Friday, July 8, 2016

Checking the ponds, 7/7/16

This time of year I like to get out and check the ponds in eastern Hidalgo County to look for migrants and wayward birds.  My first stop was at the Sugar House pond on FM 1420 north of FM 107.  With the recent dry weather and heat, the water level has been dropping and creating some good shoreline.  It will only get better as the summer passes.  Best bird was my first Hidalgo County Willet for the year.  I guess it's a "Western".

Black Terns circled around the 40 acre pond, another new bird for the county year list.

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are raising plenty of babies.

I scoped around the lake and came up with a count of 500 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, including babies and this leucistic oddball.

Two hundred Black-necked Stilts is a lot for this early in the season.

A stop at the playa on 1st and Lincoln in Hargill turned up 19 Snowy Plovers, a Wilson's Plover, 18 Gull-billed Terns and six Least Terns.  The flooded field on 1st and Bucy Road held nothing of interest but will be worth checking in the future.  The ponds on Brushline Road were all dry or almost dry.  

So it was on to the CR 20 pond north of TX 186 across the line in Willacy County.  The water there is dropping also but it was loaded with birds.  This sharp breeding plumaged Glossy Ibis stood out among the 70 or so White-faced Ibisis.

Despite the variance in size, they all seem to have red eyes so they are White-faced Ibises.  I think the size of the sexes are different.

Another Willet away from the coast.

And another 200 Black-necked Stilts along with 70 American Avocets.

A stop at Delta Lake turned up little as the water levels are too high for shorebirds but it was still a pretty good day for so early in the summer.

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