Monday, September 5, 2011

Tailed Cecropian at NABA, 9/2/11

This past Thursday night I checked out the Texas Butterfly listserve to see if anything interesting had been seen locally. There was a post from Barry Nall up at Falcon Heights saying he had found a Tailed Cecropian in his yard that afternoon. This was the third U.S. record for this neotropical species. I thought about going up there on Friday morning but just didn't feel like making the long drive for a bug that might not even be there so I just headed over to the NABA Butterfly Center to see what was about.

Well the morning was pretty slow and David and Jan Dauphin were on their way out when I find this big leafwing-looking butterfly sitting in the shade on a baited post. The pattern on the underwing looked strangely familiar. Then I see these little spikes on the hindwing. Holy moly, it's the Tailed Cecropian! I had just been looking at pics of it the night before. I called to David and Jan as they were getting in their car and they came a running. It hung aroud for a half hour or so and we got some great photos of this first park record. My best bug find ever!

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 9/4-5/11

With a cool front coming from the north, I checked out Fronter Audubon Thicket in Welasco yesterday morning and again this afternoon to see if I could find any county year birds. Nothing new for the year list but a Bell's Vireo was pretty good along with 13 species of warblers. I had seven warbler species at the water feature this afternoon. Here's a few pics starting with a male Mourning Warbler.

Female MacGillivray's Warbler.

Northern Waterthrush

Yellow Warbler is usually the most abundant in early fall.

Yellow-brested Chat is also very common in fall but many birders miss these skulkers.

Yesterday's List

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 25
Plain Chachalaca 15
Great Egret 2
Green Heron 1
Mississippi Kite 1
Gray Hawk 1
Swainson's Hawk 1
Killdeer 1
Upland Sandpiper 3
White-winged Dove 650
Mourning Dove 1
Inca Dove 3
White-tipped Dove 8
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Common Pauraque 1
Chuck-will's-widow 1
Chimney Swift 5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 12
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Alder Flycatcher 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 4
Couch's Kingbird 2
White-eyed Vireo 3
Bell's Vireo 1 photographed
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Green Jay 1
Barn Swallow 2
Carolina Wren 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Clay-colored Thrush 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
Long-billed Thrasher 2
European Starling 7
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 5
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 2
Yellow Warbler 3
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 2
Wilson's Warbler 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 5
Olive Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 3
Blue Grosbeak 1
Great-tailed Grackle 2
Bronzed Cowbird 2
Lesser Goldfinch 5

Today's list.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1
Plain Chachalaca 10
Gray Hawk 1
White-winged Dove 20
Mourning Dove 1
Inca Dove 2
White-tipped Dove 3
Chuck-will's-widow 2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 10
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1
Alder Flycatcher 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 4
Couch's Kingbird 1
White-eyed Vireo 2
Green Jay 1
Black-crested Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Clay-colored Thrush 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 4
Nashville Warbler 1
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 7
American Redstart 1
Northern Parula 2
Yellow Warbler 8
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 2
Wilson's Warbler 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 6
Northern Cardinal 3
Great-tailed Grackle 1
Lesser Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow 4

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Boca Chica, 8/31/11

After J. D. Cortez told me about tons of birds on the flats at Boca Chica Unit of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR, I decided to drive down there and check it out. On the way I had a singing Botteri's Sparrow on Hwy 4 across from the Palmito Ranch. The turnoff for the Boca Chica Unit is about four miles before the beach with the road just being a sandy track that follows the Rio Grande.

Some large Black Mangroves along the river exceeded ten feet in height and held some buckeye butterflies that I think may be Mangrove Buckeye.

An unexpected find was six Seaside Sparrows. This is about as far south as they nest. I was hoping one would fly 50 yards across the river so I could add it to my Mexico list.

Another surprise was a Kentucky Warbler skulking in the mangroves.

The mudflats back to the north were covered with thousands of egrets and shorebirds. I scoped over them for a while but found nothing unusual.

After a couple of hours along the river I drove over to the beach and checked out the river mouth. Plenty of terns about including this Common.

This Keeled Earless Lizard was quite camouflaged against the sand.

Every time I get down here I like to check on the two Red Mangroves that grow along a little tidal creek. Though they had suffered a bit of frost damage last winter they were doing well and even producing fruit.

Living on the river on the other side.