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Recent photos taken near-by in RGV


Curve-billed Thrasher

curve-billed-thrasher

Aplomado Falcon

 

Aplomado Falcon pic taken on Canon Road near Adams Reservoir

Roseate Spoonbill

 

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Red-crowned Parrot at the bird garden in our park

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A flock of parrots on the telephone wires

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Peregrine Falcon

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Audubon’s Oriole

Audubon's Oriole1

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Interesting week


I had an unusual week.  On Monday, I was out driving the back roads.  I had been seeing a number of American Kestrels.  Not unusual.  As the car approaches their location (mostly perched on wires), they always take to the air and move to a new location on the wire.  As I slowly made my way along a dirt road.  I saw what I thought was another Kestrel.  But this bird did not take to the air as I drove pass.  So I stopped the car to see if I could get a picture.  It seemed a little odd that the bird did not fly off.  I started towards it, taking photos, getting closer and closer.  Eventually when I was almost under it, the bird did fly off.  Something about this bird seemed different.  Today, I showed the photo to a friend.  We both agreed that it did not look like a Kestrel.  This afternoon, I put the photos on the computer.  The only bird down here like a Kestrel is the Aplomado Falcon.  Sure enough.  The photos confirmed my ID.

Aplomado Falcon pic taken on Canon Road near Adams Reservoir

This morning, I went to the library before 8 am.  Residents here in our RV Resort have been reporting seeing parrots in the bird garden that is behind the library.  I put out some peanuts in the shell on one of the feeders.  5 minutes later, a Red-crowned Parrot flew down and landed on the feeder and started eating the peanuts.  I took this picture of the parrot.

parrot4 at the bird garden

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Yard Birds


I have a very simple feeding system in the front yard.  I have a 1 1/2 foot log (about 5 inches in diameter) affixed to the top of one of the those shepherd hook feeder hangers.  Each morning I spread peanut butter to both ends of the log.  I cut an orange or an apple in half.  These are impaled onto the log.  A hummingbird feeder hangs from the shepherd hook.  I installed a water drip this year, also.  These are clearly visible from my front window and drop my lawn chair in the carport.  I do not put out seed of any kind.  Seed attracts Red-wings Blackbirds and House Sparrows.   I have put in the following plants in the front yard.  1)  An Avocado Tree  2) A Cape Honeysuckle Bush  3)   Another bush that I forget the name of, but it has small cherry-like berries  4)  There are 4 Turk’s Cap Lilies  5)  And there is one Fiddlehead bush.

I may add more  stuff.  In fact it is likely that I will add more.  Not sure what, yet.

So what birds do I attract?  Well, there is a pair of Great-Tailed Grackles.  These are very intelligent acting birds.  And they are not shy.  They will come to the feeder even if I am only about 6 feet away.  There is one (I say one because I have only seen one at a time) Orange-crowned Warbler.  There is a pair of Northern Mockingbirds, a pair of Curve-billed Thrashers and a pair of Golden-fronted Woodpeckers.  I see Inca Doves and European Collared-Doves close-by, but they don’t come to my feeder because there is no seed.  Occasionally, I see Great Kiskadees in the neighbor’s tree, but not at my feeder yet.  One of these days they will come to my peanut butter I suspect.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Nice day to visit a couple of birding HOTSPOTS in the valley


Six members of the Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society left Harlingen Saturday morning at 6 am.  We had a two hour drive ahead of us.  Our destination was Salineno, Texas, a sleepy little town on the Rio Grande River.  This is often a good place to see Red-billed Pigeon and if you are really lucky, there is even the chance of seeing a Muscovy Duck.  There is also a well-established feeding area between the river and the village.  The hosts here are very welcoming.  They have about 15 lawn chairs set up for guests.  The trees have numerous spots where they spread peanut butter.  Sliced oranges are placed on the tree branches.  There are hummingbird and platform feeders.  Seed is liberally scattered on the ground.  Some birders might think this is “cheating”.  But it does provide a nice break from scouring the numerous trails in the area.

The first place we went was the riverside, where we had excellent views of half a dozen Red-billed Pigeons.  Neo-tropic and Double-crested Cormorants were actively flying up and down the river. Three White Pelicans flew right overhead.  There were several Osprey fishing the river.  A Spotted Sandpiper stood on a rock.  Next, we walked the trails along the river.  Plain Chachalacas, White-winged Doves, Golden-fronted Wookpeckers, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Crested Caracaras, Great Kiskadees, Black-crested Titmice, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, numerous Orange-crowned Warblers, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and Northern Cardinals were all easily spotted.

