Monday, February 9, 2015

La Perla

Today's (Saturday) field trip at the Laredo Birding Festival was to La Perla Ranch. This trophy buck hunting ranch is also being developed into a trophy bass fishing resort. Several large ponds/small lakes are being developed and they have an amazing amount of waterfowl. This is a true oasis in the near desert of Zapata County.

Harris Hawk
Harris Hawk
On the way in at first light we had a Great Horned Owl that many got to see. Once we made it to the first pond we started ticking off birds quickly. On our way to the second stop we encountered the first of several large flocks of Lark Buntings we would have that day with everyone getting good looks.

While out of the van looking at the buntings I heard the raspy call of a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. We gathered all around and I played s little recording of the call and bingo! We had the gnatcatcher posing for all.

On to the second pond. As soon as I got close I heard the bouncing ball call in the huiche of Olive Sparrow for year bird 272. I tried to coax it out for everyone with no luck.

Walking around the other side of the pond I saw a birds that was not on my radar at all land in a bare tree. Looking at the warm buffy yellow, the two wingbars and the hooked little bill I was amazed to pick up White-collared Seedeater for year bird 273.

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Walking to the next pond we pickup almost all of the species of sparrows we would get that day.  A total of eight species of sparrows!

We moved on to the pond complex that a Muscovy Duck was found on Thursday field trip. After about 40 minutes on site I was giving up hope on the duck, then one of the participants on the trip said "whats this all black duck with white wing patches flying over?" I twisted into a pose worthy of a yogi to look out her side of the van and sure enough, Muscovy Duck was year bird 274.

La Perla Ranch is going produce a a lot of cool stuff over time I think because of the concentrating effect of its water. We ended the day with 77 species, We had 8 species of sparrow and 16 species of waterfowl. I would definitely like to go back to La Perla sometime.

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