South Texas December 2012 Day 3

Yah. Yah. Yah.  I’m waaay behind. It’s hard to keep up with Internet communication here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas when you spend all your time outdoors in the nice weather looking at fantastic birds, butterflies and moths, dragonflies, flowers, and plants.  It is like another world here compared to my home in Ohio.

The third day of my trip was cool.  Ten of the 700+ Club birders (the few crazies who’ve traveled the North American continent and have recorded over 700 species of birds in a single year).  We all met in the morning at the World Bird Center’s Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park south of McAllen, TX.

Here’s a picture of sunrise at Bentsen.

sunrise at Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

sunrise at Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Our first stop was the boat ramp overlooking the resaca (oxbow).

Resaca at Bentsen Rio Grande with 700+ club - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Resaca at Bentsen Rio Grande with 700+ club – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Near the restrooms we found the reported red-naped sapsucker, a great bird for the Valley.  Unfortunately, yours truly captured some photos of branches in focus and the bird out of focus.  Upon switching to manual focus, the bird flew away.  Who knew birds were afraid of manual focus?  sigh.  A distant Altamira Oriole lit in the top of a tree in morning sun.  Too bad it’s so far away.

Altamira Oriole in distant treetop - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Altamira Oriole in distant treetop – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Next on the agenda was to try to find the previously reported Northern Beardless Tyrannulet–a little nondescript bird whose name is longer than the actual bird!

700+ club looking at Northern Beardless Tyrannulet - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX -2012-12-06

700+ club looking at Northern Beardless Tyrannulet – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX -2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

This time I got a lucky moment and captured a photo of this small, not so colorful bird.

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - 2012-12-06

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Green Jays had been calling all morning and were flying from tree-to-tree around us.  I finally spent a little “me” time away from the group and closer to the feeders.  Ahh.  Green Jay Therapy.  Here’s a few photos to get you through your day.

Green Jay - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Green Jay in tree looking away - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay in tree looking away – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Green Jay on arch - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay on arch – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Green Jay on wooden feeder - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay on wooden feeder – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

After spending a little more time in Bentsen, we walked out of the park and headed for Anzalduas County Park a little west of Bentsen.  On the way out, one of the many noisy and conspicuous Great Kiskadees lit in a treetop for a photo opportunity.  I think I got a pretty good angle on this one, don’t you think?

Great Kiskadee in treetop in morning light - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Great Kiskadee in treetop in morning light – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

On to Anzalduas.  Here, you can look across the water and easily see Mexico.  Birds on the other side count for you Mexico list and not for your ABA Area list (American Birding Association draws a boundary at the Rio Grande River. The list applies to where the bird is, not where you are standing). So, occasionally you see good birds on the other side of the water–like this Ringed Kingfisher, for example.

Ringed Kingfisher on distant snag - Mexican side from Anzalduas County Park - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Ringed Kingfisher on distant snag – Mexican side from Anzalduas County Park – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

This Green Kingfisher was more cooperative and flew across the water to the U.S. side.

Green Kingfisher in flight - Anzalduas County Park - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Kingfisher in flight – Anzalduas County Park – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

The sun was bright and hot.  Sometimes birds pose in bright sunlight, but the photos are hard to get “right”–at least for this amateur photographer.  The bright sun can wash out color on lit areas and the shadows can be so sharp as to hide any details on the shaded portions.  But that is all technical stuff.  You’ll have to use your imagination to compensate for this photo of a Vermillion Flycatcher–a nice adult male.

Vermillion Flycatcher on treetop in sharp lighting - Anzalduas County Park - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Vermillion Flycatcher on treetop in sharp lighting – Anzalduas County Park – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

And here’s a picture of a butterfly.  Yeah.  Even this birder is starting to pay more attention to other things.  The curiosity factor will take you many places.  I spotted this little gem on our way back to our vehicles.  Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for identifying it.  I’m still very new at this.  But I did notice that it was different.  It’s a Red-bordered Pixie, thanks to Jeff Gordon, President of the ABA (American Birding Association) for the identification on this one.

Red-bordered Pixie - Anzalduas County Park - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Red-bordered Pixie – Anzalduas County Park – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Later in the evening, we all went to see John Vanderpoel’s presentation on his Big Year and then we went out to eat.  Another fun day out.

South Texas December 2012 Day 1

Gallery

This gallery contains 10 photos.

I have been driving what seems like a long time.  I set out for South Texas from home in Ohio on December 1, 2012.  Yesterday, December 4 I finally birded my way into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  … Continue reading