Colorado Itinerary

From July 2 – July 12, I was in Colorado. I went for the Dragonfly Society of the Americas’ annual meeting, but I spent a good bit of time exploring before and after the meeting. Daily reports to follow, but for now here’s an itinerary.


July 2: Midday flight from Boston to Denver (Southwest, stop in Chicago). Arrived late afternoon, picked up rented Dodge Journey (not quite the mid-size SUV I wanted but it was the only thing available at Dollar), and drove to hotel in Centennial. Night at Candlewood Suites. Dinner was the next door Burger King.

July 3: Up early to Chatfield State Park/Audubon Trails and then Roxborough State Park. Afternoon at Coors Field for the Rockies game. Hit a supermarket and made a sandwich for dinner. Second night in Centennial.

July 4: Morning at Deer Creek Canyon Park and briefly Lair O’ The Bear Park (rather crowded). Tried to go to Guanella Pass in the afternoon but couldn’t get through the Fourth of July celebrations in Georgetown so had a sandwich at the sheep lookout and then got stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam. Night at Hampton Inn in Golden, dinner at the adjacent Lil’ Ricci’s Pizza.

July 5: Rocky Mountain National Park all day. Dinner at Jason’s Deli. Second night in Golden.

July 6: Pawnee National Grasslands all day. Night at La Quinta in Fort Collins. Dinner at Larkburger.

July 7: Morning at Bobcat Ridge city park. Bought sandwich from Safeway for lunch. Riverbend Park in the afternoon where I met up with a few people from the conference. Dinner with more people at Avogadro’s Number. Second night at La Quinta.

July 8: DSA field trip to Praven Lake and vicinity. Dinner at Noodles. Night at Residence Inn, Fort Collins.

July 9: DSA indoor meeting. I ran to Pawnee for an hour before. Dinner with a group at Tortilla Marissa’s.

July 10: DSA field trip in the Fort Collins area including the CSU ELC, Frank WMA, and Golden Ponds. Stopped at Cottonwood Hollow on way back to hotel. Larkburger again.

July 11: Went back to RMNP then Windsor Lake before heading to Denver. Night at a Quality Inn towards the airport, dinner at Wendy’s.

July 12: Quick walk around Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR then returned the car and went to the airport. Flight to Baltimore and home to Boston, arriving a little after 7:30.

Whats This?

Back from a little over a week in Colorado. Lots of things to post about, but still working through photos and stuff so it’ll be a little while before I get things up.

Little crypsis challenge

In the meantime, here’s a photo that I almost deleted straight off the camera. What was I taking?

DSA 2010: Day 5

Tuesday 6/29: I had about half the day today before I needed to head for home. A little wary of the car, I followed Michael to the last turn for Seven Mile Bog and then crowded in with everyone in his car for the short trip down.

We then started to walk. Lots of emeralds (Somatochlora) today were along the road and we found several species. We also had a few Rusty Snaketails (Ophiogomphus rupinsulensis) and a few other things.

Spot the Bug

Spot the Snaketail!

Eventually, we reached the trail to the bog. It was rather poorly marked but we whacked our way through the spruces and made it to the edge. It was very rough going, sinking in at almost every step. Fortunately, the main target, Subarctic Bluet (Coenargion interrogatum) was present in good numbers along the edge. I also flushed a thrush off a nest and we heard several snipe winnowing.

It was getting a bit late and I was moving more parallel to the edge than out into the bog, so I decided to head out. Dan, who is rather tall, was having enough trouble that he decided to bail as well and work the road instead. We found a cleaner path back and I started walking for the car.

It probably took close to an hour to get there (with a couple stops to chase things plus saying goodbye and updating late arrivers). I finally reached the car around 1:00 and started for home.

The ride back was pretty easy, except for one of the hardest rainstorms I’ve even seen around Waterville. I pulled over and grabbed a burger and it was dry out by the time I finished. From there, it was a straight ride home, getting in just in time for dinner.

DSA 2010: Day 3 and 4

(As I said, I took very few pictures and none from today are worth posting)

Sunday 6/27: Today was the second day of field trips. After checking out of the hotel, I sat around in the main hotel’s parking lot for a while trying to get a ride (Civic isn’t great on dirt roads and my tire may or may not have been low). Eventually, I ended up with Fitch and the Hummels and we headed in the direction of 1000 Acre Heath.

