Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert
Call 956-584-9156!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30 RBA with updates

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* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* October 30, 2014
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To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com (preferred) or call (956)584-2731 option 3.
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Updates 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: The Salineno feeding station reopens to birders this Saturday November 1.  Be sure to thank Lois and Merle (and Jake) when you see them for their hard work in preparing the site and setting up!  Audubon’s and Altamira Orioles are already coming in to the feeding station. 
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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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NOTE: Feeding has re-started for the winter at Bentsen and Estero.  The birds are starting to come in for the food, but natural food sources are still generally plentiful. 
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NOTE: State Park are changing over to winter hours in October (Bentsen, Resaca) and November 1 (Estero).   In summer hours, offices and shops closed early in the week, though the parks are OPEN – please use the ‘iron ranger’ to self register each day (even if you have a state park pass).   See specific listings below under Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley, Estero Llano Grande, and Resaca de la Palma.  
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Fall migration continues with high numbers of Turkey Vultures and winter arrivals. 
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Our rare bird alert this week includes:
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+BROWN BOOBY
+RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD
Hook-billed Kite
Sabine’s Gull  
Selasphorous hummingbird
Tropical Parula
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.
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The Valley from east to west.   
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The October 25 pelagic had calm seas and excellent birding including a +RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD and a +BROWN BOOBY well offshore.  An Audubon’s Shearwater was distant, but excellent views were had of Magnificent Frigatebird, Bridled Tern and Masked Booby.  As the trip returned to South Padre Island, an immature Sabine’s Gull (second county record) was seen by a few leaders.  Intrepid observers were able to go out the jetty before dusk and relocate this stunning gull.   On October 26 the Sabine’s Gull and a different +BROWN BOOBY from the one on the pelagic were seen from the Boca Chica jetty (the south side of the inlet) but not relocated on October 27. 
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A Swainson’s Warbler was photographed at the SPI Convention Center on 10/26 for the latest documented fall record. ** Late Thursday update:  It reportedly continues as of 10/30.  
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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 Tropical Parula continues at Quinta Mazatlan through 10/28.  The bird is singing heartily and has been found mostly in the eastern portion of the property.   
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At Anzalduas County Park, both Hook-billed Kite (immature, 10/29) and Zone-tailed Hawk (adult, 10/27) were reported  this week.  Gray Hawk is a regular species at this location.  **Late Thursday Update: a black morph Hook-billed Kite was photographed 10/30 and the Zone-tailed continued as well. 
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Nearby at Bentsen, perhaps the same Zone-tailed Hawk as at Anzalduas was photographed over the park on Sunday 10/26. 
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EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
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The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues to 10/30.  A Painted Redstart wintered at this site last year.  
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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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Green Parakeets can be seen staging in McAllen near 10th and Dove in the evening (at the Loew’s fountain on warm evenings), sometimes winging a few blocks over to Nolana x McColl. Watch for a couple of Mitred Parakeets that sometimes mingle with them.  There is another staging area in Mission on the north expressway. 
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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! 
.
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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This spring and summer a pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl with chicks entertained birders at San Miguelito Ranch (fee site), contact Letty at 956-369-3118 or Buny55@aol.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.
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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 Wildscape, Pharr, open by appointment ONLY; Call or text 956-460-9864.

UPDATE!
Bentsen-RGV State Park, open daily, first tram at 8:30 AM.

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.

UPDATE!
Estero Llano Grande State Park, open daily; building/store open daily. 

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.

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

McAllen Nature Center – OPEN Saturdays from 8-12 noon (and Sunday?)  Call 956-681-3333 for information.

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

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

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

Salineno –feeding station is CLOSED until November.   

