Friday, March 17, 2017

Last Walk at Estero Winter 2017

Estero Llando State Park was our go to place to see birds, butterflies and learn about the plants and trees of SRGV.  The Butterfly Walk looked like a bust because of threats of rain and thunderstorms.  So I left  hoping to get sunshine and find a few good birds.  3/10
                    White-tipped Dove and Inca Dove  in a nice size comparison.

    Brown Anole   six feet up a tree                                          Anole  feeling threatening

                      Black-capped Titmouse

Orange-crowned Warbler

Cardinal   (male)

Carolina Wren 
finding a nesting spot
usually singing unseen

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Clay-colored Thrushes and Northern Mockingbirds

Finally on the last day at Estero I got great looks at the Clay-colored Thrushes.  They were not in abundance or very visible.  I pointed out  the Mulberry Bush where there might be to a Brit couple.  He was delighted to see the Mulberry (a first) but he knew it from nursery rhymes. They spotted one in a more open tree across the road.  They are so beautiful.

            Northern Mockingbird are one of the most abundant birds in the Valley.

Larks on Border Road North of Sana Ana

Border Road became a good place to roadside bird.  After the heavy rains on March 8th the Burrowing Owl could not be located.  But Sally and Dave always reported wonderful sightings. We did see Meadow Larks and Horn Larks and many wine perchers. Hornlarks are often since by the side of the road flying in small flocks in early winter in Minnesota.


        The Hornlarks  were                                   missing horns.

Meadowlarks have been a favorite of mine since childhood.  We could depend on one singing on the highest post along many country roads.  They are now quite scarce in Freeborn County but Al Batt says there are some out near Manchester. 

Meadowlarks were a ways off with a strong wind. It was very hard to steady the camera.  But I was excited to see them before we left the valley.  Hoping to see them in the North Country.

  Every 1/4 mile there are hawks  or American Kestrels sitting on the wires always hunting.. 
Surprise a Kiskadee!, sweet good-bye to the untypically silent Kiskadee. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Red-crowned Parrots at Valley Nature Center


  The last evening in SRGV we decided to look for the Red-crowned Parrots in Weslaco. Sally  convinced us and our new neighbors at the Alamo Inn that the Parrots could be seen at the Valley Nature Center.  We waited and waited for the flock but only two were hanging around the nest boxes. Photos were taken but the light was leaving fast. 

                                                       He actually yawned!     Ready to Roost.

Then we heard them off in the distance and drove a couple of blocks straight west on 3rd. There the raucous began with about 30 some squawking parrots.  It would be hard to live there but the roost quiets down hopefully as dark falls.  We didn't wait because we were hungry for one last meal and beer at the Blue Onion. Next year, we will be there in January when it gets dark earlier.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Scoring Hummingbirds at Estero

Hummingbirds are a constant at Estero Llando State Park. Rick Snyder, a naturalist volunteer at the park has proven that their are four species:  Black-chinned, Rufus, Buff-belly and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  We were fortunate to see and photograph all four on yesterday with Rick filling the feeders and guiding us.

Black-chinned above and Buff-bellied Below





Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Estero Bird Bath Buddies

Gunnar and I  went to Estero.  Our target bird was the Becard but when you are Becardless you do the best you can. So the water feature by the feeding station in the 
Tropical Area was my turf.  Meet a couple from Mankato where I went to college just 60 miles from me.  He was a biologist/ornithologist professor at MU and his wife wrote her master's thesis on Danish settlements in Minnesota including my home town of Clarks Grove.  Back to the birds, they came to the bath in couples.  Birds in order:  Orange-crown Warblers, Northern Cardinals, Titmouse with Orange-crown, White-tipped Dove