Saturday, February 13, 2016

Estero Llano: Green Kingfisher, White-tipped Dove and Common Pauraque

[Weslaco, TX. Dec 2015]

We have already sung paeans to the spectacular birdlife of Texas. Yet, it will take another blogful of content to cover all the amazing species that were encountered on a recent winter trip to Weslaco.  

Powerless to resist the avian charms that the Lonestar state has to offer, we succumb again to profiling another installment of specialty species from the RGV (Rio Grande Valley) region (observed at Estero Llano Grande SP) -- species such as: 
  • Green Kingfisher
  • Common Pauraque 
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Sapsucker
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Wilson's Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Black-and-white Warbler

Kingfishers are notoriously skittish and the best way to get good views is luck:





This stunning male flew in to land on a snag just as this blogger was calling it quits at Estero Llano Grande SP. 

Pursuit is futile in the case of kingfishers and having one come to you, as was the case here, is the good fortune that occasionally will favor the patiently persistent observer.


The next species, however, far from evading the observer, doesn't even move an inch:
 


This is the Common Pauraque -- a Mexican goatsucker (or nightjar) that is also found across Mexico's Northern border into Southern Texas.


And while the Pauraque doesn't evade observation through movement, its highly cryptic plumage means it could very well be evading observation by hiding in plain sight.
 
More conspicuous species included the White-tipped Dove:



This pigeon is a terrestrial forager and its pink legs and delicate beige coloring contrast with the similar sounding, and much more widespread, White-winged Dove.

Other species observed included Yellow-bellied Sapsucker:


White-eyed Vireo:



Estero Llano Grande also harbored a handful of wintering warblers:



Orange-crowned Warbler showed well. Memorably, its namesake feature was captured in the following photo:



Wilson's Warbler:



Black-and-white Warbler:


And finally, Yellow-rumped Warbler:


A kingfisher that takes flight on the slightest pretext and a nightjar that sits stoically motionless seemingly oblivious to its surroundings -- every species in the birding world offers a study in contrasts. And, perhaps, there are few places better to observe these wonders than the RGV region of Southern Texas.

2 comments:

  1. This wonderful post reminds me of Bob Blanchard (catcher of light) who advised me to always add another thirty minutes to observations. More often than not it has been worth it. Bruggemeyer told me her favorite small bird is White-eyed Vireo.

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