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Rio Grande Valley birds, butterflies, dragonflies through the eyes of an ex-Buckeye

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Estero Llano Grande State Park
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August 21, 2009 at Estero Llano Grande State Park esp Guava Skipper
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Estero Weekly Butterfly Walks 2008-9 #1-15
Estero Butterfly Walks 2009 17-30
Estero Weekly Butterfly Walks #31 and over
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March 2008

We've been here 15 months!

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March 1 & 2 It was good to see Blue Jays and Mallards again, in San Antonio on a non-birding trip-let.
 

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March 3 Bentsen Bird Walk today: Mottled Duck 2, Blue-winged Teal 20,Northern Shoveler 21, Ring-necked Duck 3, Lesser Scaup 1, Plain Chachalaca 1, Pied-billed Grebe 8, Double-crested Cormorant 1, Anhinga 4, Great Egret 2, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture 4, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Crested Caracara 1, American Kestrel 1, Common Moorhen 1, American Coot 130, Killdeer 1, Solitary Sandpiper 1, Greater Yellowlegs 1, Mourning Dove 6, Inca Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 6, Greater Roadrunner 1, Eastern Screech-Owl 1, Rufous Hummingbird 1, Ringed Kingfisher 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 8, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Eastern Phoebe 2, Vermilion Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee 8, Couch's Kingbird 1, Green Jay 8,Tree Swallow X, Northern Rough-winged Swallow X, Cave Swallow X, Black-crested Titmouse 8, House Wren 1, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird 8,Long-billed Thrasher 2, Orange-crowned Warbler 15, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 4, Black-and-white Warbler 1, Common Yellowthroat 1, Olive Sparrow 2, Savannah Sparrow 4, Lincoln's Sparrow 3, Northern Cardinal 16, Pyrrhuloxia 3, Red-winged Blackbird 500, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Western Meadowlark 5, Great-tailed Grackle 11, Brown-headed Cowbird 3, Altamira Oriole 6, House Sparrow 20. Best part: threatened Texas Tortoise!

Today's Butterfly Walk. In spite of 50mph winds and cooling temperatures there were at least 22 species today: Pipevine Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Southern Dogface, Cloudless Sulphur, Orange-barred Sulphur, Lyside Sulphur, Little Yellow, Dainty Sulphur, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak, Western Pygmy-Blue, Reakirt's Blue, Fatal Metalmark, Phaon Crescent, Queen, Funereal Duskywing, White Checkered-Skipper, Desert Checkered-Skipper, Southern Skipperling, Whirlabout, Sachem, Eufala Skipper

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March 4 Bentsen THE BIRD FEEDERS DIDN"T SHOW UP. That was actually a blessing since I so enjoyed seeing the birds flock in and follow me as I filled the seed hoppers and put out oranges

March 5 Bentsen Night Hike was good. The sunset at the Resaca was great, with a Great Horned Owl silhouetted and Pauraques flying out over the reddened surface. A couple Black-Crowned Night Herons also came in pretty close. Lotsa bats and cottontails, only a few armadillos!

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March 6 Bentsen I got to work too early, per usual: So I went to Mission Home Depot Pond ( Ruddy Duck 15, Double-crested Cormorant 1, American Coot 24, Killdeer 3, Black-necked Stilt 1, Spotted Sandpiper 1, Rock Pigeon 10, Mourning Dove 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Vermilion Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee 2, Tropical Kingbird 1, Purple Martin 18, Northern Mockingbird 1, European Starling 1, Lark Sparrow 1, Savannah Sparrow 2, Pyrrhuloxia 1, Red-winged Blackbird 8, Great-tailed Grackle 4, House Sparrows) and passed by Sharyland Plantation (Gadwall 14, American Wigeon 12, Mottled Duck 2, Blue-winged Teal 4, Ring-necked Duck 4, Pied-billed Grebe 2, Great Egret 1, American Coot 15, Belted Kingfisher 1, Great-tailed Grackles).

