser Scaup 4
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Wild Turkey 2
Brown Pelican 5
Great Blue Heron 5
Snowy Egret 8
Tricolored Heron 1
Reddish Egret 1
Cattle Egret 20
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1
White Ibis 30
Black Vulture 3
Turkey Vulture 10
Harris's Hawk 1
Swainson's Hawk 3
Crested Caracara 3
Semipalmated Plover 1
Killdeer 1
Black-necked Stilt 6
Spotted Sandpiper 4
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ruddy Turnstone 8
Sanderling 3
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3
Least Sandpiper 3
White-rumped Sandpiper 2
Dunlin 5
Stilt Sandpiper 5
Wilson's Phalarope 150
Laughing Gull 50
Franklin's Gull 150
Least Tern 8
Gull-billed Tern 15
Caspian Tern 1
Royal Tern 1
Rock Pigeon 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove 10
White-winged Dove 1
Mourning Dove 10
Common Ground-Dove 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Barn Owl 1
Common Nighthawk 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 15
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 10
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 6
Brown-crested Flycatcher 10
Great Kiskadee 1
Couch's Kingbird 2
Eastern Kingbird 2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 5
Loggerhead Shrike 3
White-eyed Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Green Jay 3
Horned Lark 15
Purple Martin 1
Bank Swallow 20
Barn Swallow 100
Cliff Swallow 2
Black-crested Titmouse 2
Verdin 1
Cactus Wren 2
Bewick's Wren 2
Veery 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 3
Gray Catbird 6
Northern Mockingbird 5
Long-billed Thrasher 3
European Starling 5
Tennessee Warbler 3
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 12
Chestnut-sided Warbler 6
Magnolia Warbler 13
Black-throated Green Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 2
American Redstart 10
Ovenbird 4
Northern Waterthrush 3
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 8
Hooded Warbler 1
Olive Sparrow 2
Lark Sparrow 20
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Scarlet Tanager 2
Northern Cardinal 5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Blue Grosbeak 1
Indigo Bunting 5
Painted Bunting 2
Dickcissel 4
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Eastern Meadowlark 5
Great-tailed Grackle 50
Bronzed Cowbird 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 20
Orchard Oriole 3
Hooded Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 2
Lesser Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 10

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 5/3/11

A nice cold front blew in yesterday and grounded some migrants causing a pretty good birding day around Weslaco for the first time this spring. I spent the morning at Frontera Audubon Thicket and ran up a list of 68 species including 14 warblers. I'm always happy to see a Blackburnian Warbler but wish they would be more photogenic.

Huck found this Philadelphia Vireo last week and it's still around. I missed it for the county last year.

Another bird I missed last year in Hidalgo County was Scarlet Tanager. I saw this one as I was leaving the Thicket.

After lunch and a nap I decided I needed to check ou the Valley Nature Center as Raul had seen a bunch of warblers there during the morning. After entering, a nice lady told me she had just seen a Golden-winged Warbler and I found it easily. This is another species I don't see every year.

Yesterday I saw my first Kentucky Warbler for the year and I got another today at VNC.

Canada Warblers always seem to be in the shade making for difficult photography.

So an hour and a half at the VNC turned up eleven warbler species making for 16 on the day. Not too bad. Here's my list for Frontera.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 20
Plain Chachalaca 12
Snowy Egret 1
Green Heron 1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Gray Hawk 1
Laughing Gull 3
White-winged Dove 12
Inca Dove 1
White-tipped Dove 6
Green Parakeet 2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Chuck-will's-widow 1
Chimney Swift 10
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 12
Green Kingfisher 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 6
Acadian Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 2
Empidonax sp. 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
Brown-crested Flycatcher 5
Great Kiskadee 4
Couch's Kingbird 1
Eastern Kingbird 2
White-eyed Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 3
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Bank Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 1
Black-crested Titmouse 4
Carolina Wren 2
Swainson's Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 8
Northern Mockingbird 4
Long-billed Thrasher 3
European Starling 1
Tennessee Warbler 2
Yellow Warbler 5
Chestnut-sided Warbler 5
Magnolia Warbler 5
Black-throated Green Warbler 3
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 2
American Redstart 8
Ovenbird 2
Northern Waterthrush 1
Mourning Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 4
Canada Warbler 3
Yellow-breasted Chat 2
Olive Sparrow 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5
Indigo Bunting 1
Painted Bunting 4
Great-tailed Grackle 10
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Orchard Oriole 5
Altamira Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 6
Lesser Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 1

Sunday, May 1, 2011

South Padre Island, 5/1/1

After laying around all day yesterday (I've been in a funk since the Spurs got knocked out of the playoffs!), I decided to get off my keester and head out to South Padre Island to see if any of the good stuff that has been seen lately might still be around. Well the day turned out much batter than I deserved. Despite the strong south winds and seemingly good migration conditions, most of the stuff was still out there. For the second consecutive year a Black-vented Oriole has been found on the Island. I missed last year's bird so I was happy to pick this one up for a new Cameron County bird. Of course most people are not so excited about this bird after the long staying one we had last winter at Bentsen.

Another bird seen the past week was Lazuli Bunting. This has been a nemesis bird in Texas for me, so I'm happy this one decided to stay another day. Texas bird #536 and Cameron County bird #354.

A couple of knock-out Cape Mays have been present for more than a week. We only get a few each spring.

Another hard to find bird in the RGV is Bay-breasted Warbler. Here's a female.

Ash-throated Flycather is very unusual on SPI.

The "spark bird" that got me started birding about 35 years ago.

Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Reddish Egret 1
Cattle Egret 6
Black-bellied Plover 5
Snowy Plover 1
Piping Plover 1
Black-necked Stilt 2
Willet X
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Ruddy Turnstone 8
Sanderling X
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Dunlin 8
Short-billed Dowitcher 5
Laughing Gull X
Least Tern 1
Black Tern X
Common Tern X
Royal Tern X
Sandwich Tern X
Black Skimmer X
Eurasian Collared-Dove 10
Inca Dove 7
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 5
Olive-sided Flycatcher 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Willow Flycatcher 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 2
Western Kingbird 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
Barn Swallow 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush 2
Swainson's Thrush 2
Gray Catbird 3
Northern Mockingbird 3
Long-billed Thrasher 1
Tennessee Warbler 5
Nashville Warbler 1
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Magnolia Warbler 2
Cape May Warbler 2
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 2
Black-and-white Warbler 1
American Redstart 2
Northern Waterthrush 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
Wilson's Warbler 2
Yellow-breasted Chat 1
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Lark Sparrow 2
Lincoln's Sparrow 2
Summer Tanager 2
Scarlet Tanager 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3
Lazuli Bunting 1
Indigo Bunting 15
Painted Bunting 3
Dickcissel 7
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Brown-headed Cowbird 6
Black-vented Oriole 1
Orchard Oriole 6
Baltimore Oriole 10