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

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September 2007

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9/2/2007 Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park This morning was my second Hawk Watch, so we did watch hawks from 8am to noon from the Hawktower. We didn't see many hawks, though... Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 22, Northern Bobwhite 1, Turkey Vulture 20, Gray Hawk 2, Swainson's Hawk 2, White-winged Dove 44, Mourning Dove 2, Groove-billed Ani 20, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 4, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Olive-sided Flycatcher 1, Couch's Kingbird 2, Eastern Kingbird 24, Green Jay 8, Barn Swallow 30, Black-crested Titmouse 4, Verdin 1, Bewick's Wren 2, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Yellow Warbler 1, Olive Sparrow 2, Northern Cardinal 4, Altamira Oriole 2. Lunch at NABA's International Butterfly Park: best that turned up was a Banded Peacock. Even better Tom found right here at Bentsen (pictured above) a Two-Barred Flasher

Banded Peacock at Bentsen, not NABA this time...
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9/3/2007 Bentsen Assigned to the phones all day today, I was so stuck in my office, but at least with a wonderful view through my wall of glass! There were many hummers, including RubyThroated, the Allen’s/Rufous, and BuffBellied, perhaps still BlackChinned.  Hooded and Altamira Orioles, Kiskadees, Cave, Barn and Bank Swallows, WhiteWinged, Inca and Mourning Doves, Cardinals and of course Mockingbirds and Great-Tailed Grackles seemed to play outside, while engaged in their separate games of survival.  A quick walk through the rainy garden at lunchtime showed up a BANDED PEACOCK (I think the first I’ve seen at Bentsen), a NYSA and a male JULIA.  In spite of the rain there were many flying!:  Pipevine & Giant Swallowtail, Orange-Barred, Large Orange Sulphur & Lyside Sulphurs, Gray Hairstreak, Lantana & Mallow Scrub-Hairstreaks, Western Pygmy, Ceraunus, Reakirt's Blues,   RedBordered Metalmark, Zebra, Gulf & Mexican Fritillaries, Julia Longwing ,  Phaon Crescents; Bordered Patch, White & BANDED Peacocks, Common Mestra, Tropical Leafwing, Tawny Emperor, American Snout, Queen (only 2!), Soldier (only 1); Carolina Satyr,  Brown Longtail, TWO-BARRED FLASHER, Sickle-Winged, BrownBanded, Common/White & Tropical Checkered, Laviana & Turk’s Cap White-, White-Patched Skipper, Common Sootywing, Fiery Skipper , Southern Broken-Dash, Sachem,Whirlabout ; Southern Skipperling ; Clouded, Celia's Roadside-, Nysa Roadside-Skippers. Yep, they're just that thick now, even in the rain.

9/4/2007 Bentsen Gatehouse Prose True, this rainy morning I was stuck inside answering phones again (the most interesting was from a parent concerned about an alligator in front of her childrens’ school in Los Fresnos, over 60 miles east), but at 1pm I was back out in the gatehouse. The feeders hadn’t been filled since last time I was here, a week ago. I expected a long wait before the birds discovered the food source again, so I watched a Broadwinged Hawk and 6 Turkey Vultures float south. I watched Lyside and Large Orange Sulphurs, and Snouts and Queens and White Peacocks and Giant Swallowtails get pushed along by the breeze. By 1:15 a female LadderBacked Woodpecker was investigating the suet. A WhiteTipped Dove was running tank-like across the bare ground under the feeding station. A more cautious WhiteWinged Dove flew into a tangle of mesquite leaves, at least partially hidden. A Green Jay gobbled at the pile of seeds on the platform feeder. Wow. That was fast. The doves and the jay disappeared and each brought back a mate. A Hispid Cotton Rat joined a Green Jay on the ground, picking up splashed millet. 1:25. A Roadrunner appeared. By 1:30 it had nabbed the Cotton Rat and was beating it senseless on the ground! This was no mouse, but a true big rat! Just then the tram happened by, frightening all the birds back into the brush. Within five minutes they were all back, including the Roadrunner, still with a hungry gleam in his eye. He flew up into the Mesquite tree. Four Chachalacas flew down from the Mesquite, two of them mohawked juveniles. The tram returned at 1:50. All was set back to zero again.

