We took a cold walk spotting the standard warblers and gnat-catchers, Green Jays, and woodpeckers and were a bit discouraged — but still enjoying some nice looks at birds. Mary headed back up to to the center to warm up and I went on a bit to a river outlook, hoping to see an Anhinga. Which I did — three of them in fact. They were too far away to photograph but they were a new bird on my life list — one that I’ve just missed at other places.
There has been a rather rare bird – a Black-vented Oriole – hanging around the RV park next door for several weeks. It’s been chased by many birders but I hadn’t heard much about it in the last few days and hadn’t planned to try to see it. (Our time was limited with the dog waiting in the car.) As I came back, I saw a guy with a big lens sitting on a bench, looking into the woods so I asked him what he was seeing. “The oriole is up there,” he reported — and soon had a neighbor on the bench. We watched the bird move through the foliage, never really coming into the open, but giving us some nice looks anyways. I shot some pictures, more for the record than for high quality, and was thrilled to nail this lovely bird who normally is in Mexico or Central America. It’s survived a number of below-freezing nights recently and looked no worse of wear.
At the same time, a noisy gang of Plain Chachalacas strode up to the feeders. These turkey-sized birds are hard to miss but this was my first time seeing them — so they became lifelist bird 3 for the day.
I returned to find Mary and she reported that she had seen the Clay-colored Thrush up by the feeders. I knew that bird was often seen at Bentsen but probably walked right by it. So I back-tracked, waited just a few minutes, and Bingo — one showed up at the feeder. Bird 4 for the day.
We don’t go crazy chasing birds but it’s fun to see new stuff and add them to the list. I’ve got a few sparrows and hawks I’d like to see here at Falcon before we leave next week but I won’t lose any sleep if I don’t. Just watching the Caracaras and Ospreys fly in the high winds of the last few days has been a treat – as was seeing a couple of special birds today.