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Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Scaupish looking duck with a round white spot before his eye on his greenish head was paddling in the pond. He immediately dove into the water out of sight but the white spot was a dead give away for the Common Goldeneye. They are skittish and put a lot of distance between you and them once you are spotted. It was a cool looking duck and fun to watch as it paddled off in the distance.
The Red Breasted Mergansers with their rusty colored crests seemed to appear from nowhere. These guys have the ability to dive and come up quite a distance away.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ahhhhh ... PEVETO !!!

What a great place to bird and you are in for a treat if you get there at sunrise. My favorite Live Oak Tree in the whole world close to the beach on the east side has been battered by the constant prevailing south wind, some hurricanes and has stood the test of time. It is a survivor and lives to see another day. The stories it could tell if it could only talk.

The blue water of the Gulf of Mexico is in the background with the breaker rocks and a couple of distant oil rigs along with the ascending glowing ball of fire.

Painted Bunting

The Painted Bunting was one of my favorite birds to see and to photograph this year. In my opinion, this stunning, brilliant colored bird is the prettiest bird in the United States. It is hard to believe that he can be found perched on a fence post on the sides of country roads and not in the tropics with parakeets and parrots.

Bald Eagles

This scene was one of the best for me this year. Experiencing a pair of our national birds perched high in a distant tree hearing their shrill cry was awe-inspiring. Our majestic Bald Eagles are alive, well and off the endangered species list. What a great comeback!
His wings are spread, his feet are coming up, and his eyes are focused on the piling as he prepares to land. Our marvelous State Bird, the Brown Pelican came back strong!
It appeared this Catbird was more interested in a taking a picture of me than I was of him. The inquisitive expression on his face is priceless.

The rare, rocketing Cave Swallows with their twisting, turning, unpredictable flight path were a challenge to photograph as they blasted by this year.
This Barn Swallow lit on a fence line and was nice enough to allow me to get close for a picture before he flew. This was much easier than trying to capture his image in mid-air. What a gorgeous bird!
The Golden-Crowned Kinglet was a neat bird to see this year. It is tiny and quite active hopping about in the trees.
Black Skimmer babies are cute as can be. What is different about this adult who is closely watching the little ones? Did you notice the lower mandible was equal in length with the upper one instead of being longer? Skimming rocks can be hazardous to one's health. :)
The Black Skimmer's mid-air aerial dogfights were a pleasure to watch and to photograph this year.

Least Bittern

Who is this recluse, statuesque, well-camouflaged bird with its white eyes peering from the reeds? The Least Bittern slowly and silently skulks amongst the marsh often straddling reeds and looking down while feeding in water too deep for it to stand. What a cool bird to watch and photograph!
The Common Nighthawk was fun to photograph with its mid-air directional changes / erratic flight this year. When I was younger, we used to see these birds darting about the sky at dusk and called them 'bullbats'.
Who is this 'Creature From Outer Space?' Don't fret, it is only a Great Blue Heron focusing it eyes looking down from above.
This Cattle Egret's pose reminded me of Auguste Rodin's Statue, "The Thinker".
I came upon this Grackle sitting on a fencepost this year with an attitude. He was quite vocal about his picture being taken!


With his wings held back, feet tucked in, bill slightly open and perfectly vertical to the water, this elegant tern is a millisecond away from crashing head first into the water in pursuit of his prey. The water sprayed into the air as he crashed into the water and disappeared from sight. The tern instantly surfaced and happily flew off clutching a small fish in its beak.
The powder-white Great Egret was a pleasure to photograph. It is cool watching it wade through shallow water using its long sharp bill to spear prey.
What a sight watching a Tricolored Heron ease through the shallows with its head drawn partially back. With lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy, he is able to snatch a small fish from the water.
The Great Egrets cloaked in their lacy white breeding plumage extending over their back were a spectacular sight to see this year. They turn their pale blue-green eggs in the stick nest every few hours in order for them to develop properly.

When sticks are in high demand during nest building time it is hilarious to watch the Egrets steal sticks from their neighbors while they aren't looking.
Once the eggs hatch this is what you get. This adult Great Egret was taking great care of her three chicks situated in their stick nest above the water.
The pinkish colored baby Anhinga was sitting in its nest high atop a Cypress Tree calling out as the sun rose. A new beginning ...
This Neotropical Cormorant yielded a nice side profile shot showing its azure eyes and striped beak. It is much more attractive close up than at a distant.
The Roseate Spoonbill in its vivid pink breeding plumage was a colorful bird to witness this year.
The Black-Bellied Whistling Duck stands erect with its pink bill, long neck and long legs . Their whistling noise is quite loud when they gather in large numbers in places like Lacassine Refuge. It is a neat duck to watch and fun to photograph.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Eastern Wood Pewee was a pleasant bird to watch and to learn this year. It is neat how he perches on a limb, darts out, catches an insect and returns to its perch.
The rising sun peeked through the black clouds rolling in over Lake Bienvenue. The golden glow in the background sky coupled with the sun's reflection on the water provided an inspirational start for a new day.

Lake Bienvenue is behind the Louisiana Tourist Bureau off I-10 close to the Texas border.

Thanks for looking at these images.

