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Monday, May 17, 2010

A Protective Mrs. Willet

The sight of an energetic, newborn baby Willet checking out his surroundings exploring the water's edge was a refreshing sight this morning.

Left click to enlarge all images.

All was well until a Plover came too close to the little one for Mrs. Willet who was watching her babies close by. She lowered her head, opened her beak and squawked loudly with a piercing call while charging the Plover. The Plover got her message loud and clear and didn't hang around.

While at Peveto, a bee landed atop a Gillardia (blanket flower). A Schinia Volupia Moth, that Dave alluded to in an earlier post, happened to be atop the Gaillardia with the bee and blended into its environment incredibly well.

Jeff Harris spotted this Bay-Breasted Female at Peveto skulking in the shadows of a tree. I've seen Bay-Breasted male warblers but this is the first female that I've seen.

A Rail popped out of the grass long enough to capture his picture before scurrying back to cover. After a couple of steps into the grass its vanishing act is complete.

A Nighthawk flew with its erratic flight path and frequent changes of direction overhead. This mosquito-catching machine's wingbars were not close to the end of its wings indicating a Common Nighthawk.

An Olive-Sided Flycatcher was perched atop a tree at Peveto. The way it plucks flying insects in mid-air is most impressive.

A dark Pewee was hanging around Peveto this weekend that we feel is a Western Wood Pewee. Jeff found him Sunday and got a good look at him with his scope. He was quite elusive as Jeff and I chased him around for quite a while in order to get a good look at him and a few pictures.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Return of the Cave Swallows

A smile came to my face as we were greeted by some familiar faces this afternoon when my Son-in-Law and I checked to see if the Cave Swallows made it back to their haunt on Gum Island Road in Calcasieu Parish. We were rewarded seeing their friendly yellow faces, dark blue crowns and square tails as they rocketed by. Their dazzling display of aerial acrobatics with no flight path hadn't changed from the previous year. Hopefully they will raise fine families and add to the increasing population of Cave Swallows in Louisiana.

No bats were nesting with the Cave Swallows underneath the bridge, only Barn Swallows. :)

The colony is located on Gum Island Road underneath the first bridge approximately 1/4 mile to the west of the intersection of Hwy 108 and Gum Island Road. This is close to the Vinton Exit off of I-10. They are easy to spot and fly as soon as you get out of your car. I usually observe them for a couple of minutes then leave in order not to stress them.

A Dickcissel was singing away in some brush alongside the road. These guys redefine the word persistent.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cameron - May 11, 2010

The baby Loggerhead Shrikes felt secure and were inseparable as they sat side-by-side on a limb. Their mother (or father?) was close by keeping careful watch over the two. With the concern over the declining numbers of Shrikes, these two are a welcome addition as long as they leave the Yellow-Green Vireos alone. :)

(Left click on images to enlarge)

The Black-Bellied Plovers were a class act today as they perused the beach showing off in their black and white tuxedos.

The American Avocets with their long legs and long, thin upcurved bills looked grand today in their striking, colorful breeding plumage. Their buffy orange colored head and neck is a stunning change from their typical black and white plumage.

The stocky, brightly patterned Ruddy Turnstones with their bright orange legs were out in numbers today on the coast. They constantly probed, pecked and flipped over shells and stones on the beach looking for something to eat.

An uncommon Gray-Cheeked Thrush momentarily hopped from the underbrush into the open for his picture. This Thrush species was a first for my Son-in-Law and me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cave Swallows

Erik Johnson's discovery of these Cave Swallows was a tremendous find in the state of Louisiana. He promptly reported them to Labird giving an opportunity for other birders in the state to see them.

The colony of Cave Swallows last year close to Vinton never showed up this year. It was a pleasure seeing these yellow-faced swallows rocketing by once again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painted Bunting

My most favorite bird in North America, the colorful Painted Bunting with its bright red, blue, yellow and green plumage landed on the end of a small limb in a tree. The green leaves of the tree provided a stunning background for its rich, vibrant colors. After one click of the shutter it flew away. That was okay as the image was captured. I will be able to remember this moment forever and to share it with others.

Did you know that a group of Painted Buntings is collectively known as a palette or a mural? How appropriate is that for such a vibrant, multi-colored bird?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Run by the Cameron Jetties and Offshore

It was a surprise start for the day as Robby and I watched this Mink heading through the parking lot at the Wetland Walkway.

He traipsed right up to the new restroom facility and headed around toward the Women's Restroom.

Robby and I pulled into Peveto where we met Dave and Mac. The tractor man was mowing trails while Dave was weedeating and while Mac was watering the new trees recently planted. We spent some time at Peveto then proceeded to the Jetties.

We boarded Dave's boat at the Jetties and headed south. We idled along the edge of the Jetty Rocks where the birds seemed relatively unconcerned about out presence. The rocks harbored some stunning Ruddy Turnstones in their breeding plumage and some Least Sandpipers.

The Pelicans were out in great numbers sitting on the Rocks.

The Redfish, with their backs and tails out of the water, were feeding around one of the sections of the rocks.

The Laughing Gulls were everywhere and enjoyed Dave's popcorn as he tossed it into the water enticing the Gulls to come close.

This Gull was of interest as if flew over the boat.

We saw many Gulls, shorebird, and Dolphins on our excusion and a good time was had by all.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lesser Nighthawk + A variety of Warblers and Others

My Son-in-Law and I made a short run to Peveto this afternoon. There were very few birds in the woodlot due to the strong south wind. While at Dave's Pond, my Son-in-Law looked up in the large tree behind the pond and spotted this Lesser Nighthawk sitting motionless on a horizontal limb.

He was most excited finding a Review List Bird.

(Left click to enlarge images in the Blog)

We found this Common Nighthawk approximately a week ago hanging around in the daylight hours. You can see the similarities and differences between the two species.

A closer look.

The white wing bars of the Common Nighthawk are not close to the tip of its wing as seen.

The nervous, active Wilson's Phalarope was in perpetual motion at Pintail Loop. This shorebird was by far the most active of them all never sitting still.

We passed by the Jetties and saw a shrimp boat pushing south down the ship channel with its butterfly nets down. Much to our amazement, there were two gulls unlike the others, completely white, traililng behind the boat. We believed these gulls to be Glaucous Gulls sporting their totally white plumage.

A Great-Crested Flycatcher posed for his picture in front of Dave's Pond at Peveto Sanctuary drawing some "Ooh's" from the onlookers.

It appeared as if the sun rose in the woodlot when this Blackburnian Warbler hopped though the woodlot. This fiery, colorful warbler is always a pleasure to see.

A Mourning Warbler with its slate gray head, olive-green back and yellow belly made its debut at Peveto Sanctuary. This was quite a warbler and a crowd pleaser to all who observed it.

A Golden-Winged Warbler thrilled all who were fortunate ones to see him.

This Yellow Warbler flew in to the woodlot from the Gulf, stopped and rested on a limb before continuing his journey.

A Nashville Warbler jumped on a limb at Dave's Pond. He was sizing up the situation for a drink and bath.