Saturday, October 24, 2015

South Padre Island, 10/23/15

With the unsettled weather and the remnants of Hurricane Patricia on the way, I thought I would check out the migrant situation on South Padre Island.  Scarlet had reported a warbler with big white wingbars that reminded her of a Blackpoll or Bay-breasted at Sheepshead.  She was right, a beautifly first winter Bay-breasted Warbler.

I also wanted to get the Palm Warbler at the Convention Center on my year list.  It was still there though hard to get close to.

Eleven species of warbler between the two sites was a pretty good haul for late October.  Here's a few more of them.

Unusual for a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, this one foraged extensively on the ground.

I think this Empidonax is an Alder Flycatcher but it didn't call.

A couple of American Wigeon were my only ducks.

Exceptionally high tides had driven the shorebirds away from the flats behind the convention Center.  A few Willets and Marbled Godwits were all I could find.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Red-necked Phalaropes at Sal del Rey, 10/11/15

I drove up to Sal del Rey unit of the Lower Rio Grande NWR this morning.  A flock of Wild Turkeys greeted me as I drove up a muddy Brushline Road.

The walk in was pretty uneventful though I did see a Black-throated Green Warbler.  When I reached the viewing area I was surprised to see a Green-tailed Towhee perched on the wooden rail.  I had left my usual camera in the car as I was carrying the heavy Swarovski scope and the towhee quickly flew into a nearby bush.  Could I digiscope it?  Not a great shot but it's identifiable and my first Green-tailed Towhee at Sal del Rey.  Seems pretty early.

I scoped over the lake and took time to count the Eared Grebes, American Coots and Laughing Gulls. Eighty Western Sandpipers flew past.  There were a dozen Wilson's Phalaropes and a lot more on the far north shore.  Then I noticed four very distant phalaropes that were proportioned differently.  Their necks seemed thicker in proportion to their bodies and they seemed very white with a black bar through the eye....Red-necked Phalaropes!  I think this is the fourth time I've seen them at Sal del Rey.  A small flock even wintered once with the Wilson's Phalaropes

Two good days in a row!

Pied-billed Grebe  15
Eared Grebe  45
Turkey Vulture  1
Hawk  1
Harris's Hawk  1
American Coot  200
Black-necked Stilt  4
Avocet  8
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Long-billed Curlew  1
Least Sandpiper 10
Western Sandpiper  150
Wilson's Phalarope  100
Red-necked Phalarope  4    
Mourning Dove  5
Greater Roadrunner  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Couch's Kingbird  2
Green Jay  2
Barn Swallow  1
Black-crested Titmouse  2
Verdin  1
House Wren 3
Cactus Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Curve-billed Thrasher 1
Long-billed Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  7
Black-throated Green
Warbler  1
Lincoln's Sparrow  3
Green-tailed Towhee  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Pyrrhuloxia  3
Indigo Bunting  1
Blackbird  7

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Red-naped Sapsucker at Frontera, 10/10/15

For the past week the Colleys have been hosting a rare male Red-naped Sapsucker at their home in Port Isabel. This morning I was quite surprised to find another, a female this time, at the Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco.  It was my first self found for this species in the RGV.  The white chin with red throat is characteristic of a female Red-naped Sapsucker.  There was also a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the same tree which was flagged by eBird for being early.  So what's going on in the sapsucker world?

Six species of warblers were all expected species like this Black-and-white.

And this young Yellow Warbler.

Blue-headed Vireo.

Two Swainson's Hawks came up at 11 AM followed by a pair of Gray Hawks. 

A mower south of the cemetery flushed a couple of Lark Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Nashville Warblers and this Blue Grosbeak.

Plain Chachalaca  12
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  1
Green Heron  1
Gray Hawk  2
Swainson's Hawk 2
Killdeer  1
Inca Dove  1
White-tipped Dove  1
White-winged Dove 10
Chimney Swift  2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 4
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1 
Red-naped Sapsucker 1
Woodpecker  2
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Kiskadee  3
Couch's Kingbird 3
White-eyed Vireo  2
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Green Jay  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  5
Cave Swallow  5
Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Clay-colored Thrush  3
Long-billed Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird 6
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Nashville Warbler 10
Yellow Warbler  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Wilson's Warbler 1
Lark Bunting  2
Northern Cardinal  1
Blue Grosbeak  2
Indigo Bunting 3
Great-tailed Grackle  2
Lesser Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  4

Friday, October 2, 2015

Red-naped Sapsucker in Port Isabel, 10/2/15

Yesterday George and Scarlet Colley found an interesting supsucker at the water featcher at their home in Port Isabel.  When the photos were posted last night, one image suggested the possibility that the bird was a hatch year Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Well, Honey and I ran out there this morning to get some photos. Turns out it's a Red-naped Sapsucker which was George and Scarlet's first impression.  The black feathers can be seen coming in below the red throat.  Either way it was still my 385th Cameron County bird.

Another good bird put in an appearance while we were waiting, my first ever fall Bay-breasted Warbler.

Then we ran over to South Padre Island where there were a few migrants at Sheepshead and the Convention Center.  Here's a Philadelphia Vireo.

My first ever Bewick's Wren on SPI.  It this a migrant or just a bird wandering over from the mainland?

Northern Waterthrush.

Saw about ten Wilson's Warblers.