Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nov 30 (Day 334) - Closing out November with Red-crowned parrot!

After the great falcon triumph of yesterday, I spent a very windy night in Port Isabel, TX. These same winds were still blowing this morning albeit not quite as menacingly as yesterday's gales. One bird that I fully expected to see during my time in the LRGV was Red-crowned parrot. These birds inhabit several of the more urban areas in the LRGV. They generally roost in public parks or neighborhoods at night. During the day, they disperse to find food elsewhere. The best strategy to find these birds is to spend an evening near a roost sight where it is easy to tick the birds as they fly in for the night. There is a particularly predictable Red-crowned roost on the north side of Harlingen. I decided I would deal with this bird today as I make my second transit of the LRGV. I could then continue west to Mission tomorrow. I will use Mission for a base of operations the rest of the week as I try to locate Tropical parula and Hook-billed kite. I suspect that I will be able to find the parula but miss the kite. This prection is based on the pattern (or lack!) of recent sightings for each species.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. To reach Harlingen and the Red-crowned parrot, I would have to ride ~40 miles WNW from Port Isabel. This was no major headache today as there was a stiff SSE breeze to help speed me along. I did find 2 Aplomado falcons along Route 100 today. I tried to do some casual birding in Harlingen upon arrival, but the winds had built to a level that made this endeavor futile. I opted for a nap in a sheltered area of a public park instead. I was fortunate to secure a place to stay very near the parrot roost to which I alluded above. I arrived at the house this afternoon and spent a few nice hours hanging out with my hosts. I did fall asleep again at the house. I have now been at this for 11 full months, and I have noticed that I am napping more now than at any other point in the year. My body is really, really tired; The need for these naps seems to support this. 

42.5 mapped + ~1.5 unmapped while parrot hunting for 44 total

I headed the ~mile down to the roost area at 4:30pm. Sunset today was at 5:40, so I figured I'd have plenty of time. There was zero action until the sun had actually set. 3 parrots came winging over the neighborhood right at dusk. Their raucous flight calls gave them away instantly. 10 minutes later, they we're joined by 17 more birds, and over the next 5-10 minutes the party swelled to over 100 chattering, green guests. There were 2 other Amazona-type birds mixed in with the Red-crowns. My parrot ID skills are a bit deficient, so I'll have to rely on someone else to label these for me. They certainly won't count towards the species total whatever they are. It was nice to nail #607 down today as it unchains me from their roost sites in the future. I am completely free to chase whatever rarities might surface in the next few days.

Neighborhood in which parrots roost


***Don't let these photos fool you. It was nearly 
dark when I took these***
Very high ISO and breath-holding required

Red-crowned parrot for #607!

Squawking at one another

Some other Amazona-type - Red-lored has been suggested
1/15 at f/5.6, ISO 6400, and tons of lightening in Lightroom!

Tomorrow I will ride west to Mission. I will probably make another stop at Estero Llano Grande SP for some general birding. The honeycreeper was originally found on the 27th. It made brief afternoon appearances both on the 28th and 29th, but was not seen today as far as I know. I've seen it already, but it would be fun to see it again if it's around. Right now the word on the street is that the bird is probably a hatch year female. What this means for the countability of this bird is not for me to decide. However, it seems that if this bird is ever going to join the Texas and ABA area lists, this individual is as as good a candidate as any to make this happen. Who knows how it will all officially shake out - and it could take quite a while!


  1. Dorian,
    The other Amazona you photographed on the wires appears to be Red-lored Parrot, another psittacid with a Mexican range that extends fairly far northeast, to Tamaulipas. Like many other members of the genus, it is popularly kept in captivity.
    BTW - way to close out the month of November.
    Cheers, Chris Haney

  2. Dorian,
    In your quest for Ferruginous Pygmy Owl you might try San Miguelito Ranch in
    Armstrong, Texas
    Kenedy County
    (956) 369-3118