Saturday, 7 April 2018

Fevered Pitch

Yesterday we birded from early morning until almost nightfall with only breaks for lunch and mid-day naps.

First, we went to the Sheepshead lot. These were the species spotted the day before.
We had several species still to add to our list. We find the best strategy is to sidle up beside other birders and ask what they're seeing and help them spot birds. I can often spot a bird but sometimes have no clue what it is. We didn't see much there so headed over to the Convention Center.
Out on the Laguna Madre, the light was hitting the reddish egret perfectly. It's bright pink on the beak indicates it is ready for breeding.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder
Eurasian-collared dove
Young, male orchard oriole

Summer tanager
 For lunch we headed into Port Isabel so we could do some grocery shopping afterwards. Skip spotted several least terns diving into the water beside a marina. These are lifers for us both.
They were really hard to photograph because they moved so quickly.
Least tern
Least tern
After lunch and naps we went back to the Convention Center.
Savannah sparrow
Savannah sparrow

Female orchard oriole
At the water feature, a frog appeared.

Orange-crowned warbler

Orange-crowned warbler
Then out popped the painted bunting. It really likes seeds.
He bent this stem over and was plucking off the seeds one by one.
There is something wrong with its right wing but we still saw it fly up to a low branch above the water.
White-eyed vireo
Then someone came from the bird blind and told us the least bittern was there. We've been trying to spot it since we got here in February so we beetled over there. And gosh, darn it, I took a crapload of photos.

Over at the former freshwater pond, three killdeer were having a conversation.

The water has been drained for a week so the cattails could be chopped down. The word is that they will start filling it this week. So far, nothing. The cracks in the bottom are getting pretty deep. We hope to see some water in there before we leave next Tuesday.

Then back to the water feature to see the Swainson's warbler.

Swainson's taking a bath

Young, male orchard oriole
Savannah sparrow
Communal bathing - orchard orioles
I felt like I was 'running with the big dogs' as I was helping a guy with a honking big camera spot birds. We both were taking pictures like fiends. Him with his big camera and me with my much smaller one.

I had been shown how to turn on the water feature pump. At one point I unplugged it and the water was just trickling downward. This seemed to bring in a few birds.
Grey catbird
More communal bathing - orchard oriole, female hooded warbler, and 
Female hooded warbler
After 2.5 hours there, we drove over to the Sheepshead lot. The birding fanatic, Javi, was there and directed us to where the palm warbler was. Check! Another one for this year's list.
Palm warbler
Palm warbler
Across the street, beside the heavily wooded lot, the indigo bunting was working along the fence line.

On one of the trees, an anole waved its dewlap at us - very menacing. LOL.
Across the road again, I got a parting shot of a palm warbler.
We were tired, and bleary-eyed but thrilled to count 158 birds in our 'Texas Brushlands' list.

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