Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Teniente Tract, Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR, 7-23-22

Last Saturday I headed up north to check the local bodies of water in eastern Hidalgo County.  There was some good mudflat conditions at the Sugar House Pond and Delta Lake with lots of birds but nothing unusual.  By noon I had made it up to the Teniente Tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR north of TX 186 to check out the butterflies.  It was pretty dry with few flowers and few butterflies but the birding was surprisingly good.  My whistled immitation of Northern Pygmy-Owl was really drawing in the birds, especially the youngsters.  Bird of the day was this surprise Bell's Vireo, a Willacy County first for me.  We start getting a few migrant passerines in July but we're right on the edge of the range of Bell's Vireo so this may well be a summering bird.

Some birds were obviously migrants like this Black-and-white Warbler.  The temperatures in the 90s was really giving the autofocus on my old lens some problems.  So this is all I could get.

Orchard Oriole is also a migrant.

I saw four Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and thought they might be migrants till I heard one singing.  They are pretty uncommon summer residents in the lower RGV.

Summer Tanager is another species at the southern end of its breeding range.  This scruffy youngster is pretty good evidence of local breeding.  An adult male was not too far away.

Least Flycatchers were obvioulsy migrants.  I found three of them.

This newly fledged Common Ground-Dove was in a plumage I've never seen before.

Young Brown-crested Flycatchers were looking pretty ratty.  They responded really well to the pygmy-owl calls.  So much so that I suspect they hear them regularly up there.

Here's a young Pyrrhuloxia feeding on prickly pear tunas.

At this point it was getting really hot so it was time to head home.

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