Sunday, February 26, 2017

022617 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake


http://www.stwnewspress.com/news/lifestyles/life-at-boomer-lake-right-conditions-could-lead-to-amazing/article_97cbe11f-7274-5064-b277-8c4d0e14bca6.html

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Birding on a Shoestring--The Final Countdown from South Padre Island

           
                                                                  Bonaparte's Gull


                                                                 Solitary Sandpiper


                                                                 Roseate Spoonbill


                                                                    American Coot


                                                                  Bonaparte's Gull


Black Skimmer  


01-23-17

The first shot is Bonaparte's Gull from Boca Chica State Park, just south of South Padre Island.

The remainder is the last of the group from South Padre Island's jetty, and the last of the photos
from this trip.  Thanks for viewing and I'll see you again at home in Oklahoma.
                                   

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Birding On a Shoestring At the Lower Rio Grande Valley In Coastal Waters


                                                                       Reddish Egret


                                                                          Ditto


                                                                          Ditto


                                                                     Redhead Pair


                                                             Bonaparte's Gull (top)
                                                           Ring-billed Gull (Bottom)

                                             
                                                                     Reddish Egret


                                                                     Reddish Egret


                                                                          Ditto


                                                                    Snowy Egret


                                                                  Redheads in Flight


                                                                    Female Redhead


                                                                     Snowy Egret


                                                                          Ditto


                                                                        Ditto

                                         

                                                                     Tri-colored Heron


01-23-17

This portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley journey encompassed a couple of places on the coast, one of which I had never been.

These birds are old friends, and even though more will be shown to you later, these are some of my favorite birds, especially since I happen to be a heron specialist.  In general, water birds are
intriguing to me, as they sometimes have to be wily and cunning in order to get a meal.

Just as an example, the Snowy Egret has yellow feet for that purpose.  The feet resemble worms in the water, and this bird has a natural instinct to lift and move its feet in a circular motion in order to attract fish and small crustaceans, as well as swirling them to the surface.  Isn't nature wonderful with some built-in ways to achieve the feeding goal?

The Reddish Egret is a canopy fisher, as you can see with its wings raised above its head.  It also tends to run about in the water in order to stir fish to move toward the surface.

Ducks are also some of my favorites, having grown up in an area where there were and still are, water birds a-plenty.

The pictures of the Redheads will thrill you as much to view them, as it did for me to take the pictures.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Birding on a Shoestring--The Secrets of Zapata County


                                                                   Crested Caracara


                                                                  Lincoln's Sparrow


                                                               Common Ground Dove


                                                                     Olive Sparrow


                                                                      Bobwhite


                                                                    Pyrrhuloxia


                                                                      Bobwhite


                                                              Black-throated Sparrow


                                                              Common Ground Dove


                                                                 Crested Caracara


                                                               Adult Crested Caracara


                                                                     Egyptian Geese


01-27-17

Crossing into Zapata county from Starr county gives one an entirely different type of
topography.  It is more sandy with scrub, so it appeals to different kinds of birds.  It
is almost like we went from one country to another.

Here we have more southwestern types of birds, like the Pyrrhuloxia, a cardinal-like bird,
which is easy to distinguish if you know what to look for.  This bird has a light colored
parrot type of bill, good for cracking harder seed and nuts.  Sparrows and quail also favor this
area, and the Groove-billed had been around before, but unfortunately not on this day.

We also found Egyptian Geese and a Black Vulture colony in San Marcos, TX, which is one
of those rare favored areas for the Golden-cheeked Warbler in the summer.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Birding On a Shoestring--Days 11 Through 13


                                                              White-winged Dove


                                                                 Crested Caracara


                                                                        Javalina


                                                                             Ditto


                                                             Red-crowned Parrots


                                                            Yellow-headed Parrot


                                                                  Red-crowned Parrot


                                                           Black-crested Titmouse


                                                                Clay-colored Thrush


                                                                    Great Kiskadee


                                                             Black-crested Titmouse


                                                              Ladder-backed Woodpecker



                                                               White-winged Dove


                                                          Ladder-backed Woodpecker


                                                                  Audubon's Oriole


                                                                  Audubon's Oriole


                                                          Ladder-backed Woodpecker


                                                            Black-crested Titmouse


                                                                          Inca Dove


                                                            Yellow-rumped Warbler


                                                                         Verdin



01-24 through 01-26-17

My third year spot, Laguna Atascosa, never seems to disappoint.  Every time we go there, something new always crops up, like the White-winged Dove, the in-your face, javalina or collared peccary, which is a rodent, AND a decent picture of a Crested Caracara at eye level.  Even though it was an extraordinarily breezy day, both the caracara and I held our ground to make this a shot worth remembering!

A couple of evenings were given to a noted park in Hidalgo County, where the wild parrots roost in eucalyptus trees.  It was my first time around those trees, and I took in the exhilarating scent, as if it was my first time.

The first day of parrot hunting was fruitful, but it took a while to get near them, so it was too late for photos.  We knew where to find them the second time, so these shots were much better.  It was rumored that there were more parrot species there, but I was not able to locate them.  Perhaps another time.

A side trip was taken to another birding venue, as I missed a shot of the Clay-colored Thrush the first time.  However, the second time, I hit my mark, along with additional shots of the Green Jay and Black-crested Titmouse, more endemics of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Another return trip was given to a northern hotspot in Salenino, and this time, the Audubon's Oriole was present.  My timing was not good, but I waited a couple of hours, and the Oriole returned.

An Osprey was in the area as was a possible Sharp-shinned Hawk to make things interesting, and it
is believed that we were in the vicinity of a Plain Chachalaca colony.  They could be heard from quite a distance and a couple were seen.

We missed the White-collared Seedeater, which was reportedly in the area.

We stayed in Starr County for the return visit to Roma and Falcon State Park.  We arrived late afternoon but managed to get our sights on a Verdin, as well as several other birds that you will see
next time.