*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: AMAZON KINGFISHER* --
first sighting: Nov 9; last update: Dec 8
On the morning of Nov 9 Jeff Bouton of Leica found and photographed a female AMAZON KINGFISHER* south of San Benito in Cameron County, Lower Rio Grande Valley. (Photo) (Video on facebook) (Map).
Directions: Take US 77 to Rte 100 and go east about 1/2 to 3/4 mile to the resaca on the south side of the road. The bird also spends time on the north side of the road. Many thanks to the police who have been very helpful with traffic and safety.
Site Guidelines: All observers need to park on the verge (grassy edge) of the road and bird from the road or verge. All other areas are off limits, unless you have received a personal invitation from the landowner. (Photos by Eric Breden) (Photos by Monte Taylor).
Latest Reports: Nov 17: morning, continues in same resaca (Carl Haynie). Nov 19: after a wait of several hours, it appeared at the resacas along Route 100 just east of Route 77. It showed itself about 4:30pm on the far side of the resaca and then flew to the east / second resaca. (Erik Breden). Nov 20: 6:30-11:30am, one brief view in the eastern resaca south of Hwy 100 mid-morning. (Mike Resch); no afternoon sightings. Nov 21: 9:10am, flew into east resaca and landed on a dead tree in the water, perching for a couple of minutes. It then flew over the small road to the west resaca and spent about 10 minutes moving slowly up the far edge. Another sighting in the west resaca at 10:45am (Chris Hitt, others). Nov 22: only report was one possibly fly-by. Nov 23: 7:30am, in north resaca (Kent Jones); later in morning flew to south side. Continued sightings on both sides at least through 4pm. (Photos by Isaac Sanchez) Nov 24: negative reports. Nov 25: seen in flight, calling (Georgina Hopwood). Nov 27: negative report for a 1-hr search. Nov 28: morning, seen hunting north of highway (Ron Sinclair); 2pm, seen in the resaca on the S side of the road (Don & Marianne Alford). Nov 29: morning sightings on both north and south side. Dec 1: negative reports from searches 7:15am-5:30pm by multiple observers on both sides. Dec 2: 7:40am, photographed in 2nd resaca on S side (Janine Robin, Mary Mehaffey). Midday, 2pm sightings. Dec 4: sightings at 7:30am and again at 8am (John Rutenbeck, Chuck Fuller, others) Dec 5: morning, continues. Dec 6: 7:15am, seen at far end of 1st resaca, flew near road & spent 10 minutes preening (Susan Clark) Dec 7-8: negative reports.
West Texas: possible NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER* -- first report: Dec 7; last update: Dec 9
There is a third-hand report that a possible NUTTING'S* FLYCATCHER was observed at Rio Grande Village at Big Bend NP on Dec 7. The bird is not confirmed and has not been reported by others. The bird was seen near the tent camping area of RGV campground, on the access road that goes behind the campground.
Latest Reports: Dec 8: the bird was refound -- opinions are mixed with many experts weighing in that it was a Ash-throated Flycatcher. Dec 9: negative reports.
Coastal Bend: AMERICAN FLAMINGO* -- last update: Dec 3
On Nov 30 Bob Friedrichs found and photographed the famous AMERICAN FLAMINGO/GREATER FLAMINGO pair that has been seen in Texas and Louisiana over the past several years. The sighting was in Cox Bay, Calhoun County - Map. (Photos) The Greater Flamingo is a zoo escapee from Kansas. The American Flamingo is banded "HDNT". They have been spotted several times over the summer in Calhoun County. (Background information about the 2 flamingos on the LOS site)
Latest Reports: Dec 1: afternoon, both birds seen and photographed on the shoreline behind the Alcoa Plant in Point Comfort. This is just across the Lavaca Bay bridge from Port Lavaca. Access is only by boat. (Harry Forbes, Bob Friedrichs) Dec 3: continued sightings in same area (Neil Hayward - Photos, Bob Friedrichs)
West Texas: COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD* -- first report: Nov 22; last update: Dec 7
On Nov 22 Carolyn Ohl-Johnson reported that a friend has a male COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD* at her place several miles south of Carolyn's Christmas Mountains Oasis. (Photos on Carolyn's blog)
Latest Reports: Continued sightings through the morning of Dec 4. No sightings on the afternoon of the 4th. Dec 5-7: negative report.s
West Texas: MEW GULL* -- first sighting: Dec 4
Barry Zimmer found and photographed a MEW GULL* (winter adult) at McNary Reservoir (Map), Hudspeth County. A female Long-tailed Duck was also seen and photographed.
