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

August 2007
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Until Thanksgiving of 2006, this page used to detail my visits to birding spots around Northwest Ohio.  Since my move to Harlingen TX, everything has changed!  Although I used to be all about birds, my interests have expanded to butterflies, dragonflies, and plants of this unique area of the world.  Feel free to send commentary and helpful hints to petsbirdsnature@yahoo.com

 .. 

Flew into the window: Blue Grosbeak
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August 2, 2007 Harlingen CameronCo TX  I went dragonflying a bit at nearby Hugh Ramsey Park. I was still after the Cream-Tipped Swamp Damsel, but I only found a few still flying: Desert Firetails (beautifully red damselflies!), Kiowa Dancers (looking almost entirely black this late in the day), RedTailed Pennants (beautifully red dragonflies with hairy brown thoraxes!), Eastern Pondhawks (almost entirely powder blue with green heads and white tips, everywhere in the Eastern United States, rests on the ground commonly, plays leapfrog with other Eastern Pondhawks, but may also cannibalize other Eastern Pondhawks, on the ground per usual), PinTailed Pondhawks (black all over, with fat-suddenly-narrowed-to-needle abdomens), Thornbush (green eyes and yellow face) and SpotTailed Dashers (turquoise eyes and a white face!), but not the objects of my desire.  At home Large Orange Sulphurs, Celia's Roadside-Skippers, Little Yellows, Banded Patches, Gulf Fritillaries, Queens, but really nice TEN RED-BORDERED PIXIES flying in the backyard-- turns out the neighbor has a huge GUAMUCHIL TREE (how did I miss the doubled double-leaflets?!), their host plant. At Dixieland Park, the mammals were the highlight:  Jackrabbit and Mexican Ground Squirrels, but also Black-bellied Whistling-Duck     7, Mottled Duck     1, Neotropic Cormorant     3, Great Egret     1, Snowy Egret     5, Green Heron     1, Laughing Gull     20, Forster's Tern     2, Rock Pigeon     4, White-winged Dove     2, Mourning Dove     13, Common Ground-Dove     4, Golden-fronted Woodpecker     1, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher     2, Northern Mockingbird     2, Eastern Meadowlark     2, Great-tailed Grackle     20, Bronzed Cowbird     3

Reality trumps fantasy again. Wow.
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Rare for the Valley: Halloween Pennant
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August 3, 2007 Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, HildagoCo TX   FiveStriped Leaftail (Tom alerted me to them in our canal-- nice yellow caudals), RedTailed Pennant (mating at the dock), FourSpotted Pennant, Halloween Pennant (a first for me, pointed out to me at the boat ramp as rare by Dr Rose), Black Setwing, PinTailed Pondhawk, Eastern Pondhawk, BandWinged Dragonlet, Needham’s Skimmer, SpotTailed Dasher, Carmine Skimmer, Roseate Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Eastern Amberwing, Red Saddlebags, Smokey Rubyspot, BlueFronted Dancer, BlueRinged Dancer, DoubleStriped Bluet, Rambur’s Forktail. Butterflies today included Western Pygmy-Blue, WhiteStriped Longtail, Tropical Buckeye, Mexican Fritillary, Ceraunus Blue,Theona Checkerspot, White Peacock. I did manage to see a few birds including 5 Ani in one spot, and 2 Bobwhite on the service drive. Above is the odd ANACUA TORTOISE BEETLE LARVA.  Tom & I went to Anzalduas Park for lunch and saw some shorebirds: Stilts, PiedBilled Grebes (two with young at nests), Great & Cattle Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Killdeer, Semipalmated/Pectoral/Least Sandpiper

