USA, January-March 2015

Birding in the USA, January-March 2015
By Craig Brelsford and Elaine Du
www.craigbrelsford.com
info@craigbrelsford.com
Latest update: 2015-12-27
© 2015 by Craig Brelsford

Introduction

Craig Brelsford and Elaine Du visited the United States from 28 January to 15 March 2015. It was Craig’s first visit to his home country since 2009 and Elaine’s very first visit. With family reunions as our backdrop, we found time to note 208 species. We birded while visiting my parents in Florida and sister in Pennsylvania and in February took a 15-day birding trip to South Texas. The Texas trip covered the lower Rio Grande Valley and netted us 165 species.

Having become accustomed to birding in China, I was astounded at the contrast with the United States. There are environmental issues in America, but nowhere does one get the impression, as one does in China, that nature is being blotted out. I reveled in the cleaner air and cleaner water, I marveled at the great numbers of birds, and I soaked up the company of the many friendly and cooperative birders. In China, birders are few; in the United States, about 50 million persons–one in every six Americans–have some interest in birding.

I noted the differences in the avifauna of North America and eastern Eurasia. In North America, leaf warblers are absent, wood warblers present; bush warblers are out, wrens in; mockingbirds and hummingbirds fill similar niches to laughingthrushes and sunbirds. Much is familiar: Carolina and Black-capped Chickadee recall Willow and Marsh Tit, Ruby-crowned Kinglet approximates Goldcrest, and Northern Shoveler, Western Osprey, Northern Harrier, Merlin, and Buff-bellied Pipit are among the many species found on both continents.

Highlights

— In the lower Rio Grande Valley on the U.S.-Mexico border, noting 165 species, among them South Texas specialties such as Plain Chachalaca, Red-billed Pigeon, Common Pauraque, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Olive Sparrow, Grey-crowned Yellowthroat, Tropical Parula, Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrasher, and Altamira, Hooded, and Audubon’s Oriole

— Experiencing the varied birdlife of Florida, one of the premier birding states in the USA

— While sipping morning coffee at my parents’ home in Florida, watching Sandhill Crane amble through the yard

— Introducing my three nephews to birding at Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey and Tyler State Park in Pennsylvania

Who Are We?

Craig Brelsford lives in Shanghai, where he runs craigbrelsford.com and shanghaibirding.com while studying Chinese at the Shanghai University of Engineering Sciences. Craig is from Florida in the United States. Elaine Du’s Chinese name is Dù Lián Róng (杜连荣). Elaine is from Heilongjiang, China and lives in Shanghai. Elaine has a master’s degree in food science and engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology.

Reach the craigbrelsford.com team at info@craigbrelsford.com; call or text Craig at +86 158-2169-8624.

Questions? Comments?

We strive to create accurate, useful reports. Please suggest improvements and report errors: info@craigbrelsford.com.

Tours

For information on a tour with us, write to tours@craigbrelsford.com or call +86 158-2169-8624.

Key

My first reference is the IOC World Bird List.

The Trip

Tues. 27 Jan. 2015
en route from China to the United States

At Pudong Airport in Shanghai, as Elaine and I were boarding our plane to the United States, what did we see but a Eurasian Hoopoe flying into the eaves of the terminal! That was the last bird I’d be seeing in China for a while, for I was on my way to America–my first visit in six years. Elaine and I sat in a row with three empty seats, allowing us to stretch out and sleep. We arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, then flew to Orlando, Florida. There, we picked up our rental car and drove to my parents’ house in DeBary, Volusia County. The trip from our apartment in Shanghai to my parents’ house took 24 hours.

Wed. 28 Jan. 2015 to Sat. 7 Feb. 2015
around DeBary, Florida

The first 11 days of our trip were taken up with business, shopping, and catching up with my parents. Elaine and I birded nearly every day, noting birds in the quiet subdivision in which my parents live, at nearby Gemini Springs Park, and at other places around Volusia, Seminole, and Orange counties in Central Florida. Birds were plentiful at my parents’ house. Sandhill Crane are a regular sight in the subdivision and often walked through my parents’ back yard. Ponds near my parents’ house held Redhead, Hooded Merganser, Little Blue Heron, Anhinga, and Killdeer, to name a few.

Nearly every day we enjoyed a dawn chorus that included performances by Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinal, and Blue Jay. American Robin arrived in flocks of about 50, eating berries that had fallen from one of my parents’ trees and bathing in the retention pond adjacent to my parents’ property. The range of Carolina Chickadee extends not much farther S than Central Florida; we noted this species at my parents’ house. A Bald Eagle was seen once in the subdivision; a pair lives at Gemini. Downy Woodpecker and Red-bellied Woodpecker commonly used the trees at my parents’ house. Myrtle Warbler was noted daily, Chipping Sparrow nearly so. A flock of Cedar Waxwing appeared atop the trees in my parents’ back yard.

Below is a list of the species we noted during those first 11 days.

