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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.

white-peacock

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.

louisiana-waterthrush

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

 

Back roads this morning


This morning, I drove down the Adams Reservoir.  Along the way I saw Green, Belted and Ringed Kingfishers.  Spooked a Barn Owl. Heard and saw several Orange-crowned Warblers.

The water level in the reservoir is the highest I have seen this year.

The ditch along the road to the west of the reservoir has quite a bit of water also.  Heard several Soras calling.  But no bitterns. I believe I heard one Virginia Rail calling.

Very nice morning to be out and about.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Birds at my feeding station


This male Golden-fronted Woodpecker can swallow a lot of nectar.

male-golden-fronted-woodpecker

This Orange-crowned Warbler is here throughout the day.  It likes the peanut butter I put out and the hummingbird nectar.  Sometimes it likes to look at itself in the cars mirror.

orange-crowned-warbler-looking-for-peanut-butter

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Unexpected


UNEXPECTED

 

The Weslaco Christmas Bird Count was held on Wednesday, January 4th.  A number of good birds located.  One of them was a Mountain Bluebird.  I have not seen one in the Rio Grande Valley before.  They are not usually found here.

So this morning, I went for a drive to look for it.  The directions posted on Facebook were easy to follow.  I found it right where it was yesterday.  These pictures were the best I could do, considering the conditions.

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There were a number of Savannah Sparrows in the vicinity, also.

savannah-sparrow-near-mercedes

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Uncategorized