3-winged Ornythion
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Ornythian: his good side
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August 4, 2007 Bentsen-Rio A survey of  the butterfly gardens at Headquarters that I thought would be quick and simple. Giant Swallowtail 4, ORNYTHION SWALLOWTAIL 1, Great Southern White 3, Southern Dogface 2, Little Yellow 34, Large Orange Sulphur 2, Lyside Sulphur 45, Gray Hairstreak 2, Dusky-Blue Groundstreak 3, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 1, LANTANA SCRUB-HAIRSTREAK 1, Western Pygmy-Blue 5, Ceraunus Blue 12, Reakirt’s Blue 1, RedBordered Metalmark 5, Gulf Fritillary 17, Variegated Fritillary 1, Mexican Fritillary 3, Pearl Crescent 5, Vesta Crescent 2, Phaon Crescent 42, Elada Checkerspot 7,Bordered Patch 77, Theona Checkerspot 1, White Peacock 3, Common Mestra 1, Tawny Emperor 1, American Snout 425, Queen 86, Soldier 2, Brown Longtail 13, Sickle-Winged Skipper 1, Brown-Banded Skipper 3, MOURNFUL DUSKYWING 1, Common/White Checkered-Skipper 4, Laviana White-Skipper 14, White-Patched Skipper 2, Common Sootywing 1, Fiery Skipper 4, Sachem 2, Whirlabout 6, Southern Skipperling , Clouded Skipper 25, Celia’s Roadside-Skipper 2, Eufala Skipper 2.  Birds I saw enroute included Black-bellied Whistling-Duck     1, Northern Bobwhite     2, Turkey Vulture     1, Killdeer     2, White-winged Dove     7, Mourning Dove     7, Inca Dove     1, Yellow-billed Cuckoo     1, Groove-billed Ani     5, Buff-bellied Hummingbird     2, Great Kiskadee     2, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher     2, Loggerhead Shrike     1, Cave Swallow     6, Barn Swallow     2, Northern Mockingbird     16, Lark Sparrow     1, Northern Cardinal     1, Blue Grosbeak     1, Dickcissel     1, Red-winged Blackbird     100, Great-tailed Grackle     15, Bronzed Cowbird     3 NABA International Butterfly Park still had only a Banded Peacock and Yellow-Banded Crescents. A very very short visit to  Anzalduas County Park  showed two easily-viewed PiedBilled Grebe nests, Pied-billed Grebe 9, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 1, Snowy Egret 4, Little Blue Heron 3, Tricolored Heron 1, Cattle Egret 6, Green Heron 1, Killdeer 11, Black-necked Stilt 30, Greater Yellowlegs 3, Lesser Yellowlegs 2, Solitary Sandpiper 1, Least Sandpiper 30, Stilt Sandpiper 1, Short-billed Dowitcher 2.

Could this really grow up to be a Zebra?!
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August 5, 2007 Bentsen-Rio  Plain Chachalaca 3, Anhinga 1, Green Heron 1, Turkey Vulture 4, Gray Hawk 1, Harris's Hawk 1, Killdeer 4, White-winged Dove 40, Mourning Dove 12, Common Ground-Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2, Groove-billed Ani 3, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 17, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Couch's Kingbird 8, Western Kingbird 1, Green Jay 2, Purple Martin 1, Cave Swallow 25, Verdin 1, Clay-colored Robin 2, Northern Mockingbird 12, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Olive Sparrow 3, Northern Cardinal 11, Red-winged Blackbird 15, Great-tailed Grackle 15, Bronzed Cowbird 3, Altamira Oriole 1.   The usuals plus Caribbean Yellowface at the irrigation canal,sighted thanks to TF.  M pointed out a nice Mantidfly.  A male and female Black Witch were flying in broad daylight from the Naturalists' offices to the bookstore today!  A dying Common Green Darner made for easy photography of this usually active species.   A WhiteWinged Dove ran into the window today, an Inca Dove yesterday.   A walk with Javier at NABA's International Butterfly Park saw the usual plus a great CLOUDLESS SULPHUR and CATERPILLARS of the Zebra Heliconian

FiveStriped Leaftail
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August 7, 2007 BentsenRio State Park  at night, from 8:30pm to 10pm;  I still saw a few lingering day-time birds, but best were two tame Armadillos that looked up at the light on their haunches, as if to say, "Thanks for helping me find these delicious grubs!":  Plain Chachalaca 3, White-winged Dove 4, Mourning Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Groove-billed Ani 4, Eastern Screech-Owl 3, Great Horned Owl 1, Lesser Nighthawk 25, Common Nighthawk 1, Common Pauraque 3, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1, Black-chinned Hummingbird 1, Purple Martin 2, Cave Swallow 3, Northern Cardinal 2, Great-tailed Grackle 10, Altamira Oriole 1.

