Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fulvous X Black-bellied Whistling-Duck at Progreso Lakes, 10/31/19

A strong cold front blew in last night bringing in some overdue birds this morning.  After a high of 90 yesterday it didn't make it to 60 today.  But that's good weather for ducks and we had eight species today.  Duck of the day goes to the returning Fulvous X Black-bellied Whistling-Duck.  The plumage seemed crisper to me than our previous bird with no pink on the bill, so it could be a different one or maybe just a year older.  Basically it looks like a Fulvous but without the dorsal scaling and more maroon plumage on the upper back and sides.  Here's some distant photos.

And here's a regular Fulvous Whistling-Duck for comparison.

The morning started when I looked out the back window and saw our first Northern Shoveller of the month.

And our first Lesser Scaup with four Ring-necked Ducks.  Photo leaves a bit to be desired.

Our first Common Gallinule of the month was a juvenile.

And lastly I saw a distant floppy-tailed black bird sitting on the carrizo out of the wind.  It's getting late for Groove-billed Ani.

Finished the month with 123 species seen from our yard, an all time monthly high.  It broke our previous record of 121 from Oct 2017.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Progreso Lakes yard, 10/26/19

After the cold front roared though yesterday, morning low temperatures were in the 40's.  But that didn't keep Birder Patrol from making their appointed visit.  So I got up out of my nice warm bed to greet them and enjoyed our back yard birds with them for a couple of hours.  Wood Storks passing overhead got everyone excited.

And a few minutes later this small flock of White-fronted Geese was a fall first for everyone.

Everyone is always impressed with the large flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.  They just arrived a few days ago.  My current estimate is 1200.

We even got lucky with a flyby Fulvous Whistling-Duck.  I got this poor photo later.

After two hours the group up and left for more birds at nearby Estero Llano Grande State Park.  Shortly after their exit a couple of gulls flew by.  I got on them late and assumed they were the usual Laughing Gulls.  But a bit later one returned and I was shocked to see it was a Franklin's Gull.  They are hard to find inland in the fall.

And then five American Avocets were my first for the fall.

Several local sugar cane farmers were burning nearby fields in preparation for harvest.  This fire was across the river in Mexico.

And burning sugar cane brings in the raptors hoping for roasted rodents.  There were two White-tailed Hawks.

And several Black Vultures with the Turkey Vultures.  Here's one of each.

Here's today's list.

Jones yard, Progreso Lakes, Hidalgo, Texas, US
Oct 26, 2019 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Stationary
61 species (+2 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens)  1200
Fulvous Whistling-Duck  2
Greater White-fronted Goose (Western)  11
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)  1
Plain Chachalaca  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  20
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Inca Dove  2
White-winged Dove  3
Mourning Dove  5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Northern)  1
American Coot (Red-shielded)  1
American Avocet  5
Killdeer  1
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Franklin's Gull  2
Caspian Tern  1
Wood Stork  14
Anhinga  1
Neotropic Cormorant  5
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)  1
Great Egret (American)  1
Green Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  3
White-faced Ibis  3
Black Vulture  6
Turkey Vulture  300
Osprey (carolinensis)  1
White-tailed Kite  2
White-tailed Hawk  2
Swainson's Hawk  1
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern)  4
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
American Kestrel  1
Black Phoebe  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Vermilion Flycatcher  1
Great Kiskadee  4
Tropical Kingbird  2
Tropical/Couch's Kingbird  2
Loggerhead Shrike  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  70
Barn Swallow (American)  30
Cave Swallow (Texas)  1
House Wren (Northern)  1
Carolina Wren (Northeast Mexico/South Texas)  1
European Starling  5
Northern Mockingbird  4
Clay-colored Thrush  1
House Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow (Savannah)  2
Western Meadowlark  3
Altamira Oriole  1
Red-winged Blackbird  200
Bronzed Cowbird (Bronzed)  1
Great-tailed Grackle  6
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-throated Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  1

Thursday, October 24, 2019

South Padre Island, 10/23/19

Today I finally decided to get out of the yard and check fall migration at South Padre Island.  It was warm with a southeasterly breeze but passerine migrants were a plenty.  One of the first I saw at the Valley Land Fund's Sheepshead lot was this Philadelphia Vireo.  There was also a Red-eyed and a White-eyed Vireo.

Bill Beatty and I were discussing maintenance of the lot when we stumbled across this Acadian Flycatcher.  Note the long primary extension and the green back.

There was a nice mix of warblers including this friendly American Redstart that spent hours foraging along the wooden railing on the north lot.  

And this Magnolia Warbler.

But after two hours I decided it was time to check out the Convention Center.  It also had a nice mix of migrants like this bathing Wood Thrush.

The best warbler was this Bay-breasted.  We normally see few of these in fall though last fall they were more common.  I've heard that an increase in the spruce bud worm population in the Northeast has resulted in an increase in Bay-breasted Warblers among others.

American Redstarts searched for insects while pretty much ignoring me.  But they are so hyperactive it's difficult to get a good photo.

Several times I encountered a an unlikely trio of a Hooded Warbler, an Ovenbird and a Woodthrush.  I don't know if there was more than one trio or if they were just covering a lot of ground.

About 2 PM it seemed like passerinces were dropping in.  I was whistling my crude Wood Thrush song hoping to get one to maybe move into a better position for photos when a flock of Gray Catbirds flew in.  I counted eleven!  Several more were feeding in the firecracker bushes.

Then I found a late Yellow-throated Vireo.

And two more Philadelphia Vireos.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are starting to show.

I love the bright green fall Tennessee Warblers.

Well, it was time to give Sheepshead one last check.  Another Yellow-throated Vireo was nice and I got a poor look at a late Worm-eating Warbler.

And lastly there was this one.  I guess it's an axanthic (lacking yellow and orange pigments) American Redstart.  It kind of reminded me of the female Taiga Flycatcher I saw in Sichuan, China but American Redstart is a little more likely.

It was a good day.  And a powerful cold front is due tomorrow so I may have to make another trip soon.