Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Sabal Palms 

   
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Texas Spring - Apr 2007
by Henry Detwiler

Chuck Gooding and I spent ten days roaming the Rio Grande Valley and Big Bend National Park this past April, joined for a few days by friends Al & Helga from Calgary.  
241 species--bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

RIO GRANDE VALLEY & HILL COUNTRY
Chuck and I met on Apr 18th at San Antonio, and drove down to Kingsville for our first killer bird of the trip, a female Masked Duck.  We had to wait until sundown, but it was worth it!

 


Chuck, Helga, Al, & Henry
  


Black-throated Green Warbler 

A few migrant warblers, like this Black-throated Green, were working the trees, and the resident Groove-billed Anis had just returned from their winter homes.
 

The next day we explored Sabal Palms Audubon Sanctuary southeast of Brownsville.

 
Groove-billed Ani, Sabal Palms
 


Olive Sparrow, Sabal Palms
 

Here and elsewhere in the valley, Long-billed Thrashers dart out from under cover to snag a quick meal.  The feeding station at Sabal Palms is a reliable spot to see them.


This sanctuary preserves the last vestiges of what used to be a large swath of native palms along the Rio Grande.  It also encompasses a lot of native scrub, home to the Olive Sparrow.

 


Long-billed Thrasher, Sabal Palms

We heard about some fancy birds on Galveston Island, including a target for Chuck, the Painted Bunting.  So we drove north and east, and were greeted with a true fallout of migrants.  At our first stop, Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were everywhere.



Baltimore Oriole, Galveston
 


Hooded Warbler, Galveston

Other nice birds here included Sedge Wren, three tanagers: Western, Summer, and Scarlet, and a smattering of eastern wood warblers.

The next stop was at the convention center.  The tiny plot of woods here was chock full of birds.  This Hooded Warbler was too exhausted to care about all the birders, and it was here that Chuck got his Painted Buntings!


Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Galveston

The wetlands around the convention center had a fine collection of waders and shorebirds.  We also scored on rails, seeing a pair of Clappers and hearing Virginias.



Little Blue Heron, Galveston

 

 
The next few mornings we went along the Rio Grande River in search of targets and other local specialties.  Below the Roma Cliffs we saw our first Aud Orioles, a Clay-colored Robin, and this fine Golden-fronted Woodpecker feeding it's young.
Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Roma


Altamira Oriole, Chapeno


Green Jay, Chapeno

We spent two mornings at Chapaneno looking for the Muscovey Duck.  We had no luck the first morning--getting there too late.  But the next morning we got there earlier, and had a bit more luck.  At the feeders were a steady procession of birds, including these two colorful Valley residents, the Altamira Oriole and the Green Jay.

 

On two nights we went after night birds in the Valley.  We saw and heard Pauraques, Elf Owls, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Chuck-wills-widow, and Eastern Screech-owl.  But for all our searching, and all its calling for two straight nights, we never once saw the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.


Eastern Screech-Owl
Bentsen Rio-Grande State Park

At San Ignacio we easily found the White-collared Seedeater and this Great Kiskadee.  Here, as elsewhere, we found many butterflies and damsels--truly a naturalist's paradise.


Rubyspot Damselfly, San Ignacio



Great Kiskadee, San Ignacio
 
 

From the Rio Grande we moved north to the Hill Country.  At Lost Maples State Park we found the endemic Golden-cheeked Warbler and at Kerr Wildlife Area we found the Black-capped Vireo--and these beautiful cacti.

 


Opuntia Cacti, Lost Maples


  Gray Hairstreaks

Here also were a variety of beautiful butterflies, including these "two-headed" hairstreaks.  At a feeding station this handsome Blue Grosbeak filled up on corn.


Blue Grosbeak, Lost Maples St. Park

The Hill Country was incredibly birdy, and on our last morning there we added Yellow-throated Warbler to our burgeoning list. This was our rainiest day to date, and we left the beautiful green countryside for the drier lands of west Texas.


 
Golden-cheeked Warbler, San Antonio

On to BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

 
Texas, Apr 2007
1 Least Grebe
2 Pied-billed Grebe
3 American White Pelican
4 Brown Pelican
5 Anhinga
6 Neotropic Cormorant
7 Double-crested Cormorant
8 Least Bittern
9 Great Blue Heron
10 Great Egret
11 Snowy Egret
12 Little Blue Heron
13 Tricolored Heron
14 Reddish Egret
15 Cattle Egret
16 Green Heron
17 Black-crowned Night Heron
18 White-faced Ibis
19 Mottled Duck
20 Black-bellied Whistling Duck
21 Gadwall
22 Muscovy Duck
23 American Wigeon
24 Mallard
25 Blue-winged Teal
26 Cinnamon Teal
27 Northern Shoveler
28 Ring-necked Duck
29 Masked Duck
30 Plain Chachalaca
31 Osprey
32 Swallow-tailed Kite
33 Northern Harrier
34 Cooper's Hawk
35 Common Black Hawk
36 Harris' Hawk
37 Gray Hawk
38 Broad-winged Hawk
39 Swainson's Hawk
40 White-tailed Hawk
41 Red-tailed Hawk
42 Peregrine Falcon
43 Wild Turkey
44 Scaled Quail
45 Bobwhite
46 Clapper Rail
47 Virginia Rail
48 Sora
49 Common Moorhen
50 American Coot
51 Black-bellied Plover
52 Wilson's Plover
53 Semipalmated Plover
54 Killdeer
55 American Oystercatcher
56 Black-necked Stilt
57 American Avocet
58 Greater Yellowlegs
59 Lesser Yellowlegs
60 Willet
 
