Photo Gallery - 2014 Field Trips

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All photographs ©2015 by Mary Beth Stowe


April 2, 2015 - La Sal del Rey


Reports of Buff-breasted Sandpipers inspired Pat Heirs and myself to head up to Brushline Road this morning, and while we dipped on the Buffies, we had just a marvelous time, as lots of water still held lots of birds!  Starting at the intersection of Brushline and FM 490, we picked up the normal thornscrub specialists right away (at least by ear - most of them didn't wanna come out of the bushes), but the Lark Sparrows were pretty cooperative, sitting in wires and posts and singing their pretty songs!  Verdins chinked a lot but also wouldn't come out to Pat's chagrin, but what we thought might be a White-tailed Kite at first turned out to be an immature Swainson's Hawk!  Later on we had a dark morph bird sitting further afield, and we actually ended up with quite a few Swainies for the morning.  Pyrrhuloxias were all over and quite stunning, and this one Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was showing off particularly well as he eyed bugs and then went after them right next to the car!  The hidden wet spots held Coots, Common Gallinules, Blue-winged Teal, and Marsh Wrens, and in the pond just south of SR 186, a gorgeous male Pintail was hanging out with some teal!  Just as we were heading out a Solitary Sandpiper wheeled in and bobbed for us!




Immature Swainson's Hawk



Scissor-tailed Flycatcher



Lark Sparrow



Dark morph Swainson's Hawk


Blue-winged Teal pair with a much bigger Northern Pintail


Solitary Sandpiper


Crossing the highway we started to hear the Cassin's Sparrows singing, but the big surprise was an immature White-crowned Sparrow still hanging around!  We skipped hiking to the lake as Pat wanted to check out Hargill Playa, so I sent her down the road while I took care of things ☺ and wound up bagging a White-tipped Dove in the process!  Turkey Vultures and more Swainies wheeled around in front of us (with a token Black Vulture), and we almost tuned out the adult White-tailed Hawk putting on a show as well!  Some meadowlarks popped up on the wire, and while at the time we decided to go with "meadowlark sp.", I did hear a wheep, so I changed my mind and called them Westerns.  Somewhere in here I spotted a Roadrunner in the side view mirror (which Pat also got on that way), so we decided we should start a "Birds Seen In A Mirror List"! ☺


Making the zig east on Brushline, we picked up a Harris' Hawk, but on the "zag" going back north we were confronted with a young Great Horned Owl who had literally gotten himself hung up on the barbed wire fence!  I didn't have a number for FWS so I called 911 and somehow they were able to pinpoint my location from my cell phone, seeing as I didn't have a GPS!  They said they'd contact someone and we went on our way, hoping the poor thing could be rescued and rehabbed rather than turn into coyote food (and, no, a raptor is not something you want to try and capture without the proper training and equipment)!  It happened to be Pat's county Great Horned Owl, but she wished she could have seen one under less tragic circumstances...



Young Great Horned Owl that got caught on a barbed wire fence...


A little further up we checked out the ponds, where we added Shoveler, Redhead, Stilts, and Greater Yellowlegs (along with a couple of Nilgai; on the way up Brushline we actually saw a wild boar cross the road).  Heading back down Brushline another body crossed the road just before Ken Baker Road (the old GI Road), and it turned out to be Pat's county Wild Turkey!  Heading down Ken Baker we picked up a Collared Dove among the hordes of Mournings, and managed to bag a single Broad-winged Hawk circling overhead.  Down past Rio Beef we checked the pond where we had so many Brewer's Blackbirds last time, and lo and behold, three females were still hanging around!  Two pairs of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were in the "Barren Field Pond", and flying down Rio Beef Road we bagged another Turkey crossing the road (we figured if it was the same one from Brushline, it really booked to get over to Rio Beef)!  Pat caught sight of something red, so I backed up and heard a Summer Tanager singing, but it took off before either of us could get a good look (and it was in lousy light to boot).  The little marsh at the end of the road added Sora, and the pond on the west side had a few Redheads, a couple of Ring-necked Ducks, and a single Ruddy to add to the list.