August 8, 2007 Lake Tociano, Harlingen TX  Today was the groundbreaking for the new South Padre Island World Birding Center, so enroute at about 4pm I decided to stop y here for a few-twenty-odd minutes.  I always love the variety at this quickly-birded spot!:  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 15, Fulvous Whistling-Duck 3, Mottled Duck 4, Neotropic Cormorant 14, Great Blue Heron 2, Great Egret 2, Snowy Egret 9, Little Blue Heron 9, Tricolored Heron 1, Cattle Egret 32, White-faced Ibis 16, Roseate Spoonbill 6, Turkey Vulture 1, Semipalmated Plover 1, Killdeer 8, Black-necked Stilt 18, Lesser Yellowlegs  5, Spotted Sandpiper 1, Whimbrel 2, Long-billed Curlew 1, Western Sandpiper 2, Least Sandpiper 30, Pectoral Sandpiper 2, Stilt Sandpiper 22, Short-billed Dowitcher 10, Laughing Gull 9, Caspian Tern 1, Forster's Tern 5, Black Skimmer 1, Rock Pigeon 86, Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 1, Red-winged Blackbird 20, Great-tailed Grackle 16  South Padre Island I arrived a bit early for the ground-breaking, and as luck would have it I never actually made it to the ground-breaking.  A Least Bittern and Clapper Rails made me move too slowly.  As I drove by leaving I saw quite a crowd roadside, however:  Brown Pelican 20, Least Bittern 1, Great Blue Heron 6, Great Egret 2, Snowy Egret 7, Little Blue Heron 2, Tricolored Heron 9, Reddish Egret 1, White Ibis     1, Roseate Spoonbill 3, Clapper Rail 1, Common Moorhen  8, Wilson's Plover     1, Semipalmated Plover 1, Piping Plover 1, Killdeer 1, Greater Yellowlegs 4, Willet 34, Long-billed Curlew 4, Marbled Godwit 1, Ruddy Turnstone 16, Sanderling 33, Western Sandpiper 2, Least Sandpiper 6, Short-billed Dowitcher     2, Laughing Gull X, Gull-billed Tern 2, Caspian Tern 14, Royal Tern 9, Rock Pigeon 1, White-winged Dove 2, Mourning Dove 2, Couch's Kingbird 1, Cave Swallow 10, Barn Swallow  5, Northern Mockingbird 3, Red-winged Blackbird     10, Great-tailed Grackle X

Hmmm. Shall I run from this to the groundbreaking?
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Just too cooperative to pull myself away!
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Seems to have adapted to all the new building.
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See why God said, "No graven images please."?
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August 9, 2007 Laguna Atascosa  I had the day off from work again, so after Honey left for work, I was free to bird.  I decided on the 15mile drive at this park.  It was already very late by the time I started (6pm).  By the time I finished (8:30pm) I was worried because the gate had already closed!  Not to worry, a mechanical eye allowed for my escape:  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 8, Mottled Duck 7, Plain Chachalaca 11, Great Blue Heron 7, Great Egret 11, Snowy Egret 2, Tricolored Heron  5, White Ibis 32, White-faced Ibis 200, Roseate Spoonbill 3, Black Vulture 2, Turkey Vulture 5,Osprey 1, Harris's Hawk 1, Crested Caracara 2, Aplomado Falcon 1, Black-necked Stilt 28, Greater Yellowlegs 8, Lesser Yellowlegs 5, Willet 23, Spotted Sandpiper 3, Long-billed Curlew 8, Stilt Sandpiper  3, Short-billed Dowitcher 2, Wilson's Phalarope 1, Laughing Gull 12, White-winged Dove 1, Mourning Dove 93, Common Ground-Dove 6, White-tipped Dove 7, Greater Roadrunner  2, Groove-billed Ani 8 (undercounted!), Lesser Nighthawk 2, Common Nighthawk 16, Common Pauraque 5, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 5, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Couch's Kingbird 4, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 2, Loggerhead Shrike 2, Green Jay 4, Cave Swallow 28, Northern Mockingbird 30, Long-billed Thrasher 18, Curve-billed Thrasher 1, Lark Sparrow 25, Northern Cardinal 5, Blue Grosbeak 2, Red-winged Blackbird X, Eastern Meadowlark 3, Great-tailed Grackle X, Bronzed Cowbird X, Hooded Oriole 3

Harry welcomes me into the park.
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Plenty of Caracara were settling in for the night.
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August 11, 2007 BentsenRio State Park  Entirely from the air-conditioned van: Plain Chachalaca, Turkey Vulture, Gray Hawk, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner 2 (one was high up in the very top of a tall mesquite!), Groove-billed Ani, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Couch's Kingbird, Green Jay, Cave Swallow, Clay-colored Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird, Altamira Oriole

