One of the "must see" spots on any visit to the Upper Rio Grande Valley is the sleepy little community called Salenino. Just several miles from Highway 83, it’s a hispanic settlement with a garish cemetery, a big Roman Catholic church, mangy dogs that never heard of rabies shots, and some of the best birding in the Southwest.
You drive down this rutty clay road, hoping not to meet another vehicle, and there’s a small parking lot and then, the Rio Grande, and Mexico. Here is a two acre parcel where volunteers have been feeding birds since 2008 or so, supported by the hundreds of birders who visit each winter from across North America.
While there are many unique birds seen at Salenino each season, the three orioles are the daily stars. The big Altimira Oriole is seen in other parts of the Valley but this is the reliable place for Audubon’s and Hooded. Mary and I saw all three the other day, aswesatwith others inawn chairs watching the avian show before us. We have been there mant times before but it never disappoint. Hey, if the orioles are elswhere what’s not to like about dozens of Green Jays annd Great Kiskadees.
Here’s a big Altimira that we saw:
An Audubon’s Oriole came in for its peanut butter fix:
The Hooded Oriole is smaller and noted by its hood but this is a juvenile
This will be our last visit to Salenino this trip – and it is the last year for one of the long-time volunteers, Cheryl Longton. She’s pointed out the orioles, Brown Jays, Red-billed Pigons, Gray Hawks, Zone-tailed Hawks, and other special birds to hundreds of visitors. Great job, Cheryl. Good birding.