Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert

Monday, April 20, 2015

Masked Booby on TX 106 - gone

Some interesting news to share even if the bird is long gone.  Yesterday (4/19) an FWS intern found a juvenal Masked Booby in the road on Texas 106 near Laguna Atascosa NWR.  The bird was escorted out of the road and flew into the refuge (presumably towards the Laguna Atascosa).  Still, it's a great story in the "wish I'd been there" category!  Masked Booby are regular in shelf waters off the coast, and annual on Texas beaches.  They are outnumbered in the winter months by Northern Gannet.  This is the first documented report of a Masked Booby inland in the LRGV, even if only a few miles inland.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

RBA - April 16, 2015

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* April 16, 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: 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.
______________________________________________________________
Spring is here, migrants are passing in great numbers!  Swainson’s Hawks are still passing in numbers, and Mississippi Kites are starting to pass through.  Migrant warblers are trickling in and flooding overhead; the strong south winds are carrying them well beyond the LRGV.  The first Empidonax Flycatchers are migrating through with Acadian and Least Flycatchers the expected species.  A Pomarine Jaeger was photographed on the beach in Kenedy County.  
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Painted Redstart (Brooks County)
.                                         
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 Prairie Warbler was noted at SPI on 4/10, and another at Fort Brown on 4/12.
.
Two late Canvasbacks are at Edinburg Scenic Wetlands though 4/14.
.
Also at Estero, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is nest building; this is the eastern limit for this species.  They are more expected at Bentsen and Anzalduas. 
.
Presumably the same Prairie Warbler continues at the Hidalgo Pumphouse through 4/8.   
.
A  Tropical Parula was well photographed at Anzalduas County Park on 4/7 and continued to 4/16.  Many parulas are singing there, the Tropical has been seen between the two wash rooms by the yellow swingset. 
.
Irregular reports of Red-billed Pigeon continue to come in from the boat ramp at Salineno and Starr County Park.  No Starr County reports of Muscovy Duck, just a few records in the San Ygnacio area.  Muscovy in Hidalgo and Cameron are feral domestics. 
.
EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
.
The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues through 4/15.  A Painted Redstart wintered at this site last year but was last reported in mid-March.   
.
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 or up to 10th and Trenton. 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.   
.
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, open daily, first tram at 8:30 AM.

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, 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.  Visitor Center open 7 days through March. 

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

McAllen Nature Center – Open 8 am to noon, Wednesdays through Sundays.

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, April 15, 2015

RBA Phone Line Outage

Thanks to those who have notified us that the phone line that had been associated with the Rare Bird Alert is not working; we are looking into this.  Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

RBA - April 9, 2015

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* April 9, 2015
.
To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com (preferred) or call (956)584-2731 option 3.
.
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: 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.
______________________________________________________________
Spring is here, migrants are passing in great numbers!  Forster’s Terns and Brown-crested Flycatchers are back in force. Migrant warblers are trickling in and flooding overhead; the strong south winds are carrying them well beyond the LRGV.  
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Painted Redstart (Brooks County)
.                                         
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.  
No recent reports for the Tropical Parula at Resaca de la Palma State Park. 
.
Also at Estero, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is nest building; this is the eastern limit for this species.  They are more expected at Bentsen and Anzalduas. 
.
At Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, the Brown Thrasher and Winter Wren continued last week; they will be heading north shortly.  The last date on the Brown Thrasher is 3/23, while the Winter Wren was detected through 4/1.
.
Presumably the same Prairie Warbler continues at the Hidalgo Pumphouse through 4/8.   
.
A  Tropical Parula was well photographed at Anzalduas County Park on 4/7 and continued to 4/9.  Many parulas are singing there, the Tropical has been seen between the two wash rooms by the yellow swingset. 
.
Elf Owls are singing at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, both at the main entrance gate across the levee and at the north end of the trailer park loop.  A small flock of apparently wild Wild Turkey continue at Bentsen (no reports this week) .  This is a locally distributed species near the river. 
.
Irregular reports of Red-billed Pigeon continue to come in from the boat ramp at Salineno.  No reports of wild Muscovy Duck, birds in Hidalgo and Cameron are domestic – carefully document any suspected wild birds in this area.   
.
EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
.
The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues through 4/8.  A Painted Redstart wintered at this site last year but was last reported in mid-March.   
.
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 or up to 10th and Trenton. 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.   
.
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, open daily, first tram at 8:30 AM.

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, 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.  Visitor Center open 7 days through March. 

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

McAllen Nature Center – Open 8 am to noon, Wednesdays through Sundays.