August 12, 2007 BentsenRio State Park Excellent view of yellow "Smudgy" Oriole!  This is a cross between an Altamira and Audubon's Oriole.  The yellowish bird was right on the ground making for excellent picture opportunities, of which I got none <grin>.  Above him was his hybridized nest, a shortened version of the Altamira's!  2 Blue Spiny Lizards, 7 Cottontail, 2 Javelina, a Fox Squirrel and a Mexican Ground
Squirrel, Plain Chachalaca 17, White-winged Dove 21, Mourning Dove 28, Common Ground-Dove 6, White-tipped Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3, Greater Roadrunner 3, Groove-billed Ani 4, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2, Black-chinned Hummingbird 1, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 14, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, still loudly whistling by Kiskadee Blind, Great Kiskadee 7, Couch's Kingbird 2, White-eyed Vireo 1, Green Jay 4, Clay-colored Robin 1, Long-billed Thrasher 6, Olive Sparrow 7, Lark Sparrow 2, Northern Cardinal 12, Blue Grosbeak 2, Red-winged Blackbird 34, Great-tailed Grackle 32, Bronzed Cowbird 3, Altamira Oriole 2.

August 14, 2007 BentsenRio State Park  8-10pm Night Hike!: Overhead White-faced Ibis 20, Turkey Vulture 5, Mourning Dove 9, Inca Dove 2, Common Ground-Dove 2, Groove-billed Ani 4, Eastern Screech-Owl 7, Great Horned Owl 1, Lesser Nighthawk 23, Common Nighthawk 7, Common Pauraque 7, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1, Black-chinned Hummingbird 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Great Kiskadee 3, Couch's Kingbird 1, Purple Martin 2,Cave Swallow 2, Clay-colored Robin 1, Northern Mockingbird 2, Red-winged Blackbird 22, Great-tailed Grackle X

Last night all four owls were here.This is Screech
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WHOOOOOO are YOOOOOOOOOOOOU?
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My very first Rio Grande Leopard Frog!
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August 16, 2007 Harlingen CameronCo TX Dixieland Park. Distinctly recreational but always good for herons: 31 Snowy Egrets, 2 Black-Crowned Night-Herons, 2 Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons, 2 Great Egrets, 2 Green Herons, a Least Bittern, a Forster's Tern, a Jackrabbit and a Mexican Ground Squirrel, tons of GreatTailed Grackles and Mourning Doves and a few WhiteWinged Doves. And an Osprey. And the BlackNecked Stilt, unusual for this park
 
August 17, 2007 Bentsen-Rio State Park The best butterflies were Mestras, a Sleepy Orange, both Scrub-Hairstreaks, two Pipevine Swallowtails, a Zebra Heliconian, Mexican Fritillaries, and a MALE Silver Emperor!

8/17/7 at Bentsen: a bright MALE Silver Emperor
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8/18/7 at Bentsen: A LongTailed Skipper at 8am
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August 18, 2007 Bentsen-Rio State Park The Silver Emperor, Mexican Frits, etc continued, as well as a LONGTAILED SKIPPER at Bentsen.  While checking the water features, I chanced upon a flock of ClayColored Robins at Green Jay Blind, some juveniles still wearing spots!  NABA Had a Mexican Bluewing Back at home in Harlingen at 8pm, there were probably a HUNDRED RED-BORDERED PIXIES flying in the backyard!

A poor shot of one of the juvenile Clay-Coloreds
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August 19, 2007 Bentsen-Rio State Park Plain Chachalaca     15, Great Egret     3, Wood Stork     25, Black Vulture     1, Turkey Vulture     1, White-tailed Kite     1, Gray Hawk     1, Killdeer     4, White-winged Dove     25, Mourning Dove     16, Inca Dove     2, Common Ground-Dove     8, White-tipped Dove     3, Greater Roadrunner     3, Groove-billed Ani     10, Eastern Screech-Owl     1, Lesser Nighthawk     3, Buff-bellied Hummingbird     2, Black-chinned Hummingbird     1, Ringed Kingfisher     3, Golden-fronted Woodpecker     10, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet     2, Couch's Kingbird     9, Green Jay     12, Cave Swallow     44, Black-crested Titmouse     3, Clay-colored Robin     2, Northern Mockingbird     12, Long-billed Thrasher     3, TROPICAL PARULA 1, Olive Sparrow     3, Northern Cardinal     6, Blue Grosbeak     3, Red-winged Blackbird     60, Great-tailed Grackle     21, Bronzed Cowbird     3, Altamira Oriole     2 (one of which was the "Smudgy" at Kiskadee Trail).  Okay, we know it was a Bird Walk but we couldn't help noticing the huge Rio Grande Leopard Frog and this LARGEMOUTH BASS caught by Loretta Larson and shown by Judy Pingpank, at Kingfisher Overlook from the boatramp-- ON THEIR FIRST FISHING VISIT HERE! (names and photo used with permission)

