Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Progreso Lakes Yard, 3/26/19

A weak cool front was forecast for today so I thought after the warm breezy weather we might see a few spring migrants at our Progreso Lakes yard.  It didn't take long before the first good one showed up.  This is only our second Zone-tailed Hawk.

Later in the morning as the front hit, a migrating flock of 90 White Pelican were slowed by the north winds.

As I photographed the flock, I observed a raptor high above.  I was shocked to see it was a Swallow-tailed Kite.  It's only our second.  There's been quite a few reports over the past week.

The water in the resaca has been high this spring so I've seen few shorebirds.  Here's a Black-necked Stilt.

Cattle Egrets cruising by.

We have only one Common Gallinule but I see it every day.

I've seen four different Hooded Orioles the past two days.  This is a young male.

The Eastern Screech-Owl was purring up in the ash.

The bird bath was busy with the usual Orange-crowned Warblers and Lincoln's Sparrow.

I was surprised to come up with a total of 64 species for the day.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens)  400
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)  1
Lesser Scaup  3
Plain Chachalaca  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  30
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Inca Dove  3
White-tipped Dove  1
Mourning Dove  10
Chimney Swift  4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Northern)  2
Common Gallinule (American)  1
American Coot (Red-shielded)  3
Black-necked Stilt (Black-necked)  1
Killdeer  1
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Gull-billed Tern (Gull-billed)  1
Caspian Tern  2
Anhinga  1
Neotropic Cormorant  4
Double-crested Cormorant  8
American White Pelican  90
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)  1
Snowy Egret  2
Cattle Egret (Western)  6
Green Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  10
Swallow-tailed Kite  1
Swainson's Hawk  1
Zone-tailed Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Eastern Screech-Owl (McCall's)  1
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern)  2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Black Phoebe  1
Great Kiskadee  4
Tropical Kingbird  1
Couch's Kingbird  1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  1
Green Jay (Green)  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  10
Purple Martin  3
Tree Swallow  70
Barn Swallow (American)  5
Cliff Swallow (pyrrhonota Group)  70
Black-crested Titmouse  2
House Wren (Northern)  1
Carolina Wren (Northeast Mexico/South Texas)  1
Northern Mockingbird  5
European Starling  10
Olive Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow (Savannah)  1
Lincoln's Sparrow  1
Hooded Oriole (cucullatus/sennetti)  2
Altamira Oriole  1
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Bronzed Cowbird (Bronzed)  2
Great-tailed Grackle  30
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  1
House Sparrow  2

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Early Spring Migrants at SPI, 3/18/19

After some strong southerly winds followed by a spring norther, I figured it was time to check out the early spring migrants at South Padre Island.  A couple of Protonotary Warblers had been reported and I don't see them every year.  It took a while but eventually I got some shots of one and saw three on the day.  Two were at Sheepshead and another at the vacant lot on Oleander.

Another early spring migrant is the Louisiana Waterthrush.  This one was at the Convention Center.

Black-and-white Warblers winter in the Valley, start heading north in March and continue till late May.  And the first ones head south in early July.  So we basically have at least a few in the RGV every month except June.

Hooded Warbler was a new one for my year list.

Nashville and Orange-crowned Warblers along with Northern Parulas enjoyed the blooming bottlebrush.

Yellow-throated Warblers winter locally and pass through early.

Most of these early spring migrants nest in the southern United States.  Yellow-throated Vireos along with the above Yellow-throated Warbler nest along streams in the Hill Country just 200 miles to the north.

So twelve species of warbler is about the most I've seen in a day so early in the spring.  Spring is off to a good start.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Calliope Hummingbird at Bentson-Rio Grande Valley State Park, 3/5/19

Saturday morning Mary Gustafson sent me a fuzzy photo of a hummingbird at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park that she thought was young male Calliope Hummingbird.  I was busy doing yard work so I let it slide and did not feel particularly bad when she told me it never came back that afternoon.  Well, the next morning Mary and the Sniders from Estero saw it several times and got some good photos.  I raced over and spent four hours waiting with a least a dozen others to no avail while a strong cold front blew in.  So yesterday after doing some chores I ran back over to Bentsen in the 37 degree weather and sit for a couple of hours in the gift shop watching the feeders.  Again no Calliope Hummingbird.

It was a little warmer this morning and the drizzle had stopped so I gave it one more try.  Mary was there with some British clients and eventually the Calliope Hummingbird flew in to the feeder.  I got some poor shots but later it flew in to another closer feeder with better lighting.  It's a young male with the gorget just starting to sprout.

It's the first eBird record for the Hidalgo County and only the second for the Valley.  I find it hard to believe that Calliope Hummingbird hasn't occurred more than that considering that they are not rare in migration through west Texas.  Anyway it's my 402nd species for Hidalgo County.

Also present the past few days at the same feeders were several Black-chinned Hummingbirds, one Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and a Buff-bellied Hummingbird.  I photographed this bird thinking it was a Black-chinned Hummingbird in the field.  But while editing it seems to be a little reddish on the gorget and crown.  We're discussing it on Facebook as I type.  I think it's a Black-chinned.  Hope it stays a while.

Everyone likes the sugar water.