November 27, 2015 Salineno, Texas

More Birds at Salineno

Strutting Tom, South Llano, Texas
Strutting Tom, South Llano State Park, Texas

Hope everyone had a  Happy Thanksgiving  ( but I bet the individual in the image above most likely did not ) as I did here at the Salineno Birding Station. My co-hosts, Lois and Merle cooked up a small turkey with all the fixings and invited myself and another couple, who are hosting the Roma site, over for a great Thanksgiving dinner. For this forty year resident of New England, the 85 degree temperature, along with high humidity, certainly did little to lend a traditional feel to this holiday, but enjoyable nonetheless.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Female Northern Bobwhite
Female Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite Quail arrived on the scene this week with an even dozen now coming in to take advantage of the cracked corn, making several appearances every day.

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

The elusive, and much sought after Olive Sparrow, who normally keeps himself on the edge of the yard, very near some kind of cover, thus always in the shade …

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

… came out for a bath today and so I got to see him in the sunlight for the first time.

Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Green Jay
Green Jay

The always entertaining, as well as colorful, green jays …

Green Jay
Help Yourself!

… have discovered where all that delicious cracked corn and sunflower seeds come from, and now feel free to just help themselves.

Audubon Oriole
Audubon Oriole

The Audubon oriole pair had us a little worried when they didn’t show for a couple of days, disappointing folks that came specifically to see them, but have now shown up again.

Black-crested Titmouse
Black-crested Titmouse

Finally had a chance to photograph the Black-crested Titmouse. These guys are constantly on the move and spend 99 per cent of the time in the trees above our heads, so are difficult to capture with the camera.

Kiskadee
Kiskadee

Kiskadee numbers are increasing and we now will have four or five in the yard at the same time.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

And the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, a couple of males and one female make several appearances daily.

We have a Sharp-shinned Hawk coming in on the fly almost every day now, making as many as a dozen passes through the yard in a day, looking for an easy meal. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting any shots of him as he comes in unannounced and traveling at an incredibly high speed, making a pass across the yard in about half a second. Despite many attempts, we haven’t seen him catch anybody … yet.

A list of species seen here so far ( 53 and we are only a month in! )
In years past the total number of sightings varies between 70 and 80.

Green jay
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern cardinal
Olive Sparrow
Altamira Oriole
Audubon Oriole
Inca Dove
White-tipped Dove
White-winged Dove
House Sparrow
Great Kiskadee
Common Yellow-throat
Osprey *
Turkey Vulture *
Crested Caracara *
Northern Mockingbird
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Long-billed Thrasher
Plain Chachalaca
Black-crested Titmouse
Hooded Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
White Pelican *
Bewick’s Wren
Orange-crowwned Warbler
Mourning Dove
Lesser Goldfinch
Ringed Kingfisher *
Eastern Phoebe
Verdin
House Wren
Blue-headed Vireo
Pyrrhuloxia
Gray Hawk *
Couch’s Kingbird
Black Phoebe
Lincoln Sparrow
Common Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-crowned Sparrow
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher *
Snow Geese *
White-fronted Geese *
American Robin
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Eastern Screech Owl
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Bobwhite
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

  • Denotes Flyover

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December 19, 2013 On the Road Again

MH andMooseFalcon Lake to Port Aransas, Texas

Got up early this morning and cleaned house and got the RV ready for traveling today. Decided around 7:30 to go sit in my blind for a couple of hours and see if the quail will come in this morning. Decided to just fill the feeders up and let the blackbirds chow down with no interference from me, rather than risk scaring the quail off by shooing the #*%#@! blackbirds away.

Male Bobwhite Quail
Male Bobwhite Quail
Female Bobwhite Quail
Female Bobwhite Quail

 

 

 

 

 

 

( As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version. )

I lucked out and four of the quail eventually came walking in through the brush and started feeding of the scattered seed on the ground around the feeder.

Cardinal on mirror
Guess he wasn’t looking at me after all

 

My cardinal buddy from yesterday was still around, but I guess it wasn’t me he was so interested in after all, but he sure is fixating on something in the motorhome.