When they returned, a male GoldenFronted Woodpecker was in the mix. By the top of the first hour, a third Green Jay had joined the pair. Mike tells me the All-Thorn bush here at the feeders may be the only one in the entire park. It’s covered with Short-Winged Katydids. 2:20. An endangered Texas Tortoise walks briskly (for a tortoise) across the road, right at the entrance gate. The bottom of his shell is remarkably high off the ground 2:30 TWO Greater Roadrunners.

The tram goes by at 2:40 scaring all the birds again, so I give myself permission to stretch my legs outside my air-conditioned cube. A Cave Swallow floats above the tram in the clear blue sky. Did it follow the tram from the irrigation canal? An Olive Sparrow chips from the brush. I’m just in time to admire a Tropical Leafwing flying bravely sideways against the wind. The Spiny Hackberry (food plant for the Empress Leilia) and Snake Eyes are easy to identify now, since they’re in full berry. Two Blue Spiny Lizards eye each other from opposite ends of the side brick wall of the gatehouse. The geocached plastic tub is still in its “hiding spot.” Roseate Skimmers and Eastern Pondhawks fly up from the mud puddle. I eye every Giant Swallowtail carefully to make sure its not an Ornythion. I haven’t seen an Ornythion in some time… 2:50 the tram is back. I’m back in my chair ready for more bird drama. Dare I ask for more?

Whoops! There’s evidently another Hispid Cotton Rat left to carry on (surprise, surprise!). This one is gathering all the oil sunflower seeds a messy WhiteWinged Dove spilled from the hanging feeder. Out in broad daylight with two Roadrunners around?! What is he thinking?! The Chachalaca family is back preferring the sprouts from last week’s millet. One chick especially prefers the ones dangling out of Mama’s beak to the ones still growing in the ground. A true Mother, she doesn’t mind a whit. Mexican Fritillaries flutter by, faster than they’d like it appears, due to the increasing speed of the wind. It’s a fair trade for puffy white clouds and blue skies. Common Sootywings, with sprinkles of salt on their black heads, and White Checkered-Skippers rematerialize. A Gulf Fritillary looks out-of-place here, away from any apparent flowers. Two Couch’s Kingbirds call from opposite sides of the road, “But, but, WE’re…” Checkered and Black Setwings appear. Two Turkey Vultures zip by this time, headed north now. The Coyotillo grows plentifully here, extremely poisonous to us, but food plant for coyotes and chachalacas and that beauty up front at headquarters, the Two-Barred Flasher.  Three Rangers appear and the reverie is broken-- back to more traditional work... 

9/5/2007 Bentsen Hawktower The Hawktower at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park: Three hours with four others (including Baltimore natives David Smith and Melody Nevins) before today’s butterfly walk was quite refreshing!  Actual hawk numbers were very low, but quality was excellent.  Best bird was by far the MALE HOOK-BILLED KITE dive-bombed by two White-Tailed Kites.  A single Mississippi Kite earlier in the morning made this a three-kite day.  The dicky-bird list was smaller than usual: Anhinga 3, Black Vulture 3, Turkey Vulture-- many probably residents, Osprey 1, HookBilled Kite 1, WhiteTailed Kite 2, Mississippi Kite 1, Cooper's Hawk 2, Gray Hawk 4, Harris's Hawk 1, Broad-Winged Hawk 12, Swainson's Hawk 2, Lesser Yellowlegs 1, WhiteWinged Dove 38, Mourning Dove 2, Common Ground Dove 5, YellowBilled Cuckoo 1, Greater Roadrunner 1, GrooveBilled Ani 6, Golden Fronted Woodpecker 4, LadderBacked Woodpecker 1, OliveSided Flycatcher 1, Couch's Kingbird 4, Eastern Kingbird 12, Cave Swallow 2, Barn Swallow 40, BlueGray Gnatcatcher 2, Yellow Warbler 1, Olive Sparrow 1, Baltimore Oriole 1.  Pipevine & Giant Swallowtail, FLORIDA WHITE, ORANGE-BARRED, Large Orange Sulphur & Lyside Sulphurs, Little Yellow, TAILED ORANGE, Gray Hairstreak, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreaks, Western Pygmy & Ceraunus Blues, FATAL & RedBordered Metalmarks, Gulf & Mexican Fritillaries, Julia Longwing , Phaon & Pearl Crescents; Bordered Patch, White Peacocks, Common Mestra, Tropical Leafwing, American Snout, Queen (only 2!), Soldier (only 1!), Brown Longtail, Sickle-Winged, BrownBanded, White Checkered, Laviana White-, White-Patched, Fiery, Clouded, Celia’s Roadside-, & Eufala Skippers, Common Sootywing, Southern Broken-Dash, Sachem,Whirlabout ; Southern Skipperling, and a BUCKEYE.

