Apr Species Seen
Journal - April, 2012
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This log is in chronological order and the most recent entries
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The last update was on Sunday, April 29, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
published 04/01/2012 5:15pm
Out today with Mike Mangiaracina and Alisa Glassman from MD. We visited Patagonia Lake State Park and Paton's Yard. Plenty of sunshine; mid 30s to mid 70s.
Our visit to the lake was fairly short and we focused on mesquite-grassland habitat and the mesquite bosque. Sparrows were the first order of the day and after an initial battle with several uncooperative individuals, we had excellent views of RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW including the rufous patch on the wing which isn't always seen well (and sometimes not at all). In the end we heard many of them singing. RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW was also uncooperative but we eventually had success in upper Nutting's Wash where the requisite dry, rocky hillside habitat abounds.
Unlike the mountains, Spring is now in full swing at low elevation and all of the early arriving breeding species were singing and easily detected. BELL'S VIREO and LUCY'S & YELLOW WARBLERS were all plentiful and we had uncharacteristically good views of a BELL'S VIREO singing in an exposed location. At the day use area near the Marina we heard a singing NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET and soon tracked down the bird for a very good view (several more were in the mesquite bosque).
The best birds for me were a migrant PAINTED REDSTART in Ocotillo habitat on the one-way exit road; and a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE in the same location near the sewage treatment plant.
We didn't walk the creek nor spend any time looking at the lake and only recorded a fairly low 50+ species. Among them were several GRAY and abundant VERMILION FLYCATCHERS, CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, HERMIT THRUSH, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, lots of BREWER'S and LARK SPARROWS and my first of season BULLOCK'S ORIOLE.
A short (20 minutes) stop in the Paton's Yard was productive with four species of hummingbirds -- BLACK-CHINNED, RUFOUS, BROAD-BILLED and VIOLET-CROWNED; a calling GRAY HAWK, ABERT'S TOWHEE, a continuing WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, several PYRRHULOXIAS, a beautiful male LAZULI BUNTING and my first of season BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK.
The plan was to go owling tonight but the day became quite windy and we postponed that until later in the week.
70 species recorded:
Cinnamon & Green-winged Teal; N. Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Gambel's Quail, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black & Turkey Vultures; N. Harrier, Gray & Red-tailed Hawks; Am. Coot, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged & Mourning Doves; Common Ground-Dove, Black-chinned, Rufous, Broad-billed & Violet-crowned Hummingbirds; Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; N. Beardless-Tyrannulet, Gray & Vermilion Flycatchers; Black & Say's Phoebes; Cassin's Kingbird, Bell's Vireo, Chihuahuan & Common Ravens; Verdin, White-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's & Marsh Wrens; Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Townsend's Solitaire, Hermit Thrush, N. Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Lucy's, Yellow & Yellow-rumped Warblers; Painted Redstart, Green-tailed & Abert's Towhees; Rufous-crowned, Rufous-winged, Chipping, Brewer's, Lark, Black-throated, Song, Lincoln's, White-throated & White-crowned Sparrows; N. Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Great-tailed Grackle, Bullock's Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch and House Sparrow.
Monday, April 2, 2012
published 04/03/2012 4:45am
Out today with Rick & Starr Stevens from Billings, MT, who I've birded with on four previous occasions. Our focus today was on sparrows, particularly Rufous-winged, Botteri's, and Cassin's. The latter two are usually difficult to find at this time of year. In fact, Botteri's is not usually present until later in April. However, this species has wintered in recent years so I knew there was a chance. It was also the only lifer for Rick. We started at Patagonia Lake State Park but it was one of those rare occasions when I didn't walk any of the interior trails. We focused on the grassland approaches and the one-way exit road. It was quite windy after the first hour which didn't help our cause.
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS were again quite numerous and vocal and we enjoyed good views in multiple locations. As I expected, we struck out on Cassin's Sparrow although I'm pretty sure that I heard one individual that we were unable to track down. Highlight was a BOTTERI'S SPARROW already on a regular breeding territory in the company of VESPER, BLACK-THROATED and at least 3 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS. Other sparrows seen included LARK and many BREWER'S & CHIPPING.
A migrant SWAINSON'S HAWK perched near the sewage treatment plant on the one-way exit road was a pleasant surprise. This was only my second at the lake. Other birds in this location included a continuing TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, my first of season HOODED ORIOLE and many more. A migrant OSPREY was fishing over the lake and made several (unsuccessful) dives. 50+ species without entering the park proper was a good return.
After the sparrow work we headed over to Kino Springs for some casual birding (I haven't visited since mid January due to the lack of water). We gave it a try today with good results despite the fact that the larger of the two clubhouse ponds is bone dry and the small pond only has a little water. The area was quite birdy late morning in windy conditions.
Best bird was a first spring male INDIGO BUNTING (a blue/brown job) near the clubhouse. Also present were 2 GRAY HAWKS and 2 GILDED FLICKERS. Great views of Gray Hawk perched in the open behind the restaurant. Kino is one of the best places to look for Gilded Flicker away from of its more typical Saguaro habitat, although I only find the bird on perhaps 25% of visits. NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED, BARN & VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS worked over the sewage pond. No Whistling-Ducks yet (there may not be enough water for them to nest here this year).
I capped off a good morning with a ZONE-TAILED HAWK flying over Highway 82 just west of Sonoita as I drove back to Sierra Vista.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
published 04/04/2012 4:45am
Out today with Maureen and David Borrowdale and Allan and Kathleen Bailes from England. I got to talk a little about football (the real football). Once again I was at Patagonia Lake State Park. It was a chilly start to the day (23 degrees on the drive over from Sierra Vista) and birds were slow to become active even though I deliberately started a little later. Overall, the birding was not as productive as I had hoped.
Yesterday I reported seeing only my second SWAINSON'S HAWK at the lake in almost 20 years. Today there were 5 birds soaring over the lake; 2 light morph and 3 rufous morph. Timing is everything! Also over the lake were OSPREY and a ZONE-TAILED HAWK at the east end. A dozen RING-BILLED GULLS were at the west end.
A couple of BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS (including a male with a partial cap)
were in the second wash around 10:00am.
Passerine migrants were few - PAINTED REDSTART and 3 swallow species. RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS were much less in evidence today and we had to put in some effort to get a barely acceptable view. We did poorly on flycatchers with only GRAY and VERMILION seen. No Myiarchus.
Other species included BUFFLEHEAD, EARED GREBE, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, COOPER'S
HAWK, BELL'S VIREO, LUCY'S WARBLER, GREEN-TAILED & ABERT'S TOWHEES and HOODED
ORIOLE. 65 species in all.
The expected species were at Paton's; AMERICAN ROBIN was not expected. VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD stayed perched in a tree for most of the
45 minutes that we spent and made only one feeder visit. GRAY HAWK was perched in a cottonwood on Pennsylvania Ave not far from the house.
Back in Sierra Vista, I noted my first of season WESTERN KINGBIRD on Fry Blvd.
In the evening I was in the Huachucas with my Sunday clients, Mike and Alisa, for a postponed owling session. Although all the expected species were spontaneously calling, their territorial behavior was far less aggressive than one would expect for early April. We had brief looks at ELF OWL and WHISKERED-SCREECH OWL; we heard GREAT HORNED OWL, WESTERN SCREECH-OWL and COMMON POORWILL.82 species recorded:
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
published 04/05/2012 6:30am
Out today with Henry and Ava Brandis from Seattle WA. We birded at Patagonia Lake, Paton's Yard and Carr Canyon. The chill of yesterday was gone and it was at least 10 degrees warmer this morning. I think that the cooler weather is probably behind us now and temps will steadily ramp up without interruption. If you are a believer in miracles, pray for rain and an uneventful fire season.
Note: This is my last scheduled day of birding in AZ until May 4. I leave for Texas on Saturday and journal reports will continue then.
Birding at Patagonia Lake was very enjoyable but irony was hanging thick in the air during the early session. Yesterday, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS were a real pill to locate and TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE went unfound. Both birds were seen well with little effort today. This has been my lot for almost 20 years.
Highlight at the east end of the lake was a male BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER at
the mouth of Nutting's wash at 9:30am. This bird had a very well defined (almost
complete) black cap and was not the same individual seen yesterday. Therefore,
at least two males are present increasing the chances for success.
