Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bulletin #17 - RGV TX #2

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
Oct 25-2007

Bulletin #17 – Rio Grande Valley Oct 5-7, 2007 – part 2

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.

The New World Sparrows are well represented in South Texas. The Olive Sparrow(Arremonops rufivirgatus) only occurs there in the ABA area. This bird has a distinctive olive green back with a clear breast.

Here is the front view and a bit of the olive color can be seen on left side.

Here is the same bird from the side, and he obviously is in the process of molting as he has no tail feathers at all.

The next sparrow is also a south Texas specialty. The Cassin’s Sparrow (Aimophila cassinii) is a drab LBJ (little brown job). However, he was positively IDed by my capable guide. This bird was a lifer for me. click ‘next’ once

The third sparrow I was able to photo was the Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata). This male is very distinctive and readily identified with the black throat patch and black & white facial markings. This bird was also a lifer for me. click ‘next’ once

There is a beautiful local hummingbird in the valley. It occasionally strays north in the fall and I actually had one of these beauties in my back yard all winter long about 12 years ago. This is the Buff-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis). The male pictured here has a bicolored bill with red base and black tip. The iridescent green throat is stunning. The tail is a rufour red color and the belly is buffy. Here are a couple of photos of this bird. The second shows the bill color nicely. click ‘next’ once

There are several members of the corvidae (crows and jays) family that are unique to the RGV. The only one we found was the Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas). This beautiful bird is pictured on many calendars, tourist guides etc.

Here is one after a bath.

The only raptor I was able to photograph is another RGV specialty. This Gray Hawk (Asturina nitida) is a juvenile with the spotted breast.

Another RGV specialty is the Plain Chacalaca (Ortalis vetula). This 22” bird is the only ABA area member of the cracidae family which includes guans, curassows and chacalacas. Here are 2 photos. The second one has a male displaying with tail spread out similar to members of the grouse family. click ‘next’ once

The last bird for this bulletin is the White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreaux). This 11.5” dove is the same size as a White-winged Dove. It is rather drab, but has some iridescent markings on neck and white tips to the tail feathers.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy Birding,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2007 David McDonald

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