2018 Pix
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© 2018 - All Rights Reserved


Here are some pictures from 2018. So you know there is all kinds of great stuff to see.
It's just that I can't get good photos of it. These are mostly point-and-shoot
documentation grab-shots. They are the photos used on the bird news page in 2018.
They are in reverse chronological order as used (last most recent at top-start; first
in Jan. at bottom-end). They were taken with a Canon Powershot SX40.


redbreastednuthatch
Docushot of the Red-breasted Nutchatch in yard Nov. 2.



twelvespottedskimmer
Here is a docushot of the Twelve-spotted Skimmer in Bandera Co.,
taken from 75 yards, at least, maybe 85 yards. It is surely my
longest distance dragon docushot. Pardon the pixels. Oct. 5, 2018



broadwingedhawk
Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, wondering why I just have
to take its picture when it is all wet and trying to dry out...



coralsnake
Texas Coral Snake is a stunning beauty. Always remember there are a dozen
harmless snakes with red, black, and either white, cream, or yellow bands.
They are all but one, harmless and beneficial. On all but one the red bands
touch black bands. The only dangerous one is also beneficial as it is beautiful.
It is the only one where the red bands touch yellow bands. It is only dangerous
if you pick it up and play with it, as their mouths are too small otherwise.
So look but don't touch. And remember the old saying:
Red next to black is a friend of Jack,
red next to yellow will kill a poor fellow.



Harris's Hawk
The camera dial had moved off of my standard settings so the image is messed up, sorry.
But I liked it anyway for what it showed. This is a sub-adult Harris's Hawk.
I love tweener plumages. The barred feathers are those of an immature. The solid
colored ones (rufous and brown) are those of an adult bird. Tweeners allow you to
see how the molt actually progresses (taken Sept. 7, 2018). And taking photos
gives you a chance to study it at length, leisure, and detail not possible in a
flyby view. Sure there were imm. and ad. feathers, but which was which specifically?



Painted Bunting
Be careful throwing seed out, you might catch one of these.
This is one of three plumages you may see on a first spring
male Painted Bunting. Most, look like females, all green, and
paler below, some of which have molted back into brighter green
as this bird. Then there is a type with some blue in head which
increases over summer, and which are brighter yellow below.
These salmon below types stay this way all summer and never get
blue on head while here. Note the back, scapulars, and maybe
some wing coverts are not the dull original juvenile feathers
like head, wing, and tail, they have been replaced, are fresh, and
bright lime green. Some of this type are more evenly salmon below.



Hygrocybe species
Methinks this mushroom is one of the Hygrocybe genus (maybe cf. punicea).



Stenapsis verticalis insignis
One of my favorite Cerambycids (Longhorn Beetles)
Stenapsis verticalis insignis on Evergreen Sumac
on which they meet to eat flowers and mate in September.
But only certain special "magic" chosen plants that
they use year after year, generation after generation.
Body and antennae each are nearly 2" long.
Sorry about having to shoot against white sky.
You take these any way you can get them.



Oak Hairstreak
(Southern) Oak Hairstreak



OMG, a big bonus break this week with TWO whole pictures!
Both of these birds were certainly brought down by the rain event
last week. They were at high magnification, so a bit fuzzy, sorry.
When documenting something rare or unusual, it doesn't matter.
Can you ID it?, is what is important when rarity documentation.


Least Sandpiper
This is a juvenile Least Sandpiper, only the 2nd Least I have seen
here (the 1st juv.), on a flooded fairway at the golf course Sept. 7, 2018.
Likely the first photo of one in the upper Sabinal drainage.


American Bittern
Maybe the first American Bittern ever documented in Bandera Co.,
on Sept. 9, 2018 at the flood ponds on S. Little Creek Rd.
Normally in a patch of reeds where nearly invisible, it usually
takes a pro to spot one. But not this one, which was a drive-by.



Yellow Warbler
Here is a fall male Yellow Warbler. The streaks on the
underparts are flaming scarlet red spring to summer.



Yellow Warbler
This is a female Yellow Warbler at our bird bath.
Much nicer not shooting through an old rusty window screen.
The bright lines on breast and throat are reflection from
the ripples it just made bobbing down into the water.



