South Texas Birds
Orange-Crowned Warbler drying off after a storm
Green-Tailed Towhee, showing off my crest
Laughing Gull, incoming
Little Blue Heron
"You don't want to mess with me"
Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks
Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks (back)
Mottled Ducks (2 on left)
Fulvous Whistling Ducks (front)
After Choke Canyon came Falcon State Park 130 miles to the southeast. Another reservoir created by a dam built in the first half of the 20th Century.
The first night I raced down to Salinino Wildlife Refuge because they were to stop feeding the birds for the season that day. There I saw my first Great Kiskadee, Long-Billed Thrasher, White-Tipped Dove, Altimira Oriole, Ringed Kingfisher, Plain Chachalaca and finally after hearing it several times saw my first beautiful Green Jay. Back at Falcon we added the Northern Bobwhite, Couch's Kingbird, Cassin's Sparrow, Muscovy Duck, and heard our first Common Pauraque.
0n the first of April the 2012 count(s) stood at 209/42 lifers.
Next stop was Choke Canyon St. Pk. We stayed here just 2 nights as a stop-over before Falcon but it turned out to beautiful and yielded some unexpected great birds. Among those added here were Laughing Gull, Cave Swallow, Crested Caracara, Purple Martin, White Ibis, Anhinga, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck and the Olive Sparrow. When we left on 3/28 the 2012 year list stood at 193 with 30 lifers added. (193/30)
Next came "really" South Texas where we'll start by spending a week at the wonderful Bentsen Palms Village RV resort. This is located just outside the World Birding Center headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Village St. Pk. Here we are over 400 miles further south than San Diego and there are 7 Mexican States north of us. Truly feels tropical and the 90+ degrees and 80-90+% humidity reflects that.
From here we have also visited other local hot spots and the new birds have been pouring in! Beginning at Bentzen we found Eastern Screech Owl, White-Tailed Kite, and Kettles of Broad-Winged Hawks from the Hawk Tower at the State Park and Gray Hawk on the walk back to the car.
On 4/4 we visited a fantastic facility in Estero Llano St. Pk. There we added Buff-Bellied and Ruby-Throated Hummers as well as White-Eyed Vireo, Fulvous Whistling and Mottled Ducks, good looks at the beautifull golden brown Least Bittern, Forester's Tern, and Tri-Colored Heron. This was our favorite and most productive facility so far in South Texas.
At Santa Anna with Thor Manson on the 5th I viewed my first Olive Sparrow after hearing it's ping pong ball calls many times. Also, Thor helped me find lifers in the Glossy Ibis, and Gull-Billed Tern. That night we did a great evening tour back at Bentsen where we got great looks at Common Pauraques, Lesser Nighthawks and heard many Chuck-Wills Widows. The next morning we saw all 3 kingfishers including finally snagged my latest nemisis in the Green Kingfisher as well as adding the Northern Bearded Tyranulet, Pectoral Sandpiper and Caspian Tern.
On 4-7-12 we stand at 230/58
Black-Bellied Whistling Duck