Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Texas birding, part 3 updated!

After birding around San Antonio for a couple of days, Mary, the parents, my nieces, and I drove south last Thursday night to visit my brother Ricardo and do some birding in my old college stomping grounds, Kingsville, home to the former Texas A&I University (I come from a family of University of Texas Longhorns, so I won't mention the new name of the school). I hadn't been back to town in about 15 years, and wouldn't you know I forgot to go and check out the college campus? I was just too wrapped up in birds and family, not to mention getting back to San Antonio in plenty of time for my Saturday flight back home.

Still, I got quite a few birds including some more lifers! We birded in Ricardo's neighborhood first, where we saw three Harris' Hawks riding the strong Gulf Coast winds above an empty field as well as this Tropical Kingbird:I got a new book about photographing birds, so I'm trying new things like catching birds in motion instead of just while perching. This photo won't win any contests, but I'm happy with the composition of it all the same.

I don't want to sound snooty, but get a load of Ricardo's neighbor's idea of hardscaping:Yup, those are bowling balls around each and every plant in the yard. Curb Appeal, where are you?

We also caught this beautiful little Gray Hairstreak (thanks, Hap, for the ID) in his backyard:Ricardo's an avid butterfly buff, and he has lots of beautiful butterflies pinned (yeah, kinda cruel but still beautiful--even if I wouldn't do it myself) and displayed around his home.

After a delicious dinner (my brother is THE grill master) and a good night's sleep, reveille sounded at 5:45 and we were off to Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park on an inlet of Baffin Bay:We searched long and hard for the elusive (to me, anyway) Painting Bunting, but alas the PABU won again. Still, even Ricardo was in on the hunt for a while after seeing photos of the beautiful "Monet Bird." He couldn't believe it was a real native bird in his area. I'd seen an eBird report of PABU sightings as recently as last weekend in this very park, so I figured I'd HAVE to see one, right? Wrong. But like I said, we got some great birds.

Check out this beautiful Curve-billed Thrasher, the first lifer of the day:
I fought off some pretty serious backlighting here.

Early-morning birding = low light conditions!Check out that eerie orange eye!

For an East Coast birder like me, birding in a place like South Texas means that lifers can be found just hanging around on power lines:
An Ash-throated Flycatcher, as opposed to the similar-looking Brown-crested Flycatcher -- the most obvious (to me) difference is the placement and paleness of the yellow wash on the underparts. This guy's yellow was quite pale and covered only his belly, not bright yellow and starting at his breast and extending down.

Texas provides an embarrassment of riches along the coastal waterways. Get a load of this:Bucketfuls of Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Neotropic Cormorants, and other shore beauties. It was impossible to get very close, hence the super-zoom, but holy moly, the Gulf Coast is amazing. It makes me sick to think about the states east of Texas, those affected by the BP oil spill; it also makes me so thankful that at least Gulf Coast waters remain (as yet) pristine and teeming with birdlife.

Yes, that's (from left to right) two Black-necked Stilts, a Neotropic Cormorant, a Tri-colored Heron (thanks, Hap!), an American White Pelican, and another Neotropic Cormorant, all in the same shot.

Continuing my quest for action shots, here's a Laughing Gull scratching his cheek:


Another far-away shot of Roseate Spoonbills and Snowy Egrets (thanks, Hap--who noted the black beaks that equal Snowy, not Great, Egrets), as well as the elusive Green-Plastic-Chair Bird:Grrrrrr, pollution makes me angry.

Next installment: even more birds, butterflies, and an age-old story about the one that got away.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am enjoying your Texas
trip, too bad it has to end so
soon. A couple of comments: that
pretty little butterfly looks
like a Gray Hairstreak (Strymon
melinus); the heron with the Am.
White Pelican looks more like a
Tri-colored Heron to me (note
the white at the base of the leg).
And those egrets with the plastic
chair and spoonbills look a lot
like Snowy Egrets (see the black
beaks). Looking forward to more
Texas posts. Have fun!
Hap in New Hope

John said...

Most butterflies (like other insects) don't live for very long anyway, so collecting them doesn't shorten their lifespan by much or harm the population. My enjoyment comes from watching them alive, though, so I doubt I would ever start a collection. Besides, I'm not sure I have the patience for curing and mounting the specimens.

I like your new background.

dguzman said...

Hap, you're such a stud. I just glanced at all those big white birds and thought "Greats" instead of looking carefully at each one. I'm a lazy beginner birder! I admit it! And you know, I was thinking as I studied the photo with the AWPE in it that it didn't look like a GBHE after all (my call when I was there) but more like a molting Little Blue or perhaps a Tri-colored. I'll update accordingly!

John--well, you know, I never thought about it like that. Oh, he doesn't really "cure" them in any way, but he does pin them with specimen pins and they kinda dry out after a while. And thanks for liking (and being the first to comment on) the new layout/background!

Anonymous said...

茜茜知道他有了外遇
他變得春風滿面,嘴裡總是哼著歌曲
他開始變得有耐心聽她說話、會買禮物給她、甚至帶她出遊
茜茜知道這是因為他對外遇有愧疚
她沒有揭穿丈夫的外遇,甚至享受這樣的生活
茜茜偷偷的跟姐妹滔說:感謝老公的外遇帶來更美好的夫妻生活!

Anonymous said...

知道他有了外遇
面對他的低聲下氣妳冷嘲熱諷、無理取鬧
妳瘋狂似的大吵大鬧
甚至到他的公司去亂、向他的親友抱怨、向鄰居們哭訴…
妳把他的外遇鬧的人盡皆知
最後,妳把他的愧疚消耗殆盡…
最後,妳把他想要回頭的念頭打消…
最後,妳自己把他推向外遇的第三者身邊…

Anonymous said...

男人有了外遇,但是他不想離婚
外遇情人面前,他可以享受著年輕戀愛般的美好
在回歸家庭時刻,他可以享受著老婆對他無微不至的照顧
在同事朋友面前,他可以享受著眾人對他的忌妒與羨慕
男人有了外遇,但是他不想離婚,他只想自私的擁有一切

Anonymous said...

外遇---偷來的時間、偷來的伴侶、偷來的愛情
或許新鮮刺激,或許瘋狂美好,但這一切,終究是偷來的…
外遇傷害了一個幸福的家庭
或許你會說:問題其實早已存在,外遇並不是傷害的唯一因素
但是內心深處其實你知道,這只是外遇的藉口!
建築在傷害別人之下所得到的愛情,終究難以幸福…

Anonymous said...

人家都說男人到大陸都會外遇包二奶
老婆淚眼說擔心他外遇
他了解老婆的擔心,只好用錢去彌補分離的缺憾
漸漸的,老婆的電話愈來愈少…
她說,她是怕自己太依賴
漸漸的,他知道其實是她有了外遇
於是,面對自己外遇的行為,他忽然覺得好過了些…

Anonymous said...

茜茜知道他有了外遇
他變得春風滿面,嘴裡總是哼著歌曲
他開始變得有耐心聽她說話、會買禮物給她、甚至帶她出遊
茜茜知道這是因為他對外遇有愧疚
她沒有揭穿丈夫的外遇,甚至享受這樣的生活
茜茜偷偷的跟姐妹滔說:感謝老公的外遇帶來更美好的夫妻生活!

Anonymous said...

男人有了外遇,但是他不想離婚
外遇情人面前,他可以享受著年輕戀愛般的美好
在回歸家庭時刻,他可以享受著老婆對他無微不至的照顧
在同事朋友面前,他可以享受著眾人對他的忌妒與羨慕
男人有了外遇,但是他不想離婚,他只想自私的擁有一切