Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Delta Lake, 1/12/16

After dropping Honey off at work yesterday, I decided to go up north and check out the ponds.    A stop at the Sugar House pond provided very little as the water was high.  So I head north up 1425 and spotted some cormorants over the irrigation canal that crosses the road.  Here's a nice comparison of Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants.

I turned east on 491 and was driving through plowed fields when I thought there should be Sprague's Pipits in the grassy margins along the road.  Sure enough I spotted one at the intersection of FM 491 and FM 1422.

I continued on to Delta Lake and was glad to see the water was still down with a good mudflat.

Examining the hundreds of shorebirds, gulls and terns on the flats I was happy to find three Bonaparte's Gulls.  Down here they are hard to find away from the coast.

All though there were plenty of birds, I could not find anything else unusual so I headed on into the county park.  I wanted to find a Yellow Warbler for my year list.  I had one on Dec. 30 but it seems the last cold front must have sent them south.  This seems to happen every winter.  Yellow Warblers stay for the Christmas Bird Count and then disappear.  I had to settle for Pine and Yellow-throated Warblers among the many Orange-crowns and Myrtles that responded to my pygmy-owl tooting and pishing.

This sharp Blue-headed Vireo also came in close.

A spot of color on a cloudy day, Couch's Kingbird and Vermillion Flycatcher.  It's great living in the least in the winter.

Solitary Sandpiper is pretty uncommon in winter in the RGV but there's always one at Delta Lake when there's suitable habitat.

I flushed a Wilson's Snipe along the ditch.

Mary Gustafson called me to say someone had found a leucistic Killdeer up the road by the CR 2500 pond. What a little beauty.  It would fit right in along the beach or on one of the salt flats.  But natural selection might not favor it on the darker substrate.

There's a better chance to pass on your genes when you're a normally colored Killdeer like this one in the park.

Here's the list from Delta Lake.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 50
Gadwall 6
Blue-winged Teal 10
Northern Shoveler 2
Redhead 6
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Neotropic Cormorant 10
Double-crested Cormorant 150
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 4
Snowy Egret 8
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Black Vulture 10
Turkey Vulture 50
Osprey 1
Sora 1
Black-necked Stilt 6
Killdeer 10
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Stilt Sandpiper 30
Least Sandpiper 100
Western Sandpiper 4
Long-billed Dowitcher 100
Wilson's Snipe 1
Bonaparte's Gull 3
Laughing Gull 80
Ring-billed Gull 45
Caspian Tern 27
Forster's Tern 2
Mourning Dove 2
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
Eastern Phoebe 3
Vermilion Flycatcher 2
Great Kiskadee 4
Couch's Kingbird 2
Loggerhead Shrike 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Tree Swallow 10
Marsh Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 40
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 12
Common Yellowthroat 12
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 20
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Eastern Meadowlark 2
Great-tailed Grackle 20

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 1/10/16

I ran over to Frontera again this morning hoping to get the Black-headed Grosbeak on my new year list.  I failed to find it and missed the Crimson-collared Grosbeak as well.  But this fine adult Zone-tailed Hawk was nice consolation.

A real surprise was this female or young male Painted Bunting.  They are hard to find during the winter.

Otherwise the fruit is almost gone from the anacuas and  correspondingly the Clay-colored Thrushes were down in numbers.  Nice warblers included Yellow-throated, Nashville and Black-and-white.  Later in the afternoon, a check of the Ebony Grove Cemetery in Mercedes turned up this amorous Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Here's a list from Frontera.

Plain Chachalaca 12
Green Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 10
Zone-tailed Hawk 1
Inca Dove 6
White-tipped Dove 6
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 3
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
Green Parakeet 2
Great Kiskadee 2
White-eyed Vireo 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Green Jay 1
Black-crested Titmouse 4
Carolina Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Hermit Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 6
Long-billed Thrasher 2
Northern Mockingbird 8
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 4
Nashville Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Painted Bunting 1
Great-tailed Grackle 2
Lesser Goldfinch 4
House Sparrow 4


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Frontera, 1/3/16

It took me about eight hours total but I finally got to see the Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Frontera Audubon this morning.  I've seen lots of them so it's no big deal.  Except for the fact that this is a very range restricted species occurring only in NE Mexico.  So it's a treat that we get see one every now and then.

I got to see the Yellow-throated Warbler today raising my warbler total for this new year to nine species.

Afterwards I drove down to the muddy flood channel south of Estero and tromped around trying to flush the Short-eared Owl without any success.  Most of the gates are locked so I had to drive in from Mercedes.  I'll try again in a few days.  I did get a Sprague's Pipit at the usual spot on the levee so it was a worthwhile trip.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Frontera Audubon Thicket, 1/1/16

Happy New Year!  Spent the day at the Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco hoping to see the Crimson-collared Grosbeak found a couple of days ago.  I failed to find it nor did I see the Black-headed Grosbeak or Tropical Parula but I still had a good day.  Cold and wet seems to suit thrushes and I saw four species today.  Unfortunately I could not get a photo of the Wood Thrush which is rare in winter.  I did see three Hermit Thrushes.

And two American Robins.

And an amazing twenty Clay-colored Thrushes.  I had eleven in view at once feeding on fallen anacua berries.  I sure at least some of these have wandered over from Mexico.

Warblerwise I saw eight species and missed the reported Tropical Parula and Yellow-throated Warbler so at least ten species of warblers are present in the Thicket.  Here's a Northern Parula.

And an Ovenbird.  Photography was tough today.  Just about all shots were slower than 1/50 th of a second.

This Black-throated Green Warbler is trying to intimidate me.

This Olive Sparrow found a place out of the wind on this feeder.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 28
Plain Chachalaca 12
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 150
Inca Dove 7
White-tipped Dove 12
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 3
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Kiskadee 2
White-eyed Vireo 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Green Jay 2
Black-crested Titmouse 5
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Hermit Thrush 3
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 2
Long-billed Thrasher 4
Northern Mockingbird 10
European Starling 1
Ovenbird 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 4
Northern Parula 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 4
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler 1
Olive Sparrow 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 10
Great-tailed Grackle 1
House Sparrow 4