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

 

 

 

 

December 15, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Roadrunner portrait
Roadrunner portrait

Moved the blind to a new location this morning to try and get a better background, but that didn’t work out so well as the sun angle turned out to be wrong and the birds didn’t come. Moved back to the old position in the afternoon.

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

Green jay
Green jay
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Spent 5 or 6 hours in the blind today, nice variety of birds after moving back to my previous location, quite a bit of action, including a quick passby by a roadrunner.

Green jay
Green jay
Brown thrasher acrobatics
Brown thrasher acrobatics

Pleasant way to spend a nice sunny day, relaxing in my rocking chair inside the blind, reading my Kindle whenever the bird action slows down.

White winged dove
White winged dove
Inca dove
Inca dove
Eurasian collared dove
Eurasian collared dove

Three different types of doves showed up today.

Curve-billed thrasher
Curve-billed thrasher
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Eurasian collared dove
Eurasian collared dove
PB&J breakfast for a green jay
PB&J breakfast for a green jay

Along with the usual cast  of characters.

Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

 

 

 

 

 

Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay

 

 

 

 

 

Green jay
Green jay
Curve-billed thrasher
Curve-billed thrasher

 

 

 

 

 

Female great tailed grackle
Female great tailed grackle
Mystery ( to me ) bird
Mystery ( to me ) bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 12, 2013 Falcon Lake, Texas

Inca doves huddling for warmth
Inca doves huddling for warmth

Another interesting day at the bird feeding station

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

Yet another dull, grey day spitting a little drizzle now and then, gets me starting to wonder if the sun will ever make another appearance here in south Texas. Yet I am very happy with the blind and feeder setup here, right next to the motorhome. I am able to draw in quite a few birds, with new varieties showing up each day. The Salineno bird feeding site I visited last week was where I figured I would be spending all my time while here, yet I have not even thought about going back down there since I really don’t see how I could do any better than what I am getting right here. Plus this is a heck of a lot more convenient and also more comfortable, what a great campsite!

Prryhuloxia
Prryhuloxia

My only serious drawbacks here, in addition to no decent light since the sun refuses to cooperate, are the clouds of red wing blackbirds that hover around the campsite waiting for me to drop my attention so they can come in and clean out the feeders, and the campgrounds’ resident gang of javelinas. When I was here a few years back, I remember the birders at the Salineno site would use a slingshot to scare the blackbirds off when they would descend, sometimes by the hundreds, to clean out their feeders, so far here, I only have to clap my hands or bang on the side of the motorhome to get them to leave… but, they do always return.

The javelinas are another story! They are not easily discouraged and will only leave if I physically chase them out, and, of course, they return the instant I get back in the blind. They completely ignore my yelling or clapping from inside the blind or the motorhome, even though they are only 15 feet away, and my attempts to throw rocks at them from inside the confines of the blind are a little pathetic and produce no results. Today, while I took a lunch break, they somehow managed to once again rip down my platform feeder and devour a day’s worth of seed and lard/peanut butter mix, along with a couple of oranges, all in a manner of just minutes. They are really starting to annoy me.

Help! I don't know what this mystery bird is
Help! I don’t know what this is
Female Nashville warbler, maybe?
Female Nashville warbler, maybe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newcomers today were two birds I really do not know what they are, if anyone out there can help me identify these two, I would really appreciate it! I am only guessing when I label this one a female Nashville warbler and I can find nothing in my bird books to identify the other, even though you would think the striped head would make identification quite easy.

Eurasian-collared Dove
Eurasian-collared Dove
Eurasian-collared Dove
Eurasian-collared Dove

 

 

 

 

 

Inca dove
Inca dove

The Inca doves were new to me and the Eurasian-collared dove also. I am a little confused about the collared dove ID, since the Eurasian-collared dove and the Collared turtle dove are both present in Texas and, to me, look quite similar, and I do see a slight difference in the two photos of these collared doves, so who knows? Again. if anyone out there can help out, I would appreciate it!

Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Green jay
Green jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Green jay
Female hooded oriole, I think!
Female hooded oriole, I think!

 

 

 

 

 

Green jay
Green jay