Thursday, February 13, 2020

Rose-throated Becard at Resaca de la Palma, 2/13/20

A Rose-throated Becard and a Dusky-capped Flycatcher have been hanging out near the visitor's center at Resaca de La Palma State Park near Brownsville for the past week so I figured it was time to check them out.  These are not super rare in the Valley and in recent years have been occurring almost annually.  I got the becard with little problem and it even sat up in the sunshine for me.  Unfortunately I was photographing in cloudy conditions yesterday and my ISO was set at 1600 so what should have been pretty good photos came out a little grainy.  This is an immature male Rose-throated Becard.  An adult male would be gray with a brighter red throat.

Unfortunately I could not find the Dusky-capped Flycatcher.  The few we get from east Mexico are of the lawrencei subspecies which is more brightly colored than the birds commonly seen in SE Arizona.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

White Wagtail in Austin!!!!!, 2/9/20

Yesterday afternoon a birder with a camera was walking along the bluff above the Colorado River in Roy Guerrero Park in Austin when a little gray, black and white bird landed on the gravel below him.  Fortunately he recognized it as a White Wagtail, got photos and entered it into eBird.  But word didn't get out till last night and fortunately I saw the post on the ABA Rarities Facebook group right before I went to bed.  Well this is significant because this White Wagtail is the first to ever be seen in Texas. 

So I got up super early, drove 325 miles and arrived at the site a little after 10 am.  A couple dozen birders were there watching the White Wagtail below them about fifty yards away.  I saw a few I've known for many years and got looks through their scopes before I could get mine on the bird.  This was not a lifer for me.  I saw one back in the 90's at the famous Moon Glow Dairy manure pile near Monterrey California.  But this was a much more attractive, better marked bird in a much more aesthetically pleasing environment.

This individual seems to be a young male of the ocularis subspecies from eastern Siberia.  A small number of them also breed across the Bering Strait on the Seward Peninsula.  Occasionally one will be found wintering on the Pacific Coast.  White Wagtails have even been recorded in a few inland states and it is a species we thought might show up in Texas some day.  You gotta love the serendipity of birding!