Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Non-countable ABA Parrots and eBIrd

Birders have long enjoyed visiting Oliveira Park in Brownsville (http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L1918641) to enjoy the show as the parrots come in to roost.  The flock includes the countable Red-crowned Parrots as well as a host of species that are not regarded as established or countable in Texas.  These species include (but are not limited to) Lilac-crowned, Red-lored, White-fronted, and Yellow-headed.  Due to a recent policy change, these species will now be shown on the bar graphs for South Texas counties where these species occur, primarily Cameron and Hidalgo counties. 

Please do continue to count and record all non-native non-established birds on your eBird lists as this helps us to monitor the populations of non-native species and provides data for those trying to determine the status of these populations. 

RBA - February 11, 2016

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* February 11, 2016
.
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.
.
_____________________________________________________________
A note on LRGV birds:  Many Muscovy Ducks near urban areas in Hidalgo and Cameron County are eBirded as wild birds.  Free flying wild appearing feral birds are found in nearly every urban city, and can be seen at Santa Ana NWR, Estero Llano Grande and Bentsen State Parks and other locations.  Feral birds can be all black, and should be eBirded as Muscovy Duck (domestic).  Please note the facial skin color on adults, presence of any anomalous white feathers on the breast,  head or throat, upper wing coverts, and other locations if you are reporting wild birds in these counties.  
.
Say's Phoebe are widely distributed in the LRGV and documentation on these usually rare birds is appreciated. Broad-winged Hawks continue at several LRGV sites at above normal winter numbers. 
.
Please use care with identifying Archilochus and Selasphorous hummings and use the “sp” or “slash” options if you did not identify the bird in the field. 
.
NOTE: The Bayside Drive at Laguna Atascosa will close on March 1 to hiking and bicycling in addition to vehicles to allow wildlife crossings to be installed and the road widened.  These changes will help protect the ocelot populations at the refuge.  Construction will be completed late 2016/early 2017. The refuge has 40 miles of hiking trails that remain open to visitors along with the Osprey Overlook. 
______________________________________________________________
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
+NORTHERN JACANA (3)
+PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER
+GREATER PEWEE
+WHITE-THROATED THRUSH (2)
+probable GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER
+BLUE BUNTING
+CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK (2)
.                                         
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 CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK was photographed at Laguna Atascosa on 1/25 and continued to 2/10 near the visitor center. 
.
A Broad-winged Hawk is at Sabal Palm Sanctuary.  The possible PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER continues at Sabal Palm Sanctuary with reports from 2/7.
.
A Vega Herring Gull was reported from the Brownsville Landfill along with Lesser Black-backed Gulls on 1/18 and 2/6.
.
A well described probable +GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER was found on the Texas Southmost College campus in Brownsville. on 2/9 Park at Lincoln park and walk back to the university parking lot, checking the flocks along the brush by the wall. 
.
A large (massive?) roost of White-tailed Kites continues on New Carmen Rd. just north of the entrance to Resaca de la Palma State Park. 
.
A WHITE-THROATED THRUSH was found and photographed at Estero Llano Grande State Park on Friday 2/5, and continued to 2/9.  Originally feeding in a brush holly near the butterfly garden by Pauraque Hall, it was present on 2/8 in the tangles at the west door to Pauraque Hall near the mailboxes.  This bird has been extensively documented.  NO REPORTS from 2/10 but this shy bird could still be present.  Field Sparrows are present in the ... fields, a rare winter bird for the LRGV. 
.
At Frontera Audubon, a female plumaged CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK was found and photographed on 12/29.  The bird continued through 2/10, moving widely in the thicket.  A BLUE BUNTING was found on 1/31 and continued to 2/10.   This shy bird is seen by lucky birders sitting quietly near the water features more than by those walking through the thicket. Also present are a Wood Thrush, Tropical Parula, Black-headed Grosbeak and a Painted Bunting (female plumaged). 
.
A Reddish Egret was near Hargill on 1/15 and continued to 1/26.
.
At Santa Ana NWR there are now THREE (!) +NORTHERN JACANAs, with two mostly white immatures at Pintail Lake as of 2/10, and an immature about half molted at Willow Lake!     
.
A Brown Thrasher has returned to the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands.  This is a very rare bird in the LRGV!  
.
A second Wood Thrush was at Quinta Mazatlan on 1/23!  A White-throated Sparrow was present on 1/26, 2/3, and 2/10. 
.
A Spotted Towhee was found on the bird walk at the McAllen Nature Center on 1/6 and remained to 2/10.    
.
A GREATER PEWEE was found at Anzalduas County Park on October 31, and remained through 2/10.  It roams widely through the park, and can be located by the calls or song.  A Black-throated Gray is also present along with a Zone-tailed Hawk. 
.
A Brown Thrasher, very rare in the LRGV, was photographed at the National Butterfly Center on 2/10.
.
At Bentsen RGV State Park, a WHITE-THROATED THRUSH originally reported 2/6 was finally relocated 2/11 at the Kiskadee Blind.  Two Hooded Orioles are in the area of the Headquarters. An Audubon’s Oriole (very rare in the county) was near feeder 10.   
.
Green Parakeets were reported from Rio Grande City and Roma Bluffs two weeks ago, areas west of their normal range in the LRGV.   
.
At Salineno, three species of orioles (Hooded, Altamira, and Audubon’s) continue at the feeders.  Up to three White-collared Seedeaters have been near the river upstream from the boat ramp with occasional sightings.  They are more common upriver near Laredo, with the riverside trail at Slaughter Park and other riverside sites excellent for Seedeaters this winter. 
.
Also out of our area to the northwest, Red-billed Pigeons seem to be absent now at “The Max”, Max A. Mandel Golf Course near Laredo.  See http://marybirds.blogspot.com/2015/08/birding-max-max-mandel-golf-course.html for more information on birding this area.  Seedeaters and other LRGV specialties are still present. 
.
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. 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  Slaughter Park, 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 much 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 in November) 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.  
.
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, store, park and trams 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.

