Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sal del Rey, 10/15/14

This morning I ran up to the Sal del Rey unit of the Lower Rio Grande NWR to check on the water conditions.  There's now plenty of water and plenty of birds.  This big white-tailed buck greeted me as I walked in from Brushline Road.

Walking in I saw a small flock of Nashville Warblers and a couple of sparrows but not a lot else.  Upon arriving at the glassy calm lake I was afraid there was nothing on the water.  But some careful scoping started turning up stuff.  A flock of White-fronted Geese flew over with a lone Ross's Goose bringing up the rear.

I whistled my poor Snowy Plover call and a flock of Least Sandpipers with a single Western Sandpiper flew in , followed by a lone Snowy Plover.

Scoping across the lake I found a tight raft of American Coots, 35 Eared Grebes and a hundred Wilson's Plovers.  I'm hoping the phalaropes will stay for the CBC like they used to before the lake dried up.

A flock of Northern Shovelers flushed and were soon joined by three Northern Pintails.

Other shorebirds were Greater Yellowlegs, Long-billed Curlew and American Avcocets.  A flock of 40 Laughing Gulls were joined by two young Herring Gulls.  Herring Gulls are hard to find in Hidalgo County.

On the way out the harks started rising.  Two flocks of Swainson's Hawks totaled 112.  Here some of the diverse plumages.

On the way back to Weslaco I drove down Brushline Road where there were plenty of flooded fields.  It should be good birding this winter.  I then ran over to Hargill where the Collared Plover playa was as full as I've sever seen it.  There were tons of birds but they were very distant, mostly Least and Western Sandpipers with a lone Wilson's Phalarope.  Driving east along FM 490 there was more standing water. Here's the Sal del Rey list.

LRGV NWR--La Sal del Rey (LTC 005), Hidalgo, US-TX
Oct 15, 2014 8:40 AM - 10:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
54 species

Greater White-fronted Goose  25
Ross's Goose  1
Gadwall  15
Blue-winged Teal  6
Northern Shoveler  30
Northern Pintail  3
Eared Grebe  35
Neotropic Cormorant  20
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  1
Cattle Egret  12
Turkey Vulture  6
Cooper's Hawk  1
Harris's Hawk  1
White-tailed Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Swainson's Hawk  112
American Coot  60
Sandhill Crane  2
American Avocet  2
Snowy Plover  
Killdeer  1
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Long-billed Curlew  6
Least Sandpiper  47
Western Sandpiper  1
Wilson's Phalarope  100
Laughing Gull  40
Herring Gull  2
Common Ground-Dove  6
Mourning Dove  10
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Crested Caracara  1
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Kiskadee  1
Couch's Kingbird  2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  2
Green Jay  1
Barn Swallow  50
Cliff Swallow  1
Black-crested Titmouse  4
Verdin  1
House Wren  3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Northern Mockingbird  3
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Nashville Warbler  4
Cassin's Sparrow  1
Lark Sparrow  5
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
Pyrrhuloxia  1
Red-winged Blackbird  40
Great-tailed Grackle  15

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