9/8/2007 South Padre Island Convention Center I was hoping for warblers, but there plenty of shorebirds.  Pied-billed Grebe 1, Brown Pelican X, Neotropic Cormorant 10, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 2, Snowy Egret 2, Little Blue Heron 1, Tricolored Heron 1, Reddish Egret 2, Osprey 1, Harris's Hawk 5, Swainson's Hawk 2, White-tailed Hawk 2, Clapper Rail X, Black-bellied Plover 2, Snowy Plover 2, Wilson's Plover 1, Semipalmated Plover 1, Piping Plover 1, Killdeer X, Greater Yellowlegs 2, Lesser Yellowlegs 1, Willet X, Whimbrel 1, Long-billed Curlew 1, Marbled Godwit 3, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Western, Least, Baird's, Pectoral, Stilt Sandpipers X, Short-billed Dowitcher 28, Laughing Gull X, Royal Tern 112, Forster's Tern X, Least Tern X, Black Tern 1, Rock Pigeon 2, Eastern Kingbird 6, Barn Swallow 11, Northern Mockingbird X, Yellow Warbler 2, Great-tailed Grackle 2, Baltimore Oriole X

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With a huge bulge in his normally sveldt self.
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My very first YellowTipped Flasher!
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9/9/2007 Bentsen Hawktower Few hawks, but great fun and 8 great people with whom to share it.  Anhinga 80, Wood Stork 21, Black Vulture 9, Turkey Vulture 8, Swallow-tailed Kite 1, White-tailed Kite 2, Mississippi Kite 25, Gray Hawk 1, Harris's Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 3, Swainson's Hawk 2, Crested Caracara 2, White-winged Dove 30, Mourning Dove 2, Common Ground-Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2, Groove-billed Ani 10, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 5, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Brown-crested Flycatcher 1, Couch's Kingbird 1, Eastern Kingbird 1, White-eyed Vireo 1, Barn Swallow 20, Black-crested Titmouse 2, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Yellow Warbler 2, Olive Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 1, Altamira Oriole 5, Baltimore Oriole 4.  Lunch at NABA's International Butterfly Park was fantastic, mostly because Javier called to say there was a YELLOW-TIPPED FLASHER there!!!!  Also nice was a great GULF COAST RIBBON SNAKE.  The Screech Owl wasn't bad either.  Then back at Bentsen, I was assigned Water Feature duty.  While checking water features, I saw a Carolina Satyr, 15 Javelina
and 2 fox squirrels, plus lots of birds:  Plain Chachalaca 22, Anhinga 1, White Ibis 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Gray Hawk 2, White-winged Dove 7, Mourning Dove 4, Common Ground-Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 9, Greater Roadrunner 1, Groove-billed Ani  22, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 14, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 4, Great Kiskadee 10, Couch's Kingbird 3, Eastern Kingbird 6, Green Jay 10, Cave Swallow 6, Barn Swallow 8, Northern Mockingbird 7, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Lark Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 1, Bronzed Cowbird 6, Altamira Oriole 4, Baltimore Oriole 8.  Especially nice was this very unwary juvenile Gray Hawk, and my SECOND Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake in the Kiskadee Blind water feature.  More later on all of this... (Rushed!)