Panhandle: probable EURASIAN WIGEON* -- first sighting: Dec 2
Richard Duke Liebler reported a probable EURASIAN WIGEON* at Lake Rita Blanca on the afternoon of Dec 2. The lake is on the south side of Dalhart -- Map
West Texas: BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE* -- first sighting: Nov 17; last update: Dec 8
Mark Lockwood reported that on the morning of Nov 17 an adult BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE* was present at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves County. (Map) It flies around the lake quite a bit, but seems to consistently return to the area along the dam on the east side. (Photo)
Sightings have continued through Nov 29. Last reported on Nov 29 by Dennis Shepler, Greg Cook and others. Dec 7: Dennis Shepler and Graham Floyd found a 1st winter BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE* at the lake. They did not find the adult. Dec 8: negative report
El Paso: BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE* -- first sighting: Nov 27
On the morning of Nov 27 Greg Cook found an adult BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE* in El Paso at Ascarate Park (Map). The bird was seen flying on the N end of the largest lake and was photographed
UPPER AND CENTRAL TEXAS COAST - Non-Review Species
Brazoria County: Western Grebe -- first sighting: Dec 7; last update: Dec 8
Jim Stevenson reported a Western Grebe in Brazoria Co. which was relocated by Ron Weeks and Sue Heath on Dec 7. The bird is in a small body of water along FM 523 just south of the intersection with SH 332. If you are coming from Lake Jackson, take SH 332 towards Surfside and turn right onto FM 523 (at Buc-ee's). The bird is in the second body of water on the right just before a stoplight. There's an entrance to the levee there with a gate but there is enough room to pull in and get a look. (Map)
Site Guidelines: This is an intra-plant levee road for Dow commercial traffic. Dow has been alerted, and birders are welcome, but do not block the gate. Bird from the road. Do not walk down the levee to the canal.
Tips: (by Tom Morris) It could easily show up south of the bridge and there is a much larger parking space south of the bridge. You get there by turning left at the stop light (instead of right) on the Dow levee road. The google coordinates for parking at the original sighting location are: 28Deg58min11.31sec N and 95Deg20min55.1sec W. If it is not there, the first place to check is a large fresh water lake near Quintana on the storm levee. Take a right on the storm levee just before you get to the Intracoastal canal, continue to the large pond on the right.
Latest Reports: Dec 8: found at the same location (David and Jan Hanson - Photos)
Aransas NWR: Painted Redstart -- first sighting: Dec 8; last update: Dec 9
David True reported that on the morning of Dec 8 a Painted Redstart was in the live oak woods next to the visitor center at Aransas NWR. The bird was actively calling & in a mixed flock of Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers.
Latest Reports: Continued sightings through Dec 9.
Palacios: Long-tailed Duck-- first report: Nov 23; last update: Dec 1
On Nov 23 Bob Friedrichs found a male Long-tailed Duck in winter plumage in Tres Palacios Bay off of East Bayshore Drive in Palacios. (Map). Sightings continued at least through 5:20pm. When last reported it was about 200 yards out in the bay, in front of 2 lots that are for sale, near 429 East Bayshore Dr. This is all private land but you can park along the road and see between the houses to the bay; and quite well from in front of the 2 lots that are for sale. East Bayshore is east of Business 35 in Palacios. Earlier in the day, the bird was seen further west, more in front of 317 E. Bayshore. (Photos by Graham Floyd)
Latest Reports: (All reports by Bob Friedrichs unless otherwise noted.) Nov 24: 7am, present, further W near 317 E Bayshore. Continued sightings throughout the day - still present at 4pm. Nov 25: 7am, seen same location. Nov 26: 6:55am, observed flying in from down the shore & splashed down in a small group of scaup in the normal area. Nov 27: 4:45pm, relocated further north in the bay near 2100 E Bayshore Dr (cross street is East Elizabeth St). This location puts him further from land and harder to locate. A scope is essential. Nov 28: late afternoon, the duck was not found but it is quite possibly still present. Nov 29: 10am, seen about 200 yards in the bay out from 1511 E Bayshore Dr (near TX flag). Nov 30: 7am, along south-facing shore of E Bayshore, close to shore between 317 & 421 E Bayshore. Dec 1: 6:45am, continues at same location.
San Bernard NWR: Red-necked Phalarope-- first sighting: Nov 26; last update: Dec 4
On Nov 26 Susan Holt found and photographed an apparent Red-necked Phalarope at San Bernard NWR .