On the way, we stopped at a river. Several other groups were here as well. Unfortunately, there were very few bugs out (lots of stonefly exuviae though). We did manage a snaketail or two but that was about it.

Moving on, we reached the road to the heath. At the first stream crossing, we pulled over and explored a bit. There were tons of emeralds in the air (baskettails (Epitheca) and Cordulia and Dorocordulia mostly) along with many jewelwings and a spiketail or two down low. Several of the jewelwings were Suberb (Calopteryx amata) and they lived up to the name. Marcia also came up with a Least Clubtail (Stylogomphus).

We continued on and Fitch’s car started making odd noises. It didn’t sound good, but we decided that with most of the group ahead of us, we’d keep going for now. We made a few short stops and had a few odes but nothing of real interest.

Eventually, we reached the parking for the heath itself. The walk from here was still a mile or two and there was very little out. The heath was way down a hill and other people were starting to head out, so we never actually reached it. Fortunately, the car held up and we made an immediate stop for ice cream on reaching the main road.

Back at my car, I decided to head partway to Jackman (the site of the postmeeting). I only ended up a few miles down the road as it was late and I didn’t want to deal with back roads. I stopped at a Barnes and Noble to finally grab a DeLorme and then decided that the timing was right to head back to the Neurocordulia spot. It was a bit tougher alone, but I did manage to capture one Stygian Shadowdragon (N. yamaskanensis). Then it was back to the hotel and a Wendy’s for dinner.

Monday 6/28: Today I headed for Jackman. It was drizzly and rainy most of the way. I eventually reached the hotel and found a good portion of the group (most had come out the day before). No one on the staff was around, so I wasn’t able to try for a room. I wandered down to the market and bought some muffins, then ended up trying the Bishop for a room instead. I did get one, but had to go through the maid’s storeroom to reach it (although talking with people, it still was probably better).

Since the weather was lousy, I took a ride just to scout before eventually heading back to the group. Somewhere along the way, I ended up on a rather rocky, narrow road. If it wasn’t so narrow I would have turned around, but I pushed through and apparently lost one of the bolts holding my bumper on. Getting through the rocky area, I found the road I was following under water, so tried another one which was not on the GPS. Fortunately it did lead through eventually and I got back on the main highway.

Everyone went out for dinner (and the leaders finally arrived). We went to the one restaurant that was open, forget the name but it was not too bad. Most of the group went out on a moose drive after. I had lingered to discuss tomorrow for a minute or two and never caught up with anyone but drove around for an hour or two myself. The fog was rather scary but I did eventually see a moose (and would learn the next day that about two minutes after I passed the Rosenbergs, they had a huge bull moose).


DSA 2010 Day 1 and 2

Finally getting around to posting this. Appears I took very few photos.

Friday 6/25: Today was one of the field trip days. After heading to the main hotel early and a bit of sitting around, I ended up in a car with Dan and Wally heading for the Machias River. We made a quick stop at the local Hannaford for sandwiches and then started the hour or so drive to the river.

At the river, we quickly put on wading footwear and splashed in, joining several others already there. Things were flying and I quickly netted a spiketail. It turned out to be a Twin-spotted (Cordulegaster maculata), which was new for me.

The next thing in the net turned out to be the bug of the trip. The river is known for large numbers of snaketails (Ophiogomphus), which are really cool, very green dragonflies. Many are quite hard to find (apparently they spent lots of time perching way up in the treetops and only occasionally come down to the water). Several were flying back and forth and after a few swings (very few compared to others), I caught one. Pulling it out of the net, I could see some color in the wings, which made it Pygmy (O. howei), one of the most sought-after species. At this point, I (stupidly) handed it to Nick Donnelly and let him put it away without bothering to pick up the camera. For a look at one, see Ed Lam’s report from 2007 (which is pretty similar to the meeting as a whole).

