Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Friday, September 4, 2015

RBA - September 3, 2015 - Collared Plover gone?

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* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* September 3, 2015
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To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com. 
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Updates to this Rare Bird Alert can be seen on the web at http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com
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Capitalized birds marked with a + are Review Species for Texas. Please send sightings/photographs to the Texas Bird Records Committee: ecarpeATgmail.com.
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_____________________________________________________________
NOTE:  Pelagic trips are scheduled to depart South Padre Island this summer and fall; some trips are nearly full already!  Remaining dates are September 19 and October 10.  Another trip is offered through the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival on November 2.  See texaspelagics.com for registration information, hours, and cost information. 
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NOTE: A local researcher is looking for territorial Harris’s Hawks.  If you regularly see Harris’s Hawks on territory or you locate a nest, please contact Bill Clark at raptours AT earthlink.net.
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Estero Llano Grande is refilling ponds after cattail control.  Water is back in all the ponds.  Contact the park for more information. 
______________________________________________________________
Landbird migrants continue to appear with Orchard Orioles and Empidonax flycatchers increasing in numbers.  
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Our rare bird alert this week includes:
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+COLLARED PLOVER (gone?)
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Hermit Warbler
Painted Redstart
.                                         
This is a general reminder that playing recordings is not allowed in Texas State Parks, federal properties, nor in many LRGV birding sites. All State Park and National Wildlife Refuge visitors must stay on trails. Thank you for not disturbing the wildlife or damaging the vegetation.
.
The Valley from east to west.   
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The  August 29 pelagic had record-breaking numbers of +Leach’s Storm-Petrels, a +Great Shearwater,  and good looks at Magnificent Frigatebird, Masked Booby, Cory’s and Audubon’s Shearwaters, and Pomarine Jaeger.  Band-rumped Storm-Petrels were outnumbered by the abundant Leach’s!  Sooty and Bridled Terns put on a show as well. 
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A Hermit Warbler was found at the South Padre Island Convention Center on August 30 and remained to September 1.  This is an exceptional location for this montane forest bird! 
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Mangrove Warbler, a well-marked subspecies of Yellow Warbler that may be distinct enough to warrant full species status, can be seen by contacting the Sealife Center at (956) 299-1957.  
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A COLLARED PLOVER returned to the Hargill Playa where it was present last  year for the second Texas record.  The bird was seen through 8/30 but only two negative reports have been received since, but it may well have moved on as the playa has refilled with recent rains.  Few reports – positive or negative – are received, please share your sightings!  See http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/2015/07/collared-plover-hargill-texas.html for information and directions.  Also present are Snowy and Wilson’s Plover both very local in the county.   
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Out of our area to the north, the Painted Redstart has returned to the Brooks County (Falfurrias) Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias as of September 1.  This is the third year this stunning bird has graced the rest area. 
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Multiple Tropical Parulas were at the Sarita Rest Area on US 77 through August 30.  
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PARROT REPORT
Red-crowned Parrots are sometimes seen in the areas of Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Valley Nature Center in Weslaco in the evening, Calvary Baptist Church in Harlingen (1815 N 7th Street). Brownsville’s Oliveira Park (Los Ebanos Road/El Paso Road across from Pace High School) has Red-crowned Parrots as well, mingling at dusk with escaped Yellow-headed, White-fronted, Lilac-crowned and Red-lored Parrots. Red-crowned Parrots and Green Parakeets are seen in urban areas irregularly all over the Valley.
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In Hidalgo, at 5th and Gardenia near the Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center, a few Monk Parakeets have taken up residence building nests on telephone poles, keeping company with an escaped Rose-ringed Parakeet. These birds have been present since winter 2010. 
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WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER INFORMATION - Most sites for White-collared Seedeaters are in Zapata and Webb counties. Information is provided as a service to visiting birders. Sites to check include the San Ygnacio County Park/Seedeater Sanctuary at the foot of Washington Street in San Ygnacio, the Raptor Trail at the west end of San Ygnacio, the library pond in Zapata, and Laredo's Las Palmas Trail, North Central and Father McNaboe Park.  Access to La Laja Ranch, also a Seedeater site, is by advance reservations only. E-mail the owner at Edward.herbst AT att.net. This is a fee site.  White-collared Seedeaters are singing in mid-April to May, which makes them muck easier to locate! 
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Updated FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL INFORMATION - Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are present on the King Ranch, along with reliable Tropical Parulas (Norias Division only).  This is the only breeding site for Tropical Parula in the LRGV most years.  Contact 361-592-8055 or visit@king-ranch.com for more information.  Tours are over (with the exception of the RGVBF) until spring 2015.  The only tours that have a chance to find the owl are birding tours to the Norias Division.  Historic tours and birding tours to Santa Gertrudis Division will not be able to find the owl as it does not occur near Kingsville.   
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El Canelo Ranch, located north of Raymondville, offers opportunities for "day birders" as well as for birders staying at their lovely B&B.  A pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls currently reside in the backyard of the Inn.  All visits by reservation only.  For more information, see http://www.elcaneloranch.com/ or email Monica at monica@elcaneloranch.com
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Other private ranches are no longer open to birders or do not have accessible pygmy-owls.  This owl is very difficult to find at any other location at present and has not been seen or heard at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park since the summer of 2010, when the park was inundated by the Rio Grande.
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See http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/p/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-sites.html for more information.
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Directions are provided only for sites not included in the ABA Birders' Guide to the Rio Grande Valley or the Birders' Guide to the Texas Coast. These guides are indispensable for visiting birders.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Site Closures:

