Saturday, March 05, 2011

Texas Day 1

We made it! We're in the Rio Grande Valley, in a little hotel in Weslaco. We had quite the trip here, getting a lifer almost right off the bat:
"Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis?"

Pyrrhuloxia! You won't believe it: we're driving down Highway 281 south of San Antonio, figuring we'd see more stuff on the smaller road rather than the interstate. So we're in a tiny little village called Whitsett, doing about 55, and Mary screams, "Stop! Wait! I saw something!" So I stand on the brakes and whip the car around (that one was for you, Mary), and in this person's yard are at least six Pyrrhuloxias, just flying around like sparrows and twittering their heads off. WOW!

With one lifer under our belts, we pressed on. We saw another little flock of them later, along with several meadowlarks (Western? they were standing along the side of the highway, as Westerns are described doing, but who knows--we were going pretty fast), TONS of TUVUs and BLVUs, American Kestrels, and Crested Caracaras, a couple of Red-tailed and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and one Harris' Hawk and one Greater Roadrunner. A nice, nice trip down. There was a flock of swallows flying around one of the RTHAs but I couldn't ID them -- possibly Cliff?

Anyway, we checked into the hotel and ate at Fat Daddy's (you HAVE to eat there if you come down here -- BBQ, Chicken-fried Steak, etc. DELISH! Then we went for a quick look at the visitor center pond at Estero Llano Grande State Park.

We had quite an eyeful, including this cute little lifer:
Is this just the cutest thing you've ever seen in your life? WILSON'S SNIPE! Lifer number 2 for the trip, and we haven't even really gotten going yet! This guy just sat there, posing for the few of us late-dayers there at the visitor center.

Look at these beauties:

We also got some Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, though they were obscured by cattails:

Over at the hummingbird feeders, I got a much better photograph of the Buff-bellied Hummingbird:A perfect addition to my lifebird photo collection.

There were so many Green- and Blue-winged Teals, Ring-necked Ducks, and Northern Shovelers that I couldn't count them all. Here's a nice group photo:
Someone mentioned to me that there was a hybrid Cinnamon x Blue-winged Teal to be seen, and maybe this guy to the right is him:But who knows. He never pulled his head up. He did look rather cinnamon-y all over, but I couldn't tell.

Anyway, it was late and we figured we'd better rest up for tomorrow. Just need to enter my day's numbers in eBird and I'll be out like a light.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Wow, Pyrrhuloxia! So exciting!

Dr. MVM said...

Great stuff.

Wren nests in... said...

Wow, great start indeed.

And the ibis shot is amazing!

dAwN said...

OH...coool! Have fun..I know you will...we birded there for the first time last winter and spring migration..we had a awesome time!
Happy Birding!

Larry said...

Wow-great new birds you are seeing!I've never traveled to a new bird zone except for seeing some Boreal species.Must be fun.

dguzman said...

Elizabeth--I know -- they're so cool!

Dr Monkey--thanks!

Wren--exhausting but a lot of good birds. And thanks!

dAwN--Big fun!

Larry--it's so great to come down here, see my parents, and be in a whole new birding environment.