To report a Texas rare bird sighting, please email email@example.com
The Texas Rare Bird Alert reports primarily on Texas Review species. For more reports of Texas sightings, please refer to:
*Texas Review Species are indicated with CAPITAL LETTERS and an asterisk - please send reports to Eric Carpenter, Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee.
Lower Rio Grande Valley: CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK* --
first sighting: Feb 12; last update: May 21
Seth Patterson reported an immature CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK* present midday on Feb 12 near the headquarters at Sabal Palm Sanctuary near Brownsville. (Map)
Latest Reports: Feb 13: 10am, noon, continued sightings at water feature. Feb 14-May 21: sightings off and on throughout the day. Recently it has been frequently observed in the potato trees.
Big Bend NP: FLAME-COLORED TANAGER* -- first sighting: May 6; last update: May 18
Early in the afternoon on May 6 Mark Flippo found a male FLAME-COLORED TANAGER* at Boot Springs, Big Bend NP. Mark noted that the bird was seen at Boot Springs, below the Boot cabin and picnic table, on the little spur trail that drops down to the spring. Bird was moving up and down canyon, from mid to upper canopy, twice to just above ground level on slope opposite (east) of spring. There was also a possible female in same area (not confirmed). The male was definite. (Map)
Latest Reports: Sightings have continued through May 18. (Photo by Byron Stone, May 9). May 18: sightings at 10 15am and 11:45-1pm, seen about 50 yrds. above "boot cabin" (Steve Parrish, Tripp Davenport)
Lower Rio Grande Valley: GREEN VIOLETEAR* -- first sighting: May 12; last update: May 17
Terry Fuller reported that he had 3 brief sightings of a GREEN VIOLETEAR* in his yard in San Benito/Harlingen on May 12.
Guidelines by Terry Fuller: Call Marci Fuller at 956-245-7192 in the morning if you want to try for it. If you come, stay on trails. Keep quiet and be cautious. Do not trod on plants, off trails etc. This is a small area so easy to scare things away. (Map) Sightings have been fleeting with bird high up in canopy -- no opportunity for photos.
Latest Reports (all by Terry Fuller unless otherwise noted): May 13: no sightings. May 14: 6:30pm, seen briefly. It is not coming to feeders. It is probably feeding in Tegaguaje trees that emerge in the upper canopy. May 15: early morning, very brief sighting. Another brief sighting in the afternoon.(Corey Lange). May 16-17: negative reports
Updated Uvalde Co: RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER* -- first sighting: Apr 20; last update: May 22
Tim Lenz reported that on the morning of Apr 20 he observed two RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS* (RCWA) at Chalk Bluff Park, Uvalde County. (Map). Presumably these are returning birds from last year, when there were sightings starting on Apr 22. He commented that one male was singing typical accelerating buzzy song east of boat ramp. The other male was along the pecan trail at east end of park and sounded exactly like a Common Yellowthroat. Many believe that the bird along the pecan trail may be a hybrid.
Guidelines: Please avoid using recordings and stressing the birds. There is an $8 park entry fee.
Latest Reports: Apr 21: morning, RCWA along pecan trail relocated (Tripp Davenport). Apr 22: 2 birds present (Marshall Iliff, others) Apr 23: 8:15am, one bird singing constantly from boat launch (Marshall Iliff) Apr 24: both birds continue (Tim Lenz) Apr 25: morning, one bird seen at boat ramp (Marshall Iliff); afternoon one bird found at south end of pecan trail (Andrew Aldrich) Apr 26: one bird found along pecan trail (D.D. Currie) Apr 27: morning, one bird along pecan trail (Adrian Johnson, others). Apr 28: morning, 2 birds found -- along pecan trail & across the river (Charlene Glacy). Apr 29: 7:33am, one bird found (Craig Rasmussen) Apr 30: 1 bird along pecan trail (Duke Liebler) May 5: one bird present (Arman Moreno). May 9: both birds found but floodplain is being clearcut so they may not linger ( Steve Collins). May 10: possible hybrid found along pecan trail (Kevin Leonard) . May 11: one bird found (Sylvia Hibig). May 12: hybrid along pecan trail (Auriel Fournier, Matt Boone) May 15: morning, both birds found (Dennis Shepler). May 18: Charmaine Ganson reported 2 RCWA & 1 hybrid. (One RCWA to the left of the boat ramp, other & hybrid on the pecan trail). May 19: one bird found singing on river (Sheridan Coffey) May 21: one RCWA and 1 hybrid found (Bryan Calk). May 22: hybrid only found. Note that loud machinery (bulldozers, etc) make birding difficult but they stop around 5pm. (David Hanson)
Quintana: SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER* -- first sighting: May 18; last update: May 21
On the morning of May 18 Sandra Kroeger found a SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER* at Quintana. The location was at 2448 Quintana Rd. (CR 723), the road that you turn left on when you come over the bridge. It is hanging out in the toothache trees along that road in the Rea of the electrical substation that is on the north side of the road.
