Monday, December 30, 2019

California Dreamers, Part 1


All photographs © 2019 by Ron Lam

Raymond and Ron from California had organized a group of photographers to come out and capture our special birds on camera, but because of a very nasty bug that incapacitated me for almost a week, I was unable to guide them as planned… L  Thankfully Michael Marsden was able to step in, and Raymond very graciously shared some of his photos, so here is a very basic recap of their adventures!

Cameron County was the destination this first day, and as always, this county usually comes away with the highest daily species total, given you visit a variety of habitats!  The gang started at Laguna Atascosa NWR, concentrating on the feeding area and a very brief visit to Osprey Overlook.  One can assume there were plenty of Green Jays and Chachalacas at the feeders, along with White-tipped Doves parading around the floor, plus an American Robin (actually more exciting here in the Valley than the Clay-colored variety) made an appearance!  A single Bobwhite apparently showed, probably on the way to Osprey Overlook.  A pair of White-tailed Hawks was along Buena Vista Road on the way to Laguna Vista.

Green Jays

Harris' Hawk

White Ibis

White-tailed Hawks

It was a shock to discover that Port Isabel Reservoir has apparently been permanently drained in order to be used for recreational motorcycling!!  L  So they headed across the street to South Padre Country Club (Michael introduced Pat and me to this place during a Frontera Birdathon) where they picked up five female Bufflehead!  Their route then took them through Laguna Vista and onto the Island itself where the highlight was a very late Tennessee Warbler that had been hanging around!

Black Skimmer

Northern Pintail

Roseate Spoonbill

From there they headed down SR 48 where they encountered several Chihuahuan Ravens and an American Oystercatcher at the boat ramp, then went up to explore Old Port Isabel Road, where they apparently missed the Aplomado Falcon but had another White-tailed Hawk and three Sandhill Cranes fly over the road.  The resaca at the University of Texas in Brownsville had a couple of Green Kingfishers, and they were able to bag the Green Parakeets coming in to roost!  Finally they ended up at the famous Oliveira Park, where several hundred Red-crowned Parrots put on an a aerial show but never actually came in to roost.  They ended their first day with 96 species (if you count the feral Muscovy at the Birding Center J)!  Bird list:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) 
Blue-winged Teal 
Northern Shoveler 
American Wigeon 
Mottled Duck 
Northern Pintail 
Green-winged Teal 
Red-breasted Merganser 
Ruddy Duck 
Plain Chachalaca 
Northern Bobwhite
Pied-billed Grebe 
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 
Eurasian Collared-Dove 
White-tipped Dove 
Mourning Dove 
Clapper Rail - heard only
Common Gallinule  
American Coot 
Sandhill Crane
Black-necked Stilt 
American Oystercatcher 
Black-bellied Plover 
Long-billed Curlew 
Least Sandpiper 
Short-billed Dowitcher 
Spotted Sandpiper 
Greater Yellowlegs 
Lesser Yellowlegs 
Laughing Gull 
Ring-billed Gull 
Herring Gull 
Caspian Tern 
Forster's Tern 
Royal Tern 
Black Skimmer 
Neotropic Cormorant 
Double-crested Cormorant 
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican 
Great Blue Heron 
Great Egret 
Snowy Egret 
Little Blue Heron 
Tricolored Heron 
Reddish Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis 
Roseate Spoonbill 
Turkey Vulture 
Northern Harrier 
Harris's Hawk 
White-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk 
Belted Kingfisher 
Green Kingfisher
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 
Crested Caracara 
American Kestrel 
Red-crowned Parrot
Green Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe 
Great Kiskadee 
Tropical Kingbird 
Loggerhead Shrike 
Green Jay 
Chihuahuan Raven
Black-crested Titmouse 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 
European Starling 
Gray Catbird 
Curve-billed Thrasher 
Long-billed Thrasher 
Northern Mockingbird 
American Robin
House Sparrow 
Olive Sparrow 
Savannah Sparrow 
Lincoln's Sparrow 
Eastern Meadowlark 
Altamira Oriole 
Red-winged Blackbird 
Great-tailed Grackle 
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler 
Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Northern Cardinal 

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