Friday, March 31, 2023

Mountain Bluebird on South Padre Island, 3/30/31

After several days of yard work and installing a couple of new water heaters, I jumped at the chance to chase a Mountain Bluebird when word got out that one had been discovered at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island.  Moutain Bluebirds are well known for their propensity to wander widely during winter in search of food.  I have seen several in the Rio Grande Valley but never one in Cameron County so I loaded the car and ran out to the Island.  The female Mountain Bluebird had been found by campers at Isla Blanca Park so my strategy was to wander the campground till I found it.  Well I made a few unsuccessful rounds and then tried the nearby shoreline as Mountain Bluebirds like lake shores and this bird had even been seen by the Christ the Redeemer statue.  Still no luck but I found a plover standing on the grass and acting very golden-plover like.  I was able to get close and it turned our to be an American Golden-Plover.  These are common in migration in pastures and at turf farms but pretty uncommon on SPI.  The smaller bill and dark rump separate it from our common Black-bellied Plover.

Well I walked back into the campground and there was the Mountain Bluebird.  Just a dull female but it still counts as my 425th bird species for Cameron County.

Well now that I've got the bluebird, I might as well head over to Sheepshead and check out the scene.  When I arrived at the Sheepshead Valley Land Fund lot, it was crowded with birders.  There was Father Tom and his birder posse and other familiar faces.  Chatting with the Padre it was fun to relive my find of the White-crested Elaenia fifteen years ago.  Tammy and Lizzie were there also and put me onto the Worm-eating Warbler.

And there were a couple of Hooded Warblers.

Black-and-white Warblers were had to miss.

I was able to get on a Kentucky Warbler for just a few seconds.  It was not seen again.

Louisiana Waterthrush is usually easy to find in early spring.

Northern Parulas were visible in all directions.  I estimated about fifteen of them.

The last Yellow-rumped Warblers were passing through and molting and they were a sorry lot.

Baltimore Orioles were a bit early and not in full breeding colors yet.

Poor shot of an early Swainson's Thrush.

I always feel good to get my Yellow-throated Vireo for the year.

Well an inpromptu trip turned into a great day.  I love the serendipity of birding!

Friday, March 3, 2023

Progreso Lakes, 3/3/23

Well I'm cleaning the SD card again and I have some pretty photos so I guess it's time for a blog post.  Green Jays are normally pretty uncommon in our neighborhood at Progreso Lakes so when I saw one eating the seed I put in the driveway for the doves and blackbirds, I decided to try and keep it around with more regular feeding.  It was joined by others and now I have a flock of four.  They like the seed but have really taken to fresh oranges.

We've also had as many as four Altamira Orioles hanging around.  It's been a couple of years since we have had a pair nest so I'm hoping they like our yard.

We are once again experiencing drought conditions in the Rio Grande Valley.  It's been a dry winter so the bird bath has been popular lately.  Pictured are Long-billed Thrasher, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Common Yellowthroat and Black-crested Titmouse.

Food is getting hard to find out in the brush country so our potato tree is popular.  Plain Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee and a Clay-colored Thrush are all searching for berries.

Our first Gray Catbird of the sping likes the fiddlewood berries.

A couple of days ago I went over to Resaca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville to look for a reported Tropical Parula.  I couldn't find it but got lucky with this Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Normally there are very few around here during winter but this has been a good winter for them.

But a couple of days later both the Tropical Parula and a female Blue Bunting were found, so I guess I didn't do a very good job.