Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In the Rio Grande Valley and Le Conte's Sparrow revisited

We left Alice, TX early this morning after our first night in a motel on the trip.  It was raining, but we had a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee in our bellies, so we were prepared.  It rained all the way to the valley where we went straight to Bentsen Rio Grande SP and took the tram to the hawk tower which is the most recent location for the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron.  After an hour of no T-H, we decided to walk the trails.  That was a good decision because we ended up seeing most of the RGV birds we needed to see.  Highlights included a Rose-throated Becard male, a Clay-colored Thrush, and an Audubon's Warbler.  Of course we saw plenty of Green Jays (web photo), Altamira Orioles, Least Grebes, Plain Chachalacas, and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers and a family group of Collared Peccaries including a tiny piglet.  An interesting aspect of winter valley birding is the presence of hummingbirds.  We saw several Buff-bellied and  Ruby-throated and single Black-chinned and Allen's Hummingbirds.  The latter is a male that was banded three years ago and has returned each year.  We're in a motel again getting soft.  Tomorrow we'll look for more valley goodies.
I got a comment from Ned suggesting I look at the photo of the Le Conte's Sparrow again which I did.  Upon more careful scrutiny it proved to be a photo of a Nelson's Sparrow.  It's clear that in the euphoria of the moment and with my focus on trying to get a good photo, none of us took a real quality look at the bird we thought was the bird we were seeking.  In short we let our guard down and believed what we thought would be true.  Point well taken.  The good news is we had a photo that showed which species of bird we actually had.  As it turns out we didn't yet have Nelson's for the year, so the tally remained the same.  However, we will have to find a genuine Le Conte's at some point, and we will.  It's all part of the fun of our pursuit.
Total now stands at 207 with Black-crested Titmouse being #200.


  1. Hey Bob and John - 300 is just around the corner! Let me know if you want Le Conte's spots on your route. I found them abundant in several types of habitat at Anahuac in January. Nice work on the becard (getting tough in Arizona) and thrush! Ned

  2. Hi! I am a "wanna be" birder and thoroughly enjoying your blog. Thanks so much for doing it and be safe! (So glad they did the article in the VPilot)

  3. Bob - thanks for recording the birding trip some of us would love to be able to undertake someday. Some of us may not be too familiar with some of the locations you are visiting -could you add the state (2 letters) for these sites? This would at least give us the state you are in. Thanks again for this undertaking and documenting it all. Have a Great Big 2010 birding adventure - stay safe.
    Duane from Baton Rouge, LA.