We spent several hours here and I didn’t have much more success with the snaketails. There were plenty of Brook (O. aspersus) around and others got Extra-striped (O. anomolus), Maine (O. mainensis), and Rusty (O. rupinsulensis). Other things included many River Jewelwings (Calopteryx aequibilis) and Hagen’s Bluets (Enallagma hageni).

Eventually, we moved on to another section of the river that others had raved about. It must have been time of day, as we were not impressed. There were a few Brook Snaketails around and not much else.

We started the loop back on Stud Mill Rd. Along the way, we stopped at a pond that was a known site for Little Bluet (Enallagma minisculum). It was rather nasty, full of decomposing leaves (and I was hurting from the old sneakers and all the gravel from the river), but working around the edge we quickly found a large number of bluets, most of which appeared to be Little. We also had a few skimmers and a baskettail here.




Further down Stud Mill Rd (wish I remembered where, I wasn’t driving or navigating), we pulled off at a bog. Lots of Sphagnum Sprites (Nehallenia gracilis) and Four-spotted Skimmers (Libellula quadrimaculata) were around along with a few whitefaces (Leucorrhinia sp). There were apparently some Elfin Skimmers (Nannothemis bella) out in the bog, which we didn’t bother plunging in for (thankfully Bryan brought one out). Bog Coppers were visible as well, a new butterfly for me.

Along the road, others caught a couple Emeralds that turned out to be Delicate (Somatochlora franklinii). This was one of Dan’s targets for the trip, so we spent some time looking for more. I’m pretty sure I had a couple flying but they eluded capture.

We eventually continued on, trying to find another boggy spot. Unfortunately, it was not as accessible from the road as it appeared on the map (others did bushwhack straight downhill) so we never really found it. We did stop at a stream crossing, which didn’t have a ton of dragonflies but did have Pink-edged Sulphurs and Two-spotted Skipper.

Two Spot


Stud Mill Rd ends up back near Orono, so we returned to the hotel. Most people went to Governor’s for dinner. Wally and I joined them, but lucked into our own table, so we got served in half the time. The fried fish was excellent (and cheap).

Saturday 6/26: Today was the meeting day. It was held right up the street from my hotel, so I walked over. At this point, I barely remember the talks, but they were pretty much all enjoyable. I joined some of the Massachusetts crowd and the Hummels for lunch at some pizza place, where the eggplant parm sub was fair.

After the meeting, we had a cookout at the nearby Hirundo wildlife refuge and took the photo. After the photo, people began splitting up to go look for shadowdragons (Neurocordulia). I (and Josh and eventually Glenn) ended up following Steve and Cliff to a nearby river crossing. We found one exuvia (anyone ever ID it) and eventually had a few fly by. Cliff or Steve managed to catch one, which turned out to be an Umber (N. obsoleta). Fortunately, it was dark enough that even with totally wrong camera settings I couldn’t screw up. After being eaten alive by mosquitos, we let the shadowdragon go and went back to the hotel.


NJ/DE December 2010

From December 2nd to 6th, I spent some time poking around the Mid-Atlantic. Not going to do an extended trip report, but here’s a brief overview.

Thursday 12/2: Early flight from Boston to Baltimore (Southwest). Nothing to it, 1 interesting raptor on the runway at Logan. Picked up the car and headed for New Jersey, stopping at a Popeye’s on the way (for future reference, asking for 3 pieces doesn’t mean 3 strips but 3 huge pieces of chicken). Reached Cape May midafternoon and drove around a bit. Was rather cloudy and cold looking, so didn’t bother getting out to walk anywhere. Eventually went north to Avalon and then found a hotel somewhere nearby. Bought some roast beef from a supermarket for dinner (and lunch).

Friday 12/3: Started by heading to the Avalon Seawatch. It was just me and the counter for the time I was there. Very impressive with tons of Red-throated Loons, gannets,  and scoters going over. Also nice was an Oystercatcher going north and Purple Sandpipers on the rocks right in front. It wasn’t brutally cold, but enough that I didn’t bother with any photos. The count report from the day is online.

After leaving midmorning, I attempted to stop at an ATM. For whatever reason, it didn’t work, which would cause issues later. I headed to Cape May, where I stopped at Higbee Beach WMA for a short walk. Sparrows were all over including several Swamp and a nice Fox. Also had a bunch of Hermit Thrushes and a few waxwings.


