Texas Gulf Coast and Lower Rio Grande River Valley
February 3-9, 2006
MassAudubon (Joppa Flats and Drumlin Farm)

Selected photos from a great trip:

Suter Park: Roseate Spoonbills, Black-necked Stilts, Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egret,
Northern Pintail, Mottled Duck, American Wigeon, American Coot....

Hmmm, add Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, and White Ibis.

Oh, and Neotropic Cormorant.

At Aransas NWR, the featured stars were the Whooping Cranes,

like this family group, but you had to give points to the immature
Greater Flamingo (banded as a nestling in the Yucatan)!

At Laguna Atascosa NWR we picked up
more interesting birds, like this

Green Jay,

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

and a couple of Crested Caracaras (not intimidated by a Turkey Vulture).

We saw the two specialty kingfishers in Brownsville,

Green Kingfisher and

Ringed Kingfisher, along with a few of many

Least Grebes and many

Olive Sparrows.

Further up the Rio Grande River Valley, we found

Inca Doves and

Lesser Goldfinch at Frontera Audubon in Weslaco, and

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet at Anzalduas County Park, and

this pair of Harris's Hawks at Santa Ana NWR, along with this

out-of-place Red-naped Sapsucker.

Along the roads there were plenty of

White-tailed Kites and

White-winged Doves.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant in McAllen yielded both

Tropical Kingbird and

Vermillion Flycatcher.

Further upstream in the Chapeno and Salieno area, we found

Altamira Oriole (with Green Jays),

Audubon's Oriole, and

Hooded Oriole.

Brown Jay is a tough target bird, but

they do like oranges!

And Clay-colored Robins apparently like

peanut butter (smooth of course).

In the desert scrub near Zapata, we found

Cactus Wren,

Black-throated Sparrow,

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and


Of course, you have to wonder about Pyrrhuloxia
(weird cardinal or gum disease?),

but this Greater Roadrunner

was clearly just trying to warm up in the sun.

Our last stops brought us many more Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

and, finally, a

cruising Ferruginous Hawk.

All in all, a wonderful trip. We had 198 species of birds and a great group of participants.

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