Monday, April 25, 2016

Day Three with the Great Danes - Hanging Close to Home


Pat and I decided to take the Danish group to Frontera first the next day, and we had barely gotten out of the vehicles before the Crimson-collared Grosbeak started calling from the thicket!  By necessity we had to split up the group, and unfortunately Pat’s group missed the bird while our group got brief but identifiable looks of the bird just short of the Payne property, then again along the trail that’s close to the new pond overlook.  The Blue Bunting never showed while we were there, but the lady Black-headed Grosbeak dutifully came to the feeders, and the other feeder birds showed well (except for Green Jay, which remained surprisingly shy during the course of the day).  The Green Kingfisher also gave fleeting looks as it shot across the pond twice, and the Groove-billed Ani called and then showed itself for a handful of folks.  Several Red-crowned Parrots flew around the palm as though they were thinking of lodging there, and an Olive Sparrow gave crippling views near the Sabal Palm grove!  A Blue-headed Vireo gave us fits by singing but never coming out, while a Black-and-white Warbler was also singing his heart out and being totally ignored!  And sometimes the birds we most take for granted are the highlights for visitors, as the male Lesser Goldfinch in the citrus garden was the highlight for many! 
Karen traces the path of our migrants on Pat's T-shirt!

Enjoying a Clay-colored Thrush at Frontera Thicket

Acrobatic Red-crowned Parrot

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Immature White Ibis (note the water dripping from the bill!)
Black-crested Titmouse
Headed to Estero Llano Grande for lunch after that, enjoying a lingering Cinnamon Teal off the deck.  I got everyone on their feet when I saw a kettle and thought they were Mississippi Kites at first, but they turned out to be very pointy-looking Swainson’s Hawks!  Mary Gustafson came by about that time and gave great directions on how to find the Pauraque, so we headed straight for Alligator Lake to look, but not before stopping for Yellow-crowned Night Herons at Grebe Marsh!  I thought I heard a phoebe but couldn’t spot him; however, later I heard that one of our group had seen and photographed a Black Phoebe there, so that’s undoubtedly what I heard.  At the spot, Karen (one of our group) miraculously found the Pauraque, so everyone had scope views of this great bird!  At the overlook, a Ringed Kingfisher put on a great show by catching a fish, then beating the snot out of it before gagging it down!  (Later he circled over Dowitcher Pond several times, rattling away…)  We then dragged ourselves back to the VC where the gang finally got a great look at a Buff-bellied Hummingbird, but a visit to the Tropical Zone bore no Green Jays or Altamira Orioles (we did spot the butterfly walk people, though… J).
Black-necked Stilt from the deck at Estero

The gang in the Tropical Zone
Some folks really wanted to try for Buff-breasted Sandpiper, so from there we headed down to the Progresso Sod Farms where we hit the jackpot:  tons of Golden Plovers, Pectoral and Baird’s Sandpipers, and a handful of Uplands and Buff-breasted!  We even found a couple of Sprague’s Pipits!  That entrance onto Hwy 281 was dicey, however… L
From there we headed to Santa Ana for a last ditch effort for Altamira Oriole, and just before we crossed the canal a Green Kingfisher was perched up on the railing!  Up on the levee we had lots of Broad-winged Hawks circling, and even a Gray that chased a Broadie out of his air space!  I heard a Beardless Tyrannulet in the woods, so those who wanted to chase it came with me, and in the process we got great looks at an immature Altamira Oriole!  After that the gang was willing to forego the tyrannulet in favor of ice cream J, so we headed back, only to find four more Altamiras on the levee!
Headed home with 90 species for the day!  Bird List:
       Black-bellied Whistling-Duck         
  Fulvous Whistling-Duck               
  Mottled Duck                         
  Blue-winged Teal                     
  Cinnamon Teal                         
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Great Egret                          
  Snowy Egret                          
  Cattle Egret                         
  Green Heron                           
  Yellow-crowned Night-Heron           
  White Ibis                           
  White-faced Ibis                     
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Harris's Hawk                        
  Broad-winged Hawk                    
  Gray Hawk                            
  Swainson's Hawk                      
  Common Gallinule                     
  American Coot                        
  Black-necked Stilt                   
  American Avocet                      
  American Golden-Plover                
  Spotted Sandpiper                    
  Solitary Sandpiper                   
  Greater Yellowlegs                    
  Lesser Yellowlegs                    
  Upland Sandpiper                     
  Baird's Sandpiper                    
  Least Sandpiper                      
  Buff-breasted Sandpiper              
  Pectoral Sandpiper                   
  Long-billed Dowitcher                
  Rock Pigeon                          
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                            
  Common Ground-Dove                   
  White-tipped Dove                     
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo                 
  Groove-billed Ani                    
  Common Pauraque                      
  Chimney Swift                         
  Buff-bellied Hummingbird             
  Ringed Kingfisher                    
  Green Kingfisher                     
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker             
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Green Parakeet                       
  Red-crowned Parrot                   
  Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet        
  Black Phoebe                         
  Brown-crested Flycatcher             
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Couch's Kingbird                     
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            
  Loggerhead Shrike                    
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Blue-headed Vireo                    
  Green Jay                             
  Purple Martin                        
  Tree Swallow                         
  Bank Swallow                         
  Barn Swallow                         
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  House Wren                           
  Carolina Wren                        
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 
  Clay-colored Thrush                  
  Curve-billed Thrasher                
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                     
  Sprague's Pipit                      
  Black-and-white Warbler              
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Olive Sparrow                        
  Savannah Sparrow                     
  Crimson-collared Grosbeak            
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Black-headed Grosbeak                 
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Eastern Meadowlark                   
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Brown-headed Cowbird                 
  Altamira Oriole                      
  Lesser Goldfinch                     
  House Sparrow                        

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