Rio Grande Valley, TX: January 14-17, 2005
In the midst of what is probably the most impressive invasion of Mexican rarities into south Texas in recorded history,
I found myself unable to resist the temptation to spend a few days and witness it all. Following are some of the better
photos I got in three solid days of birding in the Valley.
Social Flycatcher - Clearly the top bird
of the winter to date, a Social Flycatcher was present in Bentsen State Park from January 7 to 14. These photos were
taken on the 14th, the last day the bird was found. Interestingly, the photos I was able to obtain show that the bird
was in fact injured, perhaps severely, on the 14th, which may be the reason for its disappearance. For a more detailed
discussion of the bird, including a photo of the injury itself, check out the Social Flycatcher page on my Rare Bird Photos website.
Green-breasted Mango - This very photogenic
individual was present at a suburban residence in south McAllen for most of the winter of 2004-05. It had a penchant
for sunning itself and defending its favorite feeder for hours at a time, as you can see.
Golden-crowned Warbler - Present at the Los
Ebanos Preserve at the junction of US-83 and TX-100 for a few weeks, this bird was very active and approachable, often itself
approaching observers to within two feet!
Crimson-collared Grosbeak - After a several-year
hiatus from the valley, Crimson-collared Grosbeaks have invaded south Texas this year in force. This male was one
of three at Frontera Audubon on 14-Jan; all told there have been a dozen or more reported grosbeaks in the valley this winter.
White-throated Robin - Shy and sulking, this bird occasionally allowed patient
viewers excellent looks (including me), but I remained frustrated trying to photograph it... the partially obscured picture
below was the best I could manage.
White-collared Seedeater - The bright spot of a day wasted looking for and
missing a Blue Bunting at Laredo, the male seedeater pictured below was one of four that kept us interested during the long,
Tropical Kingbird - It looks like a Couch's Kingbird, doesn't it? I
was surprised, too, when it called and betrayed its true identity.
Green Parakeet - These four were with a flock of five hundred more gathering
in a raucous pre-roost flock in north McAllen. They were quite a sight with the setting sun at my back.