Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Updates 11/22 - Saturday

A Canada Goose was photographed at Falcon State Park; this species is surprisingly rare in the LRGV and all individuals should be reported.

The Reddish Egret at Salineno was reported again  as well.

The Tropical Parulas at both Resaca de la Palma and Quinta Mazatlan were relocated; as was the Black-throated Gray at Resaca.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

RBA - November 20, 2014

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* November 20, 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: LRGV Christmas Bird Counts dates are online at http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/p/lower-rio-grande-valley-christmas-bird.html.  Participate! 
.
NOTE: The Salineno feeding station is OPEN.  Donations of oranges, peanut butter, and seed is appreciated.   Be sure to thank Lois and Merle (and Jake) when you see them for their hard work in preparing the site and setting up! 
.
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.
______________________________________________________________
Fall migration is concluding, winter birds are arriving with the cold front.   Black-throated Gray Warblers were found at Anzalduas and Estero recently.  Golden-crowned Kinglets were reported from South Padre and American Robins at Estero.  Groove-billed Anis were reported in small numbers at Estero, Santa Ana, Laguna Atascosa, and other sites this week.  Rufous/Allen's Hummingbirds are appearing  across the valley.  Black-throated Grays are at several sites including Estero, Anzalduas, Quinta Mazatlan,  and  others.   
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
+BROWN BOOBY (no reports)
Hook-billed Kite  (no reports)
Red-naped Sapsucker
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler  
Painted Redstart (Brooks County).
Black-headed Grosbeak
Cassin's Finch 
.                                         
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.   
.
A +BROWN BOOBY was found October 26 feeding near the Boca Chica jetty (the south side of the inlet) but not relocated on October 27.  It was relocated from Scarlet Colley’s boat and photographed 11/5-7 and videoed on 11/11.  No more recent reports.
.
A Purple Gallinule was at the SPI Convention Center boardwalk on 11/8 and was seen through 11/16.  Groove-billed Anis were in the gardens last week along with a late Swainson’s Thrush and an early Winter Wren through 11/18. A late Warbling Vireo was reported on 11/17.
.
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 Cassin’s Finch was at Resaca de la Palma State Park on  11/16 and 17.  This female-plumaged bird was one of few LRGV documented reports.  Additional reports are desired!  The bird was at the feeders at the headquarters.
.
A Tropical Parula was at Resaca de la Palma State Park on 11/19. 
.
A Black-headed Grosbeak and a lingering  Hooded Oriole were in the Tropical Zone at Estero Llano Grande State Park on 11/20.  
.
A Tropical Parula has been seen occasionally at Frontera; no reports this week.
.
A dark immature Reddish Egret was at Delta Lake on 11/11.  A Dunlin was an excellent find at Sal del Rey on 11/18.
.
A Tropical Parula continues at Quinta Mazatlan through 11/14.  No reports this week.  
.
A late Red-eyed Vireo was at the McAllen Nature  Center last weekend.  
.
At Anzalduas County Park, both Hook-billed Kite and Zone-tailed Hawk may continue to be in the area, no recent reports.  Gray Hawk is a regular species at this location.
.
Nearby at Bentsen, both Hook-billed Kite and Zone-tailed Hawk have also been reported earlier this fall.  A Red-naped Sapsucker returned to Bentsen on 11/5 for the third year, no reports this week.  A Lazuli Bunting was reported on 11/16.
.
A Reddish Egret was at the bluffs at Santa Margarita on 11/5.  This is a fee site and not to be confused with the access to the river that is no longer available.  See http://marybirds.blogspot.com/2013/11/santa-margarita-bluffs-november-3-2013.html for more information on visiting or email the RBA.   

Several White-collared Seedeaters were at La Laja Ranch on 11/5 with counts in the double digits. See below for visitation information. 
.
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 11/20.  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 residence, Pharr, open by appointment ONLY; Call or text 956-460-9864.

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.

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 OPEN until March.     

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

Black-headed Grosbeak 11/19

A Black-headed Grosbeak was seen at Estero Llano Grande State Park on 11/19.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cassin's Finch, Winter Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglet 11/17, Lazuli Bunting 11/16

The Cassin's Finch showed well at the feeding station at Resaca de la Palma again today. A Black-throated Gray Warbler was also near the feeding station.