Unwary juvenile Gray Hawk
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9/10/2007 Bentsen Gatehouse Feeders only.  3 Hispid Cotton Rats and  a Mexican Ground Squirrel were nice to watch with the birds: Plain Chachalaca  5, Turkey Vulture 1, White-winged Dove 7, Mourning Dove 3, White-tipped Dove 3, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Greater Roadrunner 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Couch's Kingbird 2, Green Jay 10, Northern Mockingbird 4, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Olive Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 1, Altamira Oriole 1, Baltimore Oriole 2.  Back home in Harlingen was my very first FORBE'S SILK MOTH  Alamo Walmart Two dozen Green Parakeets fly over Alamo Walmart about 7:30pm probably enroute to their night roost. 

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9/11/07 Bentsen A Guava Skipper showed up today on the Wild Olives at the Gatehouse, and perhaps what may be my first Green June Bug at the butterfly feeder in the Headquarters' gardenJust the feeders from the gatehouse door had a Mexican Ground Squirrel and 2 Hispid Cotton Rats.  Lyside/LgOrange/Little/Cloudless Sulphurs, Tropical Leafwing, Pipevine/Giant Swallowtails, Sachem, RedBordered Metalmark, Southern Broken-Dash WStriped/Brown/Dorantes Longtails, LongTailed and Cloudless Skippers, plus the birds:
Plain Chachalaca 5, Turkey Vulture 1, Mississippi Kite 1, Broad-winged Hawk 1, Swainson's Hawk 1, White-winged Dove 8, Mourning Dove 3, Inca Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Groove-billed Ani 1, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 3, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Great Kiskadee 2, Couch's Kingbird 4, Green Jay 7, Barn Swallow 2, Black-crested Titmouse 2, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2, Northern Mockingbird 4, Yellow Warbler 2, Olive Sparrow 1, Altamira Oriole 1.  Kewlest was watching this JUMPING SPIDER trying to catch Clouded Skippers!  After his fourth failed attempt, he tried for this RedBordered Metalmark, also a failure.  Poor guy.  He tried so hard to sneak up on them, leaf by leaf and a final pounce.

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9/13/07 Bentsen Stuck inside but can you believe this?  Josh alerts us to a HOODED ORIOLE at the hummingbird feeder at his office window!  Butterflies include Ornythion Swallowtail, White-Striped Longtail, LongTailed Skipper, Coyote Cloudywing, OrangeBarred Sulphur, Tailed Orange...

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9/15/07 South Padre Island Scarlet Colley's report of another sick NORTHERN GANNET draws me here.  Of course, a dip in the ocean isn't all that terrible either: Pied-billed Grebe 1, NORTHERN GANNET 1 (obviously ill, not flying, wrong season, sitting on north jetty; there have been many reports of sick gannets lately, this one reported by Scarlet Colley on Texbirds), Brown Pelican, Great Blue Heron 7, Great Egret 1, Snowy Egret 16, Little Blue Heron 4, Tricolored Heron 21, Reddish Egret 3, Green Heron 1, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1, White Ibis 4, Roseate Spoonbill 1, Osprey 1, Harris's Hawk 1, Clapper Rail 1, Common Moorhen 1, Black-bellied Plover 2, Snowy Plover 1, Wilson's Plover 1, Piping Plover 1, Killdeer 1, American Oystercatcher 1, Black-necked Stilt 2, Greater Yellowlegs 2, Lesser Yellowlegs 3, Willet 38, Whimbrel 2, Long-billed Curlew 5, Marbled Godwit 7, Ruddy Turnstone 4, Sanderling 11, Western Sandpiper 6, Least Sandpiper 12, Stilt Sandpiper 25, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern 75, Forster's Least Tern, Rock Pigeon 4, Eurasian Collared-Dove 2, Mourning Dove 1, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Olive-sided Flycatcher 3, Eastern Wood-Pewee Yellow-bellied Alder Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher 2, Brown-crested Flycatcher 2, Eastern Kingbird 22, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 1, Warbling Vireo 1, Red-eyed Vireo 1, Barn Swallow 1, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler 6, Wilson's Warbler 2, Great-tailed Grackle, Baltimore Oriole 2, House Sparrows.  At home in Harlingen a Variegated Fritillary was on the duranta.

