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Monday, April 26, 2010

Good Birding Day at Peveto

Robby Bacon and I were walking through Peveto today when this Audubon's Warbler appeared. It was a delight to see a 'first' and it is surely a stunnig warbler to behold.

Robby Bacon had a great find this morning discovering a Western Tanager in the morning at Sabine Refuge. On the way home from Peveto Sanctuary, Tim ?, an excellent birder from Massachusetts who was birding with us today at Peveto, and I stopped and looked for it. Lo and behold Tim spotted it on a branch partially blocked by another. Ten hours later and the Western Tanager was still there.

Right before the Audubon's Warbler was sighted a MacGillvary's Warbler appeared in the grass along the trail. The crescents above and below its eye were the giveaway. It was difficult to photograph due to it staying in the grass.

It was nice to meet John Dillon at Peveto today. He had just seen a Lesser Nighthawk. We went back looking for it and it flew to another tree. As we approached that tree it flew away to another tree. John left to look for warblers. It was super skittish and flew away again never to be seen.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shiny Cowbird, Two Ferries in Cameron + Variety

A small, secretive Sora with its slaty gray body was sneaking down the bank line at Cameron Pairie this AM (left click on all pics to enlarge).

Mother Nature's magnificent flying machine with its black moustache mark on its face was sizing up the bird traffic atop a utility pole.

Melvin Weber's iridescent Shiny Cowbird was still hanging around the same place. This was my first time to ever see this rare bird in Louisiana. Nice find Melvin and thanks for sharing.

Another picture of the Shiny Cowbird.

A Rail was alongside the road heading down Davis Road to the Jetty area.

I was riding the Cameron Ferry across the ship channel when I noticed a second ferry in operation. This Laughing Gull was hitching a ride across the Ship Channel as well on the back of a Pelican.

The colorful Painted Bunting was sighted deep in the Giant Ragweed stalks left over from last year. This brightly colored bird is my favorite for sure.

An inquisitive Bay Breasted Warbler was perusing the Live Oak Trees in Peveto.

The cute little Tennessee Warblers were out in numbers at Peveto.

A White-Crowned Sparrow was looking to freshen up at Dave's Pond.

A Waterthrush showed up at Dave's Pond the same time as the White Crowned Sparrow.

At first I thought this was a Baltimore Oriole due to its fiery orange plumage but its markings were off. After further review, it was determined to be a gorgeous Orange Variant Scarlet Tanager. I never knew this bird existed until today and it was a certainly a treat.

The last bird of the day and first of the year for me were two Dickcissels situated in a tree at Sabine Refuge.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crested Caracara, Yellow Legs, Orchard Oriole

Two for the price of one. This Yellow Legs was in the perfect place for his reflection on the water. (Left click to enlarge images.)

A Crested Caracara was the bright spot of the day perched atop a utility pole. They seem to be getting more common but they are definitely one of my favorites.

The Immature Orchard Oriole's yellow/gold plumage is stunning and always a pleasant sight to see.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Black Billed Cuckoo + warblers

This bright red Summer Tanager is an impressive bug-catching machine. (Left-click to enlarge all pictures)

I got to Peveto at 8:00 AM and was greeted by this Worm Eating Warbler bouncing around low in the bushes hanging on a vine.

This Ovenbird spent most of his time scratching around on the leafy ground until he was kind enough to hop up on a limb. At first I thought he was a Thrush but he was a bit small and the orangish crown on the top of his head indicated an Ovenbird.

As a result of this glamorous pose do you feel this is a Red-Eyed Vireo? :)

The Kentucky Warbler didn't want to come out and play. He spent most of his time low in the dense thickets and grass. He finally presented himself momentarily on a dead giant ragweed stalk.

The Hooded Warblers were well represented today at Peveto. These small, colorful warblers spent most of their time flitting about the woodlot hiding amongst the dense vegetation.

The Wood Thrushes were plentiful as well today at Peveto. They were kind enough to land on low-lying logs for their photos.

This colorful Yellow Warbler was my first to witness this year. He is a handsome guy with his golden yellow plumage and rusty red streaks on his breast.

The striking Prothonotary Warbler with his brilliant orange-yellow head and chest surely brightened up the woodlot with his debut.