I did make Anzalduas for lunch-- spent most of the time talking  about dragonflies: Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Least and Pied-billed Grebes, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 1, Cattle Egret 14, Black Vulture 8, Turkey Vulture 18, White-tailed Hawk 1, Zone-tailed Hawk 1, American Kestrel 1, American Coot X, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 3, Couch's Kingbird 1, Green Jay X, Sprague's Pipit 1, Orange-crowned Warbler X,Northern Cardinal X, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Western Meadowlark X.

Afterward I looked to see if any butterflies had awakened in the 90-degree warmth in spite of the cold night: LysideSulphur, Funereal Duskywing, Giant Swallowtail, Fiery Skipper, Guatemalan Cracker, Phaon, Gulf Frit, Pipevine, Carolina Satyr, Snout, Reakirt’s, S Skipperling, Laviana, Cloudless Sulphur, Checkered White, White Checkered-Skipper, Little Yellow, Whirlabout (especially the confusing female that Kaufman pictures, um, not well), Blk Swallowtail, Lg Orange.

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March 7 South Padre Island for just an hour in extreme wind:  Gadwall 2, American Wigeon 4, Mottled Duck 3, Blue-winged Teal 5, Cinnamon Teal 1, Redhead 50, Common Loon 2,Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorant,Great Blue 3, Little Blue 4, Tricolored 8 Herons, Great 2, Reddish (1 white morph) & Snowy Egrets 2 , White Ibis 1, Osprey 5, American Kestrel 1, Sora 1, Common Moorhen 4, American Coot X, Black-bellied 3, Wilson's, Semipalmated 16, and Piping Plovers, Killdeer 4, American Oystercatcher 1, Willet X, Ruddy Turnstone X, Sanderling X, Western, Least, Pectoral 1 Sandpipers, Dunlin X, Short-billed Dowitcher X, Laughing, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, Royal & Sandwich Terns, Black Skimmer X, Rock Pigeon X, Eurasian Collared-Dove X, Mourning Dove X, Inca Dove 5, Least Flycatcher 1, Eastern Phoebe 1, Great Kiskadee 2, White-eyed Vireo 1, Barn Swallow X, Northern Mockingbird X, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Orange-crowned Warbler X, Tropical Parula 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 5, Common Yellowthroat X, Lincoln's Sparrow X, Northern Cardinal X,Red-winged Blackbird X, Great-tailed Grackle X, Orchard Oriole 1, House Sparrows.
Later at 10th and Nolana in McAllen at least 200 Green Parakeets perched on the telephone wires overhead!

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March 8 South Padre Island We were here just for fun so I tried not to bird but how could I help but notice THREE RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS-- my first in Texas?!

March 9 Bentsen Bird Walk Gadwall X, Mottled Duck X, Blue-winged Teal X, Northern Shoveler X, Ring-necked Duck X, Lesser Scaup X, Plain Chachalaca X, Least Grebe 4, Pied-billed Grebe X, Neotropic Cormorant X, Double-crested Cormorant X, Anhinga X, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture X,White-tailed Kite 1, White-tailed Hawk 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Common Moorhen X, American Coot X, Mourning Dove X, White-tipped Dove X, Eastern Screech-Owl 1, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Rufous Hummingbird 1, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker X, Ladder-backed Woodpecker X, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet X, Eastern Phoebe X, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee X, Couch's Kingbird X, Green Jay X, Cave Swallow X, ,Black-crested Titmouse X,Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X, Northern Mockingbird X, Long-billed Thrasher X, Orange-crowned Warbler X, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) X, Olive Sparrow X, Savannah Sparrow X, Lincoln's Sparrow X, Northern Cardinal X, Pyrrhuloxia X, Indigo Bunting 1, Red-winged Blackbird X, Eastern Meadowlark X, Western Meadowlark X, meadowlark sp. X, Great-tailed Grackle X, American Goldfinch X, House Sparrow X. From 1 to 2pm I was on the Hawktower after Jerry left. Josh called me down due to high 40mph winds and lack of clientele: Blue-winged Teal 4, Northern Shoveler 12, Ring-necked Duck 4, Pied-billed Grebe 2, Great Egret 1, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture 8, Common Moorhen 1, American Coot 40, Greater Yellowlegs 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Vermilion Flycatcher 2, Great Kiskadee 5, Tree Swallow 1, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4, Cave Swallow 3, Barn Swallow 1, Verdin 1, Northern Mockingbird 1 in only an hour.