Latest Reports: Nov 27: afternoon, relocated on Moccasin Pond loop at the far end of the loop from the entrance. Go past the viewing platform that is at the southeast corner of the loop and check all the little pools along the loop there. (Sue Heath). Nov 28: morning, negative report. Nov 29: 3:30pm, found after 3rd trip around the loop. From a position exactly half way (0.2 miles) between the viewing platform in the SE corner of Moccasin Pond and the next sharp bend in the road, looking out perpendicular from the road towards the northwest, the phalarope was in the farthest out water that was visible. It was visible for brief periods as it fed in that area along with several Northern Shovelers and several Blue-winged Teal. (John Whittle) Dec 2: morning, refound at Moccasin Pond but moves around & may be difficult to find (Mark Scheuerman). Continued sightings through Dec 4.
Aransas NWR: Black Scoter -- first sighting: Dec 2; last update: Dec 8
David True, Park Ranger at Aransas NWR, reported that on Dec 2 at 5:15pm, he spotted 6 Black Scoters (females/immature males) just off the fishing access trail at Dagger Point at Aransas NWR. They were about 75 yards offshore. Sightings have continued through Dec 8.
Harris Co.: White-winged Scoter -- first sighting: Nov 29; last update: Dec 3
On Nov 29 at 8:35am Phyllis and Tony Frank found a White-winged Scoter at Nassau Bay Park. It remained visible till they left at 10:40am.
Directions: From I-45 exit NASA Parkway. Turn right or south on Upper Bay Rd. & go to end. It is in the pond on the right. When they left it was near the flock of scaup, although it was by itself when they found it.
Tips: Can be very difficult to locate.
Latest Reports: Nov 29: afternoon, sightings continued (David Hanson - Photos, Ron Weeks). Continued sightings through Dec 2. Negative report for morning of Dec 3, but seen briefly in the afternoon.
Galveston: Surf Scoter -- last update: Dec 9
A Surf Scoter is being seen in Galveston. On Dec 5 it was seen by Dennis Shepler at the corner of Schaper and Caroline. Sightings have continued at the pond right across from the two model homes in the neighborhood of 99th St. Last sighting: Dec 9.
TEXAS INTERIOR - Non-Review Species
For more non-review sightings check Dallas Forum, San Antonio Birds, Lubbock County RBA Fort Worth Audubon Society
Study Butte: Lucifer Hummingbird -- first sighting: Dec 9
Kelly Bryan reported that during normal banding rounds their group banded an adult male Lucifer Hummingbird at the casitas at the Far Flung Outdoor Center in Study Butte on Dec 9. This is a first winter record for TX and perhaps for the US.
Davis Mountains: Williamson's Sapsucker -- first sighting: Nov 26; last update: Dec 6
Mark Lockwood reported that there was an adult male Williamson's Sapsucker at the Lawrence E. Wood Picnic Area in the Davis Mountains (Jeff Davis Co.) on Nov 26. "It was in what is perhaps the most reliable location for this species along a public road. There is a group of five Ponderosa Pines on the south end of the picnic area and the sapsucker strongly favored the largest (southernmost) of these trees as has been the case in recent winters. These trees are east of the paved road through the picnic area, so between the road and the fence. The bird was in the same tree at 9:00am, 11:30am, and 2:45pm." (Photos)
Latest Reports: Nov 29: late afternoon, 2 Williamson's Sapsuckers found. (Dennis Shepler, Greg Cook, others). Dec 5: two birds found. (Duke Liebler) Dec 6: at least one bird present (Richard Duke Liebler)
West Texas: Lewis's Woodpecker -- first sighting: Dec 1; last update: Dec 8
Around midday on Dec 1 Dennis Shepler found a Lewis's Woodpecker just south of Alpine. Later the bird was seen in the early afternoon by both Candy McNamee and Carolyn Ohl-Johnson on separate occasions. At that time, it was along Mile High Road, a well-marked road going off Hwy 118 about 10 miles south of Alpine. (It only goes east - Map). Once on that road, continue till you pass a homestead on the right, about half a mile. The bird was on a utility pole to the left. If you drive to where Mile High Road jogs to the right, then you've passed where it was seen.
Latest Reports: Dec 2-4: continued sightings. (Carolyn Ohl-Johnson). Dec 6: negative report. Dec 8: 2pm, refound same location (Heidi Trudell, Matt York)
El Paso: Lewis's Woodpecker -- first sighting: Dec 8
John Groves reported a Lewis's Woodpecker at Cherry Hill and Broadmoor in El Paso (Map).