From here, I headed to the hawk watch platform at the state park. After eating lunch, I wandered up to look at the pond (the hawk watch was over for the year and I had the place to myself). Lots of wigeon and shoveler with a few other ducks.

I decided that it was time to head for Delaware. Probably should have just taken the ferry, but I decided to drive the long way around. Given that I still needed cash and was also starting to get low on gas, I eventually pulled off the highway more or less at random. The main road was under construction with barrels all over and I was paying too much attention to them. Up ahead was a red light that I didn’t see until a split second too late. Luckily both cars had only minor damage and everyone was fine but waiting for the police and stuff took an hour (plus the cost of the ticket and whatever is going to happen with insurance).

I reached the gas station and atm and then got back on the highway and headed onward. One Black Vulture on the way was nice, as was getting a taste of the blackbird flocks near Odessa, Delaware (tens or hundreds of thousands over the highway, would have been nice to have stopped and watched them land). I eventually reached Rehoboth Beach where I found a hotel and grabbed a salad from the McDonald’s next door.

Saturday 12/4: Checking reports in the days before, I saw a post about a Sussex Bird Club trip in the area. Figuring locals would know more than I would, I immediately decided to join them. Other than a lack of introductions and a brutal wind, it was a fun day. We birded from Indian River Inlet to Cape Henlopen State Park. The club report is here (although if they weren’t too busy with the Black-headed Gull, they might have noticed that the egret was a Snowy).

After the walk ended, I headed to Prime Hook NWR. I wandered a trail at random and enjoyed the Snow Geese going overhead and a Winter Wren. I then made my way over to Broadkill Beach Road, where I sat and listened to the Snow Geese for most of an hour (guess I should have actually looked since there were Ross’s in there). Then it was back on the highway north, where I found a hotel in Dover. Dinner was at the adjacent TGI Friday’s, surprisingly good.


Blast off

Sunday 12/5: Today I headed to Bombay Hook NWR. Arriving pretty early, I read the sign as you turn in to watch for foxes. I rounded the corner and immediately had to dodge one! I started to slowly drive around but after noticing many of the geese leaving, I sped up a bit to get to a view of the pond before they all left.

At the pond, I was a bit late for the geese, but my main target of the trip was around, Tundra Swan. There were a couple dozen at least along with a large variety of ducks, a bunch of avocets, and some shorebirds way off in the distance.


After spending some time studying the swans, I moved on and walked the next trail. It was too windy for anything on the marsh, but I flushed 3 egrets (2 great, 1 possibly smaller) from the trees and had a Rusty Blackbird.

Continuing on, I rounded the corner for another view of the pond when a Snow Bunting flew by. I got closer to the shorebirds and began to study them. Marbled Godwits were obvious and I eventually sorted the smaller ones into dowitchers and a few Greater Yellowlegs. That left one largish, pale bird. I presumed it was a Willet but after seeing Hudsonian Godwit reported I’m unsure (it slept the entire time or it would be easy). Another Montage

Full size makes it easier to see. I count 9 species in the photo, can you find them all? A similar shot is available, with a slightly different mix.

After having the Snow Bunting fly by again, I continued on to the Shearness pool, which had similar numbers of waterfowl (and some flyby Tundra Swans and a Bald Eagle).

Tundra in Flight

I followed the roads around to the end. Turning back, I was passing a large field when the cars in front of me stopped and everyone got out. I pulled over and found the reason pretty quickly:


Back at the Shearness Pool, I found a large group of small sandpipers. Called them Western at the time but Dunlin makes more sense. It was way too windy to get out, but I did manage to prop up the scope in the frame of the door.


From here, I looped the other pool again (geese were back but nothing good among them) and then headed out. Stopping at the visitor center for a bathroom break, the White-crowned Sparrows at the feeders were a nice surprise.


From here, I drove down Port Mahon Rd where I found a few Dunlin but not much else. I then drove up and down a bit, finding a Killdeer and not much else. It was far too windy to get out anywhere, so I gave up and went back to the hotel and watched football. I decided to get a sub for dinner, looked up a place online, drove over and ended up finding a different one. For some reason, they only had part of the menu on display, so I got a meatball instead of the steak I planned on. A little different.

