Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27 - Connecticut chases

A trip to southeastern Connecticut today for a Painted Bunting at Cove Island Park (the same park that held the Fork-Tailed Flycatcher last November) was unsuccessful as evidently the Bunting left yesterday.  Although we did manage to see a Red-Necked Grebe...

Nearby Bill, Ahmet, and I had some more consolations in the male Eurasian Wigeon at Sherwood Island Park.

Afterwards we went up to Westport and were able to get fine looks at a Western Kingbird despite the nearby fog.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19 - Cape May

A long drive today in search of the Ash-Throated Flycatcher failed to see the bird. Although we did get Grasshopper Sparrow, Purple Finch, and Eurasian Wigeon.  A late Baltimore Oriole put in an appearance at the State Park. 
Also I was finally able to see the Eurasian Collared-Doves after a few previous tries.

The highlight was getting nice views of Cave Swallows over Lighthouse Pond -- and being able to see these birds with friends Rob F. and Lisa M., and the best part is that it was a life-bird for Lisa !!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12 - South Padre Island blitz

My last morning of this Texas trip and I was able to squeeze in 2 hours of very productive birding at the South Padre Island Convention Center & the Valley Fund Lots.

The highlight has to be the Long-Eared Owl at the Convention Center. I understand it's one of the very few records of this species over the 18-year history of the Rio Grande Birding Festival !

Another treat, for this region, was a Fox Sparrow, which may be just the 2nd ever record for the entire Rio Grande Valley...Also a Winter Wren put in a brief appearance & a Magnolia Warbler showed well for everyone to see.

Over at Valley Fund lots, I had a Rufous Hummingbird which is quite uncommon. Also seen were sparrows of White-Crowned, White-Throated, Lincoln's, and Swamp.

The trip total is 180 birds seen this week with 4 life-birds (White-Tailed Hawk, Franklin's Gull, Sprague's Pipit, and the Ferruginous Owls. I wish I could come here every year!

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11 - King Ranch Trip / South Padre Island

This morning I took a group trip to the private King Ranch, it's as big as the entire state of Rhode Island.  the target was the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl and right around 11:11 on 11/11 we were finally able to see it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

November 9 - Estero Llano Grande State Park

What a great place this is !  So many different habitats that you get to see an incredible amount of diversity.
One of my favorite was the Green Kingfisher:

And later on I saw this sleeping Pauraque:

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

November 8 - Colley's Island Boat ride

Today my wife & I took a private boat ride with Scarlett Colley into the South Bay.  The winds were quite strong which made the boating & birding a bit challenging but we managed to have a good time nevertheless.
Some of the highlights were flocks of Roseate Spoonbills flying overhead, along with both the White and Brown Pelican species, and many waders such as Tri-Colored and Little Blue herons.

The best bird of the day for me was the "Mangrove" Yellow Warbler, a subspecies that may one day be elevated to a full species.  We had nice looks at two females, and the briefest view of a male.

Notables also seen today were a distant Snowy Plover, Long-Billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, American Oystercatcher, Black Skimmers, and Red Knots.

Monday, November 07, 2011

November 7 - Sprague's Pipits and other spots

First thing this morning I drove up to the town of Sebastian in search of the Sprague's Pipits that had been reported yesterday. I was able to find a handful of these birds quickly and enjoyed close looks at them.

Down the road just a bit I stopped to look at another Sprague's and came across seven Mountain Plovers !  This is only the second time I've seen them, with the last being in Colorado a few years back.  Teh birds were much close this time being just about 20 feet in front of my car.

Also seen today were many Long-Billed Curlews and it was nice to see their cinnamon wings in flight.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

November 5 - Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

After arriving in Brownsville, my next destination was South Padre Island to check-in at the hotel. On the way I took "Old Port Isabel Road" and was immediately rewarded with a life bird in the White-Tailed Hawk.