Friday, March 6, 2015

Reddish Egret

The various Herons and Egrets can be beautiful, graceful creatures. And some are not. They can be positively goofy. The Reddish Egret's method of hunting is not the patient wait, nor the slow-motion stalk; Reddish Egrets run, picking up speed, then spread their wings and prance and leap around the shallows, chasing fish helter-skelter, then suddenly stop, umbrella their wings and stab at the shelter seeking fish. This one is a little aberrant with white wing feathers. And a goofy bird.

Enjoy, - Gunnar

Thursday, March 5, 2015

South Padre Mixed Bag

I have a couple of more postings from our outing to South Padre Island two days ago. These are some leftovers - things that don't really fit a theme, but are just nice photos of great birds.

Reddish Egret
Eurasian Collared Doves
Man with a Fishing Rod ... who later, with a little luck, may prove to be a Fisherman.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Laughing Gulls with a Great Blue Heron


American Widgeon

Laughing Gull

This one is fun because of the variety of birds just hanging out in a bar, or rather on a bar. Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Mottled Duck, Northern Pintail, Redhead, Willet, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Tricolor Heron.

Have some variety in  your life.  - G.

A Brown Pelican Miss

Back in 'Sota we have White Pelicans. Sometimes I see them in mornings down on our lake, working as a group with their Cormorant sidekicks, herding schools of fish toward shore where they can corral and catch them. On the other hand, Brown Pelicans are solo hunters, spotting and diving after fish near the surface. I was a little disappointed when I saw this set on my computer. I was expecting to see a fish in the last picture instead of an embarrassed pelican grin. Oh, well.

Good fishing, -Gunnar

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quinta Mazatlan

High 80s and humid today, a great day to get out and walk a bit, so we went over to get a good look at the grounds of Quinta Mazatlan in the heart of McAllen, Texas. Quinta Mazatlan is a huge house and grounds which predate the city of McAllen which now surrounds the estate. It is an example of what you can build if money is not a limiting factor. At some level it is repulsive, to me at least, because I realize it was built and maintained on the backs of people who were barely eking out a living, but still it is a magnificent edifice and grounds.

We were there because Erik Bruhnke is the resident naturist. Erik is a Minnesota lad, a professional bird hustler, who deals in guided birding trips, consultation, whatever you need regarding birds that he can make a buck at. He's good. I really cannot afford to pay for his skills, but I can afford to buy him a beer and lunch now and then. Today he took us for an impromptu birding tour of the Quinta Maztlan estate. We saw a number of birds and learned a lot about most of them. I didn't take many pictures, but I have a soft spot for Skippers and who can not love an owl? in this case a Mexican Screech Owl, napping the hot day away, pretty much filling a hole in a dead palm tree.

Be well, -G

Monday, March 2, 2015

Santa Ana Water and Bobcat?

There has been a lot of rain in the Rio Grande Valley this year so everything is green. Santa Ana is a 2000+ acre NWR ten miles south of us on the Rio Grande. Prior to the construction of the Falcon Dam up river, the Rio Grande River was higher and would overflow in Spring and fill the arroyos. Since the dam, this is done by pumping water from the river or wells into the highest pond, then diverting it to lower ponds. It is all artificial now, but the wildlife doesn't know or care.

These photos are primarily for the Kootaney Kid, who chose not to come down from his ice castle high in Canada's Kootaney Rockies this year.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about Bobcats. Santa Ana used to have Ocelots and possibly Jaguarundi. No more, we finally killed off the last of the varmints, leaving us with Coyotes and a slim scattering of Bobcats. Last evening as we were leaving the refuge, I saw a Bobcat on the path on top of the main levy. It was quite some distance away and moving fast away from us. I whistled loudly to get it to stop and look, and I managed to get a couple of distant pictures just to save the moment. Here they are the severely cropped photos.

Biggest  $%#&*! feral cat I've ever seen .... apparently a little closer than I thought.

Damned photographs. Maybe I can Photoshop that tail out for the future retelling of the tale.

And Swallows! I must write something about the incredible number and variety of Swallows whizzing past our heads yesterday. There must have been a hatch of insects. Just Amazing.          

 May all your  'Cats be real, -G.