Hope you enjoyed! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cameron Parish - December 18, 2009

The dawning of a new day on the beach. The rays of the rising sun reflect off the Merlin as he sits on a limb waiting to see what the day will bring. What a great sight to see and a great way to start the day!
Nature's finest flying machine, the Peregrine Falcon, was perched on a telephone pole next to the highway further down the beach. Who wants to be a shorebird flying closeby with this guy's aerial skills and maneuverability? Not me.
At Peveto, a group of sparrows flushed from the undercover and landed in a tree nearby. This sparrow 'wanna be' was one of them. The sparrows flew off with the 'wanna be' in hot pursuit. What kind of bird was this? After comparing its picture to the Field Guide it was discovered to be an Eastern Towhee, a first for me. It is always exciting to discover a new bird to add to your list!
Double your pleasure ... this Blue-Winged Teal Drake's reflection was almost as pretty as himself paddling about in the water.
This Green-Winged Teal hen coupled with her reflection was equally as pretty.
The stunning Anhinga aka 'Snakebird' was perched on a limb with its wings outstretched allowing them to dry. Its feathers are not waterproof by oils as are the ducks thus the need to dry his wet wings.

Its other names
It was thrilling so see this Vermilion Flycatcher! After much time and patience he finally worked his way close enough for a picture. This little 'coal of fire' was the highlight of the day.

Isn't it great to live in Louisiana, the Sportsman Paradise? What a great day to see and to observe the variety of birds in our state!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

After you assemble the pieces it looks like this. The front door pivots down and swings open for cleaning purposes.

I used screws with waterproof glue to assemble the next box instead of nails as illustrated on the plan. I countersunk the screw holes and glued in cedar plugs to hide the screws on the sides and top of the nest box. The only screws that show are the two screws used as a pivot for the front door and the screw to hold the front door shut.

I kerfed the inside of the front door to help the baby Bluebirds grip the inside of the door to climb up to the opening.

Although this Bluebird House is temporarily hanging on a white picket fence for photo purposes, it will be mounted on a metal fence post (found at Lowes) and placed in our yard. Hopefully a pair of Bluebirds will find the nestbox and raise a family in the spring. I read that Bluebirds begin looking for nesting sites as early as January so now is the time.

The Peterson Bluebird House Plans are free and can be found at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Peveto Woods Bird Sanctuary

This past Monday was f-o-g-g-y on the coast. The Blue-Headed Vireo flushed from the bushes and landed on a limb. It appeared as if he deliberately posed for his picture!

This immature White-Crowned Sparrow flew from the bushes by the parking lot and landed nearby. It is amazing how pretty some of these sparrows are.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Corpus Christi, TX

The majestic Black Swan glided gracefully on the pond close to where we stayed. It was fascinating watching him pluck the grass and add it to the nest that he constructed for his soul mate who was sitting atop two freshly laid large turquoise colored eggs. He was serene and peaceful unless you got too close to his 'better half' sitting on the nest. I bet they will make great parents for their cygnets once hatched.

Did you notice the 'half heart shape' formed by the Black Swan's head and neck? How special would it be to see both of them striking the same pose facing each other completing the heart? :)

The Northern Shovelers were quite a spectacle to watch as they paddled about the pond vibrating their bill filtering food from the water. Their bill is a dead giveaway for these ducks commonly referred to as 'Spoonbills'.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hazel Bazemore Park

The frost covered grass glistened in the early morning sunlight entering Hazel Bazemore Park near Corpus Christi, TX. This freezing, ice cold weather was totally unexpected.

A vivid red colored bird moved in a distant hedgerow. Hopefully this was the bird that I had longed to find, see and photograph. Up went the binoculars and B-I-N-G-O, it was him, a brilliant red adult male Vermilion Flycatcher!

He would perch on a limb, fly out, snatch a bug in mid-air, and return to the same limb. A clear field lay between me and the bird with no chance to get close for a picture. After patiently waiting and watching he changed locations getting close enough for a distant picture. What an incredible start for the day. It was a great feeling to see and to photograph this gorgeous bird!

Three White Ibis with their long down curved bills were sitting in a low lying marshy area minding their own business. They seemed content and just stood there watching. With the sun lighting them nicely, it was shutter time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bentsen State Park - Mission, TX

I was barely in the park when I was greeted by the hilarious, striking Great Kiskadees. They put up such a clamor with their cacophony of calls that you couldn't help but smile and like them. The aerial skills of these big-headed flycatchers are incredible as they catch their prey in a flash and can even hover briefly in mid-air.

Further down the path a Green Jay landed on a limb! It seemed as if this stunning bird with its brilliant colors should be found with parakeets and parrots in a remote Tropical Rain Forest. This was one of my targeted birds and I truly wanted its picture. I took my time easing forward and slowly closing the distance. The camera slowly went up, the shutter clicked and the Green Jay immediately flew away. It was my lucky day!

Two Cardinals were sitting low in some bushes. I noticed another bird in the same bush that remained absolutely motionless. After his picture and with no warning, he flew off and disappeared into the woods. I had no idea of the identity of this bird and discovered later that it was a Clay-Colored Robin.

The reverent posture of this Inca Dove was a humbling experience as it landed on a nearby branch. This universal symbol of peace and gentleness was one of the bright spots of the day. The only thing missing was an olive branch.

A Javelina was rooting around further down and close to the path. After seeing the size of his tusks he was given a wide berth.

After lunch, a Long-Billed Thrasher appeared out of nowhere and landed on a tree close by. His orange eyes coupled with his long curved bill provided for a completely different look from the burds usually seen.

I had hoped to see a Ladder-Backed Woodpecker on this trip. Guess what flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and landed close by?
The Golden-Fronted Woodpecker was one of my favorite birds at Bentsen. When it first flew up I thought it was a Flicker but then quickly realized this was the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker. What a treat!