Latest Reports: May 18: John Tharp found a Yellow-green Vireo at the same location. Both birds continued at least until late afternoon. May 19: as of 9:45am, flycatcher has not been relocated but Yellow-green Vireo continues. May 21: negative report for both birds (search of several hours)
Lower Rio Grande Valley: MASKED DUCK* -- first sighting: Apr 29; last update: May 12
On Apr 29 at about 4:30pm Melanie Herring found and photographed a MASKED DUCK* in the wetlands at Sabal Palm Sanctuary near Brownsville. The duck was discovered when she looked through the birding blind. (Map) (Video by Seth Patterson) This is probably the same male (eclipse plumage) that has been present the past 2 late springs.
Latest Reports: Apr 30: morning, continues. Best seen from the blind at Dave's Overlook. (David Benn) Continued sightings through May 7. May 11-12: negative reports.
Lower Rio Grande Valley: GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW* -- first sighting: May 17; last update: May 21
On the morning of May 17 Rex & Birgit Stanford and Erik Breden found a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW* at the Convention Center on South Padre Island. The bird was first spotted by Birgit and identified by Erik. Erik reported that it was seen eating bird seed along the edge of the plantings to the left as one walks from the circular drive toward the yellow wall. It would occasionally visit the water feature to drink and bathe. It was wary of larger birds like Grackles and Whistling-Ducks, but didn't seem to mind people standing on the sidewalk watching it. (Photos by Erik Breden)
Latest Reports: Sightings have continued through May 21.
Bolivar Peninsula: EURASIAN WHIMBREL* -- first sighting: Apr 29; last update: May 19
On the morning of Apr 29, Cameron Cox found a EURASIAN WHIMBREL* from Bob Rd near Crystal Beach. He noted: "Heard it call and it sounded slightly different than our "Hudsonian" Whimbrel. Slightly higher-pitched and more musical. Will post more photos later tonight. It was on the road for a bit and out in the marsh nearby." (Photo) Eurasian Whimbrel is not considered a full species by the AOU, but is a potential split. It is a first record for Texas. The main identifying feature is white down the back of the bird.
Directions: The bird is often seen near an overturned white chair in the middle of a marsh/field on the west side of the road.
Latest Reports: May 2: morning, relocated on Bob Rd (Cameron Cox). May 4: morning & 12:55pm, present (Ed Wetzel). Sightings continued at least through 3pm. Bird was at a distance - bring scope. May 5-11: continues. May 11: 6:25pm, very close to the white chair. (Bill Matthews). May 12: mid-morning by white chair (David McDonald). May 13: 4pm in front of chair (Shirley & Dan Wilkerson); 5:30-6pm, close to Bob Rd, in line with white chair (Susan Heath). May 16: morning & afternoon, seen near white chair (Bill Townsley, others). May 18: present usual location (Betty Vermeire, others). May 19: morning, a little north of white chair (Nina Rach)
Bolivar Peninsula: RUFF* -- first sighting: Apr 7; last update: May 9
On Apr 7 Paul and Andrea Kelly photographed a female RUFF* (Reeve) in the Skillern Tract of Anahuac NWR. The Skillern Tract is located on the south side of Hwy FM 1985 (also known as Whites Ranch Road) east of the entrance to the refuge visitor station and just west from Hwy 124 which connects High Island and Winnie. The bird was seen at the left side of road as you turn left off FM 1985 for Skillern. (Photo by Cameron Cox)
Latest Reports: Apr 13: relocated. (Chris Charlesworth) Apr 14: 1:30pm, showing well in SW corner of first rice field with water on the east side of the entrance road. (Steve Gast). Sightings throughout the day. Apr 15: 11:30am, photographed (Stennie Meadours, Don Riley); several other sightings during the day. Apr 16: continued sightings. Apr 17: negative report Apr 18: afternoon, present at same pond (Ron Weeks) Apr 19-May 9: continued sightings. Last reported on May 9 in the usual field by A.D. Moyer.
UPPER AND CENTRAL TEXAS COAST - Non-Review Species
Quintana: Yellow-green Vireo -- first sighting: May 18; last update: May 21
On the afternoon of May 18 John Tharp found a Yellow-green Vireo at the same location at Quintana as the Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. The flycatcher was being seen along county road 723, the road that you turn left on when you come over the bridge. It is hanging out in the toothache trees along that road in the Rea of the electrical substation that is on the north side of the road. (Map) Sightings continued at least until late afternoon.
Latest Reports: May 19: morning, sightings continue (Dennis Shepler) May 20: morning, continues (Mark Scheurman). May 21: negative report (search of several hours)
LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Non-Review Species
For non-review species rarities and more sightings check the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Hotline.
Updated Bentsen SP: Varied Bunting -- first sighting: May 22; last update: May 23
On May 22 a male Varied Bunting was singing at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley SP-WBC in Mission. Tim Brush and John had great looks at it along the east fork of the Rio Grande Hiking Trail, at least 1/4 mile south of the turnoff for the Hawk Tower.
