I always get enthusiatic about birding at the start of the year. Year list totals all roll back to zero and who knows what's out there to be found. So here's a few pretty good birds I've seen this month starting on the 17th. I've already filed away photos from before then.
1/17 I decided to make a try for the Rose-throated Becard at the Nature Center at Bentsen State Park. A park docent told me he had seen it once but it might be a long wait. After a while I see my old Arizona friend and Field Guides trip leader Chris Benesh. His group had just seen the Hook-billed Kites and were ready for the Rose-throated Becard. Not much was happening and while his group were recooping from their morning walk, we talked about birds and Chris' scorpion life list. While he tended to the needs of his group, I notice a chunky, big headed bird land in the top of the mezquite. I called out "There's the becard!" I always like finding the bird before the tour guide does. This Mexican fruit eating flycatcher has been seen hitting the peanut butter feeders.
Chris told me where to look for the kites. It took a while but eventually I happened upon a group with scopes trained on the bird. The Rabdotus land snails have been doing well attracting as many as seven Hook-billed Kites. Here's my poor photo.
1/19 A Black-headed Grosbeak has been hanging around the Amphitheater feeding area at Quinta Mazatlan just like last winter. I ran over and positioned myself in front of the feeders hoping to tick this western grosbeak for the year and darned if a Winter Wren didn't run across in front of me. It was so fast I didn't get a chance to photograph it. After a while visting birders arrived and pointed me to the grosbeak and I saw it for about a second. Well that was underwhelming. Local guide Tiffany Kirsten showed up with a couple of customers hoping for the Black-headed Grosbeak and darned if the Winter Wren didn't put in another appearance.
I gave up on getting a shot of the grosbeak, so I wandered over to Ruby Pond and ticked a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker for the year.
Well how about another try for the grosbeak? Back at the amphitheater bird activity was picking up. It was 4pm and seemed like everything was coming in for an afternoon drink or bath. There was the Summer Tanager I had glimpsed earlier.
1/28 I took our new Jeep out to Boca Chica beach.but the tide was high and it was windy and foggy. Surf was too rough to make it up the the jetty so I turned around and got lucky with this first winter Lesser Black-backed Gull.