Redhead Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
American Coot Fulica americana
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major

Sun. 8 Feb. 2015
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Brevard County, Florida

Elaine joined me on my first trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge since 2009. Among our 59 species were a dancing Reddish Egret, a Wood Stork devouring a fish, and 21 Roseate Spoonbill. One of our better finds was 1 Peregrine Falcon, listed as “occasional” in the refuge in winter. Elaine spotted a Sora, and while we were discussing the Sora with the crowd that had gathered, someone found a Green Heron. We found 5 Florida Scrub Jay. Among our 3 Bald Eagle was a juvenile. Loggerhead Shrike is uncommon in the refuge; we saw 2.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 13
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 50
Northern Pintail Anas acuta ca. 200
Redhead Aythya americana 4
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 40
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus 4
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 47
Wood Stork Mycteria americana 7
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 30
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 2
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 3
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 13
Great Egret Ardea alba 24
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 48
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 18
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 38
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens 7
Green Heron Butorides virescens 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 34
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 5
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja 21
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 8
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 20
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 1
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 3
Sora Porzana carolina 1
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 1
American Coot Fulica americana ca. 900
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana ca. 200
Grey Plover (“Black-bellied Plover”) Pluvialis squatarola 1
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 9
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 9
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 13
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 10
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 195
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 17
Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri 10
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus 3
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 15
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 4
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 1
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 1
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 2
Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens 5
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 1
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 170
American Robin Turdus migratorius 210
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 3
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 4
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 40
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 1
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 4
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 7
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 17
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 3

Tues. 10 Feb. 2015
Gemini Springs Park, Volusia County, Florida

Elaine and I noted 25 species. A Red-shouldered Hawk has become accustomed to man, flying into areas where humans are and even going to the ground with humans nearby.

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 3
Great Egret Ardea alba 5
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 70 (incl. flock of ca. 65 seen in distance)
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 3
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 2
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 1
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 1
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 1
American Coot Fulica americana 19
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 30 (loose flock flying high overhead)
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 2
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 1
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus 1
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
crow sp. 5 either American or Fish (flying high above, not vocalizing)
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor ca. 100
American Robin Turdus migratorius 1 heard only
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 4
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 1
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina 25 flock feeding on ground
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 2
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 70

Wed. 11 Feb. 2015
Harlingen, Texas

Elaine and I flew from Orlando to Houston, picked up our rented Dodge Durango, and drove S 348 miles (560 km) to Harlingen, Texas.

Thurs. 12 Feb. 2015
Estero Llano Grande State Park, Hidalgo County, Texas

Today, Elaine’s and my first day ever birding in Texas, we noted 52 species. The birding at Estero Llano Grande State Park is so rich, and we were so new, that it took us 45 minutes just to leave the parking lot. 2 Altamira Oriole appeared almost as soon as we got out of our Durango. A Long-billed Thrasher was singing. A Green Jay appeared, and while we were talking to two birders, a Golden-fronted Woodpecker alighted on a dead tree. Once in the park, we stood by one of the feeders and found 2 White-tipped Dove and 1 Buff-bellied Hummingbird. Moving into the wetland, we found a Green Kingfisher. We found 1 Common Pauraque roosting on the ground. We heard, then saw, a Ringed Kingfisher. A Great Kiskadee had taken a bath. We found a Least Grebe. Scanning the oxbow lake from the levee, we found 360 Black-bellied Whistling Duck. A White-tailed Kite arrived. While Elaine rested, I found a Harris’s Hawk. Later, Elaine called me over to the Green Jay Trail, and there I saw 4 Plain Chachalaca. Mottled Duck and Cinnamon Teal were among the waterfowl in the pond. A final walk got us views of 3 Black-crested Titmouse. Couch’s Kingbird were calling, allowing us to distinguish them from the very similar Tropical Kingbird. Every bird mentioned above was a lifer for us, and most of those species are South Texas specialties. It was a memorable day.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis 360 in oxbow lake
Gadwall Anas strepera 6
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 5
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 14
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera 23
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 140
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 30
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula 4
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus 2
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 2
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 1
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 3
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 3
Great Egret Ardea alba 2
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 5
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea 8
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi 3
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 16
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus 1
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 2
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 1
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 15
American Coot Fulica americana ca. 100
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 3
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana 26
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 2
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 4
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis 2
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata 1
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 2
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 5
Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii 9
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 6
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 3
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 2
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 3
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 16
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 3
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 3
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 200
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 7
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 2
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 25