 

 

 

Goodbye to my least favorite visitors
Goodbye to my least favorite visitors
Goodbye to my least favorite visitors
Goodbye to my least favorite visitors

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get on the road to Port Aransas by 10 AM, so around 9:30, I exited the blind and began closing up shop. I hadn’t used the blind before so this was going to be my first attempt at getting it properly collapsed and in it’s traveling bag. The blind collapses to a circle of less than 2 feet in diameter and only 4” or 5 “ high, but how you get it to that stage is not all that simple, at least not the first time you try it. With the included written instructions in front of me, I wrestled with the blind for 20 minutes or more with no success. The written, very poorly illustrated ( drawings, not photos ) instructions are useless, as I had been warned, but somewhere I remembered seeing that there was a video on UTube that you could actually understand, and sure enough, there is. What did we ever do before the internet? After watching the video, twice, it took me all of about a minute to get the blind collapsed and in its carrying bag and I was on the road by 10:30.

I headed south down Route 83 to Rio Grande City and picked up FM 755 north, a surprisingly good road with no traffic or towns to go through, and it took me to Route 281 north, then east on Route 285 that took me to Route 77 north to Robstown, where I joined Route 44 east until it runs into Route 358 east that runs through Corpus Christie and takes you to Mustang Island and on up to Port Aransas.

Dust storm
Do you suppose they ever have to dust?
Nearing Robstown
Nearing Robstown

 

 

 

 

 

Texas dust storm
Getting worse!

The run was uneventful, though the 40 mph crosswinds were a little unsettling at times, especially when they were stirring up dust storms from freshly plowed fields along the way, primarily as you approached and left Robstown where some of the plowed fields stretched uninterrupted to the horizon.

Arrived at the beach around 3:30 and it didn’t take long for the dogs to realize that we had returned to one of their favorite stomping grounds. Unfortunately, the weather is not that great, socked in with fog, plus the strong southeast winds combined with the just passed full moon don’t leave a lot of beach dry for the motorhome.  I will be watching the tide before setting up for the night.

Male Bobwhite Quail
Male Bobwhite Quail
Female Bobwhite Quail
Female Bobwhite Quail
Curve billed thrasher giving it the evil eye
Curve billed thrasher giving it the evil eye

 

 

 

December 18, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Full moon over Texas
Full moon over Texas

Another nice day at Falcon State Park in Texas, sunny with temps in the 70’s. Spent a few hours in the morning in my blind at the campsite without a lot of luck. The clouds of blackbirds and grackles descending on the feeders are driving most of the desirable birds away, and my efforts at discouraging them also seem to have a negative impact on the birds I am trying to attract, I may just have to give up.

Eurasian collared dove with white winged dove
Eurasian collared dove with white winged dove
Eurasian collared doves
Eurasian collared doves

 

 

 

 

 

Discouraged, I took a trip over to the Salineno feeding station to see what the action looked like there. While there I had a nice conversation with the volunteer couple and got their help identifying my two small mystery birds. They had a couple of Altimira orioles and an Audubon oriole show up while I was there, along with a ladder backed woodpecker, all birds I had not seen at my site. The problem at this spot is that the action is just too far away for my getting any good images. It is set up as a great spot to sit back and observe the birds fairly close up, maybe with some binos or a small scope, but it just isn’t set up for taking quality images of these small birds.

I feel like I am being watched by a cardinal on my RV mirror
I feel like I am being watched!

Back home while working on the computer, the male cardinal that has been coming to the feeders all week took up a new home on my mirrors and windshield wipers, seemingly very interested in what was going on inside my motorhome.

Northern bobwhite quail
Northern bobwhite quail

Got a quick shot of some northern bobwhites ( quail ) through my window as they were scratching around under my feeder for scattered seeds. These are new birds for me and quite attractive, I guess I will have to delay my departure tomorrow morning ( heading for the beach in Port Aransas ) and see if I can entice them back in here and get some good shots of them from the blind.

 

Mockingbird
Mockingbird
White winged dove
White winged dove
Eurasian collared dove
Eurasian collared dove

 

 

 

 

 

Pyrrhuloxia
Pyrrhuloxia