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9/16/07 Bentsen Today was Hawkwatch: Anhinga 300, Great Egret 1, Cattle Egret 16, Wood Stork 4, Black Vulture 2, Turkey Vulture 12, Osprey 1, Mississippi Kite 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Gray Hawk 2, Harris's Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 132, White-winged Dove 19, Mourning Dove 3, Common Ground-Dove 1, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Groove-billed Ani 8, Great Horned Owl 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 3, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Brown-crested Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee 3, Couch's Kingbird 4, Green Jay 1, Barn Swallow 26, Verdin 1, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 2, Yellow Warbler 1, Northern Cardinal 2, Red-winged Blackbird 100, Great-tailed Grackle 4, Altamira Oriole 2, Baltimore Oriole 2. The Allen’s Hummingbird, later at headquarters, was BANDED today and verified in-hand by Mary Gustafson. AND Josh found this BLUE METALMARK and GLAZED PELLICIA, both fjirst time views for me! In addition he got his lifer Ruby Spotted Swallowtail here at the Bentsen gardens today.  Later near Edinburg (Highway 107 at Tower Road) I saw two yards, each with over 300 Bronzed Cowbirds in them!

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9/17/07 Bentsen The scheduled Bird Walk just to Green Jay blind, to Kiskadee blind, and back: Mottled Duck 2, Plain Chachalaca 15, Pied-billed Grebe 1, Anhinga 2, Great Egret 2, Green Heron 1, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Gray Hawk 3, Killdeer 2, White-winged Dove 21, Mourning Dove 3, Inca Dove 1, Common Ground-Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 1, Greater Roadrunner 1, Groove-billed Ani 16, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 10, Black-chinned Hummingbird 2, Allen’s Hummingbird 1, Green Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 13, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Brown-crested Flycatcher 2, Great Kiskadee 9, Couch's Kingbird 25,Eastern Kingbird 2, White-eyed Vireo 1, Green Jay 22, Barn Swallow 20, Black-crested Titmouse 11, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4, Northern Mockingbird 17, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Yellow Warbler 5, Olive Sparrow 5, Northern Cardinal 5, Red-winged Blackbird 45, Great-tailed Grackle 4, Altamira Oriole 4, Baltimore Oriole 2.  The gatehouse feeders had been empty all week, including all morning, but after filling them I quickly got: TWO Mexican Ground Squirrels and a Hispid Cotton Rat but zero Chachalacas and zero WhiteWinged Doves. Did have a Texas Spiny and a Blue Spiny Lizard. White-tailed Kite 1, Swainson's Hawk 2, Mourning Dove 1, Common Ground-Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 2, Greater Roadrunner 1, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Great Kiskadee 2, Green Jay 7, Northern Mockingbird 2, Altamira Oriole 2.

Sep 18 at Rio Grande State Veterans Cemetery  (Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1, Mottled Duck 2, Killdeer 10, Black-necked Stilt 4, Least Sandpiper 2) and then the Bentsen gatehouse in the afternoon. In spite of workers walking the premises, I still had a remarkable amount of birds show up at the feeders. 2 Mexican Ground Squirrels and a Hispid Cotton Rat and: Plain Chachalaca 3, Cooper's Hawk 1, Gray Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 1, Mourning Dove 2, White-tipped Dove 2, Greater Roadrunner 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Couch's Kingbird 1, Green Jay 7, Barn Swallow 6. Ebird sez 71 species this month in Hidalgo County (work) and 71 species this month in Cameron County (home), but 120 species for the month. This means only an overlap of 21 species.  Hmmm... 