El Canelo is now closed to birders. 

Estero Llano Grande State Park, open seven days.

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 and closing 3/1 to walking and biking due to construction to protect ocelots.  Visitor Center and 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.

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 open until mid-March.     

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles

Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

White-throated Thrush at BENTSEN today

A White-throated Thrush - originally eBirded February 6 - was relocated today at the Kiskadee Blind at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and photographed.  It came to the water at 8:20 AM and was seen at 10:10 AM. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

THREE Northern Jacanas at Santa Ana NWR! and Update

Laura P., bird guide at Santa Ana, discovered two Northern Jacanas in immature plumage on Pintail Lake today!  She was able to relocate the molting Northern Jacana at Cattail Lake, making the grand total THREE Northern Jacanas at Santa Ana!

The Audubon's and Hooded Orioles at Bentsen and the White-throated Sparrow at Quinta Mazatlan continued today. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Golden-crowned Warbler reported at Texas Southmost College Brownsville

A likely Golden-crowned Warbler was reported from Texas Southmost College today by an observer familiar with the species.  See the original report at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27396224.  It was between the border wall and the parking area in a thick tangle near 25.8917785, -97.4898975.  There is free parking nearby in Lincoln Park. 

This is (yet another) TBRC review species!

Monday, February 8, 2016

RBA - February 8, 2016

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* February 8, 2016
.
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.
.
_____________________________________________________________
.
A note on LRGV birds:  Many Muscovy Ducks near urban areas in Hidalgo and Cameron County are eBirded as wild birds.  Free flying wild appearing feral birds are found in nearly every urban city, and can be seen at Santa Ana NWR, Estero Llano Grande and Bentsen State Parks and other locations.  Feral birds can be all black, and should be eBirded as Muscovy Duck (domestic).  Please note the facial skin color on adults, presence of any anomalous white feathers on the breast,  head or throat, upper wing coverts, and other locations if you are reporting wild birds in these counties.  
.
Please use care with identifying Archilochus and Selasphorous hummings and use the “sp” or “slash” options if you did not identify the bird in the field. 
.
NOTE: The Bayside Drive at Laguna Atascosa will close on March 1 to hiking and bicycling in addition to vehicles to allow wildlife crossings to be installed and the road widened.  These changes will help protect the ocelot populations at the refuge.  Construction will be completed late 2016/early 2017. The refuge has 40 miles of hiking trails that remain open to visitors along with the Osprey Overlook. 
______________________________________________________________
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
+NORTHERN JACANA
+PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER
+GREATER PEWEE
Brown Creeper (no reports)
+WHITE-THROATED THRUSH
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Bullock’s Oriole (no reports)
+BLUE BUNTING
+CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK
.                                         
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 CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK was photographed at Laguna Atascosa on 1/25 and continued to 2/8 near the visitor center. 
.
Groove-billed Anis are at the Laguna Vista Nature Trail, watch for signs on TX 510 in Laguna Vista.
.
A Broad-winged Hawk is at Sabal Palm Sanctuary.  The possible PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER continues at Sabal Palm Sanctuary with reports from 1/26.
.
A Vega Herring Gull was reported from the Brownsville Landfill along with Lesser Black-backed Gulls on 1/18 and 2/6.
.
A large (massive?) roost of White-tailed Kites continues on New Carmen Rd. just north of the entrance to Resaca de la Palma State Park. 
.
A WHITE-THROATED THRUSH was found and photographed on Friday 2/5, and continued to 2/8.  Originally feeding in a brush holly near the butterfly garden by Pauraque Hall, it was present on 2/8 in the tangles at the west door to Pauraque Hall near the mailboxes.  This bird has been extensively documented. 