The Dragonfly Walk was great fun with Josh, Rick and Tom.  Josh's report from the Odes list: Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis) - males on the canal and resaca Blue-ringed Dancer (A. sedula) - several including a tandem pair ovipositing on the canal Dusky Dancer (A. translata) - a male on the canal Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens) - a few males on the resaca Familiar Bluet (E. civile) - one or two males on the resaca Orange Bluet (E. signatum) - a male on the resaca Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata) - a female in grass near the wetland Rambur's Forktail (I. ramburii) - a few males on the resaca Green Darner (Anax junius) - a few patrolling various areas Black Setwing (Dythemis nigrescens) - one female, one immature male in the woods near the resaca Pin-tailed Pondhawk (Erythemis plebeja) - a male at a large sunny drying-up pool near the wetland Great Pondhawk (E. vesiculosa) - several on and near dirt roads near the wetland Band-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrata) - several along the same roads and near the pool Thornbush Dasher (Micrathyria hageni) - two males at the wetland Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) - several males at the wetland Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) - a few along the road, feeding on the leeward side of trees Spot-winged Glider (P. hymenea) - one with the Wanderings Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) - one male on the resaca Striped Saddlebags (Tramea calverti) - several along the road near the gliders, some perched Red Saddlebags (T. onusta) - many also along the road.

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March 10 Bentsen Sharon kept our stats for the day. Pretty good for a newbie to E-bird: Blue-winged Teal X, Northern Shoveler X, Ring-necked Duck 5, Lesser Scaup 1,Plain Chachalaca 13, Least Grebe 2, Pied-billed Grebe 3, Double-crested Cormorant 2, Anhinga 2, Great Blue Heron 3, Black Vulture 2, Turkey Vulture 6, White-tailed Kite 4, Cooper's Hawk 2, Gray Hawk 2, Crested Caracara 1, Sora 1, Common Moorhen 1, American Coot 45, Black-necked Stilt 2, Greater Yellowlegs X, White-winged Dove 1, Mourning Dove 6, Common Ground-Dove 6, White-tipped Dove X, Greater Roadrunner 1, Eastern Screech-Owl 1, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Rufous Hummingbird 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 5, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3 , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1Eastern Phoebe 1, Vermilion Flycatcher 3, Great Kiskadee 5, Couch's Kingbird 1, White-eyed Vireo 1, Green Jay 6, Purple Martin 1, Northern Rough-winged Swallow X , Cave Swallow X, Black-crested Titmouse 4, Verdin 3, House Wren 1, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 10, Northern Mockingbird 5, Long-billed Thrasher 3, Orange-crowned Warbler 8, Black-and-white Warbler 3, Common Yellowthroat 2, Olive Sparrow 1, Lincoln's Sparrow 4, Northern Cardinal 3, Pyrrhuloxia 2, Red-winged Blackbird 180, Western Meadowlark X, Great-tailed Grackle 3, Altamira Oriole 2, House Sparrow 10

March 11 Anzalduas just a slow drive to the back, a walk along the river above the dam, one Armadillo, Gadwall, Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teals, Least Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture 4, Osprey 2, Northern Harrier 1, American Kestrel 3, Common Moorhens, American Coots, Spotted Sandpiper 1, Rock Pigeons, Mourning Dove 6, Inca Dove 7, White-tipped Dove 1, Green Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Black Phoebe 2, Great Kiskadee 1, Green Jays, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Northern Mockingbird 5, Orange-crowned Warbler 6, Common Yellowthroat 1, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, meadowlark sp, Great-tailed Grackles. At Bentsen, Rick Nirschl and I had a Filigree Skimmer and a BrownBanded Skipper (haven't seen either for awhile).

