Thursday, May 25, 2017

Better pics of the Yellow-green Vireo


Yesterday the rare Yellow-green Vireo was still at the Sheepshead Valley Fund lots on South Padre Island and it put on a show foraging in sight 4 different times while I was there. And it came in to the closer water feature that has better lighting and is closer than where I photographed it day before yesterday. The pics above and below nicely show the how extensive the  yellowish is on this bird as it extends into it's belly from it's neck and flanks, a field mark for Yellow-green but not for the similar Red-eyed Vireo. SeEtta


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another beautiful Golden-winged Warbler-pics and short video clip

This male Golden-winged Warbler was seen today at the Convention Center Gardens at South Padre Island, TX. It perched in the shade of the trees for more than 5 minutes allowing great views, many still pics and a little video.

This little warbler likely just arrived on this barrier island after migrating across the hundreds of miles of the Gulf of Mexico. Sadly it appears to have lost most of one leg.  The warbler is basically sitting on the branch rather than standing on it as many birds do, likely due to having only one whole leg.

In the bottom two pics the remaining leg stump is visible and it has some twisted piece at the end maybe indicating a recent injury.
It did seem to forage pretty good by hanging from it's one good leg as seen in the pics just above and below. SeEtta

Golden-wingedWarbler on South Padre Island, TX from SeEtta Moss on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Life Bird: YELLOW-GREEN VIREO, a rare neotropical bird


As I was driving out to South Padre Island I saw a facebook post that a Yellow-green Vireo was being seen at the Sheepshead Valley Fund Lots there. As this is rare bird that only ventures into South Texas I was very interested and wanted to get there quickly--first I tried to take a short cut that turned to be a closed road then wouldn't you know a local sheriff's deputy pulled onto the highway in front in me for a distance. I did make it without a ticket to the birding hotspot and spotted this bird. This was a difficult id for me as this species is very similar to Red-eyed Vireo but a local birder who has seen this species before confirmed it from my photos.

Now that I have had a chance to read about this species I can see that it shows greenish sides of neck, yellow on it's it's flank (didn't see or photo the undertail coverts), larger bill, off-white breast, greenish back with grey cap, less distinct face pattern than Red-eyed Vireo.  Like the Red-eyed Vireo it has red eyes which indicate it is an adult. According to the online Texas Breeding Bird Atlas there are records of breeding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as well as one record further north. SeEtta

Can you see all 3 owls in this tree?

This enlarged pic just above is not as sharp as below but it better shows the 3 Eastern Screech-Owls in this tree. This is in Estero Llano Grande State Park and this is same tree that I took the photo of the baby owl inside the nest hole about 2 weeks ago.  These owls can be hard to find so look at  pic below to see the location of each of the 3 owls.


This is one productive tree--in addition to all the nesting owls there is also an Golden-fronted Woodpecker nest in it. Wish I could have gotten sharper pics as these were hand held from about 40 feet away in poor light.  I went back twice including yesterday and carried my tripod so I could get better shots but I think the owls have fledged.

The pic above shows another photo of this tree showing an Eastern Screech-Owl on the left side of the tree and another on the right side of the tree.
The pic above shows one of the owls sunning itself alone as does the pic below. SeEtta

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ringed Kingfisher

 I spotted this Ringed Kingfisher on a power line over the irrigation canal last evening but the lighting sucked up all the color.  This is another neotropical specialty of South Texas.  While pretty big,just over a foot length. In order to see the colors it helps to enlarge, just click on a pic.  SeEtta

Ducklings of the Black-bellied Whistling kind

I photographed the tiny ducklings and  mom above at Estero Llano Grande State Park .  They are Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, a species only that are found in a few southern states in the U.S. but in Mexico, Central America and all the way well into South America.  They both perch and nest in trees and not uncommonly perch on overhanging wires. Their name fits their frequent calls that include a whistling sound.
There are more than 20 ducklings with this pair of Black-belllied Whistling Ducks, a species of 'tree ducks' . The AllAboutBirds.org website notes, "Females often lay eggs in the nests of other whistling-ducks—a behavior known as egg-dumping."  So it seems likely that some of these babies came from other ducks but that these parents don't seem to care.  SeEtta

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Neotropical nightjar: Common Pauraque