SWAINSON'S HAWKS were again soaring over the lake (3 light morph). OSPREY and 10 RING-BILLED GULLS still present. NEOTROPIC CORMORANT numbers continue to increase. Other species included EARED GREBES in breeding plumage, BLACK VULTURE, GRAY FLYCATCHER and HOODED ORIOLE. 65 species in all.
There was more activity in the Paton's Yard than in recent visits, perhaps because of a slightly earlier arrival. COSTA'S was the highlight of six hummer species. Others among 30 species noted were GAMBEL'S QUAIL, calling GRAY HAWK, GREEN-TAILED & ABERT'S TOWHEES, 2 continuing WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS LAZULI BUNTING and PINE SISKIN.
In the evening we visited lower Carr Canyon (the upper canyon is still
closed). As last night, conditions for owling were excellent with plenty of
moonlight and zero wind. ELF OWLS were very vocal throughout and easy to locate
and see. Wish I could say the same for Whiskered Screech-Owl. I encountered 3-4
calling individuals last night with one seen briefly. Tonight I did not hear a
single bird despite checking several regular territories. Amazing in early April
and perhaps an indication that all is not well after last year's fires. COMMON
POORWILL and WESTERN SCREECH-OWL were both calling. No Whip-poor-wills detected
77 species recorded:
Gadwall, Mallard, Cinnamon & Green-winged Teal; N. Shoveler, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Gambel's Quail, Pied-billed & Eared Grebes; Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants; Great Blue Heron, Black & Turkey Vultures; Osprey, Cooper's, Gray, Swainson's & Red-tailed Hawks; Am. Coot, Ring-billed Gull, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged & Mourning Doves; Western Screech-Owl, Elf Owl, Common Poorwill, Black-chinned, Anna's, Costa's, Rufous, Broad-billed & Violet-crowned Hummingbirds; Acorn, Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; Gray & Vermilion Flycatchers; Black Phoebe, Bell's Vireo, Common Raven, N. Rough-winged Swallow, Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, White-breasted Nuthatch, Canyon & Bewick's Wrens; Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Townsend's Solitaire, N. Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Lucy's, Yellow & Yellow-rumped Warblers; Green-tailed, Canyon & Abert's Towhees; Rufous-winged, Chipping, Lark, Song, Lincoln's, White-throated & White-crowned Sparrows; N. Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Lazuli Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Great-tailed Grackle, Hooded Oriole, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch and House Sparrow.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
published 04/07/2012 8:15pm MDT
Texas Trip Day 1: Sierra Vista - El Paso (Trip list: 45)
Today I began a trip to Texas where I will be until May 2. During this period I'll be working with several clients as well as spending some time on my own. I'll be visiting the Hill Country, Rio Grande Valley, lower, central and upper coast and East Texas. On the outbound journey I'm also spending some time in West Texas. I typically break the journey in Fort Stockton before continuing on to the Hill County via Del Rio. However, on this trip I'm adding a day and spending the night in El Paso and Alpine as well as Del Rio in order to make more time for birding in West Texas. By the way, I'm driving a rental so don't look for the Blue Trogon at a birding spot near you.
Since I was only traveling to El Paso I had a relatively short drive today (by my standards). I was able to get up early and watch a couple of live English Premier League games before hitting the road. With 0-0 and 1-0 results, perhaps I should have just hit the road!
Among the yard birds seen and heard while loading the vehicle were EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, BEWICK'S WREN, CURVE-BILLED THRASHER, CANYON TOWHEE and a beautiful male PYRRHULOXIA singing just feet away from me.
As is normal for me on such trips east on I-10, I stopped at Willcox to check the ponds there. It was mid morning when I arrived and already quite warm and hazy. Water level in the main pond is fairly high; better for waterfowl than shorebirds. Birding was somewhat lackluster. I recorded 31 species in about one hour.
Best bird was a drake BLUE-WINGED TEAL on the golf course pond in the company of 2 drake CINNAMON TEAL. Many wintering NORTHERN SHOVELERS and AMERICAN WIGEON are still present. I counted at least 120 LARK BUNTINGS (they sometimes stick around until late May in SE AZ; my latest date at Willcox is May 12). Other wintering species included numerous BREWER'S SPARROWS and a few SAVANNAH and VESPER SPARROWS.
Raptors were few with singletons of NORTHERN HARRIER, SWAINSON'S HAWK and AMERICAN KESTREL. Among the migrants/returning breeding species were 3 EARED GREBES in breeding plumage, 3 BLACK-NECKED STILTS, 1 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, 3 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and many CASSIN'S KINGBIRDS.
I didn't record many birds in Texas. A stop at the Travel Center just a mile
or so into Texas on I-10 produced GAMBEL'S QUAIL, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, HOUSE FINCH
and GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE. Just like Arizona really (but that will change!).
45 species recorded:
Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, Blue-winged & Cinnamon Teal; N. Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Gambel's Quail, Eared Grebe, Great Blue Heron, N. Harrier, Swainson's & Red-tailed Hawks; Am. Kestrel, Am. Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged & Mourning Doves; Cassin's Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Chihuahuan Raven, Barn & Cliff Swallows; Verdin, Bewick's Wren, N. Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, European Starling, Canyon Towhee, Chipping, Brewer's, Vesper, Savannah, Song, Lincoln's & White-crowned Sparrows; Lark Bunting, Pyrrhuloxia, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch and House Sparrow.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
published 04/09/2012 2:45pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 2: El Paso - Alpine (Trip list: 89; +44)
Today I birded in West Texas at McNary Reservoir, Balmorhea Lake and the Davis Mountains. Just a quick summary of a long day follows.
My first stop was at McNary Reservoir where I enjoyed calm conditions and decent light. This location, close to I-10 about an hour east of El Paso, is almost always windy in the afternoon. A benefit of my short journey yesterday was that I was able to make a morning visit. Highlights were many CLARK'S GREBE'S, FRANKLIN'S GULL, 2 GREATER-WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and a SNOW GOOSE (the geese were just south of the reservoir in a farm field). Among the other species present were LESSER SCAUP, EARED GREBE, OSPREY, RING-BILLED GULL, BELTED KINGFISHER and a huge four-species flock of blackbirds including many YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS.
Continuing east on I-10 I added SWAINSON'S HAWK. Next stop was Balmorhea Lake that had plenty of people on this Easter Sunday. The lake had some of the same species as McNary including many CLARK'S GREBES (no Western detected). New for the day were REDHEAD, BUFFLEHEAD, numerous AVOCETS and BLACK-NECKED STILTS, LEAST SANDPIPER, 50+ LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and CAVE SWALLOW.
Roadside birds heading south to Fort Davis included ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, BELL'S VIREO and a COMMON BLACK-HAWK about 5 miles north of town on TX-17. According to park staff, Montezuma Quail have been regular at Davis Mountains State Park but I was there at the wrong time of day. Feeder birds included LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER, BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, CANYON TOWHEE, many PINE SISKINS and multiple SCOTT'S ORIOLES. Also in the park were the two "P" birds, PHAINOPEPLA and PYRRHULOXIA. Species noted elsewhere in the Davis Mountains included SAY'S PHOEBE and WESTERN SCRUB-JAY.
Continuing south to Alpine, roadside birds included KESTREL, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE and, at a roadside pond, OSPREY and WILSON'S WARBLER.74 species recorded:
Monday, April 9, 2012
published 04/9/2012 10:00pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 3: Alpine - Del Rio (Trip list: 109; +20)
Today I worked my way east as far as Del Rio. My birding was fairly limited with short visits to Fort Peņa Colorado Park, Lake Amistad and San Felipe Creek. The remainder of my time was spent driving and fixing a computer problem that prevented me from accessing the internet. Can't have that now, can we. It turned out to be a Firewall issue - why this should suddenly pop up beats me.
The day began delightfully cloudy and cool (59 degrees) with a few sprinkles as I headed down to Fort Peņa Colorado Park ("Post Park"), about 6 miles south of Marathon. This is a location with water and riparian habitat amidst what is otherwise desert scrub and I was hoping for some migrants. That didn't work out but I still enjoyed the visit.
