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Southern Texas in February


Zoroark

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Several of the remaining places either are closed on Sunday, have afternoon-only hours, or are popular with the general population (i.e. non-birders), so today we decided to just go back to Bensen for another shot at that kite. The rare bird alert tipped me off to something else more easily accessible, however: a Code 3 Rose-breasted Becard! I was able to get a photo of that, plus a Cave Swallow (with a terrible photo) and a Buff-bellied Hummingbird (photo and audio), and two other FOYs.

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We went to Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and made another quick stop by Bentsen. I got a lifer Ringed Kingfisher with photo, and I also got a photo and audio of the Couch's Kingbird and three other FOYs.

Edited by Zoroark
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10 hours ago, Zoroark said:

We went to Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and made another quick stop by Bentsen. I got a lifer Ringed Kingfisher with photo, and I also got a photo and audio of the Couch's Kingbird and three other FOYs.

Nice! I hope you got better photos of the Ringed Kingfisher than I have ever been able to get. 

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13 hours ago, Kevin said:

Nice! I hope you got better photos of the Ringed Kingfisher than I have ever been able to get. 

We'll have another chance at Harlingen Arroyo Colorado, but otherwise my only shot is terrible.

Today, we went to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and Anzalduas Park. At the former, I added the Monk Parakeet (with photo and audio) to my life list. At the latter, we observed a lot of birds in Mexico. I added three other birds to my year list.

Tomorrow, we will be leaving the McAllen area and staying on South Padre Island.

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9 hours ago, Zoroark said:

We'll have another chance at Harlingen Arroyo Colorado, but otherwise my only shot is terrible.

Today, we went to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and Anzalduas Park. At the former, I added the Monk Parakeet (with photo and audio) to my life list. At the latter, we observed a lot of birds in Mexico. I added three other birds to my year list.

Tomorrow, we will be leaving the McAllen area and staying on South Padre Island.

Anzalduas Park (and Salineño too) have been good for my Mexican list. I have not yet set foot in the country, though I have seen more than 60 species while standing on the US side.

Have fun at/on South Padre Island. At least there won't be any spring-breakers there.

Edited by Peromyscus
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I'm pretty sure this recording is a Groove-billed Ani. That's one more lifer for February 27. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/540789201

49 minutes ago, Peromyscus said:

Have fun at/on South Padre Island. At least there won't be any spring-breakers there.

My father had to skip all of Galveston because of that. Spring Break in Houston is the week after I leave, and he couldn't find any availability at any RV parks or campgrounds in the area.

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We went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center and saw a lot of wading birds and a variety of seabirds. I very briefly saw two Clapper Rails—a new lifer—and eight other FOYs. One of those was a Black Skimmer with photo, a "legacy" bird last seen before 2007. (I also forgot to mention that I photographed a Harris's Hawk several times, which removed that one from the list as well.)

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5 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

What do you consider 'legacy' birds?

Those are the birds that I backdated based on old trip logs from the '90s and early 2000s and haven't seen since. That's before I got a camera with a zoom (end of 2005) and way before I cared about birds, so they're ones that I'm not super comfortable about having on my life list.  The other *eight with their last-seen dates are:

  • Pacific Wren (11 Jul 2001)
  • Chukar (9 Jun 1999)
  • Trumpeter Swan (3 Jul 1998)
  • Common Nighthawk (19 Aug 1997)
  • Dusky Grouse (1 Jul 1997)
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (31 Mar 1995)
  • Magnificent Frigatebird (31 Mar 1995)
  • Florida Scrub-Jay (30 Mar 1995)
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First, we went to Laguna Atascosa. Besides a flood of Red-winged Blackbirds on the feeders, it was fairly quiet. Afterwards, we went back to the Laguna Madre trail, this time from the South Padre Island Convention Center, followed by a visit to the mudflats to the north. Hundreds of shorebirds and skimmers made quite a spectacle. A Gull-billed Tern became a lifer, and six of the shorebirds were FOYs.

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13 hours ago, Zoroark said:

Those are the birds that I backdated based on old trip logs from the '90s and early 2000s and haven't seen since.

I like the term 'legacy birds'; do you mind if I use it?