Latest Reports: May 23: 9am, same area (just past marker 14)
Lower Rio Grande Valley: White-collared Seedeater
Locations for White-collared Seedeater (WCSE):
San Ygnacio Bird Sanctuary at the foot of Washington St. in San Ygnacio. (Map) Park at the top of the hill and walk down. San Ygnacio is #87 on the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail.
Zapata: WCSE come in to drink at the county park pond next to the library (south end of 9th Street and Laredo).
Laredo Locations: Las Palmas Trail (annotated map). The trail begins just east of International Bridge II; parking is available just southeast of Water Street underneath the bridge. The trail extends for approximately half a mile along the Rio Grande ending at Zacate Creek. Other Laredo locations: Father McNaboe Park (408 Rienda Drive - annotated map), North Central Park ( annotated map), Chacon Creek Trail (annotated map) .
La Laja Ranch also has WCSE. Access is by arrangement. The ranch is in Zapata County, just over the Webb County line. (Map) The owner of the ranch allows birders to visit by appointment ($25 fee). Phone: 956-763-0045.
Lower Rio Grande Valley: Red-billed Pigeon, Muscovy Duck
Salineno (#80 on the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail. Map) is a traditional site for Red-billed Pigeons (RBPI) and Muscovy Ducks (MUDU). Highest probability for sightings occurs early and late in the day from the boat ramp. Chapeno and San Ygnacio can also be productive.
Directions: Salineno is #80 on the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail. Map
Chapeno: from US 83 W of Roma, 10 miles, turn W on FM 2098. Entering Falcon Heights watch for Chapeno Rd across from the Catholic Church. Turn South on Chapeno Rd and go 2.7 miles. (Fee).
San Ygnacio County Park/Seedeater Sanctuary: the park is at the foot of Washington St. in San Ygnacio. Park at the top of the hill and walk down. San Ygnacio is #87 on the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail.
La Laja Ranch also has RBPI. Access is by arrangement. The ranch is in Zapata County, just over the Webb County line. (Map) The owner of the ranch allows birders to visit by appointment ($25 fee). Phone: 956-763-0045.
Lower Rio Grande Valley: Hook-billed Kite
The best public areas to look for Hook-billed Kites (HBKI) are Bentsen Rio Grande Valley SP-WBC in Mission, Anzalduas County Park (#68 on the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail), and Santa Ana NWR (often best from the Tree Tower). Hook-billed Kites nested in western Hidalgo County in the summer of 2010 and 2011, the first US nests since 2002. Hook-billed Kites are least difficult to observe in March-April and November, and hardest to detect in summer.
Lower Rio Grande Valley: Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls (FEPO) have not been seen or heard since the floods in the summer of 2010 at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley SP-WBC. Remember, the use of tapes is not allowed at Bentsen or many LRGV sites. Always ask before using tapes. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are at San Miguelito Ranch about 10 miles north of Raymondville, open March through May. There is a fee to access this site, and prior arrangements are required. Contact Leticia Tijerina, at 956-369-3118. (Photos). They are also present on the King Ranch - Norias Division (Map) and often at El Canelo (both fee sites).
Lower Rio Grande Valley: Red-crowned Parrots, Green Parakeets
In general, Red-crowned Parrots are most often seen in flight. They are sometimes seen in the areas of Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, and Valley Nature Center in Weslaco. Both Green Parakeets (GREP) and Red-crowned Parrots (RCPA) can be seen in Harlingen (near Pendleton Park or 7th and Rio Hondo at dusk), Pharr (sometimes at Allen Williams residence on Sam Houston), and Brownsville. Green Parakeets traditionally can be seen near 10th and Dove (or 10th and Violet) in the evening; however, since a hail storm they have been missing at this location. In Laredo there is a roost of GREP on Saint Peter's Square at Houston Street.
San Benito is also a reliable location, in the area of Camino Blvd and Harvey Dr. RV Park, Cameron County (Google map). Both GREP and RCPA are regular and apparently roost in the area of the RV park and the lots. A few years ago when a neighbor had been putting out peanuts there had been 100's of parrots at the RV park. Now, there are just a few handfuls that come in. At San Benito mornings are better for the parrots and evenings for the parakeets but both can be seen if you start earlier in the mornings before the parakeets fly off. This is a good spot to find both species without having to dash from location to location if your time is limited. (Tips provided by Bill Tarbox.)
TEXAS INTERIOR - Non-Review Species
For non-review sightings check Dallas Forum, San Antonio Birds, Lubbock County RBA Fort Worth Audubon Society
New Fort Worth: MacGillivray's Warbler -- first sighting: May 22
On the morning of May 22 Greg Cook found a MacGillvray's Warbler at Village Creek Drying Beds in Fort Worth/Arlington. The bird was on the east side of the road as you drive into the beds. Last sighting was at 10:40am.