My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Grand Time at Estero Llano Grande

Winnie and I continued our Saturday birding at Estero Llano State Park.  We got there about 1:45 P.M. and took a few minutes to eat the salads Winnie's son had made for us. While eating we had northern mockingbirds and long-billed thrashers singing and orange-crowned warblers foraging. Then we went down to the visitor center and I immediately enjoyed the birds in the pond, while Winnie went into the visitor center. I was enjoying looking through a scope operated by a volunteer. A Vietnamese lady started asking me questions about birds and my camera. By the time Winnie showed up, she had asked if she could go around with us.

View of the pond in front of the visitor center

White-faced ibis

Vegetation in the wooded areas

One of the birds we came to look for was the gray-crowned yellowthroat, a relative of the common yellowthroat.  We didn't see that bird, but did enjoy seeing a lot of ducks and waders as well as several kinds of sandpipers and a few vermillion flycatchers in young male and young female plumages.  The day was so cloudy that a sora came out early. We went down to the location of the sleeping common pauraque and had to stop along the way to take close pictures of a yellow-crowned night heron. On the way back from checking out the large alligator in the lake past the bedroom of the common pauraque, we were met by a woman coming to find us to show us a green kingfisher.

Sora by Winnie Shrum

Spotted sandpiper

Western sandpiper (I hope)

Common pauraque - one or more of these birds are always sleeping in the same four square feet. 

Green kingfisher in very low light

Then we decided to go up the hill to the Llano Grande.  We had a whole new set of birds there.  There were at least 100 black-bellied whistling ducks, many avocets and black necked stilts, and ruddy ducks.

Winnie's picture of Suzy and me coming up the hill to the Llano Grando

Back at the garden behind the visitor center, we watched inca doves and a pair of ruddy doves as well as a female rufous hummer. Then we had a little boy take our pictures at the entrance sign before saying goodbye to Suzy.

Inca dove pair

Female rufus hummingbird

Pair of ruddy doves

This is a very easy place to find a lot of species. It too will be even better in migration.

Winnie, me and our new friend, Suzy