The drive along Post Road through desert scrub with scattered stock tanks produced an eclectic mix of species including MALLARD, SCALED QUAIL, WILD TURKEY, SWAINSON'S HAWK, KILLDEER, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, BELL'S VIREO, VERDIN, CACTUS WREN, VESPER & BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS and SCOTT'S ORIOLE.
I recorded 30 species in a little over an hour at the park. TURKEY VULTURES were abundant. PYRRHULOXIA and CARDINAL sang from the same tree. Three species of towhees - GREEN-TAILED, SPOTTED & CANYON were in close proximity. At least 3 MARSH WRENS chattered but conspired to avoid been photographed. Several pairs of VERMILION FLYCATCHERS interacted as did a handful of ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS. Raucous GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKERS gave a hint of what lies ahead. Back in Marathon, I noted CAVE SWALLOWS on a wire.
Traveling east on 90 there was evidence of recent rain and I caught up with some short-lived and intense rain near Sanderson. Sunshine prevailed as I continued east and it was quite windy near Lake Amistad. The afternoon temperature in Del Rio climbed to 90 degrees. Shortly after leaving Marathon I encountered the first SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER of the trip; the next was in the parking lot of my motel in Del Rio, some 170 miles further east.
I stopped on the western side of Lake Amistad and was very disappointed to see the super low water level. I was able to drive 0.3 miles further on Spur 406 than on previous visits (this road dead ends at the water). Very few birds on offer; only COOTS were abundant. A lone GREAT EGRET looked a little forlorn. At least 3 YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS were chatting and I heard a couple of OLIVE SPARROWS singing. A couple of BLACK VULTURES were a trip first; ditto COMMON GROUND-DOVE. A stop at another access point produced lots of nesting CLIFF SWALLOWS.
In the evening I spent an hour on San Felipe Creek in Del Rio where it was still pretty warm. I've birded here a handful of times now. It's not an outstanding spot but it's a place where west merges into east bird-wise; and valley birds start in earnest. I noted 6 BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS, several noisy GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKERS, a couple of equally noisy COUCH'S KINGBIRDS and a surprisingly quiet GREAT KISKADEE. I followed a singing WHITE-EYED VIREO for five minutes and it seemed impossible not to lay eyes on the bird -- but that's exactly what happened despite the fact that it was only feet away. Pretty typical for this species. A few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and an OLIVE SPARROW were present along with a number of common species.60 species recorded:
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
published 04/10/2012 10:00pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 4: Del Rio - Kerrville (Trip list: 129; +20)
Today I continued east again without doing a lot of serious birding. I peedled around a bit in the Hill Country and managed to add 20 species to my trip list. It was a breezy day at times with a few clouds to keep the temperature down; 80 degrees in Kerrville in late afternoon.
I traveled east on 90 from Del Rio to Brackettville then birded north of town on Ranch 674. I noted the first SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS and CRESTED CARACARAS of the day approaching Brackettville. CASSIN'S SPARROWS were very common on 674 for the first 5 miles and fairly common for the next 5 miles. They thinned out considerably after that (as the vegetation type changed in the Hill Country) and the last one that I detected was 19 miles north of Brackettville, a few miles shy of Kickapoo Cavern State Park (closed today to my chagrin). I usually don't bird the western side of the Hill Country and decided to explore a little today. I found out too late that Kickapoo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Other species on 674 included BELL'S VIREO, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and RUFOUS-CROWNED & BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS.
I returned to Brackettville and spent a few minutes at Fort Clark Springs without seeing anything of note. SUMMER TANAGERS were common and I also saw more YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS and VERMILION FLYCATCHER. Continuing east on 90 towards Uvalde I noted more CRESTED CARACARAS and SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS. In Uvalde I saw a few BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS and WESTERN KINGBIRD just north of town.
I stopped for lunch in Garner State Park and rustled up 30 species highlighted by GOLDEN-CHEEKED & YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS. Other trip firsts included EASTERN PHOEBE, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, PURPLE MARTIN, CAROLINA CHICKADEE, BUSHTIT, CANYON WREN, FIELD SPARROW and HOODED ORIOLE. The oriole was partially obscured and not in good light, otherwise perfect.
An hour in the Utopia area was productive in the early afternoon. I was delighted to stumble into a BARRED OWL, a photo first for me. I also saw BLACK PHOEBE, WHITE-EYED VIREO (no chance of a photo although, unlike yesterday, I was at least able to lay eyes on the bird); several BLUE JAYS (attacking the owl); CAROLINA WREN, EASTERN BLUEBIRD and more YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS.58 species recorded:
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
published 04/11/2012 8pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 5: Kerrville (Trip list: 135; +6)
Just a brief report today. I birded for the morning hours only and took the rest of the day off. I wanted to check on a few key species in the vicinity of Kerr Wildlife Management Area. I didn't enter the WMA proper (which is just as well because it's closed for hunting until noon tomorrow!). Another day above 80 degrees in Kerrville but not too bad with clouds and a moderate breeze.
The first CHIMNEY SWIFT of the trip greeted me in the parking lot of my motel in Kerrville.
I started near Kerr WMA where I was able to find 4-6 BLACK-CAPPED VIREOS and 2 GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS. The vireos were not very vocal early when it was quite cloudy and cool but they fired up more around 10:00am after the sun broke through. The warblers were singing early. Other species in the vicinity included WILD TURKEY, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, WHITE-EYED VIREO, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, SPOTTED TOWHEE, RUFOUS-CROWNED & FIELD SPARROWS and SUMMER TANAGER.
On the return journey to Kerrville I lingered along FM-1340 checking a few of the Guadalupe River crossings. EASTERN PHOEBES were well distributed at several crossings. At a culvert that regularly has CAVE SWALLOWS I was able to see several along with BLACK-AND-WHITE and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS.
Graham Crossing is often productive and today yielded GREEN KINGFISHER, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, PURPLE MARTIN, CANYON WREN and others.
At Friedrich Crossing I added CAROLINA CHICKADEE, CAROLINA WREN and a stunning male YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER. I had the best looks I've ever had of the warbler at eye-level from 6 feet away. Unfortunately, my camera was 20 feet away which was 17 feet too many.45 species recorded:
Thursday, April 12, 2012
published 04/12/2012 9:45pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 6: Kerrville (Trip list: 141; +6)
Another low key day in the Hill County. This morning I visited Lost Maples State Park, mainly to check on Golden-cheeked Warbler. In the afternoon I headed to San Antonio Airport to pick up Richard Thunen from Orange, County, CA., my client for the next 5 days. This will be our third time birding together. From Friday through Tuesday we'll be birding in the Hill County, the Rio Grande Valley and on the coast.
The day started with fairly heavy cloud cover that lasted until mid to late morning. There was also some early drizzle and it was breezy at times. The afternoon temperature in San Antonio reached 85 degrees.
Lost Maples is perhaps one of the better places for Golden-cheeked Warbler, at least in terms of accessibility (the Hill Country has plenty of suitable habitat for the bird but much of it is on private property). The number of birds here is also fairly high (at least by my results over the years). I found 8-10 birds this morning and most of them were not singing (detected by chip note). Of these, I saw perhaps 3-4 and photographed one fairly cooperative individual. The angle was a little steep and the light none too good requiring that I use a tripod. I managed two reasonable images GCWA image #1; GCWA image #2. Not great but an improvement on what I already have. I also photographed a singing YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER but it was horribly backlit and not fit for human consumption.
I picked up 6 new trip species on the day, all but one at Lost Maples -- . HUTTON'S & RED-EYED VIREOS, NASHVILLE WARBLER, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and INDIGO BUNTING. Many years ago when I first saw Hutton's Vireo in the Hill County I was really surprised. However, they are now fairly well established. Today I was surprised by a Grasshopper Sparrow on State Route 39 about 3 miles east of Ranch Road 187. The habitat at this location consists of a fairly open grassy area but the grass was much shorter than where I see them in Arizona or the Prairie States. Hill County status is listed as "uncommon and local".
