Friday, 23 December 2016

Catch up

I've got a bit of time and I'm feeling more "with it" so in order not to fall to far behind I thought I'd do another day report from my trip. Let's face it...these are dark days, so I've no excuses!
 
Post dates and actual dates have got "out of flunter" somewhat! No matter.
 
Thursday 15th December
 
As usual I was out at dawn and down at Bentson hoping for an Oriole sighting. I didn't get one but I had great if dull views of a Hawk by the visitors centre.
 
 
Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks are very similar and my experience is obviously limited. I waited for the sun to rise and hoped the bird would remain longer enough for a better view...
 
 
 
The pale neck emphasising the dark cap and the plump build make this a Cooper's for me. Nothing else of note seen but here's a nice comparison between a Great-tailed Grackle and a Red-winged Blackbird...
 
 
A GREAT tail indeed...
 
 
It was now time to leave the RGV after our 12 day stay. We'd covered most areas and sites including quite a few I've never been to before, which was nice. The weather had been kind with hardly any rain and temps mainly in the 70's/80's which was what we were hoping for in our escape from the British winter! We both agreed to do it again next year...all being well.
 
The AMAZON KINGFISHER was obviously the star bird and a massive bonus. I was pleased to pick out the Eurasian Wigeon amongst the countless waterbirds on Laguna Atascosa and finally get great, conclusive looks at a Black-throated Gray Warbler. I also managed to see most of the Rio Grande Speciality Birds, Audubon's Oriole being the big miss...boy did I try for that one! Zone-tailed Hawk would have been nice also. I didn't try for Hook-billed Kite this time as there had been no recent reports.
 
We left the Motel around 11 and headed for New Braunfels and Lorna Clevenger's house. She'd told me to go straight in and wait as she was at work. If you remember I'd missed "Clyde" by a day in March so I was hoping to see him and add him to my Texas list on this visit. There was a problem however...a Rufous Hummingbird had muscled in on the feeders and was dominating proceedings. She was seeing less and less of Clyde! I'd got to know Lorna reasonably well and I was hoping this situation could be resolved as she'd become very attached to this Texas rarity over the last 3 winters...
 
Her number plate...
 
Clyde Calliope Hummingbird New Braunfels
Amazing how this 3 inch bird (the smallest breeder in North America) returns to the same tiny area.
 
We waited until 5 but only saw the enemy...
 
Rufous Hummingbird
We also enjoyed amazing views of an Eastern Pheobe which behaved in a very tame way. At one point I thought it was going to land on Louise...not sure how that would have gone down!
 
 
Lorna then arrived home from work. It was great to see her again. We stayed and chatted until 6pm. She told me that she had the day off tomorrow and that I was welcome to come around again form dawn. I thanked her and we left for the Motel just down the road.
 
Friday 16th December
 
I arrived at 6.50am. I made her jump as she came out of the back door to see me standing in the garden! She made me a drink of coffee and we waited. Lorna is finally tuned to this bird and can see and hear him in an instant...which was hopefully going to be a help. The Rufous appeared! No sign of Clyde.
 
7.30...8.00 still no sign. It would obviously have been a disappointment to me to miss this bird again BUT nothing in comparison to Lorna's sadness at losing her "friend".
 
8.24am..."Hi Clyde" she called!!! I couldn't see or hear anything. "Hi, little fella" she called again?
 
She pointed to a bush some 30 feet away. There hidden in a gap was Clyde...
 
 
 
This bird definitely has a relationship with Lorna and responds to her calls and movements...it's amazing! A very poignant moment for her to see that he was still around...I was quite pleased as well! I spent another hour or so with them then went back to the Motel to pick up Louise. We returned and finally said goodbye around 12, as we had to head to Fort Worth for my CBC tomorrow.
 
Below are a few images of Lorna's friend...
 
Huddled up in the early morning rain
Sheltering in the bush
 
 
One of my very best Texas memories...
 
 

2 comments:

Lorna Clevenger said...

So glad you got to see Clyde.
He was at feeder this morning at 7:15 AM

Alan Whitehead said...

Hi Lorna,
Just seen this. Thanks for inviting us. Hope to see you next winter...