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 

Friday, April 3, 2015

RBA - April 2, 2015

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* April 2, 2015
.
To report rare birds, e-mail rgvbirds AT hotmail.com (preferred) or call (956)584-2731 option 3.
.
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: 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.
______________________________________________________________
Spring is here, migrants are arriving include Black Tern, grasspipers, Myiarchus flycatchers, and more.  Chimney Swifts are back, and Red-crowned Parrots are checking nest cavities.  
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
Hook-billed Kite (no reports)
Chihuahuan Raven (Hidalgo)
Brown Thrasher
Winter Wren
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Painted Redstart (Brooks County)
.                                         
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.  
No recent reports for the Tropical Parula at Resaca de la Palma State Park. 
.
Also at Estero, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is occasionally to be seen or heard; this is the eastern limit for this species.  They are more expected at Bentsen and Anzalduas. 
.
At Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, the Brown Thrasher and Winter Wren continued last week; they will be heading north shortly.  The last date on the Brown Thrasher is 3/23, while the Winter Wren was detected through 4/1.
.
Presumably the same Prairie Warbler was relocated at the Hidalgo Pumphouse on 1/20 and 1/26-3/26.   Many reports are from the north side of the Pumphouse where the metal picnic tables are present. 
.
Elf Owls are singing at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, both at the main entrance gate across the levee and at the north end of the trailer park loop.  A small flock of apparently wild Wild Turkey continue at Bentsen.  This is a locally distributed species near the river. 
.
Another Chihuahuan Ravens report from Hidalgo County at Yturria Brush; this species had withdrawn from Hidalgo County about 10 years ago perhaps in response to West Nile Virus. 
.
The last day for the feeding stations at Salineno was March 22.  Irregular reports of Red-billed Pigeon have come in from the boat ramp over the last two weeks, and a Northern Mallard continued to 3/27.
.
EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
.
The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues through 3/29.  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 or up to 10th and Trenton. 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.   
.
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, open daily, first tram at 8:30 AM.

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, 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.  Visitor Center open 7 days through March. 

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. UPDATE Beginning on Friday, January 2nd, open 8 am to noon, Wednesdays through Sundays.

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 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

RBA - March 26, 2015

.
* Texas
* Lower Rio Grande Valley
* March 26, 2015
.
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: The last day for Salineno’s feeding station was Sunday, March 22; thanks to Lois, Merle, Jake, Larry, and Judy for greeting all those visitors and feeding the birds!  There is an opening for a host at this site next winter.  ***

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.
______________________________________________________________
Spring is here, migrants are arriving including Anhinga, Green Heron, and Great Blue Heron, early raptors, and early season migrants including American Golden-Plover. 
.
Our rare bird alert this week includes:
.
Blue-winged x Green-winged Teal hybrid (returned 3/23, no additional reports)
Hook-billed Kite (no reports)
Chihuahuan Raven (Hidalgo)
Brown Thrasher
Winter Wren
Tropical Parula
Mangrove [Yellow] Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Painted Redstart (Brooks County)
+GRAY-CROWNED YELLOWTHROAT (no reports for 3 days)
.                                         
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.   
.
Early migrants were reported from the South Padre Island by those braving the Texas week crowds.  Be sure to go early at spring break!  Species reported include Least Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Prothonotary Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, and similar early migrants.
.
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.  
No recent reports for the Tropical Parula at Resaca de la Palma State Park. 
.
A stunning hybrid duck with a face pattern similar to a Baikal Teal was at Ibis Pond at Estero Llano Grande on 3/18 and returned on 3/23.  This bird matches descriptions and photographs of a hybrid Blue-winged x Green-winged Teal and is not a Baikal Teal.  The face pattern of a Baikal Teal is similar to the ancestral pattern.  The bird at Estero has a very large bill, irregularly blotched plumage, and lacks parts of the green bridle on the face.  It is a gorgeous and educational bird. 
.
Also at Estero, a Tropical Parula is in the Tropical Zone with intermittent sightings through 3/16.   An Orchard Oriole and two Hooded Orioles continue, making the park a great place to study orioles.  A Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet is occasionally to be seen or heard; this is the eastern limit for this species.  Hummingbirds are present and new birds arriving, with both Black-chinned and Ruby-throated. 
.
A Reddish Egret has been reported at the Hargill Playa over the last week. This is a rare bird in the county. 
.
At Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, the Brown Thrasher and Winter Wren continued last week; they will be heading north shortly.  The last date on the Brown Thrasher is 3/23, while the Winter Wren was detected through 3/20.
.
A Tropical Parula was found on 3/22-23 at Santa Ana NWR on the cutoff trail going east from the Cattail Lakes Trail.
.
Presumably the same Prairie Warbler was relocated at the Hidalgo Pumphouse on 1/20 and 1/26-3/22.   Many reports are from the north side of the Pumphouse where the metal picnic tables are present. 
.
At Anzalduas County Park, a Hook-billed Kite was reported 3/18.  Photos are appreciated of this species as we are trying to track individual birds. 
.
Hook-billed Kites may still be in the Bentsen area but there are no reports this week.  The overcast and rainy conditions are not the best for this species to travel longer distances in search of snails.  A small flock of apparently wild Wild Turkey continue at Bentsen.  This is a locally distributed species near the river. 
.
Four Chihuahuan Ravens were a most welcome report from Goodwin Rd. near the Expressway; this species had withdrawn from Hidalgo County about 10 years ago perhaps in response to West Nile Virus. 
.
The last day for the feeding stations at Salineno was March 22.  Irregular reports of Red-billed Pigeon have come in from the boat ramp over the last two weeks.  A northern Mallard continues on the river. 
.
EXTRALIMITAL REPORTS
.
The Painted Redstart returned to the Brooks County Rest Area on US 281 south of Falfurrias on Saturday 9/20 and continues through 3/25.  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 or up to 10th and Trenton. 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! 
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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.
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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.

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, 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.  Visitor Center open 7 days through March. 

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. UPDATE Beginning on Friday, January 2nd, open 8 am to noon, Wednesdays through Sundays.

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 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Update 3/23

The hybrid Blue-winged x Green-winged Teal has returned to Estero today!

Still no reports on the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat even after the rainy weather cleared out.

Yellow-throated Vireo and early migrant warblers were found yesterday at various locations.

Tropical Parula was singing away at Santa Ana NWR found by Javi G.