Saturday, August 1, 2015

Willacy County, 8/1/15

I ran over to Willacy County this morning, more for a change of pace than anything else.  But I did have to check out the Sugar House Pond on the way.  Water is still up and the sugar refinery is still chugging away. I'm hoping the water will recede and create some shorebird habitat as the summer progresses.  Here's a Black Tern enjoying its own reflection.

My goal for the day was to find some water with shorebirds but there was little to be had.  The playa on FM 489 and CR 315 still held some water and a surprising ten Wilson's Plovers, two families of five.

Down the road a ways on FM 498 I found a cooperative Swainson's Hawk.  But it soon grew tired of me.

A stop at the willow grove on FM 2099 gave me three Least Flycatchers but no decent photos.  So I ran over to the soapberry grove on FM 490 for my annual barn owl.  Usually it flies out of the equipment shed as I approach but today it just sat there for a photo.  I took a few shots and quietly backed away.

Next stop was the road that goes east of Willamar.  I forget what it's called but eventually it runs along a tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR and sometimes has some water.  Driving along with the window down it was pretty easy to hear Botteri's Sparrows.  It took a little more work to see them and even more to get some pictures.  But I did.

The wetland area was almost dry so I just found what I could.  Here's a moulting Scissortailed Flycatcher.

This Cattle Egret had a comfy perch in the shade.

Turned out Willacy County was even more dry than Hidalgo.  No Jabirus here!

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