Corpus Christi CBC 2018-12-15

My first Christmas Bird Count this season was the Corpus Christi count. Like last year I was fortunate to spend it on the Angelita Ranch in the northwest part of the count circle. This year Joan and Scott covered roughly the south part of the ranch and I and Mel Cooksey covered the north part. I've never spent much time birding with Mel and it was a real treat to be around such an experienced birder.

The ranch let us use a Polaris UTV to drive the truck trails and we mostly birded dense patches of low trees and brush both upland and along the Nueces River. We'd periodically stop the UTV and play an Eastern Screech-Owl recording to see what birds responded. And it was a big treat for me to hear and sometimes see south-Texas specialties and southwestern birds that responded, like Long-billed Thrashers, Verdin, and Green Jays. We were lucky to hear and then briefly see a pair of Audubon's Orioles at one stop. Here's a poor photo I got of one of them:

Audubon's Orioles - 1

By the river the composition of birds we attracted with the screech-owl recording changed a bit, and started to include a few Carolina Wrens, Pine Warblers, and even a couple Nashville Warblers. The bird of the day was this striking warbler which Mel spotted and first identified as a Northern Parula:

Northern Parula - 1

After some analysis of the photos and research by Mel, we first thought it was a hybrid Northern/Tropical Parula, but now we think that despite its eye-arcs this is a Tropical Parula. Consensus here on iNaturalist agrees. (See the attached observation.) What an interesting bird!

Other birds it was especially fun to see included Anhingas, Couch's Kingbirds, lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Sandhill Cranes. Sometimes we could only hear the cranes in the distance, sometimes they were flying overhead, and once we got close enough to a group on the ground to get this shot:

Sandhill Cranes on Ground

I don't have our official tally, but Mel and I spent most of a fun day finding over 60 species of birds. Here we are in the UTV:

Me and Mel in Polaris

Here are a few more photos on Flickr.

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, December 21, 2018 21:39

Observations

Photos / Sounds

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What

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 09:47 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 09:50 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Spanish Moss Tillandsia usneoides

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 01:27 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 09:47 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 08:04 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 09:55 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 10:24 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 10:45 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

What

Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 11:08 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

This Northern Parula was our most exciting bird of the day. Because of the dark face and weak eye-ring, Mel thinks this bird could have some Tropical Parula genes.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 11:12 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Human Homo sapiens

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 12:13 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

What

Couch's Kingbird Tyrannus couchii

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 02:43 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

How did this Couch's Kingbird avoid being stung by this wasp it ate?

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 10:55 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Common Ground-Dove Columbina passerina

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 02:23 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 08:17 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 12:21 PM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

What

Audubon's Oriole Icterus graduacauda

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 08:13 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

We were excited to first hear and then see two Audubon's Orioles that responded to Mel's screech-owl recording. I was only able to get poor photos.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 09:59 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

Observer

mikaelb

Date

December 15, 2018 10:57 AM CST

Description

Taken during the Corpus Christi Christmas Bird Count. I was covering the northwest section of the Angelita Ranch with Mel Cooksey.

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