Thursday, November 6, 2014

Texas, Day 3: Rio Bravo and Anzalduas Park

Over the past week Anzalduas Park has been the site of repeated Zone-Tailed Hawk and Hook-Billed Kite sightings, so expectations were high.  But the weather had other things in mind, and it rained all day.

The Border Wall/Levee at Anzalduas.  The weather did not improve from this.
Fortunately for us, the first part of today's Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival Trip was a pelagic of sorts: a tour of the riverine borderland that is the Rio Bravo/Grande.  And our pontoon boat had a roof, so we remained fairly dry the first 2 hours as we drove slowly up and down to Anzalduas Dam.

As a constant reminder of where we were and the politics at stake, we saw plenty of border control presence.

Highlights were a Gray Hawk flying across the river in front of the boat (where I was), numerous Green Kingfishers, and several Black Phoebes hanging out at docks and railings.

Folks, this is what is called a record shot, not photography.  Black Phoebe on a boat ramp railing.
Once we got to Azalduas Park after the boat ride, it became clear that we were going to get very wet. Hope of a Northern Beardless Tyrannulet waned as we got wetter and wandered around between heavy downpours.  Aside from a pocket of Orange-Crowned Warblers, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets and Black Crested Titmice, we found no Tyrannulet.  Our consolation was the cacophony of twenty of these:

Great Kiskadee
The rare bird of the day was actually—hold onto your hats—House Finch.  Rare everywhere in the Valley, for some reason they are regular here at Anzalduas.  I even took pictures.

Tomorrow the forecast is for continuing, but perhaps gradually tapering rain.  The weekend, mercifully, looks promising.

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