Other birds at the State Park included the typical Hill County species such as CAROLINA CHICKADEE, BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE, CAROLINA WREN, scads of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and lots of very vocal SUMMER TANAGERS. I also noted EASTERN PHOEBE and RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW. Elsewhere I saw a few SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS.50 species recorded:
Friday, April 13, 2012
published 04/14/2012 7:00am CDT
Texas Trip Day 7: Kerrville - Laredo (Trip list: 142; +1)
Day 1 with Richard Thunen (Trip List: 61)
Brief reports will be the norm during my working days. Today we birding in the Hill County until mid afternoon then headed down to Laredo. We had plenty of targets and spent more time than I anticipated. It's always more difficult and time consuming when photography is involved. The day began with heavy clouds and rain in Kerrville and the birding was quite slow for several hours. It was also breezy becoming increasingly more windy as we traveled south.
The journey out to Kerr WMA was highlighted by good views of YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at the Graham crossing of the Guadalupe River.
Birding near Kerr WMA was tough and we really struggled with BLACK-CAPPED VIREO. The birds were very quiet today and more elusive than ever. Multiple quick looks had to suffice rather then a killer view. Perhaps the cool, breezy and drizzly conditions didn't help (although the birds must be used to this). GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS were considerably more cooperative and we enjoyed great looks of at least 5 individuals. We also had good looks at FIELD SPARROW. Also present were WILD TURKEY, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW and SPOTTED TOWHEE.
Returning to Hunt, we scanned unsuccessfully for Green Kingfisher at several river crossings. We viewed CAVE SWALLOWS at a regular spot along with EASTERN PHOEBE and managed decent views of RED-EYED VIREO in the same tree as the earlier warbler. In Hunt we picked up CHIMNEY SWIFTS.
Our next stop was at Lost Maples State Park where the rain finally stopped. We spent an inordinate amount of time on a very sadistic WHITE-EYED VIREO that led us a real dance. I don't think Richard came close to getting an image. It was tough enough to even see it!. About par for the course with this species. The park was fairly quiet and we didn't add much else on a short walk. A few GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS were singing but we didn't need to pursue them. New for the day were WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, CAROLINA WREN and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER.
Our final stop in the Hill County was in Utopia where I was unable to relocate the Barred Owl seen on Tuesday. Now came the long drive down to Laredo. Lots of SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS and 16 CRESTED CARACARAS kept us alert. One of the Caracaras posed well for a photo. There were also 2 SWAINSON'S HAWKS and 6 CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS.
I typically visit Lake Casa Blanca when arriving in Laredo which rounds out the day in a relaxed fashion. However, windy conditions are expected tomorrow so we took a first crack at finding White-collared Seedeater. The birds have been seen recently at Father McNaboe Park and I made my inaugural visit. No luck with the seedeater but the first GREAT KISKADEE of the trip (and a first for Richard) was some consolation.
We ended the day with 13 targets seen and some photographed.61 species recorded:
Saturday, April 14, 2012
published 04/15/2012 7:00am CDT
Texas Trip Day 8: Laredo - McAllen (Trip list: 166; +24)
Day 2 with Richard Thunen (Trip list: 100; +39)
Today we began in Laredo where we enjoyed some excellent birding in this underrated area. My thanks to local birders Raul Delgado and Susan Foster for their help with up to date information. From Laredo we headed south down the valley stopping at San Ygnacio, Zapata and Salineņo before continuing on to McAllen. In the evening we birded at Edinburg Wetland. The day began breezy with heavy overcast and 78 degrees; becoming very windy later with a high of 95 degrees after the clouds burned off in mid afternoon.
Birding along Zacate Creek-Las Palmas trail was very productive and enjoyable. WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER was the primary target at this location and we had excellent views of this sometimes difficult-to-find species. Not so today though - the birds were present in good numbers, far more than I have seen/heard before. Multiple birds were singing in the cane near the intersection of Zacate Creek and Las Palmas trail and could be heard constantly along the trail as far as we walked, almost to the stand of palms near the western end. For much of the eastern section of the trail it's difficult to see into the cane and it wasn't until we reach the point where side trails enter the cane that we actually saw them. Richard managed some photos. Other targets seen included MOTTLED DUCK, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, WHITE-TIPPED DOVE, RINGED KINGFISHER, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER and CLAY-COLORED THRUSH, singing and perched in the open. Also present were GREEN HERON, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, GREAT KISKADEE, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, WHITE-EYED VIREO, NASHVILLE WARBLER and OLIVE & CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS. 43 species in all.
We missed Audubon's Oriole so we made a return trip to Father McNaboe Park, another location alongside the Rio Grande. No luck with that in very windy conditions but we had more views of a few birds already seen and added several new species for the day including COMMON GROUND-DOVE, LONG-BILLED THRASHER, CEDAR WAXWING and BRONZED COWBIRD.
Heading south on Hwy 83 we saw multiple CRESTED CARACARAS and SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS and a single SWAINSON'S HAWK. A brief stop in San Ygnacio produced the first WESTERN KINGBIRD but nothing else of note among a dozen species. The river access here near the now defunct "Seedeater Sanctuary" is rather overgrown and abandoned after the floods of a couple of years ago.
At the ponds in Zapata we picked up COUCH'S KINGBIRD. Other species present included BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and BRONZED COWBIRD. We also saw a couple of orioles in flight at different times in the same general location. I thought the first sighting was Hooded Oriole (based on small size) and the second Altamira Oriole (a larger bird to my eye). Because of the uncertainly and potential for error, we left them unidentified.
It was 95 degrees by the time we reached Salineņo in mid afternoon and not much was stirring. However, a little patience and persistence on the trail produced our target AUDUBON'S ORIOLE (seen here yesterday by Sierra Vista birder Rick Thompson - thanks Rick). This is always a good location for the bird (perhaps the last best location when heading south) but I wasn't too hopeful in the heat of the day. We also saw our first PLAIN CHACHALACA and GREEN JAY of the trip. Also present were GRAY HAWK, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER and COUCH'S KINGBIRD. No luck with Muscovy Duck and we didn't stay until evening when the chances would have been better.
After checking in to our lodging location (where the internet was down for the second consecutive night), we ventured out again to Edinburg Wetland to look for FULVOUS-WHISTLING DUCK. At least four birds were loafing on a bank but were too far for a decent photo. We noted about 20 species including MOTTLED DUCK, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, lots of SHOVELERS, both cormorants, GREAT, SNOWY and CATTLE EGRETS; COMMON GALLINULE, BLACK-NECKED STILT, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER and GREAT KISKADEE.
We finished up at the parakeet staging area at the intersection of 10th and Violet in McAllen. This turned out to disappointing with only 5 GREEN PARAKEETS seen instead of the normal spectacle of many hundreds. I'm not sure what has changed. Even the number of Grackles in the area was way down. Additional species included a couple of BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCKS that landed on a roof where workers were present; a few PURPLE MARTINS and many CHIMNEY SWIFTS.
Nevertheless, a good end to a very good day that worked out well despite the windy conditions.
72 species recorded:
Black-bellied & Fulvous Whistling-Ducks; Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, N. Shoveler, Plain Chachalaca, Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants; Great Blue & Green Herons; Great, Snowy & Cattle Egrets; Black-crowned Night-Heron, Black & Turkey Vultures; Gray & Swainson's Hawks; Crested Caracara, Common Gallinule, Am. Coot, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged, Mourning, Inca & White-tipped Doves; Common Ground-Dove, Green Parakeet, Chimney Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Ringed Kingfisher, Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; Black Phoebe, Brown-crested & Scissor-tailed Flycatchers; Great Kiskadee, Couch's & Western Kingbirds; White-eyed Vireo, Green Jay, N. Rough-winged & Cliff Swallows; Purple Martin, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Clay-colored Thrush, N. Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Nashville & Yellow-rumped Warblers; Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, White-collared Seedeater, Olive & Clay-colored Sparrows; Summer Tanager, N. Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed & Brown-headed Cowbirds; Audubon's Oriole, House Finch and House Sparrow.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
published 04/16/2012 7:40am CDT
Texas Trip Day 9: McAllen (Trip list: 188; +22)
Day 3 with Richard Thunen (Trip list: 136; +36)
Today we visited Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Frontera Audubon Thicket, Old Port Isabel Road and Gibson Park. We were a little more focused looking for several target species, mostly with success (although we missed Aplomado Falcon).
