Bird Walk August 10th 2013

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

It was an excellent morning of birding in the park today – lots of activity, good species, and good looks. It was one of those mornings that just makes you want to do a fist pump, golf style!

Bird Walk 2013-08-10 Swainsons Hawk John Brush

The minute we stepped out of the WBC doors, we saw a pair of gorgeous Swainson’s Hawks perched up in a mesquite tree. These graceful hawks have about a 4.5 foot wingspan, and some of my favorite hawks. While they used to be more unusual breeders in the Valley, they seem to be on the increase… which I think is great!

Bird Walk 2013-08-10 Swainsons Hawk2 John Brush

This one looks rather affronted. Sorry to invade your privacy, buddy!

Bird Walk 2013-08-10 Orchard Oriole John Brush

Orchard Orioles are an early migrant species, and are coming through the park in good numbers. Females and immature males are this yellow color, while the full adult males are a rich, brick red.

Bird Walk 2013-08-10 Orchard Oriole 2 John Brush

The Bird of Day by far was this American Robin juvenile that made a brief appearance near the amphitheater.

Bird Walk 2013-08-10 American Robin John Brush

American Robins are a species that infrequently shows up in the Valley in winter, depending on the fruit crop in the northern parts of their range. So not only is it as a species uncommon in the Valley, but this is also an out of season sighting as well! Just goes to show that at any moment nature may throw something awesome your way.

Join us for a Bird and Nature Walk at 8:30am every Saturday throughout the summer at Quinta Mazatlan!

Advertisements

Bird Walk: August 3rd, 2013

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

It was a lovely tour this morning, quite leisurely and pleasant. We enjoyed a total of 34 species; most of them summer/resident birds, but a some early migrants as well, such as Orchard Oriole.

Bird Walk 2013-08-03 Northern Mockingbird John Brush

I have the unfortunate tendency to say “just a mockingbird” or “just a grackle” on occasion. While I am trying to rid myself of that habit, I want to clarify that it is not a statement of the birds value. All birds have their own intrinsic value, and common species often are extremely valuable for scientific research, whether its getting data on bird ecology, physiology, or bird behaviors. Rather, when I (and probably other birders) say “just a ____”, it is more an effect of being able to quickly sort through birds in the field, switching focus from a bird we may not need much time to ID to a bird that perhaps is a little more difficult to lay eyes on. The above photo is one of my favorites – I spent about 20 minutes just watching this mockingbird sing, forage, and fly back and forth between perches. The beauty of its subtle gray plumage and fine lines is undeniable. It’s not “just” a mockingbird – it is a mockingbird.

Bird Walk 2013-08-03 Couch's Kingbird John Brush

This Couch’s Kingbird put on quite the show for us – it made short sallies from various perches to snag the berries of a Snail-seed Vine. In the Rio Grande Valley, Couch’s Kingbirds tend to eat more fruits and berries than the similar looking Tropical Kingbird. The above bird has very fine, fresh looking plumage (light gray head, bright-tipped coverts).

Bird Walk 2013-08-03 Green Jay John Brush

One of our resident Green Jays made a fleeting appearance this morning (photo from archive). Though much more reclusive during the summer at Quinta Mazatlan, Green Jays will still give some jaw-dropping looks if you’re willing to spend some time waiting. Patience is an important virtue for bird watching!

Join us for a Bird and Nature Walk at 8:30am every Saturday throughout the summer at Quinta Mazatlan!