Tag Archives: Northern Cardinal

Exploring Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

After my first day at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival I could hardly wait to get up the next morning and do more birding. The morning was cloudy and windy as a front was moving through the area. Nevertheless I was excited to set off for Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

On the way to the refuge I saw two Aplomado Falcons, but both of them had flown by the time that I was able to stop my rental car. I certainly wish I had taken this photo. They are truly lovely birds!

Aplomado Falcon photo taken from cummah.blogspot.com

When I arrived at the Visitor’s Center I was delighted to see many residents at the feeding stations and the water feature. These are birds seen only in South Texas.

Green Jay, Laguna Atascosa NWR

Green Jay

Plain Chachalaca, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Plain Chachalaca

White-tipped Dove, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

White-tipped Dove

These are birds that you will not see unless you travel to South Texas. If you would like to see them without traveling to Texas, Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary has a very nice webcam so that people can see these beautiful birds.

I am including this next bird because although it is a common bird for people in the Eastern half of the U.S., New Mexicans and most Westerners do not see this beautiful bird.

Northern Cardinal, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Northern Cardinal


The birds suddenly fled, and I looked for the cause of their disturbance. I finally spotted a small coyote in the underbrush, as wary of me as the birds had been of it. The coyote was quite small compared to the ones that I am accustomed to seeing in New Mexico.

Coyote, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Coyote

I drove the fifteen mile Bayside Drive loop, which runs for a significant distance along Laguna Madre, the bay between the mainland and South Padre Island. The scenery was interesting as desert scrub-type vegetation grows right to the water’s edge.

Laguna Madre Bay and desert scrub vegetation.

Laguna Madre Bay and desert scrub vegetation.

As I looked out over the bay, a Caspian Tern hunted overhead.

Caspian Tern, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Caspian Tern hunting above Laguna Madre Bay.

A Great Blue Heron fished in the shallow water near the shore.

Great Blue Heron Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows of Laguna Madre Bay.

I looked up and saw an Osprey with a fish, flying overhead. It was almost beyond the range of my lens …

Osprey, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Osprey with fish, flying over Laguna Madre Bay.

… but I was able to get a much better look when it landed on the shore.

Osprey, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Osprey on the shore with fish.

Several Semipalmated Sandpipers watched from a distance, hopeful of fish scraps.

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Semipalmated Sandpiper

I continued along Bayside Drive and watched Egrets fishing in the shallow water of Laguna Madre Bay.

Reddish Egret, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret (white morph), Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Reddish Egret (white morph)

Great Egret, Laguna Madre Bay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Great Egret

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Here is a short video of shorebirds feeding along the edge of Laguna Madre Bay:

When I came to the end of Bayside Drive I saw a gorgeous Harris Hawk sitting on a post. It was kind enough to post for several photos.

Harris Hawk, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Harris Hawk

Harris Hawk, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Harris Hawk, another view.

As I left Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, I saw a Crested Caracara flying toward me. I was quicker than I had been with the Aplomado Falcon, and I was able to get a photograph.

Crested Caracara, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas.

Crested Caracara

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Laguna Atascosa. The next day would bring new challenges involving shorebird and sparrow identification, two of my weaknesses.

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Kaua’i Birds, a Retrospective

I recently spent almost two weeks on the lovely island of Kaua’i. My son and I relaxed, snorkeled, surfed, body boarded and enjoyed the beautiful sights of the island. I enjoyed the birds on the island too. Here are the birds that I saw and photographed.

These birds waited outside the condo every morning hoping to receive some breakfast:

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.

Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.


Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), introduced in 1865, native to India.

Common Myna flying in for a handout.


Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata), introduced in the late 1920's, native to South America.

Red-crested Cardinal (paroaria coronata), introduced in the late 1920's, native to South America.


Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea (Pluvialis fulva), native non-breeding visitor.

Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea (Pluvialis fulva), native non-breeding visitor.


Zebra Doves (Geopilia striata), introduced in the 1920's, native to Southeast Asia.

Zebra Doves (Geopilia striata), introduced in the 1920's, native to Southeast Asia.

There were urban and golf course birds.

Nene (Branta sandwicencensis)

Nene (Branta sandwicencensis). State bird of Hawai'i.


Nene chicks, Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii.

Nene chicks, Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge, Kauai, Hawaii.


Common Moorhen, 'Alae 'ula (Gallinula chloropus) Native Hawai'ian subspecies.

Common Moorhen, 'Alae 'ula (Gallinula chloropus) Native Hawai'ian subspecies.


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Introduced in late 1800's, native to Europe, Middle East.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Introduced in late 1800's, native to Europe, Middle East.


White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.

White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.


White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), introduced in 1931, native to Southeast Asia.

White-rumped Shama near the Lihue airport.


Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis), introduced in the late 1920's, native to North America.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis Cardinalis), introduced in the late 1920's, native to North America.


Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea, (Pluvialis fulva) native non-breeding visitor.

Pacific Golden Plover, Kolea, (Pluvialis fulva) native non-breeding visitor.


Black-necked Stilt, Hawai'ian Stilt, Ae'o (Himantopus knudseni), native Hawaiian endemic.

Black-necked Stilt, Hawai'ian Stilt, Ae'o (Himantopus knudseni), native Hawaiian endemic.


Cattle Egret (Bulbucus ibis), introduced in the late 1950's.

Cattle Egret (Bulbucus ibis), introduced in the late 1950's.


There were wonderful birds in the mountains.
Erckels Francolin (Francolinus erckelii), introduced in the late 1950's, native to East Africa.

Erckels Francolin (Francolinus erckelii), introduced in the late 1950's, native to East Africa.


'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea), native Hawai'ian bird, endemic.

'Apapane (Himatione sanguinea), sipping nectar from`ohia-lehua blossoms.


When I drove down the mountains to the coastline near Kekaha, there were acres of sunflowers fields. The sunflowers fields were feeding thousands of house finches.
House Finch, Papaya Bird (Carpodacus mexicanus), introduced in mid-19th century, native to North America.

House Finch, Papaya Bird (Carpodacus mexicanus), introduced in mid-19th century, native to North America.


Perhaps my favorite birds were the seabirds. Our trip to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge was memorable.
Great Frigatebird, 'Iwa (Fregata minor), native seabird.

Great Frigatebird, 'Iwa (Fregata minor), native seabird.


Laysan Albatross, Moli (Phoebastria immutabilis) Native Hawai'ian seabird.

Laysan Albatross, Moli (Phoebastria immutabilis) Native Hawai'ian seabird.


Red-footed Booby, 'A (Sula sula), native Hawai'ian seabird.

Red-footed Booby, 'A (Sula sula), native Hawai'ian seabird.


White-tailed Tropicbird, Koa'e Kea (Phaethon lepturus), native Hawai'ian seabird.

White-tailed Tropicbird, Koa'e Kea (Phaethon lepturus), native Hawai'ian seabird.

And of course everywhere we went we saw the Kaua’i chickens. We saw them in the cities …

Rooster in downtown Koloa, Kaua'i.

Rooster in downtown Koloa, Kaua'i.


… and in the mountains.
A hen with a large brood at Kalalau Lookout, Koke'e State Park, Kaua'i.

A hen with a large brood at Kalalau Lookout, Koke'e State Park, Kaua'i.

Other birds which I saw but was not able to photograph or neglected to photograph were: Spotted Dove (Steptopelia chinensis), introduced in the 1870’s, native to Southeast Asia; Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus), introduced in the 1930’s from Japan.

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