Monday, 12/6: I had a late afternoon flight, so had a few hours to poke around before I had to head back. With no real targets to look for and wanting to head in the general direction of Baltimore, I went to Lums Pond State Park. This was based on the recommendation of my friend Hal. Of course, that was based on a place for dragonflies, which we both knew were done for the year but I figured it would be a nice spot either way.

Arriving at the park, I walked the boardwalk that hosts Blue-faced Meadowhawk and then wandered the other trails a bit. Still very windy, but in a sheltered spot I found a nice mix of sparrows including a Field. I also more or less managed to finally take a Carolina Chickadee photo.


Leaving the park, I still had a bit of time so I plugged parks into the GPS hoping to find a couple more ducks and get my Delaware list over 100. No luck, so I headed to Baltimore. I had planned on walking the bike trail around the airport if I got in early, but given the wind that was out. I parked at the viewing area and zoned out a bit (not sure watching landing planes bounce in the wind was a good idea). Figuring that I’d have to spend some time doing paperwork with the car, I headed back a bit earlier. Other than no free wifi and no food I wanted, the wait wasn’t bad (even with a slight delay). Flight was pretty smooth considering the wind and I was home in time for the Patriots game.

DSA 2010 Day 0

As promised, here’s the first day of my trip to Maine for the Dragonfly Society of the Americas annual meeting.

Thursday 6/24:

The meeting was scheduled to begin with a late afternoon social thing. Since it’s about 5 hours to Orono, I decided to head up early and make a couple birding stops along the way. I left the house a little after 6 and reached the Kennebunk Plains at about 8:30.

The plains are a big open grassland with all sorts of interesting birds. My main target was Upland Sandpiper and I wasn’t even 50 feet from the car when one made several passes overhead.Uppie in Flight

It circled and called quite a bit and landed occasionally. Most of the time on the ground, it was hidden in the grasses, but I did manage one shot.


Upland Sandpiper was a long-overdue life bird so I spent a good bit of time enjoying them (there were at least two right there). Very much a curlew.

Once I had my fill of the sandpipers, I continued down the trail hoping for a few of the other specialties. Grasshopper, Vesper, and Clay-colored Sparrows all apparently breed here but I was only able to find Vesper. Fortunately, there were several and they were very cooperative.





I eventually worked my way down to some water, which was pretty quiet. It was getting hot, so I headed back to the car (stopping for the sparrows again) and moved on.

My next stop was to be Scarborough Marsh. However, I got somewhat lost along the way (not sure if there’s been new development since the birder’s guide to Maine was written or if I was just in the wrong spot for the entire time) so it took an extra hour. Once at the marsh, it was drizzling a bit. I decided that I didn’t feel like carrying the scope and would just take a quick walk out.

On the way, a Seaside Dragonlet posed nicely:


The usual birds were around including many egrets, a few Glossy Ibis, and Willets.


Sharp-tailed Sparrows were singing a good bit and I got some brief views. I suspect most were Nelson’s but one appeared noticably brighter, so that was probably a Saltmarsh. After following the path most of the way out, I headed back to the car for lunch (stopping for these neat flies on the way).


From here, I headed straight up to Orono, arriving early afternoon. I checked into my hotel, showered, rested a bit, and then headed to the main conference hotel. The group was taking over the lobby and I quickly was saying hello to many of the people I had met last year and meeting many others that came from further away.

After an hour or so here, we moved in a large group for dinner. This wasn’t the best idea as the nameless (only partially because I don’t remember it) restaurant was not capable of dealing with 30 people at once. The waitstaff was new but almost had things under control but the kitchen did not. My table got food probably 20 minutes after the other tables. For a slightly more expensive place, I wasn’t impressed with the obviously frozen green beans and packaged rice pilaf.

Once we finally managed to get away from the restaurant, we returned to the hotel where the initial meeting had already just about finished. Fortunately, they ran it again, so we were briefed on possible locations for tomorrow’s field trips.

After that, it was off to the hotel and bed for a fairly early start.


Texas 2010: Logistics and Lists

Flights were on American (several airlines were all at the same rate, picked based on time and connecting city) and we had no real issues. Car rental was through Hertz. Mazda 3, which was much less comfortable than the 6 I had last year. We’re pretty sure we got screwed a bit on the cost there and have no interest in dealing with Hertz again any time son. Hotels and food are all mentioned in the daily reports.

I brought my own GPS. It worked fine for the most part, but had occasional issues with new construction and road names. The construction wasn’t a problem as it was obvious where to go but the names did cause some problems. We had to refer to the paper directions for several places as I couldn’t find them in the attraction list and the route number in the address wasn’t accepted (for some reason it wanted the local name).

Here’s everything seen on our trip:

Birds (156)

At most places with water
American Wigeon
various watery spots
A few in the Riverwalk in San Antonio and a couple in Rockport
Mottled Duck
2-4 each at Santa Ana, Llano Grande, and South Padre
Blue-winged Teal
Couple each at various water spots
Cinnamon Teal
Four from the deck at Llano Grande
Northern Shoveler
Big numbers at Llano Grande and Laguna Atascosa
Northern Pintail
Huge numbers at Laguna Atascosa and Goose Island
Green-winged Teal
Couple at Llano Grande and Choke Canyon
Many in the bay at South Padre and Laguna Atascosa
Ring-necked Duck
1 at Santa Ana, handful at Llano Grande
Lesser Scaup
2 at Llano Grande
Few each at Aransas, Goose Island, and Choke Canyon
Common Goldeneye
Couple while driving over the causeway between Rockport and Aransas
Red-breasted Merganser
Few at most coastal stops
Ruddy Duck
15 at Llano Grande
Plain Chachalaca
Flocks of 5-10 at most valley sites (Santa Ana to Laguna Atascosa)
Common Loon
5 at Goose Island
Least Grebe
Few at Santa Ana and Llano Grande, single at Laguna Atascosa
Pied-billed Grebe
At sites all over from Zacata Creek to Goose Island
Eared Grebe
Few way out at Goose Island
American White Pelican
Few at Falcon and Zapata, about 100 at Llano Grande, couple elsewhere
Brown Pelican
All over the coast
Neotropic Cormorant
Few from Zacate Creek to South Padre
Double-crested Cormorant
from Laguna Atascosa to Goose Island (probably lots should have been cormorant sp)
4 at Llano Grande, 2 at Frontera
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
1-3 at Llano Grande, South Padre, and Laguna Atascosa
Tricolored Heron
Singles at Llano Grande and South Padre, 6 at Aransas
Reddish Egret
1 at South Padre, 2 at Aransas
Cattle Egret
3 at Zacate Creek
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Single at Llano Grande (the bird walk also had a Green Heron that I missed)
White Ibis
few from South Padre to Aransas
White-faced Ibis
Single at Zacate Creek
Roseate Spoonbill
Singles at Llano Grande and South Padre, about 10 at Aransas on the boardwalk by the tower
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Few near Falcon, along coast, and at Choke Canyon
White-tailed Kite
Pair at Llano Grande
Northern Harrier
Singles at Falcon, South Padre, and Laguna Atascosa
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Singles at Zacate Creek and Bentsen
Cooper’s Hawk
Singles at Santa Ana, Quinta Mazatlan, and Llano Grande
Harris’s Hawk
Single at Falcon and Santa Ana
Red-shouldered Hawk
Small numbers from Frio County to Llano Grande
White-tailed Hawk
several along the roads in Cameron County and up to Aransas (one perched in front of the cranes)
Red-tailed Hawk
Numerous along the highways (likely some other hawks mixed in but it was hard to stop)
Crested Caracara
Numerous, especially near Zapata and along the coast
American Kestrel
Abundant along the highways (I could have used a hand clicker to keep track of numbers)
Peregrine Falcon
One over the parking lot at the Best Western in Weslaco
Aplomado Falcon
A distant bird in flight at Laguna Atascosa must have been one of these
One at Llano Grande
Common Moorhen
Few each at Santa Ana, Llano Grande, South Padre, and Laguna Atascosa
American Coot
Everywhere there was water
Sandhill Crane
2 along the road west of Rockport somewhere
Whooping Crane
2 were visible from the tower at Aransas
Black-bellied Plover
Single at South Padre
few all over
Mountain Plover
At least 50 in the field at the intersection of 57 and 140 in Frio County
Black-necked Stilt
6 at Llano Grande
American Avocet
4 at Llano Grande, 1 over the road between Rockport and Beeville
Northern Jacana
the long-staying bird at Choke Canyon was easy to see at the shore of 75-Acre Lake
Spotted Sandpiper
1-2 at many spots
Greater Yellowlegs
Few each at Zacate Creek, South Padre, and Laguna Atascosa
4 at South Padre, 30+ at Laguna Atascosa, 4 at Goose Island, all presumably Western
Long-billed Curlew
2 at South Padre, 5+ at Laguna Atascosa
Marbled Godwit