House Finch
Here is another little illustrated plumage you may see now.
This is a young of the year male House Finch maybe about
90 days old or so and just beginning to acquire its first
red feathers which will soon connect across the breast.
So they look like a female with some pale red at first.
By fall and into winter it is red like an adult male,
but a much paler shade of red than adults.



Fuertes' Red-tailed Hawk
This is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk of the fuertesi subspecies,
which is the type that breeds locally. They are very pale
below compared to many other types of Red-tails. Note how
it shows the dark patagium (inner leading edge of wing) of almost
all Red-tails. Also note the strong belly band like Eastern
types, which it loses as it matures becoming creamy white and
fairly unmarked below, save the odd streak here and there.



Painted Buntingxxxx
Adult male Painted bunting. When in body molt they can become completely pockmarked with pale spots as this bird is begining to show. When enough red feathers drop, the pale bases are exposed of the ones that remain. Their entire underparts can look like the breast on this bird.



Painted Bunting
When enough red feathers drop evenly, they can appear
fairly pinkish brickish red below, quite unlike the
bright saturated usual red. I didn't get the front of
this bird, but they can be entirely like the paler posterior
abdomen shown here. A paler muted pinkish brick red.



Painted Bunting
Here is another example with much pale pockmarking, this on lower underparts.
Several I have seen in later August or September have been very pale below,
and or very heavilly pockmarked throughout underparts with pale spots.
This is normal appearance due to molt, it is not diet or captivity, it is natural.
They are not discolored. You can see this on Vermilion Flycatcher and Cardinals,
which BTW get much worse as they molt, and since they don't leave, we see it
all the way through with them.



BlueGrosbeak-IndigoBunting
Well Doc, this is how I blew my blue receptors out.
Blue Grosbeak in front, Indigo Bunting in rear, both males.
This does not begin to do justice to the instensity of blue.



Slaty Skimmer
Here is the Slaty Skimmer at Utopia Park on July 14, 2018,
which appears to perhaps be the second Uvalde. Co. record.
Tripp Davenport found the first at Cook's Slough, Uvalde, in 2009.



Painted Bunting
Here is another variation you might see in Painted Buntings that
is not well-illustrated in the field guides, those that show
yellow on underparts. There is a very rare type where yellow
replaces all the red including eyering. These partially yellow
ones are more regular, but I only see these in late summer when
body molt occurs. I do not see this type in spring or early breeding
season, but there are some like this every late summer to fall.
In California the bird record cops say anything but immaculate red
is discolored - probably due to diet from captivity. These are
obviously wild, normal, natural, and not cagebirds. They are not
discolored, it is not due to diet, or captivity. Variations of this is
a normal plumage I see seasonally year after year in a few birds.



Painted Bunting
Ever see one of the red-backed Painted Bunting males?
They are around, one of 7 males now in yard is one.
I see at couple or few at least every year. I do not know
what the story is with them, just that they are, and neat
looking. I hate to lose that green I love, but still nice.
You should get an extra point for every plumage type you see.
Then you find out who the real sluggers are. Got one of the
bright yellow below adult males? 'Nother point.   ;)



Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting male, waiting in line for the feeder.
We had SEVEN males at once on the seed one day this week.



Painted Bunting
I have replaced the shot I had here with one not taken through screen.
Wanted to show how averse these beasts are to feeders. A copy of this
should be put into every California Bird Record Committee Painted Bunting
record in which a reviewer said "its a male at a feeder" in a disparaging
manner as if it is not a normal natural thing. Same goes for the lack of
pure red underparts as on bird on the left, due to molt, not diet or
captivity. Anyone that suggests these as reasons for one not being
wild is bearing false witness to your bird record. It is not OK to give
bad reasons that good bird records are not valid. It is making up false
stuff up about the bird record. Best I could tell (and I was there)
Jon Dunn was the one that started the mythical preposterous unfounded
notion that there is something amiss about a male Painted Bunting at
a feeder, and that those that are not perfectly uniform red below are
discolored. Both are pure rubbish! They are feeder flies!



Neon Skimmer
Neon Skimmer male



dowitcher and phalaropes
Long-billed Dowitcher and 3 Wilson's Phalarope in Bandera Co., May 4, 2018.
Likely the first proof of either species in that county, at the South Little Creek ponds.
Sorry about the fuzzy, pic taken at max magnification and about a hundred yards.



