Birding the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Green Jay, Laguna Atascosa NWR, TX

In January, my partner and I were on a birding vacation traveling between South Padre Island and McAllen/Bensen State Park, Tx. The first three days we enjoyed the beautiful, warm type of days we had planned on. After that, a dramatic cold front rolled in with temperatures in the low 40’s F (4.5 C) and winds gusting 20-30 mph (32-48 kph).

Nevertheless, the birding was good and we added a respectable number and selection of birds to our life lists — including, but not limited to:

    black-vented oriole (at the trailer park near Benson SP)
    neotropical parula (Estero Llano Grande SP)
    white-tailed kite & white-tailed hawk (Laguna Atascosa NWP)
    crimson-collared grosbeak (Pharr, Tx)
    vermillion flycatcher (McAllen, Tx)
    greater peewee (McAllen, Tx)
    common pauraque (in broad daylight and only 3 feet away! Estero Llano Grande SP)

and several others including, for me a long-sought southwest native, the roadrunner! (Don’t laugh, I’ve looked for these in Arizona, Nevada, and California to no avail. At Laguna Atascosa we watched a pair of them for ten minutes).

It was not the sunny, winter get-away that we had hoped for but it was very rewarding. I’ve posted some pictures in my Facebook photo album.

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