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March 12 Bentsen HOOK-BILLED KITE soaring overhead at the hawktower! Amazing! I don't think I've seen one since November. The Night Hike was great too-- we found Great Horned Owl at the Resaca, a Screech-Owl caught a moth in our headlights, lotsa Armadillos and Cottontails, a JACKRABBIT (unusual for Bentsen), and my first-of-season ELF OWL due North from the Hawktower! Coyotes howled. I liked it!

March 13 Bentsen  CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN, the first I've seen in the park, let alone in Hidalgo County. Then a HOOK-BILLED KITE! Wow! The list for three hours at the Hawktower: Mottled Duck 8, Blue-winged Teal 8, Northern Shoveler 12,Ring-necked Duck 8, Plain Chachalaca 10, Least Grebe 2, Pied-billed Grebe 4, Great Egret 4, Little Blue Heron 1, Cattle Egret 1, Black Vulture 16, Turkey Vulture 95, Osprey 2, Hook-billed Kite 1, White-tailed Kite 1, Northern Harrier 3, Cooper's Hawk 3, Harris's Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 2, Gray Hawk 1, Swainson's Hawk 3, White-tailed Hawk 1, Crested Caracara 2, American Kestrel 1, Sora 1, American Coot 46, Killdeer 2, Mourning Dove 4, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 3, Eastern Phoebe 1, Great Kiskadee 5, Couch's Kingbird 3, White-eyed Vireo 1, Green Jay 3, Chihuahuan Raven 1, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2, Cave Swallow 8, Barn Swallow 2, Northern Mockingbird X, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Orange-crowned Warbler X, Common Yellowthroat 1, Northern Cardinal X, Red-winged Blackbird X, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Great-tailed Grackle.

Lunch at Anzalduas: Gadwall X, American Wigeon X, Mottled Duck X,Blue-winged Teal X, Northern Pintail X, Least Grebe X, Pied-billed Grebe X, Neotropic Cormorant X, , Double-crested Cormorant X,Great Egret 5, Little Blue Heron 1, Cattle Egret 2, Turkey Vulture 9, White-tailed Kite 2, Gray Hawk 1, Common Moorhen X,American Coot X, Rock Pigeon X, Mourning Dove X, Inca Dove X, White-tipped Dove X, Green Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker X, Ladder-backed Woodpecker X, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet X, Green Jay X, Northern Rough-winged Swallow X, Cave Swallow X, Eastern Bluebird X, Northern Mockingbird X, Orange-crowned Warbler X, Northern Cardinal X, Red-winged Blackbird X, Eastern Meadowlark X, Western Meadowlark X, Great-tailed Grackle

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March 15 Edinburg Wetlands: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 8, Gadwall 14, Mottled Duck 6, Blue-winged Teal 86, Northern Shoveler 160, Green-winged Teal 1, Lesser Scaup 6, Ruddy Duck 66, Least Grebe 14, Pied-billed Grebe 1, Neotropic Cormorant 5, Double-crested Cormorant 4, Great Blue Heron 2, Snowy Egret 6, Little Blue Heron 2, Tricolored Heron 1, Cattle Egret 2, Green Heron 2, Black-crowned Night-Heron 5, Harris's Hawk 2, Sora 1, Common Moorhen 22, American Coot 100, Killdeer 3, Black-necked Stilt 3, Spotted Sandpiper 3, Forster's Tern 2, Mourning Dove 8, Inca Dove 2,Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2,Green Kingfisher 1, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Great Kiskadee 4, White-eyed Vireo 1, Northern Mockingbird 15, Long-billed Thrasher 3, Curve-billed Thrasher 4, Orange-crowned Warbler 4, Yellow Warbler 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, Black-and-white Warbler 1, Savannah Sparrow 2, Grasshopper Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 2, Red-winged Blackbird 25, Great-tailed Grackle 24, Lesser Goldfinch 4, House Sparrow 2.