Fri. 13 Feb. 2015
Estero Llano Grande State Park

Before its recent discovery at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Grey-crowned Yellowthroat hadn’t been seen in the United States in years. Today, Elaine and I were part of a large group of birders that found the bird. The birders strung out along the trail. A lady at the end spotted the yellowthroat. I hustled over, set up my new Swarovski ATX-95 spotting scope, and viewed the bird for about 3 minutes. Among our other big finds were Broad-winged Hawk and Clay-colored Thrush. The latter, the national bird of Costa Rica, in the United States is found only in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 1
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera 6
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata ca. 70
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 7
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 7
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula 5
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus 2
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 1
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 1
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 7
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 5
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi 3
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 3
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus 2
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 2
American Coot Fulica americana ca. 75
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 2
Inca Dove Columbina inca 2
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina 2
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 8
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica 5
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 14
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 3
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 3
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 2
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 6
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 1
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus 1
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi 8
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 4
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 12
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 4
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla 1
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia 1
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 5
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala 1
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus 1
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 3
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 300
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 6
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria 1
House Sparrow Passer domesticus ca. 70

Sat. 14 Feb. 2015
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Hidalgo County, Texas

Yesterday at Estero, I bumped into Chris Feeney, a birder from Georgia. I met Chris in May 2012 in Yangkou, Jiangsu, China. We were delighted at the amazing coincidence and agreed to meet today with his partners Trey and Liz. Elaine and I followed Chris from Harlingen to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. On the way, we saw a Western Barn Owl flying over Interstate 2. On the levee near the visitors’ center, our group found 1 Hook-billed Kite, a South Texas specialty. While waiting we saw Northern Crested Caracara, Muscovy Duck, and Black Phoebe. A river of at least 1500 Red-winged Blackbird streamed across the morning sky, taking 3 minutes to clear through. At the feeding station at the gate, Plain Chachalaca led a raucous chorus. A Clay-colored Thrush was among the birds feeding, as were Altamira Oriole, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, and Olive Sparrow. Inside the park, Elaine and I found Grey Hawk and 2 Ringed Kingfisher. In all, we found 40 species.

Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata 1
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula ca. 60
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 2
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 1
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 2
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 3
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus 1
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii 1
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus 1
Inca Dove Columbina inca 15
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 3
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica 3
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 5
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis 1
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 10
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris 4
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 1
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 2
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 18
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 24
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 8
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 5
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi 3
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 3
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 10
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 1
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 4
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus 1
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 6
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 25
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea 2
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 2000
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 40
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 8
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 50

Flying over Interstate 2 en route to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Western Barn Owl Tyto alba 1

Sun. 15 Feb. 2015
Estero Llano Grande State Park

Elaine and I returned to Estero in search of White-throated Thrush. Elaine and I missed it but continued to note South Texas specialties, among them 7 Clay-colored Thrush, 2 Olive Sparrow, and 1 singing Long-billed Thrasher. We added Curve-billed Thrasher to our life list and American Robin and Grey Catbird to our Texas list. We noted 37 species.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis 2
Gadwall Anas strepera 2
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera 3
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 13
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 18
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 4
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 3
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula 5
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 1
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 1
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 1
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi 1
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 2
American Coot Fulica americana 21
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 1
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 1
Inca Dove Columbina inca 4
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 10
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 10
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 5
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 1
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 1
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi 7
American Robin Turdus migratorius 10 (a big tree near the shuffleboard area acted as a magnet for the thrushes)
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 1
Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre 2
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 8
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 2
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus 2
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 50
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 50

Mon. 16 Feb. 2015
Anzalduas Park, Granjeño, and McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas

Elaine and I noted 37 species at Anzalduas Park. Among our finds were a female Vermilion Flycatcher, 5 Black Phoebe, and 4 Couch’s Kingbird. Other South Texas specialties were Great Kiskadee and Green Jay.

Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 5
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 1
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 2
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus ca. 100
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 45
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 1
American Coot Fulica americana 1
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 4
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 5
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 5
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus 1 female
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 2
Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii 4
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 2
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 1
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis 5
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 1
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 1
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 2
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 7
American Robin Turdus migratorius 2
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 2
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 50
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus 15
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 2
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 20
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 15
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus ca. 50
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 4
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 1

In Granjeño near Anzalduas Park, we found a Burrowing Owl.

Around Granjeño

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia 1

In the late afternoon, we drove to the intersection of 10th Street and Dove Avenue in McAllen for Green Parakeet. We found the birds just S of the intersection.

Green Parakeet Psittacara holochlorus ca. 15

Tues. 17 Feb. 2015
Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, Hidalgo County, Texas

Today at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, Elaine and I found 38 species, with Prairie Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and Hooded Oriole being lifers for us. Other interesting findings were Monk Parakeet, Grey Hawk, Summer Tanager, and yet another Clay-colored Thrush.

