South Texas December 2012 Days 4 and 5

Day 4 I didn’t carry my camera.  It looked a little like rain and I only had a very short time to bird.  I took my birding friend, Dan Sanders back to McAllen airport so he could return home to Ohio quickly to tick the Varied Thrush that had showed up while he was in Texas.

Day 5 was a Saturday.  Those of us that remained left McAllen, TX early and headed north to Raymondville, TX to visit the Hunke Ranch (owners Phil & Karen were gracious hosts).  Our primary target was Ferruginous Pygmy-owl.  We found two of them a hundred yards away behind the ranch house in a small group of trees.

Ferruginous Pygmy-owl - Hunke Ranch  - Raymondville, TX - 2012-12-08  Photo by Greg Miller

Ferruginous Pygmy-owl – Hunke Ranch – Raymondville, TX – 2012-12-08 Photo by Greg Miller

Then we got into a couple vehicles to tour the Hunke’s Ranch.  One of the vehicles was open.  It was a converted Chevy Suburban that looked like a Safari tour vehicle.  I chose this one to ride in.

700 plus club members in ranch tour vehicle

700 plus club members in ranch tour vehicle Photo by Jeff Gordon

Here’s one of the first birds we found on our tour after enjoying great views of the tiny little Ferruginous Pygmy-owl.

White-tailed Hawk adult - Hunke Ranch near Raymondville, TX - 2012-12-08

White-tailed Hawk adult – Hunke Ranch near Raymondville, TX – 2012-12-08 Photo by Greg Miller

The White-tailed Hawk is an interesting hawk that goes through cycles.  Here is what a first year White-tailed Hawk looks like.

White-tailed Hawk 1st yr - Hunke Ranch - Raymondville TX - 2012-12-08

White-tailed Hawk 1st yr – Hunke Ranch – Raymondville TX – 2012-12-08 Photo by Greg Miller

Finally, we came across a kingbird.  The differences between Couch’s and Tropical Kingbirds can be very subtle.  Thankfully, this kingbird varified its identity by calling for us.  It is a Couch’s Kingbird.

Couch's Kingbird distant on fence - Hunke Ranch - Raymondville TX - 2012-12-08

Couch’s Kingbird distant on fence – Hunke Ranch – Raymondville TX – 2012-12-08 photo by Greg Miller

 

From left to right: Al Levantin, Phil & Karen Hunke, Greg Miller, Jeff Gordon, Sandy Komito

From left to right: Al Levantin, Phil & Karen Hunke, Greg Miller, Jeff Gordon, Sandy Komito at the Hunke Ranch near Raymondville, TX 2012-12-08     Photo by Jeff Gordon