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March 16 Bentsen Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, Plain Chachalacas, Least Grebes , Pied-billed Grebes, Anhinga    2, Great Egret    1, Little Blue Heron    1, Green Heron    1, White-faced Ibis 2, Black Vultures, Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Broad-winged Hawks, Gray Hawk    1, Swainson's Hawks, Crested Caracaras, Common Moorhens, American Coots, Killdeer, Mourning Doves, Common Ground-Doves,White-tipped Doves, Greater Roadrunner    1, Ringed Kingfisher    1, Belted Kingfisher    1, Green Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets, Great Kiskadees, Couch's Kingbirds, White-eyed Vireos, Green Jays, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Cave Swallows, Black-crested Titmice, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Clay-colored Robin 1, Northern Mockingbirds, Long-billed Thrashers, Orange-crowned Warblers, Olive Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxias, Indigo Bunting    1, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Altamira and Smudgy (Altamira x Audubon's) Orioles, American Goldfinches, House Sparrows.   Best for me, however, was the Texas subspecies of the DeKay's Brown Snake on the sidewalk at Eagle Pond during our birdwalk.  At lunch El Rancho Pond: Redhead    2, Lesser Scaup    2, Least Grebe    1, Pied-billed Grebe    6, Great Egret    1, Tricolored Heron    1, American Coot    232, Black-necked Stilt    2, Spotted Sandpiper    1, Greater Yellowlegs    1, Eastern Phoebe    1, Great Kiskadee    2, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher    1, Northern Mockingbird  Back at Bentsen Dragonflies in the afternoon:   Eastern Amberwing, Common Green Darner, Blue Dashers, BandWinged Dragonlets, Wandering Gliders, Eastern Pondhawks, Great Pondhawks, Red & Striped Saddlebags, Roseate Skimmer, DoubleStriped, Familiar, & Orange Bluets, BlueRinged Dancers, Desert Firetails, Rambur's Forktail (males & female red), Carribean Yellowface

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March 17 Bentsen Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler 13, Ring-necked Ducks, Plain Chachalacas, Pied-billed Grebes, Neotropic Cormorant 1, Double-crested Cormorant 1, Great Egret 2, Black Vulture 3, Turkey Vulture 5, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Swainson's Hawk 1 beautiful light adult flew low directly overhead at the hawktower, Common Moorhens, American Coot 70, Killdeer 1, Mourning Dove 4, Common Ground-Dove 1, White-tipped Doves, Black-chinned Hummingbird 2, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 2 (Hawktower entry, Kiskadee blind), Eastern Phoebe 1, Great Kiskadee 2, Couch's Kingbird 2, Green Jay 6, Cave Swallow 10, Black-crested Titmouse 3, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1, Northern Mockingbird 2, Long-billed Thrasher 2, Orange-crowned Warbler 5, Olive Sparrow 2, Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinal 13, Red-winged Blackbird 150, Great-tailed Grackle 10, Altamira Oriole 1 (actually a Smudgy hybrid at Kiskadee blind), House Sparrows
Guess what? Rey pointed me to the boat ramp to see a WESTERN DIAMOND-BACKED RATTLESNAKE!   Texas Snakes, by Alan Tennant: "Nearly all of the most serious cases of snakebite treated in Texas hospitals are inflicted by Crotalus atrox...Heaviest serpent in the Southwest and statistically the most likely to inflict serious harm (atrox is Latin for 'frightful' and indeed, many western diamond-backs are quick to coil, rattle and strike if approached too closely.)...a dangerous reptile partly because...its temperament is unpredictable. This wide range in behavior is based on temperature (cool snakes are more docile), recent hunting success or failure (hungry snakes are more irritable), and the degree to which the animal has been disturbed. It is also a function of this reptile's individual temperament, and some Crotalus atrox are innately more aggressive than others. Yet few people die from western diamond-backed rattlesnake bites...Very common... most numerous and widespread venemous snake in the western 75% of Texas..Several...have measured from 7 to just under 7 1/2 feet in length...The gene pool of Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy counties in Texas regularly produces western diamond-backs over 5 feet in length..." It's ironic that this snake was seen on ST PATRICK'S DAY, the saint that allegedly cleared Ireland of all snakes (which never had snakes in the first place...).