A Screech-Owl in broad daylight
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Caught by Loretta Larson shown by Judy Pingpank
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WOW!
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August 20, 2007 Bentsen-Rio State Park Josh walked a bit with me in the park this afternoon.  I kept track of the butterflies we saw. The last time I did this was two weeks ago. There were a lot more today for sure. Here are the numbers with those from two weeks ago first, then today's second: Pipevine Swallowtail 0,2; Giant Swallowtail 4,17; Ornythian Swallowtail 1,0; Great Southern White 3,5; Southern Dogface 2,1; Sleepy Orange 0,3; Tailed Orange 0,1; Little Yellow 34,51; Mimosa Yellow 0,1; Large Orange Sulphur 2, 29; Lyside Sulphur 45,40; Gray Hairstreak 2,7; Dusky-Blue Groundstreak 3,3; CLENCH'S GREENSTREAK 0,1 MY VERY FIRST EVER! I only got three pictures and my battery on my camera died! so that's why the photo above is so bad..., CLYTIE MINISTREAK 0,6! everywhere at dusk, Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak 1,2; Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 1,8; Western Pygmy-Blue 5, 14; Ceraunus Blue 13, 5; Reakirt's Blue 1,1; Fatal Metalmark 0,1; RedBordered Metalmark 5,5; Zebra Heliconian 0,1; Gulf Fritillary 17,41; JULIA LONGWING 0,1 female; Variegated Fritillary 1,0; Mexican Fritillary 3,18; Pearl Crescent 5, 16; Vesta Crescent 2,1; Phaon Crescent 42, 39; Elada Checkerspot 7,1; Bordered Patch 77,20 Theona Checkerspot 1,0; QUESTIONMARK (my first in Texas!) 0,1; White Peacock 3,3; Common Mestra 1, 22; Tropical Leafwing 0,1; Tawny Emperor 1,1; American Snout 425, 53; SILVER EMPEROR 0,1 MALE, Queen 86, 45, Soldier 2,1; Carolina Satyr 0,5; LONG-TAILED SKIPPER 0,1; Brown Longtail 13,1; Sickle-Winged Skipper 1, 14; BrownBanded Skipper 3,1; Mournful Duskywing 1,0; Common/White Checkered-Skpper 4,33; Tropical Checkered-Skipper 0,2; Laian White-Skipper 14,14; Turk's Cap White-Skipper 0,3; White-Patched Skipper 2,4; Common Sootywing 1,1; Fiery Skipper 4,2; Sachem 2,2; Whirlabout 6,4; Southern Skipperling 1,11; Clouded Sipper 25, 42; Celia's Roadside-Skipper 2,2; NYSA ROADSIDE-SKIPPER 0,1; Eufala Skipper 2,1. Very fun. We called everyone to come see he Greenstreak but sadly by the time they got there, it was gone.

August 21, 2007 Bentsen-Rio State Park The male Silver Emperor was still around for Day Five(!), the Julia and the Question Mark for Day Two, Day One for a Zilpah Longtail and a WhiteSided Longtail. I got a few photos of a Hooded Oriole in the headquarters gardens. The best findof the day was Josh's find of a Tersa's Sphinx. Doesn't it look like it has a person's face?!

