Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 3/30/11

With boring March coming to an end, the fun spring birding season is starting to ratchet up. After a couple of weeks of warm, muggy, windy days, we finally got a little cool front to make things more pleasant and the birding picked up accordingly. Once again I got brief looks at the Spotted Towhee at Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco. Ten warbler species were the most I've seen in a while. Here's a Black-throated Green.

Wilson's Warbler in the water feature.

Clay-colored Thrushes are usually around when the mulberries are fruiting. I've even had a couple in my yard lately.

A Gray Hawk has been hanging around lately and making lots of noise.

I'm not sure how many people know that Great Kiskadees have a large showy crest. I see it displayed only a few times a year. If the camera had focused on the bird, this would have been a good pic.

Last night I photographed this large Eyed Click Beetle at the water feature.

Upon closer inspection it turns out he's got a couple of passengers. These are arachnids called psuedoscorpions and it is thought they prey on parasitic mites occuring on some beetles. Live and learn. Well, at least some people do.

Another first for me was this Four-lined Skink.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 40
Plain Chachalaca 10
Great Egret 1
Green Heron 2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 2
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Gray Hawk 1
Gull-billed Tern 2
White-winged Dove 1
Mourning Dove 2
Inca Dove 4
White-tipped Dove 11
Green Parakeet 2
Red-crowned Parrot 1
Common Pauraque 1
Chimney Swift 1
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird 2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2
Green Kingfisher 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 8
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Great Kiskadee 5
Couch's Kingbird 1
White-eyed Vireo 3
Green Jay 1
Purple Martin 2
Black-crested Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 1
Northern Mockingbird 4
Long-billed Thrasher 5
Curve-billed Thrasher 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 5
Nashville Warbler 2
Northern Parula 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Ovenbird 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Hooded Warbler 2
Wilson's Warbler 1
Olive Sparrow 2
Spotted Towhee 1
Summer Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Great-tailed Grackle 5
House Sparrow 5

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 3/17/11

With the annual March birding doldrums upon us I haven't seen too much lately and haven't been posting too much. But hawks are starting to pick up and warblers aren't far behind. This morning I checked out Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco hoping to tick a Louisiana Waterthrush for the year. Well I didn't find one but got lucky with the Spotted Towhee that has been spending the winter. It's only been seen twice since it was originally found on the CBC. A very good tick for the county year list.

I was also happy to find my FOS Great Crested-Flycatcher.

Not a particularly great bird but my first ever in Weslaco was this Black Vulture. They're common out in the brush country but not here in town.

Another first for me, copulating hoverflies!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 6
Plain Chachalaca 10
Snowy Egret 1
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 10
Common Moorhen 1
Inca Dove 2
White-tipped Dove 6
Red-crowned Parrot 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 7
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 3
White-eyed Vireo 2
Black-crested Titmouse 4
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Long-billed Thrasher 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Ovenbird 1
Spotted Towhee 1
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Great-tailed Grackle 1
Altamira Oriole 1

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sal del Rey, 2/2/11

Yesterday I checked out the Sal del Rey unit of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR as I had not been there for a few weeks. Birding was a little slow but 46 Snowy Plovers helped make up for it.

Here's a darker winter plumaged bird.

Most of these birds will soon leave to breed in saline playas across the Great Plains. A few will stay here for the summer. Does it look like they're standing around in the snow and ice? No, this is salt precipitate from hypersaline Sal del Rey (the King's salt).

My first Hidalgo County Western Sandpiper for the year.

There were lots of Least Sandpipers around. No confusing them with the Western.

This Greater Yellowlegs was making plenty of noise at the freshwater cienega.

Odes are starting to makes themselves known now that the weather is warming up. Here's Rambur's Forktail

I think this is a newly emerged Variegated Meadowhak.

On the way home I stopped at the CR 2500 pond on FM 88. The recent very cold weather killed many of these exotic plecostomus catfish native to South America.

Here's my Sal del Rey list for yesterday.

Northern Bobwhite 10
Eared Grebe 1
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Crested Caracara 1
American Kestrel 1
Sandhill Crane 2
Snowy Plover 46
Killdeer 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Western Sandpiper 1
Least Sandpiper 90
Wilson's Snipe 2
Mourning Dove 50
Common Ground-Dove 3
Greater Roadrunner 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
Eastern Phoebe 2
Great Kiskadee 3
White-eyed Vireo 2
Green Jay 1
Black-crested Titmouse 1
Verdin 3
Cactus Wren 2
Bewick's Wren 2
House Wren 1
Marsh Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Northern Mockingbird 2
Long-billed Thrasher 1
American Pipit 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
Savannah Sparrow 5
Lincoln's Sparrow 2
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Pyrrhuloxia 1