We began at Bentsen at the "Hawk Tower" (more accurately described as a viewing platform). Ironically (after several overcast mornings), on a day that we could have used a cloudy sky, it was a mostly clear making hawk spotting more difficult. It was also extremely windy and we didn't stay long. Raptors noted were WHITE-TAILED KITE, BROAD-WINGED HAWK (numerous, but not counted), SWAINSON'S HAWK and CRESTED CARACARA. I was disappointed to find the area near the viewing platform completely dry. A surprise ROSEATE SPOONBILL was seen at a distance along with a few BLACK-NECKED STILTS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
Among the species elsewhere in the park we saw ANHINGA, OSPREY, BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (2 widely separated individuals); COUCH'S KINGBIRD, GREEN JAY, LONG-BILLED THRASHER and other valley regulars. 46 species in all but no orioles.
At Estero we stayed just long enough to pick up LEAST GREBE and RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD and to gather some current info. Among the few species seen during a very short visit were BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, MOTTLED DUCK, CINNAMON TEAL and LEAST SANDPIPER. We did not walk any of the trails nor visit the Tropical Zone.
Our next stop was Frontera Audubon Thicket where a vigil of over an hour resulted in a sighting of GREEN KINGFISHER (apparently, a nesting pair are present). We also added a bonus LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH.
Next we drove over to the Old Port Isabel Road to look for Aplomado Falcon. Up to 7 birds have been reported recently but we came up empty on the first three miles at the south end of the road. Mind you, it was 90 degrees and very windy so conditions were far from ideal. However, a single WHITE-TAILED HAWK and 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS ensured that we didn't leave empty-handed. Most of the ponds in the area were dry but we managed about 20 species. Among them were HARRIS'S HAWK, WILLET, LAUGHING GULL, GULL-BILLED & FORSTER'S TERNS and singing BOTTERI'S & CASSIN'S SPARROWS. We also saw an unidentified large tern plus a small group of either Whimbrels or Long-billed Curlews, probably the latter (although I've seen both species here before so uncertainly prevails).
We finished up a long day at Gibson Park in Weslaco (site of the Valley Nature Center). The park was packed with locals as it as been on all of my evening visits. We arrived at 7:25pm and were rewarded at 7:53pm when 8 RED-CROWNED PARROTS flew in and perched long enough for Richard to get a photo. During our short vigil we were entertained not only by the people but also by CHIMNEY SWIFTS and PURPLE MARTINS. By far the best bird though was an unexpected TROPICAL KINGBIRD perched on a fence and, thankfully, vocalizing otherwise would have defaulted to Couch's!
Dinner at Costa Messa in McAllen was very good. However, be prepared for a noisy experience. Both times that I have visited here the music was way too loud!89 species recorded:
Monday, April 16, 2012
published 04/17/2012 6:10am CDT
Texas Trip Day 10: McAllen - Ingleside (Trip list: 211; +23)
Day 4 with Richard Thunen (Trip list: 166; +30)
Today we visited Allen Williams' Yard in Pharr then headed east to South Padre Island where we spent the afternoon hours before heading north to Ingleside. The day began cloudy and muggy in the valley becoming sunny and eventually breezy on the coast. We encountered heavy rain between Port Isabel and Harlingen and there was evidence of flooding between Corpus and Ingleside. A very brief report today.
Although we missed the Crimson-collared Grosbeak, birding in Allen Williams yard was a pleasant experience as usual. Among the highlights were a small kettle of BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, CHUCK-WILL'S WIDOW, COUCH'S & TROPICAL KINGBIRDS, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, a CLAY-COLORED THRUSH showing signs of wear; and a constantly singing HOODED WARBLER. 30 species in all.
Migration on South Padre was very slow and probably picked up considerably after we left (or will tomorrow) with the stormy conditions. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the visit and picked up a half dozen target species, mostly at the convention center. Those targets were WHITE IBIS, FRANKLIN'S GULL (a good sized flock dropped in for an hour or so); SANDWICH TERN, PAINTED BUNTING and ORCHARD & BALTIMORE ORIOLES.88 species recorded:
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
published 04/18/2012 9:00pm CDT
Texas Trip Day 11: Ingleside - Houston - Cleveland (Trip list: 240; +29)
Day 5 with Richard Thunen (Trip list: 198; +32)
Our final day was spent mostly along the coast between Port Aransas and Quintana. In addition to adding more target species to our tally, we were hoping to finish with a few migrant warblers. Although we had some target success (7 seen), the inclement weather disappeared and migrants were disappointingly few (especially warblers) on a mostly sunny day. Migration birding is a crap shoot. Another short summary of a long day. I've included a couple of photos and will add a few more as time permits.
We began at Paradise Pond in Port Aransas. This tiny migrant spot had plenty of birds but not much in the way of warbler diversity, at least through 10:30am. GRAY CATBIRD, ORCHARD ORIOLE and BALTIMORE ORIOLE were the most common species. Other migrants included WHITE-EYED VIREO, several WARBLING VIREOS, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, YELLOW & BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS; NORTHERN & LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES; ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK and INDIGO BUNTING.
At the Port Aransas Birding Center we added HOODED & CANADA WARBLERS and noted some of the same species present at the pond including NASHVILLE & TENNESSEE WARBLERS, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING and both oriole species. A brief walk along the boardwalk produced many marsh and water birds including EARED GREBE, LEAST BITTERN, COMMON GALLINULE, MARSH WREN, WHITE & WHITE-FACED IBIS and more.
Things took a "tern" for the better at the jetty with most of the expected species - LEAST, GULL-BILLED, BLACK, FORSTER'S, ROYAL & SANDWICH TERNS plus numerous FRANKLIN'S GULLS and a handful of shorebirds.
The best bird of our Port A visit came on the return ferry journey when a MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD briefly crossed our path. I'm assuming that it was a storm refugee, but perhaps not.
We headed up the coast to Goose Island State Park picking up a few roadside birds including MOTTLED DUCK, TRICOLORED HERON, REDDISH EGRET and ROSEATE SPOONBILL. Warblers noted at the state park were TENNESSEE, multiple BLACK-THROATED GREEN, YELLOW-THROATED & BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS and NORTHERN PARULA. We checked the pier area for AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (a regular spot) and found three loafing birds at high tide.
Among the roadside birds as we continued our journey north were BLACK VULTURE, SWAINSON'S & RED-TAILED HAWKS and CRESTED CARACARA. In Jones Creek we made a brief stop at a picnic area before losing the trees and found one of two targets -- RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER. I also heard a "Blue Jay" that turned out to be a MOCKINGBIRD.
Quintana disappointed us in two respects. First, we failed to find Piping Plover (although we certainly didn't look for very long). I was far more bummed about this than Richard. We turned up WILSON'S & SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS on the beach; RED KNOT was elsewhere. Lots of birds on the beach and the inshore lagoons. EASTERN KINGBIRDS were along the entrance road. However, the biggest disappointment was at the sanctuary that had way more big lenses than birds. Migrant activity was extremely low and BLUE GROSBEAK was the only newbie for our day and trip.
We headed to Houston early to allow time for a stop near the University to pick up the final target of the trip -- MONK PARAKEET, busy with nest alterations as watched them. Our final bird of the trip was a YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON in a roadside ditch near the airport hotel. After dropping Richard, I journeyed on about 50 miles to Cleveland.
From April 13-17 we traveled 1300 miles from San Antonio to Houston visiting the Hill Country, Rio Grande Valley and several costal locations. Over the five days we had good success with targets but not so much with migrants. Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable trip recording 198 species with 54 target species seen.109 species recorded:
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
published 04/19/2012 5:30am CDT
Texas Trip Day 12: Cleveland - Jasper (Trip list: 250; +10)
I didn't do much birding today. I took the opportunity to catch up on detailed record keeping that I wasn't able to do while working; and after almost two weeks on the road it was also time to do some routine chores. On a beautiful sunny day I traveled from Cleveland up to Jasper where the temperature topped out in the high 70s. I'm in this area to see some eastern woodland birds.
Ironically, having missed it yesterday, BLUE JAY was the first bird of the day in the parking lot of my motel and I saw and heard them throughout the day.
Around midday I spent an hour at Martin Dies Jr. State Park. Highlights were RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and SWAINSON'S & KENTUCKY WARBLERS singing on territory. Others included RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, several vireo species and TUFTED TITMOUSE.
