Monday, 6 March 2017

Birding March 6 at Sabal Palm

This morning we went to Sabal Palm Sanctuary in the southeast corner of Brownsville. It is so far south that it is south of the border wall. The wall is beside the levee and abuts this farmer's cornfield.

The road to the sanctuary goes up and over the levee through an opening in the wall. There is always a white and green Border Patrol vehicle monitoring this gate.
As the Rio Grande (dotted yellow line) is very 'twisty-turny' at this point, this part of Texas (Palm Grove on the map) dips below the border 'line' even though the river is the real border.
In fact, there is an international border marker in the parking lot of the birding centre. I'm not sure why they bother as it's still in the US. Yet the GPS on my camera says I'm in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico when I'm here.
The first place we always go is the old administration building that has a feeding station and a 'live feeder cam'.

The first birds we saw were green jays. They are one of my favourite birds we find here in south Texas.

Several black-crested titmouse (titmice?) flew in.
The buff-bellied hummingbird was only about 6 feet away from me before I noticed it. I was surprised at the sound it made. When I checked the Sibley Field Guide it described the 'dry sharp buzz' as the 'chase call'. It came back to the area and the hummingbird feeder several times while we were there.
Another bird only found here in the US is the Altamira Oriole. It is very similar to the hooded oriole but has a thicker, more anvil-like bill.
At the resaca blind, we saw lots of coots, and a couple of turtles,
a pied-bill grebe and several least grebes.
Least grebes
Also spotted but not photographed were a brown thrasher, white-tipped doves, a common yellowthroat, some blue-wing teal. Oh yeah, and beside the highway on our way from the island this morning I spotted a meadowlark - my first of this year.

Walking back on the boardwalk, I spotted this beautiful, little green anole on the railing.
It then climbed down a post.
I knew if I waited, I'd get to see it inflate its red throat. Sure enough, it bobbed its head up and down a few times then presto...
I have since learned that the throat fan is called a 'dewlap' and red indicates that this one is a male. The female dewlap is white. The proper name for this little lizard is a Carolina anole.

Walking back to the car this large female black swallowtail landed right beside me.
Back at the garden several flowers were in bloom.
White Prickly Poppy
Coral Bean
Coreopsis basalis - Golden-mane coreopsis

The plantation house was restored a few years back. It has the registration desk and great restrooms as well as several other rooms visitors can view with period furniture. The garden is to the left.
Inside is a chalk board with sightings.
The clipboard featured all the sightings that had been posted on eBird the past two days.
Sabal Palm Sanctuary is very special to us. It almost closed permanently due to lack of funding a few years back. We are so glad that it is open and active for all to experience.

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