May 23, 2008

Back Home, kinda

We are back in the US of A and having to deal with cultural shock! I mean, there two very different countries and with two very different cultures. In the states you can't watch El Superbowl in Spanish or go to the zocalo and have 10 limonada minerals and in Mexíco you can't watch the Red Sox on NESN or the Diomondbacks on FSN!
Well, overall I'm a little shocked about the different cultures but am glad to be back where I can see Elegant Trogons and Flammulated Owls. Our border crossing was extremely quick, it only took 10 minutes! After crossing we drove to Del Rio and stayed at a campground with internet (wow!) and then the next day popped down and went to the Historic Prude Guest Ranch (for short Prude Ranch or HPGR) and stayed there for 4 days and did lots of fun stuff. Teslin rode with mom on a 45 minute ride (was spose to be longer) and the four of us did a half-day ride from Fort Davis Stables, about 10 minutes away from the Prude Ranch. That ride was pretty fun and I saw a lifer, Scaled Quail but afterwards I felt like I was sitting on a pointed rock for days (finally its better) and didn’t like that i couldn’t play b-ball or tennis!
During the 4 nights we were there I saw a family of Elf Owls (a lifer for me) nesting in a phone poll near our pop-up and every night I dragged myself out of bed and went to see the cute litttle owls! After 4 nights at the Prude Ranch we made for Tucson and got there the same day we left the Prude Ranch.
Now we are staying at Milagro Co-housing for a couple of weeks (at first we stayed at my aunt and uncles place). We have settled in and got a hummer feeder and a thistle bag and thistle seeds. We now have lots of hummers feeding and drinking out of the founting but the finches haven’t found the thistle yet. I was invited to a meal with two other young birders (a 9 and 13 year old) by a volonteer at the Tucson Audobon Society on May 31. I’m pretty excited for that and for meeting other youngsters like me who our into birding! I think the TAS just finished their yearly Birdathone and the meal is in that honor.
Yesterday we went to the Pualo Frier Freedom School to check it out and see if we want to go there or not and we liked it a lot! It was a little crazy though.

May 6, 2008

Terns at every Turn 5/2/08

Today we went to Rio Lagartos and went on one of the boats that tours provide with a guide that really knew his birds. I ended up seeing 7 lifers and 49 species overall. Here is how it all turned out.

6:45AM: I grudgingly got out of bed, had a quick breakfast (cereal), and got ready to go.

7:45AM: We got in the car and headed for Rio Lagartos (listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as dad drove).

9:15AM: We arrived at RL and looked for a good boat launch.

9:30AM: We found a good bird guide (named Eddie) to drive the boat and headed out into the rio.

9:30-1:00PM: We wove through mangroves and I saw 4 species of terns, Sandwich, Royal, Gull-billed, and the beautiful Black Skimmer (all of these being lifers for me). Terns were everywhere! At one place there was Caspian and Royal flying together and a Gull-billed and Sandwich on a sandbar! The Black Skimmers I saw where on a dock mixed with Laughing Gulls and a Sandwich [Tern]. I also saw my first Laughing Falcon perched right next to the waters edge! It looked at us for a while and then took off when we got too close. The Greater Flamingos were pretty fun to watch and I saw 2 Western Sandpipers (my first ones). Our guide taught me how to identify Westerns from Least (there very similar). Western Sandpipers have black legs while Least have paler legs. Also, in breeding plumage Western has some reddish blotches on its head and other parts of its body.
Aside from those 7 life birds and the 49 species I saw, I didn’t see that much. I was aiming for 30 so I guess I passed that mark. I heard a Mangrove Vireo but couldn’t find it. Here is the whole list from Rio Lagartos:

Bird List for Rio Lagartos

1. Sandwich Tern*new
2. Black Skimmer*new
3. Magnificent Frigatebird
4. Brown Pelican
5. Laughing Gull
6. Black Vulture
7. Lineated Woodpecker
8. Barn Swallow
9. Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
10. Turkey Vulture
11. Double-crested Cormorant
12. Snowy Egret
13. White-winged Dove
14. White Ibis
15. Reddish Egret
16. Wood Stork
17. Yellow Warbler
18. Common Black-Hawk
19. Great Egret
20. Great Blue Heron
21. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
22. Tropical Kingbird
23. Osprey
24. Tropical Mockingbird
25. Laughing Falcon*new
26. Spotted Sandpiper
27. Little Blue Heron-White Morph
28. Boat-billed Heron
29. Anhinga
30. Tricolored Heron
31. Common Ground-Dove
32. Least Tern
33. Greater Flamingo*new
34. American White Pelican
35. Western Sandpiper*new
36. Least Sandpiper
37. Caspian Tern
38. Royal Tern*new
39. Gull-billed Tern*new
40. Bobolink
41. Dunlin
42. Savannah Sparrow
43. American Avocet
44. Black-necked Stilt
45. Roseate Spoonbill
46. Long-billed Dowitcher
47. Mangrove Vireo (heard)
48. Cattle Egret
49. Common Moorhen

List of Tern Species I saw in Rio Lagartos

1. Black Skimmer
2. Caspian Tern
3. Gull-billed Tern
4. Least Tern
5. Royal Tern
6. Sandwich Tern

Home in New Mexico!

Home in New Mexico!
Las Vegas

Common Black Hawk

Common Black Hawk
Rio Lagartos, Yucatan

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

Pale-billed Woodpecker

Pale-billed Woodpecker
Kalakmul ruins

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
In my backyard-Las Vegas,NM

Me on Hermit's Peak

Me on Hermit's Peak
Las Vegas, New Mexico

Zia Being Cute

Zia Being Cute