Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bulletin #49 - RGV TX #1

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
August 16, 2008

Bulletin #49 – Rio Grande Valley (RGV), TX birds

Hello friends,

I again hired a guide, Darrell Vollert, of Chappell Hill Texas. He also guides in the ‘valley’

Darrell’s website is

This was my second birding trip to the ‘valley’ since I started doing photography. I had missed a number of birds on the trip last October and there was also a pelagic trip from South Padre Island that was part of the trip.

Several bird species, which are native to Mexico, just cross over into the USA in the RGV or Arizona. So in order to see these birds, one must travel to those locations.

Here is a Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus). It is a distinctive dark brown color with rufous shoulder patches. It occurs from Texas to Arizona.

The next bird is the Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons). This is a central Texas bird. The gold patches on the head are the ID mark. This is the female. She has no red on the top of her head.

The next 2 birds were found bathing in the pond at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge north of Brownsville TX. The Green Jay (Cyanocorax yncas) is the most colorful of the jays in the USA with yellow, green and blue. However, here he is rather disheveled with his wet feathers.

This male Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) also enjoyed a bath on the hot dry day. He is IDed with the red eye.

I also found 3 species of sparrow to photograph. The Olive Sparrow (Arremonops rufivirgatus) is a south Texas specialty bird. As its name implies, it has olive colored feathers on the wings.

The Botteri’s Sparrow (Aimophila botterii) is a widely distributed Mexican species that just extends its range into extreme SE Texas and also into SE Arizona. I had missed it last fall, as it had migrated south when I visited the valley. It is a non-descript brown bird best IDed by voice and my guide was able to find it. It tends to be a skulker in the grass, but we managed to tape this bird up and he landed on a barb wire fence and sat there for his portrait.

Here are 2 photos of this bird. It was a lifer for me. click ‘next’ once

The last sparrow is the Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata). It is one of the more attractive sparrows with its striped face and black throat patch. I had photographed this bird before, but if another opportunity presents itself, I will take new photos in case I can get a better photo.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2006 - 2008 David McDonald

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