Photo Gallery - 2013 Field Trips
2013 Index Page Photo Gallery Home
March 16, 2013 - Rarity Hunt (including Bentsen Rio Grande SP, NABA Garden, Santa Ana NWR, Frontera Thicket, & Estero Llano Grande SP
Decided to do a rarity hunt on Sunday, starting at Bentsen to try for the continuing Red-naped Sapsucker and the reported female Black-headed Grosbeak. Got there about a half hour before dawn, where several Mockingbirds were carrying on song wars: the one right outside the car was tuning up with a House Sparrow imitation, and another bird closer to the garden area was goading a neighbor into responding to his Altamira Oriole and Bobwhite renditions! Heading across the canal a Black Phoebe was tuning up.
This Mockingbird starts with a House Sparrow, morphs into a scold, then continues with his own song.
Listen carefully, and you can hear a neighbor picking up this Mockingbird's Altamira Oriole imitation, and then later the Bobwhite!
Sat at the resaca for awhile, enjoying a Snowy Egret batting back and forth while a Great fed stoically in the distance and a Belted Kingfisher rattled unseen. No sign of the sapsucker, so I wandered around the grove a little and then headed onto the Kiskadee Trail, hoping "Feeder Area #8" was the one along the Acacia Loop (these feeder designations were new since I was there last, and very helpful). It was, so I sat for about 15 minutes hoping the grosbeak would come in. She didn't, but a very pretty Vermilion Flycatcher showed off on the tree behind me, and a happy Altamira Oriole (for real) sang from the same area! A distant Beardless Tyrannulet was nice for the day list.
I was headed out and got as far as the Nature Center (the old gatehouse) when I ran into Marie Stewart, who talked me into going back and trying again for the grosbeak (as the feeders were due to be filled any minute)! Picked up the Clay-colored Thrushes marauding the gatehouse feeders while waiting for the tram, which we didn't have to wait long for! He dropped us off at the resaca and we walked the rest of the way, and after sitting at the feeders for another ten minutes or so, a lady behind us came up and asked, "Are you looking for the grosbeak?" The silly thing was in a tree behind us the whole time! She shortly flew over the road and into some trees a ways down from the feeders, but gradually made her way up to them. The blackbirds had made short work of what PB had been there, so I don't think she got much of anything.
The female Black-headed Grosbeak landed in the sun for a split second, then zipped into the shade!
A comical head-on view and a look at the breast.
The shot on the left shows a hint of the diagnostic yellow "wing-pit".
After that Marie and I wandered back to the resaca bathrooms where Marie waited for the tram to the Hawk Watch, and I noticed a mob of Blue Spiny Lizards on the building! After going over to say "hi" to Ranger Roy and his entourage I headed back out for good and rolled down the street to the National Butterfly Garden, checking the posts for the reported Prairie Falcon, but nada.
Several Blue Spiny Lizards hanging out at the old resaca bathrooms.
In the lep department I was kinda hoping to be able to shoot one of the several Falcated Orangetips that had been occurring in the Valley, but dipped on that one as well; had a gorgeous Variegated Meadowhawk in the parking lot, and down at the main garden ran into Cat Traylor, who was looking for some plants. While chatting I spotted something "different" that turned out to be a Banded Peacock! That was a nice consolation prize!
Best bug of the day was this Banded Peacock!
Tropical Checkered Skipper
Laviana White Skipper
Since I was taking the back road to Santa Ana I decided that I might as well swing by 5th and Gardenia in Hidalgo and get the Monk Parakeets for the day and the year, then headed on to Santa Ana, where the targets were the continuing female Hooded Mergansers and the Glossy Ibis. Several Plegadis-type ibis flew over while on the Pintail Lake Trail, but I was presuming White-faced until proven otherwise! Once in the open I ran into a bird walk, and thankfully they had just seen the mergansers and showed me exactly where to look! The light was perfect and as I turned the corner the ducks (which included gobs of Shovelers, some American Wigeon, and Gadwall in addition to the mergs) actually came closer! That was pretty special! Winding over to Willow Lakes I had an odd dragonfly that basically reminded me of a Blue Dasher, but I don't recall them having smoky smudges on the wings. Picked up a Solitary Sandpiper in the shallow lake, and lots of stuff was in the main lake including several Cinnamon Teal; I got a kick out of the Least Grebes horning in on the ducks trying to get at whatever they were getting at! ☺ On the way out I had my FOS Scissor-tailed Flycatcher while yapping with Pat Heirs on the phone!
Female Roseate Skimmer (until told otherwise)
Female Hooded Merganser, scarce in the Valley
Blue Dasher (until told otherwise)
Northern Pintail flanked by a Cinnamon Teal and Least Grebe
From there headed over to Frontera to see if the Black Crescent was still around. Terry and Marci Fuller had the same idea and had the trail to the feeder area staked out, but no crescent (aside from Texans). I decided to sit at the feeder area, as that's where the Black-throated Gray Warbler was reported, and shortly had a female American Redstart come in! That got Marci over, so we chatted a bit until another gentleman came and spotted an Ovenbird, which was blocked from my sight. Left the Fullers to wait while I made the loop, scaring up a curious Long-billed Thrasher in the process.
Headed over to Estero after that for some hoped-for Orangetips and chatted with Rick for awhile, but I didn't get far before I had to turn around and head home. Ended up with 72 species for the day.
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Gadwall Anas strepera
American Wigeon Anas americana
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Green Heron Butorides virescens
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Gray Hawk Buteo plagiatus
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata
American Coot Fulica americana
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma imberbe
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Couch's Kingbird Tyrannus couchii
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
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