My January trip to the Valley was pretty successful. I left without four South Texas specialties however.
It’s certainly not surprising that I missed all of these. There not easy to see and less so in January. Yesterday was disappointing; I spent the morning at the Santa Anna Hawk Watch trying for the Hook-billed Kite, but no luck. We know that there are at least four birds in the Valley and I’d hoped to have one soaring over the trees on it’s way to feeding grounds (they eat snails). In the afternoon I added several birds for the year, but none of the big four.
So I called in the big guns. I met Mary Gustafson in Ohio back in the late 80’s. She was an editor of The Small Gulls of North America. She’s a hell of a birder, runs the LRGV Rare Bird Alert, and is on the Texas Rare Birds Committee. She’s now considered the “Queen Bee of the Vall-ee”. This morning we headed up river to Salineno early and were on the river by 7:30 AM. At 7:58 Mary spotted a big dark pigeon flying down river. Bingo! Red-billed Pigeon. Half an hour later we watched the powerful flight of two Muscovys as they flew down river. Two down and two to go.
Tomorrow I meet Susan Foster at La Laja Ranch near Laredo, a great spot for White-collared Seedeaters. I’ll have about two horse to bird before I need to head to San Antonio to catch my flight. I’ll post tomorrow, stay tuned.