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 1
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 3
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 4
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus 2
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Inca Dove Columbina inca 2
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 1
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 10
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus 30 (2 at Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and ca. 28 nearby [cemetery on 3rd St.])
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 8
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 10
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus 3
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 6
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 1
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius 3
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 5
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 2
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 15
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 29
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 2
Nashville Warbler Oreothlypis ruficapilla 1
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor 1 (prob. 1st-winter female)
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 12
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra 2
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 9
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus ca. 100
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus 1
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 1
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 6
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria 25
House Sparrow Passer domesticus ca. 40

Wed. 18 Feb. 2015
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Hidalgo County, Texas

Elaine and I noted 56 species. Our bird of the day was Bullock’s Oriole. Other interesting finds were 4 Altamira Oriole, 2 Green Jay, 2 Grey Hawk, 4 Harris’s Hawk, 1 spectacular male Vermilion Flycatcher, and 4 Buff-bellied Pipit (also known as “American Pipit”). Great Kiskadee were conspicuous around the ponds, and we identified 6 Tropical Kingbird by voice. We added 3 Least Sandpiper and 22 Black-necked Stilt to our trip list. We spent most of the day around Pintail Lakes. We had the pleasure of meeting Laura and Steve Paulson, volunteers living in the refuge.

Gadwall Anas strepera 5
American Wigeon Anas americana 8
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 12
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 55
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 4
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 22
Redhead Aythya americana 4
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula 6
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 1
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 4
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus 1
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii 1
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 4
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus 2
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 6
American Coot Fulica americana 28
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 22
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 9
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 2
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 17
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 1
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 3
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 2
Inca Dove Columbina inca 2
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 50
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 1
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 4
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus 1
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 6
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 40
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus 6
Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus/couchii 4 (not vocalizing)
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 2
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 75
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 2
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 8
Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens 4
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 1
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 2
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 4
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 400
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 4 (amid flock of ca. 25, we were able to ID 4 as Western)
Western/Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta/magna 21
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater 4
Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii 1 (clearly viewed in company of expert who verified that it was Bullock’s)
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 4
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 25

Thurs. 19 Feb. 2015
Salineño, Starr County, Texas

At 14:30 we arrived at the Salineño feeding station on the Rio Grande. Within minutes, an Audubon’s Oriole was feeding. The secretive nature of this beautiful black-hooded icterid was apparent, as it made only a brief appearance. Audubon’s Oriole was one of 31 species we noted at Salineño. We explored two habitats: the riparian environment around the river and the brush country across from the cemetery. The Geigers suggested we bird near the cemetery, and the area was indeed productive, yielding a pair of Cactus Wren plus Pyrrhuloxia, Harris’s Hawk, and Northern Crested Caracara. At the feeding station, we enjoyed our first views of Verdin and noted previously seen species such as Hooded Oriole, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Long-billed Thrasher, and Olive Sparrow.

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 4
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus 1
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 1
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus 1
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 1
Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris 2
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 1
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 10
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 4
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 2
Verdin Auriparus flaviceps 1
Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus 2
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 6
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 4
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus 1
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 3
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 15
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 75
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus 1
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 3
Audubon’s Oriole Icterus graduacauda 1
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 20

Fri. 20 Feb. 2015
Salineño and Falcon State Park, Starr County, Texas

Our bird of the day was 2 Red-billed Pigeon. We saw two flybys on Rio Grande; both Red-billeds were flying over U.S. territory. Second bird photographed well. Elaine and I visited the riparian habitat along Rio Grande as well as brushy country along Dump Road. Did not visit feeding station. The Dump Road in Salineño was productive, yielding Greater Roadrunner, Peregrine Falcon, and Verdin, plus 2 each of Cassin’s Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, and Pyrrhuloxia. On the Rio Grande we saw 2 Audubon’s Oriole plus Grey Hawk, Green Kingfisher, 2 Ringed Kingfisher, and Merlin.

Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 4
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula ca. 30 (2 flocks calling from both sides of river)
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 20
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 20
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 3
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 40
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 3
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 1
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus 1
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 3
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris 2
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 1 heard only
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica 11
Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus 1
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata 2
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 1
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 3
Merlin Falco columbarius 1
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 1
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 7
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 1
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 1
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 7
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis 5
Verdin Auriparus flaviceps 1
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 10
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 2
Cassin’s Sparrow Peucaea cassinii 2
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus 16
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata 2
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 6
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus 2
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 25
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 8
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 3
Audubon’s Oriole Icterus graduacauda 2

At Falcon State Park we found Bewick’s Wren and 20 other species.

Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 2
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 1
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 1
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 5
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 4
American Coot Fulica americana 47
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 3
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 1
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 2
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 1
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 2
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 10
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 3
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 1
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 13
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 2

On our way back to Rio Grande City, we made a second quick trip through the brushy country between Falcon State Park and Salineño.

Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 1
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 2
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 9
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 1
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata 2
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 2
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 1
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 3

Sat. 21 Feb. 2015
Resaca de la Palma State Park, Cameron County, Texas

We drove from Rio Grande City back toward the Gulf Coast. We stopped at Resaca de la Palma before heading to Brownsville for the night. At Resaca, we found a Black-headed Grosbeak.