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May 18 BentsenMexican Free-tailed Bat was reported at the Pavilion restroom. Did I want to see it? You bet! We called Jesus, our resident bat expert, and rushed down.  Jesus pointed out some great features. The tail was long like a mouse, unattached to the membrane like other bats. He palpated and found it to be a pregnant female, explaining that they are inpregnated while they're down in Mexico City for the winter, returning north, especially the 12 million that choose Frio Cave in Uvalde. What a darling she is, eh?  Rick N found us a SpotWinged Glider just outside the naturalist offices.

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May 19 Pharr, William's Naturescapes I could not believe a report on the web about a White-Throated Robin being seen near Walmart off Jackson Avenue in Pharr. This is a bird that lives 250 miles south of here, in Mexico. Somehow those strong south winds blew the poor thing all this way. The first one ever showed up in 1990. Still not many make it here, so this is a LEVEL FIVE bird, according to the American Birding Association. If an extinct bird, like the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, somehow came to life and showed up, it would be a level six, so that tells you how important this bird is.  At Bentsen, Jose and I hiked to the flood reveg fields and found a pair of CINNAMON TEALS in with the BlueWinged Teal, Cattle Egrets, Mottled Duck, LongBilled Curlews, etc... Night hike was great with Great Horned and Eastern Screech-Owls, Pauraques, Raccoons, Scorpion, etc but the best was having ELF OWLS calling from three separate spots for a total of four birds. Amazing. As Jose and I were putting away the van, a Bobcat crossed the service road near headquarters in front of us. Jesus put in a show, telling the group about the migrating flock of hundreds of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. Fantastico.

March 22 Nature Conservancy's Southmost Preserve By 9am I was down to Brownsville. I cannot believe I was looking at a real FOrK-TaILEd FLyCATCHeR. Oh so amazing. At least 150 White Ibis, 2 White-Faced Ibis, Marsh Wren... a Black Phoebe argued and fought with the Prize Bird and eventually won... Lotsa stuff to look at but the Fork-Tailed certainly took top prize.  It's been seen probably only  about 100 times in the United States, which makes it a LEVEL 4 bird on the ABA scale...all thought to be southern South American vagrants that overshot their wintering grounds in northern South America:
 
1820 NJ, 1822 Mississippi, 1832 NJ, 1834 Henderson KY, 1873 PA, 1879 MI, 1883 Santa Monica CA, 1884 VT, 1900 NJ, 1908 Maine, 1916 Martha’s Vineyard, 1939 CapeMay NJ,1944 NY, 1946 Uvalde and RioGrande TX, 1947 NY,1952 FL, 1954 NY, 1958 Tivoli TX, 1959 RioGrande TX, 1961 in nearby Edinburg TX Martha‘s Vineyard, 1967 NJ and TX, 1968 MA and NJ, 1970 Maine and Nova Scotia, 1972 NJ, 1973 first for SC, 1974 FL, 1975 Maine, 1976 Nova Scotia and Maine, FL, 1977 FL, NewBrunswick and Ontario 1978 first for MD, NY, NJ, WI, 1980 MA, 1981 FL, MA and Austin, 1982 Quebec and MA, 1983 MI, 1984 NJ, Nova Scotia, 9/15/1984 FloridaCity FL, 10/24/1984 Maine, 12/171984-1/16/1985 in nearby Rio Hondo TX, 1985 FL, Maine, BlockIs RI, Boston, Delaware, 1986 NC and NY, 1987 MA, 1988 AL, Alberta,Quebec, VA, RicardoTX, first for NC, and WI, 1989 NY, DE, Nova Scotia, Aransas TX, 1990 MA, VA, FL, NY; 1991 TX, NovaScotia, New Brunswick, FL, Idaho, NJ, MA, VA, Duluth MN, 1992 AL, FL, MN‘s second record, North coast of CA, NewBrunswick, FireIslandNY, Sept 1995 in WA, 1997 in MD, and Austin, 1998 MA, 2000 DE, FL, 2004 in FL and ThunderBay Ontario, 2005 in Austin and Point Pelee, 2006 FL, PA, NH, 2007 Iowa, 2008 LA... and now I've seen one of them.

