Wednesday, 17 February 2016

February 17 Birding

Skip and I went to the SPI Birding and Nature Center this morning.
The long-billed curlew we remembered from last year finally appeared.
I have a new camera so am enjoying taking lots of photos. I need a better editing program so I can darken some of the over-exposed shots.

I like that I can clearly see the yellow feet of this snowy egret. I like the descriptive name in Spanish, Garza de dedos dorados = golden-toed heron.

The spotted sandpiper was in its usual spot.
Way out in the Laguna Madre, we saw this marbled godwit, our first one this year.
At first sight this could be mistaken for a snowy or great egret, but the greenish legs and black tip of the beak confirm that it is an immature little blue heron.
There have been a couple of belted kingfishers in the area. This one was on a post quite far out in the laguna.
This is a random shot to give an idea of how many redheads are in the area right now. They'll be heading back north in a couple of weeks.
A couple of pairs of American wigeons isolated themselves well enough for me to get a shot (with a dabbler's butt).
The male has the white pate and greenish feathers around and behind his eye.
Down in the reeds beside the boardwalk, we could hear a moorhen (common gallinule) making all kinds of noise. On closer inspection we noticed a teen aged gator (1.5 years old) making its way onto the dried reeds to soak up some sun.
I can't resist taking pics of birds that pose so nicely. In this case, it's a tricolour heron with one foot tuck up to its breast.

I took a panoramic shot from one vantage point on one of the boardwalks. The white building in the centre is the Convention Centre which also has a couple of boardwalks that are free to the public. There is also a good beach area where it is good for watching shore birds.
We caught up to a birding tour run by volunteers from the Birding Center. The kingfisher kindly flew in and posed nicely for us.
The tricolour egret has a very spirited way of fishing. I liked that I could see the stiff feathers out from the back of its head.
Conveniently, a green heron flew in and posed for us in several locations.

This is the same female blue-wing teal that we see in this spot at each visit. She is quite small.
The snoozing black neck stilts were not bothered at all by this roseate spoonbill that flew in.  The stilt on the right had a brownish back which (depending on the birding guide you look at) indicates that it is either a juvenile or a female.
I'm pretty happy with my new point and shoot camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 with its 30x zoom Leica lens. I lucked out and got a clearance sale at Costco. My previous Lumix (ZS10 with 16x zoom) was full of dust and it would cost almost as much to get it cleaned out as it cost me to replace it. I bought a ZS35 a year and a half ago and was very disappointed with it as it didn't have a Leica lens. This one is MUCH better.  I know I could get even better images with a fancier camera but when I'm birding, a point and shoot is much more convenient when I'm also juggling binoculars and sometimes a spotting scope and tripod.

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