December 9, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Green jays in the feeder
Green jays in the feeder

( You can click on any image to get a larger, sharper version. )

Awaken from a sound sleep at 3 AM with the loud crash of my 5 gallon mud bucket of birdseed being rolled off the picnic table outside my bedroom window. Fortunately, I had secured the lid and thus a rather portly raccoon was more than a little upset that his efforts at thievery had failed. When I went out with the dogs at daybreak, I found that said raccoon had gotten his revenge by destroying my just purchased feeder, devouring all the orioles jam, and generally making a mess of my feeding operation. He also had somehow wheeled my 5 gallon bucket of seed all the way across the cleared area around the campsite until his attempt at theft was stopped by the thick brush surrounding the site. In all he moved this bucket almost 40 feet from the picnic table, but still was unable to get the lid off.

I repaired and refilled my feeder station and also placed my 5 gallon bucket of seed on the roof of the aluminum campsite shelter, 8 feet off the ground. The shelter has metal supports so I don’t think anyone should be able to get at it up there. I guess I will just have to take my feeders in at night.

Campsite feeder setup
Campsite feeder setup

Right after getting everything set back up, I had quite a bit of activity.

Collared peccaries
Campsite guests

 

First, some uninvited guests, collared peccaries, who pretty much cleaned up all the spilt seed the raccoon scattered around the ground last night.

 

 

 

Collared peccary zeroing in on lunch
Collared peccary zeroing in on lunch

 

 

I got a kick out of this one trying to figure a way to get to the feeder.

 

 

 

 

Female cardinal under the feeder
Female cardinal under the feeder
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

 

 

 

 

 

A pair of cardinals also chipped in on cleaning up the spilled seed.

Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay

 

 

 

 

 

Green jays are a bird that doesn’t go much farther north than this part of Texas, like our northern blue jay, he is quite the feeder glutton, but makes the blue jay look rather dull in comparison.

Green jay
Green jay
Golden fronted woodpecker
Golden fronted woodpecker

 

 

 

 

 

Then a really pleasant surprise, one of my all time favorite birds showed up for a brief second, a golden fronted woodpecker!

Golden fronted woodpecker
Golden fronted woodpecker

 

December 8, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Green jay
Green jay
Pyrrhuloxia
Pyrrhuloxia

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got birdseed and some lard/peanut butter/cornmeal paste out in my platform feeder, along with seed in the new feeder, plus some jam for the orioles, and got them all positioned on the brush surrounding my campsite and they have already attracted several green jays and a pair of pyrrhuloxia. Hopefully I can figure out a way to get some nice shots of these colorful birds as soon as the weather decides to cooperate. Yes, it still is cold, wet, and dreary.

Click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Drove down the road to Salineno where the feeding station by the river used to be several years ago when I was last here. I was told the station, located just 100 feet or so from the Rio Grande River had been discontinued due to safety concerns because of it’s proximity to the border. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find that it has been reopened! In speaking to the couple who were tending the site today, they told me that the site was closed last year, but had been reopened for this season and staffed by a new volunteer group. Last time I was here, a volunteer actually had their 5th wheel set up under the trees onsite, that is not the case anymore, but the site is open from 8 – 4 daily as on right now.

In my brief stay there today, there really wasn’t much bird activity going on and the volunteer there told me it still was a little early in the season and the fact that there were substantial rains late in the fall means that there is still plenty of natural feed in the surrounding fields and shrub land to satisfy the birds hunger for now.