.
At Frontera Audubon, a CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK was found and photographed on 12/29.  The bird continued through 2/8.  A BLUE BUNTING was found on 1/31 and continued to 2/8.   This shy bird is seen by lucky birders sitting quietly near the water features more than by those walking through the thicket. Also present are a Wood Thrush, Tropical Parula, Black-headed Grosbeak and a Painted Bunting (female plumaged). 
.
A Reddish Egret was near Hargill on 1/15 and continued to 1/26.
.
At Santa Ana NWR a +NORTHERN JACANA has reappeared, mostly molted into adult plumage.  Look for it on Willow Lake #3 and 4.  Last report 2/7.  The Tropical Parula was reported again this week.   
.
A Brown Thrasher has returned to the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands.  This is a very rare bird in the LRGV!  
.
A second Wood Thrush was at Quinta Mazatlan on 1/23!  A White-throated Sparrow was present on 1/26 and 2/3. 
.
A Spotted Towhee was found on the bird walk at the McAllen Nature Center on 1/6 and remained to 2/7.    
.
A GREATER PEWEE was found at Anzalduas County Park on October 31, and remained through 2/6.  It roams widely through the park, and can be located by the calls or song.  A Black-throated Gray is also present along with a Zone-tailed Hawk. 
.
At Bentsen RGV State Park, a Hooded Oriole is in the area of the Headquarters. An Audubon’s Oriole (very rare in the county) was near feeder 10.  Hook-billed Kites have been observed in flight over the north end of the park twice over the last week, including a black morph. 
.
Two Green-tailed Towhees (at least) were at Yturria Brush tract of the USFWS, a public area on US 83 at the Hidalgo/Starr County Line.  This is a regular winter area for them.  
.
Green Parakeets were reported from Rio Grande City and Roma Bluffs two weeks ago, areas west of their normal range in the LRGV.   
.
At Salineno, three species of orioles (Hooded, Altamira, and Audubon’s) continue at the feeders.  Up to three White-collared Seedeater has been near the river upstream from the boat ramp with occasional sightings.  They are more common upriver near Laredo, with the riverside trail at Slaughter Park and other riverside sites excellent for Seedeaters this winter. 
.
Also out of our area to the northwest, Red-billed Pigeons seem to be absent now at “The Max”, Max A. Mandel Golf Course near Laredo.  See http://marybirds.blogspot.com/2015/08/birding-max-max-mandel-golf-course.html for more information on birding this area.  Seedeaters and other LRGV specialties are still present. 
.
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. 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 much 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 in November) 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.   
.
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, store, park and trams 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.
 
El Canelo is now closed to birders. 
 
Estero Llano Grande State Park, open seven days.
 
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 and closing 3/1 to walking and biking due to construction to protect ocelots.  Visitor Center and 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.
 
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 open until mid-March.     
 
Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles
 
Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 
 

Monday, February 8th UPDATE

Two HOOK-BILLED KITES were seen at Bentsen State Park, flying over the HQ around 9:00 am on Sunday 2/7. 

The NORTHERN JACANA was still present at Santa Ana NWR through at least Sunday 2/7.

The WHITE-THROATED THRUSH continues through today at Estero Llano Grande State Park, in the Tropical Zone near Pauraque Hall. It has been feeding on brush holly berries. Please remember to first check in to the park if you go looking for this bird.

The BLUE BUNTING and CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK both continue at Frontera Audubon through Sunday. Monday 2/8 and Tuesday 2/9 Gates AND Visitors' Center will be open from 7am to
5:30pm. Check in at the Visitors' Center. Additional parking is available behind the Visitors' Center and at the neighborhood pool lot directly next to our parking lot.
The hours will likely be extended later into the week as well. 


The CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK at Laguna Atascosa NWR continues this morning and was being seen around the gazebo area across from the Visitor Center.