Allen Williams residence, Pharr, open by appointment ONLY; Call or text 956-460-9864.

Bentsen-RGV State Park, office and store closed, no trams – park open daily, please use the self-pay station if the store is closed.

Brownsville Landfill closed on Sundays.

Camp Thicket (formerly Methodist Camp Thicket), Weslaco, group reservations (fee) only. Contact Estero Llano Grande State Park.

Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center, building and grounds closed on Sundays.

Estero Llano Grande State Park, office and store closed Monday and Tuesday; park open daily – please use the self-pay station if the store is closed.  

Frontera Audubon Thicket, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and all day Mondays except by appointment; open Tues-Sat.  

Laguna Atascosa NWR – Bayside Drive closed to private vehicles to protect ocelots.  Visitor Center closed Tuesday – Wednesday, refuge open 7 days including many walking trails in addition to the driving route to Osprey Overlook.  

Los Ebanos Preserve, San Benito, Appointment ONLY; 956-241-2494.

McAllen Nature Center – CLOSED weekday afternoons.  

Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, closed Sundays and Mondays.  Open on Thursdays to dark. 

Resaca de la Palma State Park, park open daily; building and store closed/no trams Monday-Tuesday, grounds open (please use self-pay station if office closed).  

Salineno –feeding station is CLOSED until November.     

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Update August 30, 2015

Yesterday's pelagic out of South Padre Island was a joy unless you missed the boat.  Highlights included record numbers of Leach's Storm-Petrels, a Great Shearwater, close views of Audubon's and Cory's Shearwaters, Bridled and Sooty Terns, Masked Booby, Pomarine Jaeger, and Magnificent Frigatebird.  Fish delights included Whale Shark and a stunning behavioral observation of a feeding Short-billed Spearfish.  Marine mammals included Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Botttlenose Dolphin, and a Short-finned Pilot Whale with a damaged dorsal.

Today at the South Padre Island Convention center an immature female Hermit Warbler delighted birders (and caused several u-turns by northbound pelagic participants).

At least two Tropical Parulas were at the Sarita Rest Area today.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Collared Plover YES - 8/28/2015

The Collared Plover continues in Hargill this morning.  Thanks Dan J for the report!

See http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/2015/07/collared-plover-hargill-texas.html for logistics. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RBA August 27, 2015 - Collared Plover YES, Painted Redstart - Back Again!

