Monday, July 25, 2016

Frontera Audubon, 7/25/16

It may have felt like summer this morning at Frontera Audubon in Welsaco but fall migration is underway.  I got poor looks at a Louisiana Waterthrush from the blind on the big pond.  Later I scared it up from the other side and finally found it a third time where I was able to get some photos.  In fact I stood still and just let it walk up to me as it bobbed along and fed by the pond.

On a couple of the shots above the waterthrush is looking upward.  It was checking out a noisy Black-necked Stilt that landed not far away.

I left the Louisiana Waterthrush on the big pond and soon found a second from the boardwalk.

Just feet away from the waterthrush was my first Solitary Sandpiper for the fall.

Also unusual for Frontera were three Killdeers taking advantage of the mudflats along the boardwalk.

Back in the woods I found my second Black-and-white warbler of the month.  Seems like most summers I see a few in July and then they're gone for a few weeks before the big fall push southward.

My first fall empids were three Least Flycatchers.

Back along the east fence line I found this Green Kingfisher who refused to give up a good shot.

There were plenty of gangly youngsters around like this Clay-colored Thrush, White-eyed Vireo and Brown-crested Flycatcher whose parents are not going to be happy about his new mohawk,

I was on my way out when I came across three Orchard Orioles.

All in all a pretty good day for late July at Frontera.

Frontera Audubon Center, Hidalgo, Texas, US
Jul 25, 2016 8:05 AM - 12:05 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
40 species

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens) 15
Plain Chachalaca 10
Neotropic Cormorant 1
Great Egret 1
Green Heron 1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1
Black Vulture 2
Gray Hawk 1
Black-necked Stilt 1
Killdeer 2
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Inca Dove 12
White-tipped Dove 6
White-winged Dove 30
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 10
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern) 4
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Green Parakeet 1
Least Flycatcher 3
Brown-crested Flycatcher 4
Great Kiskadee 2
Tropical Kingbird 1
Couch's Kingbird 2
White-eyed Vireo 3
Green Jay (Green) 2
Black-crested Titmouse 4
Carolina Wren 3
Clay-colored Thrush 4
Long-billed Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
Louisiana Waterthrush 2
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Olive Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2
Dickcissel 1
Great-tailed Grackle 8
Orchard Oriole 3
Lesser Goldfinch 4
House Sparrow 2

Friday, July 8, 2016

Checking the ponds, 7/7/16

This time of year I like to get out and check the ponds in eastern Hidalgo County to look for migrants and wayward birds.  My first stop was at the Sugar House pond on FM 1420 north of FM 107.  With the recent dry weather and heat, the water level has been dropping and creating some good shoreline.  It will only get better as the summer passes.  Best bird was my first Hidalgo County Willet for the year.  I guess it's a "Western".

Black Terns circled around the 40 acre pond, another new bird for the county year list.

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are raising plenty of babies.

I scoped around the lake and came up with a count of 500 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, including babies and this leucistic oddball.

Two hundred Black-necked Stilts is a lot for this early in the season.

A stop at the playa on 1st and Lincoln in Hargill turned up 19 Snowy Plovers, a Wilson's Plover, 18 Gull-billed Terns and six Least Terns.  The flooded field on 1st and Bucy Road held nothing of interest but will be worth checking in the future.  The ponds on Brushline Road were all dry or almost dry.  

So it was on to the CR 20 pond north of TX 186 across the line in Willacy County.  The water there is dropping also but it was loaded with birds.  This sharp breeding plumaged Glossy Ibis stood out among the 70 or so White-faced Ibisis.

Despite the variance in size, they all seem to have red eyes so they are White-faced Ibises.  I think the size of the sexes are different.

Another Willet away from the coast.

And another 200 Black-necked Stilts along with 70 American Avocets.

A stop at Delta Lake turned up little as the water levels are too high for shorebirds but it was still a pretty good day for so early in the summer.