Baltimore Orioles and mulberries go together like soup and sandwich.

As we were getting ready to leave for the day, I noticed a slender long tailed bird sitting motionless on a limb in the tree. It was a secretive Cuckoo but this one was different from the ones I have seen. Its bill was black. It was my lucky day coming upon a Black-Billed Cuckoo. What a great way to end the day!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Swainson's Hawk

I made a short run down Fabacher Road in Calcasieu Parish this AM to see what was going on. The only hawk of the day was sitting in a tree and lifted up and away as soon as I got him in focus.

I was looking through my camera capturing its image for documentation purposes and IDing him at the same time.

The bottom wing pattern coupled with its brown head was a dead ringer for a Swainson's Hawk.

This is my favorite picture with the raptor heading at me. Its wings are outstretched and its tail feathers flaired with its body and wings turned at a slight angle. It head is dead level as it watches with great intensity.

It gained in altitude, banked and was out of sight in no time.

This is the first Swainson's Hawk that I've seen in 2010 and the fifth in a year and a month birding. It was fun watching and photographing this relatively uncommon raptor to Louisiana.

Black Vulture still present

I almost forgot. The Black Vultures were still present dining on the dead cow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mother Nature's Musicians

This colorful, immature Orchard Oriole was singing its melodious song from the edge of a branch in a tree hoping to attract a female. (left click to enlarge)

A love duet did not ensue but he successfully charmed this beautiful female Orchard Oriole as she flew up nearby looking and listening. (left click to enlarge)

This Common Yellowthroat was sitting in a small bush in perfect view and light. His black face mask stretching from the sides of his neck across his eyes and forehead with a whitish border in stunning contrast with his yellow breast was a sight to behold. (left click to enlarge)

He was quite enchanting as he tilted his head back, opened his beak and broke out in song from an elevated branch high in the vegetation. The Black-Masked Warbler sang his heart out in the still, morning air repeating it time after time. Through his song he revealed his location and identity in hopes of attracting that special someone. (left click to enlarge)

His persistence paid off. It wasn't long when out of the light, across the road an attractive female Yellowthroat came calling. (left click to enlarge)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Indigo Bunting / Chipping Sparrow Behavior

How does one ever tire of the vibrant deep blue plumage of the Indigo Bunting? It is an awesome bird to see and to photograph. (left click to enlarge)

This Chipping Sparrow's behavior was most bizarre today. It stretched its left wing and tilted his head to the right. It was in some sort of trance or a seizure for at least a minute. It appeared it was going to pass out and fold up on the spot. (left click to enlarge)

After about a minute it perked up. It lifted its head, looked around and took off like nothing was wrong. Has anyone ever observed this behavior? What is this about? (left click to enlarge)

Black Scoter / Surf Scoter

My son-in-law and I pulled into Peveto Sanctuary Monday AM. Robby Bacon told us about some Scoters that he had seen a few miles east on the beach about 15 mintues earlier. We immediately headed back and found them easily as per Robby's directions. They had drifted further out and had to be photographed while they were at the crest of the wave. Due to the distance to the subject the quality of the images is diminished.

These were the first Scoters we have ever seen and it was a delight thanks to Robby.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What is up on Fabacher Road?

Something was up traveling down Fabacher Road. Three grotesque Black Vultures were crowded on the same utility pole. I slowed down in my truck thinking, "This is April, not October. It is not Halloween and this looks spooky!" The Black Vultures appeared 'Gargoylish' in nature perched atop the same utility pole. (Left click to enlarge)

A bit further down the road, more of the carrion-eating scavengers were perched in a tree. I wasn't sure what to expect but if bloodsucking Count Dracula popped in the middle of the deserted road with his flowing black cape and wide stand up collar, I was out of here! (Left click to enlarge)

After slowing down even more a different looking Vulture jumped from the ground and took to the air. It was a Crested Caracara! He flew across the field, over the trees and out of sight. Some more Black Vultures took off from the ground ahead. They stayed in the area and began circling in the air. (Left click to enlarge)

All of the Black Vultures had flown away except two. It was now apparent they were dining on the decaying flesh of the dead cow next to the fence alongside the road. (Left click to enlarge)

The coast was clear ... no Dracula and no serial killer on the loose! :)