Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Adding to the Photo List


            Ron and Char had been birding on their own for awhile before hooking up with me, but Ron’s life list was a little different in that he didn’t count the bird unless he could photograph it!  So since they had either already been to or were planning on going to two of the best spots in the Valley for photo ops, I decided on Quinta Mazatlan for a chance at migrants and maybe the nesting Green Parakeets.  It was a good sign when we pulled into the parking lot, got out of the car, and his first new bird was right overhead:  a calling Brown-crested Flycatcher! 

In order to maximize our time there, we spent about five minutes at most of the benches; we had heard an ani coming in, so I was wondering if this harsh sound I was hearing at the drip was just an odd call I had never heard, until it dawned on me that it was probably a frog…  It was actually rather quiet, but a Long-billed Thrasher gave nice views, and when we got to the “new area” (called the Ebony Trail I found out), we found two pairs of Green Parakeets checking out the nest holes!  They were so cute, especially when one would stick her little head out the hole!  Circling around to the back of the mansion, a few silent parrots flew overhead and then landed in a tree; of the two visible ones, one was a definite Red-crowned, and the other was a Lilac-crowned!  After paying the entrance fee we continued on the back way, past the Education Building and past the little pond, where a Wood Thrush landed briefly on a log and then was gone!  As we made our way to the main road, we flushed a Chuck-will’s-widow, which miraculously landed in the woods across the street where we could actually see him!  What a treat!  The main feeder area had mostly doves and Chachalacas, but on the way back to the parking area an Olive Sparrow hopped around practically at our feet!
Ron adds the Green Parakeet to his photo list!

"Hmm - will this make a good nest?"

"I think so!"

Ron and Char along the trail 

A Chachalaca "awww" moment
Not the best shot, but you don't often catch a Chuck-will's-widow perching in a tree!

Perky Olive Sparrow

Inca Dove

            With several new birds under his belt, Ron was very pleased, but in deciding where to go next, Char asked about the possibility of Northern Beardless Tyrannulets, so we decided to swing over to Anzalduas.  When we descended the levee, Char said she remembered the place from a previous trip: there was such a big party going on that the guy at the entrance gate automatically gave them plasticware and napkins!  (Must have been Easter Sunday…)  We cruised the roads and got out to walk a couple of times, seeing the requisite Black Phoebe, a silent “Copical” Kingbird, an uncooperative Altamira Oriole, and the Cliff Swallows nesting under the dam, but nothing new for Ron; I did hear a tyrannulet, but he was way back in the back area that is closed off to the public.  A Gray Hawk was whistling as well, but never showed.
Tropical and Couch's Kingbirds are virtually identical, so unless they talk, you can be hard-pressed to tell which species you have!

Cliff Swallows nest on the dam

            With about an hour to kill, we decided to go to the McAllen Nature Center, a beautiful little place, but with it warming up and it being “off season” for feeding, we really didn’t add anything except a calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo that refused to come out…  Nevertheless Ron was very happy with their half day, and we finished up with 61 species for the morning.  Bird List:
  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck         
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Neotropic Cormorant                  
  Great Egret                          
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Harris's Hawk                        
  Gray Hawk                            
  Swainson's Hawk                      
  Laughing Gull                        
  Forster's Tern                       
  Rock Pigeon                          
  Eurasian Collared-Dove               
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                         
  Inca Dove                            
  White-tipped Dove                    
  Yellow-billed Cuckoo                 
  Groove-billed Ani                    
  Chimney Swift                        
  Buff-bellied Hummingbird             
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Green Parakeet                       
  Red-crowned Parrot                   
  Lilac-crowned Parrot                 
  Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet        
  Black Phoebe                         
  Brown-crested Flycatcher             
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Tropical Kingbird                    
  Couch's Kingbird                     
  Western Kingbird                     
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            
  Loggerhead Shrike                     
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Purple Martin                        
  Cliff Swallow                        
  Cave Swallow                         
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  House Wren                           
  Carolina Wren                        
  Swainson's Thrush                    
  Wood Thrush                          
  Clay-colored Thrush                  
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                  
  European Starling                    
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Olive Sparrow                        
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Indigo Bunting                       
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Bronzed Cowbird                      
  Altamira Oriole                      
  Lesser Goldfinch                     
  House Sparrow                        

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