Friday, May 26, 2017

Green Heron nestlings, gangly youngsters


While birding yesterday I spotted these two Green Heron nestlings. They looked almost grown and ready to fledge so I was especially careful to not inadvertently cause them to fledge prematurely, a risk with birds close to fledging. So I only used the setting on my camera that allows pics without any clicks and carefully took a few pics then backed away to avoid walking close to their view.

I do not publicly divulge the location of nesting birds at high risk like these so I am only posting the county in which I photographed them.
The apparent mother Green Heron, shown below well hidden, was perched close by the nest.
The pic below shows an adult Green Heron but is one I photographed a few years ago in Colorado. SeEtta

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