Monday, May 13, 2019

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.

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