Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mabuhay! from Cebu, Philippines

Well, here were are in he Philippines. Honey and I are visiting her family in Minglanilla, just south of Cebu City. We just got here yesterday and I'm already sweating like a pig. Staying here for four weeks without air conditioning will be a lot of fun although it wasn't too bad last night. Anyway I hope to get around a bit and see some cool birds and bugs. Still suffering from jetlag, so far all I've managed is a short walk around the neighborhood. With just Honey's point and shoot Elph I did manage a few pics. This sharp looking dragonfly seems to be common in the area.
I don't know if this is the female or something different.
We saw some interesting butterflies but this skipper was the only one that would pose.
Birdwise I've only seen four species so far. Lots of Eurasian Tree Sparrows, a few Olive-backed Sunbirds, a Glossy Swiftlet and the Pied Fantail that is calling out the window right now so I gotta go!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sugar House Pond, 8/21/12

With the recent cold front (not very) I thought it might be a good idea to check out the Sugar House Pond. This shallow 40 acre pond receives effluent from the nearby sugar mill. With the long standing drought it's some of the only water around and it's on the eastern edge of Hidalgo County so it can attact birds normally seen on the coast. This morning's two hour visit proved very productive and quite a spectacle. Here's some of the 1018 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.
I estimated 2000 Wilson's Phalaropes based on a count taken last week.
Some thing flushed many of the shorebirds but they came back to the same spot.
Good finds for the day include a Willet.
And my first Hidalgo County Black-bellied Plover for 2012 (#289). Here it is at about 300 yards.
Five Northern Pintails seemed early to me.
So about 5000 birds including 15 species of shorebirds and eight duck species made for quite a morning. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 40 Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1018 Mottled Duck 1 Blue-winged Teal 890 Northern Shoveler 10 Northern Pintail 5 Redhead 3 Ruddy Duck 8 Least Grebe 2 Pied-billed Grebe 1 Snowy Egret 1 Cattle Egret 12 Common Gallinule 1 American Coot 53 Black-bellied Plover 1 Snowy Plover 1 Killdeer 10 Black-necked Stilt 483 American Avocet 156 Willet 1 Lesser Yellowlegs 300 Upland Sandpiper 1 Long-billed Curlew 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper 10 Western Sandpiper 2 Least Sandpiper 250 Baird's Sandpiper 5 Stilt Sandpiper 1000 Long-billed Dowitcher 65 Wilson's Phalarope 2000 Black Tern 10 Horned Lark 2 Bank Swallow 1 Barn Swallow 2 Cave Swallow 5 Great-tailed Grackle X

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Warblers

There's not a month in the year when there's not a few warblers around in the Rio Grande Valley. The summer is a bit thin though. After the last straggler Magnolias and Canadas leave in early June the only warblers about are a few Common Yellowthroats and the odd Tropical Parula. In July there's always a little migration burst that brings a few Black-and-whites and Louisiana Waterthrushes from up north but then there's usually very few around till late August and September. But this August has been different with plenty of southbound migrant warblers across the state. Here in the RVG, between Santa Ana NWR and Frontera, I've seen nine species in just the past week. Here's a few of them. Most numerous are the Yellow Warblers.
Black-and-whites often come in twos or threes.
This Louisiana Waterthrush was at Willow 1 at Santa Ana.
My first Canada of the fall.
To me it seems Yellow Breasted Chat is the second most common early fall migrant warblers. Soon it will be possible to see a couple dozen during a miles walk at Santa Ana. Once you learn their "cluck cluck" call you hear them all over the place. But you do well to get more than an obscured look through the brush.
This Yellow-throated Warbler was a bit of a surprise at Frontera.
But not as big a surprise as this Kentucky Warbler. After seeing my first ever in August at Frontera, I found a second in the pittosporum outside my bathroom window at home.

It's Alive!

Gee, it's been nearly a year since my last post. What happened? Well, I got kinda lazy. The birds and the bugs were so good last fall that it just became a pain to keep the blog going. I mean I need to download pics and edit. Then I have to put my days birds into eBird and then post to Texbirds. After that, well, then I feel like a nap. I'll see if I can't do better.