Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Better Weather

The last couple of days we've had better weather for at least part of the day.

On Monday, we went to the birding centre on the island later in the afternoon.

There was something not quite right about this great egret. On closer inspection we, and another birder who came along, determined that it was indeed a reddish egret in white morph phase. The posture and black-tipped, pink beak gave it away.
We were lucky enough to get a good look at the green heron again.
This red-eared slider turtle looked so relaxed sprawled out on the reeds.
We retraced our steps on the boardwalk. It often gives us a different perspective. Sure enough, we turned a corner and found this black-crowned night heron not too far from the boardwalk.
Here, the two stiff, long plumes out of the back crown of its head can be seen clearly.
It wasn't really a cold day but when the sun goes behind the clouds and we're so close to the laguna, it can feel pretty 'fresh'.
One of the birders was sure this was a yellow rail because the tail feathers weren't flipped up like a sora usually does. However, there are several differences between this sora and a yellow rail.
Then we came upon this great blue heron catching a large fish.
It was giving the heron a bit of a struggle.
He could barely carry it and appeared to be taking it over to dry land. We hung around hoping to see how he would eat it but he let it go after all. I think it was just too big.
Back at one of the water features at the birding centre, I got a good shot of this mottled duck and it's beautiful blue feather just under its wing.
There were lots of these 4-leafed plants floating in the water.
Back in the parking lot, I took a couple of shots of flowers from the sea grape tree.
This colour appeared on the same branch as the one above but there didn't appear to be a graft. I think the yellow flower turns to this coral colour.
I'm trying to drink in all the sights of this lovely place as it will be at least 10 months before we visit here again, if not longer. I'm taking a lot of photos of flowers to put on my desktop slide show to tide me over.
Yesterday morning we went for breakfast off the island in Port Isabel. On the way back to the condo we stopped at the Sheepshead Woodlot Sanctuary , where six wooded residential lots - three on the north side of the street and three on the south side - are situated as a welcome place for migrating birds to rest after flying across hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Mexico.

When we first arrived, we quickly spotted a black and white warbler, a white-eyed vireo and several northern parulas - a life bird for me. These guys flit around so much it was hard to get a good shot in the partial shade with my point and shoot camera but you get the idea.
Northern Parula
I also saw a ruby-throated hummingbird sipping at flowers rather than at a feeder.

A fellow birder from Colorado who pulled up when we were there spotted a water thrush at the water feature on the south side of the street. It was too muddy for me to venture across to it so I didn't get a chance to see it. We'll stop by there today to have another look on our way by.

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