Monday, July 27, 2020

Hurricane Hanna drops Coastal Birds at Delta Lake, 7/27/20

Hurricane Hanna crossed from the Gulf into South Texas just north of Port Mansfield at about noon on 7/25/20.  For the next sixteen hours she ground across the brush country with winds up to 90 MPH at an agonizingly slow 8 mph dropping from eight to twenty inches of rain across the Rio Grande Valley.  The upshot was much flooding and displaced coastal seabirds.  So yesterday afternoon Justin LeClaire battled his way through flooded roadways up to Delta Lake and reported one Common Tern, six Royal Terns, three Sandwich Terns and a Brown Pelican.

Our internet was down so I didn't get the message till late and had to make the trip up this morning.  Three of those species I've seen before in Hidalgo County but Sandwich Tern was a species I was not sure I would ever get to see.  After finding that FM 88 north of Weslaco was flooded I detoured to US 281 up through Edinburg to TX 186 and then east to FM 88 and south to Delta Lake.  Upon arrival I was disappointed to find the water high on the west side where the mudflats can hold rare birds.  But not to worry, there was a small group of terns on a small mudflat on the east side.  Scoping soon turned up two Sandwich Terns, Hidalgo County bird #408.

With them was a juvenile Common Tern, a species I have seen only once before in Hidalgo County.

Six Caspian Terns were not a surprise.

It took a while but a Royal Tern finally dropped in.  I've seen them maybe three times in the County.  This one is next to a juvenile Caspian Tern.

I was about to give up on the Brown Pelican when it flew over my head.  This is a pretty ratty juvenile.

The day started well with a Magnificent Frigatebird on FM 88 over the flood channel just south of Weslaco.  Only my second ever in the County.

A lot of people are suffering because of Hurricane Hanna but she sure made for fascinating birding.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Blackpoll x Bay-breasted Warbler hybrid? at Progreso Lakes, 5/5/20

This Cinco de Mayo morning I found absolutely no migrants in our Progreso Lakes yard.  So I swept out the barn and changed the oil on our Forester.  After lunch I decided to sit on the porch and watch the bird bath.  Migrants tired of flying in the heat, started dropping into our little oasis for a drink and some lunch.  Most interesting was this female that is either a very plain Bay-breasted Warbler or a Blackpoll x Baybreasted Warbler hybrid.  When it landed in the coral bean not far from where I was sitting I thought it was a female Blackpoll, which would be new for our yard.  But upon further review it seems to have a very faint "bay" wash on some of the neck and breast feathers.

It's probably just a Bay-breasted Warbler but take a look at this one found by some banders in Pennsylvania.

This Canada Warbler zoomed over my head and landed nearby in the big rubber Ficus.

Then he hit the showers.  Notice the Wilson's Warbler waiting its turn.

Then we got our first Mourning Warbler for the year.  I think it's a young male.

A silhouette in one of our big ashes turned out to be our first Least Flycatcher for the year.

I was trying to get a better shot of the Least when I found this Blackburnian Warbler.

And then our first of the year Philadelphia Vireo landed in the potato tree.

So four new year birds puts our Progreso Lakes 2020 yard list at 180.  With a little luck we have a shot at 200 this year.