Today I finally nailed one of my long time nemesis birds for Texas, the Ruddy Ground-Dove. I failed to find the one at Big Bend a couple of years ago. There was one at Estero Llano Grande State Park several years ago that I tried for 13 times but had no luck. Many are reported here in the Valley by over enthusiastic birders who don't understand how maroon a male Common Grond-Dove can be. I've chased after those too. So here's the story of today's bird.
The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival is taking place this weekend in Harlingen and I get to co-lead a couple of field trips with the renown ornithologist, author and bird guide, Jon Dunn. We did a warbler field trip together last year and thought it was worthwhile to do one again. Also while in the Valley, Jon graciously agreed to speak in Weslaco for a fund raiser for Frontera Audubon Society and I happily offered to drive him over from Harlingen. Well Honey and I thought we might as well invite Jon for dinner before the program and we got to spend a brief bit of time with this geneorous and entertaining man. Here's Honey and Jon.
Today Jon was leading a van of people as part of the bird festival's Big Day competition. I was over at Frontera scouting for our warbler trip. After I got home I called Mary Gustafson to finalize a few things for the festival and got word that Jon's group had just found a Ruddy Ground-Dove at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco. So I raced right over and got bird #530 for my Texas list. I have seen Ruddy Grond-Doves many times in Arizona and even had a flock of five of them at my apartment while I lived in Patagonia. But today's bird is the east Mexican rufipennis subspecies which is a much richer rufous, almost maroon. Thanks Jon!
While scouting for warblers at Frontera Audubon Thicket I found this nice Black-throated Green in the water feature.
Yellow-throated warblers like riparian vegetation during the breeding season. They love palms when they winter in the Valley.
Here's a really sharp Blue-faced Darner. Not sure how much longer they'll be around as winter approaches.