Friday, January 25, 2013

Rare Royal Tern flying Rio Grande River off Anzalduas


While I was at Anzalduas County Park today other birders pointed out this Royal Tern flying over the Rio Grande River. It was originally found before today but it flew by twice while I was there this afternoon. I was told that this species while common along the coast is quite rare inland. After flying around for awhile late this afternoon it landed and rested there for at least a half hour.

I checked the light organish color of it's bill and it is accurate for what I saw in the field. It is also about the same color as some of the excellent photos of this bird I found on the internet. The bottom pic shows field marks including the heavy bill, white forehead and crown; and narrow black band around back of head. SeEtta

Anzalduas Zone-tailed Hawk in flight

This is one of the pics I got during the second time I watched the Zone-tailed Hawk flew in at low altitude over Anzalduas County Park today. One of the wide white tail bands shows nicely in this pic. SeEtta

Zone-tailed Hawk flying close over Anzalduas Co. Park


Today while birding in an area of Anzalduas County Park with a lot of trees am adult Zone-tailed Hawk essentially strafed (like an airplane) the area coming down to just above the tree tops (less than 75 feet). I had a good look at it and saw 2 white bars on it's tail. I did not have my camera with me I didn't get a photo. I looked for another birder who had been looking for a Zone-tailed Hawk and we spent another hour or so looking for one. Finally this one was spotted by a third birder as it flew in across the Rio Grande River to just above the park and I got a few quick flight shots. This second observation today was almost as brief as the first as the hawk turned a few flight feathers and zipped right out of there. The pic in the post above is the best. SeEtta

Now Black Phoebe confirmed nesting-(in January??)

I returned to Anzalduas County Park today and watched this Black Phoebe repeatedly gather and carry nesting material to a suitable nest site. The bird would often spend 1 to several minutes in the nesting area which, as is often the case in my experience, is hidden from view. From what I found on the Texas Breeding Bird Survey online and local experts is very early for this area. SeEtta

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Black Phoebe carrying nesting material @ Anzalduas Co.Park


While birding at Anzalduas County Park yesterday I observed that there were two Black Phoebes and that they perched and foraged in close proximity, a good indication they are a pair. I was only able to photograph one of them and both pics here are of the same phoebe. Later I observed on of them very closely as it flew into a tree about 15 feet above my head and it had nesting material in it's bill. Though this seems really early to me (as Colorado birds don't start until at least April) it would appear that nesting season is beginning for these Black Phoebes. SeEtta

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pine Warbler & Yellow-bellied Sapsucker @ Anzalduas


I am still recovering from the current nasty flu virus so I went to Anzalduas County Park this afternoon to do some light birding (mostly by car, limited forays on foot). Though a post on Texbirds noted a Zone-tailed Hawk was seen there this morning, I did not one--but I ain't going to complain as I have more than my share this trip. I did find the adult male Pine Warbler shown above (strange, it looks like it's legs are grayish and feet yellowish while adults of this species have black/dark legs???).

Also found a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an immature (limited red on head, facial markings not well developed, still has --Basic II plumage). SeEtta Post note 1-25-13: I have been advised that Pine Warblers are known to have yellowish feet in winter with a description of this in the Peterson field guide series book "Warblers."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Green Parakeets: video clip of several hundred in flight

This is a very brief (only 13 seconds) but cool video clip that shows several hundred Green Parakeets flying together. They make a number of synchronized turns, including one 180 degree turn that I follow so be prepared Good audio of their mass raucous calling. SeEtta

Green Parakeets--views of the more than 400 birds


It was so amazing to see so many Green Parakeets gathered on these utility lines I wanted to show their amazing numbers. These two pics show the numbers to the left and to the right of the same utility poll--I counted around 457 but many were clustered so close I likely missed some). Remember you get a closer view by double-clicking on a pic. (note: I will have more video clips, including them flying off in mass, later today) SeEtta

Green Parakeets: video clip of gathering at dusk

This brief video clip shows the large aggregation of Green Parakeets though several more groups flew in after I took this. But it does give a good idea of what so many raucous Green Parakeets look like spread across several layers of utility line and sound like (they drown out my voice and even most of the traffic sounds). Quite a spectacle and even a few locals noticed (I let them know these were Green Parakeets) and seemed to enjoy it. SeEtta

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Green Parakeets: fussing and allopreening


These Green Parakeets really put on a show. Lots of fussing and feuding. And lots of allopreening, the mutual grooming that takes place in several species of birds. SeEtta

Green Parakeets, a Rio Grande Valley specialty


I love wild birds, rare or not-rare, I love them all (well, most all). Though I have seen wild parrots and parakeets a number of times during my trips to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (we have a Rio Grande Valley in Colorado too) I still get a kick out of seeing them. I realized today that my motel is only a few miles from where the Green Parakeets of McAllen are known to stage. And I found a bonanza of them. More above. SeEtta

Western Tanager, should be far down in Mexico

This female Western Tanager was one of the many interesting birds at and near the Warbler Rest Stop at the So. Padre Island Convention Center. This species winters from central Mexico down into Central America so this bird is a few hundred miles north of where it should be. This species comes through the Colorado city I live in during both spring and fall migration, and they nest just nearby. I was surprised how this bird was not shy, feeding and perching out in the open only 50 or so feet from birders. Very different from the Western Tanagers that skulk and hide during their migration in Colorado. SeEtta