Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Thanksgiving Holiday, Part 3


Had a fabulous chase day with Gary et al, starting on Old Port Isabel Road; unfortunately the Aplomado Falcon wasn't at his normal platform, but a young Peregrine had us fooled for a minute...  The target Cassin’s Sparrow popped up on a bush a little ways down, and at the turnaround point (the condition of the road was pretty bad) a Sprague’s Pipit flew overhead! 

The guys along Old Port Isabel Road (and this was the decent part...)

Backtracking and then blasting up to South Padre via SR48 (they opted not to stop at the boatramp seeing as they already had the oystercatcher), we went straight to the Bay Access Flats, and thankfully the water was out and the birds very approachable!  Unfortunately the only plovers to show were Black-bellied, but the guys were very happy with Sandwich and Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, Willets, Sanderlings, Western Sandpipers, and especially a Marbled Godwit (and I was very happy with the lingering Red Knot :-))!  Having birded in Florida, there were only a handful of targets they were after, so we headed to the boardwalk after that to try for Clapper Rail, and as per usual, they eventually sounded off (along with a Least Bittern) but never showed themselves. 

Part of the bird mob on the flats

Cooperative Tricolored Heron on the boardwalk

From there we headed down SR100 for a last-ditch search for the Aplomado, so I had the eagle-eyed guys yell if they saw a suspicious bird (as traffic along that road goes lickety-split and pulling over can be dangerous)!  Didn't take long, so I careened off, we got the scope out, and sire enough, a bona fide Aplomado was sitting on one of the crossbars very close to one of the many Ospreys!  As the guys were enjoying him, I was checking out the wetland that happened to be there when one of their other targets (and a tricky one at that) flew by:  Gull-billed Tern!  I was excited about the Sandhill Cranes, but that was a common bird back home for them! :-)

VERY distant view of an Aplomado Falcon

From there we backtracked to Laguna Atascosa where the feeders were kinda quiet, but in wandering the butterfly garden an Altamira Oriole came tearing in!  The boys got a great look, but by the time Gary caught up with us (thanks to the radio) the bird just took off! :-(  A skulky Long-billed Thrasher was a nice consolation prize before we meandered over to Kiskadee Trail, and again after we split up, the boys called us back:  they had found the Tropical Parula in a feeding flock (which also included a Nashville Warbler)!  We heard another Beardless Tyrannulet but couldn't pin him down, and the boys also flushed a Pauraque, which was rather anticlimactic after seeing the bird at Estero so close!  Over at Osprey Overlook a careful sort through the mob of waterfowl could produce no Eurasian Wigeon (plus the shelter was overrun with bees), so we headed on to the area west of Rio Hondo where Mountain Plovers had been sighted during the LRGV Bird Festival (after negotiating the detour around Rio Hondo itself).

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher heading in to Laguna Atascosa

Pauraque on Kiskadee Trail

From FM 508 we took FM 507 north to FM 1599, along which the plovers had been reported.  Again, we didn't have to go far before a flock of Killdeer flew across, and in amongst them were a couple of smaller, all brown birds!  With the scope we were able to get great views, and a few Long-billed Curlews were an added bonus!

Bird List:

  American Wigeon                      
  Northern Shoveler                    
  Northern Pintail                     
  Lesser Scaup                         
  Red-breasted Merganser                
  Ruddy Duck                           
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Pied-billed Grebe                    
  Double-crested Cormorant             
  American White Pelican               
  Brown Pelican                        
  Least Bittern                        
  Great Blue Heron                     
  Great Egret                           
  Snowy Egret                          
  Little Blue Heron                    
  Tricolored Heron                     
  Reddish Egret                        
  Cattle Egret                         
  Green Heron                          
  Black-crowned Night-Heron            
  White Ibis                           
  Roseate Spoonbill                     
  Black Vulture                        
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Northern Harrier                     
  Harris's Hawk                        
  White-tailed Hawk                    
  Red-tailed Hawk                      
  Clapper Rail                         
  Common Gallinule                     
  American Coot                        
  Sandhill Crane                       
  Black-bellied Plover                 
  Mountain Plover                      
  Greater Yellowlegs                   
  Lesser Yellowlegs                    
  Long-billed Curlew                   
  Marbled Godwit                       
  Ruddy Turnstone                      
  Red Knot                             
  Western Sandpiper                    
  Laughing Gull                        
  Ring-billed Gull                      
  Gull-billed Tern                     
  Caspian Tern                         
  Forster's Tern                       
  Royal Tern                           
  Sandwich Tern                        
  Black Skimmer                        
  Rock Pigeon                          
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                            
  White-tipped Dove                    
  Common Pauraque                      
  Belted Kingfisher                     
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                     
  American Kestrel                     
  Aplomado Falcon                      
  Peregrine Falcon                     
  Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet        
  Eastern Phoebe                       
  Vermilion Flycatcher                 
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Couch's Kingbird                     
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            
  Loggerhead Shrike                     
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Blue-headed Vireo                    
  Green Jay                            
  Horned Lark                          
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  House Wren                           
  Marsh Wren                           
  Bewick's Wren                        
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 
  Curve-billed Thrasher                
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                    
  American Pipit                       
  Sprague's Pipit                      
  Orange-crowned Warbler                
  Nashville Warbler                    
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Tropical Parula                      
  Cassin's Sparrow                     
  Savannah Sparrow                     
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Eastern Meadowlark                   
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Altamira Oriole                      
  House Sparrow                        

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