On Wednesday morning, we went to Quinta Mazatlan. This World Birding Center site was beautiful and obviously very well cared for. The entrance had well landscaped areas with native flora.
In addition to it being just a great place to visit, the birding was excellent! We had a specific target in mind – the Blue Bunting. This extremely rare visitor came into the feeder area for us, and about twenty people sitting in the well constructed mini-amphitheater got their life bird. In the two and a half hours we spent there, I landed six life-birds for myself.
Their were several Plain Chachalacas that were practically tame, as they crossed the paths in front of us, and we got close looks at these Turkey cousins.
The Zone-tailed Hawk was a quick view, but we got plenty of excellent views of two new Dove species for me.
The Inca Dove is probably my favorite dove – it is very small and the outlines on each feather make it look like it has scales.
This White-winged Dove is quite burly looking. I spotted him eating some seed with a group of House Sparrows. I missed a photo of the Clay-colored Thrush which was also a lifer for me.
We got looks at both the Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrasher. At the feeders, there were seven Great Kiskadees eating their fill.
The Blue Bunting took its time showing up, probably due to a Cooper’s Hawk that was periodically watching the feeding area from a tree. On the way out of Quinta Mazatlan, we spotted a Hummingbird. This could have been another life bird for me, but there was no way to tell if it was an Allen’s Hummingbird or a Rufous Hummingbird, so I just logged it as a Hummingbird species. In total, I logged 32 species in the short time we stayed – this place was excellent.
Our next stop was another World Birding Center location called Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Another great spot in which I saw five new species, I was unable to get many photos due to the rain. I have some on my ebird log but I didn’t bring my good camera so the photos are somewhat sub-par. It was a good time though, and the highlights were Ringed Kingfisher, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Hooded Oriole, and Audubon’s Oriole. In fact, at one point we had three Orioles in view at the same time – Altamira, Hooded, and Audubon’s. It was a very instructive sighting.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, we drove to various spots along the border and near a large dam of the Rio Grande. As usual we also stopped along the road when we spotted raptors such as White-tailed Hawk. I picked up two more life-birds: Tropical Kingbird and Vermilion Flycatcher.
We went to a common roosting location of Monk Parakeet, but did not see any, even though their nesting areas were clearly evident. After a long and very successful day, we turned in and rested up for another great birding day on Thursday.