Saturday, December 24, 2011


Here the final two pics of the Black-vented Oriole and they show some of the acrobatic tendencies of this bird as it hangs upside down to feed on oranges. And the bottom pic shows the toenails that wrap around small branches and dig in to anchor the bird. SeEtta

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Black-vented Oriole: more pics

The Black-vented Oriole spent it's time either feeding on oranges as shown in these pics or waiting to get a turn to feed on the oranges. For a large sized bird it displayed a rather submissive stance letting several other birds either displace it from feeding or not jumping on to displace smaller birds as commonly occurs. These two pics provide good views of this bird's truly black colored vent area, the coloration extending all through it's undertail coverts (these stand out nicely especially in the top pic) as well as all of it's tail feathers. Note that in some pics the bird looks more orange but more yellow in others--this is what the raw pics show and appears to be a function of the light reflection on the bird. Still more pics to come. SeEtta

I was delighted to watch this Black-vented Oriole, a rare Mexican vagrant, as it fed on oranges at one of the feeding stations at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley nature center in Mission, TX. This is such a brilliantly colored bird and so boldly contrasting that it is a pleasure to watch. It was also deja vu as a Black-vented Oriole (the same one?) was in the same area last year when I was visiting though it then spent most of it's time at an RV park where it fed from some blossoms on a non-native tree. More pics to come.  (To see the bird up close just click on the each pi).  SeEtta

Monday, December 19, 2011

West Texas Chihuauhuan Raven fest

Here are two of about a thousand Chihuahuan Ravens I saw as I drove through West Texas where these birds congregate for the winter. I usually see large loose flocks that play on rising thermals but the weather was foggy and drizzly so no thermals for them to ride. SeEtta

Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Cormorant dies a cruel slow death due to fishing line with hook

This awful description posted publicly on the Kansas birding listserve today of a cormorant dying a slow cruel death due to a thoughtless fisherman is just so sad: "While birding the River Pond area of Tuttle Creek State Park during the Man= hattan Christmas Bird Count, I spotted what looked like a bird hanging from= a tree on the island in River Pond. I positioned my scope on it and saw wh= at appeared to be a large lifeless bird dangling from a tree limb. Once in = a while there appeared to be movement. Winds were calm. On closer inspectio= n the bird turned out to be a double-crested cormorant that apparently swal= lowed a fish hook, and the line on the hook caught on the end of a thin syc= amore branch bending down under the weight of the bird like a fishing pole = with a large fish on the line. The line appeared to be wrapped around a fru= it of the tree (or ball of seeds) that I first took for a bobber. The bird = flapped its wings from time-to-time, most definitely alive, and hopelessly = caught. What a cruel way to go. John RowManhattan, Kansas" Fishermen--pack out and properly dispose of your fishing line and especially when it has a hook attached. SeEtta

Black-throated Green Warbler in So. Texas


I finally got down to So Texas after a friend who wanted to spend some time in Colorado came to stay in my house while I'm gone. Birding has been a bit hit and miss due to frequent drizzle and light rain which has kept me from getting many photographs yet. I did enjoy birding, albeit in drizzle, at Frontera Audubon in Weslaco today. I found this Black-throated Green Warbler in a mixed flock with a Black-and-white Warbler, two Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a White-eyed Vireo, a couple of Black-crested Titmice, and a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers. At one point this mixed flock was joined by a Golden-crowned Warbler, a very rare bird that had been found at Frontera yesterday. I got a nice but brief good look at cool rare vagrant but it moved around in the scrub quickly so didn't get a chance to photograph it. I got two more very brief looks at it again but it moves around where it is was a challenge to follow. There had also been a female Crimson-collared Grosbeak found at Frontera yesterday but I didn't find it. I also spotted an Ovenbird that was also working low in the scrub not far from the Golden-crowned Warbler. SeEtta