Yet another Scissor-tailed Flycatcher


Headed over to Hargill Playa after that, as Pat wanted to check for Snowy and Wilson's Plovers, and we found them both!  (I should say she found them both, as she had the scope... ☺)  She said only one Wilson's had been reported, so she was thrilled to have a pair there!  In addition to those two year birds I was thrilled to add Baird's Sandpiper and Gull-billed Tern to my year list, while the day list got padded with several things including Kestrel, Gadwall, Least Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, a flyover Upland Sandpiper, a couple of Avocets, and two young Roseate Spoonbills!


Called it a day after that with 77 species for the morning!  Bird List:


  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck          Dendrocygna autumnalis

  Gadwall                               Anas strepera

  Mottled Duck                          Anas fulvigula

  Blue-winged Teal                      Anas discors

  Northern Shoveler                     Anas clypeata

  Northern Pintail                      Anas acuta

  Redhead                               Aythya americana

  Ring-necked Duck                      Aythya collaris

  Ruddy Duck                            Oxyura jamaicensis

  Northern Bobwhite                     Colinus virginianus

  Wild Turkey                           Meleagris gallopavo

  Pied-billed Grebe                     Podilymbus podiceps

  Roseate Spoonbill                     Platalea ajaja

  Black Vulture                         Coragyps atratus

  Turkey Vulture                        Cathartes aura

  Northern Harrier                      Circus cyaneus

  Harris's Hawk                         Parabuteo unicinctus

  White-tailed Hawk                     Geranoaetus albicaudatus

  Broad-winged Hawk                     Buteo platypterus

  Swainson's Hawk                       Buteo swainsoni

  Sora                                  Porzana carolina

  Common Gallinule                      Gallinula galeata

  American Coot                         Fulica americana

  Black-necked Stilt                    Himantopus mexicanus

  American Avocet                       Recurvirostra americana

  Snowy Plover                          Charadrius nivosus

  Wilson's Plover                       Charadrius wilsonia

  Killdeer                              Charadrius vociferus

  Solitary Sandpiper                    Tringa solitaria

  Greater Yellowlegs                    Tringa melanoleuca

  Upland Sandpiper                      Bartramia longicauda

  Baird's Sandpiper                     Calidris bairdii

  Least Sandpiper                       Calidris minutilla

  Laughing Gull                         Leucophaeus atricilla

  Gull-billed Tern                      Gelochelidon nilotica

  Eurasian Collared-Dove                Streptopelia decaocto

  Mourning Dove                         Zenaida macroura

  White-tipped Dove                     Leptotila verreauxi

  Greater Roadrunner                    Geococcyx californianus

  Great Horned Owl                      Bubo virginianus

  Golden-fronted Woodpecker             Melanerpes aurifrons

  Ladder-backed Woodpecker              Picoides scalaris

  Crested Caracara                      Caracara cheriway

  American Kestrel                      Falco sparverius

  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

  Tree Swallow                          Tachycineta bicolor

  Black-crested Titmouse                Baeolophus atricristatus

  Verdin                                Auriparus flaviceps

  House Wren                            Troglodytes aedon

  Marsh Wren                            Cistothorus palustris

  Bewick's Wren                         Thryomanes bewickii

  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                 Polioptila caerulea

  Northern Mockingbird                  Mimus polyglottos

  European Starling                     Sturnus vulgaris

  Orange-crowned Warbler                Oreothlypis celata

  Common Yellowthroat                   Geothlypis trichas

  Olive Sparrow                         Arremonops rufivirgatus

  Cassin's Sparrow                      Peucaea cassinii

  Lark Sparrow                          Chondestes grammacus

  Savannah Sparrow                      Passerculus sandwichensis

  Lincoln's Sparrow                     Melospiza lincolnii

  White-crowned Sparrow                 Zonotrichia leucophrys

  Summer Tanager                        Piranga rubra

  Northern Cardinal                     Cardinalis cardinalis

  Pyrrhuloxia                           Cardinalis sinuatus

  Red-winged Blackbird                  Agelaius phoeniceus

  Western Meadowlark                    Sturnella neglecta

  Brewer's Blackbird                    Euphagus cyanocephalus

  Great-tailed Grackle                  Quiscalus mexicanus

  Bronzed Cowbird                       Molothrus aeneus

  Brown-headed Cowbird                  Molothrus ater

  House Sparrow                         Passer domesticus




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