Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Purple Gallinule at Progreso Lakes, 4/29/20

The morning was slow today in our Progreso Lakes yard but things started to pick up when a cold front blasted in a little before noon.  It only dropped temperatures from the 90's to the 80's but the wind was strong enough to slow down some migrants.  Best bird was this Purple Gallinule that flushed up from the edge of the resaca into the neighbor's yard.  I thought I could get one someday but didn't know how many years it might take.  This was yard bird #226.

Just a few minutes before the gallinule, I was sitting on the porch watching the bird bath when this Swainson's Thrush blew in, yard bird #225.  It is very satisfying to see the native plant garden in which I have put in so much effort finally attracting birds and butterflies.  This one liked the fiddlewood berries.

Our second and third ever Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also dropped into the garden.

And then there were eight species of warblers.  Poor light made photos difficult.  Best was a brilliant Golden-winged Warbler that popped up from the garden for a couple of seconds.  But no photo today, maybe tomorrow.  Here's our first Magnolia Warbler of the year.

Chestnut-sided Warblers did not cooperate.

Nor did the Blackburnian Warbler.

But common Yellow Warblers always like to pose for photos.

Our 2020 April total is now 129, the most we've ever had in one month.  Our 2020 year list is 172 which is the most we've ever had this early in the year.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Garganey at Aransas NWR, 4/19/20

Back in the spring of 1985 I had twisted my life into such a mess that though I lived in Brownsville, I was unable to see the drake Garganey that spent a month near Kingsville.  A few years later I got to see one at Buenas Aires NWR in Arizona.  But for the past 25 years since returning to Texas, I've been waiting for another to grace our state.  Well, despite shelter in place orders for the pandemic, a birder discovered one a week ago at Aransas NWR.  So I shot right up there, feeling confident with the bird having been sighted on Jones Pond.  It had to be a good omen.  But it was not seen again.

That is it wasn't seen for five days but then it reappeared at Heron Flats less than a mile from the original location.  So I made another run and got lucky this time.  It was distant and hidden except for a few seconds now and then.  But I got identifiable photos and the dead Garganey that has hung from my neck for the past 35 years can finally be removed.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Great Day at Progreso Lakes, 4/18/20

With the pandemic going on I'm not birding anywhere but in our yard at Progreso Lakes.  The past week has seen migration action pick up with several days of 60+ species but nothing great.  I thought today was going to be another hot muggy breezy boring day.  But after finding the first Golden-winged Warbler for our yard, things really picked up.  Yard bird #224!

I caught a glimpse of a Yellow-breasted Chat and played a recording hoping it might come out.  Well it did and it spent the whole day singing and chasing stuff around the yard.

Other warblers included Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Green, Tennessee and Yellow Warblers and a Northern Parula.

First birds of the morning was this hen Muscovy with her 14 babies.

Small numbers of orioles were a treat.  We had Altamira, Baltimore, Orchard and Hooded.  I'm still waiting for Bullock's.

At lunch I was sitting on about 60 species and thought I would try for a few more after I finished eating.  Then a little cool front came wafting in with a noticeably cooler north breeze.  Could this stop a few migrating birds?  I kept wandering from the front yard to the back and picked up a few more.  I got Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos and an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Meanwhile back along the resaca I got two Spotted Sandpipers and a Silt Sandpiper.

My buddy Mike in Houston called to see how things were going and as we talked I racked up both Indigo and Painted Buntings.

Well, it was dinner time already and as Honey and I ate dinner I saw a Warbling Vireo through the window.  This was bird number 73 for the day smashing our old one day record of 69.  I was still missing some easy birds and there was a good chance of an evening hawk flight so I got back to work.  I got a singing Lesser Goldfinch and a late American Kestrel.

I also saw ten Turkey Vultures, 50 distant Mississippi Kites, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a few Swainson's Hawks and about 30 Broad-wings.

Gee, now we had a chance to break 80.  So I ran to the the back yard and got the evening flight of Neotropic Cormorants.

And then Snowy and Cattle Egrets.

And with a calling Common Nighthawk, I finished the day with 82 species.  I missed a lot of common stuff so that's a breakable record.

Jones yard, Progreso Lakes, Hidalgo, Texas, US
Apr 18, 2020 8:20 AM - 8:10 PM
Protocol: Stationary
82 species (+4 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (fulgens)  18
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)  19
Mottled Duck (Gulf Coast)  2
Plain Chachalaca  6
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Inca Dove  1
White-tipped Dove  2
White-winged Dove  150
Mourning Dove  10
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Common Nighthawk  1
Common Pauraque  1
Chimney Swift  5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  8
Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Northern)  2
Common Gallinule (American)  1
Black-necked Stilt (Black-necked)  2
Stilt Sandpiper  1
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Laughing Gull  3
Franklin's Gull  3
Neotropic Cormorant  23
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)  3
Snowy Egret  2
Cattle Egret (Western)  3
Green Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  12
Osprey (carolinensis)  1
Mississippi Kite  50
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Northern)  1
Broad-winged Hawk  30
Swainson's Hawk  5
Ringed Kingfisher  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Northern)  4
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Crested Caracara  3
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Black Phoebe  1
Brown-crested Flycatcher  2
Great Kiskadee  4
Tropical Kingbird  1
Couch's Kingbird  1
Tropical/Couch's Kingbird  2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  1
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo  1
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
Black-crested Titmouse  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  20
Purple Martin  2
Barn Swallow (American)  3
Cliff Swallow (pyrrhonota Group)  2
swallow sp.  40
Carolina Wren (Northeast Mexico/South Texas)  1
European Starling  6
Gray Catbird  1
Northern Mockingbird  4
Clay-colored Thrush  1
House Sparrow  5
Lesser Goldfinch  1
Lark Sparrow  2
Lincoln's Sparrow  1
Yellow-breasted Chat  2
Orchard Oriole  3
Hooded Oriole (cucullatus/sennetti)  2
Altamira Oriole  1
Baltimore Oriole  2
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Bronzed Cowbird (Bronzed)  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
Great-tailed Grackle  50
blackbird sp.  100
Golden-winged Warbler  1
Tennessee Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
Northern Parula  2
Yellow Warbler (Northern)  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Indigo Bunting  1
Painted Bunting  1