Revised 2011 bird total:
437 species

Thursday, March 3, 2011

First day of Texas -- many, many lifers!

3 Whooping Cranes

Ah, finally in Rockport Texas after an awesome day of birding with 13 lifers under belt.  Now at the Americas Best Value Inn Rockport TX, I can confidently say this has been a truly impecible day of birding.  Not many days better than this!

13 lifers today in addition to a few other 'year birds' that I've seen before but not this year, so they're still really important to add to the Big Year list.  Lifers were with short descriptions:

Crested Caracara -- many, a common bird, seen primarily in the Three Rivers region and Aransas Nat. Wildlife Refuge
FERRUGINOUS HAWK -- got lucky with 1 bird perched along I-37 north of the Three Rivers region
Harris's Hawk -- a pair of adults in the Three Rivers region.  What beautiful birds!
Chihuan Raven (not sure if I got that spelled right!) -- pair between Three Rivers and Corpus Christi
Reddish Egret -- single bird near Corpus Chrisit.  Have always wanted the Reddish Egret!
Sandwhich Tern -- several, primarilly Aransas Nat. Wildlife Refuge
WHOOPING CRANE -- What an honor to see this Critically Endangered Species with only about 400 remaining in the wild!  And not just 1, 6 Whooping Cranes: 3 at 'The Big Tree' and 3 at Aransas Nat. Wildlife Refuge
Snowy Plover -- 1 bird, out in the middle of nowhere-()*
WHITE-TAILED HAWK -- got really lucky with this bird, it was a juvenile near the entrance to Aransas Refuge
Canada Warbler -- Aransas Nat. Refuge Visitor Center area
AMERICAN AVOCET -- 3 birds, Aransas Refuge
Least Sandpiper -- Aransas Refuge
SANDHILL CRANE -- several large flocks, sooooo beautiful, Aransas Refuge

Highlights among the lifers are (with descriptions):

Crested Caracaras, always wanted to get this unusual raptor, what a treat to see so many!

Ferruginous Hawk, I understand that it's rather rare to the region, and a magnificently beautiful hawk.

Pair of Harris's Hawks, we were stopped at a Gas Station to take care of the car and before getting back on I-37 we decided to travel through the backroads of Texas for a few miles for raptors and other birds.  Kabang!  A beautiful pair of Harris's Hawks and my 2nd caracara!

SIX Whooping Cranes, at one point a flock of 3 flew right by us (my papa and me).  A true "wow" moment!

White-taield Hawk, was driving along northwest of Corpus Christi and I spotted a buteo flying.  I got papa to pull over and after examining it..yup, showing it's tail area and other features, I knew it was a juvenile White-tail!

American Avocet, not anything rare..but!  A bird that has managed to alude me up until today!  I have searched IN VAIN for this bird in so many places from Illisnois (last year), to Florida, to California, many of whch places avocets are common.  However, no luck.  Even the novis birder of my mama got one in California!  When I saw that avocets were common in Texas I was like "another place where I'll try and they'll alude me!" sarcastically because of my 'bad luck' with them in the past.  Not so, luckily!  I finally got 3 at Aransas Nat. Refuge today.  Woo!  Finally avocets!

Sandhill Cranes, several large flocks.  Beautiful!

In addition to the lifers I saw 3 year birds new for the J. Big Year.  These were:

Harlan's Hawk, along I-37 near Three Rivers, previously seen in Duluth, MN in 2010.

Barn Swallow, Aransas Refuge, previously seen many places in 2008-2010.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Aransas Refuge, previously seen in Virginia in 2010.

Also, although not a year/life bird, on the way out of Aransas Refuge, a Great Horned Owl gave incredible looks!

Since I was getting so many birds I decided to do a "South Texas Big Day" and got 77 species in all.

Wow, what an incredible day!

Tomorrow I'll go out to look for a Yellow-throated Grassquit, a Hammond's Flycatcher, and whatever else flys my way!

Until later,


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Six Whooping Cranes! What a sacred honour to see these rarities in the wild. I so wish i could have seen them with you. Your journey sounds amazing KestrelSwan. Your South Texas Big Day is mind blowing with so many species all in one day! I wish i could have seen the Sandhill Crane with you as well. It is funny that i saw a lifer before you, glad the American Avocet paid a visit.

    May you have many more amazing sightings on your journey. I can't wait to hear more.

    love you, Snap Snap