The Winter Wren continues at the South Padre Island Convention Center, along with a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

On Sunday morning 11/16, a female Lazuli Bunting was found west of Paixle Circle at Bentsen State Park.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cassin's Finch at Resaca de la Palma State Park, 11/16/2014

Mary Beth Stowe found a female-plumaged Cassin's Finch at Resaca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville today, 11/16.  This is one of few records for the LRGV.  See her photos here http://miriameaglemon.com/photo_gallery/2014%20Field%20Trips/November/Resaca%20de%20la%20Palma%20SP.html.  Dick Wilson also took some nice photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.906627319349052&type=1

Field marks cited in favor of Cassin's include the long straight bill (Purple often having a curved culmen), fine streaking on the breast that extends onto the undertail coverts (Purple having  broader streaks on the breast, and streaking may or may not extend onto undertail coverts), the more sandy brown tone of the brown plumage (lacking olive coloration), the long primary projection, and even the yellow tones on the face.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

RBA - November 13, 2014

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* November 13, 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: LRGV Christmas Bird Counts dates are online at http://rgvbirds.blogspot.com/p/lower-rio-grande-valley-christmas-bird.html.  Participate! 
.
NOTE: The Salineno feeding station is OPEN.  Donations of oranges, peanut butter, and seed is appreciated.   Be sure to thank Lois and Merle (and Jake) when you see them for their hard work in preparing the site and setting up! 
.
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.
______________________________________________________________
Fall migration is concluding, winter birds are arriving with the cold front.  Late Broad-winged Hawk and Wood Stork continue to be reported across the valley.  Black-throated Gray Warblers were found at Anzalduas and Estero this week. 
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
+BROWN BOOBY
Hook-billed Kite
Bald Eagle
Red-naped Sapsucker
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler  
Painted Redstart (Brooks County).
Spotted Towhee
.                                         
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.   
.
A +BROWN BOOBY was found October 26 feeding near the Boca Chica jetty (the south side of the inlet) but not relocated on October 27.  It was relocated from Scarlet Colley’s boat and photographed 11/5-7 and videoed on 11/11. 
.
A Purple Gallinule was at the SPI Convention Center boardwalk on 11/8.  Groove-billed Anis were in the gardens last week along with a late Swainson’s Thrush and an early Winter Wren. A late Bay-breasted Warbler was present 11/8,  and a White-throated Sparrow through 11/10.  A few Pine Siskins were reported 11/9. 
.
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 Spotted Towhee was in the Tropical Zone at Estero Llano Grande State Park on 11/7.
.
Two Hooded Mergansers were reported from Frontera and Estero on 11/7. A late Red-eyed Vireo was at Frontera last week.  A Tropical Parula continued at Frontera. 
.
A dark immature Reddish Egret was at Delta Lake on 11/11.
.
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.   
.
At Anzalduas County Park, both Hook-billed Kite and Zone-tailed Hawk continue to be reported this week.  Gray Hawk is a regular species at this location.  A Bald Eagle was photographed on 11/8 for a very rare Hidalgo County record.
.
Nearby at Bentsen, both Hook-billed Kite and Zone-tailed Hawk have also been reported last week.  A Red-naped Sapsucker returned to Bentsen on 11/5 for the third year and remained through the week. 
.
A Reddish Egret was at the bluffs at Santa Margarita on 11/5.  This is a fee site and not to be confused with the access to the river that is no longer available.  See http://marybirds.blogspot.com/2013/11/santa-margarita-bluffs-november-3-2013.html for more information on visiting or email the RBA.   

Several White-collared Seedeaters were at La Laja Ranch on 11/5 with counts in the double digits. See below for visitation information. 
.
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 10/30.  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 residence, 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 OPEN until March.     

Santa Ana NWR- closed to bicycles


Valley Nature Center, Weslaco, closed Sunday mornings and Mondays 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rare Bird Update 11/9

Two Hook-billed kites at Bentsen State Park near green jay blind at 9:30 am.

Winter wren, Swainson's thrush and two anis at south padre island convention center this morning.

Two black-throated gray warblers and fulvous whistling-duck at Estero Llano Grande State Park.