Saturday, June 3, 2017

Que CARA CARA


Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
King Ranch Norias Division
Headed south to the land of the Crested Caracara. First stop the always super productive King Ranch. I met Tom Langschied the Nature Tour Coordinator at the Norias Gate at 8 am after the 4 hour drive from Houston. I was a little early and so got checked out by the Border Patrol while I was waiting. I have no idea how many times I've been checked by the Border Patrol or how many checkpoints I've been through, but I must be on a watch list by now.

Altamira/Audubon's Oriole Hybrid
The main target was of course the abundant Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls they have there. It didn't take too long to locate a pair of owls and make Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Year Bird 470. We toured a lot more of the ranch. I don't know of another place where you can find so many specialty birds in one place.


During the morning we heard Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet. We saw Hooded, Altamira, and Audubon's Orioles.We also saw an interesting Altamira/Audubon's hybrid. Can't count it but still an interesting bird. We also had great looks at Tropical Parula, Botteri's Sparrow, and Groove-billed Ani. Its a very special place for birders.

After a great morning birding I headed further south in search of Muscovy Duck. There seemed to be a Crested Caracara every half miles as I cut across the South Texas Brushlands. I made it to the picnic area just north of San Ignacio. From this overlook you can see close to 2 miles of the Rio Grande. Its an excellent look out for birds in the river. I spent two and a half hours there that evening with no luck on the duck.
Tropical Parula
Norias Division King Ranch

View of the Rio Grande from the picnic area.

Back in the morning I posted myself on the high point. Lots of bird activity on the river, but mostly grackles. They seemed to fly back and forth across the river endlessly. Wait, there it is, a large black colored duck with white wing patches flies from the Mexican side to the US side. The look is brief but Muscovy Duck is Year Bird 471. I wait about a half hour more hoping for better look but pack it in at about 10 am.

American Kestrel
Webb County
My plan was to hit some spots where Wood Stork had been seen recently on the way home. No luck with the wood storks but I did find what appeared to be a breeding group of American Kestrels in Webb County North of Larado on US 59. That what county birding does, it makes you look at every bird and sometimes you find something interesting. No luck between Laredo and Houston on Wood Storks, but its still early from these to disperse from breeding in Mexico.

I'm counting the days to Pelagic Season. If you're interested in the Texas Pelagic Trips, check out the website  http://texaspelagics.com/ We still need more signups for the first trip to go!