Dec. 26: Off to Estero Llano Grande again. It was terribly windy, so we stuck to walking among the trees and checking out the feeders.
The citrus fruits which were planted when there was a campground in the park are still producing. As everywhere, the grapefruit are ripening – would love to send some to you all – as are many different types of oranges.
There are seeding fruit as well on many trees, but this “fruit/flower” on this sago palm was fascinating. It’s about a foot across with soft, coral fuzzy polyps underneath which are edible.
Fruit also brings insects. This “wasp” was huge – about 2″ long…3″ if you count its antennae. The body was irridescent blue with orange wings. It’s a tarantula hawk wasp and hunts tarantulae and other spiders as food for its larvae. It has the second most painful sting in the insect world (holy mackerel – what you can find out on google!!).
Of course there are more butterflies around all the time, as migration continues. This zebra heliconian was one I’ve been wanting to see – about 3″ across!
This lovely, soft blue and brown butterly is a skipper – although I don’t know which one. Okay – so enough of the insects already!
At the feeding station this damned fat squirrel continues to thwart the humans who try to put feeders where squirrels can’t get to them. This squirrel took 2 tries before managing to grab onto the wooden bottom of this one then climb the netting.
There weren’t too many birds around, and this Cooper’s Hawk was the reason. We think it actually tried to get one of the squirrels (not sure), but that definitely halted activity in the area. Can you see him in the trees? He’s lookin’ atcha!
Okay, so now we’re back on birds. Here’s a little female Ladder-backed Woodpecker.
And, Bill finally managed to get pretty good shot of a Black-crested Titmouse. That was enough of a hot, windy day (high 30C!).
Dec. 27 out for a walk at the butterfly center. A lovely day, not too hot, sunny w/ clouds.
At last we found a few good looks at an Altamira Oriole. First we heard it singing, then posing.
At the ball fountain, many birds were drinking and even attempting to bathe. Here’s a Great Kiskakee having a drink.
This Orange-crowned Warbler was both bathing and drinking!
At the feeding station (which had been cleaned out in about an hour – and there was nothing left), we saw an LBB (little brown bird). A House Wren may not be much to look at, but boy can he sing! Often hard to photograph, because they flit about so quickly in the undergrowth.
We walked along the trails but were unable to find much activity – certainly no warblers. A few White-eyed Vireos and this lovely Long-billed Thrasher who sat for a photo.
We talked for awhile with a pretty woman from S. Dak. who was photographing butterflies, but who had a great interest in birds (and people, since she asked us all about ourselves). She spotted this butterfly which looks exactly like the leaves it’s on – can you spot it? Slightly left of centre with a pink head and antennae – also a lirtle “tail”. I couldn’t find it anywhere on a website or photo – so don’t know what kind it is.
Our little Eastern Screech Owl popped part-way out of his box this time to greet us!
Dec. 29: Supposed to be a rainy day;, although the morning was just beautiful. Nonetheless, we had shopping and errands to do. Little did I know it, but it included Bill buying me diamond earrings! Who knew?
From Dec. 30th to Jan. 3rd we were stuck inside. The weather was rainy, cloudy and the coolest we’ve had since we arrived. Between 5 and 12 C (night and day)!
Jan. 4th: Still pretty cloudy, but we set out for a walk in the afternoon anyway (going stir crazy), next door at Bentsen. It was still really cloudy, but as we made our way around the sun came out. First time in many days and everyone we ran into was smiling. Bill hadn’t taken his camera, so we couldn’t record the female Blaclk-headed Grosbeak we saw. This is Don’s SK nemesis – so we’ll try to give this one a message to go to Broadview next spring Don!
Jan. 5th: Off to Edinburg on the coldest day we’ve had (5C), but with light winds we just wore gloves and hats. The sun actually broke through a few times and finally the cloudes mostly dissipated. We were rewarded with 5 new species: Tropical Kingbird, Indigo Bunting (f), Blue-headed Vireo, Cave Swallow, and Verdin.
The male Ladder-backed Woodpecker has a red cap which extends down to his eyes. He has some little white freckles there at the front. too (a man after my own heart).
We got very close to this busy, adorable Ruby-crowned Kinglet (whose red crown doesn’t usually stick up except when displaying in the spring (though we’ve seen it in winter when other kinglets are around).
This was one of many really good shots of the Blue-headed Vireo – with a snack!
Here’s one of our favourites (again) – Green Kingfisher. She’s not in full plumage yet, but will lose the little tan spot at her throat and develop two, full green bars in front by mating time.
This one is for birders only – a Cave Swallow – zooming above the pond. Barely enough definition to tell it from “Cliffie”. It was this one and a few others which confirmed – but really, they are mostly “Cavies” around here.
This lovely Great Egret posed amongst the dead wood.
Can’t resist a beautiful Cinnamon Teal. This is for Gallie – she came west one year and we had a great day birding with she and Robyn, searching (and finding) these ducks.
Okay this is another one for birders – a Nashville Warbler, but not a great view. Trust me, it is one! Also saw a Wilson’s here, but no photo.
This Clurve-billed Thrasher hid amongst the trees, but we saw him. He has softer marks on his breast compared with the Long-billed.
This is the photo I would have posted on our Xmas blog – Red bird in a green tree (Northern Cardinal – singing)!
To end with – here are our little sweeties, Katrina and Natasha cuddled up together.