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hook-billed Kite, Anzalduas

A hook-billed kite was seen at Anzalduas County Park on the morning of 10/28.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet - Laguna Atascosa - Saturday

Huck H. reported a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet at the visitor center at Laguna  Atascosa NWR. The Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is a regular species for riparian areas with lots of epiphytes in Hidalgo County, but is much rarer in Cameron County and away from the river.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sabine's Gull and Brown Booby onshore; Swainson's Warbler, Painted Redstart continues

Dan J. relocated the Sabine's Gull at the SPI Inlet this afternoon.  He was looking from the Boca Chica jetty (the south side of the inlet).  Imagine his surprise when a Brown Booby joined the feeding flock!  His directions to the site - "I found the first year Sabine's Gull seen by yesterday's pelagic trip and a first year Brown Booby at the Boca Chica Jetty this afternoon. This is the jetty visible across the water from the South Padre Island Jetty. It is accessed by driving FM 4 from Brownsville to Boca Chica Beach, turn left and drive five miles on the wet sand to the jetty. It was drivable in a regular car yesterday but this can change and keep an eye on the tides. The jetty is fairly easy to walk as jetties go. Viewing is better in the afternoon. Photos and report are on my blog." See http://antshrike.blogspot.com/2014/10/sabines-gull-brown-booby-at-boca-chica.html for the photos and report.

Corey L. found a late Swainson's Warbler at the SPI Convention Center today.

The Painted Redstart continues at the Falfurrias Rest Area today.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sabine's Gull, South Padre Island and Pelagic highlights - Saturday, 10/25

An immature Sabine's Gull was found in a huge mass of feeding gulls, terns, and pelicans at the east  (ocean/outer) end of the north jetty in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island this evening just before sunset.  Initially spotted on the returning SPI pelagic trip (www.texaspelagics.com) but only seen by a few people, it was relocated from shore after the boat docked.  This bird could remain in the area feeding on the abundant bait fish during strong tide changes.  This is a very rare bird in the LRGV.

The SPI pelagic trip was a great success with calm conditions, a Red-billed Tropicbird, and a Brown Booby at arms length.  These birds were extremely confiding, watch the website for a trip report or join the Texas Pelagics Facebook  page for photos and more.

Tropical Parula 10/25 YES

Still here, singing, this morning. Quinta Mazatlan is open until 5 today and closed Sunday and Monday.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

RBA - October 28, 2014

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THANK YOU to Tiffany Kersten for updating the RBA for the past month!  And thanks to John Yochum for recording the RBA each week!  Without their support you would not be reading this RBA.  --Mary Gustafson
.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* October 23, 2014
.                           
To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com (preferred) or call (956)584-2731 option 3.
.
Updates 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: 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.
.
NOTE: State Park are changing over to winter hours in October (Bentsen, Resaca)  and November 1 (Estero).   In summer hours, offices and shops closed early in the week, though the parks are OPEN – please use the ‘iron ranger’ to self register each day (even if you have a state park pass).   See specific listings below under Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley, Estero Llano Grande, and Resaca de la Palma.  
.
NOTE: The last SPI Pelagic is scheduled to go out of SPI on October 25th.  This trip is FULL with a short waiting list. Contact Gary Hodne at garyhodne@earthlink.net for more information.
______________________________________________________________
Fall migration continues with high numbers of Turkey Vultures and winter arrivals. 
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
Tropical Parula
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.   
.
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 Tropical Parula continues at Quinta Mazatlan through today.  The bird is singing heartily and has been found mostly in the eastern portion of the property.   
.
EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
.
The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues to this week.  A Painted Redstart wintered at this site last year.  
.
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.
.
Green Parakeets can be seen staging in McAllen near 10th and Dove in the evening (at the Loew’s fountain on warm evenings), sometimes winging a few blocks over to Nolana x McColl. Watch for a couple of Mitred Parakeets that sometimes mingle with them.  There is another staging area in Mission on the north expressway. 
.
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.   
.
This spring and summer a pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl with chicks entertained birders at San Miguelito Ranch (fee site), contact Letty at 956-369-3118 or Buny55@aol.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 Wildscape, Pharr, open by appointment ONLY; Call or text 956-460-9864.

UPDATE!
Bentsen-RGV State Park, open daily, first tram at 8:30 AM.

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

UPDATE!
Estero Llano Grande State Park, open daily; building/store open Wednesday - Sunday; store and offices closed Monday and Tuesday (use self pay station).  This is the summer schedule. Winter schedule starts November 1. 

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.

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

McAllen Nature Center – OPEN Saturdays from 8-12 noon (and Sunday?)  Call 956-681-3333 for information.

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

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

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

Salineno –feeding station is CLOSED until November.   

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays