Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bulletin #134 – Misc. local birds

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas 
March 31, 2011

Bulletin #134 – Misc. local birds

(Click on the images to see a larger photo)

There were a few birds over the last month that didn't get mentioned due to my revising the warbler and shorebird ID guides for 2011. I thought I would put them in a newsletter before migration begins in earnest.

The most famous example in North America of bringing a bird back from the brink of extinction is the famous Whooping Crane (Grus americana). The world population was only 18 individuals in the 1930's. With careful management and captive breeding, there are now more than 300 of these birds. These birds are the most famous 'winter Texans' as they return to Aransas NWR near Rockport every year. They are the tallest birds in North America at 52" in length.

The adult bird is all white with a black face and a red forehead.

The juveniles have a brownish head and neck and some brown on the wings. They gradually molt to adult coloration the first year. This 1st year bird wouldn't raise his head out of the water  for me to see his face, but you can see the brown neck coloration.

The House Finch (Carpodacus  mexicanus) has just populated my yard in the past year. The males are usually red on the face, breast and rump, but a few have yellow instead of red. It perhaps pertains to their diet and fruits that they eat. Anyway, I had a yellow variant bird show up at my birdfeeder on December12th last year. I got a fair photo of him through the kitchen window. I have been waiting for his return and on Sunday he came back. I got my camera ready and was able to get this photo on the feeder again.

Another interesting photo I took last weekend was a Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, side-by-side. Even their bills are pointing the same way, so the difference in size and bill shape can be appreciated. I have been waiting for 6 years to get this shot!

LaFitte's Cove in Galveston had a half dozen Golden-crowned Kinglets (Regulus satrapa). This is the most of these birds I have seen at one time.

There was also a Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum). This bird is still in winter plumage as he is just starting to get the rufous crown on his head. This bird is IDed by the rufous crown, and yellow rump and undertail coverts. 

Also, a cooperative Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata) produced the best photo yet of this species. The bird is IDed by overall drab olive back and yellow underparts. Faint streaking can be seen on the breast. 

Several Roseate Spoonbills (Ajaja ajaja) were always a delight to see. The adult has intense pink on the wings.

This second year bird is just light pink.

High Island had a lingering male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyapicus varius). His sap trees were right beside the boardwalk. He had become so used to people that you could almost walk close enough to pet him. What a beautiful bird!

Anahuac NWR had this Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) in breeding plumage. He shows the white bill with black band and the black throat. It showed up nicely in the reflection as well.

Spring migration begins this weekend. I hope to see you 'on the Texas coast'.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald


photos copyright 2011 David McDonald

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