Single at South Padre, handful at Laguna Atascosa
Ruddy Turnstone
1 at Laguna Atascosa, few at Goose Island
10+ at Laguna Atascosa
Long-billed Dowitcher
40+ at Llano Grande, single dowitcher at South Padre
Laughing Gull
Numerous along the coast
Ring-billed Gull
Few at Goose Island
Herring Gull
Gull-billed Tern
About 10 at Laguna Atascosa
Caspian Tern
4 at South Padre, singles at Laguna Atascosa and Rockport (several tern sp along the coast as well)
Royal Tern
Few at South Padre at least
Black Skimmer
About 50 at South Padre, 3 at Goose Island
Rock Pigeon
Various in cities
Eurasian Collared-Dove
5 at the Best Western in Weslaco, 2 near the Big Oak at Goose Island, 2 in Lamar
White-winged Dove
2-20 at various spots
Mourning Dove
Inca Dove
from Salineno to Frontera, most numerous at Frontera
Common Ground-Dove
Salineno, Bentsen, and Llano Grande
White-tipped Dove
Couple at most valley sites and Laguna Atascosa
Greater Roadrunner
5 at Laguna Atascosa
Common Pauraque
2 staked out at Llano Grande
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
2-3 each at Llano Grande, Valley Nature Center, and Frontera
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Singles at Llano Grande and Frontera
Ringed Kingfisher
2 over Zacate Creek, 1 over Military Highway in Mission
Belted Kingfisher
1 on the highway near Falcon, 1 at Aransas, 1 in Rockport
Green Kingfisher
Singles at Santa Ana and Frontera
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Few from Falcon to Quinta Mazatlan including 8 at Bentsen
Eastern Phoebe
at most sites
Great Kiskadee
Numerous from Zacate Creek to Frontera
Tropical Kingbird
3 (presumed) at Llano Grande
Couch’s Kingbird
Single at South Padre, 4 along the road in at Laguna Atascosa
Rose-throated Becard
The young male coming to the peanut butter feeder at the gatehouse at Bentsen was easy to see as the park opened
Loggerhead Shrike
Single at Falcon, few near Laguna Atascosa, 1 at Goose Island
White-eyed Vireo
Single at Falcon, 3 heard at Laguna Atascosa
Blue-headed Vireo
Single at Bentsen
Blue Jay
3 in San Antonio
Green Jay
Most valley sites, up to Choke Canyon
Chihuahuan Raven
handful along the highway near Zapata
Tree Swallow
Few at Santa Ana
Cave Swallow
Single at Santa Ana
Black-crested Titmouse
At most places in the valley
2 at Falcon
Carolina Wren
One in San Antonio and Santa Ana
Bewick’s Wren
One at Salineno
House Wren
Single at Bentsen
Marsh Wren
Couple calling at South Padre
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
All over the valley
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
At most sites in the valley
Northern Wheatear
Wintering bird was easy to see in Beeville
Clay-colored Thrush
Single at the gatehouse at Bentsen
American Robin
San Antonio and Zacate Creek
Northern Mockingbird
All over but especially abundant at Falcon and Laguna Atascosa
Long-billed Thrasher
At most valley sites, good numbers at Laguna Atascosa
Curve-billed Thrasher
2 at Quinta Mazatlan, single at Laguna Atascosa
European Starling
American Pipit
Few along the roads, single at Llano Grande, and a handful at Choke Canyon
Sprague’s Pipit
Single at Laguna Atascosa near Pelican Lake
Cedar Waxwing
Few in San Antonio, single at Quinta Mazatlan, about 20 at Llano Grande
Orange-crowned Warbler
Tropical Parula
Both staked out birds (Quinta Mazatlan and Frontera) were seen
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Everywhere, all appeared to be Myrtle
Black-and-white Warbler
Single at Valley Nature Center
Single at Frontera
Common Yellowthroat
At most wet spots
Olive Sparrow
From Salineno to Laguna Atascosa
Cassin’s Sparrow
One at the start of the nature trail at Falcon
Chipping Sparrow
Couple in San Antonio and Aransas
Savannah Sparrow
Handful at Llano Grande, Laguna Atascosa, and the wheatear site
Grasshopper Sparrow
One at Llano Grande, 2 (1 incredibly cooperative) at Laguna Atascosa
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Falcon, Bentsen, and Llano Grande
Swamp Sparrow
Single at Aransas
White-crowned Sparrow
1 at Falcon
Crimson-collared Grosbeak
The Quinta Mazatlan bird was fairly easy to see once we got to the right spot
Northern Cardinal
All over
Couple at Zacate Creek, 10+ at Falcon
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
One at Bentsen
Indigo Bunting
Few at Bentsen
Red-winged Blackbird
All over
Eastern Meadowlark
Many singing at Laguna Atascosa
Western Meadowlark
Presuming most of the meadowlarks from San Antonio to Zapata and in Beeville were Western (several heard)
Brewer’s Blackbird
Sarita rest stop and elsewhere along 77
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
4+ at the Best Western in Weslaco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Few at Falcon and Sarita
Hooded Oriole
3 at Salineno and 1 likely at Falcon
Altamira Oriole
Falcon, Salineno, and Bentsen
Audubon’s Oriole
1 at Salineno
American Goldfinch
2 at Zacate Creek, 5 at Frontera
House Sparrow

