Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hawk banding with Bill Clark: adult female Harris's Hawk


Today I attended a local "Birder Patrol trip" to observe hawk banding by Bill Clark. This is Bill Clark, raptor expert, who bands hawks in the LRGV.
And this is an adult female Harris's Hawk that he and his team (Mike and Gus) caught today.

Bill shows off this pretty hawk's wings.

Big claws for a mid-sized hawk let it grab and hold prey tightly. 










A few of the dozen attendees on this trip got to hold one of the hawks and here I am with this Harris's Hawk.  SeEtta

Harris's Hawk pretty close up

Though I have seen a number of Harris's Hawks this trip none had been very close until I found this one in native scrub habitat. It appeared to be a member of a family of these unusual hawks that hunts in the area I was in. SeEtta

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finally found a Little Blue Heron


I didn't see a Little Blue Heron on South Padre Island when I was there a few days ago or other potential locations I have birde around the LRGV where there have been a few sightings in several locations this month. Then yesterday when I found 2 of the them in drainage ditches surrounded by native scrub habitat. The only time I usually get to see these handsome birds is during my trips to the Lower Rio Grande Valley during the winter. SeEtta

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Gray Hawk, but much closer this time

Yesterday I planned to drive into the La Lomita Church (a local historic site) park where my dog, Chase, can run around off leash usually as there are usually no one else there. And it's a pleasant place to do a little birding for a few local specialties. As I drove towards the park I spotted a small hawk on a post in front of the entrance--it was this Gray Hawk.
I angled my car a little further so I could take photos of the hawk from inside my car to minimize disturbance. Doggone my Canon 60d dslr camera-even with all the bells turned off it still makes a clicking noise when I take photos and the hawk appeared to hear them and flew up into the trees.

Fortunately I was able to carefully drive to a position where I could take these additional photos using my car as a photo blind.  SeEtta



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Upper Rio Grande Valley birding: 2 Gray Hawks, Zone-tailed Hawk flyover and more

Stephanie Galla and I went birding in the Upper Rio Grande Valley yesterday. We were pleased to find not only one but 2 Gray Hawks while we were at Chapeno.
The photos of in flight Gray Hawk are of one of the birds.
The perched hawk is the second Gray Hawk. They were both pretty near each other for more than 15 minutes without apparent antagonism so seems likely that in this season they are a mated pair.
While we were at the feeders in Salineno Michael Marston and a group he was leading arrived and shared the fun. Michael spotted this Zone-tailed Hawk as it did a fly-over. It kept circling as it moved away so the hawk was more than a hundred yards away when I got this photo.

Several Atlamira Orioles came in to feed while we were there.





We enjoyed watching this Greater Roadrunner at Falcon State Park as it hunted insects on and near the road for more than 20 minutes.

There was a flock of about 15 Least Sandpipers on the rocks in the Rio Grande River at Chapeno.

We saw several American Pipits also along the Rio Grande.
And this Collared Peccarry (often called Javelina) was one of the several that we saw at Falcon State Park where they were eating the hard fruit of native olive trees. SeEtta

Monday, January 20, 2014

American Redstart at South Padre Island Convention Center bird haven


I finally got out to South Padre Island yesterday to enjoy the great birding in the birding haven adjacent to the Convention Center (NOT the misnamed 'Birding & Nature Center'). I watched this female American Redstart has been reported there for a few weeks as she very actively fed mostly in the lower levels of the trees and shrubs. I did get photo when she would stopped briefly in a little sunlight. The photos shows the gray head, whitish eyering, plus the small yellow patches on tail and sides though not the yellow patch on wings found on females. I also saw the Gray Catbird that has been reported there but it also stayed low in the darkened areas so I didn't get a photo of it. There were a good number of Yellow-rumped Warblers, a few Orange-crowned Warbler and Ruby-throated Kinglets flitting around these wonderful habitat provided by local volunteers. SeEtta

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gorgeous Vermilon Flycatcher


Oh, these birds are such beauties, their brilliant red plumage is eye-popping in the sun. SeEtta