Thursday, February 27, 2014

Palo Alto Battle Field and Old Port Isabel Road

 Our first stop was the Palo Alto National Historic Park. Here our target bird was a Cassius Sparrow. The bonus for me was the Eastern Meadow Larks singing sweetly. It is one of my lifetime favorite birds which we seldom see anymore in Southern Minnesota. Greater Road Runner, Cactus Wren and a Long-billed Curlew were easier to photograph than the Cassius Sparrow as we drove to the Old Port Esabel Road. On our way to Brownville's Landfill to look for one Glaucous Gull among thousands there were Egrets, a Belted Kingfiller, and hawks. At the Landfill the best birds were a White-tailed Hawk, and a Caracara. 

Eastern Meadow Larks singing in the almost rain.

                                  Sue, LGB and Pat looking for Cassius Sparrows.

Roadrunner in a Tree!!!  And a Cactus Wren in the same tree.  Wow!

                        Add a brown crest and Meep, Meep.  Great seeing it just sitting not moving.
                                                                 Long-billed Curlew
                          Long-billed Dowitchers in the abandoned fields on Old Port Isabel Road.

                                                                Red-tailed Hawk

                                                             Immature Red-tailed Hawk along the road.

                     Belted Kingfisher above a canal.


                             Cattle Egrets in a canal.

            Great Egrets and Moscovy Ducks, the only in the center is close to a wild Moscovy.
   To the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump.

                                                                                                                              Gully Gee!

                          Crested Caracara
Great-tailed Grackle

                                                            White-tailed Hawk Immature

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Aplomado Falcon Adventure

 Our Aplomado Adventure  on February 25 was on Old Port Isabel Road. Sue was the first to see a hopeful lump. The rest of us were not as sure. We drove on and saw Long-billed Curlews, a Road Runner, Cactus Wren and various sparrows. Taking the our trip in reverse, we stopped again and brought out the spotting scope. Photos confirmed that it was an Aplomado Falcon.  The bonus was seeing  mating pair of Aplomado Falcons.

This is how far away the Aplomado Falcons were. The land is posted and fenced so this was how we saw them.  In the center of the photo the far left huge Yucca flower was a little bump. With good binoculars, Sue could see a white front with a brown belly. Pat thought it might be, but we went on our way.

       X marked the spot!  He was sitting right below the cross supports of the power lines.

  A positive ID! Steve's telescope brought him in closer as did my Cannon PowerShot 50XS. 

                                The malenfalcon flew to another Yucca flower. 
Here is a close up view.

                              Then we saw another in the old  hacking box, used to transport raptors.

         She moved to the perch and then he flew to her and then left again for the Yucca.
The wind was strong for her and the photographers. I used a 4 ft post for steady myself.

The ladies did the happy dance. Steve was given a homemade 
knit hat by a young woman in the black truck over his shoulder going down 
the Old Port Isabel Road, but that is another story. We left pumped.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roseate Spoonbills at Estero Llando Grande

The Spoonbills were the delight of Birders gathered under the roof of the deck on Sunday for the Birding Walk. Normally the viewing is ducks, grebes and turtles on the  pond.  The Spoonbills were in from the levy sitting with the Neotropic Cormorants. This is the first time seeing them that close at Estero. In back of them on the boardwalk were Snowy Egrets, White Ibis and Soras in the reeds. Last year at South Padre I caught a male bathing or just showing off.  Check these out for color. I added one photo from that posting.

 Roseate Spoonbills

                                         A Spoonbill eye to eye with a Cormorant

                                                                      Fishing for food 

                                    She just seems like she's smiling at me. 
                       There are more of this stunning male in my March 2013 post.  


Sunday, February 23, 2014

White-face Ibis, Cinnamon Teal & Yellow Legs

Continued from February 22nd . . .                                    
  The photos are from Willow and Pintail Lakes  at Santa Ana. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays Joanie and Mark (from the UP of Michigan) guide at Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. They are volunteers at the park for 3/6 months. They are excellent bird guides and are helping for any level of birder, as do the wonderful guides at Estero.

                                                     Ibis working for his food.
 White Face Ibis are named because the adults have no feathers from their eyes
 to their beaks so their skin show.

        These are Greater Yellow Legs rather than Lesser which Gunnar thinks are cooler.

                                                           Greater Yellow Legs

                                                   Cinnamon Teal and a Green-wing Teal

                                                   Snow Geese very high, must have been 200.
            It was a lovely sight to behold. They were so high we could not hear them at all.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Santa Ana's Pauraques and Clay-colored Thrushes

This mornings's bird walk at Santa Ana started out well seeing a Clay-colored Thrush, Altimira Orioles, Green Jays at the feeder with the Red-wing Black Birds. On the 3 1/2 hour walk four Clay-colored Thrushes were spots through out the refuge. The Common Pauraque was a first for me at Santa Ana. There are rumors that here are four but I only saw one. The Anas have not been seen for 10 days. The cloud cover made the walk very comfortable. My elusives are still elusives. Verdin and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet were heard but not seen. The next post will be water birds of Santa Ana. Thank you Mark and Joanie for the guiding and sharing your knowledge and passion for birds and nature.

               Common Pauraque, member of the Goat-suckers (Nighthawk and Whippoorwill)

                      The male Red-wing Black Birds are pests at the feeders but beautiful. 

                   The Clay-colored Thrush used to be named Clay-colored Robin. 
                                              American Robins are Thrushes.

                                              Here is a Green Jay with the Thrush.

                                 Waiting for the feeder or water to open up.

                         The male Golden-fronted Woodpecker above and female below.

                                    The Lesser Goldfinch, male above and female below. 

                                                   Eastern Phoebe

                                                 Kiskadee - sings his name.