Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Birding with the Wife at Bentsen and Anzalduas, 1/6/14

This morning I coaxed Honey out of our nice warm bed to go birding with the promise of dinner at her favorite char-broiled chicken place.  Yes I often have to order in Spanish but the food is great.  We got over to Bentsen a little late as we we're hoping it would warm up a bit.  It did.....a little bit.  At least it made it up to 60 today.  Our target was the Black-headed Grosbeak at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park which has been present the past few days.  This western species is pretty much annual in the RGV but I usually have to put in a few days of feeder watching to get one.  But with Honey's good karma, we knocked it off in a hurry at feeder #4.

After that we worked the area between the boat launch on the resaca and the Green Jay blind hoping to find the Red-naped Sapsucker but we went sapsuckerless.  However it was a good opportunity to give my new camera a good workout at the feeding stations.  I'm impressed with my new Canon 7D Mark II.  The results are far superior to my old T4i even with the same old 300mm f4 old lens.  Low light capabilities seem particularly good.  Green Jays were especially photogenic at the Green Jay blind.

Even though it was a little bit brighter today, light was far from plentiful.  But this White-tipped Dove shot came out pretty good anyway.

Plain Chachalacas seemed extra hungry.  Maybe they know about the cold front coming tomorrow.

Our next stop was Anzalduas County Park where I hope to knockout some county year birds.  House Finch was a priority and they didn't disappoint.  The species has always been pretty rare in the RGV with the only known population way out west at Falcon Dam.  Then a few years ago a few were found at Anzalduas. Last year the largest flock I had saw had grown to forty birds.  Today the new record high grew to at least a hundred birds.  I don't know if these are all local or if they are coming in from somewhere else.

Other birds on our hit list for today were Vermillion Flycatcher and Black Phoebe which we found easily. Eastern Bluebird took more work but we eventually found three of them.  They are hard for me to photograph.

But the Eastern Screech-Owl was right up in his usual hollow surveying his kingdom.

Then I was reminded of the conversation I had earlier with Pat Heirs and the Pratts (sounds like a singing group!) that the Burrowing Owls were at their old lair in nearby Granjeno.  So we made a quick run over and easily scored the two right where I saw them last year.

A very nice day with the wife was consummated with some fine pollo asado.  (The word "consummate" can also mean "to make complete").

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