Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Final Push

Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Frontera Audubon, Weslaco TX
photo by Tripp Davenport
Shepdawg suggested that I just go for 500 in my eBird list for the year since that's what everyone is looking at. I couldn't get into Frontera Audubon until 8 am and Olivera Park in Brownsville has a couple if species of parrots there I could use to do that. I check eBird and in the last couple of days it shows Yellow-headed, Red-lored, and White-fronted Parrots there. I have 497 species in eBird because I have Lilac-crowned Parrot and Egyptian Goose on my list. I haven't not listed non countable exotics this year, but I didn't go out of my way to see any either.

Sunrise was at 7:16 in Brownsville. Parrots don't wait around long after sunrise in my experience so I needed to be there early and see if  could find where they were roosting and be ready. I timed my arrival for 6:30 am.

I looked and looked and found no parrots roosting. Finally about 7:20 I heard a squawk and headed for the playground. I spotted what I counted as 6 Red-crowned Parrots in a tree. I started scanning other trees in the area. Suddenly the tree with the Red-crowned Parrots erupted and about 150 Red-crowned Parrot came out. Where the heck where they in the tree?

A few seconds later from another tree three Yellow-headed Parrot flew out. I then found a group of 4 more birds perched in where I could see them, Cool, Red-lored Parrots! That would make 499 in eBird.I headed for Frontera Audubon.

There were already a few people on the trail when I got to Frontera Audubon. I headed for the last sighting of the grosbeak. As I turned on the trail I heard it! Then a yellow-green streak with a black face flew across the trail. That was it! Crimson-collared Grosbeak was Year Bird 496!

I heard excited voices up the trail and one woman was on it. I tried over the next 30 minutes for a picture and while I saw it well briefly one more time I didn't get a picture of my own.

It was early, just a few minutes after 9 am. I hatched a plan to go out in a Blaze of Glory. I dumped requests for help on social media and email and headed for Bear Creek Park in Houston. There had been Purple Finches there earlier this month. My plan was to get a group of people searching the park and crowd sourcing the last bird of the year.

I got word as I was leaving that there was a report of Amazon Kingfisher at the resaca on FM100 where it was found a couple of years ago. I decided it would only cost me 30 minutes to check it out. No luck though, not a single kingfisher there.

Headed north to Houston traffic was heavy. I had a long wait at the Sarita Border Patrol checkpoint. I wondered if I was getting flagged for the number of checkpoints I've been through this year.

I made it to Bear Creek Park about 4 pm. I did manager to muster a several birders to help look and while it was pretty active, there was no Purple Finch found that day. I ended the year with 496 ABA /countable birds in Texas and 500 in eBird. I had traveled 3,272 miles this week in Texas and 29,642 in Texas this year. I did 11% of my miles in the last week! Time for some downtime I have 48 hours until my next Christmas Bird Count!


  1. Congrats Dave, what a year!
    Thanks for taking us all with you via your blog reports.

  2. Was fun to follow you along on your year. Well done.

  3. Congratulations! Thanks for blogging. It was fun to bird vicariously through you.

  4. Congrats on an incredible year and a great adventure! It's been a page-turner...

  5. Wow! I have enjoyed reading your adventures this year. Congratulations!