Sept 19 at Bentsen State Park Hawkwatch was on schedule first: Plain Chachalaca 2, Anhinga 102, Black Vulture 5, Turkey Vulture 8, Mississippi Kite 2, Gray Hawk 2, Harris's Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 629, Crested Caracara 1, White-winged Dove 22, Common Ground-Dove 2, Groove-billed Ani 15, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 4, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Great Kiskadee 1, Couch's Kingbird 3, Green Jay 4, Barn Swallow 25, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2, Long-billed Thrasher 2, Olive Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 2, Red-winged Blackbird 34, Great-tailed Grackle 4, Bronzed Cowbird 1, Altamira Oriole 1.  At Rio Grande Cemetery Pond, perhaps a mile away: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1, Mottled Duck 3, Great Egret  2, Killdeer 10, Black-necked Stilt 16, Willet 1, Lesser Yellowlegs 2, Least Sandpiper 2, Rock Pigeon 9, Mourning Dove 12

Sep 20 at Bentsen Strange butterfly count, in that it had the usual amount of species (50), but only 345 individuals, down from 1006 two weeks ago, and 602 a month ago, and 875 six weeks ago: Pipevine Swallowtail 0,2,1,6; Black Swallowtail 0,0,1,0; Giant Swallowtail 4,17,16,21; Ornythian Swallowtail 1,0,0,1; Florida White 0,0,1,1; Great Southern White 3,5,2,0; Southern Dogface 2,1,1,32; Sleepy Orange 0,3,1,0; Tailed Orange 0,1,0,2; Little Yellow 34,51,9,8; Mimosa Yellow 0,1,0,0; Orange-Barred Sulphur 0,0,1,1; Large Orange Sulphur 2, 29,40,9; Cloudless Sulpur 0,0,0,1; Lyside Sulphur 45,40,39,4; Great Purple Hairstreak 0,0,1,0, Gray Hairstreak 2,7,10,2; Dusky-Blue Groundstreak 3,3,0,0; Clench's Greenstreak 0,1,0,0; Clytie Ministreak 0,6,0,0; Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak 1,2,0,1; Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak 1,8,8,2; Western Pygmy-Blue 5, 14,1,1; Ceraunus Blue 13, 5,7,0; Reakirt's Blue 1,1,1,0; Fatal Metalmark 0,1,0,1; RedBordered Metalmark 5,5,2,4; Red-Bordered Pixie 0,0,2,1; Zebra Heliconian 0,1,1,0; Gulf Fritillary 17,41,27,6; Julia Longwing 0,1, 0, 0; Variegated Fritillary 1,0,0,0; Mexican Fritillary 3,18, 33,5; Pearl Crescent 5, 16, 8,3; Vesta Crescent 2,1,1,0; Phaon Crescent 42, 39, 13, 21; Red Admiral 0,0,0,1; Buckeye 0,0,0,1; Elada Checkerspot 7,1,3,0; Bordered Patch 77,20,65,19; Theona Checkerspot 1,0,0,0; Questionmark  0,1,1,0; White Peacock 3,3,9,15; Common Mestra 1, 22, 4,1; Tropical Leafwing 0,1, 1, 1; Tawny Emperor 1,1,4,4; American Snout 425, 53, 535, 10; Silver Emperor 0,1,0,0; Queen 86, 45, 8, 33; Soldier 2,1, 1, 7; Carolina Satyr 0,5,2,0; Zilpah Longtail 0,0,1,0; WhiteStriped Longail 0,0,0,5; LongTailed Skipper  0,1, 1,4; Brown Longtail 13,1, 12, 26; Sickle-Winged Skipper 1, 14, 37, 12; Coyote Cloudywing 0,0, 3,0; Texas Powdered Skipper 0,0,1,0; BrownBanded Skipper 3,1,8,11; Mournful Duskywing 1,0,0,0; Common/White Checkered-Skipper 4,33,15, 5; Tropical Checkered-Skipper 0,2,1,0; Laviana White-Skipper 14,14,20,9; Turk's Cap White-Skipper 0,3,1,0; White-Patched Skipper 2,4,3,3; Common Sootywing 1,1,3,2; Fiery Skipper 4,2,1,6; Southern Broken-Dash 0,0,1,3; Sachem 2,2,1,3; Whirlabout 6,4,5,14; Southern Skipperling 1,11,3,0; Clouded Sipper 25, 42,25,14; Celia's Roadside-Skipper 2,2,4,2; Dun Skipper 0,0,1,0;  Nysa Roadside-Skipper 0,1,0,0; Eufala Skipper 2,1,1,2.  I hesitate to add the best butterfly of the day, because it was beyond my ability to identify it.  Fortunately, many expert butterfliers stopped by the park today, two of which pointed out the ACACIA SKIPPER. 

