Monday, March 12, 2018

Regulars at Santa Ana after the Fire

Santa Ana is hopping again after a slow spell and a grass fire that closed it for days.  The cool morning brought out many people to the Wildlife Parks during Texas Week.  As we entered the park an English gentleman shared he just saw a Bobcat cross his path.  That was a sign for things to come.  Here are a my highlights.

Common Yellow-throat

                                 Olive Sparrow

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Tropical Kingbird 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Verdin, Olive Sparrow, Harris's Hawk at Santa Ana

When walking Santa Ana, we are always hopeful of great sightings.  This week's special birds were not as flashy as the Altamira Oriole and Green Jay but they pleased me more. The Verdin is probably the first I photoed.  Usually they are hard to see in the lower bushes.

Olive Sparrow
 Harris's Hawk 

             Green Jay (below)

                 Altamira Oriole  (above)

Blue-headed Vireo, Blue Bunting & More, Quinta

 Quinta Maztalan was busy this morning with school students from McAllen, the Red Hat Ladies and the hopeful Blue Birders.  The Blue-headed Vireo was showing out in the open while we waited for the Blue Bunting to peak out.  The Blue-headed Vireo is the first one I photographed but probably had a glimpse of one before. 
Note the large white eye ring. 
The rare  immature Blue Bunting looks more blue than it did a month ago. 

Rufous / Allen  Hummingbird is an immature male but which is hard to ID.
Curved-bill Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
What is left of a Dove that was probably dinner for one of the many hawks.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Marsh Wren and Clapper Rail at SPI Birding Center

These two birds are tough birds to spot as they spend most of the time in the reeds. Only occasionally do they show up for glimpse. The Clapper was out for 5 seconds and the Wren would show for a few seconds each time.  It is my first sighting of both this year.

 About have a dozen birders were trying to get a good look or a photo of this Wren for ID-ing.  I took about a 30 photos but only had a few that were out in the open.  The Clapper gave us only one viewing that was almost right under us. I heard another Clap about 15 minutes later.  Only one of the Clapper photo is in focus, but that's it.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Three Species of Orioles at Bensten State Park

The naturalist at NBC kindly shared that the Audubon Oriole was now at Bensten.  He thought he would go there and bring it back to the Butterfly Center.  At Bensten we heard that the Hooded Oriole was showing also.  We were in luck and also saw an immature Altamira, mature is more orange.  All three species are South Texas specialties. 

                                Altamira Oriole
 Altamira Oriole

Audubon Oriole is yellow and black rather than orange.

I think this is the first time I photographed an Audubon Oriole. My first sighting was at Salineno northwest of Rio City near the river. 

Hooded Oriole has a larger black hood than the others and has a larger white wing patch.
                  Note- white wing bar                    and white wing edges

Chachalaca, Pauraque, and a Curve-billed Thrasher

Chachalacas are only found within miles of the Rio Grande River in Texas. 

Common Pauraques are found similarly in South Texas.  They're hard to spot on the ground as our Night Hawks are hard to see on horizontal branches.  Both belong to the Goatsucker  Family.

Curve-billed Thrashers range from South Texas west to New Mexico and Arizona.


Green Jay, Kiskadee, Cardinal, Grackle at NBC

We had perfect lighting for the birds at the National Butterfly Center but a no show for the Painted Bunting.  The Green Jays were beautiful and the Great-tailed Grackle was spectacular. Butterflies were few but a Gulf Fritillary was cooperative as was the female Cardinal.

Gulf Fritillary

Spike, African Tortoise Rescued Exotic Pet

Border Patrol not a rare sighting