Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Delta Lake, 1/12/16

After dropping Honey off at work yesterday, I decided to go up north and check out the ponds.    A stop at the Sugar House pond provided very little as the water was high.  So I head north up 1425 and spotted some cormorants over the irrigation canal that crosses the road.  Here's a nice comparison of Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants.

I turned east on 491 and was driving through plowed fields when I thought there should be Sprague's Pipits in the grassy margins along the road.  Sure enough I spotted one at the intersection of FM 491 and FM 1422.

I continued on to Delta Lake and was glad to see the water was still down with a good mudflat.

Examining the hundreds of shorebirds, gulls and terns on the flats I was happy to find three Bonaparte's Gulls.  Down here they are hard to find away from the coast.

All though there were plenty of birds, I could not find anything else unusual so I headed on into the county park.  I wanted to find a Yellow Warbler for my year list.  I had one on Dec. 30 but it seems the last cold front must have sent them south.  This seems to happen every winter.  Yellow Warblers stay for the Christmas Bird Count and then disappear.  I had to settle for Pine and Yellow-throated Warblers among the many Orange-crowns and Myrtles that responded to my pygmy-owl tooting and pishing.

This sharp Blue-headed Vireo also came in close.

A spot of color on a cloudy day, Couch's Kingbird and Vermillion Flycatcher.  It's great living in the least in the winter.

Solitary Sandpiper is pretty uncommon in winter in the RGV but there's always one at Delta Lake when there's suitable habitat.

I flushed a Wilson's Snipe along the ditch.

Mary Gustafson called me to say someone had found a leucistic Killdeer up the road by the CR 2500 pond. What a little beauty.  It would fit right in along the beach or on one of the salt flats.  But natural selection might not favor it on the darker substrate.

There's a better chance to pass on your genes when you're a normally colored Killdeer like this one in the park.

Here's the list from Delta Lake.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 50
Gadwall 6
Blue-winged Teal 10
Northern Shoveler 2
Redhead 6
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Neotropic Cormorant 10
Double-crested Cormorant 150
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 4
Snowy Egret 8
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 50
Osprey 1
Sora 1
Black-necked Stilt 6
Killdeer 10
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Stilt Sandpiper 30
Least Sandpiper 100
Western Sandpiper 4
Long-billed Dowitcher 100
Wilson's Snipe 1
Bonaparte's Gull 3
Laughing Gull 80
Ring-billed Gull 45
Caspian Tern 27
Forster's Tern 2
Mourning Dove 2
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
Eastern Phoebe 3
Vermilion Flycatcher 2
Great Kiskadee 4
Couch's Kingbird 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Tree Swallow 10
Marsh Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 40
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 12
Common Yellowthroat 12
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 20
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Great-tailed Grackle 20

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