In the evening (last hour before sunset) I was in Angelina National Forest where I was able to find the desired denizens of the pine habitat zone -- several RED-COCKADED WOODPECKERS, 5 singing BACHMAN'S SPARROWS plus BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCHES and PINE WARBLERS.34 species recorded:
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Texas Trip Day 13: Jasper - Galveston (Trip list: 262; +12)
Today I moved south back to the coast turning a journey of 150 miles into 300 miles with various zigs and zags. First I headed north for another look at Martin Dies Jr. State Park then I traveled down FM-92 to Beaumont; continued south to Texas Point NWR; took a quick at Sabine Woods Sanctuary and Sea Rim State Park; backtracked to Anahuac NWR; then headed west along Bolivar Peninsula (no stops) and the ferry to Galveston. The day began quite cool in Jasper (50 degrees) and climbed to 80 degrees in the afternoon along the coast. Plenty of sunshine and very little wind. A quick summary follows:
I briefly checked all three units of Martin Dies Jr. State Park adding a handful of trip species -- DOWNY WOODPECKER, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN THRASHER and PROTHONOTARY WARBLER.
In Beaumont I picked up FISH CROW.
South of Sabine Pass I added COMMON NIGHTHAWK, TREE SWALLOW, SEDGE WREN, SEASIDE SPARROW and BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE.
I learned that Sabine Woods had plenty of good stuff in the morning but I saw very little during a brief mid afternoon stop; lots of CATBIRDS and ORCHARD ORIOLES.
I enjoyed an all-too-brief visit to Anahuac NWR before moving on to my overnight destination of Galveston. A few FULVOUS-WHISTLING-DUCKS were perhaps the best birds along with a nicely posed LEAST BITTERN. BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES were numerous. WILSON'S SNIPE was the only new trip bird.
By the way, for any newbies following along, the complete list of species seen so far can be seen in the April species seen list available from the links at the top and bottom of this page.84 species recorded:
Friday, April 20, 2012
Texas Trip Day 14: Galveston - Kingsville (Trip list: 270; +8)
Another brief report that doesn't do justice to a long and productive day. I spent the morning checking a few spots on Galveston Island then moved down the coast to briefly check Quintana locations before driving to Kingsville. Some of the journey to Kingsville was through torrential rain (too dangerous to be driving in really) and there was a tornado warning in effect.
I started at Offat's Bayou where I was startled to find a PACIFIC LOON among a flotilla of 16 COMMON LOONS. I later learned that the bird has been around for a while.
Next stop was at Laffite's Cove where lots of migrant warblers were seen yesterday. Unfortunately, none remained this morning. Bad timing has been the story of my trip so far at the migrant traps. Hopefully, I'll hit the jackpot somewhere before I head home at the beginning of May. No warblers but a gorgeous SCARLET TANAGER and a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK were adequate consolation. I also saw MOTTLED DUCK, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, BLUE JAY, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, GRAY CATBIRD, BROWN THRASHER and a handful of others.
Best birds at Galveston Island State Park were YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and CLAPPER RAIL. Others included WHITE-TAILED KITE, LEAST & ROYAL TERNS, SEDGE WREN, SEASIDE SPARROW, INDIGO BUNTING and DICKCISSEL.
I stopped at the base of the San Luis Pass bridge to do a little photography. It was an interesting stop with plenty of common beach stuff present, including ROYAL TERN. I made a brief stop in Surfside and an even briefer stop at Quintana Sanctuary (virtually devoid of birds) then spent the remaining time that I had at Quintana beach. There was always something to look at but I'd have to say the highlights were a handful of FULVOUS-WHISTLING DUCKS, a couple of REDDISH EGRETS (including a white phase); lots of DUNLINS acquiring breeding plumage and a few WILSON'S PHALAROPES.
The first couple of hours of my drive to Kingsville were a little scary, especially in Port Lavaca. As I cleared the rain near Tivoli, mitigation came in the form of 50+ MISSISSIPPI KITES and many hundreds of BROAD-WINGED HAWKS migrating ahead of the weather. Quite a spectacle for a birder from Arizona where hawk migration "en masse" is virtually non existent, save for low numbers of Common Black-Hawks.
A good day!80 species recorded:
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Texas Trip Day 15: Kingsville - King Ranch - Corpus Christi (Trip list: 274; +4)
Today I visited the King Ranch on the "Spring Birdwatching All Day Tour" as it is billed, my third time on this particular tour (the first two were with clients so this was the first time on my own). For those considering such as tour, I'll mention that general birding is not really on the menu, it's designed to produced several key target species and in that respect it's a good tour. Also, if you are not traveling south into the valley it will also provide the opportunity to see some species typically associated with the valley. Most of the tour is spent driving around the ranch with short stops to pick up the key species. There aren't any extended stops for general birding except at a couple of wetland areas.
The four main targets were fairly easily found today. First up was FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL perched in the open near a next box (scope views), almost the first bird that we saw. TROPICAL PARULA was also found at the first attempt -- it certainly helps when you have a spontaneously singing bird. NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET was a little less cooperative and views were more distant. AUDUBON'S ORIOLE required two attempts at different locations and views were only fleeting. Nevertheless, a successful trip if seeing these targets was your primary objective. On the previous two trips, Audubon's was not seen on one of them; all others were seen.
Grassland species (including Botteri's Sparrow and Sprague's Pipit) are secondary targets and neither were seen today. Unfortunately, the need to focus on the primary targets means that the grassland birding (mostly from the van) is at a less than optimum time of day. I know this problem all too well - you can't be in two places at the same time. The best birds on this portion of the trip today were WHITE-TAILED HAWK and DICKCISSEL.
It was a good raptor day with 60-ish MISSISSIPPI KITES migrating overhead along with a few BROAD-WINGED and SWAINSON'S HAWKS. Throw in NORTHERN HARRIER, COOPER'S, HARRIS'S & RED-TAILED HAWKS, both vultures, lots of CRESTED CARACARAS (I'll say 40) and it was indeed a good day if you like raptors.
Among the species seen at wetlands were BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, WHIMBREL and GULL-BILLED TERN. Species seen and/or heard elsewhere included NORTHERN BOBWHITE, 16 UPLAND SANDPIPERS, GREATER ROADRUNNER, a surprise BELTED KINGFISHER, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER, VERMILION, BROWN-CRESTED & SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS; COUCH'S & EASTERN KINGBIRDS; GREEN JAY (briefly), LONG-BILLED THRASHER, OLIVE SPARROW and numerous HOODED ORIOLES.
All but two of the list below were seen on the tour, four of which were new for my trip list (whimbrel, owl, bobwhite, parula). LAUGHING GULL and HOUSE SPARROW were in the parking lot of my motel in Corpus. Hey, I found a way to mention House Sparrow!66 species recorded:
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Texas Trip Day 16: Corpus Christi - Port Aransas - Kerrville (Trip list: 277; +3)
I managed a half day of birding today. In the morning I poked around a few Port Aransas birding locations then drove to San Antonio to pick up my clients for the next 7 days - Ellen and Jay Vancura from New Ulm, MN; and, for the first few days, Ellen's brother Jim Seifert from the St. Paul area. I've birded with Ellen and Jay previously in AZ. On this trip we'll be following the same route that I did with Richard last week then we'll have a couple of extra days on the upper coast.
Lots of people in Port Aransas today and many of them were at Paradise Pond where parking spots were difficult to come by. Elbow room only on the boardwalk. Although migrant activity wasn't high, it was certainly the most active that I've encountered so far (or at least the most migrant diversity that I've seen). I've done poorly on warblers to date so TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, BLACK-AND-WHITE, KENTUCKY, & CANADA WARBLERS, OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH represented a bounty. Among the other migrants were RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, RED-EYED VIREO, GRAY-CHEEKED & SWAINSON'S THRUSHES; GRAY CATBIRD, SCARLET TANAGER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING and BALTIMORE ORIOLE. The Ovenbird and Gray-cheeked Thrush were new trip birds.
A meander along the boardwalk at the Birding Center was productive with about 40 species. A lone FULVOUS-WHISTLING DUCK complemented the BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCKS. I managed my first ever photo of an almost-in-the-open LEAST BITTERN (the bird was partially obscured by reeds as it fished successfully). EARED GREBES in breeding plumage continue and the usual collection of egrets were present. The only landbird migrants that I noted were NASHVILLE WARBLER and INDIGO BUNTING.
