Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saturday: Best Day Ever: Part 1

I started my Saturday birding at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. It's right by the airport, so its a first stop for a lot of out-of-town birders. I'd actually never been there; they're rarely on the RBA and it's one of the only local places I don't have a membership to. Anyway, they were on for a Tropical Parula, which, of course, I didn't see. I did catch an Eastern Towhee for a lifer (yay!) and got some great pictures of some other birds that were around.

This little guy's a Lesser Goldfinch, which was a first for me in Texas and Hidalgo County. While I don't keep county and state lists, it was exciting. The last time I saw a Lesser Goldfinch was in Utah as I was pulling into my campsite outside Zion National Park. It was actually one of the first birds I IDed independently, and so it was exciting to get to see an old, small, very adorable friend.

I poked around the feeding area at Quinta for awhile. At first glance, it was just loaded with House Sparrows, but after waiting, other birds joined them. All the familiar friends were there and were feeling pretty photogenic.

This first one's a Great Kiskadee, a classic RGV bird. It's not often that you catch them with their crown showing, so I counted myself lucky to get this shot with the patch of yellow on the top.

Also working the feeders on the other end was another Valley classic: the
Golden Fronted Woodpecker. I see them all the time in the neighborhood (they're actually super-annoyingly loud), but this one was looking pretty cute (and quiet).

I started walking the grounds a bit, but wasn't having much luck on the target bird of the day. I wanted to drive the 90 minutes out to Salineno (see Part 2 tomorrow!). So, after an hour of not finding the Parula, I was about to give up, so I headed back toward the entrance. On my way out, I stopped to take a couple of quick photos.

First, I got a quick shot of this Curve-Billed Thrasher (below)

It's another desert-y type bird. I think this may be a first for Hidalgo for me. I'm used to seeing his cousin, the long-billed around in this area. There were TONS of Long-Billeds, but I still don't have a picture with which I'm satisfied. Anyway, I was happy to see the Curve-Billed, as well as this fellow below:

This is a Clay-Colored Thrush (left), formerly known as the Clay-Colored Robin. They used to be really rare around here; I remember once on a bird walk, people crowding to see it. They've made somewhat of a comeback or something because now I see them almost every time I go out. They come to feeders, but this one was just hanging out in the brush by the park entrance.

So, I got in my car to head out to Salineno. Just to be clear, at this point in the day, my life list was at 258, having just added the Eastern Towhee.
See you tomorrow!

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