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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Birds Of Santa Ana NWR

And yes,I must start off with one of my new favorite birds,the Green jay,and why not two together?


After slowly walking the pathway and climbing the tower,I found I was seeing plenty of bird action but unable to get a clear shot through the thick underbrush,plus,they were always on the move.

I did get this shot below from the top of the high viewing platform.It was about 100 yards out and looking down.


Finally I came across a sign that said “Photo Blind,”so I followed the path to a small building with windows covered in burlap drapes and a nice bench to sit at by the window.And hey!I had it all to myself.

Well I spent an enjoyable 45 minutes there,with a couple of short term visitors,one from a local newspaper doing interviews.

At first I thought that I would see nothing when I first arrived at this blind,but was pleasantly surprised to look up and see my first green jays looking down at the feeding station out front by the pond.Then more birds,soon a steady stream of visitors came.This little guy below.I need my bird books,help!


And of course another favorite,the cardinal.I wish we had these in our backyard back home in summer,like they do in the eastern part of the continent.


And I need a more positive identification on this thrasher,as he seems smaller than the curve billed thrashers I see in Arizona.Maybe its not a thrasher,help again.


Here’s another angle below.


Then along came the Altamira Oriole,only seen down in this area and further south into Mexico.


They are trying to attract these here to the NWR.This species of oriole has both the male and female looking the same.They also don’t migrate.


My enjoying stay in the blind came to an abrupt end when some old guy(about my age) came stumbling out of the woods in front of the blind,scattering all the birds,looks at me inside peering out at him and exclaims…..What is this? In wonderment…I answered back sarcastically….It was a photo blind until a minute ago,and left..I guess I was a little rude but he could at least stay on the nicely marked paths.

My walk continued around the lake where I watch several types of duck frolicking,unable again to identify a couple of very colorful ones seen below.Even a couple with a bird book were having trouble.


He has orange feet and a bit of a spoonbill.Kathy,this one is for you…Identification please.

finally a couple more random shots finishing with another green jay photo.



I cant get over what a striking colored bird this is.2 weeks ago I didn’t even know they existed.Its also the official bird of the city of McAllen Texas.

My walk through the NWR this past Saturday will probably be my last bird outing for this trip.There are dozens more birding spots in this valley.I would recommend to any serious birder RV’er,that they spend some time in one of the parks in this valley.

I have one serious birder friend who spends his winters in Yuma,birding…….He doesn’t know what he’s missing.Do you hear me Murray?

And one last thing.I found the general lack of any crowds to be great as I found myself alone on the pathways most of the time.An enjoyable experience.

I’m hoping in the next couple of days,that I will hear that my axle’s have arrived and I can get back on the road for Oaxaca and my trailer home,probably full of ants and mice by now.Time is running out before I have to be home in BC,and I still have over 5000 miles of travel ahead of me.


  1. I remember now why the Cardinal has always been my favorite bird! Gorgeous.

  2. I'd call that guy a brown thrasher!
    The little guy with head stripes is intriguing...My book shows a Worm-eating Warbler w/range almost to McAllen, but it's not so grey, more yellow on head.Same bold lines, tho.

  3. We're going to have to start calling you the "Bird Man", Willy what with all these great pictures. Sorry, I can't help you with the descriptions of any of these critters - they're just birds to me!

  4. Willy, another set of great pictures. I agree about the brown thrasher ID. Wish I could see some of those green jays, their colors are awesome aren't they? Got your email and sent you reply, sorry it took so long.

  5. I enjoyed your blog, and your bird pictures. What kind of camera do you use? Another great place is Port Aransas. Theresa

  6. Hi Bill....yes the Thrasher is a Brown Thrasher (I've seen them at Writing on Stone in Alberta). The duck is a male Northern Shoveler. Don't know what that little sparrow type is....Kathy (aka Shantz)

  7. I hate to disagree with previous posters, but it is a long-billed thrasher. The brown thrasher is a more uniform rust color from head to tail; it would also be a rare bird to see at Santa Anna in winter. It has not been seen at any other time of the year there.

    I agree that the duck is a Norther shoveler. The sparrow is an olive sparrow, and the woodpecker is a ladder-backed.

    I'm really not trying to be a know it all here, but birds are my "thing"..., :) and I have led many a bird tour at Laguna Atascosa NWR which is about a ninety minute drive from Santa Anna.

  8. Thankyou all for your input,I'm now back at Oaxaca Mexico with my bird books in hand,feeling more comfortable.