There was a festival on the beach so I skipped birding there and missed a few tern species. Instead, I made by first ever visit to the misleadingly named "Charlie's Pasture". The habitat consists of some ponds and shallow pools and a boardwalk across some sandy flats bordering Redfish Bay. Best birds were 30 STILT SANDPIPERS, my third and last final trip bird of the day. New trip birds are getting harder to come by now as I repeat locations (or, better stated, repeat habitat types). Other shorebirds noted in the short distance that I covered were WILSON'S PLOVER, BLACK-NECKED STILT, GREATER & LESSER YELLOWLEGS; WILLET, SANDERLING and a handful of WILSON'S PHALAROPES. At least two REDDISH EGRETS were present including one white phase bird. In addition to the usual common ducks, I also saw a lone male AMERICAN WIGEON (a very pale and anemic looking bird).
I had to wait in line for 45 minutes for the ferry back to Aransas Pass. No birds to mitigate the lost time. On my journey to San Antonio I was hoping to see some raptors in the fields of Bee County. They were not conspicuous and I managed only RED-TAILED HAWK and several CRESTED CARACARAS along with SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER and CLIFF & TREE SWALLOWS.
After picking up the group, BLACK VULTURE and SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER were the only birds of note on the journey to Kerrville. On an evening grocery run, a male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD in the H-E-B parking lot in Kerrville was a good find.80 species recorded:
Monday, April 23, 2012
Texas Trip Day 17: Kerrville - Laredo (Trip list: 277; +0)
Day 1 with Ellen & Jay Vancura and Jim Seifert.
Most of our time on this trip will be spent enjoying whatever we see rather than target birding. Today was an exception as we tried to see Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. We spent until mid afternoon in the Hill Country then drove south to Laredo. I'd hoped for a "Hill Country morning" (clouds and drizzle) but it was clear and sunny from the outset. Temperature range for the day was 55 to 90 degrees. A brief report follows.
We began near Kerr WMA where BLACK-CAPPED VIREO proved quite elusive. Fortunately, they were somewhat more vocal than 10 days ago when I was last here and we won by attrition, eventually getting a good look. None of the five Golden-cheeks that I encountered on April 13 were seen or heard today and we didn't visit Spring Trap to look for others. A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO called as we arrived but was not seen or heard from again. We enjoyed good views of ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER and FIELD SPARROW.
On the way back to east towards Hunt on FM-1340 we viewed CAVE SWALLOWS at a regular spot along with EASTERN PHOEBE. A stop at the Graham Crossing of the Guadalupe river produced GREEN KINGFISHER. Also present were GREEN HERON, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER, BLUE JAY, PURPLE MARTIN and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.
At Lost Maples State Park I detected only 2 GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLERS in the limited area that we covered and we managed only a brief view. We also stopped briefly at Garner State Park but I was distracted dealing with retrieving an item that I'd left in the motel back in Kerrville. We did manage excellent views of a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER foraging in low foliage.
The drive to Laredo produced far less CRESTED CARACARAS than usual (only 4 noted) and just a couple of CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS. I was also surprised by the almost total lack of SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHERS.53 species recorded:
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
published 04/25/2012 7:00am CDT
Texas Trip Day 18: Laredo - McAllen (Trip list: 278; +1)
Day 2 with Ellen & Jay Vancura and Jim Seifert.
Today we began in Laredo then headed south down the valley stopping in Zapata and Salineņo before continuing on to McAllen. The day began cloudy at 68 degrees and climbed to 95 later in the day.
Birding along Zacate Creek-Las Palmas trail was not as productive as 10 days ago but we still encountered plenty of singing WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATERS and enjoyed multiple good views. Other species seen included GREEN HERON, GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, GREAT KISKADEE, COUCH'S KINGBIRD, NASHVILLE WARBLER and OLIVE & CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS. 37 species in all.
Before leaving Laredo we spent a little time at Lake Casa Blanca viewing from the Ranchito Road. Nothing of real note seen but Ellen greatly enjoyed seeing her first GREATER ROADRUNNER having missed it with me in AZ. We managed scope views of CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS and watched at least 4 WESTERN KINGBIRDS interacting
A lunch stop in Zapata yielded more WESTERN KINGBIRDS along with calling BOBWHITE, HOODED ORIOLE and BRONZED COWBIRD.
It was pretty warm in Salineņo in mid afternoon (94 degrees) and not much was stirring. We dipped on Audubon's Oriole put picked up a couple of trip firsts with GREEN JAY and GROOVE-BILLED ANI. Also present were a calling GRAY HAWK, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER , COUCH'S KINGBIRD, LONG-BILLED THRASHER, OLIVE SPARROW and BRONZED COWBIRD.
An evening visit to the famed 10th and Violet intersection in McAllen failed to produce Green Parakeet (a first miss for me at this location). Perhaps the die-off from the hailstorm a couple of weeks ago has altered the habits of the surviving birds?
63 species recorded:
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, N. Shoveler, N. Bobwhite, Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants; Great, Snowy & Cattle Egrets; Green Heron, Turkey Vulture, Gray & Swainson's Hawks; Crested Caracara, Am. Coot, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged, Mourning, Inca & White-tipped Doves; Common Ground-Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Groove-billed Ani, Chimney Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers; Black Phoebe, Brown-crested & Scissor-tailed Flycatchers; Great Kiskadee, Couch's & Western Kingbirds; Green Jay, N. Rough-winged, Barn & Cliff Swallows; Purple Martin, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Wren, N. Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, White-collared Seedeater, Olive & Clay-colored Sparrows; Summer Tanager, N. Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed & Brown-headed Cowbirds; Hooded Oriole, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch and House Sparrow.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
published 04/26/2012 6:45am CDT
Texas Trip Day 19: McAllen (Trip list: 278; +3)
Day 3 with Ellen & Jay Vancura
I've been under the weather with a cold for a couple of days, hardly what I wanted at this stage of a long road trip. Today was a low key day visiting several valley locations -- Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Anzalduas County Park, Frontera Audubon Thicket and Edinburg Wetland. A breezy day that again reached into the 90s.
It was super windy on the hawk watch platform at Bentsen and our visit there was a blow-out (literally). No migrant raptors seen. A continuing ROSEATE SPOONBILL seen from a distance was the only bird of note for this location.
A lunch stop at Anzalduas County Park was more interesting and allowed us to study a few egrets (LITTLE BLUE HERON plus the more common stuff), terns and gulls. We watched EASTERN BLUEBIRDS delivering food to a nest tree. No luck with Hook-billed Kite.
Frontera Audubon Thicket is a good place to bird in the wind (due to its sheltered habitat) and we spent several afternoon hours walking the trails and sitting at the water feature. Birding was pretty good in the heat of the day. Highlights were GREEN KINGFISHER, CLAY-COLORED THRUSH and 2-3 male PAINTED BUNTINGS. Among the more common species were PLAIN CHACHALACA, WHITE-TIPPED DOVE, CHIMNEY SWIFT, multiple BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRDS seen at close range; BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE, GRAY CATBIRD, LONG-BILLED THRASHER and NASHVILLE WARBLER.
We failed to see any Fulvous Whistling Ducks at Edinburg Wetland. In fact, waterfowl numbers and diversity were very low.58 species recorded:
Thursday, April 26, 2012
published 04/27/2012 6:00am CDT
Texas Trip Day 20: McAllen - Ingleside (Trip list: 282; +4)
Day 4 with Ellen & Jay Vancura
This morning we finished up in the valley with a visit to Estero Llano Grande State Park followed by a stop La Feria sod farm then headed over to South Padre Island; continuing north to Ingleside at the end of the day. It was a very windy day. Another very skimpy report today.
Highlights of a birdy morning at Estero were close up views of a number of species at the main pond including several ever present LEAST GREBES. In the Tropical Zone we saw CLAY-COLORED THRUSH, heard NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET and dipped on Common Pauraque.