We have a Golden Field Guide from the '60s.  The index has checkboxes beside each species but no references to locations, dates, which family members saw the bird, etc.  There's about a dozen, from Snowy Owl to Yellow-headed Blackbird to American Flamingo.  Like you, I'm not comfortable putting these on my life list, but I get one of them every three or four years.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

I like the term 'legacy birds'; do you mind if I use it?

 

Me too @Zoroark? While I wasn’t alive that long ago, I believe I have a few of these ‘legacy birds' Rusty Blackbird for example: 7A72CAE5-5D11-478D-94E9-16389CAD5D87.thumb.jpeg.1aadb6e8f37409d8afd17a734ed1608b.jpeg

I have an entry in Bird Journal(pre eBird) of it, noting I had a “good view”. The funny thing is I have no recollection of it happening, my memory’s pretty bad but I tend to remember lifers that I’ve only seen once. I wasn’t too great of a birder then, but I wasn’t as bad as I was before that, I believe I could have correctly identified a Rusty Blackbird. Weirdly enough, I don’t have gender on there. I would’ve been pretty easy to tell I think. Sorry for this long post about one bird.

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We went back to the South Padre Island Birding Center and the mudflats, as well as a stop by the Isla Blanca Park. I didn't technically get any lifers today, but I did briefly see and record audio of the Mangrove subspecies of Yellow Warbler.

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We went to the SPI Birding Center for a couple hours in the morning, and I snagged some good photos of tricky species (including that Mangrove Yellow Warbler), then we moved to Harlingen and spent some time at Harlingen Arroyo Colorado. I didn't get any lifers or even FOYs today, but it was still productive photographically. (I saw four FOYs yesterday.)

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Today, we woke up and heard Red-crowned Parrots at the RV park, a convenient lifer with audio. We then went to Resaca de la Palma in search of two rarities: a code 4 Blue Bunting and a code 3 Tropical Parula. Unfortunately, four hours of waiting turned up nothing. We also stopped by Arroyo Colorado again. Both stops turned up three additional FOYs.

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We visited Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. On the Heron Flats trail, we saw a good variety of birds, including two new lifers: Sedge Wren and LeConte's Sparrow, with photos of both and audio of the Sedge Wren. After looking at bar charts, that sparrow appears to be fairly uncommon in the area.

Edited by Zoroark
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We went to quite a few parks around the Rockport area, spending most of the time at the Rockport Beach. While I didn't get anything new (even for the year) it was a nice day. We did try listening for an Eastern Whip-poor-will at night but didn't hear one.

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Today, we took the Port Aransas ferry to visit several places in Port Aransas, Mustang Island State Park, Padre Island, and Corpus Christi. I snagged one additional lifer: a Code 3 Aplomado Falcon! The photos of it are terrible, however.

Now that I'm waiting at the airport to head home, here are the trip statistics:

  • 101 checklists
  • 173 species observed (all new for Texas, 34 new for Tamaulipas)
  • 38 lifers (nearly all with photos or audio)
  • 101 FOYs
  • 7 counties birded (plus one county in Mexico)

Unlike previous trips, all checklists should be finalized, so please take a look at the trip report to see everything. Photos won't be added for awhile, unfortunately.

This makes Texas second in my list of states where I've seen the most birds, barely edging out California and Arizona.

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2 hours ago, Zoroark said:

Today, we took the Port Aransas ferry to visit several places in Port Aransas, Mustang Island State Park, Padre Island, and Corpus Christi. I snagged one additional lifer: a Code 3 Aplomado Falcon! The photos of it are terrible, however.

Now that I'm waiting at the airport to head home, here are the trip statistics:

  • 101 checklists
  • 173 species observed (all new for Texas, 34 new for Tamaulipas)
  • 38 lifers (nearly all with photos or audio)
  • 101 FOYs
  • 7 counties birded (plus one county in Mexico)

Unlike previous trips, all checklists should be finalized, so please take a look at the trip report to see everything. Photos won't be added for awhile, unfortunately.

This makes Texas second in my list of states where I've seen the most birds, barely edging out California and Arizona.

Epic!!!!

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