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 3
Inca Dove Columbina inca 4
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 2
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 2
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 20
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 15
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 20
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 80
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 40

Sun. 22 Feb. 2015
Resaca de la Palma State Park, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, and Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Cameron County, Texas

Our big day started at Resaca, where with the help of Sherry and Dick Wilson we found Tropical Parula and 2 Black-throated Grey Warbler. A mainly Mexican and South American species, Tropical Parula is very rarely recorded in South Texas. The species has been seen regularly at Resaca since November 2014.

Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula ca. 25 heard calling from within forest
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 1
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi 1
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 3
Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii 1
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 6
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 1
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre 3
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 5
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 1
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi 1
Black-throated Grey Warbler Setophaga nigrescens 2
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 5
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 50
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis 1

We left Resaca and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico. We skirted the Bahia Grande Unit of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. We drove E from Los Fresnos along State Highway 100 to Port Isabel and W along SH 48 back toward Brownsville. Stopped for about an hour at the place where 48 runs alongside Bahia Grande. Red-breasted Merganser were a highlight. Chihuahuan Raven were a lifer. Eastern Meadowlark were singing. Harris’s Hawk were nesting.

Redhead Aythya americana 15
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator 6
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 1
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 17
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 10
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 2
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 20
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 7
Great Egret Ardea alba 11
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 4
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 25
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 9
American Coot Fulica americana 27
Grey Plover (“Black-bellied Plover”) Pluvialis squatarola 2
Willet Tringa semipalmata 35
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus 9
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 60
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 70
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 25
Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri 50
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 2
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 2
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 1
Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus 5 Photos show white base to neck feathers.
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 3
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna 10 singing
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus ca. 100

Our visit to Sabal Palm Sanctuary was short but sweet. Highlights included Indigo Bunting and Black-throated Green Warbler. A Great Horned Owl is nesting in front of the beautiful Rabb Plantation House.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 4
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus 3
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 6 flying over forest
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 40
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus 1
American Coot Fulica americana 3
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 5
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus 1
Ruby-throated/Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus colubris/alexandri 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus 1
Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii 1
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas 2
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus 4
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 3 singles heard only at points widely spaced from one another
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 1
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 2
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea 1 female

We drove through Brownsville and saw Red-crowned Amazon.

Red-crowned Amazon Amazona viridigenalis 13

Mon. 23 Feb. 2015
Port Aransas, Nueces County, Texas

We drove 190 miles (306 km) N in the rain from Brownsville to Port Aransas, arriving in the late afternoon. Elaine and I parked at the Horace Caldwell Pier and through the drizzle studied the mixed flock on the beach before us. Black Skimmer was a lifer.

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 12
Sanderling Calidris alba 17
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 74
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 45
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus 14
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger 43

Tues. 24 Feb. 2015
Padre Island National Seashore, Kleberg County, Texas

Elaine and I noted 48 species. Bird of the day was 4 White-tailed Hawk. Other notable species: 9 Sandhill Crane, 4 Northern Crested Caracara, 4 Snowy Plover, Reddish Egret, and Sora. Eastern Meadowlark were singing. A single Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet browsed near each other. We found Merlin and Western Osprey. 5 Northern Harrier flew low over the coastal prairie.

Gadwall Anas strepera 15
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 30
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 45
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 32
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 75
Redhead Aythya americana 150
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus 4
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 10
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 6
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 15
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 10
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 3
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 1
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 5
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 5
White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus 4
Sora Porzana carolina 1
American Coot Fulica americana 65
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 9
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 1
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana 1
Grey Plover (“Black-bellied Plover”) Pluvialis squatarola 1
Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus 4
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 9
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 5
Willet Tringa semipalmata 45
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 4
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 25
Sanderling Calidris alba 80
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 7
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 3
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 60
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 80
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 35
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus 10
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 1
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway 4
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 2
Merlin Falco columbarius 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 20
Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens 3
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 50
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 20
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna 40
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 35

Wed. 25 Feb. 2015
Mustang Island State Park and Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center (Nueces County), Goose Island State Park (Aransas County), Texas

En route back to Houston, Elaine and I birded at three spots. The first was an impromptu stop on State Highway 361 near Mustang Island State Park. We noted 2 White-tailed Hawk.

White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus 2

Elaine and I counted 41 species at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, a small but outstanding birding spot. Some birds have lost their fear of man and forage and roost next to the boardwalk. We saw 2 Wilson’s Snipe enjoying a sunbath, a Sora hunting, and a Swamp Sparrow foraging. 3 Purple Martin were a harbinger of spring.

