Top 7 Photos: Birding in South Texas

By Hugh Powell
November 19, 2008

OK, I promise this is my last post about South Texas for a while. But in case you haven’t been on any Rio Grande field trips filled with great birds and helpful bird watchers recently, here’s my Top Seven of what it feels like:

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1. Sunrise at Estero Llano Grande, with Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks. I like how the white patch on the wing stands out even in these silhouettes.

tx_sunrise

 

2. This mural at Estero Llano is a birder’s menu of sorts. I chose the combination plate.

 

3. Green Jays are everywhere, mobbing feeders and screeching in the bushes. When they fly, their incredibly yellow outer tail feathers look like streaking lights on a subway car.

tx_jays

 

4. A rare Rose-throated Becard was hanging around the trailer park next door to Estero Llano, where weird totem poles rise amidst the oaks. I like how the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers have been decorating the faces with nest holes.

 

5. Birding in a big group has the advantage of being with great birders who find fantastic birds. But you should try to avoid standing in the middle of the pack unless you once had a basketball career.

tx_back_of_crowd

 

6. And this is what the crowd looks like when you’ve got a Common Pauraque sleeping just off the trail. Yes, believe it or not, you can focus a high-powered telescope on a spot 10 feet away. And yes, it’s worth it. (For pictures of the actual bird, see this post.)

birding in south texas

 

7. At some point in your South Texas visit, you will be mobbed by Plain Chachalacas. I just barely avoided being trampled by a flock – this one was the last in line.

tx_chachalaca

One more odd photo in case you didn’t catch it on our Twitter feed: Barack Obama relishes a torta in Brownsville. (When you see this at 5:30 a.m. at a newsstand on your way to see Roseate Spoonbills, it can make you wonder if you’re still in bed dreaming.)

(On another topic, thanks to everyone who helped with our video poll – see here for a brief summary of the results.)

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