This morning started innocently enought. I ran over to Quita Mazatlan WBC in McAllen to look for the Western Tanager. That's a good bird for the county year list. Well, I found it without too much trouble and enjoyed the very birdy environs of Quita Mazatlan. Then this afternoon Honey and I were to meet a friend at South Padre Island for dinner. Well we left a little early to do some birding. I wanted to check out the beach for Gannets and Lesser Black-backs.
Thinking it would be a shame to be out here and not check out the Sheepshead Valley Land Fund lot, we decided to drop by for a few minutes. We pulled up to the lot and Honey stayed in the car while I walked over to the fence and did a little pishing and F. Pygmy Owl tooting, hoping to attact whatever may be in there. I was only there a couple of minutes when this flycatcher zooms in responding to my tooting. It was bigger than an Empionax. First thing to come to mind was a Myiarchus. Maybe Ash-throated as i didn't see a lot of color. Well I got my glasses on the bird. Holy Moly! (If I was Tom McKinney from skillsbills blog I would be swearing profusely now, but I'm not). It was a grayish good sized flycatcher wih olive tones and a crest with a bright white spot in the middle of it. Yellow-bellied Elaenia was all I could think of. At this point I started shaking as there are no previous Yellow-bellied Elaenia records in the USA. I ran back to the car and grabbed the camera and lucky for me the bird ws still there so I snapped these pics.
I did some calling and finally managed to get a hold of Scarlet Colley. She and George show up a few minutes later along with some passerby birders and then Brad McKinney and Mary Gustafson get there a little before dark. There were a few tense minutes as we tried to refind the bird for Brad and Mary but eventually all get to see it. Brad was troubled by the lack of yellow on the underparts and so was I. When we got home I checked out all of my central and South American field guides and the closest thing I could find to our bird was White-crested Elaenia from southern South America. Then strangely enough, among the posts on Texbirds discussing the pics of the Elaenia was a post by Martin Reid who says he thinks it is a White-crested Elaenia. I'm sure there will be more discussion as to the identity of this bird. Hopefully lots of people will get to see it tomorrow and maybe get some better pics. Anyway, when it's all sorted out, we just found a new species for the ABA area. Holy Moly!
Oh, and here's the Western Tanager.