Gadwall Anas strepera 4
American Wigeon Anas americana 10
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula 30
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 80
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 35
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 100
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 14
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 12
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 4
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 3
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 5
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 1
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 2
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 11
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja 45
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 6
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 2
Sora Porzana carolina 1
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 8
American Coot Fulica americana 65
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 16
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 5
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 10
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus/scolopaceus 150
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata 2
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 1
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 1
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 1
Purple Martin Progne subis 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 1
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 2
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 3
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 10

In China, birders are few, and information is hoarded. In America, birders are many, and information is shared freely. At Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, birder after birder was telling us the exact location where they’d seen Whooping Crane the day before. Elaine and I drove straight to the spot near Goose Island State Park. Sure enough, we found the cranes. Later, the cranes flew dramatically over us–a fitting coda to an outstanding South Texas trip. We drove 200 miles (322 km) in the dark to Houston.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis 40
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 2
Great Egret Ardea alba 2
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja 1
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 25
Whooping Crane Grus americana 5
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 1
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 8
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 30
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 1
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus ca. 200
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 25
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater 40

Sun. 1 March 2015
Gemini Springs Park

Elaine and I returned to Florida on 26 Feb. and rested up for a few days. Today, we made our first trip to Gemini since 10 Feb. We witnessed a Sharp-shinned Hawk attack a Downy Woodpecker, the latter escaping untouched. Sharp-shinned Hawk closely resembles Cooper’s Hawk, and separating the two species requires close observation. Here are my notes:

“I pulled out my audio recorder and made as many observations as time would allow. Here’s a partial transcription: ‘ … The hawk attacked a Downy Woodpecker. The woodpecker escaped w. a scream. Hawk is size of Cooper’s/Sharp-shinned. … It has a banded tail, not very long, square-tipped. It has white undertail coverts. … Plumage on forecrown, midcrown, and nape is the same color as plumage on mantle and back. … The hawk has flown off. It flew with rapid wingbeats and soars, alternating between several rapid wingbeats and then it would coast on that, it would glide, it would soar. And then it would again repeat the cycle.'”

Later, consulting my apps, The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America and National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America, I noted Sibley’s observation of the “quick snappy wingbeats” of Sharp-shinned, in contrast to the “stiff wingbeats” of Cooper’s. With my observation of square-tipped tail (characteristic of Sharp-shinned) and lack of black cap (black cap characteristic of Cooper’s), I felt justified in ID’ing the bird as Accipiter striatus.

Also noted 2 Marsh Rabbit, one very tame and allowing close approach.

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 1
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 1
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 7 (2 juvs. among 5 adults. These very tame individuals are a mainstay at picnic area)
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 15
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 4 (probably kept seeing same individuals again & again)
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus 1
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 2
American Coot Fulica americana 29
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 1 adult in breeding plumage (black hood): Noted “dark underside to primaries” (Nat’l Geographic Birds: A Field Guide to North America)
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 1
Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia 1
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 1 heard only
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 3
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 2
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 7
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 1 heard only. Trademark caw
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 1 making lower-pitched, more nasal caw
crow sp. 1 black corvid, not vocalizing. Either Fish or American
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 15
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 4
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 7 all heard only. Despite being unseen, the piercing, far-carrying song made their presence felt
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 9
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 1
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 3
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 17
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 8 several singing
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 18 apparently all females
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 20
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis 6

Mon. 2 March 2015
Gemini Springs Park

Fog delayed our start, but after the mist burned off the birding was good until early afternoon. Elaine and I noted Northern Parula (lifer for us). An impressive sight was a flock of 65 Wood Stork flying high above U.S. 17-92 N of park.

Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 3
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 3
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 2
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 1
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 5
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 35
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 5
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 8
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 1
American Coot Fulica americana 18
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 7
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 5
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 6
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 1
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 4
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 6
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 32
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 50
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 2 heard
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 10
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 6
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 4
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 4
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia 2
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 1
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 5
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 15
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 1
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 17
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 3 heard only
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 30

Tues. 3 March 2015
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, Volusia County, Florida

Elaine and I made our first visit to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. The birding is top-notch there and birders are few. We spent most of our time around Pool 1 and the observation tower and found a nesting Sandhill Crane, a pair of Limpkin, 3 Bald Eagle, and Green Heron. At the Myacca Trail parking lot, we found Red-headed Woodpecker.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 12
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 7
Wood Stork Mycteria americana 6
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 5
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 15
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 18
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 2
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
Green Heron Butorides virescens 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 12
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus ca. 200
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 40
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 5
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 4
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 3
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 2
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 2
American Coot Fulica americana ca. 600
Limpkin Aramus guarauna 2
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 24
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 5
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 1
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 1
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 1
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 3
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus 2
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 2
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 2
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 1 heard in distance
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 2
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 40
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 1 heard
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 2
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 1
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 2
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 4
Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus 1
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 12
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 17
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 3
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 15
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 50

Wed. 4 March 2015
Lyonia Preserve, Volusia County, Florida

Looking for a good taste of Florida scrub, Elaine and I visited Lyonia Preserve. The highlight was standing at the highest point in the park, elev. app. 85 ft. (26 m), and delighting in the half-tame Florida Scrub Jay that converged on us (no doubt having been fed by other visitors in the past). Viewing the “valley” below that high point, one could imagine a time when this hill was an island. Other highlights: 5 Northern Bobwhite, 13 Eastern Towhee.

Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus 5
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 6
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 9
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 3 soaring high overhead
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 3
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus auratus/luteus 2 (pair)
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 1
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 4
Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens 10
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 3
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 20
American Robin Turdus migratorius 1 heard
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 3
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 7
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 9
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus alleni/rileyi 13
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 6

Fri. 6 March 2015
Washington Crossing State Park, Mercer County, New Jersey

Yesterday, Elaine and I flew to Trenton, New Jersey to see my sister Tracey, who lives just across the Delaware River in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Today, Elaine and I went birding with my three nephews Dylan (16), Kyle (13), and Jack (10). A snowstorm last night dumped 6 in. (15 cm) of snow on the large and beautiful Washington Crossing State Park. The feeder at the Nature Center was hopping with birds. Bald Eagle was a highlight. Near the Nature Center, 7 Eastern Bluebird were lapping up melted snow from the road.

Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 1
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 3
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 1
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 3
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 2
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 2
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 12
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus 3
Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee Poecile carolinensis/atricapillus 6
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 6
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 4
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 7
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla 1
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis 4
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 2
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 1

Sun. 8 March 2015
Tyler State Park, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Yesterday, Tracey, her husband Glenn, and the three boys visited New York City with Elaine and me. Today it was back to birding. In this part of America, the ranges of Carolina and Black-capped Chickadee overlap, and one must pay careful attention to the vocalizations in order to produce an ID. The chickadees I recorded today were singing a four-note song characteristic of Carolina Chickadee. The second and fourth notes were lower than the first and third.

Canada Goose Branta canadensis 15
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 5
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 1
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 3
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 4
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis 5
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 6
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 5
American Robin Turdus migratorius 6
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 8
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis 4
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 1
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 4

Tues. 10 March 2015
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge/Canaveral National Seashore

Elaine and I returned to Florida yesterday. Today we spent the day at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and at Canaveral National Seashore (Playalinda Beach). 2 Painted Bunting were lifers for us, as was Clapper Rail. 40 Northern Gannett were visible off Playalinda Beach. We found 2 white-morph Reddish Egret. At sundown, we watched an American Alligator kill and devour a Blue Crab.

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 60
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 20
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 50 (flock)
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator 1
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 20
Wood Stork Mycteria americana 3
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus 40 at Playalinda Beach, Canaveral Nat’l Seashore
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 15
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 7
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 12
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 22
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 8
Great Egret Ardea alba 16
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 20
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 12
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 16
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens 2 both white morph
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 1
Green Heron Butorides virescens 3 (1 at Stop 7 on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive in exact spot where on our previous trip to Merritt [8 Feb.] we’d found a Green Heron)
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 26
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 15
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja 6
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 9
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 6
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 5
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 2
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 1
Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans 1 near Stop 7 on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive
Sora Porzana carolina 3 (1 of the Sora found at Stop 7 on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. We are now 2 for 2 in Sora searches at Stop 7)
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata 5
American Coot Fulica americana ca. 1200
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana 20
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 30
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 10
Sanderling Calidris alba 30 Playalinda Beach, Canaveral Nat’l Seashore
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 30 most at Playalinda Beach, Canaveral Nat’l Seashore
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 10
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus 10
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 7
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 1
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 1 (near visitor information center, clearly heard the harsh caw characteristic of this species)
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 3
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 250
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 5
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 1
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 5
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 5
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 6
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 4
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris 2 (1 male & 1 female at feeder at visitor information center, Merritt Is. NWR)
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 90
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 1 at feeder at visitor information center, Merritt Is. NWR
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 20

Thurs. 12 March 2015
Gemini Springs Park

I returned alone to Gemini Springs Park. 60 Cedar Waxwing were a highlight. Northern Parula have grown steadily more conspicuous in recent weeks; today I counted 22. The Red-shouldered Hawk had a large stick in its talons, presumably for a nest.

Anhinga Anhinga anhinga 1
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 2
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 2
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 6
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 1
American Coot Fulica americana 27
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 10
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 5
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 1
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 2
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 2
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 1
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 40
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 12
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 9
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 12
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 2
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 1
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum 60
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 22
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 7
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 6
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 16
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 15
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 8

Fri. 13 March 2015
Gemini Springs Park

Gemini Springs Park has become my “local patch” in Florida. The highlight today was Ovenbird, a first-in-Florida for me. I found the Ovenbird skulking in that stretch of good forest-edge habitat along Gemini’s main entrance road. It was making a hard “chip” call and producing snatches of song. The forest was alive with the songs of Carolina Wren, Northern Parula, Tufted Titmouse, and Northern Cardinal. The latter was particularly conspicuous, singing throughout the forest, in scrubby areas, and even on a telephone pole beside busy Dirksen Drive.

