Saturday, June 10, 2017

Groove-billed Anis, unusual looking southern Texas specialty

 I spotted this ani at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge as it was drinking water at the edge of North Lake. I came around a corner and it was only 10 feet in front of me but it quickly flew into the thick vegetation. After vocalizing it flew up into a tree where I got the top 2 pics.

 I saw my first Groove-billed Anis in Costa some years ago but an experience that is still clear in my memory.  As I was wandering alone around the town of Monteverde so it was my own discovery not just a bird pointed out to me by a guide.
I heard a second ani vocalize in the vegetation near the tree and the first ani flew in there providing me with the above photo.  Unfortunately the thick vegetation made getting a focused photo not possible but it was too neat to get 2 anis together to not include this pic. 
 The next day I returned to Santa Ana which was having Family Days with a number of activities including the opportunity to kayak on North Lake which I took advantage of.  As I rowed the kayak slowly around the lake I got the bottom 3 photos of one or more anis in the trees on the banks of the lake. 
 One interesting tidbit, this species is communal in it's breeding.  These anis " lives in small groups of one to five breeding pairs. They defend a single territory and lay their eggs in one communal nest. All group members incubate the eggs and care for the young." (from AllAboutBirds.org  SeEtta