Monday, December 12, 2016

Feeder-Hopping in the Cold


I was anxious to test Merle's theory that the cold weather would bring in the orioles, so Bob, Mary Ann, and I piled in the car and headed up to Salineno!  Coming down the entrance road a beautiful Harris' Hawk posed for Bob, so that was a good start!

I warned everyone to bundle up good (highs would remain in the 40s, which is frigid for the Valley), and the feeders didn't disappoint this time:  Bob was happy (so I was happy) shooting Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Green Jays, Kiskadees, a Long-billed Thrasher, Inca, White-tipped, and White-winged Doves, and even Red-winged Blackbirds!  The Altamira Oriole put on a great show, and although the Audubon's had shown up earlier, he didn't come in while we were there.

Altamira Oriole (above and below)

Pretending to be a hummingbird...

Getting a mouthful of that peanut butter mixture...

Up close and personal

Green Jay feeding his face

Great Kiskadee

Eyeing the PB mixture...

Northern Cardinal

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Eyeing the grapefruit...

Long-billed Thrasher

Some Longbills can look as rusty as their cousins the Brown Thrasher!

Also eyeing the PB stuff...


Female Ladder-backed Woodpecker 
After viewing the Rio Grande just so they could say they saw it (and shooting a nice Osprey on our side), we headed over to Falcon State Park just to see if we could kick up a Roadrunner or Caracara or other desert specialty along the roads (we started to take the Dump Road, then thought better of it after seeing the condition it was in...).  No Roadrunner; in fact, it was frustratingly quiet, but another Osprey posed with a fish, and in the campground where someone was feeding the birds, a Bobwhite had joined the blackbirds and doves!  We had some distant White Pelicans and herons at the lake, but nothing close enough for photos.

Osprey at the Salineno boat ramp

Immature Osprey at Falcon SP with lunch

Northern Bobwhite

The next feeder area was Bentsen Rio Grande State Park, which had been jumping the day I took Gary and his sons there, but what a difference the cold weather made!  Ranger Karla informed me that we were visitors numbers 4, 5, and 6 all day - that's how miserable it was out!  We walked up to the Nature Center feeders which were eerily empty, and even though there was seed and some PB in the holes, the gal on duty said the birds just weren't coming out!  Not to be dissuaded, I suggested we sit in the swings for about ten minutes to give stuff time to get used to our presence and come in.  The Green Jays didn't have a problem swooping in, but I was sweating the Chachalacas, as that was the target bird I was hoping for!  I was gazing elsewhere trying to come up with a backup plan when I happened to see Bob's camera pointed my direction, and there were the Chachalacas, right in front of us!  Whew!

Mary Ann points something out to Bob on the way into Bentsen

Shooting Green Jays at the Nature Center feeders

The Chachalaca shows up!

From there we walked down to the Resaca (the two feeder areas between "here and there" were dead as well), where the "Resaca Fence" at least had some Redwings, doves, and a single Kiskadee coming in to drink!  Before long Ranger Roy rolled in with who must have been visitors 1 and 2 (or 2 and 3), with their sole target being a Ringed Kingfisher, and thankfully one flew in!  All of us (including Bob and Mary Ann) were able to get great looks, but unfortunately the viewing window as too narrow and the distance too great to get a decent picture before the bird flew...

Sweet-looking Mourning Dove

Kiskadee at the "reflecting pool"

Time had gotten away from us, so we headed out, adding some Clay-colored Thrushes following a flock of Green Jays, and a cooperative Killdeer posed for pictures as we rolled out.  My plans to hit Estero again went out the window as I realized it would be sunset by the time we got there, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, we'd be able to catch the Green Parakeet Show on 10th Street.  Traffic held us up, and while we finally found some parakeets in with the grackles on Trenton, it was too dark for pictures...

We actually didn't get many more birds than we had gotten the day before, but at least we didn't get wet!  Bird list:

  Blue-winged Teal                     
  Northern Pintail                     
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Northern Bobwhite                    
  Double-crested Cormorant             
  American White Pelican                
  Great Blue Heron                     
  Great Egret                          
  Snowy Egret                          
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Harris's Hawk                        
  Gray Hawk                            
  Ring-billed Gull                      
  Rock Pigeon                          
  Eurasian Collared-Dove               
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                            
  White-tipped Dove                    
  Buff-bellied Hummingbird             
  Ringed Kingfisher                    
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                     
  American Kestrel                     
  Green Parakeet                       
  Black Phoebe                         
  Eastern Phoebe                       
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Tropical Kingbird                     
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Green Jay                            
  Bewick's Wren                        
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
  Clay-colored Thrush                  
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                    
  Orange-crowned Warbler               
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                
  Olive Sparrow                        
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Altamira Oriole                      
  House Sparrow                        

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