Monday, April 25, 2016

Day Two with the Great Danes - the Hope for a Fallout


            The weather wasn’t as bad as predicted the day before, but we still felt hitting South Padre Island would be a good idea, as there could still be good fallout conditions.  But first, we made a stop at Old Port Isabel Road for the Aplomado Falcon.  Once you know where to find the hacking station (that the birds now use as a nesting platform), your chances of seeing the birds are pretty good, and this day was no exception, as two birds were in the dead tree near the platform!  More exciting for Pat and myself, however, was a Whimbrel that flew in!
Checking out Old Port Isabel Road

The hacking station with two Aplomado Falcons on the left

From there we went straight to the Hwy 48 Boat Ramp, as not everyone had seen yesterday’s Wilson’s Plover, and there was a good chance of finding one here.  Unfortunately I could find none, and Pat thought she had one, but the wind was pretty strong and I think we went away empty on that target.  However, there was lots of other great stuff:  Black Skimmers, Franklin’s Gulls, Least Terns, Semipalmated Plovers, and the nearly-reliable Oystercatcher!
A flock of Franklin's Gulls wheels overhead
On to the Island we went, stopping at the Sheepshead Lots first, along with every other birder in the Valley! J  (Frands jokingly said, “What’s the occasion??” J)  One of the participants said it was like a shooting gallery:  there were birds all over and you didn’t know where to look first!  Worm-eating, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, and Hooded Warblers all made an appearance, along with a female Blackburnian Warbler that had been hanging around!  Around the corner a Blue Grosbeak showed off, and a Warbling Vireo gave a look. 
A Golden-fronted Woodpecker demonstrates how he can use his long tongue to raid the hummingbird feeder!

This early female Blackburnian Warbler caused a lot of excitement!

The white braces on the back are diagnostic in any plumage.

We had a hard time convincing them it was time to head to the Convention Center (lunch time J), but we eventually got them there and dropped them off with their picnic lunches while Pat and I got Subways.  We returned to find the crew focused on a Painted Bunting, one of their most wanted!  New migrants were coming in, including lots of Baltimore Orioles, the Kentucky Warbler, a Canada Warbler, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, the continuing Prairie Warbler, and plenty of Swainson’s Thrushes.  Along the back side were lots of Baltimore and Orchard Orioles where Scarlet and George Colley, the dedicated caretakers of this oasis, had made a special feeding platform for them, and the gang was thrilled with a Dickcissel feeding with the doves and whistling ducks!  A stroll around the boardwalk bagged them their Least Bittern, but the Clapper Rails, as usual, were heard-only.  A lingering Red-breasted Merganser was new for their trip list, though!
A shy Painted Bunting hides in the foliage

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak not quite into breeding plumage yet

Female Least Bittern on the boardwalk

Yellow-headed Blackbird
Not surprisingly, the gang wanted to return to Sheepshead (after a quick run down to the condos to see the Peregrine), and that proved very productive, as they were able to add Cerulean Warbler and American Redstart to their list!  In addition to the female Blackburnian, a Yellow-throated Warbler also came in, and while the whole kit-n-caboodle got enticed down the road after the first Cerulean Warbler Alarm, I found an Eastern Wood Pewee in a vacant lot. 
More views of the female Blackburnian Warbler...

...while a curious male Black-throated Green Warbler comes in to say hello!

The Danes (and everyone else on that side of the Island) respond to a Cerulean Warbler Alert!
Pat and I didn’t think we’d be able to get them to leave at the appointed time, but they were ready to head home after an exciting day of migrant chasing on the coast (but not before picking up a pair of Chihuahuan Ravens along Hwy 100)!  My personal list was 110 for the day!
Bird List:
       Black-bellied Whistling-Duck         
  Mottled Duck                         
  Blue-winged Teal                     
  Northern Shoveler                    
  Red-breasted Merganser               
  Pied-billed Grebe                     
  Neotropic Cormorant                  
  Brown Pelican                        
  Least Bittern                        
  Great Blue Heron                     
  Great Egret                          
  Snowy Egret                          
  Little Blue Heron                    
  Tricolored Heron                     
  Reddish Egret                         
  Cattle Egret                         
  Green Heron                          
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Clapper Rail                         
  Common Gallinule                     
  American Coot                        
  Black-necked Stilt                    
  American Avocet                      
  American Oystercatcher               
  Black-bellied Plover                 
  Semipalmated Plover                  
  Lesser Yellowlegs                    
  Upland Sandpiper                     
  Long-billed Curlew                   
  Ruddy Turnstone                      
  Least Sandpiper                      
  Short-billed Dowitcher               
  Laughing Gull                        
  Franklin's Gull                      
  Least Tern                           
  Caspian Tern                         
  Royal Tern                           
  Black Skimmer                        
  Rock Pigeon                          
  Eurasian Collared-Dove               
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                             
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo                 
  Chimney Swift                        
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird            
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                     
  Aplomado Falcon                      
  Peregrine Falcon                     
  Eastern Wood-Pewee                   
  Brown-crested Flycatcher             
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Western Kingbird                     
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Warbling Vireo                       
  Chihuahuan Raven                     
  Northern Rough-winged Swallow        
  Tree Swallow                         
  Barn Swallow                         
  Marsh Wren                           
  Bewick's Wren                        
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
  Swainson's Thrush                    
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                    
  Cedar Waxwing                         
  Worm-eating Warbler                  
  Northern Waterthrush                 
  Black-and-white Warbler              
  Tennessee Warbler                     
  Orange-crowned Warbler               
  Nashville Warbler                    
  Kentucky Warbler                     
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Hooded Warbler                       
  American Redstart                    
  Cerulean Warbler                     
  Northern Parula                      
  Blackburnian Warbler                 
  Chestnut-sided Warbler               
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                
  Yellow-throated Warbler              
  Prairie Warbler                      
  Black-throated Green Warbler         
  Canada Warbler                       
  Clay-colored Sparrow                 
  Savannah Sparrow                      
  Lincoln's Sparrow                    
  Summer Tanager                       
  Rose-breasted Grosbeak               
  Blue Grosbeak                         
  Indigo Bunting                       
  Painted Bunting                      
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Yellow-headed Blackbird              
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Brown-headed Cowbird                 
  Orchard Oriole                       
  Baltimore Oriole                     
  House Sparrow                        
110 SPECIES     

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