When I moved to the Rio Grande Valley in 1994, I had recently seen Yellow-billed Loons in Arizona and New Mexico so I wasn't too interested when one was found in 2001 near Port Isabel in the ship channel. But since then I started keeping state and county lists and I never got the opportunity to see aother Yellow-billed Loon in Texas till this week. One was found 600 miles away at Lake Balmorhea this past Tuesday and I was looking at it on Wednesday evening. The upturned straw colored bill and dark smudge behind the eye are good field marks on this scaly backed juvenile.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Yellow-billed Loon at Lake Balmorhea, 10/30/20
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Hermit Warbler at South Padre Island, 10/20/20
Yesterday a Broad-billed Hummingbird was photographed at the Convention Center on South Padre Island. I saw the alert on WhatsApp at about 4pm and decided it was too late to make the long drive ou there for this first Cameron County record. Well I finally got over there at 9 this morning and missed the bird by a couple of minutes. And then it failed to show over the next five hours. I was about to give up when the WhatsApp dinged again and this time it was Javi Gonzalez over at the SPI Birding Center and he had just found a Hermit Warbler. I saw the one at the Convention Center five years ago but I can't say no to a Hermit Warbler. I guess this is an adult female. So the string of lost western birds on South Padre Island continues.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Scott's Oriole at South Padre Island, 10/6/20
This past Monday somebody found a Painted Redstart at the Birding Center on South Padre Island. But being Monday the park's birders, Javi Gonzales and Britney Marchan, had the day off so the bird didn't get on the What'sApp alert. I found found out Tuesday morning and promptly raced out there. I spent a couple of hours observing Song Bird Alley with Javi and Britney where the Painted Redstart had been seen but no luck. I also walked the board walk hoping to find it in the mangroves but it wasn't out there. Maybe it had wandered to the nearby Convention Center.
So I drove over and planted myself by the water feature. There were a few Gray Catbirds and Wilson's Warblers. Then I noticed a bird overhead feeding on fiddlewood berries. It was grayish green with big white wing bars and a fairly long sharp oriole bill. What the.....? A husky grayish green oriole with big white wingbars? My brain quickly ran through the possible orioles and only one met that description. It was an immature female Scott's Oriole! Wow! That's just as good or even better than a Painted Redstart. In fact is was a first Cameron County record on eBird and my 414th species for the county.