Today on October 9th, 2013, I spent a pleasant morning at the Tres Rios Overbank Wetlands. A permit is required to bird this awesome place. I covered the entire area in the four hours I spent there starting at 7: 45 A.M. Lengthwise, it is 2.5 miles one way, so 5 miles of hiking all together.
Tres Rios was very birdy today, and I tallied 71 species in my time spent there. From the start, the birding was good, as when I just got out of my vehicle to start birding I had a young BROWN PELICAN flying over the entrance area. Later in the day, I saw two Brown Pelicans together, so there were at least two. Jeff Ritz recently reported three, so three are probably still present. While I got close looks at the Brown Pelicans, the AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN flock was very distant and was resting on cement alongside the ponds. Regardless, these giants easily stand out, even if they are distant.
Waterfowl are on the increase, and I noted a GADWALL, two female BLUE-WINGED TEAL, and a lone NORTHERN PINTAIL. 3 LEAST BITTERNS called in the thick reeds.
Raptors were a nice highlight today. OSPREYS seemed to be everywhere, and I came across 2-3 young BALD EAGLES. The eagles flew over me at very close range-very cool! There was also a NORTHERN HARRIER, COOPER'S HAWK, at least 5 RED-TAILED HAWKS, AMERICAN KESTREL, a flyover PRAIRIE FALCON, and also the continuing RED-SHOULDERED HAWK. I encountered the Red-shouldered Hawk twice during my hike. The first time was at the westernmost end of the Wetlands, where I heard it only. This is the usual place to observe it. And then, very ironically, when I was 2.5 miles east of where I first heard it and was almost back to the entrance, I looked up and saw the hawk soaring right over my head! I found this bird last October, when it was still a juvenile. It is now a very sharp adult Red-shouldered Hawk, and it was a treat seeing it up close. I finally managed some decent pictures of it!
VIRGINIA RAILS and SORAS were vocal in the marshes, and I got very good views of one of the Soras. Another good highlight were two VAUX'S SWIFTS flying overhead. I actually managed a decent picture of one of them, a species I have never photographed prior to this morning.
Other highlights among the 71 species this morning at included ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, WESTERN KINGBIRDS, 4 BARN SWALLOWS, ROCK WREN, 2 CRISSAL THRASHERS, BREWER'S and VESPER SPARROWS, the always awesome YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS, and my First-of-fall LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH.
Belted Kingfisher female
Young Bald Eagle
This Osprey trespassed onto Grackle Land
young Common Gallinule
adult Common Gallinule
Great Blue Heron with a weird stance
Red-tailed Hawk "rufous"