Blue Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak, adult male



Broad-winged Hawk
Adult Broad-winged Hawk at Lost Maples in April. This
looks like one of the pair that nested the last few years.



Golden-cheeked Warbler
I should make this a quiz bird... just for giggles
But would have to alter file name, etc... so forget it.
This is a just-fledging Golden-cheeked Warbler. It was
being fed by a female and the first summer male below
(next pic down) at the photo break in last week's update.



Golden-cheeked Warbler
First summer male Golden-cheeked Warbler, with a true (stink) bug
which it promptly fed to its begging young. There is about a month
left to fairly surely see them this year, they get dicey in July.
It was unusual to see a first-year bird in a prime-habitat area,
usually the older males get all that. At least he had a young.



Mourning Warbler
This is the female Mourning Warbler Kathy spotted at the
bird bath May 13. Sorry the pix were taken through a window
and a 50 year-old screen so a bit fuzzy, with apologies.



Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird at our bath May 8, taken through a window
and a 50 year-old screen so a bit fuzzy, with apologies.



Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher



American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch - Not every year a few stick around long enough
into spring for us to see the male's beautiful breeding plumage.



Golden-cheeked Warbler

The light was bad, but the bird was good.



Golden-cheeked Warbler
Golden-cheeked Warbler in Ashe Juniper.



Black-capped Vireo
Black-capped Vireo at Lost Maples, pardon my pixels, I figured
you'd give me a pass considering their lovely arrangement.
This is a third year bird and still not a definitive adult.



Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow at Lost Maples on April 1



Golden-cheeked Warbler
Singing "she says I'm so laa-zzeee"



Indigo Snake

Indigo Snake



Vermilion Flycatcher

Pardon the pixels and fuzziness



Common Raven

If you are missing a pecan, call, I may have a lead for you. All the Ravens around here are Common Ravens (and there are no Crows). The ebird reports of Chihuahuan Ravens on the south central Edwards Plateau are best disregarded. I highly doubt anyone can prove any of them. Especially the Lost Maples reports. Common are common nesters and residents locally, which have exploded in numbers in the last decade. Chihuahuan are all but accidental here and should not be considered without diagnostic evidence unless reported by a known Raven expert. These Common Raven here are small and compactly built. Any Raven here is Common until proven otherwise beyond question. Show me the proof. All the hundreds reported and not one has any actual evidence to support it. I have seen photos of Ravens on websites labeled Chihuahuan at Lost Maples which are undoubtedly Common Raven, in which there is nothing whatsoever to support a claim of Chihuahuan .
~ ~ end Raven rant ~ ~



White-crowned Sparrow

Adult White-crowned Sparrow of the usual variety here,
the eastern nominate leucophrys subspecies. Note black
in lores, pink bill, and pale areas in back light gray.



Harris's Hawk

Tight crop of the adult Harris's Hawk in our big pecan.



Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren in default position



Great Kiskadee

Here is a better pic of the Kiskadee at Utopia Park, from Feb. 3.
Last weeks first docu shot was a bit fuzzy and bad light.
Kathy and I went the next day, had great views and got this pic.
Whatabird. It is on a stem of Greenbriar Vine, of which it ate
a berry.



Great Kiskadee

First known Great Kiskadee at Utopia Park, Feb. 2, 2018 was up in
the woods on the island, occasionally calling. The poor light and
angle hide the rufous wings and tail well. It is a big flycatcher
that is a great fisherman, taking smallish minnows and such often.



Goshawk

This is the Northern Goshawk that was over town Dec. 15, 2017
Note the long stovepipe of a tail. This structure is unique.
Apologies for the poor pic, it was the best of 3, at maximum
high (pixelated) magnification after it got high up. Initially
it was quite low, was a nice adult.



Hutton's Vireo

Hutton's Vireo



Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird - male



Berteau House

Just to give an idea, here is a pic showing part of the yard, house and cottage, so you can get an idea of where much of the stuff being written about is being seen. This pic was May 2013, barely two months after we moved into this place. Now there are butterfly flowers around the porch. Yard lists are: about 40 species of odes (dragons), over 85 sps. of butterflies, 7 sps. of frogs & toads, 7 sps. of native lizards, 20 sps. of native mammals, about 100 sps. of plants (mostly wildflowers), and at the 5 year point, about 220+ species of birds.




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