Sunday, February 21, 2021

Aftermath of the freeze at Progreso Lakes, 2/21/21

Well the great freeze of 2021 is over and everyone is cleaning up the mess.  We lost power and water for three days here at Progreso Lakes but our fireplace kept some heat in the house and I had a few five gallon cans of water stored so we were in pretty good shape.  The native plants fared pretty good but my exotics got clobbered.  I won't know how badly for a few days but we twice had freezing temperatures of twelve consecutive hours.  Anyway I expected a few different birds to show up and today we got this nice male Painted Bunting.  It probably wintered locally as migrants should not be here for five or six weeks.

Yesterday we had a flock of seventeen Northern Pintails and two Northern Shovellers.  Both are common locally in winter but our lake doesn't have the shallow edges they prefer.

Our White-throated Sparrow has been present since 1/7.

Before the freeze I picked up a couple more visiting Mexican species.  This Golden-crowned Warbler has been present for several weeks at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.  I think it is the tenth I've seen north of the border.

Most birders see their first ABA Painted Restart in the canyons of SE Arizona but they are pretty common not far away from here in the mountains of Mexico.  This one wintering in McAllen is the third I've seen in Hidalgo County.

With the very dry conditions and the remaining fruit and insects being obliterated by the hard freeze, hungry birds may be on the move.  I will not be surprised if there are some fantastic finds in the coming days.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Wood Duck at Progreso Lakes, 2/7/21

This morning I looked out the window and saw a funky shaped duck swimming in the early morning shade in the resaca behind our house at Progreso Lakes.  I picked up the binoculars and was pretty surprised to see it was a drake Wood Duck.  So I grabbed the camera and ran outside just as the Wood Duck swam into the sunshine.  I wish it had been a little closer but I was happy to get these shots of our third ever Wood Duck.  What a magnificent bird!

A little later our new neighbor across the water took his canoe out for a morning outing and proceeded to stip up all the Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.  As he paddled east, the ducks flew back to our west end of the lake and started to pile up.

I scoped the flock which I estimated be about 2500 and managed to pull out six Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.

Here's my first Blue-winged Teal for the month with a Black-belly photo bomb.

So this is the third Wood Duck we've had in four years at Progreso Lakes and I consider them more rare than Canvasback which we've had twice and much more rare than Cinnamon Teal which we've only had once.  And we've yet to see a Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser or Mallard which are not any more rare than Wood Duck.  So we are either due some more ducks or we've had more than our fair share of Wood Ducks.