Thursday, 19 February 2015

Birding Bonanza

This past week, we have been doing marathon birdwatching. We travelled to 4 World Birding Centers and a nature sanctuary. In total we spotted about 115 species of birds.

After picking up our friends, Susan and David, from the airport last week, we immediately headed over to Sabal Palm Sanctuary to see what we could see.

On our way into the centre to pay our fee, we noticed a spotting scope trained on a Sabal palm tree. It was mama great horned owl on her nest.
We headed over to the resaca and saw these red-eared sliders sunning themselves on a log. The last one was covered in algae.
The in addition to the commonly-found pied-bill grebe, the least grebe, found only in limited areas of the US was found paddling around. He is distinguished by his big yellow eye and darker colour.
There are lots of beautiful Texas wildflowers. This is a type of salvia.
This shrub was in flower but I have yet to figure out the shrub or flower's name.

These white poppies grow on a very thistle-like stem and leaves.

On another day we headed over to the World Birding Center and the convention centre. The tide was low and the light was right.

This reddish egret was all fluffed up.
Snowy egrets are distinguished from the also-white great egret by the black bill and bright, yellow feet.
A little while later, the reddish egret dried himself off in the sun.
Mr. and Mrs. Wigeon happily swam about. I don't often get such a good photo of the green colouring on the male's head.
These roseate spoonbills seem to be residents. We have seen significant numbers of them here since our first winter on the island in 2008.
Blue crabs also thrive in this environment.
There were about 10 geocaching spots listed on the island. This medium-sized cache was easily found in the garden area of the parking circle.
On Monday, we had plans to see whooping cranes at Aransas Nation Wildlife Refuge. About 2 hours into our 3.5 hour drive there, I got a text message that the boat tour had been cancelled due to anticipated high winds. We quickly devised another plan to head down to the central valley area to do more birdwatching at the Scenic Edinburg Wetlands and Bentsen State Park.

At the wetlands we spotted this thrasher. I didn't get very good photos because he was behind some twigs. It did have an interesting series of calls. It is either a long-billed or curve-billed thrasher. Identification is pending.

At the little pond, this young red-eared slider sunned itself.
We heard this kiskadee before we saw it. There were three or four in the area.

 On the way back to the car, 3 chachalacas flew into a tree and were eating seeds. They are very ungainly-looking birds and in the US are only seen in this area.
We then drove over to Bentsen State Park - another World Birding Center. It was close to the end of the day so we didn't get to stop and look around much, preferring instead to get an overview by taking the tram that runs hourly.

Near the end of the tram tour, we spotted this roadrunner. I did not hear him 'beep'.
At one of the feeding stations, were several green jays(pictured) and an Altamira oriole (not pictured).
After our full day, we headed back down the valley to the island. By the time we got back to the condo. We had logged almost 550km that day.

No comments:

Post a Comment