Saturday, January 30, 2016

Virginia Rail Day at Estero Llano Grande

I had good intentions on going on the Butterfly Walk at Estero on Friday. But then word spread that it was a Rail Day instead. The group that were butterflying was too large for our liking and the thought of seeing a Virginia Rail to enticing.  Sue and I stayed on the boardwalk and NE edge of the pond by the visitor center waiting. Our patience paid off big time. Six Soras were coming in at out of the reeds as was the timid V Rail for 20 seconds. That was enough for a great look or photo op.

Sora, heard more often than seen. The rest of the photos are of the Virginia Rail.

Whistling Dixie Ducks at Frontera

Blackbelly Whistling Ducks are a South Texas specialty, meaning they are seen very few other locations in the US. They are not a delicacy as you see by the photos. First group of ducks are with a White Ibis and unfocused. Then the ducks get serious . . . 

That's all folks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Northern Jacana Even Closer

Today I went again to Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge for the Northern Jacana.  This was our target bird for the last week.  Now we can let it rest, because it cooperated nicely.  Actually he disregarded us and came within 50 feet of Gunnar and I and a couple from Norman, OK. It was a grand morning of Jacanaing!

Check out his feet!  

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Lifer: The Northern Jacana at Santa Ana

The Northern Jacana is a rail usually seen in Mexico. It can walk on lily pads but in these ponds he was on the floating debris.  He has long light green legs and extremely long toes. This male juvenile was a rare site this far north so there was much excitement for the many birders who flood the valley are carry huge cameras. 

This Jacana has been in the Valley since November. It has been seen at Santa Ana since we have arrived last week. We saw this juvenile last week from afar but today. I got up early enough to see this targeted bird. The plan was to go with Laura who leads the bird walk. When too many non-birders gathered I decided it would not happen with such a large group.  I followed Javi to the third blind at Willow Lakes, no luck.   We went to the levee between Lake 3 and 4 and met 4 guys with big smiles on their faces. We were also smiling when this rail stayed long enough for photos. This male juvenile is molting and getting more color.  

This is last weeks attempt of seeing the Jacana. He was way across the pond, but we were happy to catch a peek. There island of reeds and vegetation in these small ponds.