Friday, March 3, 2017

For the Man Who Has Everything...


WD from Corpus had a big “friends and family” outing planned, but due to some cancellations it wound up being just him and me for a day of general birding!  Since he had already seen pretty much everything during the course of his birding career (the original goal was to show some new birds to the other folks), his goals for the day were, “Whatever you wanna do!”  Although he didn’t “need” it, the biggest rarity draw at the moment was the continuing Rose-throated Becard, so we opted to go to Estero Llano Grande first.

We left the Inn earlier than normal as the temps were predicted to get into the 90s again, and the walk through the Tropical Zone was just lovely.  I heard the tyrannulet, which was a bird he did want to get a look at, so we headed up the middle road (the so-called "Tyrannulet Trail"), going in circles as we tried to pin down the bugger!  We never could find him, so we continued on to the feeders after a fruitless peek at the Screech Owl Stump.  We enjoyed the Chachalacas and White-tipped Doves jostling over the seed feeders, along with a Long-billed Thrasher just singing his little heart out!  I heard some gurgling overhead and looked up to see dozens of Tree Swallows circling above us! 

WD watching the Long-billed Thrasher (below) serenade us!

Chesty White-tipped Dove

A 15 minute wait at the drip didn’t produce anything new, so we headed back.  Just past the last intersection before the Park Host area, we saw a group of birders with one pointing his lens into the trees and asked what they had.  It was the becard!  He flew off just as one of the participants pointed him out, but thankfully he didn’t go far, and on top of that he decided to pose right out in the open!  What a little ham!  What put the icing on the cake was hearing the tyrannulet again as we headed towards the parking lot, and this time he showed himself, giving WD a brief but identifiable look!

This time the becard is being a little show-off!

After once again padding the list with Ducks on Deck, we were waylaid at the feeders by a female Cardinal and Curve-billed Thrasher chowing down!  The Spotted Sandpiper was still stuck on his log, and Least Grebes were still trumpeting at Grebe Marsh.  Both flavors of night herons graced us again, along with both Pauraques that were in the exact same spots as the day before!  (I had to convince him that they weren’t stuffed, as I had seen one of them “adjust” himself a little the previous day…)  We rested at the overlook where only a Neotropic Cormorant showed (along with the requisite Alligator).

Lady Cardinal at her grapefruit

The return of the Curve-billed Thrasher...

WD was up for cruising the farm roads north of Santa Ana in search of the reported Prairie Falcon, so we made the loop, dipping on the Burrowing Owls but picking up American Pipit and Horned Larks for the day.  We finally circled back on Anaya Road, and flushed a large light brown falcon who was sitting in one of the cultivated rows!  We got enough of a look to confirm it as the Prairie Falcon, but with the wind the way it was, he dropped right back down into the field, and after checking every row, we simply couldn’t refind him.  But the crops themselves had us puzzled; we guessed broccoli, but we have the pictures on Facebook for input… J

Once again my Facebook friends come through, and identify this mystery crop as Kale!

After that we took a stroll around Chachalaca Trail at Santa Ana, the highlight being a Red-shouldered Hawk harassing the Harris’ Hawk pair!  From there we went to Hidalgo to tick the Monk Parakeets, then on to Anzalduas, picking up a Black Phoebe in the canal on the way in!  We passed on the Pipit Prance since he didn’t need it J and had a nice group of Eastern Bluebirds near the first intersection.  It was getting warm by then, so things were quieting down, but we did see a flock of birds that we didn’t get a good look at, but suspected were waxwings.  Unfortunately WD got the impression they escaped to Mexico… J

Rose-bellied Lizard in the Santa Ana parking lot

Monk Parakeet working on her nest

We headed home after that for the mid-day break, then headed out again around five for the parrot chase in south McAllen!  We were a little early, so I just cruised the neighborhood, picking up a pick-a-chooing Summer Tanager in the process!  We ran into the same British tour group that had shown us the becard, and when they heard that yesterday we had gotten the Trenton parakeets first, then came down here, we think they all packed up and headed up there, because on the next loop around the neighborhood they were gone!  We did see another guy we had also seen at Anzalduas, and he had simply parked on Cynthia and was patiently waiting!  At one intersection WD spotted three Lesser Goldfinches, with two brilliant males in beautiful afternoon sun!  Finally I spotted about six parrots flying overhead and we went into “storm-chasing” mode, tearing down the alley to get to the next street over, and there they were:  three Redcrowns, two Red-lored, and at least one Lilac-crowned!  The guy from Anzalduas had apparently heard them and just walked over, and we all got scope views of these beauties!

Red-lored (above) and Lilac-crowned Parrots chumming around

Red-lored Parrot doing the splits...

 It was time to go home after that, but not before a celebratory swing through the DQ for a Blizzard! J  Bird List:

  Mottled Duck                         
  Blue-winged Teal                      
  Cinnamon Teal                        
  Northern Shoveler                    
  Northern Pintail                     
  Green-winged Teal                    
  Plain Chachalaca                     
  Least Grebe                           
  Pied-billed Grebe                    
  Neotropic Cormorant                  
  Double-crested Cormorant             
  Great Blue Heron                     
  Great Egret                          
  Cattle Egret                         
  Black-crowned Night-Heron            
  Yellow-crowned Night-Heron           
  Turkey Vulture                       
  White-tailed Kite                    
  Cooper's Hawk                        
  Harris's Hawk                        
  Red-shouldered Hawk                  
  Common Gallinule                     
  American Coot                        
  American Avocet                      
  Spotted Sandpiper                    
  Least Sandpiper                       
  Rock Pigeon                          
  White-winged Dove                    
  Mourning Dove                        
  Inca Dove                            
  White-tipped Dove                    
  Golden-fronted Woodpecker             
  Ladder-backed Woodpecker             
  Crested Caracara                     
  American Kestrel                     
  Prairie Falcon                       
  Red-crowned Parrot                   
  Lilac-crowned Parrot                 
  Red-lored Parrot                     
  Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet        
  Black Phoebe                         
  Great Kiskadee                       
  Tropical Kingbird                    
  Couch's Kingbird                     
  Rose-throated Becard                 
  Loggerhead Shrike                    
  White-eyed Vireo                     
  Green Jay                            
  Horned Lark                          
  Purple Martin                        
  Tree Swallow                          
  Black-crested Titmouse               
  Carolina Wren                        
  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                
  Ruby-crowned Kinglet                 
  Eastern Bluebird                      
  Curve-billed Thrasher                
  Long-billed Thrasher                 
  Northern Mockingbird                 
  European Starling                    
  American Pipit                       
  Orange-crowned Warbler               
  Yellow-rumped Warbler                
  Summer Tanager                       
  Northern Cardinal                    
  Red-winged Blackbird                 
  Western Meadowlark                   
  Great-tailed Grackle                 
  Lesser Goldfinch                     
  House Sparrow                        


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