Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Texas: warm, Pennsylvania: cold

Home from Texas and only now getting some time to say hello and show you some of the sights from the trip. I STILL haven't finished finalizing my checklists from the individual places and entering them into eBird, mostly because I still haven't finished looking at photos and confirming my IDs (and figuring out what the hell I saw, in some cases). I do, however, have some good stuff to show you.

We'll start off with some lifers that I was lucky enough to see.

Bentsen-RGV State Park was boasting some pretty impressive potential lifers in the days leading up to the trip, but I saw only these:The Black-vented Oriole was very cooperative, coming to the Ebony Grove feeder station several times during the hour I watched for him. Still, this was the best photo I got; I didn't want to get any closer than the benches they had for watching, even though some people were practically shoving their giant lenses up his black vent. I chose to take the birder high road and settled only for this blurry but sure-ID photo. Neat bird; wish some of the splajillion Altamira Orioles I'd seen had been other Black-venteds, but I guess this guy was the only one brave enough to cross the Rio Grande.

I saw this bird and immediately thought: why is that robin so plain and brown?Clay-colored Thrush (or Robin, as they were calling him at the visitor center)! There were groups of up to seven of these at a time in various places in the park, which made photo ops a little easier.

Look at my sister Mary's great photo of a beautiful White-tailed Hawk:ID'd this one with some neat people we met at several places we visited.

And, because no post on the RGV would be complete without an Altamira:

Got really great looks at a Curve-billed Thrasher too, a great addition to my lifebird photo collection:

I mentioned the buntings earlier; here's all we saw:Several people were watching two little molty birds, hoping to make them into Lazuli or Blue Buntings, but no such luck. I'm pretty sure this bird above and the bird below are both Indigo Buntings coming into their breeding plumage.
I'm looking in particular at the beaks as well as the molt patterns they displayed, comparing them to young/non-breeding Lazulis and Blues. Again, I'm pretty certain these are just Indigos. But they're still cute as buttons!

Back to another lifer:This little fatty is a White-tipped Dove, apparently so named because the tail feathers have white tips (which can only be seen in flight). These guys are total lurkers, sneaking out of the greenery, grabbing some seed, and heading back under cover. Note the bluish sheen to his neck feathers -- very pretty!

I got much better looks at Olive Sparrows this time around too:
as well as this photo of what I am fairly certain is a female Anna's Hummingbird:Does anyone care to comment and/or confirm? It was questioned by eBird, so I sent this snapshot I got just before she fled for whereabouts unknown. But I'd heard there'd been an Anna's in the garden by the Visitors' Center, and I'm pretty sure this is it.

Tomorrow (or at some later date!), I'll continue my tales of Texas -- in which I meet an armadillo, feed a Longhorn some grass, and chase a bunny. Oh, and see a bunch more birds!


Elizabeth said...

So many birds! You're making me want to go to Texas. I think your hummingbird looks like an Anna's but I have a lot of trouble with hummingbirds. They look so different depending upon the light.

I agree that your bunting isn't a Lazuli bunting. The females are brown and the males have a brown front.

Carol said...

I like the that a log or a gator?

dguzman said...

Elizabeth--you should go! It's amazing; you could see just about anything! Oh, and I got confirmation from eBird that it is an Anna's. Yay!

Carol -- boy, now that you mention it, it does look like a gator coming to eat the buntings! But it's just a rock. Welcome!

John said...

Congrats on the life birds! There are a few that I'm still waiting to see.

Jen said...

Great variety of birds... Can't wait for the armadillo!

dguzman said...

John--it's like walking through a field guide.

Jen--welcome to the bloggy!

elizabird said...

it is a shame the didn't tell us as kids what was out there!!

Glad you got to get back!