Sept 22 at Joe's near LaJoya TX Killdeer 10, Western Sandpiper 1, Rock Pigeons, Common Ground-Dove 12, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 8, Great Kiskadee 2, Couch's Kingbird 2, White-eyed Vireo 1, Northern Mockingbirds, Pyrrhuloxia 4, Red-winged Blackbirds, Great-tailed Grackles.

Sept 23 Rio Grande Cemetery Pond Mission  This small almost-dried up pond only a mile or so away from Bentsen had some inhabitants today:  Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 8, Mottled Duck 14, Great Egret 1, Snowy Egret 3, Little Blue Heron 1, Roseate Spoonbill 1, Turkey Vulture 1, Killdeer 14, Black-necked Stilt 5, Solitary Sandpiper 2, Least Sandpiper 2, Mourning Dove 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Great Kiskadee 1, Couch's Kingbird 1, Barn Swallow 1

Sept 24 Bentsen, confined to the Gatehouse, feeders 1-5pm only; Texas Spiny Lizard, Blue Spiny Lizard, Hispid Cotton Rat and a Mexican Ground Squirrel, plus Plain Chachalaca  4, Turkey Vulture 1, White-winged Dove 2, Mourning Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 4, Greater Roadrunner 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Green Jay 7, Northern Mockingbird 1.

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Sept 25 Bentsen I was in my office this morning answering phones. Remember how day before yesterday a Gray Hawk was outside the office? And yesterday the Javelinas in the courtyard? Today the Anis were outside Jennifer's office window, while a juvenile WhiteTipped Dove hit my window, killing him quickly. At lunch I stopped by the Rio Grande Cemetery pond again: Mottled Duck 3, Snowy Egret 3, Turkey Vulture 15, American Kestrel 1, Killdeer 8, Black-necked Stilt 22, Mourning Dove 20, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 1. I didn't have the umph to separate the peeps there.
Afternoon was guardhouse: Blue Spiny Lizard, Mexican
Ground Squirrel and many butterflies, including a TwoBarred Flasher! Plain Chachalaca 3, Turkey Vulture 1, Broad-winged Hawk 1, White-winged Dove 2, Mourning Dove 1, Inca Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 2, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Green Jay 6, Barn Swallow 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Olive Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 1, Altamira Oriole 2. 
The only thing in bloom at the Gatehouse are two Wild Olive Trees, but someone had watered the mud nearby which attracted a variety not usually seen here: WhitePatched, BrownBanded, Clouded, White Checkered and Laviana White Skippers, Whirlabouts, Sachem, Southern BrokenDash, Southern Skipperling, Large Orange, Cloudless and Lyside Sulphurs, Giant and Pipevine Swallowtails, American Snouts, many White Peacocks, Gulf Fritillaries, Tropical Leafwing, Tailed Orange, Bordered Patch and of course the TWO BARRED FLASHER. Bad was a large brown skipper, with golden squarish spots on the apical forewings, but no tails. I couldn't get photos or even binoculars on the thing before it flew directly at me and then away.  Hopefully it was a worn LongTailed Skipper and I didn't miss anything great. 

