Sunday, July 27, 2014

Texas Day 3: Laguna Atascosa, San Padre Island

We started the day with the long, deserted drive out to Laguna Astacosa, celebrated as having the last 30 ocelots in the US.

One can see why they would choose to be there, the reserve is miles from anywhere along long straight roads. Along the road we saw our first Harris Hawk sitting on a post, then some Crested Caracaras squabbling over a bit of road-kill. As we finally neared the reserve, Leo spotted some Northern Bobwhites.

There was only one other car at the Visitor Centre (which was closed), so we had the reserve to ourselves.

The walks close to the VC were very rewarding, including a Common Nighthawk flushed from a tree, our first Brown Crested Flycatchers and, best of all, a wonderful view of an Aplomado Falcon chasing a smaller bird. Such a long, thin, delicate bird, it has a special place in American Birding because it was all but diappreaed from the US but has gradually now built up and LA have 6 or 8 in adjoining territories. A bit like the role the Avocet plays for British birders.

We didn’t see any Ocelots, hardly surprising since they are (a) incredibly rare and (b) nocturnal! But it was a great visit with 30+ species.

Next we headed off to San Padre Island (picked up Eastern Meadowlark along the way – very noticeable with the white tail flashes), the bottom end of the hundred-mile long, one mile wide island that creates the unique lagoon all along the Texas coast. At Easter, thousands of students descend here for the Spring Break beach parties, and once one has crossed the impressive bridge, the town has that feel.

However, there is a fancy Birding Centre with a boardwalk on the lagoon side which yielded lots of great birds: terns, herons, waders etc. Several lifers:
-        Least Tern
-        Short-billed Dowitcher
-        Long-billed Curlew (which from its official name looks like it is different from our Curlew)
-        Least Bittern
and some great views of Roseate Spoonbill, Pied Billed Grebe, Caspian and Sandwich Terns.

After a lot of walking in sweltering heat, a dip in the Bay of Mexico was a great relief.

Black Bellied Whistling Duck

Bronzed Cowbird - starting its attraction routine: male puffs himself up as shown,
then leaps in the air to do a bit of a hovering/buzzing routine. I've seen some blokes try the same. 

Brown Crested Flycatcher

Crested Caracara

Harris Hawk

Laughing Gull

Least Bittern

Long Billed Thrasher

Reddish Egret

Short-billed Dowitchera

Tricoloured Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Laguna Atascosa

Laughing Gull l t
Harris Hawk l t
Crested Caracara
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Northern Bobwhite leo l t
Eastern Meadowlark l t
Green Jay
Long Billed Thrasher
Great Tailed Grackle

Groove Billed Ani
White Tipped Dove l t
Bronzed Cowbird
Black Crested Titmouse
Olive Sparrow
Red Winged Blackbird
Aplomodo Falcon l t
Brown Flycatcher l t
Common Nighthawk
Northern Cardinal

Plain Chacalaca
Golden Fronted Woodpecker
Ladder Backed Woodpecker l t
Great Kiskadee
Greater Roadrunner
White Ibis l t
House Sparrow
Inca Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground Dove
White Winged Dove

Mexican Ground Squirrel l t
Eastern Cottontail

San Padre Island

Reddish Egret t
Brown Pelican t
Tricoloured Heron t
Eurasian Collared Dove t
Great Blue Heron
Least Bittern t l
Long Billed Curlew l t
Willet t
Short Billed Dowitcher l t

Roseate Spoonbill t
Black Crowned Night Heron t
Yellow Crowned Night Heron l t
Great White
Black Winged Stilt
Snowy Egret t
Caspian Tern t
Sandwich Tern t
Least Tern l t
Mottled Duck

Black Bellied Whistling Duck
Pied Billed Grebe

No comments: