Friday, November 26, 2010

Greater Pewee - McAllen's Roselawn Cemetary, November 26, 2010

Found by Cin-ty Lee today - and very vocal in the evening. Roselawn Cemetary is on Main Street in McAllen just north of US 83 on the east side of the road. The Greater Pewee was in the SE corner of the cemetary.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Santa Ana NWR Post-flood pictures - November 7, 2010

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge flooded in the summer of 2010 for the first time in over 50 years. Like so many areas in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, the riparian corridor and floodplain forests have been in need of floodwaters to deliver nutrients. With the regular flooding of the Rio Grande curtailed or diminished by dams including Falcon and Amistad dams and other dams in Mexico, the thorn forest has been replaced by thorn scrub as the tall trees die off. This summer's flood may be the first step in a rejuvenation of the thorn forest and riparian corridor on the Lower Rio Grande. The flood also sent huge mats of Arundo or giant cane and water hyacinth - invasive exotic plants - into the Gulf of Mexico. The Refuge is reopening for guided walks, be sure to see the revitalization of the forests for yourself!
This area below on the tour loop was not flooded as deep, but you can still see the impact on the guinea grass.
The view at Cattail Lakes was of one large pond . The levees subdividing the pond into various units were covered with water.
A branch of the river crossed the tour loop road here and cut into the gravel and soil on the right (east) side of the road. The drop off was 2-3 feet deep on the right side of the picture. Cattail Lakes again.
The forest is recovering quickly. The invasive exotic guinea grass was killed and the roots rotted after several weeks under water. Unfortunately, the grass is regenerating from the seed bank, but the refuge staff are making great efforts to control the guinea grass while it is more sensitive to grass-specific herbicides.
The tour road is still underwater from near the Resaca Trailhead to the Mesquite trail. The water was going down but there was still a lot of it.

Chuck Lorenz's Blue-throated Hummingbird Photo - South Padre Island

Here's a photo from Chuck Lorenz of the Blue-throated Hummingbird on South Padre Island. It was seen from the empty lot just west of 117 E. Ling Street. If you visit, please be very careful walking in the lot as the owners and neighbors are removing exotic vegetation and replanting with natives for the migrants. You would not want to step on any young plants! Thanks to Chuck for sharing the photo with me and permission to post it. This is a female and was quite vocal - I could hear it through Scarlet's phone call seeping and whining.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Not-So-Winter Wren

Well, it was a frigid 44F leaving home this morning in the dark but it was a bit warmer at the coast and eventually got to a crisp 78F this afternoon on the drive home. All the exciting birds today at South Padre Island were winter birds from the north. I was pleased to see Golden-crowned Kinglets as soon as I arrived, since they don't always reach the LRGV. A local, Mike, showed me this Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker that was hanging around. I think that is my first in the LRGV since I moved here 5 years ago! White-throated Sparrow is another northern bird that I don't see in the LRGV every year.
And maybe you have to be a local to appreciate that Northern Cardinal is not always at the convention center. You can see why this subspecies had "Gray-backed Cardinal" as one common name, back when they gave common names to subspecies.
Star of the show was this Winter Wren that was hopping around in the open off and on, here on the concrete walk next to the convention center!