Bird Walk May 20th, 2014

Bird Reports are written and photographed by Interpretive Guide/Naturalist John Brush

Eastern Kingbird
It was a good day to enjoy looking at flycatchers – I had 6 different species on the morning. It started off with seeing a couple Eastern Kingbirds, which are easy to tell from the other species of kingbird in the area due to the lack of yellow and the black cap and back. They only pass through in migration; the closest area they breed is North and Eastern Texas, starting around the general vicinity of Houston.

Acadian and YB Flycatcher collage
Flycatchers in the genus Empidonax can be very tough to tell apart. They all are small, all have wingbars, and have subtle-to-no differences in plumage. The above photo has two different species of Empidonax: the top is the Acadian Flycatcher (identified by its larger, longer bill and its “peace” calls) and the bottom is the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (proportionally smaller bill, yellow on throat (whitish in Acadian). We have five regular Empidonax flycatchers that migrate through the area, driving birders crazy!

In the summer, Green Jays can in general get a little less easy to see, but don’t tell that to this individual bird! It came right out in front of me, about two meters away, and perched calmly on a soapberry branch. It is these special moments that make birding so wonderful – you never know when you’ll get an intimate viewing of a beautiful bird.

Eastern Screech-Owl
The Bird of the Day, just because I hadn’t seen one in the park since March, was this Eastern Screech-Owl. A group of visiting birders from San Diego had been hoping to see one, so I was quite pleased it decided to make an appearance. Thank you, Screechy! As always, full bird list from the walk is below. Enjoy!

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 7

Plain Chachalaca 8

White-winged Dove 26

Inca Dove 4

Eastern Screech-Owl (McCall’s) 1

Chimney Swift 4

Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird 1

Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1

Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6

Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1

Eastern Wood-Pewee 3

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1

Acadian Flycatcher 2

Brown-crested Flycatcher 2

Great Kiskadee 3

Eastern Kingbird 2

Green Jay 1

Purple Martin 1

Carolina Wren 3     Family Group

Curve-billed Thrasher 6

Long-billed Thrasher 2

Northern Mockingbird 5

European Starling 1

Yellow Warbler 2

Olive Sparrow 2

Northern Cardinal 2

Red-winged Blackbird 1

Great-tailed Grackle 3

Brown-headed Cowbird 1

Orchard Oriole 1

Hooded Oriole 1

Lesser Goldfinch 2

House Sparrow 35


Bird Walk: May 14th, 2013

This is a weekly bird report written and photographed by our Interpretive Guide and Birder John Brush.

Red Crowned Parrot Christine Williams


Lilac Crowned Parrot Christine Williams

As we were walking up to the Discovery Center this morning, we came across Christine and saw that she was watching some Red-crowned Parrots, and a Lilac Crowned Parrot (possibly escaped pet) (photos by Christine) in a couple large Coral Beans! I’m assuming they were eating the beans themselves, but the birds quickly flushed. A good start to the morning walk, one that yielded 47 species of bird!

Bird Walk 2013-05-14 Gray Catbird John Brush

As we started onto the trails, we quickly ran into a bunch of migrant birds, such as this Gray Catbird. Migration is still going, with warblers still passing through and Empidonax flycatchers just starting to hit their peak.

Bird Walk 2013-05-14 Buff-bellied Hummingbird John Brush

This Buff-bellied Hummingbird was very cooperative, sitting just a couple meters off the trail. I believe this bird is a juvenile because it really doesn’t have much of the bright green throat that you’d typically see on adults. Also notice the overall dark bill and muted colors. If you can watch for hummingbirds when they dive into a thicket, you’re often rewarded with some great looks!

Bird Walk 2013-05-14 Acadian Flycatcher John Brush

This is yet another shot of an Epidonax flycatcher. This one, after reviewing several guides, looks to be an Acadian Flycatcher. William, who also was snapping a few shots of this bird, noticed that above the eye there appears to be a parasite of some sort (not sure what kind, however). Like other animals, birds will have some specialized parasites that feed only on them, such as Hippoboscid flies.

MacGillivrays Warbler Creative Commons

The Bird of the Day was the skulking MacGillivray’s Warbler that we only got a few glimpses of (too quick to get any photos).  This photo (creative commons photo) really shows the distinctive field mark of the MacGillivray’s Warbler – the wide broken eye-ring. The similar Mourning Warbler also has the dark hood, yellow belly, but lacks the broken eye ring. MacGillivray’s Warblers are listed as occasional visitors to the LRGV, as their range and migration route it mostly to the west.

Join us for our last bird walk of the Spring – Tuesday, May 21st at 8:30am.  Then, join us for a Birding and Nature Walk at 8:30am every Saturday throughout the summer (starting June 1st)!