Saturday, April 6, 2013

SPI Again, Thursday, April 4

I arrived at SPI at the Convention Center late.  I was celebrating the Swainson's and Worm-eating Warblers from yesterday by up-dating my blog.  Getting Swainson's Warbler now will save time by not requiring a special trip to breeding locations.  Yesterday I had a Common Yellowthroat, while looking for the Marsh Wren.  In addition, I was not satisfied with the Long-billed Dowitcher identification, so I removed the Long-billed Dowitcher and added the Common Yellowthroat to the list.  Therefore, the list at the end of yesterday stays the same.  Here are some photos of yesterday's Kentucky, Hooded and Swainson's Warblers and the Painted Bunting.  The Swainson's Warbler and Painted Bunting photos were taken in the "T" mode and were light adjusted.  It was fun to discuss the Kentucky and Hooded Warbler behavior with other birders.  They were out in the lawn or in the open near the edge of the bushes.  This is a behavior not seen on breeding territory in southern Ohio where I live.  It was amazing to see them so easily out in the open.  The Swainson's Warbler was true to form, staying in the shadows and flipping leaves on the ground looking for food.

Today I added House Wren, Franklin's Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Black Skimmer, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Clay-colored Sparrow, Bank Swallow, Osprey, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Wilson's Plover, Semi-palmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher (by call in flight), Least Bittern, Mottled Duck and Long-billed Dowitcher.

The Franklin's Gull migration was in force at SPI.  There were hundreds, perhaps 1000 Franklin's Gull in the area.  They were spectacular with all the white in the wing showing and some having the rosy blush of breeding plumage.  I saw three Gull-billed Terns fly-by showing their very light colored upper wings and heavy dark bill, thus the name.  At the end of the day, I visited the boat ramp on Route 48 west of Port Isabel where there was a flock of about 20 Gull-billed Terns on the mud flats with other terns.  The Black Skimmers were on the flats in the bay at the Convention Center.  There was a small flock of Eastern Kingbirds sitting on the vegetation in the marsh at the boardwalks.  A Wilson's Plover showed up on

the mud flats near the Convention Center.  The Short-billed Dowitcher was seen at the same time, giving the "tu-tu-tu" yellowlegs-like flight call.  I thought that I had previously seen and reported Semi-palmated Plover from my trip to Chincoteague, but discovered that I had not included Semi-palmated Plover on the list.  During the day, here were several reports of Least Bittern along the boardwalk near the Convention Center.  I chased all those reports, but finally saw the Least Bittern fly across the
 water from one stand of rushes to another late in
the day.    On my visit to the boat ramp on Route 48 west of Port Isabel, I found a Long-billed Dowitcher, identified by the shape of the bill at the base and the single "keeek" or "peeeep" flight call.  I found two Yellow-headed Blackbirds (see photo) as well as Clay-colored Sparrow at the feeder behind the Birding Center.

At the end of the day this list total is 291.  Tomorrow I will try for the Red-crowned Parrots in Brownsville.



  1. Jay,

    Did you see this post on the Texas listserve? Tips on additional places to find Red-crowned Parrots, as well as Monk Parakeets (are they countable as established birds in Texas?), White-collared Seedeater, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, etc. My party found White-collared Seedeaters in San Ygnacio in 1983 and it seems that is still a good place to find them.

    Hope you find all the bird you are looking for.

    - David A. Brinkman

    1. Thanks, yes, I have monitored Mary's reports before coming to Texas. Thanks.

  2. Hey Jay! This is yet another place that our paths had crossed, although I did not recognize you-- didn't you have a long white beard when I lived in Ohio?! Of course, I lived way up north in Defiance County, on the IN line, the second county down from MI. Anyway, this was indeed a fantastic day at the Island, 45 minutes from where I now live in Harlingen. --John Yochum
    ps. feel free to edit/delete this comment at will!