My very first Clench's Greenstreak-thx Josh n Mary
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Just noticed the Julia's delicate lovely ventral
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August 23, 2007 Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco, HidalgoCo, TX Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 30, Mottled Duck 4, Plain Chachalaca 2, Pied-billed Grebe 8, Neotropic Cormorant 2, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 10, Snowy Egret 31,Little Blue Heron 3, Tricolored Heron 3, Green Heron 2, Turkey Vulture 1, White-tailed Kite 1, Harris's Hawk 2, Common Moorhen 15, American Coot 36, Killdeer 8, Black-necked Stilt 32, Least Sandpiper 2, Long-billed Dowitcher 6, Forster's Tern 1, White-winged Dove 200, Mourning Dove 40, Inca Dove 18, Common Ground-Dove 60, White-tipped Dove 6, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2, Groove-billed Ani 6, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Green Kingfisher 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 23, Least Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee 12, Couch's Kingbird 6, White-eyed Vireo 3, Barn Swallow 7, Carolina Wren 5, Bewick's Wren 2, Northern Mockingbird 27, Long-billed Thrasher 2, Curve-billed Thrasher 1, Olive Sparrow 2, Red-winged Blackbird 10, Great-tailed Grackle 53, Bronzed Cowbird 30, Lesser Goldfinch 4, House Sparrow 6. A Mexican Bluewing and lots of White Peacocks, too. 
August 24, 2007 Bentsen Today was Dragonfly Walk, but nothing really new: Powdered, Dusky & BlueRinged Dancers, Neotropical & Double-Striped Bluets, Eastern Ringtail, Ringed & Narrow-Striped Forceptails, Five-Striped Leaftail, Russet-Tipped Clubtail, Black & Swift Setwings, Eastern Pondhawk, SpotTailed & Blue Dashers, Wandering & SpotWinged Gliders, Eastern Amberwing, and RedSaddlebags. Of course, it was great fun and I do have some pictures to look at yet which may something new, especially a peculiar one with a green-spotted black abdomen. Hmmm. The rest of the day was tram duty of one sort or another. Even driving a truck without ever stopping at midday the park was very fun: Round one: A dozen Chachalacas near LaComa with two tiny chicks the size of quail, Roadrunner at Gate and at Paixtle Circle, Mexican Ground Squirrel between the Hawktower and Paixtle Circle. Round two: Dozen Javelina near Green Jay Blind with two tiny piglets, Roadrunner at LaComa and at Paixtle Circle, Verdin and Mexican Ground Squirrel at monument marker near the Hawktower, Gray Hawk juvenile between the Hawktower and Paixtle Circle, white rump visible as he flew up from ground as if surprised. Round three: Roadrunner at Ebony Grove on the picnic table and at Paixtle Circle, Verdin at monument marker near the Hawktower.

Juvenile Gray Hawk thru the windshield
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August 25, 2007 Bentsen The day started right immediately with a Coyote Cloudywing on the Buttonbush at work as I parked the van. The Nature Tour decided its objective was ClayColored Robin but of course for two hours we found everything but. They are never hard to find at Green Jay Blind, but there were none. Instead there were 9 (NINE!) ANIS and TWO BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS (first of the year) there! So as soon as 11am came, I dropped the tram off at the parking lot and rushed back-- and there were the ClayColored Robins, three of them! I snapped a photo and that was that. Lunch was at NABA's International Butterfly Park. Nothing terribly exciting. Then it was tram-driving time--

Round one-- a Gray Hawk at the Rio Grande marker, a Roadrunner at Paixtle.

Round two-- Lark Sparrows in the garden, across from the second feeder were SEVEN BlueGray Gnatcatchers with a BlackCrested Titmouse. A juvenile Gray Hawk at the Green Jay Blind. A Mexican Ground Squirrel at the Rio Grande River marker. A Roadrunner at Roadrunner Crossing/Mesquite. Good round, eh? All that while driving a truck!

Round three-- nothing! Well, there's always a Screech Owl in the tree hollow.

Round four-- was actually a Nature Tour! Amazing! The birds and animals just wouldn't leav us alone! Altamira Orioles flying across the road (eight!). A Beardless-Tyrannulet right out in the open! Javelina-- single boars in three places. A Roadrunner near the Maintenance Gate, another on the picnic table at Ebony Grove. Green Jays appearing without feed. A Mexican Ground Squirrel and another Roadrunner running up a tree at the monument!  Chachalacas everywhere! These guys were just really lucky and just loved the Screech Owl.

Round five--  News was at the HQ gardens: Mexican Bluewing at the Naturalists' offices. Jim had found us a female Silver Emperor, and several Black Witches appeared in broad daylight. We had a Mexican Ground Squirrel at the Monument and a juvenile Gray Hawk at Paixtle, though.

