Tuesday, May 21, 2013


On Thursday ,April 27th, down in Texas we traveled to Delta Lake near Monte Alto, TX.

Right away we spotted a Great Kistadee perched on the railing. Beyond the railing was some water that some Black-necked Stilts were enjoying the day. Also some Blue-winged Teals were searching for food.
Going deeper into the park we found a lot of swallows but could not see any Bank Swallows. (The only swallow we need, as a lifer.) Arriving in the back of the park we saw some birds up in the trees and got out to investigate. We found a Magnolia Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. We also saw a few flycatchers that turned out to be Western Wood-Pewees.

Great Kistadee in nest

We were about to leave when we caught sight of a Great Kistadees nest. The pair was watching the nest and came in and feed chicks or checked on the eggs, couldn't tell if there were chicks in there or not.

After leaving there we headed for Edinburg World Bird Center. There we saw Long-billed Thrasher, Least 
Grebe (LIFER), Fulvous Whistling-Ducks (LIFER), and a White-eyed Vireo (LIFER) fledgling!

Long-billed Thrasher

It was there that the naturalist on site told us about the FALLOUT that was happening at South Padre Island. Before leaving a couple told us about the fallout also and said the trees were so orange with all the orioles, and they needed oranges!

Are you serious! Wow!

Hooded Warbler

We rushed right over there! Picked a few bags of oranges along the way! It was raining when we arrived, so we put on our ponchos. LOL the ponchos are huge!

Chestnut-sided Wabler

We got there around 4pm and cut up a bag of oranges and set them out for the birds.


Right away we spotted Gray Catbird, Painted Buntings, and Baltimore Orioles. The orioles were everywhere! We walked over to the trees and saw tons of warblers; they were crawling on the tree branches! The poor little wet things looked so tired.

Prothonotary Warbler
Here is a list of Warblers

Nashville Mangolia  LIFER
Hooded LIFER
Swainson’s LIFER
Canada LIFER
Kentucky LIFER
Golden-winged LIFER
Cerlean LIFER
Overbird LIFER
American Redstart
Northern Parula 
Yellow Warbler
Northern Waterthrush 
Common Yellowthroat

Painted Bunting

Gray-cheeked Thrush


Hermit All Lifers! 
Wood Thrush



Baltimore Orioles
Water Birds

Tri-colored Heron
Green Heron 
Least Bittern 
American Bittern 
Black-crowned Night-Heron 
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 
Long-billed Dowitcher, 
Roseatte Spoonbill 
Double-crested Cormorant 
Least Sandpiper 
American Golden-Plover 
Black-bellied Plover 
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 
Black-necked Stilt 
Least Bittern
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 
Greater Yellowlegs 
Pectoral Sandpiper 
Semipalmated Sandpiper 
Semipalmated Plover 
Tri-colored Heron 
Upland Sandpiper 
Western Sandpiper 
Glossy Ibis 
White Ibis 
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern

American Golden-Plover

Least Sandpiper
Acadian Flycatcher LIFER
Eastern Wood-Pewee 
Brown-crested Flycatcher 
Willow Flycatcher LIFER

Acadian Flycatcher

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Other Birds
Philadelphia Vireo 
Blue Grosbeak 
Gray Catbird
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Great-tailed Grackle 
Indigo Bunting 
Lark Sparrow 
Fox Sparrow 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 
Savannah Sparrow 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 
Scarlet Tanager  LIFER
Summer Tanager 
Western Tanager 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 

Willow Flycatcher
The birds were so tired you had to watch were you were walking, because they didn't want to move! We came back on Friday to the Island and there was a little less birds but mostly all still there, waiting for the wind to blow in the right direction

The fallout was an amazing experience; I think it was one of the best birding times we have encountered!

On Friday we went back to South Padre Island picked up a few more lifers listed above and in the morning we went to Salineno, TX down at the Rio Grande River. First of all I was freaked out by being so close to Mexico! But it turned out alright we didn't see anything illegal going on down there.

We were looking for Muscovy Ducks, Red-billed Pigeon, and Audubon's Oriole. Well we didn't see any of them... But we did see 21 species down there. Altimira Oriole, Great Kistadee, Mexican Mallard, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Green Jay and Golden-fronted Woodpecker just to name a few.

On Thursday night we attended Night Walk at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. That lasted 2 hours and got us 3 more LIFERS~ Elf Owl, Common Paraque, and Bank Swallow.

Next blog coming up will be on Saturday(April 27th).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Our third day, Wednesday, in TX we were in McAllen, Texas we traveled over to Mission and went to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. We hadn't even gotten parked and we spotted a pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks! (LIFER) These are some neat birds! 

And it was raining off and on throughout the day!

When we got there around 8am it was pouring! Very odd for down there! A park attendant told us it hadn't rained like that in over six months! They needed the rain. So we weren't upset about the rain, just dealt with it.

We rented some bicycles and right away we spotted the Buff-bellied Hummingbird.(LIFER) (We now have all but 3 hummingbirds ABA code 1&2. The other 3 are Violet-crowned, Rufous, and Lucifer.)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Next we went back in front of the entrance because I thought I was a Painted Bunting fly into a tree. We didn't find it but we did find an Olive Sparrow! (LIFER)

 We started into the park on our bikes! Next stop was the first feeding station. When we first got there all the birds must have heard us coming, because there all the feeders were empty.

Plain Chachalaca
It started to rain more so we got under the picnic area and waited. Before long we spotted a White-tipped Dove, Plain Chachalaca, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Green Jay and Great Kistadee even made an appearance! All LIFER birds for us!

