Last of 2014 – 1st of 2015

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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!!).

image

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!

image

This lovely, soft blue and brown butterly is a skipper – although I don’t know which one.  Okay – so enough of the insects already!

image

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.

image

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!

image

Okay, so now we’re back on birds.  Here’s a little female Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

image

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.

image

At last we found a few good looks at an Altamira Oriole.  First we heard it singing, then posing.

image

At the ball fountain, many birds were drinking and even attempting to bathe.  Here’s a Great Kiskakee having a drink.

image

This Orange-crowned Warbler was both bathing and drinking!

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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?

image

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.

image

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).

image

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).

image

This was one of many really good shots of the Blue-headed Vireo – with a snack!

image

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.

image

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.

image

This lovely Great Egret posed amongst the dead wood.

image

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.

image

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.

image

This Clurve-billed Thrasher hid amongst the trees, but we saw him.  He has softer marks on his breast compared with the Long-billed.

image

This is the photo I would have posted on our Xmas blog – Red bird in a green tree (Northern Cardinal – singing)!

image

To end with – here are our little sweeties, Katrina and Natasha cuddled up together.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Last of 2014 – 1st of 2015

  1. JB says:

    Great pictures. Looks like you are getting out and about when the weather is better. It was cool here over the Christmas holidays but we are back in the mid 70’s now, so all is well.

  2. birderspost says:

    We/re not getting out as much as we’d like – waaaaay cooler than it should be around here (especially the next few days w/ high of 5 tomorrow!). So sorry to hear about Brenda’s brother. I hope she is continuing to improve in the knee dept. Your grandchildren are delightful – thanks for the cute photos! XO L

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s