Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Santa Ana NWR, 8/26/18

Six days ago I checked out Santa Ana NWR and expected a bunch of Yellow-breasted Chats and a few Mourning Warblers.  I got skunked on both but saw a lot of Empidonax.  Well today I gave it another try and six days made a difference.  Yellow-breasted Chats were out in force with a count of thirteen.  Here's a brave one that responded to my crude imitation of their song.

Usually they are peering out from undercover.

I also manged to dig out three Mourning Warblers.  This male has a bit of a broken eye ring suggestive of MacGillivray's Warbler but it's not thick enough.  In fact the eye arcs are different on each side.

Young birds have pretty bold broken eye rings but not the short thick eye arcs of MacGillivray's.  The young Mac also has a whitish throat as opposed to this young Mourning Warbler's yellowish throat.

This Hooded Warbler at Willow 1 refused to come out in the open.

I walked between Willow Lakes 1 and 2 hoping to find a Louisiana Waterthrush.  I did but this was the best shot I could get.

Twenty Yellow warblers were a pretty good count.

And a couple of Black-and-white Warblers.

This young Common Yellowthroat had me scratching my head a bit.

I also saw six Alder Flycatchers and another ten Willow/Alder Flycatchers along with three Least Flycatchers.  Here's an Alder.

I usually walk past the Harris's Hawk but it demanded a photo today.

So fall migration of passerines is starting to pick up.  Wish it would rain.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

White-rumped Sandpipers at Port Isabel Reservoir, 8/15/18

I decided to hit some shorebird spots today to see if I could turn up something unusual.  I had some birds in mind, but the three White-rumped Sandpipers at the Port Isabel Reservoir were not on my radar.  White-rumps pass through the Rio Grande Valley in good numbers in May and even into early June on their way to the high Arctic to breed.  But their return route takes them down the east coast of the US to their wintering rounds in southern South America.  They are very rare fall migrants in Texas.

When I found the first one, with it's long attenuated shape, I thought I had found a Baird's Sandpiper.  But the color was off and the breast streaking was too heavy.  That white superciliary was weird too.

And then it flew and I saw the white rump and knew I had made a good discovery.

Later I came across this individual which looked more like the White-rumps I see in May.  Here it is with a Western Sandpiper  and then with a Wilson's Phalarope.

Then a third darker individual came along and I got a shot of the second and third White-rumped Sandpipers together.  I checked on the first bird and it was a ways down the mudflats but still in view as I watched these two.

Flight shots of the third bird.

Maybe whatever caused to guys to stray off their normal course will bring down some other shorebird rarities.  I hope so.

And then I checked out South Padre Island and didn't encounter any unusual shorebirds.  But this Prairie Warbler at the Convention Center was a nice find.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Progreso Lakes Hummingbirds, 8/3/17

A weak cold front faded out just to the north of us but a little cooler air seemed to drift down to us in the Rio Grande Valley.  I stepped outside to enjoy the morning and I was shocked to have a male Rufous Hummingbird buzz right up to my face.  This was the best photo I got.

Well, that was neat.  And then I saw this one in the bottlebrush.  Holy smokes!  Another Selasphorus which by the spread tail shot seems to be an adult female Rufous Hummingbird.

I'm not used to seeing Rufous Hummingbirds in summer though they start moving south in July in west Texas.  Well some more looking around the yard turned up a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
These guys are headed south too.

There were several basic female/juvenile plumaged Archilochus hummers.  I think this is a juvie female Black-chinned based on the pale feather edges on the dull crown and the shape of the primaries.

And we had at least three Buff-bellied Hummingbirds.

I'm going to do my best to keep the feeders full and hope for something else.