Texas Travel Diary - p 3

Summer Tanager23 April 2009
Those shorebirds were a nice easy photo shoot, but today it's back to the challenge of photographing migrant songbirds.  A good place to start is Paradise Pond in Port Aransas, a 2.5 acre pond area whose margin of willows and other trees attract all the migrants.  Close to the boardwalk is a first spring male Summer Tanager, feeding on wasps and the like.  Later this year he will molt from his rather garish appearance into the pleasing red of breeding males. 

Indigo Bunting

Paradise, alas, has dried up, the result of a long drought in these parts.  The pond is now a weedy meadow, but millet has been planted and thrives here.  It provides the buntings a much needed snack as they arrive from Mexico.  As many as a dozen Indigo Buntings work the seed heads at once.


Painted BuntingsThe more colorful Painted Buntings are, naturally, more shy.  Duncan and I spend many hours on one of the decks, awaiting that moment when the bunting of choice comes close enough and is open for an acceptable photo.  It's hot work; we adjourn for iced tea at Taqueria San Juan, a Mexican restaurant next to the Pond that just oozes local atmosphere.  Thus refreshed, we return for more buntings.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Just about any patch of woods around here attracts migrants .  Blucher Park, practically in the middle of downtown Corpus Christi, is small but its streamside trees hold Northern Waterthrush, as well as Baltimore Orioles and Rufous-sided Towhees feeding on mulberries.  There's even a Chuck-Will's Widow flitting about.  But my only photo op comes across the street at a tree where Golden-fronted Woodpeckers are nesting.  This bird seems to be the replacement species for our own Red-bellied Woodpecker.









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