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* August 27, 2015
.
To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com. 
.
Updates to this Rare Bird Alert can be seen on the web at http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com
.
Capitalized birds marked with a + are Review Species for Texas. Please send sightings/photographs to the Texas Bird Records Committee: ecarpeATgmail.com.
.
_____________________________________________________________
NOTE:  Pelagic trips are scheduled to depart South Padre Island this summer and fall; some trips are nearly full already!  Dates are August 29 (**a few seats remain**), September 19, and October 10.  Another trip is offered through the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival on November 2.  See texaspelagics.com for registration information, hours, and cost information. 
.
NOTE: A local researcher is looking for territorial Harris’s Hawks.  If you regularly see Harris’s Hawks on territory or you locate a nest, please contact Bill Clark at raptours AT earthlink.net.
.
Estero Llano Grande is refilling ponds after cattail control.  Water is back in Grebe Marsh and Alligator Lake, and they expect to fill Ibis Pond in the next 10 days or so.  Contact the park for more information. 
______________________________________________________________
Landbird migrants are appearing in small numbers while shorebirds are widespread in excellent conditions across the LRGV.  Upland Sandpipers continue to pass by in numbers, as do Buff-breasted Sandpipers.  Early finds include Louisiana Waterthrush and Empidonax flycatchers among other warblers.   Dickcissels continue in good numbers.    
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
+COLLARED PLOVER
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Painted Redstart
.                                         
This is a general reminder that playing recordings is not allowed in Texas State Parks, federal properties, nor in many LRGV birding sites. All State Park and National Wildlife Refuge visitors must stay on trails. Thank you for not disturbing the wildlife or damaging the vegetation.
.
The Valley from east to west.   
.
The  August 8 pelagic had large numbers of Leach’s Storm-Petrels and good looks at Masked Booby and Pomarine Jaeger. 
.
Mangrove Warbler, a well-marked subspecies of Yellow Warbler that may be distinct enough to warrant full species status, can be seen by contacting the Sealife Center at (956) 299-1957.  
.
A COLLARED PLOVER returned to the Hargill Playa where it was present August 2-17 last  year for the second Texas record.  The bird was photographed 8/26, and a second hand report was received for 8/27.  Few reports – positive or negative – are received, please share your sightings!  See http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/2015/07/collared-plover-hargill-texas.html for information and directions.  Also present are Snowy and Wilson’s Plover both very local in the county. 
.
Purple Gallinules are widespread in the ranch country north of US 83 in flooded areas.  A few such areas can be found west of Hargill.  Take 490 west to Brushline Road, and go north on unpaved Brushline.  Watch for the flooded areas especially those closer to TX 186.  Glossy Ibis have also been present here in the far more numerous White-faced Ibis.  Glossy Ibis is a rarity for the LRGV.   
.
Upriver and out of our area, the Painted Redstart has returned to the Brooks County (Falfurrias) Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias as of August 26.  This is the third year this stunning bird has graced the rest area. 
.
PARROT REPORT
Red-crowned Parrots are sometimes seen in the areas of Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Valley Nature Center in Weslaco in the evening, Calvary Baptist Church in Harlingen (1815 N 7th Street). Brownsville’s Oliveira Park (Los Ebanos Road/El Paso Road across from Pace High School) has Red-crowned Parrots as well, mingling at dusk with escaped Yellow-headed, White-fronted, Lilac-crowned and Red-lored Parrots. Red-crowned Parrots and Green Parakeets are seen in urban areas irregularly all over the Valley.
.
In Hidalgo, at 5th and Gardenia near the Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center, a few Monk Parakeets have taken up residence building nests on telephone poles, keeping company with an escaped Rose-ringed Parakeet. These birds have been present since winter 2010. 
.
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER INFORMATION - Most sites for White-collared Seedeaters are in Zapata and Webb counties. Information is provided as a service to visiting birders. Sites to check include the San Ygnacio County Park/Seedeater Sanctuary at the foot of Washington Street in San Ygnacio, the Raptor Trail at the west end of San Ygnacio, the library pond in Zapata, and Laredo's Las Palmas Trail, North Central and Father McNaboe Park.  Access to La Laja Ranch, also a Seedeater site, is by advance reservations only. E-mail the owner at Edward.herbst AT att.net. This is a fee site.  White-collared Seedeaters are singing in mid-April to May, which makes them muck easier to locate! 
.
Updated FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL INFORMATION - Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are present on the King Ranch, along with reliable Tropical Parulas (Norias Division only).  This is the only breeding site for Tropical Parula in the LRGV most years.  Contact 361-592-8055 or visit@king-ranch.com for more information.  Tours are over (with the exception of the RGVBF) until spring 2015.  The only tours that have a chance to find the owl are birding tours to the Norias Division.  Historic tours and birding tours to Santa Gertrudis Division will not be able to find the owl as it does not occur near Kingsville.   
.
El Canelo Ranch, located north of Raymondville, offers opportunities for "day birders" as well as for birders staying at their lovely B&B.  A pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls currently reside in the backyard of the Inn.  All visits by reservation only.  For more information, see http://www.elcaneloranch.com/ or email Monica at monica@elcaneloranch.com
.
Other private ranches are no longer open to birders or do not have accessible pygmy-owls.  This owl is very difficult to find at any other location at present and has not been seen or heard at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park since the summer of 2010, when the park was inundated by the Rio Grande.
.
See http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/p/ferruginous-pygmy-owl-sites.html for more information.
.
Directions are provided only for sites not included in the ABA Birders' Guide to the Rio Grande Valley or the Birders' Guide to the Texas Coast. These guides are indispensable for visiting birders.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Site Closures:

Allen Williams residence, Pharr, open by appointment ONLY; Call or text 956-460-9864.

Bentsen-RGV State Park, office and store closed, no trams – park open daily, please use the self-pay station if the store is closed.

Brownsville Landfill closed on Sundays.

Camp Thicket (formerly Methodist Camp Thicket), Weslaco, group reservations (fee) only. Contact Estero Llano Grande State Park.

Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center, building and grounds closed on Sundays.

Estero Llano Grande State Park, office and store closed Monday and Tuesday; park open daily – please use the self-pay station if the store is closed.  

Frontera Audubon Thicket, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and all day Mondays except by appointment; open Tues-Sat.  

Laguna Atascosa NWR – Bayside Drive closed to private vehicles to protect ocelots.  Visitor Center closed Tuesday – Wednesday, refuge open 7 days including many walking trails in addition to the driving route to Osprey Overlook.  

Los Ebanos Preserve, San Benito, Appointment ONLY; 956-241-2494.

McAllen Nature Center – CLOSED weekday afternoons.  

Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, closed Sundays and Mondays.  Open on Thursdays to dark. 

Resaca de la Palma State Park, park open daily; building and store closed/no trams Monday-Tuesday, grounds open (please use self-pay station if office closed).  

Salineno –feeding station is CLOSED until November.     

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Painted Redstart - Falfurrias Rest Area - returned August 26, 2015

Tim B. discovered the Painted Redstart at the Falfurrias Rest Area in Brooks County, now returned for the third winter.  Initially present October 18 2013 - March 18 2014 and September 20 2014 - April 29 2015 we hope it stays for at least one more winter!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Collared Plover YES August 25 2015

Dan Jones reports the Collared Plover was present at 945 AM today at the usual place near Hargill.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Collared Plover - YES - August 22, 2015

The  Collared Plover was at the Hargill Playa today from 830-915 AM.  It spent all its time across the playa on the SE corner, and away from the shoreline.  Wilson's and Snowy Plover continue at the pond, and a Marbled Godwit and Semipalmated  Plover dropped in briefly.

Another (?) Marbled Godwit was at the pond east of Hargill on 490, at the second bend turn right on a sand/mud road to view the pond.