Photo Gallery - 2015 Field Trips

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All photographs ©2015 by Mary Beth Stowe


May 7, 2015 - Frontera Audubon Thicket & Estero Llano Grande SP


Met Phil's crew again this morning at Frontera; I actually got there a bit early and logged a bunch of stuff in the parking lot, including a very "in your face" Long-billed Thrasher and a Swainson's Thrush calling from the wood.  It had apparently been awhile since I had been there, as I don't remember the path from the parking lot to the building being so green and lush!  The water feature was rather quiet, though, and when Phil et al showed up, the only thing to come visit was a female Archilochus hummingbird.


We made the rounds, and it was really quiet; a couple of Green Parakeets screeched overhead, but the most birds we saw were a group of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks standing on the boardwalk railing, soon to be joined by a Snowy Egret!  Around the boardwalk area a Painted Bunting was singing, but we could never spot him while a Hooded Oriole called in the same area.  Around the back side I did hear a Warbling Vireo sing, but we couldn't get him out, and a couple of Catbirds at the feeder area showed themselves to me but no one else...  We saw the normal doves et al at the feeders, and when someone pushed the Chachalaca Button (as Phil says ☺), we decided it was time to head to Estero!


Things were quite a bit more lively there; even before leaving the parking lot we got a great look at a Clay-colored Thrush on the wire, and a Green Heron powered overhead!  The owl wasn't in his box on the way in, but we saw plenty from the deck:  lots of Stilt Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalaropes, and Long-billed Dowitchers fed, and we had smaller numbers of Least Sandpipers with a single Spotted.  Some swallows were swooping by; I had a definite Cliff, but Phil spotted a Cave as well.  Over in Avocet Pond we added Black-necked Stilts and Blue-winged Teal, plus a couple of yellowlegs Phil and I were arguing about ☺; I reneged on the close one being a Lesser, but I still think the distant one was a Greater...


From the gazebo we went straight back to Dowitcher Pond where we initially had more of the same (one phalarope was spinning on dry land, which we thought was pretty funny), but it was starting to drizzle pretty good and my bins were getting wet, so I was getting ready to retreat when Dan Jones walked up!  Thankfully he took a closer look at those distant peeps, so I cleaned my bins off real good and was able to see the White-rumped Sandpipers he had spotted!  The San Diego gang definitely wanted those, and like at Port Aransas, we had a dull bird that looked very much like a Baird's until he lifted off! ☺  We also had a smaller peep closer to us that we settled on Semipalmated, but as Dan and I got to discussing the finer points of peep identification, I noticed that my charges had all drifted over to the bench, so I figured I'd better be a good hostess and thus took my leave of Dan... ☺  On the other side of the pond were Spoonbills and White Ibis, along with a late Shoveler, so those were nice additions!


At Dowitcher Pond we had several types of sandpipers - here is a Stilt (above) and a Semipalmated (below).



The Stilt Sandpiper in breeding plumage has a nice rusty ear patch and barred underparts.



The Semipalmated Sandpiper can be quite striking as well!


The Gang admires other waders from the comfort of the bench...


We were debating about continuing on to Alligator Lake, as Alligators were by no means guaranteed (Phil thought they had a better chance at the Island), nor were Anhingas (another target bird), so seeing my other friends from Virginia, Sam and Liz Williams and his crew, had reported that Huck had just filled the feeders in the Tropical Zone, we decided to head back there.  On the way we had a nice immature Swainson's Hawk fly over, but I was beginning to think we shoulda gone to Alligator Lake as the TZ was very quiet as well (plus, that's where Sam et al had wandered off to).  But we did take a second look at the owl box as Ranger John had suggested (we ran into him and his school group out in the grasslands), and he was there, sitting in his "door"!  What a great look!  We also had a nice Zebra Heliconian flop by along the walkway.


Eastern Screech Owl surveys his territory from his box!


After lunch, the gang said they were interested in trying the Progresso Sod Farms in hope of some grasspipers, only when we got there, there was a big pile of dirt blocking the entrance due to road work!  So I apologized profusely, and we went our separate ways, agreeing to meet on the Island tomorrow.


Bird List:


  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck          Dendrocygna autumnalis

  Blue-winged Teal                      Anas discors

  Northern Shoveler

  Plain Chachalaca                      Ortalis vetula

  Great Egret                           Ardea alba

  Snowy Egret                           Egretta thula

  Little Blue Heron                     Egretta caerulea

  Tricolored Heron                      Egretta tricolor

  Cattle Egret                          Bubulcus ibis

  Green Heron                           Butorides virescens

  White Ibis                            Eudocimus albus

  Roseate Spoonbill

  Turkey Vulture                        Cathartes aura

  Swainson's Hawk                       Buteo swainsoni

  American Coot                         Fulica americana

  Black-necked Stilt                    Himantopus mexicanus

  Killdeer                              Charadrius vociferus

  Spotted Sandpiper                     Actitis macularius

  Greater Yellowlegs                    Tringa melanoleuca

  Lesser Yellowlegs                     Tringa flavipes

  Stilt Sandpiper                       Calidris himantopus

  Least Sandpiper                       Calidris minutilla

  White-rumped Sandpiper                Calidris fuscicollis

  Semipalmated Sandpiper                Calidris pusilla

  Long-billed Dowitcher                 Limnodromus scolopaceus

  Wilson's Phalarope                    Phalaropus tricolor

  Laughing Gull                         Leucophaeus atricilla

  White-winged Dove                     Zenaida asiatica

  Mourning Dove                         Zenaida macroura

  Inca Dove                             Columbina inca

  White-tipped Dove                     Leptotila verreauxi

  Eastern Screech-Owl                   Megascops asio

  Chimney Swift                         Chaetura pelagica

  Archilochus Hummingbird               Archilochus sp.

  Buff-bellied Hummingbird              Amazilia yucatanensis

  Golden-fronted Woodpecker             Melanerpes aurifrons

  Ladder-backed Woodpecker              Picoides scalaris

  Green Parakeet                        Aratinga holochlora

  Brown-crested Flycatcher              Myiarchus tyrannulus

  Great Kiskadee                        Pitangus sulphuratus

  Couch's Kingbird                      Tyrannus couchii

  White-eyed Vireo                      Vireo griseus

  Warbling Vireo                        Vireo gilvus

  Green Jay                             Cyanocorax yncas

  Purple Martin                         Progne subis

  Bank Swallow                          Riparia riparia

  Barn Swallow                          Hirundo rustica

  Cliff Swallow                         Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

  Black-crested Titmouse                Baeolophus atricristatus

  Carolina Wren                         Thryothorus ludovicianus

  Swainson's Thrush                     Catharus ustulatus

  Clay-colored Thrush                   Turdus grayi

  Gray Catbird                          Dumetella carolinensis

  Curve-billed Thrasher                 Toxostoma curvirostre

  Long-billed Thrasher                  Toxostoma longirostre

  Northern Mockingbird                  Mimus polyglottos

  European Starling                     Sturnus vulgaris

  Common Yellowthroat                   Geothlypis trichas

  Olive Sparrow                         Arremonops rufivirgatus

  Northern Cardinal                     Cardinalis cardinalis

  Painted Bunting                       Passerina ciris

  Great-tailed Grackle                  Quiscalus mexicanus

  Brown-headed Cowbird                  Molothrus ater

  Hooded Oriole                         Icterus cucullatus

  Lesser Goldfinch                      Spinus psaltria

  House Sparrow                         Passer domesticus




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