Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birding Santa Ana NWR and Benston SP

Howdee all

It was a foggy start to a very gray day….

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   Jeff and I decided we would try and find the Hook-Billed Kite at Santa Ana National wildlife refugee.

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    We started our morning by joining a group nature walk…

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Our guide pointed out a Least Grebe on a nest..santa ana and benston_004  The ever present coot..santa ana and benston_010  Jeff and I decided to leave the group and go off on our own in search of the Kite..

We took Willow trail, where others have seen the Kite..but had no luck..

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We climbed one of the observation towers to see what we could see.santa ana and benston_017 Summer tanager

santa ana and benston_015Black-crested nuthatchsanta ana and benston_014Clay-colored thrush  santa ana and benston_017  A birding trio..

Plain Chachalaca, Gold-fronted woodpecker, Couchs Kingbird

We saw Kettles of Mississippi Kite and other hawks soaring far above us..

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After viewing from the platform we birded around a few ponds in the park.santa ana and benston_021

santa ana and benston_026I wish these Pie-billed Grebes weren't so far away..I wanted to show you how cool looking the babies were..all stripy, orangey bills and heads..santa ana and benston_041   Sora

santa ana and benston_052 We left the refugee…No target bird seen..but a great morning of birding..

From Santa Ana we headed to Bentsen state park

again..in search of the Hook-billed Kite.

We took the tram to the Hawk watching platform..

santa ana and benston_028 We were immediately treated to hundreds, if not thousands of hawks soaring by in kettles..Very distant views..

Can you see the dots??

There were streams of these kettles coming from Mexico heading north..it was around 3:30 till about 4:30 and then we didn't see as many kettles..

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There were hundreds of Mississippi Kites throughout the afternoon circling in kettles..

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  There may have been a Hook-billed Kite in the group..but we couldn't tell…too far away santa ana and benston_032santa ana and benston_033We saw a male and female Altamira Oriole   

She was gathering supplies for her nest

santa ana and benston_076her mate followed her as she gathered her nesting materials…santa ana and benston_062   We've had a bit of rain lately and the mushrooms are out..

This looks like some type of Agaricus santa ana and benston_040  Shaggy mane..a very yummy edible..I left them..santa ana and benston_042

As we were walking back the the car

a family of Javalena crossed the trailsanta ana and benston_085Funny looking creatures…santa ana and benston_087 Another fine day of birding in Texas!

Birds of the Day

Bob white
Great kiskadee
Golden-fronted woodpecker
Great-tailed grackle
Couchs kingbird
Mourning dove
Inca dove
White wing dove
Olive sparrow
Black-crested titmouse
Yellow headed blackbird
Red-winged blackbird
White-tipped dove
Buff-bellied hummingbird
Brown-crested flycatcher
Bronzed cowbird
Long-billed thrasher
Mississippi kite
American coot
Blue-winged teal
Barn swallow
Least grebe
Common yellowthroat
Plain chachalaca
Scissor tail flycatcher
Great egret
Black-bellied whistling duck
Ringed kingfisher
Broad-winged hawk
Little blue heron
Belted kingfisher
Altimira oriole
Clay-colored thrush
Great-crested flycatcher
White-eyed vireo
Common moorhen
Ladderback woodpecker
Northern cardinal
Northern mockingbird
Black-neck stilt
Snowy egret
Tri-colored heron
Cattle egret
Sora
Anhinga
Tropical kingbird
Forsters tern
Neotropic cormorant
Great blue heron
Turkey vulture
Black vulture
Green heron
Western kingbird
Green jay

14 comments:

  1. Another beautiful day of birding! You've been busy! Great captures and list.

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  2. Sounds like you had a great day birding. It must have been cool to see the kettle of Kites. Great list of birds for the day!

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  3. Quite a list of nice captures.
    By the pictures it seems to be a very nice place to visit...

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  4. Hi Dawn !! Sorry visiting you after a long time !! This is simply a beautiful post !! I really loved the shots and post !Amazing post as always !! Keep up the great work !! Will come soon..

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  5. What an awesome bird list! The mushrooms and javelinas are pretty cool-looking too. I hope you get a close-up of that Hook-billed Kite sometime soon!

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  6. How fortunate to have that incredible of a birding day. From the pics it looks like you had a bang-up time. Thanks for the post.

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  7. What a great day of birding. I love the Oriole shot--great colors. The kettle of hawks is very exciting--I can't say I have seen that. Happy Earth Day!

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  8. From the size of that list, you spent as much time writing as birding. Great pictures.

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  9. The baby grebes are adorable, and the sheer variety of birds is amazing. I love the photo of the chachalaca, woodpecker & kingbird just all hanging out. Awesome javelinas, too. Oh - and the yellow on the sora's bill. Wow.

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  10. Wow ~ Another excellent spot! Great post!

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  11. Love that picture with the three different species! And the grebe nesting - very cool!

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  12. Really enjoyed going through all the pics.. :) Lovely images...

    Regards,
    Angad

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  13. Thanks everyone for your nice comments..We really had a great time birding the Rio Grande Valley of Texas..some amazing birds there..

    Thanks again for visiting and commenting..it makes all of my bloggin more worthwile..

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