Sunday, February 28, 2016

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

For the last two weeks of February, we were at Alamo Rose RV Park just 5 miles north of the Santa Ana NWR.  For 10 of those days we were birding the marshes arriving just before sunrise.
Santa Ana marshes

Armadillo takes a swim

Cinnamon Teal

Black-necked Stilt

American Bittern hides in the cattails

White-faced Ibis

Northern Jacana, wing flash in yellow

One of the rare Mexican/Central American birds that is at Santa Ana was the Northern Jacana.  We found the bird every day but most photos were too far away or the bird was hidden in the marsh grasses.  These special photos came as a surprise as Ty was trying to get closer, the Jacana flew up onto the road to get grit.  He came about 25 feet in front of Ty and blessed him with 10 minutes of clear views.
Jacana has extra long toes

Mexican Blue Butterfly

Great Egret  at sunrise

Sugar Cane burn getting ready for harvest

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Yellow-throated Warbler

Coral Snake slithers away 

Indigo Snake with engorged tick on head

Sora rail

Blue-winged Teal

American Pipit

One day we drove north to La Sal del  Rey Lake, part of the NWR system.  We saw Am. Pipits, Wilson's & Red-necked Phalaropes and other shore birds on the salty beaches.  It was very windy and with heat waves making photos nearly impossible.
Common Buckeye

We stopped at Edinburg Scenic Wetlands on the way back to Alamo.  This is also a great Butterfly area.

Walking through the trails of larger trees at Santa Ana we found the sought after Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.  The four inch long flycatcher has a name longer than he is.
Altamira Orioles love the oranges

Olive Sparrow

Can't resist taking those Green Jay photos

American Kestrel

We spent two days at the McCook agricultural area (also lots of gas energy wells).  Our first trip, we had American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie & Peregrine Falcons, but not Mountain Plovers that we had hoped for.  A week and a half later we went back to try again..  We were successful finding over 45 Plovers scattered in a plowed field where they blended in perfectly.  Amazing!
Eastern Meadowlark

Horned Lark

Mountain Plover blends into the field

Immature White-tailed Hawk has lunch

Now we are headed west back to Mission and doing the Spring Hawk Watch at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park for March & April.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Monday, February 15, 2016

Brownsville to Weslaco - RGV - Texas

We left South Padre Island on Feb. 1st, heading south to the Brownsville area staying at Rio Park on Boca Chica Rd.  One late afternoon we went to Olivera Park to watch over 300 Parrots come in to roost for the night.

Yellow-headed Parrot

The noisy birds flew into the trees above our heads.  There were 5 different species:  Red-crowned (native and most numerous), Red-lored, Lilac-crowned, White-fronted, and Yellow-headed (all considered exotics) they have taken up residence in Brownsville and other Rio Grande Valley towns.
Red-crowned Parrot

We spent a day birding at Sabal Palm Sanctuary at the southern most tip of Texas.  This historic Rabb Plantation house has been refurbished  and is the new visitor's center.  The rare bird here was a first for Texas;  the Pacific-slope Flycatcher.
Pacific-sloped Flycatcher

We took two trips to the Resaca de la Palma State Park that we had never visited before.  We took the tram on the 3 mile loop getting on and off to walk the different trails and check out the wildlife.  We found our first Armadillo.  

Our RV park had Monk Parakeets hauling nesting material to a palm tree for their colony nest.
Fulvous Whistling Ducks & Red-eared Slider

Very rare White-throated Thrush

We moved west to Weslaco for the second week of February and were out everyday birding at Estero Llano Grande State Park or Frontera Audubon Thicket Sanctuary.

There were some very rare birds in the area and people were coming from all over the U.S. to see them.
Fox Squirrel steals an orange

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow-crowned Night-heron 

Green Kingfisher

Wilson's Snipe 

Gadwall shows his colors

Green-winged Teal

Estero Llana Visitor's Center and viewing deck

Rare Blue Bunting male

We were successful in seeing the rare birds that had come north out of Mexico with lots of patience and perseverance.
Black-headed Grosbeak female

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Clay-colored Thrush

Rare Crimson-colllared Grosbeak female

Summer Tanager

Anhinga swallows huge Tilapia 

Blooming Yucca

You looking at me?  Plain Chachalaca

We are off to Alamo and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and other nearby birding areas for the next two weeks.

Love & Prayers,
Ty and Ida