61 Spotted Sandpiper
62 Whimbrel
63 Marbled Godwit
64 Ruddy Turnstone
65 Sanderling
66 Western Sandpiper
67 Least Sandpiper
68 Dunlin
69 Stilt Sandpiper
70 Long-billed Dowitcher
71 Black Vulture
72 Crested Caracara
73 Turkey Vulture
74 Laughing Gull
75 Franklin's Gull
76 Gull-billed Tern
77 Caspian Tern
78 Royal Tern
79 Sandwich Tern
80 Forster's Tern
81 Least Tern
82 Black Skimmer
83 Rock Pigeon
84 Red-billed Pigeon
85 White-winged Dove
86 Mourning Dove
87 Inca Dove
88 Common Ground-Dove
89 Eurasian Collared Dove
90 White-tipped Dove
91 Green Parakeet
92 Groove-billed Ani
93 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
94 Greater Roadrunner
95 Eastern Screech Owl
96 Ferruginous Pygmy- Owl
97 Elf Owl
98 Common Nighthawk
99 Common Poorwill
100 Chuck-Will's-Widow
101 Common Pauraque
102 Chimney Swift
103 White-throated Swift
104 Buff-bellied Hummingbird
105 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
106 Black-chinned Hummingbird
107 Broad-tailed Hummingbird
108 Belted Kingfisher
109 Green Kingfisher
110 Ringed Kingfisher
111 Golden-fronted Woodpecker
112 Acorn Woodpecker
113 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
114 Western Wood Pewee
115 Eastern Wood Pewee
116 Black Phoebe
117 Eastern Phoebe
118 Say's Phoebe
119 Vermilion Flycatcher
120 Ash-throated Flycatcher
 
121 Great Crested Flycatcher
122 Couch's Kingbird
123 Western Kingbird
124 Eastern Kingbird
125 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
126 Great Kiskadee
127 Loggerhead Shrike
128 White-eyed Vireo
129 Bell's Vireo
130 Gray Vireo
131 Plumbeous Vireo
132 Blue-headed Vireo
133 Hutton's Vireo
134 Warbling Vireo
135 Red-eyed Vireo
136 Black-capped Vireo
137 Western Scrub Jay
138 Mexican Jay
139 Brown Jay
140 Green Jay
141 Tamaulipas Crow
142 Common Raven
143 Chihuahuan Raven
144 Purple Martin
145 Tree Swallow
146 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
147 Cliff Swallow
148 Cave Swallow
149 Barn Swallow
150 Carolina Chickadee
151 Black-crested Titmouse
152 Verdin
153 Bushtit
154 Cactus Wren
155 Rock Wren
156 Canyon Wren
157 Bewick's Wren
158 House Wren
159 Sedge Wren
160 Carolina Wren
161 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
162 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
163 Eastern Bluebird
164 Swainson's Thrush
165 Hermit Thrush
166 Wood Thrush
167 American Robin
168 Clay-colored Robin
169 Gray Catbird
170 Northern Mockingbird
171 Curve-billed Thrasher
172 Long-billed Thrasher
173 Crissal Thrasher
174 European Starling
175 Cedar Waxwing
176 Phainopepla
177 Yellow-breasted Chat
178 Yellow-rumped Warbler
179 Yellow-throated Warbler
180 Black-and-white Warbler
 
181 Common Yellowthroat
182 Golden-cheeked Warbler
183 Yellow Warbler
184 Colima Warbler
185 Tennessee Warbler
186 Prothonotary Warbler
187 Chestnut-sided Warbler
188 Wilson's Warbler
189 Townsend's Warbler
190 Nashville Warbler
191 Kentucky Warbler
192 Black-throated Green Warbler
193 Hooded Warbler
194 N. Waterthrush
195 Orange-crowned Warbler
196 Ovenbird
197 Hepatic Tanager
198 Summer Tanager
199 Scarlet Tanager
200 Western Tanager
201 Olive Sparrow
202 Spotted Towhee
203 Canyon Towhee
204 Cassin's Sparrow
205 Rufous-crowned Sparrow
206 Chipping Sparrow
207 Clay-Colored Sparrow
208 Brewer's Sparrow
209 Field Sparrow
210 Black-chinned Sparrow
211 Lark Sparrow
212 Black-throated Sparrow
213 Savannah Sparrow
214 Song Sparrow
215 Lincoln's Sparrow
216 White-crowned Sparrow
217 Cardinal
218 Pyrrhuloxia
219 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
220 Black-headed Grosbeak
221 Blue Grosbeak
222 Indigo Bunting
223 Painted Bunting
224 Dickcissel
225 White-collared Seedeater
226 Red-winged Blackbird
227 Scott's Oriole
228 Eastern Meadowlark
229 Yellow-headed Blackbird
230 Great-tailed Grackle
231 Bronzed Cowbird
232 Brown-headed Cowbird
233 Orchard Oriole
234 Hooded Oriole
235 Baltimore Oriole
236 Bullock's Oriole
237 Audubon's Oriole
238 Altamira Oriole
239 House Finch
240 Lesser Goldfinch
241 House Sparrow


Photos Henry Detwiler