Friday, March 20, 2009

Birding this week - March 16-20, 2009

Last night I spent a few hours in Bentsen RGV state park with some biologists. It was a great evening with some mosquitoes but not hoards, lots of people in the park as it's spring break, and some interesting behaviors to watch.

At dusk, just as the Pauraques and Eastern Screech-Owls were starting to sing an Elf Owl began calling loudly quite close to us. We watched the pair flying across the road and investigating tree cavities by silhouette before the male sat in place and called repeatedly. It was fun to watch him turning his head and calling.

We located several Pauraque including a confiding pair. The male was singing, flying up and displaying, and shuffling or running along the ground. The female with noticeably less white in the wings and tail flew in and sat nearby before moving off again a short while later. I had just put a red filter on my light, and I was interested to see that I could get closer to the Pauraque with the filter than I could the last time I tried without it. It will be interesting to continue to play with the filter and see how the birds react.

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are regular on Bentsen Palm Drive now, and Green Parakeets are often in Mission or Palmview flying around in the morning.

Today (March 20) There were lots of Lincoln's Sparrows and a Common Yellowthroat in the HQ area at Bentsen today. A Tropical Kingbird was singing near the Bentsen Park HQ this morning.