Friday, April 1, 2022

Black-capped Vireo at South Padre Island, 4/1/22

Yesterday afternoon I was on the elliptical trainer getting a good workout when the Whatsapp on my phone dinged.  Javi Gonzalez had just found a Black-capped Vireo at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.  Black-capped Vireos are pretty easy to find in proper habitat across the Hill Country of central Texas.  And even though their migration route to and from Mexico takes them across the Rio Grande Valley, they are pretty rare down here.  I really wanted this one for my Cameron County list but it was nearly 5pm and I decided too late to make a run to the Island and I was too tired and sweaty.  So I hoped it would stay the night and I would try in the morning.

Well I made the run out there and Javi sent out word that he had relocated the Black-capped Vireo as I approached.  It didn't take long before I was looking at my 422nd bird species for Cameron County.

Black-capped Vireo had previously been listed as an endagered species.  Livestock, particularly goats, and large populations of deer had seriously damaged the understory in the oak and juniper habitat this taxon prefers.  But with better stewardship of the land, they have recovered somewhat and have been delisted.  This individual has hanging out with a congener Bell's Vireo Which is also very uncommon in the RGV.

I made a quick run over to the nearby SPI Convention Center and photographed yet another Vireo, this one a Yellow-throated.

Then I got word that a Virginia Rail was showing along the boardwalk.  It always helps to have a few other birders around.

Otherwise it was pretty slow but it's still early in the season.  Meanwhile back at Progreso Lakes our Kentucky Warbler is still around and gave up a few better photos.

Now that I've got my Black-capped Vireo it's time to get the other Hill Country rarity, Golden-cheeked Warbler.  They've been seen a few times in the Valley so it's not impossible.

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