Monday, 28 March 2016

Thrashers, Cacti, and a White-Tailed Kite

Yesterday Skip and I went to the Laguna Vista Nature Trail. To get there, turn west just south of 'the church' in Laguna Vista and left at the first street - Palo Blanco.

It was perfect temperature with only a bit of breeze. It was overcast so there wasn't great light.

On the way to the first bird blind, we heard, then saw this long-billed thrasher chortling away up in a tree.
We were able to get pretty close before it flew away.
A little while later, it landed on the edge of the water feature at the first bird blind. These thrashers are found in south Texas only. It is distinguished from the brown thrasher because it has more grey on the face a brighter orange eye, and a slightly longer, curved bill.
We also saw what we think was an orange-crowned warbler taking a bath.

Far away was this hovering bird. I first thought it was an osprey but the tail was too long and the head posture was different. After watching it for quite a while in our binoculars, we concluded that it was a white-tailed kite.
I got it with its wings straight up in this shot. The light wasn't that great but through the binoculars, we could see it's black eye patch. This is another south Texas bird also found in California and occasionally in north central Mexico.
The cacti are really starting to bloom.
Here we saw more than just yellow cactus flowers.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get any closer to take pictures of the flowers from a different angle. It appears that the bud here is the fuschia colour which turns coral when the petals open up.
The fruit of the prickly pear is well-developed. I need to do more research about the sequence of buds to flowers to fruit and if the fruit come from the flowers or from their own buds.
It started to drizzle so we high-tailed it back to the car. 5 minutes later the sun was out and it was rather steamy as things started drying up.

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