Saturday, July 30, 2016

Laguna Seca Road


One of the most fun ways to bird when it's hot is from the car!  I've been exploring a new road-birding route that basically follows Laguna Seca Road in northwestern Hidalgo County but also includes some nearby "dead end" roads.  From FM 490, Laguna Seca runs north, but also has an east-west paved portion that ends at US 281.  Along this initial northbound section I almost always get a "Fuertes'" Red-tailed Hawk any time of year, so I'm assuming he's resident! 

The habitat along the whole route is mainly mesquite savannah with patches of thornscrub woodland and farmland.  After checking the paved Laguna Seca, I continue north as the road zigzags and eventually joins FM 3250.  Then there are two east-west roads running off 3250 that I check (Miller and Floral respectively), and finish by going north on CR 4557 off Floral (which in real life I think is called Lazy Palms, after the RV park up the road).  This road dumps out on FM 1017, and that's where I end the route.

Today probably the best bird was a singing Audubon's Oriole; I'm told they disperse into this area, and on road trips into the brush country northwest of here I do run into them regularly.  Three hen Turkeys on Miller Road were a treat as well.  Just for kicks and grins I checked out another side road that ended at a ranch and had a family of Anis, plus the route's only Couch's Kingbirds.  Other birds typical of this habitat included Bullock's Orioles (Orchards were migrating through), Painted Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, lots of Bobwhites, a few Cactus Wrens, good numbers of both Pyrrhuloxias and Cardinals, a couple of Roadrunners, and a nice selection of raptors including Harris' and White-tailed Hawks, plus several caracaras.  Upland Sandpipers were flying over as well; always fun to hear their didilly-do!

Groove-billed Ani

Beat-up male Cardinal

His mate... 

Cactus Wren
Rat Snake (I think - feedback welcome)

Crested Caracara
Hidalgo Co.--Laguna Seca rd., Hidalgo, Texas, US Jul 30, 2016 6:46 AM - 10:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
25.0 mile(s)
Comments:     79 - 91 degrees; mostly sunny to mix of sun and clouds; calm to slight breeze
49 species
Northern Bobwhite  42
Wild Turkey  3     Three hens; unmistakable large, dark-bodied birds with pale, naked heads, poking through mesquite woodland.  Expected in this area.
Black Vulture  3
Turkey Vulture  17
Harris's Hawk  3
White-tailed Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1     Fuertes' subspecies; seems to always be here!
Upland Sandpiper  5
Eurasian Collared-Dove  6
Inca Dove  3
White-winged Dove  19
Mourning Dove  50
Greater Roadrunner  2
Groove-billed Ani  8
Common Nighthawk  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  18
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  7
Crested Caracara  7
Brown-crested Flycatcher  3
Great Kiskadee  15
Couch's Kingbird  2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  20
Loggerhead Shrike  3
White-eyed Vireo  6
Green Jay  3
Purple Martin  6
Black-crested Titmouse  4
Verdin  17
Bewick's Wren  17
Cactus Wren  3
Curve-billed Thrasher  8
Northern Mockingbird  31
European Starling  7
Cassin's Sparrow  1
Olive Sparrow  6
Lark Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  35
Pyrrhuloxia  32
Blue Grosbeak  5
Painted Bunting  1
Dickcissel  5
Eastern Meadowlark  4
Great-tailed Grackle  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Orchard Oriole  4
Bullock's Oriole  6
Audubon's Oriole  1     Slow, sad song (unfortunately not for the recorder); has occurred in this area before.
Lesser Goldfinch  4
House Sparrow  30

49 species

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