March 23, 2008 Bentsen Easter started out right with a morning Bird Walk: Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, ZERO Plain Chachalaca, Northern Bobwhite, Least & Pied-billed Grebes, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Gray Hawk, Crested Caracaras, Common Moorhens, American Coots, Killdeer, Solitary & Pectoral Sandpipers, White-winged, Mourning, Inca, Common Ground- and White-tipped Doves, Ringed & Belted Kingfishers, Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets, Great Kiskadees, Couch's Kingbirds, Tree, Cave & Barn Swallows,Black-crested Titmouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Clay-colored Robin 1, Northern Mockingbirds, American Pipit 2, ZERO Orange-crowned Warblers!, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 1, Savannah and Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxia, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Hooded Oriole 1, Altamira Orioles, House Sparrows

March 24 Bentsen Morning Bird Walk with Josh, did not include the Kingfisher Overlook: Blue-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, Plain Chachalaca 8, Least Grebe 2, Pied-billed Grebe 1, American White Pelican 8, Great Egret 1, Little Blue Heron 1, Cattle Egret 4, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture 100,White-tailed Kite 2, Broad-winged Hawk 80, Gray Hawk 2, Sora 1, Common Moorhens, American Coots, Killdeer 1, Pectoral Sandpiper 24, White-winged Dove 1,Mourning Dove 8, Common Ground-Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 10, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 5,Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 2, Great Kiskadee 12, Couch's Kingbird 5, White-eyed Vireo 8, Green Jays, Tree, Northern Rough-winged, Cave & Barn Swallows, Black-crested Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Clay-colored Robin 1, Northern Mockingbirds, Long-billed Thrasher 2, Orange-crowned Warbler 1,Nashville Warbler 1, Black-and-white Warbler 1, Savannah & Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxia 1, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, Hooded Oriole 1, Altamira Orioles, House Sparrows.

Butterflies have been lying low. Today there were only four species, and only one individual of each species!: Carolina Satyr, Monarch, Black Swallowtail, and Large Orange Sulphur. Last week Josh only had ten species:
1. Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
2. Giant Swallowtail (Heraclides cresphontes)
3. Southern Dogface (Colias cesonia)
4. Dainty Sulfur (Nathalis iole)
5. Fatal Metalmark (Calephelis nemesis)
6. Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon)
7. Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
8. checkered-skipper (Pyrgus sp.) verrrrry worn, wings in tatters
9. Southern Skipperling (Copaeodes minimus)
10. Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
Fran at Falcon State Park had the same problem with only 10 species. Charlie in Starr County also had less than a dozen. Mike Quinn, the entomologist for the State of Texas said it was due to the extreme dry conditions and perfectly normal: "March is, on average, the driest month of the year with Nov-Mar being the driest stretch of the year. If south
Texas does get heavy wide-spread rains, get your quarters ready... "

March 26 Chihuahua Woods It was hot and windy so not much wildlife was about. Five Javelina and a baby one! LongBilled Thrashers, Mockingbirds, GoldenCrowned Woodpeckers, BlueGray Gnatcatchers, etc but the blooming cactus was especially nice.

March 30 I looked and looked at Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary near Brownsville for the macgillvary's warbler unsuccessfully, but I did see Gadwall, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal,Northern Shoveler, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, White-tailed Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Mourning Dove, White-tipped Dove, Ringed Kingfisher1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Green Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Olive, Lincoln's Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, and Great-tailed Grackle. The better birds were before and after the Sanctuary: a dozen UPLAND SANDPIPERS flew in front of me landing in the field beside me for excellent viewing (Carmen deadend near Olmito), Eurasian Collared-Dove in Olmito and two RAVENS flew beside 511 near Expressway 77.

March 31 Bentsen Morning bird walk with Josh and twenty others: Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 2, Little Blue Heron 3, Cattle Egret 1, Green Heron 1, Turkey Vulture X, Osprey 1, White-tailed Kite 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 350, Gray Hawk 1, Crested Caracara 1, Sora 1, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Killdeer 1, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Couch's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo 1, Green Jay, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cave Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, House Wren 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Clay-colored Robin 2, Northern Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Olive Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird, Altamira Oriole, House Sparrow.


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