Next, we headed over to the feeding station.  There were lots of White-winged Doves and a few Inca Doves, the afore-mentioned Woodpeckers, lots of Great Kiskadees, Green Jays were in and out, a Long-billed Thrasher put in an appearance.  Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers flitted about in the trees and came to the peanut butter.  Altamira and Audubon’s Orioles were in and out constantly.

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This is the ALTAMIRA ORIOLE.  Common in area.

 

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This is an AUDUBON’S ORIOLE.  Not that common.  But evidently there is one that comes in feed throughout the day.

 

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This is another photo of the AUDUBON’S ORIOLE.  What a gorgeous bird.

After leaving the feeding station, we headed down what is affectionately known as the “dump road”.  This road is off to the left just as you leave town.  I think the reason it is referred to as the dump road, is because the sides of the road are littered with junk.  We had a good sighting along this road—a BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER.  There were also a number of Pyrrhuloxia.

 

We left the “dump road” and headed over to Falcon Lake State Park.  Here we went to the full service camping area.  We stopped at one of the sites where there was a water drip and a bird bath.  The most numerous birds were cardinals and Orange-crowned Warblers.  Lots of them.  Here we saw Inca Doves, White-winged Doves, Common Ground-Doves, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, a couple of White-eyed Vireos, Green Jays, a Gray Catbird,  Long-billed Thrasher, an Olive Sparrow, a Lincoln’s Sparrow, a couple of White-crowned Sparrows, Black-throated Sparrows, Pyrrhuloxias and three Brown-headed Cowbirds.

What a day.  Did I mention that it was about 88 F and mostly sunny?

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Some recent photos


SOME RECENT PHOTOS

Here are a few photos I have recently taken.

This is the lavender Lantana that I recently purchased and planted in my garden this past weekend.

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This White Peacock latched onto the new Lantana soon after it was planted.  This butterfly can be found in southern Florida and in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.  It is pretty commonly seen around here.

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This Brown Longtail was also attracted to the Lantana.  It is only found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and is the most common Longtail.

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This is a photo of a Clouded Skipper that I took today.  It is one of the most common dark grass-skippers in the south.

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This is a Texas Spiny Lizard that I encountered at Hugh Ramsey Park today.

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I took this picture of a Curve-billed Thrasher that came to me feeder today.  These thrashers are quite common here.  It is a lawn bird here, just like a Robin is a lawn bird back home in Ontario.

curve-billed-thrasher

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Up early


Another Saturday morning and I am up early.  Was up at 5 am.  One of my favourite radio shows begins a 6 am (Eastern Time).  That is 5 am Texas time.  I listen to the show streaming over the internet.  It is broadcast by WCMU in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  The show  is ECHOES.  Great morning music.

http://www.wcmu.org/radio/

http://echoes.org/

WCMU broadcasts ECHOES on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6-8 am Eastern Time.  Worth checking out.

Getting ready for a field trip this morning to Brownsville with the Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society (Harlingen).  Meeting at Hugh Ramsey World Birding Center in Harlingen at 7:30 and carpooling from there down to Brownsville (30 minute drive).  Should be a fun day and we should see some interesting birds.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

A LIFER


Last week I decided to take a 2 1/2 drive north of Harlingen to Refugio to seek out a GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER that had been reported in a park in town.  Along with friends Marcie and her husband, Glenn, we left Harlingen at 7 am.  Upon arrival, we noticed that there were already a number of birders wandering around the park, searching for the warbler.  As there were several different trails in the park, we decided to split up.  After about 30 minutes, Marcie located the  bird.  The birders began to gather where Marcie had seen the bird.  Shortly, the warbler came out of dense brush and began putting on quite the show.  Right out in the open.  Cameras began clicking away.  High fives.  Even though there were better pictures taken that day (Glenn is a terrific photographer), this is the picture that I took.

golden-crowned-warbler

It breeds from Mexico and south through Central American to northeastern Argentina and Uruguay and into Trinidad.  I don’t know how many records there are in North America, but it wouldn’t be very many.

While there, we also found a flock of Carolina Chickadees, numerous Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Hermit Thrush, lots of Chipping Sparrows, a Wilson’s Warbler, several Yellow-rumped Warblers, many Northern Cardinals and good looks at this Louisiana Waterthrush.

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Whenever you get a lifer it is a great day.  My North American list now stands at 569.  Happy, happy.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in Uncategorized