Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Amazon Run Take Two!


 Word gets around, and Keith’s friend George had shared his Amazon Kingfisher adventure with his friend Howard, who in turn made arrangements with his friend Brad to come down and add another hot bird to their ABA lists!  (Howard and Brad, like George, were “twitchers” who would readily hop a plane to chase a mega-rarity!)  Unfortunately Brad caught The Crud and couldn’t make it, so I invited my friend Pat to tag along seeing as she hadn’t seen the bird for the year yet, and off we went

It’s a long drive to Laredo for sure, but it went fast (you get Pat together with most anyone, and especially with someone like Howard who has had such a fascinating career in crystallography) and the conversation was great!  Google sends you north and west through the Brush Country, and with the sun to our backs we had stupendous fly-by looks at Harris’ and White-tailed Hawks, and Crested Caracaras!  This was the first time I had attempted to go straight to Tres Laredos Park (as opposed to going there from Zacate Creek), and after getting turned around trying to “merge” with US83, we finally got on the right road after asking directions the old fashioned way from a nice local guy (as opposed to “Ciri”, who had no clue what Tres Laredos Park was…) and found our way there without accidentally heading into Mexico! J  The bird had been hanging out by the “Railroad Bridge” (where we had seen it last time), so after parking in the pullout just under the bridge, we headed over to the little overlook, and there was lady Amazon, right where we left her last time (and we were gratified to see that she was still there after that horrific cold front last weekend)!  So Howard settled down to enjoy her while Pat scanned for other stuff, and we had a pair of Green Kingfishers and one female Ringed, in addition to a few White-faced Ibis, a couple of herons, some coots, and a Gadwall.  Howard was content to sit and watch so Pat and I explored a little of this good caliche road that paralleled the river in hopes of scaring up some seedeaters.  The most exciting thing we saw along that trail was a pair of flyover Monk Parakeets, so we headed back, and after awhile Howard was ready to go.

View of the "Railroad Bridge" from the little parking area

The lady Amazon Kingfisher eyes breakfast below her and readies for the plunge, showing her spotless wings that help separate her from the Green Kingfisher!

Afterwards she sits on a stick close to the river to shake off the water!

The parking area near the bridge 

The Amazon was his only target, but he admitted it’s still fun to see birds you don’t always get to see, so we wheeled by Lake Casa Blanca State Park in hopes of something odd (several years ago a Slaty-backed Gull showed up, and there had been historical reports of Western Grebes and seedeaters).  Had some nice views of a few Least Sandpipers, a family of Black-throated Sparrows, and a Great Egret coming into breeding colors, but the only gulls were Ringbills, so we decided to head on to Salineño on the off chance that a seedeater might come to the boat ramp (but not before Pat talked us all into getting a F’Real at the next Stripes J).

Great Egret at Lake Casa Blanca State Park

Least Sandpiper (above and below) 

We headed on down, where Howard set up shop and enjoyed the river view while Pat and I poked down the Seedeater Trail for a bit.  It was late and very quiet, so we headed back where Howard agreed that it was time to sit at the feeders!  So we did so, where eventually all the regulars (except for Mr. Audubon) came in and put on a show; five Altamira Orioles at one time was certainly eye candy!

View of the Rio Grande at Salineno, and the cane that the seedeaters like to hang out in

Pat checks her list on the way in to the feeder area

A fuzzy-headed lady Ladder-backed Woodpecker comes in for a treat! 

A male Golden-fronted Woodpecker also comes in

Altamira Orioles love the PB mix!

Another Golden-fronted Woodpecker (this one a female) shows her "third eyelid"! 

All too soon it was time to head back, with 53 species for the day.  Bird List:

  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Double-crested Cormorant             
  American White Pelican               
  Great Egret                          
  Snowy Egret                          
  Tricolored Heron                     
  White-faced Ibis                     
  Black Vulture                        
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Harris's Hawk                        
  White-tailed Hawk                    
  Red-tailed Hawk                      
  American Coot                        
  Spotted Sandpiper                    
  Least Sandpiper                      
  Ring-billed Gull                     
  Rock Pigeon                          
  Eurasian Collared-Dove               
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                            
  White-tipped Dove                     
  Ringed Kingfisher                    
  Amazon Kingfisher                    
  Green Kingfisher                     
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                      
  American Kestrel                     
  Monk Parakeet                        
  Eastern Phoebe                       
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Loggerhead Shrike                    
  Green Jay                            
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  House Wren                           
  Marsh Wren                           
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                    
  Orange-crowned Warbler               
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                
  Black-throated Sparrow               
  Lincoln's Sparrow                    
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Altamira Oriole                      


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