Monday, May 13, 2019

Mourning Warbler at Progreso Lakes, 5/13/19

After a couple of hard days of birding, I felt it was time to do some yard work.  So I weeded our little garden of Ichiban eggplants, bitter melons, hot peppers and Moringa.  After that I moved across the yard and start digging grass along our little native brush patch.  During this time I kept hearing "chip" notes from the brush.  I was wondering if it could be a Mourning Warbler.  After lunch I looked out the window and saw a yellow bird butt duck into the red Salvia.  Hmmm......   And then later after getting the mail I heard the call notes again.  So I sat on the back porch and watched the bird bath.  Nothing.  Time to get serious.  I pulled up the Mourning Warbler song from the Ibird app on my phone and gave it a blast.  Immediately I see a small shape come up behind the bird bath.  Yellow with a black chest.  Mourning Warbler!  Yard bird #208 had been expected for some time.

So over the past week we have gained four new yard birds and hosted ten species of warblers.

Great Day at Progreso Lakes, 5/12/19

We had a very late cool front come in over the weekend and the north winds really brought down the migrants.  So after spending yesterday with warblers at South Padre Island, I decided today I would bird our Progreso Lakes yard.  Turned out we had quite a few warblers also.  In fact the eight species seen today was a new one day high total.  During breakfast I spied the first ones through the window in our front yard; Yellow Warbler and American Redstart.

That seemed to be a pretty good omen.  After breakfast I got serious and found Chestnut-sided and Blackburnian Warblers in the neighbor's big hackberry next to our fence.  Could not get any good shots of the Blackburnian.

And then a Tennessee Warbler in our Orchid Tree.

I failed to get shots of the Magnolia Warbler and Common Yellowthroat.  But I did manage a distant shot of a Black-throated Green Warbler.

A couple of days earlier I added bird #205 to our yard list, Bay-breasted Warbler.

We had other birds yesterday besides warblers.  A real surprise was a fly over Amazon parrot.  It had a rather weak call that I was unfamiliar with and I guessed it could be a White-fronted Parrot.  After downloading the photo and looking it up in Steve Howell's "Birds of Mexico", I found I was right.  There is a small population of a few dozen White-fronted Parrots in Brownsville about 35 miles to the east.  This one seemed to be flying over from Mexico.  They are native in Mexico to the central Pacific coast and south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  I guess that makes yard bird #207.

Common yard birds included Clay-colored Thrush.

Black Phoebe.

And a young male Hooded Oriole.

Then I was walking along our west fence and I heard a "mew" call.  I thought to myself "That darn stray cat is back."  And then I though "hmmmm...Catbirds can go mew."  And there was our first Gray Catbird sitting in a small tepehuaje.  I later saw it at the bird bath.  #207!

Pretty darn good day!

Jones yard, Progreso Lakes, Hidalgo, Texas, US
May 12, 2019 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:    Unusually late cool front with north wind
64 species (+3 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens)  5
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)  5
Plain Chachalaca  2
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Inca Dove  1
White-tipped Dove  1
White-winged Dove  30
Mourning Dove  10
Groove-billed Ani  1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Chimney Swift  4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird  3
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Northern)  2
Killdeer  2
Laughing Gull  15
Franklin's Gull  1
Neotropic Cormorant  2
Great Egret (American)  1
Snowy Egret  1
Tricolored Heron  1
Green Heron  5
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  2
White-tailed Kite  1
Mississippi Kite  1
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Green Kingfisher  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern)  4
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
White-fronted Parrot  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Black Phoebe  2
Brown-crested Flycatcher  1
Great Kiskadee  2
Tropical Kingbird  3
Couch's Kingbird  2
Western Kingbird  1
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Purple Martin  15
Barn Swallow (American)  20
swallow sp.  20
Black-crested Titmouse  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Clay-colored Thrush  1
Gray Catbird  1
Northern Mockingbird  4
European Starling  5
Lesser Goldfinch  1
Orchard Oriole  2
Hooded Oriole (cucullatus/sennetti)  2
Altamira Oriole  1
Bronzed Cowbird (Bronzed)  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Great-tailed Grackle  8
Tennessee Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
American Redstart  3
Magnolia Warbler  2
Blackburnian Warbler  3
Yellow Warbler (Northern)  6
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Dickcissel  1
House Sparrow  2

South Padre Island, 5/11/19

An unusually late cold front came down this past weekend and though it didn't get very cold, there was a stiff northerly breeze.  So I figured it would be a good opportunity to check out South Padre Island for migrants.  We're getting a little late in the season making it a good time to look for rare stuff.  The best bird was one of my first of the day.  I was chatting with Bill Beatty at the Valley Land Fund's Sheepshead lot.  Bill is to be commended for having done much of the recent rehab work on the lot.  So while we were talking this beautiful Purple Gallinule struts by in front of us.  While not a super rare bird, it was the fist I've ever seen at Sheepshead and we were both pleasantly surprised.

I guess the only other noteworthy thing was the number of bright male warblers.  Usually by this late in May, males are already up north on territory and the duller females are passing through.  Here are bright Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided Warblers.

I enjoyed some one on one time with this cute ovenbird.

Four or five Philadelphia Vireos must be the most I've ever seen in a day.

First time I've ever seen a Swainson's Thrush feeding on lantana berries.

I  usually think of Acadian Flycatchers as being the first of the Empidonax to migrate through the Valley.  Seems awful late for them to be passing through but I didn't see any other Empids.  I guess there are still a lot more to come.

I missed the Western Tanager at the Convention Center but I found my own on Oleander.

There's a pair of Mottled Ducks at the Convention Center and the drake is causing some controversy.  It has the white borders of the speculum like a Mexican Duck. (The diazi subspecies of Mallard was recently raised to full specific status by the AOS as Mexican Duck.)  But bigger brains than mine think it a hybrid of a Mottled x domestic Mallard.  I don't know what to think.

Anyway, it was a great day to be out looking at birds.