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Watching them at the feeders I was surprised that the Great-tailed Grackles scare away the Plain Chachalacas! They are almost the same size, but they don’t like the grackles!
Green Jay

On the other side of the road was another set of feeders and I spotted the Bronzed Cowbird! Wow, what an awesome bird! (LIFER) So small compared to the Great-tailed Grackles at the same feeder!

Great-tailed Grackles

We also saw Northern Mockingbird, Great-tailed Grackle, and red-winged Blackbirds at the feeders.

Bronzed Cowbird
White-tipped Dove
The rain had let up so we biked up to the Hawk Watch Tower. Unfortunately due to the rain they were not having the hawk watch that day. But we did spot some Couch’s Kingbird (LIFER) on the way down there. Once on the hawk tower there was a little pond that had a few different ducks and shorebirds.

Down in the pond we saw Green Heron, Wilson’s Phalarope, Greater Yellowlegs, Black-necked Stilt, Blue-winged Teal and Mottled Duck (LIFER).

Even with the rain we had already gotten 11 Lifers!

There was a path going into the park farther and actually ended up at the Rio Grande River! It wasn't pretty at all! There were water jugs, trash, and rafts! Oh my! That was a little for real for me! We didn't see any border patrol down there or any illegals, thankfully! We didn't see any Observation Deck like the map said so we headed back and the trail was actually a little long! But we got back to our bikes around noon and headed for the Kistadee trail.

On the trail they had a bird blind! There we didn't see any Great Kistadee, but we did see some more Green Jays, Plain Chachalaca, and White-tipped Doves. Along with some Northern Cardinals! (My favorite bird)
After not seeing too much at that feeding station we headed over to the next one. There was the usually and then we got a few new birds too. Black-crested Titmouse (new for the year) made an appearance and also spotted a female Painted Bunting (LIFER)!

That's a total of 12 LIFERS for the day!

We started to head back to the first feeders and didn't see anything new, so we headed back and returned the bikes.

The bikes were more enjoyable then I thought they would be.

While we were there we noticed all the lower plant life was dead, and that was due to a flood from 2010 that lasted a few months.

The next blog will be about Thursday(April 27th) and the start of the Fallout!! :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Wyoming Rest Area MM 401

Lazuli Bunting

I know I’m so far behind in our Texas reports but they are coming! I’m almost finished going through all the pictures!! Finally! Didn’t think I’d ever get them done! Here’s a report about our hiking!

Lark Sparrow
Today we stopped off at Wyoming rest area on I-80 MM 401. They have a little nature trail. So we grabbed our camera and hit the trail! The first thing we spotted was a Lazuli Bunting! Another Lifer!! We then left the trail in hopes of getting another shot of him.

Then we saw a Gray Catbird, Western Kingbirds, Violet-green Swallow, Lark Sparrow and Gray-blue Gnatcatchers during our hike. It was a very nice hike. Love going and exploring places like that. 

Two pictures stitched together.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

High Island Birding

Black-throated Green Warbler
Our Texas trip was fabulous!! We got 50 lifers!! I've decided to do a post per area we were down there so this post will be on High Island, Texas Monday and Tuesday. (April 22,23 I know I'm so slow at doing this blog!!)

Summer Tanager

Monday afternoon we got into Houston, got a rental car, and we headed out to High Island and made our way to Smith Oaks Sanctuary. At the parking area there was a crowd of people searching the tree branches for birds. We later found out the group of trees by the parking area is a bird favorite. Right away we spotted a Black-throated Green Warbler. That was our first lifer! Those were abundant at the parking lot!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

We also spotted our next lifer; Scarlet Tanager, in the trees. There was also Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orioles, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Red-eyed Vireo and Eastern Kingbird. Just to name a few.

Next we headed for the trail. Having never been there we were impressed by the platforms at the Heron nesting island. Very nice for photographers.

Neotropic Cormorants playing with a stick.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
We spotted a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron right away, but we didn't see any adults. There was Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants building and laying on nest. Roseatte Spoonbills, Snowy, and Great Egrets also nesting there. Very nice photo opportunity. We even saw a few American Alligators and a Prothonotary Warbler. A few of the Great Egrets had chicks, they were so cute!! The Purple Gallinule below was also a lifer!!

Great Egret feeding chicks
Purple Gallinule

American Alligator

After we got done there we headed to the beach and saw some shorebirds. A few Sanderlings, Black-bellied Plovers, Western Sandpiper and Willets.

Ruddy Turnstone
Wilson's Plover

Sanderling Searching for Food

Willet in Flight

On Tuesday we got up extra early and head back to High Island. Our first stop was Boy Scout Woods. They have a nice setup by a water dip with bleachers. We didn't see anything right away so we had our way around the trails walked out to the marsh. We didn't really see anything except Tanagers, Buntings, and Catbirds. So we headed back to the drip and picked up a few more lifers!

We saw Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Worm-eating Warbler both of those were LIFERS! We also saw North Parula, Black-and-white Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Rudy-throated Hummingbird, White-throated Sparrow, and Northern Waterthrush at the drip.

We left the drip and went across the road to the tower, before going up we checked out what was going on on the ground. Not much but Simon found a Eastern Garter Snake.
Simon with a snake

We then when up the Tower; which is a little wobbly. >.< Once up there we sawTennessee Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Snowy Egret preening

Roseatte Spoonbill
After lunch we headed for the beach again, but this time we went down much farther. We saw a flock of about 40 Brown Pelicans and a mixture of terns. We picked up Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Royal Tern, Forester's Tern, Caspian Tern, and Common Tern.We drove down the beach some more and spotted some Royal Terns mating!

Brown Pelicans
Reddish Egret
Royal Terns
After watching a Reddish Egret feed and doing its prance we headed back to Houston and prepared for the long drive to McAllen.

 Next blog will be about Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in Mission, Texas!