South TX Raptor Notes – April 2016

Alex Lamoreaux|

Molting adult Aplomado Falcon flying along Old Port Isabel Rd (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

From savannas, to subtropical forests, to desert scrub there is no better springtime paradise for hawkwatchers than southern Texas. Huge numbers of migrant raptors slip northward along the coastline, taking the shortest possible route around the Gulf of Mexico, and 11 different species call the southern portion of the state their year-round home. There are even a few species that can …

Crested Caracaras at Sunset

Tim Schreckengost|

Crested Caracara - Tim Schreckengost

Drew and I spent the last two hours of January 21st looking for the Smooth-billed Ani in Broward County, Florida. We worked a 100 meter stretch of scrubby habitat along Government Rd. anxiously waiting for the ani to pop out, call, and make it’s presence known. There were numerous birds flying to roost during our ani search including White Ibis, …

Birding Aruba – Part 2

Tim Schreckengost|

Brown Pelican at Malmok Beach, Aruba on 27 June 2014. Digiscoped with an iPhone 5 + Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 & Phone Skope Adapter. iPhone photo by Tim Schreckengost.

See also: Part 1 | Part 3   I didn’t do much birding during our third day on the island, but I managed to hit a few spots as we explored the southeast portion of the island before dinner. As we were driving, I pulled off into a shady parking lot (eBird Checklist) to scan the beach and sea for anything interesting. Of …


Laguna Atascosa NWR — South TX Spring Break

Alex Lamoreaux|

Plain Chachalaca at Laguna Atascosa NWR (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

March 8th kicked off a week-long tour of southern Texas with my friends Ian Gardner, Chris Markiewicz, and Mark Markiewicz. We landed in Corpus Christi in the early afternoon, and made a quick trip north to the Rockport area across from Aransas NWR in search of Whooping Cranes before dropping back south to Rio Hondo. On the drive up, we …


Finally seeing a Fulvous – Stormwater Treatment Area 5

Alex Lamoreaux|

My first lifer of the trip - Fulvous Whistling-Duck! (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

March 2nd, 2013 was the second full day of a Florida birding trip that I took with my friends Josh Lefever and Mark Mizak. Josh and I drove down from PA and planned on meeting up with Mark (who currently works in the Florida Keys) at Stormwater Treatment Area 5 and go in for the tour at 8:00am. Josh and I had stayed …


Another year of birding underway!

Alex Lamoreaux|

Two of 3 Razorbills we saw at Barnegat Inlet, NJ (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

With the first month of the year officially behind us now, I thought I would take a look the current status of my year list. Beginning a new year is always fun – every single bird is ‘new’, it’s winter, and there are typically a bunch of winter rarities and other good birds around to chase. You never really know what the …

Western Tanager and bonus Crested Caracara!

Alex Lamoreaux|

The Crested Caracara surveying Cape May Court House. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

On December 5th, 2012 Cape May birder Will Kerling was riding his bike through Cape May Court House and spotted a male Western Tanager in some trees along the road at the intersection of Hand Ave and Dias Creek Rd! The tanager was following a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker around in some Siberian Elm trees, trying to get at the sap that …


Vermilion Flycatcher – Orlando Wetlands Park, FL

Alex Lamoreaux|

Vermilion Flycatcher (1 of 2 present) - Orlando Wetlands Park, FL (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

One of my target birds for my past weekend down in Florida, were the two adult male Vermilion Flycatchers hanging out at Orlando Wetlands Park. This park, which is located about 40 east of Orlando, is one of my all-time favorite birding locations. We arrived at 9:00am, it was beautiful and warm out, but occasional rain would shower down every …

Trapping Crested Caracara in Florida

Anna Fasoli|

In mid-February, I helped capture a few of the adult Crested Caracara we had been monitoring at nest sites. Adults were still tending to their nests and chicks, and were very territorial. This makes it easy to target the area near the nest to trap the adults. We used a “lure” bird, a captive Crested Caracara to draw in our …


Crested Caracaras in South-central Florida

Anna Fasoli|

Crested Caracaras are members of the family Falconidae (which includes other species like Kestrels, Merlins and Hobbies, and the Peregrine Falcon). Recently, through genetic work, it was discovered that Falconidae is more closely related to parrots than other raptors. There are 11 known species of caracara, one of which is extinct. Crested Caracara is the only one found in the …