The cool and cloudy weather wasn’t very good for bugs, which were in low numbers after cold weather before we arrived.

Butterflies (6+)

Funeral Duskywing
Presumably the duskywing at Falcon.
Tropical Checkered-Skipper
Several at Valley Nature Center
Skipper sp
Falcon, still working on it
Little Yellow
Reakirt’s Blue
Fritillary sp
Presumably Variegated but very poorly seen at Falcon
American Snout
1 at Santa Ana
1 at Santa Ana

Odes (3)

Familiar Bluet
1 female at Falcon was presumably Familiar
Common Green Darner
Several at Santa Ana
Red Saddlebags
Several at Santa Ana

TX 2010: Day 7

February 13

Today was a travel day as we headed back to San Antonio. Of course, with 2 very good birds on the way, it was also a good birding day.

We left Rockport and started towards Beeville. On the way, we found a couple Sandhill Cranes in a field and had an Avocet and other stuff fly over.

Reaching Beeville, we worked our way to the outskirts where a Northern Wheatear spent the winter at a farm. The farm was easy to find (a bit closer to the road than the directions implied). Getting out of the car, we were almost immediately joined by a Canadian couple. Seconds later, the wheatear popped up and gave us pretty good views (which was doubly nice as other people reported having long waits and only distant views).




After stocking up on peanut brittle for gifts, we headed on to the next stop, Choke Canyon State Park. Not surprisingly, the other people were heading that way too and we arrived at the same time. Checking in, we got directions to the pond hosting the Jacana and headed that way. Almost immediately, we located the bird walking out in the open along the edge of the lake.


We spent close to an hour watching it walk and fly along the edge of the pond, getting great views.



We drove around the park a bit and eventually stopped at one of the picnic areas for lunch. This was near the fishing area and we enjoyed a flock of Snowy Egrets waiting for leftovers.

From here, we headed back to San Antonio, arriving at Jack’s midafternoon. We went out to Red Lobster for dinner (again with a wait from rodeo crowds). It was fairly good (especially considering we already had excellent seafood the last few nights). We then packed and got ready for our early flight.

The return trip was easy with flights right on time (not having to get off the plane in Chicago was very nice) and we were home by midafternoon with Harry waiting.