A brief stop at the McMurray sod farm south of La Feria was productive despite a constantly blowing wind and dust from passing trucks. We picked out 2 PECTORAL and 1 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER among the more common LESSER & GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
We spent all of our available time on South Padre Island at the Convention Center (we didn't visit Sheepshead nor the birding center boardwalk). With the strong south wind I wasn't expecting much in the way of migrants but we had a pretty good showing. The most interesting bird was a "TOWNSEND'S like WARBLER" that just didn't sit right with me. I shot some images and will need to spend some time examining them when I get home. [ added later: the bird actually turned to be a female Townsend's.] Highlights were BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER and PAINTED BUNTING. Other migrants present were SWAINSON'S THRUSH, TENNESSEE, MAGNOLIA & BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, INDIGO BUNTING and BALTIMORE & ORCHARD ORIOLES; along with extremely tame BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS and LONG-BILLED THRASHER. A scan of the beach area produced lots of stuff including REDDISH EGRET and LEAST TERN.88 species recorded:
Friday, April 27, 2012
published 04/28/2012 6:30am CDT
Texas Trip Day 21: Ingleside - Clute (Trip list: 283; +1)
Day 5 with Ellen & Jay Vancura
Today we moved north from the central coast to the upper coast. It was another very windy day (wind from the south) and migrant activity was minimal at the locations we checked. We may have set a record by not seeing a single warbler species. Sorry I don't have the time for a thorough report. Birding, sleeping, eating and record keeping are taking about 24 hours of my time!
We began in Port Aransas. Not much happening at Paradise Pond; migrants noted in two sessions (early morning and midday) were SWAINSON'S THRUSH, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING and BALTIMORE ORIOLE. Our timing at the birding center couldn't have been worse -- we got kicked off the boardwalk because it was being cleaned. What are the odds! Mitigation came in the form of a super close LEAST BITTERN, a photo first for me. I really needed a smaller lens because I couldn't back up far enough. We then spent an hour on the beach studying and comparing 7 species of terns and a similar amount of time at Charlie's Pasture studying sandpipers and plovers. Highlights were my first CASPIAN TERN of the trip, lots of BLACK TERNS, WILSON'S PLOVER and STILT SANDPIPER.
A lunch stop at Goose Island State Park turned into 2 hours as we spent time at the campground feeders seeing a bathing WHITE-EYED VIREO, PAINTED BUNTING and DICKCISSEL; then we sought and photographed AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS at high tide.
We then drove northeast without further stops for an early evening session at Quintana Sanctuary. The only migrants were EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, EASTERN KINGBIRD and the first male ORCHARD ORIOLE that we have seen in the last five days.
Our day ended with a motel overbooking problem. We had to switch to a new hotel which turned out to be a nice (and free) upgrade. Dinner at El Toro in Clute was very good but extremely noisy on a Friday night.85 species recorded:
Saturday, April 28, 2012
published 04/28/2012 5:45am CDT
Texas Trip Day 22: Clute - Winnie (Trip list: 285; +2)
Day 6 with Ellen & Jay Vancura
Today's birding was along the upper coast; mostly at Quintana, Galveston Island and Bolivar flats. The wind blew strongly from the south all day and we saw virtually nothing in terms of passerine migrants. Another very brief report.
There was nothing going on migrant-wise at Quintana sanctuary this morning (more birders than bird species by some margin) and we quickly moved on to the beach and lagoons. As yesterday, Ellen and I spent a fair amount of time studying terns and shorebirds while Jay worked on photos. Highlights were good numbers of FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCKS, a calling then seen NORTHERN BOBWHITE just off Bryan Beach Road, SNOWY PLOVER and a very pink FRANKLIN'S GULL. A collection of expected species were present including WILSON'S PLOVER, MARBLED GODWIT, DUNLIN, HERRING GULL and many BLACK TERNS almost in breeding plumage.
At nearby Surfside we saw 3 YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS but only managed to hear CLAPPER RAIL. No migrants and very few birds at Lafitte's Cove sanctuary. We had great views of CLAPPER RAIL at Galveston Island State Park. Others present included WHITE IBIS, ROSEATE SPOONBILL, SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER and DICKCISSEL.
After a sampling the local culture with a slow drive along seawall in Galveston; then a long wait for the ferry, we spent a couple of hours studying the shorebirds on Bolivar Flats. Plenty of birds to look at here. New for our trip were 4 GREATER SCAUP and a small flock of RED KNOTS looking quite red.
Flyover ANHINGA and COMMON NIGHTHAWK were the final birds of the day at our motel in Winnie.
74 species recorded:
Black-bellied & Fulvous Whistling-Ducks; Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, N. Shoveler, Greater Scaup, N. Bobwhite, Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants; Anhinga, Brown Pelican, Great Blue & Tricolored Herons; Great, Snowy & Cattle Egrets; Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black & Turkey Vultures; Clapper Rail, Am. Coot, Black-bellied, Snowy, Wilson's & Semipalmated Plovers; Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Am. Avocet, Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs; Willet, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Laughing, Franklin's, Ring-billed & Herring Gulls; Least, Black, Forster's, Royal & Sandwich Terns; Black Skimmer, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged & Mourning Doves; Common Nighthawk, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Barn & Cliff Swallows; N. Mockingbird, European Starling, Savannah Sparrow, N. Cardinal, Dickcissel, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed & Great-tailed Grackles; Bronzed & Brown-headed Cowbirds and House Sparrow.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
published 05/01/2012 9:15am
Texas Trip Day 23: Winnie - Houston (Trip list: 290; +5)
Day 7 with Ellen & Jay Vancura
Our last day was spent in the High Island area. We visited Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks sanctuaries; Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and Rollover Pass on the Bolivar Peninsula. The lack of migrant warblers was again extremely disappointing (at least through 5:00pm when we departed) and the highlight of the day came in a flooded field near Anahuac NWR. Another brief report follows, the last of my Texas trip.
We started at Boy Scout Woods which was actually CLOSED at 7:30am. Unbelievable on a weekend day in the heart of migration! So much for the dawn to dusk stuff. We moved over to Smith Oaks where the same scenario that we have encountered at most sanctuaries was in effect -- more birders than bird species (most looking for rare vireos). Among the species noted were GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, GRAY CATBIRD, female SCARLET TANAGER and a heard only KENTUCKY WARBLER. Not exactly a great start to the day.
We headed down to the coast and enjoyed the plentiful birds at Rollover Pass. 3 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS were of note for us among the more regular terns and sandpipers.
Returning north again we checked a flooded field on FM 1941 about a mile north of Fairview Road. Here we had a mother lode of species that prefer this type of habitat, although by all accounts perhaps not as good as when the location was first discovered a few days ago. Highlights were some 10 HUDSONIAN GODWITS and a handful of WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. It's not often that I have a two godwit species day! I was disappointed with the photo which is marginal even for a "photo first" quality image due to a combination of poor light, distance (140 feet) and incorrect camera settings (i.e. a loose nut behind the wheel). Others present included WHITE & WHITE-FACED IBIS; WHIMBREL, DUNLIN and STILT & PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. About 20 species in all.
A couple of hours at Anahuac NWR wasn't as productive as I had hoped but we still had an enjoyable visit. We watched a LEAST BITTERN creeping intently through the reeds atop a dike. Secretive to the prey perhaps but in plain view for us. Nesting BARN SWALLOWS entertained us as we ate lunch. We noted a few more WHITE-RUMPED and STILT SANDPIPERS. The sound of DICKCISSELS was constant along the entrance road and one of the interior grassland roads. BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES were plentiful throughout.
In mid afternoon we headed back to the sanctuaries. At Boy Scout Woods we saw AMERICAN REDSTART, OVENBIRD, GRAY CATBIRD, INDIGO BUNTING, ORCHARD ORIOLE and heard VEERY. At Smith Oaks we enjoyed watching the antics of nesting TRICOLORED HERONS, GREAT & SNOWY EGRETS and ROSEATE SPOONBILLS at the rookery. A feast of activity, color and noise. The woods had a few more birds than this morning but BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was the only warbler that I managed to see.
Before dropping Ellen and Jay at their airport hotel we stopped to view MONK PARAKEET at a regular site in downtown Houston. We ended our time together with about 190 species seen (my overall trip total was 290). I will be traveling home tomorrow and will resume birding (and journal reports) in AZ on May 4. I'll put together a Texas trip summary with photos as my schedule permits.89 species recorded:
This log is in chronological order and the most recent entries
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The last update was on Sunday, April 29, 2012
Apr Species Seen
Journal - April, 2012
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