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August 26, 2007 Bentsen The morning broke with a rainbow, as the four of us stared at the bright blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE flew low overhead. This was my first hawkwatch in Texas! The company was great, the birds were great. It was heaven, even though not many hawks showed up today: Mottled Duck 25, Plain Chachalaca 1, Northern Bobwhite 1, Anhinga 350, Great Egret 3, Cattle Egret 1, Roseate Spoonbill 5, Wood Stork 3, Turkey Vulture 55, Swallow-tailed Kite 1, White-tailed Kite 2, Cooper's Hawk 1, Gray Hawk 3, Broad-winged Hawk 1, Swainson's Hawk 7, White-winged Dove 25, Mourning Dove 4, Common Ground-Dove 1, Groove-billed Ani 7, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 6, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Olive-sided Flycatcher 3, Great Kiskadee 2, Couch's Kingbird 2, White-eyed Vireo 1, Green Jay 2, Black-crested Titmouse 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Curve-billed Thrasher 1, Northern Cardinal 2, Great-tailed Grackle 3, Brown-headed Cowbird 1. Javier showed us a new Butterflies-I've-Seen list that was way cool-- I entered two lists immediately. A Selasphorus Hummingbird showed up at the feeder outside our offices. Allen's or Rufous? Allen's would be a first for the park; Rufous would not be that great except it's a bit early. We have to somehow see the spread tailfeathers to get a real ID... A late tour brought up the same surprises: Roadrunners at the Monument and Paixtle, herds of Javelinas and Chachalacas with tiny young.   The day ended with a rainbow as well. 

Allen's or Rufous?
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August 27, 2006 Bentsen The gatehouse feeders hadn't been filled for weeks, but before  long, birds started to arrive. I saw these birds all from the gatehouse: Plain Chachalaca 6, Turkey Vulture 1, Gray Hawk 1, White-winged Dove 7, Mourning Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Greater Roadrunner 1, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2 (that's one in the picture above-- looks like Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers from back home in Ohio), Great Kiskadee 2, Tropical Kingbird 1, Couch's Kingbird 2, Green Jay 5, Cave Swallow 2, Black-crested Titmouse 2, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2, Northern Mockingbird 3, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Yellow Warbler 1, Olive Sparrow 3, Northern Cardinal 2, Red-winged Blackbird 4, Great-tailed Grackle 2, Bronzed Cowbird 2, Altamira Oriole 2.

August 28, 2007 Bentsen I almost got as many birds in two hours at the gatehouse feeders as I did in eight hours yesterday: Plain Chachalaca 2, White-winged Dove 10, White-tipped Dove 6, Greater Roadrunner 1, Groove-billed Ani 10, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Couch's Kingbird 1, Green Jay 5, Black-crested Titmouse 2, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Olive Sparrow 5, Northern Cardinal 2, Great-tailed Grackle 1, Bronzed Cowbird 2, Altamira Oriole 2. My friends went to the Hawktower and had a great day: 100 Mississippi Kites, 2 Swallowtailed Kites, a Roseate Spoonbill, a Red Tailed and a SharpShinned Hawk.

I forgot my camera card! This from video. Booby.
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August 29, 2007 South Padre Island, CameronCo TX  BROWN BoOby 1, Brown Pelican 200, Great Blue Heron 3, Great Egret 2, Snowy Egret 4, Little Blue Heron 2, Tricolored Heron 10, White Ibis 4, Roseate Spoonbill 4, Osprey 3, Harris's Hawk 3, White-tailed Hawk 1, Crested Caracara 1, Black-bellied Plover 5, Wilson's Plover 1, Whimbrel 1, Marbled Godwit 5, Ruddy Turnstone 6,Sanderling 6, Semipalmated Sandpiper 8, Western Sandpiper 4, Least Sandpiper 10, Pectoral Sandpiper 2, Short-billed Dowitcher 12, Laughing Gull X, Gull-billed Tern 2, Royal Tern 30, Sandwich Tern 1, Forster's Tern 25, Least Tern 75, Black Skimmer 3, Rock Pigeon 5, Mourning Dove 2, Common Nighthawk 1, Ringed Kingfisher 1, Barn Swallow 5, Northern Mockingbird 4, Yellow Warbler 1, American Redstart 1, Great-tailed Grackle X, Orchard Oriole 1. What a beautiul day! The news predicted rain all day today, but here I was swimming in the ocean, walking the jetty all the way to the end. Opposite me on the next jetty was the object of my desire, the Brown Booby. This was a juvenile, probably brought here by the Tropical Storm Erin or Hurricane Dean. OF COURSE I FORGOT MY CAMERA CARD but at least I got some video.  It is usually in the ocean around Florida, hardly ever seen from land. Gooogling, I found that the first Brown Booby in Texas was 9/21/1971 at Port Aransas, where the Whooping Cranes live, about 3 hours up the coast, also a juvenile. It was so exhausted it died within days; this one looks to be in very good health. 1937, 1952, 3 in 1961 8 to 15 miles from shore, were all pelagics. A 1/24/1994 bird was the 13th Texas record at Laguna Atascosa, and second winter sighting. It seems the others were brought here probably by tropical storms/hurricanes. By this year, there had been 26 records! So this is the 27th record, I believe. Earlier in the year we visited Hawaii where we picked up Masked and Red-Footed Boobies.

