Photo Gallery - 2014 Field Trips

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All photographs ©2015 by Mary Beth Stowe

 

January 3, 2015 - Harlingen CBC

 

The weather was really crummy that day, but having gotten the maps et al from Norma a week or two before, I had tried to plan out a route that would cover our area thoroughly (I think it was Sections 5D and 5C, in the far southwestern corner of the count circle):  I was pleased that it included snippets of the Cannon Road Loop, in particular the "Rangerville Resaca", a great little wetland right on Rangerville Road south of Jimenez.  Pat and I would start there, then the plan was to work our way west, zig-zagging the various dirt roads in the territory.  But with the torrential rain we'd been getting (I think someone said the Drought was officially over ☺), I had doubts that most of those roads would be passable, and that was indeed the case!  Interestingly, however, the timing worked out perfectly just covering the paved roads (and those few dirt roads that were in good shape); had they been dry, we never would have covered the whole territory in time (at least, not the way I do it ☺)!

 

That resaca was our saving grace bird-wise, as it was stuffed with goodies we wouldn't have gotten anywhere else!  Besides the normal waterbirds (see list below), both Anhinga and Green Heron were nice, as they're normally summering birds here.  Terry Fuller's territory included the area on the other side of Rangerville Road, so I was bummed about the Wilson's Warbler calling on his side but not on ours (I let the compiler know about that one, just in case...), but a Yellow Warbler was more cooperative and flew over to our side! ☺  A Belted Kingfisher serenaded us as well.

A Belted Kingfisher rattles at "Rangerville Resaca"

 

From there we had to leave the confines of the count circle in order to get to the north part of Weaver Road, but as we made the turn and got close to the sod farms, it started looking slick as snot, and indeed it felt slick as snot, so I backed out of there and left a deeper rut than I had realized!  Diggory's tires were of course covered, and the mud flew as we made our way back down Jimenez.  However, a big beautiful Peregrine Falcon posed on a pole (pictures were fuzzy, unfortunately), and we were bemoaning the fact that he was out of our territory until he took off and headed north, so we felt confident that he was gonna end up in our territory, so he got counted!

 

We figured the rest of the dirt roads would probably be in the same shape, so we headed back to Rangerville Road, went north, and discovered that the next road to the west was in decent shape, so in we went (Google Maps shows it simply as "Canal Easement", but I think Norma's maps gave it a real name...).  Almost immediately we came to the canal, so we stopped to check the thing out, and had a flock of Snow Geese flying overhead - great timing!  After awhile Pat spotted a pair of Green Kingfishers, and we were also watching the farm dogs:  when we got out, they started barking at us, but the one was wagging his tail, so I wasn't too nervous...  After awhile they both sat down and just watched us, and when we were finally ready to go and headed west past their house, they jumped into gear and bounced around the car, noisily "escorting" us out of their territory!  Pat mused that they were probably thinking, "Well, what're you waiting for?!  Get over here so we can chase you!" ☺  We didn't get far before the road turned to muck, but we were next to a very nice little forested patch that had some needed songbirds in it (White-eyed Vireo, gnatcatcher and kinglet; things of that ilk).  A burro in the yard was minding his own business until I started pishing; his expression was classic!

 

Pat poses at our turnaround point on one of the many dirt roads we had to check...

 

Curious burro

 

We eventually made it to FM 800, turned left, and picked up Bobwhite on one of our stops, along with harrier and Osprey (I think this is where we got him).  We then worked our way to the next dirt road that was passable (up to a point), which turned out to be Hackberry; there were a lot of homes in here so we didn't get out much, but we got our open country meadowlarks and pipits in here.  We then backtracked to FM 800 and continued west, and where 800 makes a sharp right, we managed to bag a White-tailed Kite!  That was the western edge of our territory, so we headed north and worked the NWR tract abutting the road up to the Arroyo Colorado, which was our northern border.  I think it was in here where we picked up our titmice and Green Jays, plus a mob of Orange-crowned Warblers!

 

It was time to head over to the Whataburger in Harlingen for the midday compilation, so we did so, had lunch, said Happy New Year to everyone, then headed home!  Bird List below:

 

  Snow Goose                            Chen caerulescens

  Mottled Duck                          Anas fulvigula

  Ruddy Duck                            Oxyura jamaicensis

  Northern Bobwhite                     Colinus virginianus

  Pied-billed Grebe                     Podilymbus podiceps

  Neotropic Cormorant                   Phalacrocorax brasilianus

  Double-crested Cormorant              Phalacrocorax auritus

  Anhinga                               Anhinga anhinga

  Great Blue Heron                      Ardea herodias

  Great Egret                           Ardea alba

  Snowy Egret                           Egretta thula

  Green Heron                           Butorides virescens

  Black-crowned Night-Heron             Nycticorax nycticorax

  Turkey Vulture                        Cathartes aura

  Osprey                                Pandion haliaetus

  White-tailed Kite                     Elanus leucurus

  Northern Harrier                      Circus cyaneus

  Sharp-shinned Hawk                    Accipiter striatus

  Harris's Hawk                         Parabuteo unicinctus

  Red-shouldered Hawk                   Buteo lineatus

  Red-tailed Hawk                       Buteo jamaicensis

  Common Gallinule                      Gallinula galeata

  American Coot                         Fulica americana

  Killdeer                              Charadrius vociferus

  Caspian Tern                          Hydroprogne caspia

  Rock Pigeon                           Columba livia

  Mourning Dove                         Zenaida macroura

  Inca Dove                             Columbina inca

  Belted Kingfisher                     Megaceryle alcyon

  Green Kingfisher                      Chloroceryle americana

  Golden-fronted Woodpecker             Melanerpes aurifrons

  Ladder-backed Woodpecker              Picoides scalaris

  Crested Caracara                      Caracara cheriway

  American Kestrel                      Falco sparverius

  Peregrine Falcon                      Falco peregrinus

  Eastern Phoebe                        Sayornis phoebe

  Great Kiskadee                        Pitangus sulphuratus

  Loggerhead Shrike                     Lanius ludovicianus

  White-eyed Vireo                      Vireo griseus

  Green Jay                             Cyanocorax yncas

  Black-crested Titmouse                Baeolophus atricristatus

  House Wren                            Troglodytes aedon

  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                 Polioptila caerulea

  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                  Regulus calendula

  Curve-billed Thrasher                 Toxostoma curvirostre

  Northern Mockingbird                  Mimus polyglottos

  European Starling                     Sturnus vulgaris

  American Pipit                        Anthus rubescens

  Orange-crowned Warbler                Oreothlypis celata

  Common Yellowthroat                   Geothlypis trichas

  Yellow Warbler                        Setophaga petechia

  Yellow-rumped Warbler                 Setophaga coronata

  Wilson's Warbler                      Cardellina pusilla

  Savannah Sparrow                      Passerculus sandwichensis

  Lincoln's Sparrow                     Melospiza lincolnii

  Northern Cardinal                     Cardinalis cardinalis

  Red-winged Blackbird                  Agelaius phoeniceus

  Eastern Meadowlark                    Sturnella magna

  Western Meadowlark                    Sturnella neglecta

  Great-tailed Grackle                  Quiscalus mexicanus

  House Sparrow                         Passer domesticus

 

61 SPECIES

 

 

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