My birding day started at Edinburg Scenic Wetlands where I wanted to knockoff the Winter Wren and Brown Thrasher. I quickly found the Winter Wren skulking around the wooded pond but I was unable to get a shot of it. The Brown Thrasher took a lot more work but eventually it popped up and perched for me at length but in such heavy brush it was hard to get a good photo. They are really bright orange-brown and small billed compared to our common Long-billed Thrashers.
I'm really impressed with the photos I'm getting from my new camera and lens. The Canon 7D Mark II combined with the new Canon 100-400 mm IS II lens cost a lot of money and weighs a ton but it sure spits out some nice images. Here's a White-eyed Vireo. I find with a little soft pishing they are really photogenic.
The ability to get a decent photo in poor light conditions sold me on the setup. Here's a Common Ground-Dove in the shade that has been cropped quite a bit.
And a Curve-billed Thrasher carrying some nesting material.
After I found my two target species, I drove south to Roselawn Cemetery in McAllen, hoping the Western Tanager I had found on the CBC back in December might still be around. It took me only a couple of minutes to find it but all I could muster was a distant shot.
My next stop was Quinta Mazatlan where I couldn't get the Tropical Parula to materialize. Then it was off to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse where one pish brought in a little flock with the Prairie Warbler.
Then I thought of one more stop where I might pick up an easy year bird. I was off to the Progreso grain storage area where I hoped to get a Yellow-headed Blackbird. Well, it took some work and it wasn't a pretty one, but it still counts.
So I picked up five new year birds for Hidalgo County, including three hard to get ones. I think I'm at 168 now but I'm not sure. Tomorrow there's one more warm morning before the next cold front. What do I chase next? Or maybe I should go out and find something rare on my own.