I stopped at a rest stop as I headed towards Alpine, Texas. There was a flock of about 8 of these birds. I am used to seeing Savannah Sparrows back home in Ontario. But these guys looked a little different. Winter plumage, maybe. There can be alot of variation in Savannah Sparrows. But I figure this must be a Savannah Sparrow. Don’t know what else it could be. Please let me know if you think it might be some other specie.
Blogs are a way of expressing yourself. The writer doesn’t really know if anyone is reading the various postings. But people do access it. I don’t post things on this blog as often as I used to. Facebook is a bit easier and sharing the posts of others is just a simple “click”. Writing a blog post takes a little more work. Yet I still turn to my blog at times, especially when I want to write something or explain something with a little more “meat” to it.
There are various web sites that you can attach to your blog that show the blog owner/writer who is looking at the blog. And for the past year, I have noticed that more and more Russians are looking at my blog. Yes, Russians. Statcounter provides the names and addresses of the ISPs that are being used to view my blog. Now why are so many Russians looking at it?? I have no idea. I don’t write anything in my blog that is even remotely about Russia.
On Jan1/18 at 19:08, someone from the Russian Federation, using Chrome 63.0 Win 8, with the host name Rostelecom (18.104.22.168) accessed my blog.
On Dec. 31/17 at 13:15, someone from Saint Petersburg City, Russian Federation, using Yandex Browser 17.9 Win 8.1, with the host name Jsc Er-telecom Holding Saint-Petersburg Branch (22.214.171.124) accessed my blog.
On Dec. 4/17 at 20.44, someone from the Russian Federation, using Yandex Browser 17.9 Win 8.1, with the host name Beeline Home (126.96.36.199) accessed my blog.
I could go on and on. My blog is accessed by Russians all the time. Over and Over again. I can’t figure out why.
SANTA ANA NWR UPDATE
Things are not getting any better in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge “Wall” controversy. For more background can see our previous reports from August, 2017at
and September, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security has recently announced that the first new section of the proposed border wall at the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in South Texas will be at the refuge, specifically built on the well-known levee by the north end of the refuge.
The proposed 2.9-mile section of wall at Santa Ana NWR would be constructed in a 10-mile gap in the existing barrier. The new wall would be a 30-foot tall concrete base with an additional 18 feet of steel bollard fence atop it. Additionally, there would be a 150-foot “enforcement zone” stripped of vegetation next to and south of the wall. This zone would include a road and surveillance towers with floodlighting.
There would be no wall at either end of this construction. At least for the time-being, this new section of wall would simply be a barrier to walk around!
The Santa Ana wall section is estimated to cost $45 million – approximately $15 million per mile – and is slated to be completed by July 2019, according to Army Corps of Engineers records published in the Texas Observer and described in a highly revealing and recommended investigative article by Melissa del Bosque:
It is still uncertain what this construction would mean for access to the refuge once the barrier is completed.
Santa Ana NWR has been long been a regular “Mecca” for birders and a place where unique “South Texas specialties” are regularly found. Santa Ana was created in 1943 to protect migratory birds, and 94.9% of its property was acquired through Duck-Stamp/MBCF dollars. Some 400 bird species have been observed at Santa Ana, and many other wildlife species including rare mammals, herps, and butterflies call the area home.
Elsewhere in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the National Butterfly Center, a non-profit sanctuary and wildlife center, recently filed a lawsuit in Washington D.C. against the Department of Homeland Security demanding that the Trump administration conduct federally required environmental assessments and follow the constitution and legal due process before attempting to build a border wall through their 100-acre private nature and wildlife sanctuary.
According to the documents recently obtained, the wall would cut through other valuable nearby habitats and properties, such as the much-beloved Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.
Local communities in the LRGV continue to line up in opposition to the wall. Fortunately, there is still time to halt this monstrosity, including other ways to set up smart and more wildlife-friendly fences, replete with technologically advanced sensing (e.g., listening and viewing) devices. Congress can act, as long as members hear from their constituents. Readers concerned about this situation can access a model letter provided last summer by the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and re-write sections with their own words to reflect the current situation:
This article has been re-produced from the latest issue of the Birding Community E-Bulletin.
Statcounter keeps track of who visits my blog and notifies me. And guess what! The Russians keep checking my blog FREQUENTLY. Not sure why. But they are lurking around reading mine and almost everyone else’s. Statcounter supplies me with the ISP addresses and the origin of the various views. I wonder why they are doing this……
Last Friday, December 1, 2017, a Green-breasted Mango, a hummingbird normally found in eastern Mexico, was discovered in Quinta Mazatlán, a World Birding Centre in McAllen, Texas. I went with a couple of friends on Saturday to see if we could see it. We were in the location for several hours, with no luck. On Sunday, the bird showed itself several times in the same area in which it was originally found. Quite a number of birders were lucky enough to see it. So this morning, Monday, I drove back to try my luck again. This time I left the house early. It is about a 45 minute drive from our place. At 8:30 am, the Mango put in a short appearance. I was able to see it with both my binoculars and my scope. At 10 am, the Mango appeared again. This time it hung around a little longer. Still a long way off. I took some photos but it was behind some branches and the camera focused on the branches and not on the bird. But at least I was able to see it very well with my binoculars and my scope again. This is the best picture I got.
While waiting for the Mango to appear, a Couches Kingbird flew into the Hackberry Tree (the tree that the Mango is favouring). I took this picture of the Couches.
Two years ago, I planted a bed of Mistflower beside my driveway. This flower is a magnet to butterflies. Mostly Queens, but also other butterflies. Here is a picture of a Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak on my Mistflower.
Last week, I drove over to the Longoria Unit of a Wildlife Management Area nearby our place. The first photo is of a sign over the entrance to the Longoria Unit. The next picture is of Common Mestra, a butterfly found in southern Texas.
It has been 6 or 7 years since Tamaulipas Crow has been seen in the United States. It is normally found in northeastern Mexico. They used to nest in the Brownsville Landfill and could be found regularly there. But for some reason they stopped showing up at the Landfill. But this year they are popping up in several locations here in Texas. On Friday, November 24th, we went to the dump (where they are being reported this year). Spent 4 hours looking and came away without seeing one. I went back and spent another 3 hours looking again. Still did not see one. There are also 2 Tamaulipas Crows being reported on South Padre Island, at the World Birding Centre. (Go figure) So when I left the Landfill, I drove over to the Island. Bingo. Got the bird. Worth the effort. The photos on this post aren’t the best, but they are the best I could get.