9/26 Bentsen Hawktower 8-11am Plain Chachalaca 2, Great Egret 1, Cattle Egret 1, Wood Stork 1 (great view!), Black Vulture 3, Turkey Vulture 41, White-tailed Kite 2 (one fed on an eye-level branch, great to watch at 60x), Cooper's Hawk 2, Broad-winged Hawk 75, Gray Hawk 3, Killdeer 1, Black-Necked Stilt 7, White-winged Dove 41, Mourning Dove 1, Common Ground-Dove 1, Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Greater Roadrunner 3 (enroute-- 1 at Paixtle, 1 at Gatehouse, 1 at LaComa), Groove-billed Ani 33 (3 groups on the ground and 1 in flight at the same time!), Golden-fronted Woodpecker 4, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Great Kiskadee 1, Couch's Kingbird 1, Green Jay 1, Barn Swallow 25, Verdin 1 (nice views as he flew eye-level all around us), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1, Northern Mockingbird 1, Long-billed Thrasher 1, Yellow Warbler 1, Olive Sparrow 2, Red-winged Blackbird 18, Great-tailed Grackle 20, Altamira Oriole 4

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9/27 Rio Grande Cemetery Pond Didn't have time to pull out the scope and sort the peeps.  Mottled Duck 12, Great Egret 1, Snowy Egret 3, Little Blue Heron 1, Cattle Egret 36, American Kestrel 1, Sora 1, Killdeer 10, Black-necked Stilt 14, American Avocet 1, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 1 Bentsen Gardens Just a quick (15") walk at the end of the day turned up a BANDED PEACOCK-- this is Dad's butterfly, since I first saw it on the same day that he died (tram stop), DORANTES LONGTAIL (magic hedge), WhiteStriped Longtail (Lantana/Turk'sCap Mound by road), Common Mestra (bus stop), RED-BORDERED PIXIE (behind offices in the shade), Carolina Satyr (tram stop), and lotsa Tropical Leafwings (everywhere).

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September 28 Frontera Audubon at Weslaco TX  VIOLET-BANDED SKIPPER!!  Thanks to the Dauphins for finding and reporting it, thanks to Tom for telling me it was still there Thu and to Dir Bartholomew for changing hours to 7pm!

Easy find even though I thought it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. There was a lot of Milkweed Vine and it was first spotted three days ago after all. I put one foot on the boardwalk and there it was! Wow! It even posed for photos! I had waited for a day off and here it happened. Miracle. On an expedition to see the VIOLET-BANDED SKIPPER, birds were incidental and not really watched for: Great Egret 1, Green Heron 3, White-winged Dove 30, Inca Dove 1, White-tipped Dove 6, Green Parakeet 16, Chimney Swift 2, Buff-bellied Hummingbird 2, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 4, Great Kiskadee 7, Couch's Kingbird 2, Barn Swallow 20, Northern Mockingbird 1, European Starling 1

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September 30 Bentsen SILVER-BANDED HAIRSTREAK is definitely the highlight of the day (thanks to Josh and the Dauphins) but also Hawkwatch Sunday:  Double-crested Cormorant     20, Great Blue Heron     5, Great Egret     1, Cattle Egret     20, Wood Stork     7, Black Vulture     4, Turkey Vulture     40, Osprey     2, White-tailed Kite     1, Mississippi Kite     2, Northern Harrier     2, Sharp-shinned Hawk     1, Cooper's Hawk     1, Broad-winged Hawk     225, Gray Hawk     2, Swainson's Hawk     8, Laughing Gull     5, White-winged Dove     4, Mourning Dove     1, Groove-billed Ani     10, Ruby-throated Hummingbird     1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker     4, Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet     1, Great Kiskadee     4, Couch's Kingbird     2, Green Jay     2, Cave Swallow     1, Barn Swallow     25, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     1, Northern Mockingbird     2, Long-billed Thrasher     1, Canada Warbler     2 (in parking lot before hawkwatch began), Red-winged Blackbird     125, Boat-tailed Grackle     12, Bronzed Cowbird     3, Brown-headed Cowbird     25

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