Monday, June 30, 2014

Brown Booby at Port Isabel, 6/30/13

Two days ago Scarlet Colley found a Brown Booby in the ship channel near Port Isabel while conducting one of her dolphin trips. I found out about it yesterday and this morning I was in the boat with Scarlet, local birder Madeleine Sandefur, Rozzie the Dolphin Dog and Penelope the Pot-bellied Pig. Yes we were quite an ethnically diverse group. It wasn't long before we approached marker #29 and there was the Brown Booby in the exact same place where Scarlet had found one 13 years ago.
On closer inspection it appears our booby is a bit beat up. I hope it survives. Scarlet said the earlier booby made a living off of the local shrimp boats.
Scarlet then gave us a little tour of the area. We heard the "Mangrove" Yellow Warbler singing but couldn't pick it up in the mangroves. Then we flushed an Osprey. These guys were pretty rare when I made my first trip to the Valley 35 years ago. Now even a few spend the summer.
We checked out a shrimp boat but found only a bunch of Laughing Gulls and a couple of Brown Pelicans.
A spoil island created by dredging the channel serves as a popular breeding ground. Scarlet informed us the American Oystercatchers had raised a couple of youngin's. We saw only the adults. Here's one.
After saying "Bye" to the group (pig included) I drove across the Valley to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse to look for Troy and Robin's Long-tailed Aguna (butterfly). I couldn't find it and not much else was flying in the heat. But I did get a good look at one of the young Black Phoebes. I'm saying it's young because of the brown feather edgings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old Port Isabel Road, 6/16/14

Yesterday I made my annual run out to Old Port Isabel Road to look for Botteri's Sparrows and butterflies.  My first stop to listen resulted in a call that reminded me of a kingbird, but it wasn't coming from up on the wires.  It was was on the ground and turned out to be a family of Wilson's Plovers.  I did a little pish and they came running up. all three of them.

Then I checked out the loma to get some desert birds for the Cameron County year list.  Here's a Cactus Wren.

A Brown-crested Flycatcher.  The heavy bill and yellow below rule our Ash-throated.

And a Lark Sparrow.

I also got a Verdin, Olive Sparrow, White-eyed Vireo and Bewick's Wren before moving on.  Cassin's Sparrows were singing in the distance but nary a Botteri's.  This guy looked like a candidate but when it opened in mouth it was just another Cassin's Sparrow.

Other birds along the road included Chihuahuan Raven, White-tailed Hawk, Gull-billed Terns and Laughing Gulls.  My final birds were a pair of Long-billed Curlews.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

There goes the neighborhood! 6/12/14

I was checking out a butterfly in our garden this morning when I heard the "chee-omp  chee-omp" call of Red-crowned Parrots and observed three of them fly into the back yard.  I ran through the house to the back yard but they took off and I failed to get a photo.  Then I heard one back in the front yard calling "chee-omp" with some extra notes at the end that seemed unfamiliar.  Could the Red-lored Parrot be back?  So I ran back through the house to the front yard and heard it call again from our golden rain tree.  There it was munching on flowers and calling to the Red-crowns who were now down the street.

Not liking the camera, the Red-lored Parrot took off to join its congeners and was immediately replaced by a flock of eight Green Parakeets.  These three seemed to be enjoyed a peaceful grooming session.

And then all hell broke loose.  The was plenty of screeching accompanying the following battle.

Mr. Green Anole didn't seem too concerned as he watched from the garden.

Anyway the parrots took off and are probably causing trouble in someone else's yard now.