Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Great Birthday Adventure, Part 4


 Today it was “Seedeaters Or Bust” for Griffin, as he and his mom had gone up to Falcon and Salineño the day before and dipped on both the seedeaters and reported anis, so we headed up once again with the seedeater being our sole target bird!  We got to the boat ramp first thing with the Osprey pair greeting us, then hiked the short trail, spending time at each of the “hotspots” where the birds had been seen in the past, along with other birders also looking for the same quarry!  We continued to work the trail, spending extended time at the “dead end”, and since the birds had been reported the day before, Griffin was content to wait it out at this spot rather than continue on to San Ygnacio or even Laredo.  While waiting we saw several swallows, including good looks at Cave, but also Bank and Barn, which we knew would be flagged by EBird, so Griffin got some documentation shots.  Not “flaggable” but still interesting were three adult Herring Gulls flying downriver, and a flock of Long-billed Curlews flying overhead!  A lovely male Green Kingfisher came in close and shone like an emerald in the morning sun!  Griffin spotted a small flock of Chipping Sparrows, and somewhere a House Finch chirped.

View of the Rio Grande from the end of the "Seedeater Trail"

This male Green Kingfisher is also peering down, looking for breakfast!
Patience was definitely the order of the day!  I made a few passes back and forth just to see if I could hear anything, running into birding buddy Michael who was also taking a couple of people around to see the avian sights!  They headed down towards the dead end while I continued to pace, and finally at one point heard the distinctive down-slurred whistle of a seedeater!  We all headed towards the sound, and at one point I caught onto movement and saw the bird just as it exploded from the cane and into the brush, never to be seen again… L  Griffin saw the bird but not well enough to see any detail (and all I saw was a pale body with some darker smudging), but he and Diane set up watch at the “hotspot” that’s about midway between the beginning and the end of the trail (it’s more of an overlook, with an Altamira Oriole nest off to the left which is a good landmark…).  I went on down to the cul-de-sac again, when before long I heard a whistle and yelled to Griffin just before a big ol’ white pickup came down the dicey side road and parked!  Turned out to be an unmarked Border Patrol truck, and the guys were amused, I think, when I blurted that I had a White-collared Seedeater and that my friend was desperate to see this bird and was going to be running down the trail any minute!  Sure enough, here came Griffin (followed more slowly by Diane), but the bird never showed, and we got to chatting with the BP guys, extending our appreciation that they were there, making things safer for tourists!

We did hear at least two birds on and off during the course of the day, but with the wind picking up (and the fact that invariably one of them was calling from the cane across the river), we were quickly giving up hope of getting a better look!  A soaring Zone-tailed Hawk was a nice consolation prize, and a Mexican Duck hanging out with what looked more to be a Mottled Duck was interesting, but no Muscovy came barreling down the River (although the cormorants would get us going for a minute).  While Diane and Griffin were back at the “Oriole Nest Watch Spot”, I was coming back from the cul-de-sac and heard a descending Keeerrr!  Sounding like the real deal and not a Green Jay imitation, I looked up to see a Gray Hawk making circles overhead, eventually showing off for all the birders scattered in various parts of the area! During one lull one of the Ospreys came in with a huge fish, took a couple of bites, and spent the rest of the time yelling at his mate/rival/whatever!

Various views of a Zone-tailed Hawk soaring overhead 

Powdered Dancer

Blue-ringed Dancer

Griffin scans the Mexican side for seedeaters

"Heppy" guards the parking area at the foot of the "boat ramp"

Towards 2:00 even Griffin’s patience was beginning to wane, so we all agreed it was time to veg at the feeders!  We hadn’t been seated five minutes before the Audubon’s Oriole showed up in all his glory!  What a show!  It was hard to break away when it was time to go, as even the Chachalacas were starting to come in, but we tore ourselves away and headed home with 63 species for the day. 
A "patriotic" Red Admiral indulges while we wait for the avian diners to show up... 

Black-crested Titmouse

Audubon's Oriole

"This is MY orange!"

Bird List:

  “Mexican Duck”                                                       
  Mottled Duck                         
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Neotropic Cormorant                  
  Double-crested Cormorant             
  Great Blue Heron                     
  Great Egret                          
  Cattle Egret                         
  Black Vulture                        
  Turkey Vulture                       
  Cooper's Hawk                        
  Harris's Hawk                        
  Gray Hawk                            
  Zone-tailed Hawk                     
  American Coot                         
  Spotted Sandpiper                    
  Long-billed Curlew                   
  Herring Gull                         
  Rock Pigeon                          
  Eurasian Collared-Dove               
  White-winged Dove                     
  Mourning Dove                        
  White-tipped Dove                    
  Ringed Kingfisher                    
  Green Kingfisher                     
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker            
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                     
  American Kestrel                     
  Eastern Phoebe                       
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Loggerhead Shrike                    
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Green Jay                            
  Tree Swallow                         
  Bank Swallow                         
  Barn Swallow                         
  Cave Swallow                         
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  House Wren                           
  Bewick's Wren                        
  Cactus Wren                          
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 
  Clay-colored Thrush                   
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  Orange-crowned Warbler               
  Common Yellowthroat                  
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                
  White-collared Seedeater             
  Olive Sparrow                        
  Chipping Sparrow                     
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Altamira Oriole                      
  Audubon's Oriole                     
  House Finch                          
  House Sparrow                        


No comments:

Post a Comment