Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Good Stuff in the RGV, 11/10/15

The RGV Birding Festival ended a couple of days ago and the field trips really turned up a lot of unusual birds across the Rio Grande Valley.  This Greater Pewee was found a couple of days before the Festival at Anzalduas County Park and was a real hit.  It's the third I've seen in the Valley.  Also seen during the Festival at Anzalduas were Hooked-billed Kites, Zone-tailed Hawk and Dusky-capped Flycatcher.  I may try for the kites tomorrow.

A Blue-throated Hummingbird was found in the parking lot at Estero Llano Grande State Park.  The field trip I co-led with Jon Dunn got to see it .  Later in the Tropical Zone Jon was pointing out birds to the group and I saw a flash of rufous, brown and yellow.  I shouted out "Myiarchus!"  The bird perched in front of us and Jon made the call "Dusky-capped Flycatcher" before I could get the words out.  Unfortunately I wasn't carrying my camera.

The next day a Whooping Crane was found with a flock of Sandhills near Laguna Atascosa NWR.  I raced over after my field trip and managed the poorest of photos from a quarter mile or more away.  It was the first I have seen in the Valley.

Huck Hutchens and I lead a couple of trips up to Brushline Road and Sal del Rey where we found a single Red-necked Phalarope with fifteen Wilson's Phalaropes.  Two Say's Phoebes were later seen at Hargill but the Collared Plover seems gone for the year.  Again no photos.  

At the same time the group at Sabal Palm Sanctuary had a singing "Western" type flycatcher which from the spectrograph of the song seems to be the first Texas record of Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  The old Western Flycatcher was split in 1989 into the Cordilleran Flycatcher of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific-slope Flycatcher of the West Coast based on differences in their songs.  I ran over there this morning and with David Benn's help got to see it.  What a cooperative bird!  I found one nearly twenty years ago south of Santa Maria that was probably this species.

So the cavalcade (I like that word) of rarities continues.  What's next?

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