Journal archives for July 2013

July 07, 2013

Port Aransas, July 5-7 2013

I spent the weekend in Port Aransas for the holiday weekend. It's a notoriously crowded time to be here, and not very interesting bird-wise. But I made it to three of the main birding spots and still enjoyed seeing the expected birds and finding a few unexpected things.

On July 5, Paradise Pond had a male and female Painted Bunting, and a heard-only Summer Tanager. The tanager was flagged as unexpected by eBird, so I recorded the call on my iPhone. Here's the observation on iNaturalist with the recording:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/323948

Many Black Terns are moving through the area. They were present at the Turnbull Birding Center by the dozen, and were also visible from the pavilion of the Charlie's Pasture Nature Preserve.

A hot afternoon visit to the Turnbull Birding Center on July 6 was unexpectedly fun. There were three Magnificent Frigatebirds flying over the water and dipping into it periodically. There were at least 15 Ruddy Ducks -- even parents with ducklings. I didn't know they breed here. American Coot and Common Gallinule chicks were also fun to see. And there was one Lesser Scaup in basic plumage. See the second photo on the iNaturalist observation here:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/323081

Based on the second photo, it might be in a molt and currently unable to fly.

Here are my eBird observations:

July 5, Turnbull Birding Center
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14576275

July 5, Paradise Pond
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14582471

July 6 Wetland Park
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14582470

July 6 Charlie's Pasture
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14582708

July 6 Paradise Pond
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14582910

I've been increasingly interested in dragonflies lately, and was excited to get a few photos of them on the trip. The town seemed to be full of Blue Dashers. At the Turnbull Birding Center there were a few more species, and a special thanks to Greg Lasley for pointing out the Needham's Skimmers and how to distinguish them from Golden-winged.

Posted on July 07, 2013 21:53 by mikaelb mikaelb | 31 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 20, 2013

Group Walk Report July 20, 2013

Nine folks participated in this month's monthly bird and nature walk. Thanks to rain earlier in the week we had slightly cooler temperatures, and we enjoyed a mostly sunny morning on the preserve. Birds were present and active, but were difficult to see. Often as soon as I pointed one out it would fly away. Sometimes this is just the way bird walks go. But we got a few good looks at birds. Near the cowbird trap we watched half a dozen Lesser Goldfinches feeding in the Purple Horsemint. And we eventually got decent looks at Carolina Wrens, Northern Mockingbirds, Western Kingbirds, House Finches, and House Sparrows. We got fleeting glimpses of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. And we got distant but decent looks at two Bronzed Cowbirds.

The highlights of the walk were insect observations. The most exciting was when a cicada started to buzz right in front of us. We saw it flutter to the ground and realized a huge wasp was attached to it and was stinging it! At home I found out this was a Cicada Killer wasp, and put more information in the observation here.

A tiny damselfly near the Lesser Goldfinches turned out to be a Powdered Dancer:

Powdered Dancer

I was the most excited when later we stumbled onto a striking dragonfly called a Halloween Pennant. Only recently I started getting interested in dragonflies, so this was only the second time I've ever seen this species, and it was the first time I ever photographed it. The first photo shows an unusual trait of this species. When perched, it holds its fore wings more vertically and its hind wings more horizontally. Most dragonflies hold their fore wings and hind wings in the same plane:

Halloween Pennant - 1

Halloween Pennant - 2

Here's the complete bird list from the morning:
eBird observation on Nalle Bunny Run for 7/20/2013

Here are the iNaturalist observations:
Nalle Bunny Run Observations on 7/20/2013

Here are all the photos I took this morning:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/sets/72157634717030361/

Posted on July 20, 2013 21:43 by mikaelb mikaelb | 0 comments | Leave a comment