Monday, April 14, 2014

Cameron County Texas Apr. 12-14 2014 (Our last blog for this location)

Our month on South Padre ends today.  It was a great trip.  We saw 210 species.  Off to Portal Arizona Apr 15 and then Green Valley Arizona on April 22.  If you want to follow our travels and see what birds we find, bookmark this site.  Thanks to everyone for checking us out and helping with some ID problems.  Should have a new blog in about a week if Portal has internet but I am doubting it.  Keep checking back.
I had to look twice at this Willet.  A few weeks ago they were completely grey.  Now they are rapidly changing into breeding plumage.  Thanks to Joe Kennedy who explained to me that this is an Eastern Willet which are not as plain as the Western Willet.  Someday there may be a split here.

Two Red-breasted Grosbeaks (still looking a little scruffy) were at Sheepshead Sunday Apr 13. For an explanation of the appearance see Dave Irons comments below.   For photographers the ISO was 2500.

Bairds Sandpiper at the Nature centre

Ruddy Turnstone Has almost completed his moult.  On the kite beach.

Ruddy Turnstone

The Dunlins have been drab up to now and they are changing fast.  The black breast is almost complete.
Red-crowned Parrot.  Made a special trip to Oliveira Park in Brownsville for the Parrot spectacle Sunday night.  It was worth it as 100's of Parrots arrived at dusk.  Once again the high ISO on the camera helped capture these images as all we could see in the setting sun were silhouettes.  Without these images we wouldn't have been able to make a positive ID.

I believe this is also a Red-crowned but has a yellow cheek.   I have been informed it is a Red-lored Parrot.  Thanks Madeline.  Too bad it isn't countable : > (

Yellow-headed Parrot.  Not countable.

Kite beach on S. Padre.  We found all our plovers here.
Townsend's Warbler Convention Center

Painted Bunting Apr 14 Sheepshead

Lesser Nighthawk Apr 14 Sheepshead

End of this blog.
Scroll down for previous blog and  check back in about 10 days for next blog.


  1. Hi - that parrot with the yellow is a Red-lored! Congrats - you can add another species to your count!

  2. Len,

    The Rose-breasted Grosbeak that you refer to as looking "scruffy" will continue to look this way until it goes through prebasic molt in late summer/early fall. This is clearly a first-spring male (SY in banding terminology), which is very easy to age due to the multiple generations of flight and covert feathers. It hatched summer 2013 and grew out its first complete set of feathers (juvenile plumage). Then in late summer/early fall it went through what is called preformative molt, which involves the replacement of most head and body feathers, some wing coverts and perhaps some of the inner most flight feathers (secondaries). The rest of the flight feathers (primaries, most of the secondaries and tertials) along with most tail feathers and some of the coverts are retained (from the original juvenile plumage) until it goes through a complete prebasic molt a year later. By spring and summer of its second calendar year of life (in reality the bird is only about 9-10 months old), the retained juvenile feathers will generally look much more worn and faded compared to the second generation formative feathers (grown in during Fall) and the even newer alternate feathers acquired during the late winter/early spring prealternate molts (produces "breeding plumages" in most songbirds). An after second-year bird (ASY), which is at least 20 months old by April, will have a very uniform look to its plumage by this point in the year. The flight, covert, and tail feathers will all be the same age because they were all acquired during the same molt cycle last fall. I put together a short three-part primer on "molt limits" a couple of years ago. You and your other blog followers might find it helpful.

    Dave Irons Content Editor
    Portland, OR