August 30, 2007 Bentsen I tried to do a Butterfly census of the gardens, but a thunderstorm interrupted me.  Only the outlying areas were done, and places near the headquarter buildings themselves weren't counted.  Nevertheless I had 57 species (same as last count that covered the entire gardens) and 1006 individuals (last count 602), so I definitely feel that things are building.  Outstanding to me were a GREAT PURPLE HAIRSTREAK, an ORANGE-BARRED SULPHUR, and a FLORIDA WHITE.  Of course, bear in mind that this count is no doubt influenced by my relative inexperience:  Pipevine Swallowtail 0,2,1; Black Swallowtail 0,0,1; Giant Swallowtail 4,17,16; Ornythian Swallowtail 1,0; Florida White 0,0,1; Great Southern White 3,5,2; Southern Dogface 2,1,1; Sleepy Orange 0,3,1; Tailed Orange 0,1,0; Little Yellow 34,51,9; Mimosa Yellow 0,1,0; Orange-Barred Sulphur 0,0,1; Large Orange Sulphur 2, 29,40; Lyside Sulphur 45,40,39; GREAT PURPLE HAIRSTREAK 0,0,1, Gray Hairstreak 2,7,10; Dusky-Blue Groundstreak 3,3,0; Clench's Greenstreak 0,1,0; Clytie Ministreak 0,6,0; Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak 1,2,0; Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 1,8,8; Western Pygmy-Blue 5, 14,1; Ceraunus Blue 13, 5,7; Reakirt's Blue 1,1,1; Fatal Metalmark 0,1,0; RedBordered Metalmark 5,5,2; Red-Bordered Pixie 0,0,2; Zebra Heliconian 0,1,1; Gulf Fritillary 17,41,27; Julia Longwing 0,1, 0, female; Variegated Fritillary 1,0,0; Mexican Fritillary 3,18, 33; Pearl Crescent 5, 16, 8; Vesta Crescent 2,1,1; Phaon Crescent 42, 39, 13; Elada Checkerspot 7,1,3; Bordered Patch 77,20,65 Theona Checkerspot 1,0,0; Questionmark  0,1,1; White Peacock 3,3,9; Common Mestra 1, 22, 4; Tropical Leafwing 0,1, 1; Tawny Emperor 1,1,4; American Snout 425, 53, 535; Silver Emperor 0,1 MALE, 0, Queen 86, 45, 8, Soldier 2,1, 1; Carolina Satyr 0,5,2; Zilpah Longtail 0,0,1; LongTailed Skipper  0,1, 1; Brown Longtail 13,1, 12; Sickle-Winged Skipper 1, 14, 37; Coyote Cloudywing 0,0 3; Texas Powdered Skipper 0,0,1; BrownBanded Skipper 3,1,8; Mournful Duskywing 1,0,0; Common/White Checkered-Skpper 4,33,15; Tropical Checkered-Skipper 0,2,1; Laviana White-Skipper 14,14,20; Turk's Cap White-Skipper 0,3,1; White-Patched Skipper 2,4,3; Common Sootywing 1,1,3; Fiery Skipper 4,2,1; Southern Broken-Dash 0,0,1; Sachem 2,2,1; Whirlabout 6,4,5; Southern Skipperling 1,11,3; Clouded Sipper 25, 42,25; Celia's Roadside-Skipper 2,2,4; Dun Skipper 0,0,1;  Nysa Roadside-Skipper 0,1; Eufala Skipper 2,1,1

GREAT PURPLE HAIRSTREAK
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FLORIDA WHITE
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