Saturday, April 30, 2011

Edith L Moore Nature Center

Earlier this week I popped in to Edith L Moore Nature Center in Houston in the hope of seeing migrating songbirds. The latter were comparatively few and far between but I did manage to see some: Baltimore Oriole, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, American Redstart, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and Golden-winged Warbler.

Most of the migrants were well out of reach of my lens but a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak flew down to the birdfeeder at the cabin. She looks very different from her beautifully colored partner but that beak is unmistakable.

The most exciting sighting was of an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a life bird for me.

While a group of us watched, the Flycatcher flew up and caught a huge dragonfly.

Then it started to do something very odd. It dropped the dragonfly and then flew down to catch it again as it fell. It went on to do the same thing several times.


Was it just being clumsy? Was the dragonfly a particularly elusive big? Was the bird playing with its prey? Was it practicing its flycatching technique? Who knows! It certainly made for interesting watching, though.

Before I left, I spent some time taking pictures of a family of four Yellow-crowned Night Herons at the pond. The two juveniles were not very active.

 One of the adults put on quite a show when it caught and ate a crawdad.


Once it had dealt with the crawdad, the bird decided it was time for preening.


At times the Heron looked more like an abstract sculpture than a bird.

The bird was very tolerant of people and let me get near enough to take head shots from different angles.


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