Welcome to my photo journal.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here comes 2011

Cheers to the New Year and another chance to get it right. Oprah Winfrey

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas week

We hope everyone had a great Christmas, we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas dinner with turkey, ham and lots of side dishes that everyone brought. Tonight we are getting together again to eat the leftovers, and I believe they plan on doing a little karaoke. We won't stay for the karaoke, we need to get up early to do another Christmas bird count in Reseca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville. The past week we had been watching several cane fields as they were being harvested to see what birds the harvest attracted. We knew Crested Caracara's, Turkey Vultures and Hawks would show but hadn't expected the Curlews and Cattle Egrets and great-tailed grackles. Ken was trying to get some good photos of the white-tailed hawk. I guess he did, I haven't seen them yet.
This weeks Mexican saying:
"Nada es bastante para quien bastante no es suficiente"
translation: Nothing is enough to the man for who enough is too little.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Bird Count

This weekend we joined in on a couple of the Christmas bird counts, which met getting up early to be out before the birds were up.
We enjoy doing the counts as it is an opportunity to learn more about birds.
Our first count was in the Bahia Grande unit of the NWR, a closed area to the public so it was a treat to be able to visit it. It is an area that has been reclaimed between the Brownsville ship canal and Port Isabel. They have dug canals though in the area to create lakes and marshes, as it had become a dust bowl.

We saw two Aplomado Falcons, 12 Nilgai, hundreds of Meadowlarks, hundreds of Sanderlings and several

Northern Harriers plus many more species.
Sunday we joined the Laguna Atascosa bird count.
We were assigned an area again where the public can not drive in but they can ride a bike through, it was about 22 mile area.

We spotted 71 species of birds on this count and 2 alligators, a few deer and 4 feral hogs. I got to be the list keeper on this count marking down the birds as they were seen. The greater number of birds of course is the Mockingbird but on the laguna the big number was the Coots est. number of 5000. We did see our first Canvasback ducks, they were in the distance but we could make them out with the help of the better birders.
Earlier in the week we finally got to see the Rufus backed Robin at Laguna Atascosa along with a Clay colored Robin, Wood Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Ovenbird, Olive Sparrows, Cardinals, Green Jays, Altamira Oriole, Indigo Snake, Armadillo, and 2 Javelinas all at their water feature in front of the visitor center. It only took us 4 visits and about 20 hours of sitting at the water feature to finally see the robin. Are we dedicated birders or not now?
Maybe this week we'll catch the Greater Peewee we didn't see over in a McAllen cemetery.
It is so nice this morning, sun shining the windows are open and I can hear the Sandhill Cranes in the field across from us, earlier this morning I listened to the Great horned owl. It makes it hard to believe that Christmas is only a few days away.
Have a good week!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Field trip with Bill Clark

Sat. we're up and out early to join the Arroyo Colorado Audubon field trip with Bill Clark who has written the Peterson's field guide on Hawks. Bill has caught a female Harris hawk for us and he will measure and band the bird then let it go where he trapped it.Here is a photo of his trap, he will use mice or sparrows and the hawks legs will get caught in the loops on the top of the trap. The hawk is then slipped into his can, seen in the photos above, Bill can then band and measure the birds talons.
We then got in our cars and caravan out to sugar cane fields that have been burned and harvested to look for more hawks. The hawks especially white tailed hawks will be found at these sights enjoying crisped rodents and snakes. We saw several but it was not a good day to put out traps to band as the evening before was not really cold enough to make the hawks hungry enough to go to his traps. It was interesting to follow along and learn about the life of the hawks, turkey vulture and Crested Caracara's.

Thursday was a perfect day to go to the SPI and walk the boardwalk, and it turned out to be our lucky day we finally spotted the Purple Gallinule and got close up views of the Redhead duck and American Widgeon ducks.
We tried looking for the Rufous backed Robin again, but we didn't see it, it was spotted but we were seated in the wrong spot for us to see it. We'll try again.
Dicho Mexicano de la Semana:
Lo mas que aprendo--Lo mas me doy cuenta de lo que no se.
translation: The more I learn, the more I realize what I don't know.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some butterflies

We have been seeing some butterflies but just not very many. We visited NABA International Butterfly Park last week looking for the allusive Rufus back Robin. We didn't see the robin but I did get to see the Malachite butterfly, a Band-celled Sister and a Red Rim butterflies. The other butterflies in the collage below were found in Ramsey. I finally learned to spot the difference between the Queen and the Soldier butterfly, it's only a smudge and a few dots.This is only a few of the little butterflies, there are so many skippers, crescents, and small butterflies that look so similiar to each other that I haven't learned to ID them. I like the larger butterflies, so much easier to photograph.
Also, at NABA we got to witness a Ruby crown Kinglet display his ruby crown in an agressive behavior to another kinglet, you don't normally see his ruby crown.
We have a cool front going through, teasing us with chances of rain which is badly needed.
I finished our Christmas cards, we'll get them in the mail this week. I'll be done with all things Christmas now, we don't decorate or bake and Ken is doing is shopping on line this year.
This week's Mexican saying:
Recuerda cuando yayas a la cama:
Dejale las cosas a Dios. El va a estar despierto toda la noche.
Translation: When you go to bed, remember to leave everything to God.
He is awake all night.