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 1
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor 1
White Ibis Eudocimus albus 9
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 2
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 3 (two nests atop transmission towers along Dirksen Drive just N of park)
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 1
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 1
American Coot Fulica americana 23
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 8
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 1
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 3
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 3
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 4
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 15
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 6
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 13
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 11
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 1
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum 25 (flyby)
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla 1
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata 1
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 26
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 12
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 39
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 30
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 1
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 10 cackling unseen in reedy area

Sat. 14 March 2015
Blue Spring State Park, Volusia County, Florida

This park is famous for its beautiful spring water and as a refuge for the West Indian Manatee. I went alone and spent the first 90 mins. along the boardwalk, ranging from the boil down to the river. I then followed the 4.5 mi. (7.3 km) nature trail about half a mile into scrub before retracing my steps back to the parking lot. I startled a covey of 7 Northern Bobwhite at the edge of the scrub on the nature trail.

Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus 7
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 4
Great Egret Ardea alba 1
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 1 flyover
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus 10
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 12
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 2
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 1 flyover
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 7
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus 2
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 6
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus 7
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 20
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis 2
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 10
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 3
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 7
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 1
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia 1
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 18
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus alleni/rileyi 4
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 9
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 3
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major 6

On 15 March, Elaine and I boarded a plane in Orlando for Dallas, and from Dallas we flew back to Shanghai.

List of Birds Noted in the United States of America, January to March 2015

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Gadwall Anas strepera
American Wigeon Anas americana
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Redhead Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Harris’s Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Grey Hawk Buteo plagiatus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Clapper Rail Rallus crepitans
Sora Porzana carolina
Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata
American Coot Fulica americana
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
Whooping Crane Grus americana
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
Grey Plover (“Black-bellied Plover”) Pluvialis squatarola
Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Willet Tringa semipalmata
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
Wilson’s Snipe Gallinago delicata
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
Forster’s Tern Sterna forsteri
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Red-billed Pigeon Patagioenas flavirostris
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Inca Dove Columbina inca
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
Western Barn Owl Tyto alba
Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Merlin Falco columbarius
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
Green Parakeet Psittacara holochlorus
Red-crowned Amazon Amazona viridigenalis
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Couch’s Kingbird Tyrannus couchii
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
Florida Scrub Jay Aphelocoma coerulescens
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus
Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Purple Martin Progne subis
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus
Verdin Auriparus flaviceps
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii
Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Clay-colored Thrush Turdus grayi
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Buff-bellied Pipit (“American Pipit”) Anthus rubescens
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
Nashville Warbler Oreothlypis ruficapilla
Grey-crowned Yellowthroat Geothlypis poliocephala
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
Northern Parula Setophaga americana
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum
Pine Warbler Setophaga pinus
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata
Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor
Black-throated Grey Warbler Setophaga nigrescens
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Cassin’s Sparrow Peucaea cassinii
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus
Bullock’s Oriole Icterus bullockii
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis
Audubon’s Oriole Icterus graduacauda
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Bibliography

In America, Elaine and I did away with paper field guides, instead relying on two apps: National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America and The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America. We synced these apps to all our Apple devices. Both apps are outstanding, and each excels the other in some ways. We made National Geographic Birds our first reference because making day lists in that app is easier than in the Sibley eGuide, and because we liked the “similar species” feature in National Geographic more than the comparison-of-species feature in Sibley. We often preferred the text explanations of Sibley. Using these apps alone, we were able to ID almost every one of the 208 species we encountered.

Equipment

Cameras: Nikon D3S; for landscapes, Apple iPad and Apple iPhone 4S
Lens: Nikon VR 600mm F/4G
Sound recorder: Olympus DM-650
Binoculars: Swarovski EL 8 x 32 (Craig), Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 42 (Elaine)
Spotting scope: Swarovski ATX-95

See Our Day Lists on eBird!

Most of our lists in this report are also on eBird.

2015/02/08 Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
2015/02/10 Gemini Springs Park, Florida
2015/02/12 Estero Llano Grande State Park, Texas
2015/02/13 Estero Llano Grande State Park
2015/02/14 Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Texas
2015/02/15 Estero Llano Grande State Park
2015/02/16 Anzalduas Park, Texas
2015/02/17 Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, Texas
2015/02/18 Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
2015/02/19 Salineño, Texas
2015/02/20 (a.m.) Salineño
2015/02/20 Falcon State Park, Texas
2015/02/20 (p.m.) Salineño
2015/02/21 Resaca de la Palma State Park, Texas
2015/02/22 Resaca de la Palma State Park
2015/02/22 Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (Bahia Grande Unit), Texas
2015/02/22 Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Texas
2015/02/23 Port Aransas, Texas
2015/02/24 Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
2015/02/25 Mustang Island State Park, Texas
2015/02/25 Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Texas
2015/02/25 Goose Island State Park (Big Tree area), Texas
2015/03/01 Gemini Springs Park
2015/03/02 Gemini Springs Park
2015/03/03 Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
2015/03/04 Lyonia Preserve, Florida
2015/03/06 Washington’s Crossing State Park, New Jersey
2015/03/08 Tyler State Park, Pennsylvania
2015/03/10 Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
2015/03/12 Gemini Springs Park
2015/03/13 Gemini Springs Park
2015/03/14 Blue Spring State Park, Florida