20 November 2008

Day Three in Texas

Michael O'Brien scoping some brids for us on the Rio Grande.

The Upper Rio birding trip was by far the most action packed birding of my whole time in Texas. As soon as we stepped off the bus the bird species started flying by. Within minutes we had a list of over 20 species. And we were only a few feet away from the bus! After picking up things like Cactus Wren, Pyrrhuxloxia, and a Red-shafted Northern Flicker we walked down to the river for even better views of the flyovers.

The majority of the trip was spent right down on the Rio Grande, literally in the middle of it at times. The rock outcropping below afforded us great looks at waterfowl and kingfishers. We had time to inspect the cormorants and differentiate between Neotropic and Double-crested. We also had a nice look at Muscovy Duck. After seeing all the feral Muscovy in Florida it was really refreshing to see "real" Muscovy Ducks and add them to my ABA list.

Birding this close to the Mexico border also brought the Border Patrol out in full force. From time to time a vehicle would circle by, give us an once-over, and drive off. I guess 40 plus people with scopes and binoculars are a regular occurrence by this birdy river.

One of the best birds of this trip for me was a Gray Hawk that perched on the Mexican side of the river. Above I'm scoping my lifer Gray Hawk and below are a couple of digiscoped pictures. Now, I don't have a fancy camera and I don't know how to digiscope but I decided that if I was going to have all this time alone with a Gray Hawk and a scope I would at least attempt to capture it. The pictures don't do this bird justice. Seeing this bird and really studying it was a great way to end a fabulous birding day in Texas.


Mike said...

Sweet shot, Eva. That's a better picture of a Gray Hawk on that side of the Rio Grande than I got. I think you saw better birds too!

Eva said...

I don't know if I got better birds Mike but that Gray Hawk certainly was sweet.