Texas Day Two

Yellow-breasted Chat, in a class by itself

It seems a good time to go back to my Texas trip photo memories before I lose track of it entirely. Day Two was a travel day from Del Rio, where we had spent the night, to Big Bend National Park where we stayed three days. Of course we birded along the way.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Yesterday I turned on the reluctant travel laptop to see if it was in any mood to let me look at my Texas pictures. Lo and behold I found more images, and the amazing thing is that I was allowed to process them, so here is everything from that travel day, including the domestic waterfowl below which adorned the first stop.

Northern Shoveler and Blue-winged Teal

Travel notes from my cell phone… I love the rugged terrain of Southwest Texas.

A view of the Rio Grande along the way

It was nice to revisit species I have seen before. Some I saw much better than on previous occasions, while others like the Rufous-Crowned Sparrow below, eluded the camera, even though fairly common. And then there were the life birds.

Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbirds
Olive Sparrow – a lifer which looked much better than the lighting allowed

The Morelet’s Seedeater is not exactly new, if I can believe I have seen a White-Collared Seedeater before. Anyway, it’s been split into its own species, so that makes it a life bird. We searched for this guy for a while and then he practically followed us around for the next quarter hour or more.

Lesser Goldfinch I have seen before, maybe not so well.
Orchard Oriole we get in the Chicago area, though not as common as Baltimore Oriole.
House Finch (of the original population!), not the ones that crowd my backyard.

It would have been nice to see a Western Meadowlark but this Eastern Meadowlark posed nicely for us.

Eastern Meadowlark

I’ve glimpsed Ladder-backed Woodpeckers in New Mexico but have never seen them so well as on this trip.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Then to see some old friends really well…

Golden-fronted Woodpecker (female) with White-Winged Dove
Lark Sparrow
Hepatic Tanager
Blue Grosbeak

We arrived at the Chisos Mountain Lodge in Big Bend National Park, checked into our rooms and witnessed this sunset outside the dining hall that evening.

Chisos Mountains sunset

Meanwhile back home, it’s intermittent thunderstorms and cooler weather. I am fond of rain, but not so much.

Nicaragua V – This Is It

Volcano 02-26-2016-4470Now that I have run out of pictures I feel like I should go back to Nicaragua the next chance I get and take more.

Our last day and a half was spent on Ometepe, a large volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua. The approach is by ferry. So some of these pictures were taken on the water and others were on land.

The day before we were staying in Granada and it seemed both evenings over the square a large flock of Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers would come in to roost in the trees. I finally got a picture or two of one, albeit far away, on Ometepe.

White-Winged Doves are perhaps unspectacular but I don’t get to see them at home so I find them worth noting.

On the ferry…and a Laughing Gull or two…

Just as this Magnificent Frigatebird came into view, there was a rainbow.

More views of a Laughing Gull…and the beach, with waves, and a Great Egret below.

On land, and there’s nothing I love more than seeing Cattle Egrets, they always remind me of Edward Hicks’ Peaceable Kingdom.

Cattle Egret 02-26-2016-4755Below, fruiting cashews, the sign at the entrance to Ometepe, and a fascinating petroglyph left by indigenous peoples.

Hoffmann’s Woodpecker…

Groove-Billed Anis hanging out on a fence…

Groove-Billed Anis 02-26-2016-4745and a Great-Tailed Grackle.

Great-Tailed Grackle 02-26-2016-4656But perhaps no bird left a bigger impression on me than these White-Throated Magpie-Jays.

Whte-Fronted Magpie-Jay 02-27-2016-4828We finally have spring weather and I have already begun to see migrants, so stay tuned.Cloud Forest 02-26-2016-4721

Pedernales Falls

White-Winged Dove

White-Winged Dove

I’m taking a breather from warbler migration (and so, it seems, are the warblers, for the moment, at least) to start visiting pictures taken last week in Texas,

Western Scrub-Jay

Western Scrub Jay

Our first full day of birding in Texas began at Pedernales Falls State Park. At that point all the birds were all new, even if we had seen them before. Pedernales has two blinds from which you can get excellent views of the birds that visit their feeders. It was the perfect introduction to species we were to see again and again nearly every day of the trip, no matter where we went.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

The day was overcast and taking pictures through the slanted glass of the blind made some of these pictures fuzzy. When we entered the largest blind there were two photographers ensconced in the side bays which are completely open to the outside with no windows in the way. Neither one of these gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, offered to share his spot for a moment. I did not bother to ask, figuring my large lens spoke volumes already. But it became frustrating when a male Painted Bunting appeared and all those click-click-clicks were not mine.

Black-Crested Titmouse

Black-Crested Titmouse

Black-Crested Titmouse Pedernales 4-26-14 7396.jpg-7396

As birds would have it, I walked over to the other blind, which had a less accessible, smaller hole, but it was open, and shortly thereafter a male Painted Bunting came to the suet feeder and put on a show for me. These are two of more shots than I can count. Although I would later get photos of this species in better light, I will always treasure these for their intimacy.

Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting

Feel free to click on any photo to see an enlargement.

Painted Bunting 4-26-14 7696.jpg-7696

One quick aside: I was pleased and surprised to see the Clay-Colored Sparrow from the last post on top of the feeder pole this evening when I got home. It’s nice to know he’s still enjoying his visit.