I was birding today south of Mission when I ran into a couple who had just found a Green-tailed Towhee. There's been quite a few in the Rio Grande Valley this winter with a particularly cooperative one at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands so it's no big deal. When they described the location I realized it was Los Ebanos Road just east of the National Butterfly Center. This area was famous a few years ago for several Hooked-billed Kites that were feeding on the Rabdotus snails that were having a good year. I had not seen a Green-tailed Towhee yet this year so I made the run over there.
I found the spot they described by three old telephone poles and started pygmy owl tooting and pishing. It didn't take long till the local passerines came rushing in. First were Black-crested-titmice, Blue-gray Gnatchatchers and Myrtle and Orange-crowned Warblers. Then a Northern Cardinal and a Pyrrhuloxia. Bewick's and Catus Wrens called nearby. Well pretty good but where's the Green-tailed Towhee? As the flock tired of me and wandered off, I finally spotted the towhee and got a couple of distant documentary photos of this locally uncommon species to keep eBird happy. I kept tooting and pishing and the towhee kept creeping closer. I finally got a decent shot of the bird perched in a nearby mezquite when it dropped to the ground. I was shocked when it popped out just a few feet away.
Well that was a nice surprise. Birding is just like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Maybe a little cheesy but it's true!