Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Possible Black-bellied x Fulvous Whistling-Duck hybrid at Progreso Lakes, 12/28/17

This morning while perusing the 1500-2500 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in the Moon Lake behind our house, I got a quick look at what I thought was a Fulvous Whistling-Duck.  Fulvous being pretty uncommon this time of year, I ran back into the house for my camera and quickly relocated the duck.  Something was wrong.  It superficially looked like a Fulvous but had a pinkish tinge to the base of the bill.  The face was also more pale than the breast which had a chestnut wash which contrasted with the tawny sides and extended up onto the back and scaled the dark scapulars but not to the extent that it does on Fulvous.  There was a hint of the dark streaking that occurs on the neck of Fulvous but the pale face was more like a Black-bellied with a pale eye ring that would be absent in Fulvous.  Here's some photos.

Here's a Fulvous Whistling-Duck from Delta Lake for comparison.  Not the concolored nature of the head, breast, sides and scalloping.  This bird also lacks an eye ring.

And several from Estero Llano Grande State Park.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get some flight shots and maybe a view of the feet.

There's nothing online that I can find to indicate this combination of hybrid, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck x Fulvous Whistling-Duck, has been documented in the past.

The following day I was fortunate to get a few flight shots.

Apparently there is a reference of this hybrid pairing from a 1958 book by A.P. Gray, "Bird Hybrids: A Checklist with Bibliography".  But nothing since then. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Progreso Lakes, 12/22/16

I had plenty of stuff to do in our new house at Progreso Lakes today so I spent the morning birding in the yard instead.  I was happy to finally get some good photos of the female Canvasback.  That's a species I figured we would get eventually but we sure didn't have to wait long.

I think this is a different first winter female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker than the one I had seen a couple of times before.

The first new yard bird of the day were a couple of White-winged Doves.  I thought I might have to wait till spring to get one.

I saw a pair of Inca Doves so I imitated their "no hope" call and they walked right up to me.

Our first White-fronted Goose for the yard was this juvenal two days ago.  I had a flock of nine fly over today.

Later I thought I head Snow Geese and eventually found this distant lone bird which was new for the yard.

The local pair of Peregrines passed over.

And then there was this Sharp-shinned Hawk which was another new yard bird.

Saw the pair of Green Kingfishers feeding distantly and then the Ringed zoomed past.

Living with a couple of thousand Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks I often get to see a few squabbles.

Among the many Black-bellies was a single Fulvous Whistling Duck.

The local Plain chachalaca flock has now grown to thirteen birds.  They seem to wander up and down the shore passing through all the neighbors' yards.

I finished the morning with my new daily high of 56 species.  Just wait till spring gets here!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens) 1500
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1
Greater White-fronted Goose (Western) 9
Snow Goose 1
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) 4
Mottled Duck (Gulf Coast) 2
Blue-winged Teal 5
Canvasback 1
Ring-necked Duck 5
Lesser Scaup 100
Plain Chachalaca 13
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Neotropic Cormorant 5
Double-crested Cormorant 1
American White Pelican 7
Great Blue Heron (Blue form) 1
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
Cattle Egret (Western) 13
Green Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 6
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3
Turkey Vulture 60
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Northern) 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Harris's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Coot (Red-shielded) 2
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Caspian Tern 1
Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
Inca Dove 2
White-winged Dove 2
Mourning Dove 9
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern) 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Crested Caracara 1
American Kestrel 1
Peregrine Falcon 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 4
Tropical Kingbird 1
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Green Jay (Green) 2
Black-crested Titmouse 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 15
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 1
Red-winged Blackbird 130
Great-tailed Grackle 4

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Our new yard, Progreso Lakes, 11/27/16

Progreso Lakes are a couple of small oxbow lakes cut off from the Rio Grande near Progreso, Texas.  For the last twenty years or so I've been exploring the possibility of buying a house down there and Honey and I finally made the plunge and signed the papers last week.  Honey likes the house but I'm intrigued by the birding possibilities.  The lot is an acre in size with Moon Lake bordering the back yard and a large cultivated field (usually cotton) in the front and neighbors on each side.  The lot has only a few trees but I plan to plant more while the neighbor on one side has a nicely treed lot.  The Rio Grande and Mexico are on the other side of the large field.

During the past week, while we've been cleaning and preparing to move in, I've been working on the yard list.  We're up to 62 species so far though nothing really unexpected.  Here's some photos starting our number one bird, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, which is numbering about 2500 on our end of the resaca.

Other ducks so far include Blue-winged Teal. Northern Shoveller, Mottled Duck, Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup.

Numerous birds take advantage of perches along the opposite shore like this Roseate Spoonbill and Anhinga.

While others are seen cruising by like Neotropic Cormorant, Caspian Tern, Snowy Egret, Osprey and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

There is little in the way of mudflats for shorebirds so I may not get many of them but so far I've seen Killdeer, American Avocet, Spotted Sandpiper and Long-billed Curlew, all in flight.

Another way to add birds to the yard list is to cheat.  As far as I am concerned, any bird visible from our yard counts.  So I set up the scope and start searching.  Here's some long distant sightings: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Red-shouldered Hawk and Green Kingfisher.

It's hard to get any work done with the constant parade of birds.  Don't know if I can make a hundred by the end of the year but I'll give it a try.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Frontera Audubon, 11/14/16

It was a nice, cool, calm morning so I thought a visit to the thicket at Frontera Audubon was in order.  I had not been there in a while and it was nice to see the thicket looking green and lush.  Two Green Parakeets welcomed me.

Birds were really quiet but I soon found a flock containing Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Blue-headed Vireo, several Orange-crowned Warblers a Black-and-white Warbler.  I saw motion in a nearby palm and would have bet money it was a Yellow-throated Warbler.  I finally got a look and I was right.  This one has the yellow lores of a southeastern bird.  Don't know if I've ever noticed that in that Valley.

Around the corner on the south side of the big pond, Plain Chachalacas and Clay-colored Thrushes were feeding on Brazilian Pepper berries.  I've read the berries have little nutritional value but birds love them

At the boardwalk Great and Snowy Egrets and White Ibises fed in the wetlands while a Green Kingfisher kept a sharp eye on the fish below.

This alert Buff-bellied Hummingbird was garding its little patch of Turks-cap.

The east border along the trailer park was quiet and so were the feeding stations.  But another passerine flock was taking advantage of the two drips by the cemetery with Nashville and Orange-crowned Warblers enjoying a bath.

Nearby a White-eyed Vireo scolded me for invading their privacy.

A very nice morning in the Thicket. 

Frontera Audubon Center, Hidalgo, Texas, US
Nov 14, 2016 8:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
41 species

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens) 12
Plain Chachalaca 7
Great Blue Heron (Blue form) 1
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
White Ibis 3
Turkey Vulture 40
Gray Hawk 1
Killdeer 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 3
Inca Dove 1
White-tipped Dove 8
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 4
Belted Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern) 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Green Parakeet (Green) 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Kiskadee 3
Couch's Kingbird 1
White-eyed Vireo 3
Blue-headed Vireo 2
Green Jay (Green) 2
Black-crested Titmouse 3
House Wren (Northern) 2
Carolina Wren 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Clay-colored Thrush 12
Long-billed Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 6
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Orange-crowned Warbler 10
Nashville Warbler 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1
Wilson's Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 2
Great-tailed Grackle 5
House Sparrow 6