Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

Text only


Day 4 (Tuesday, 19th April)

Rio Grande at SalinenoThere were already 3 American birders on the banks of the Rio Grande by the time we parked the car. We had an interesting chat with them, since they were part of a South Texas bird race lasting the whole week (one of 3 teams which would travel almost 2000 miles chasing after up to 350 species). The winners get to choose a charity for the money pot, and the team we met have raised around $70000 in past years. The mornings birding began on a small muddy promontory into the river, with good views upstream. We had singing Altamira Oriole in front of us as we stepped over the water to the promontory, in a small copse adjacent to the river. The same copse had a very approachable Ladderbacked Woodpecker excavating a hole on a small dead tree. A pair of Least Grebes swam around along the nearby shore, possibly nesting in the limited floating vegetation. Upriver, we had at least two sightings of Ringed Kingfisher, but one of the least expected was a pair of wild Muscovy Ducks over, with a third landing on the river 5 minutes later. Shortly after, we also had Red-billed Pigeon over, which the Americans got very excited about, and 3 perched on the opposite bank shortly after. They had told us of singing Audubon’s Oriole about 500m downriver – we tried for the bird ourselves but drew a blank. Small recompense was good views of a close Red-billed Pigeon.

Ladderbacked Woodpecker

Red-billed Pigeon

Ladderbacked Woodpecker

Red-billed Pigeon


This is an odd little place, lying only a couple of miles North of Salineño, and at the end of the mile or two of track from the main highway, after picking up Scaled Quail, we came to a few buildings at the terminus. There was already a group of American birders present, and we picked up a couple of Brown Jays around the feeding area as we left the car. There is an entrance fee of $3 per person, which is payable at the prefabricated office. We parked our bodies in a position to see the feeding area, and 2-3 Brown Jays came back regularly. Also from here were 1-2 stunning Hooded Orioles, and plenty of Great Kiskadees. We had been told that the short walk down to the river could be productive for Audubon’s Oriole. After descending the path to the feeding area, we came across a small cultivated patch of land with picnic tables and sawn off logs where fruit is put out for the birds. This was good for Cowbirds, Black-crested Titmouse, Green Jays, Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a rather inquisitive Mexican Squirrel. No sign of Audubon’s Orioles, but we did pick up a Ringed Kingfisher perched on the opposite bank of the river about 100m away.
 

Chapeno building with hide 

Brown Jay

Brown Jay

Brown Jay

Brown Jay juvenile

Altamira Oriole

Bullock's Oriole

Altamira Oriole

Bullock's Oriole


On the way to Falcon State Park, we stopped off at the intersection with the 2098, looking for sparrows (in particular Cassin’s). We quickly found a Cactus Wren building a nest. Sparrows were present, but almost exclusively Lark Sparrow. One likely looking suspect, which was shorter tailed and more compact than the Lark Sparrows may have been Cassin’s, but it didn’t call and wasn’t seen well enough for diagnosis. On the other side of the road, we found another sparrow, which proved to be Clay-coloured. Hooded Orioles occasionally flew over the road here.

Falcon

Falcon

Camping area

Dry scrub - looking for snakes!

We arrived at the State Park, and paid the $3 entrance fee. As we drove towards the camping area, reputed to be the best place for birds, we passed some “watch for snakes” signs, which heightened the sense of anticipation, since we were also hopeful of finding rattlesnakes during our trip. The campsite was reasonably small, and for this time of the day, despite the heat, did have one or two birds including approachable Curve-billed Thrashers, Song Sparrow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Bewick’s Wren. We opted for a walk through the brushy area on a well made path, mainly to look for snakes. Temperature by now was high, with the habitat dry and arid. Predictably, no snakes were found, and the birdlife was quiet, although we did find a very close Greater Roadrunner in the undergrowth at the start of the trek. Back at the car, which we had parked under a tree for shade, was a Curve-billed Thrasher, which had a nest directly above our parking slot.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Cactus Wren

Harris' Hawk

Cactus Wren

Harris' Hawk

From Falcon State Park, we were going to head to the track below Falcon Dam, and the spillway, but found a locked gate barring our path, and a pair of nervous immigration officers watching our moves. We had a word with them, to be informed that the route was no longer open to the public. He did say we could have gone over the dam to look down, and then come back through immigration, but felt this would not be worth the effort. However, on the way to the locked gate, we saw a male American Kestrel on the telegraph wires next to the track. Since we were going to set off early for the long journey to Edwards Plateau, we spent the last 50 minutes or so back at the junction with the 2098, looking for sparrows again. It seemed even hotter than before, which may have explained the poorer bird activity, but we did add Song Sparrow to the birds of this small section. There wasn’t even any sign of life back at the Cactus Wren nest.

American Kestrel

 

Home

Paintings gallery

Video clips

Images

DVD

Contact

Site map

Links

Content

Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Species list

Text only