Aren't they cute?
(all photos are cropped)
Going to, finally, wind up the Texas posts.
One of the more fascinating birds I saw at Laguna Atascosa NWR was the Plain Chachalaca. They are large birds, 22 inches long. They seem equally at home on the ground and in tree tops. I saw them in fairly large numbers chattering away in the tree tops. Unfortunately, it was an overcast day when I attempted to take pictures of them there. These pictures were taken in the bird feeding area outside the Visitor Center. The nail you see in the pictures usually held an orange, but was empty when they checked out the area.
At Laguna Atascosa there is a stretch of beach where the Osprey gather with their "catch of the day". Sometimes there would be between twelve and twenty Osprey at a time. I don't think I have ever seen that many Osprey together, at one time, anywhere else. Most of the time they were out of the reach of my camera, but one day I got lucky and this guy was fairly close to the road.
Before I get to the birds of Laguna Atascosa....
Mosquitoes love me. If there's one within a mile, it will find me. I've never been a big fan of any mosquito repellent, but have used it out of necessity. Last fall a friend told me that she had read somewhere that putting a fabric softener dryer sheet in your pocket would repel mosquitoes. I was sceptical. When I was packing up stuff, getting ready to leave Rockport/Fulton I put the box of dryer sheets in the front of the car so I could try it, if the occasion presented itself. There were mosquitoes at Laguna Atascosa, so I put one in the pocket of my tee shirt and used no mosquito repellent. My scepticism was not warranted. Over a three day period, I got no bites. And there were mosquitoes in the area, and in the car. I will continue to use this method of repellant and see if it works elsewhere. If they love you too...well give it a try. Anything is better than that awful slimy stuff they sell as repellant!
This is a White-tipped dove. Like the Green jay in the post immediately below, the bird books show their range as barely getting into Texas from Mexico. So it's not a bird one can see just anywhere!
At the beginning of March I headed down to South Padre Island. While in the Rockport/Fulton area I was told by several people that Laguna Astascosa NWR was a place I would really enjoy. The folks that told me that, well, they were right.
Right outside the visitor area is a bird feeding area. Lots of trees, and a little stream runs through the area. They put out orange and grapefruit halves to attract the birds. If you should happen to go, the refuge staff/volunteers gladly accept donations of oranges.
The Green jay of one of the birds frequently seen there. They are really quite handsome.
Stopped by Maxwell Arboretum earlier today. Last weeks blooming crocus are a memory, the daffodils are in full bloom, the white magnolias are blooming, the pink magnolias are budding, and the tulips are getting there.
Nebraskans planning a weekend crane trip will have a good chance of glimpsing one of the rarest birds in North America.
As of Thursday, at least 11 whooping cranes had stopped in Nebraska during the spring migration, said Karine Gil, crane population ecologist with the Crane Trust near Alda. The birds belong to a flock of 247 wild whoopers that migrate from wintering grounds in Texas to breeding territory in northwestern Canada.
This year for the first time, the movements of a few birds are being monitored in real time through miniaturized leg-band Global Positioning System devices.
This research project took six years of meeting, discussing and permit-getting in two countries. It is finally underway, at a propitious time.