 I found this Common Pauraque at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge this morning. These are a specialty of the deep South Texas as this is the only location in the U.S. where this species can be found while it ranges through Mexico and down to South America.  Another species that blends in amazingly with the habitat in which it is found.  I think this may be a rufous type Common Pauraque and have done no post processing of these pics other than cropping to enlarge them in hopes that someone can confirm or disconfirm this.  The different shades of these pics I believe are due to the natural lighting which was going from clouded over to sun breaking through.  SeEtta

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Almost missed this Least Bittern

These Least Bitterns' plumage melds into the habitat so well, and stay so still until they lunge for their prey, I almost missed this bird.  This species is only about a foot tall. This was again from the South Padre Island Convention Center boardwalk and in same area where Javi Gonzales spotted the Least Bittern that I photographed a few days ago.  SeEtta

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ovenbird-up close and personal

On Monday while birding at South Padre Island's Convention Center gardens I had the opportunity to spend more than 10 minutes less than 10 feet from this Ovenbird as it foraged.   I stood very very still and enjoyed this unusual opportunity, and got a number of good photos. SeEtta
  






No action at N. Beardless Tyrannulate nest

I watched the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet nest for an hour this evening with no sign of any tyrannulet.  I did not see the nestling in the nest entance either with my binoculars or via the pic above .  It seems likely that the nestling(s) have fledged. 
 A few more observations about the tyrannulet's nest. It was made by adding nesting material on a native ball moss.  In these pics taken from other side of the nest from the opening it can be seen how there is a nest attached at the bottom of this ball moss.  It is interesting to see when the bottom pic is enlarge that daylight can be seen through the nest material.  SeEtta

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

N. Beardless Tyrranulet adult and nestling


The bird inside this hanging nest is a nestling Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, a bird so small with such a long name.  Note: all the pics of the nestling were taken from behind the tape barrier at Estero Llano Grande State Park that protects the nestl

It was hot and windy so this nestling was perched near the entrance to the nest where it likely was less hot than further inside.
This species is found in the U.S. in only two small areas--in far south Texas and along the border with Mexico in SE Arizona and a bit of very SW New Mexico.
The photo below shows the parent bird when it came in to feed the nestling(s). It has some food in its' bill but the pic isn't good enough to tell what it is.
And this is the parent bird with it's head inside the nest as it fed the nestling(s).  SeEtta

Wayward Common Loon

While Common Loons winter along the Gulf Coastal area all but a few like this loon have to far north states and Canada.
This loon came to around 40 feet from the boardwalk where it extends over the water providing for these close up shots (I did also crop the pics buy best viewed enlarged by clicking on the pic. SeEtta

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Least Bittern grabbing a bite: pic and video clip

While birding on the boardwalk at the Convention Center on South Padre Island last evening I ran into Javi Gonzales. I had asked about nesting birds when he spotted this Least Bittern near by. I was delighted to watch this little bittern less than 20 feet away for more than 10 minutes as it hunted successfully several times. There were a lot of reeds between me and this bird so it did not show any attention to me, but it also made it very difficult to get still pics as the wind was blowing so reeds kept blurring my pics but I did get this one. The nice thing about video is that such things are not as much of a problem so this video of the Least Bittern came out nicely. See the video best in full screen mode by clicking on the little arrows on bottom right of the video frame. SeEtta

Thursday, May 11, 2017

WHO are you????

Does it look like there is a face in the hole above?  Look below to see better the face in the hole.
That is a little Eastern Screech-Owl Nestling inside the nest hole looking out. That was fun. SeEtta

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bathing beauties--Baltimore Orioles

These Baltimore Orioles were enjoying refreshing baths in the extensive water feature at the South Padre Island Convention Center.  The color of their feathers were nicely enhanced by the light.
These birds like most of the others here had recently migrated hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Mexico and have stopped over at these gardens for food, rest and a good bath.
South Padre Island is a barrier island and the first land migrating birds come to when they fly across the Gulf in this southern area. Unfortunately there has been horrendous habitat destruction with many hotels and other buildings.
Fortunately the Convention Center allows local birders to add trees for these birds. These local volunteers also maintain the large water feature and provide food like oranges for the birds. SeEtta