Yellow-faced Grassquit: Yes!

Yellow-faced Grassquit

A rare tropical bird, a Yellow-faced Grassquit, showed up at Goose Island State Park about a week after we left in January. For a month now, I have read posts of sightings of him – hundreds of birders have come to see him and he’s been very cooperative.

I thought that it would be a one-time chance to see him so we decided to return to the park for a week. It’s also a place we love and a good spot to celebrate my birthday. So we drove the short distance down from Goliad this morning.

While driving in to look at the few vacant sites, we drove by the spot where he’s been seen. Probably 25 birders were there, binoculars up and looking – and it was hard not to just stop the truck and trailer and join in.

We signed for a nice spot, got unhitched and set up and it was time to exercise the dog – which I did by bike. We rode past the spot but the few folks there had seen nothing since the morning. So, figuring we had all week, I had lunch and a little rest.

Mary suggested I go back and so I did. There were some women down from Houston and a guy who flew in for the weekend from Oregon. We waited and watched a few sparrows. The women decided to leave and I was about to when the Oregon guy – who is quite skilled as a birder – saw it fly into the brush and yelled “bird.” That got the gals hustling back and sure enough, the little rascal was just perched in the shade. You could see him but when the Oregonian got his scope, the bird was spectacular.

The Grassquit breeds from central Mexico to northern Ecuador and northwestern Venezuela, and also on the Greater Antilles and nearby islands (e.g. the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica). It is not a migratory bird but moves about outside the breeding season. It’s neat to think how far from home he is – and what an extremely rare sighting for the U.S.  Glad we came back here.

I’m sure I’ll get to see the guy a few times more and get some photos. The one above is from the web – but is just like the guy I saw this afternoon.

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