Thursday, February 15, 2024

Green-tailed Towhee, Mission, TX 2/15/24

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!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Resaca de la Palma, 2/13/24

Today I decided to make a try for the Cassin's Vireo at Resaca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville.  Even though I still need that species for my Cameron County list, I have not made much effort during my past few visits.  It's always a chore trying to distinguish between Cassin's Vireo and pale Blue-headed Vireo.  In west Texas during migration I feel pretty good about calling Cassin's Vireo but down here I've seen way too many pale Blue-headed Vireos to feel comfortable about making the call.  I wish they would just lump 'em all back into Solitary Vireo.  Anyway the only "Solitary" Vireo I saw today was a dark headed Blue-headed so I didn't have to worry.

Meanwhile, the Roadside Hawk has been present since November.

Both the Gray-headed and Rose-throated Becards also continue but I only saw the female Rose-throated Becard today.

I hung around the feeding station for a while hoping for the Tropical Parula but I had to settle for the wintering Northern Parula.

Here's a Black-and-white Warbler.

I counted twenty Green Jays at the feeding station.

Do not hate me because I am beautiful.

Supposed to rain in a couple of days.  I hope we get dumped on cuz we need it.