Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bulletin #18 - RGV TX #3

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
Nov 1, 2007

Bulletin #18 – Rio Grande Valley Oct 5-7, 2007 – part 3

Hello friends,

I had a quick weekend trip to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas the first weekend in October. This is a unique location in the ABA birding area as it contains several Mexican species that just cross over the border into the USA.

I hired a guide to show me around and locate the birds for me to photograph. My guide was Roy Rodriguez, who was extremely knowledgeable for all the wildlife and plants. Roy can be reached on his cell phone at 956-221-1340.

There are 2 parrot species to be found in the RGV. The first of these is the Red-crowned Parrot which I had already photographed in Miami, so I omitted that bird as a target for this RGV trip.

The other is the Green Parakeet (Aratinga holochlora). This species lives in Northeast Mexico, but in the last dozen years has moved into south Texas in large numbers. They are easily found in large communal roosts along power lines in several of the cities. These photos were taken about 6 pm in McAllen along a main street. Certainly the easiest parrots to see, as usually you are looking for a green bird in a green tree. This was a lifer for me as well.

The first is a pair on a palm frond. They look like a pair of love birds.
The second photo shows them squabbling for a spot on the wire. They have yellow under their wings, and a few orange spots on neck and wing. click ‘next’ once

There are several orioles in the RGV. The only one we found was the Altamira Oriole (Icterus gularis). At 10” in length, this is the largest oriole in the ABA area. It was another lifer for me. The adults are similar plumage. This bird has an orange streak on the upper wing and white wing bars below. click ‘next’ once

This bird builds a typical oriole long hanging nest. Here is a photo of the Altamira Oriole nest.

We spent Saturday evening and early Sunday morning looking for owls. This is my first successful night photo of an owl. Here is an Eastern Screech-Owl (Otus asio).

The next bird is the Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). This is the largest wren in the ABA area (8.5”). The first photos are an adult. Notice the spots on the breast coalesce into almost a large black spot on the chest and throat. Here are 2 photos of the same bird. The curved bill, white eye stripe and brown coloration are typical of all wrens. click ‘next’ once

Next we have a juvenile. The spots are quite distinct and not as dark as the adult. click ‘next’ once

The last bird is the Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons). This bird has a black & white striped back with yellow on the face. The male also has a red patch on crown of head. Here is the male. The yellow patch above the bill is just visible.

The female has no red but notice she also has a yellow belly! Compare with the upper Texas coast Red-bellied Woodpecker.

The last photo is of a Javelina or Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu). This mammal is a close relative of the pig family and is a common native of the southwestern region of the USA. Notice the white collar and a tusk is just showing.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy Birding,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2007 David McDonald

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