Menard County: Lewis's Woodpecker -- first sighting: Nov 29
At 11:30am on Nov 29 Peggy Trosper and Mary Creek observed a Lewis's Woodpecker in Menard, Menard Co. (Map of Menard) It was found foraging back and forth from a large pecan tree to a Live Oak just west of Stockpen Crossing Park. From HW 83, turn west on FM 2092 and go approximately one mile to the park. We observed it from the west end of the park, but it was actually in an RV park just across the fence from Stockpen Crossing Park. The RV park has a sign, but it is blank at the moment. The RV park is the first road on the right after Stockpen Crossing Park. They tried to refind the bird in the afternoon, but were unable to locate it.
West Texas: Long-tailed Duck-- first sighting: Dec 7; last update: Dec 8
On the morning of Dec 7 Steve Collins found a female Long-tailed Duck in Marathon. Also observed by Matt York, Heidi Trudell, and Peter Keyel (sp?) . The duck was at the Marathon treatment ponds (private property) on the SW corner of town.
Guidelines: The ponds are private property. Please contact Heidi Trudell (Heidi@bigbendnature.com) or Matt York (email@example.com) for access details.
Latest Reports: Dec 8: afternoon, negative report (Heidi Trudell, Matt York)
San Antonio: Surf, White-winged Scoter -- first sighting: Dec 6; last update: Dec 7
On Dec 6-7 a Surf Scoter was observed several times at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center south of San Antonio (Map). On Dec 7 a White-winged Scoter was also present.
Lubbock: Surf Scoter -- first sighting: Nov 30; last update: Dec 7
Late in the day on Nov 30 Jennifer Miller found a Surf Scoter in Lubbock, at McAlister Park. (Map) Also seen and photographed by Steve Collins (eBird photos). Sightings have continued through Dec 7.
Balmorhea: Black Scoter -- first sighting: Nov 29; last update: Dec 8
On the morning of Nov 29 Greg Cook and others found a Black Scoter at Balmorhea Lake, Reeves County. (Map)
Latest Reports: Dec 8: morning, negative report.
LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Non-Review Species
For more non-review sightings check Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Hotline
Edinburg: Painted Redstart, Tropical Parula --
first sighting: Oct 13; last update: Dec 1
On Oct 13 at about 10:40am Tim Brush found an adult Painted Redstart (PARE) on the University of Texas-Pan American campus in Edinburg. (Map) He saw it in the wildscape area, a small area of native plants which is near the chapel and flagpole, north of the 6-story student services building. John Brush refound it shortly after noon a few hundred yards to the northeast, in a courtyard north of the Science building. The bird was moving around a fair amount. Mary Gustafson found a Tropical Parula (TRPA) also at the University on Oct 13. (Photos of Painted Redstart by Mary Beth Stowe)
Guidelines & Tips: Park ONLY in visitor spaces Monday-Saturday. The best places to look on campus are west of the Science Building and around the Academic Services center (north and west sides).
Latest Reports: Oct 14: 4:05pm, PARE seen near huge fig tree SW of the science building (Tim Brush)/ Oct 15: one negative report. Oct 16: 1:30pm, PARE seen & photographed just west of Science Building (Don & Mary Beste). at 6pm it was seen flying west over a low building. Oct 17: morning sightings of PARE (Tim Brush). Oct 18: both the PARE and the TRPA continue. Oct 19: morning, PARE seen west of Science Bldg and west of Academic Services Center (Tim Brush); TRPA also seen. Oct 20: morning, PARE continues. Oct 22-23: unsuccessful morning searches for PARE; TRPA found on the morning of Oct 23 (John Tharp). Oct 24: 9am, PARE seen in courtyard north of Science Bldg (Tim Brush). Oct 28: 8:40-8:45am, heard in courtyard N of Science Bldg (Tim Brush). Nov 3-6: PARE continues. Nov 7: TRPA seen by several. PARE also continues. Nov 8-10: PARE present. On Nov 10: TRPA also seen as well as a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Nov 11-Dec 1: TRPA continues.
Falfurrias: Painted Redstart -- first sighting: Oct 18; last update: Dec 4
On the morning of Oct 18 a family reported two Painted Redstarts at the rest area on 281 south of Falfurrias (Brooks Co). (Map) Later in the day one bird was refound by Nate Huck.
Latest Reports: Oct 19-21: one bird continues. Oct 25: 1-2pm, adult male found and photographed (Steve Norris, Sue Keefer). Oct: 26: sightings at 6pm and earlier in the day. (Erik Breden, others). Oct 27: conspicuous between bathrooms & water feature in oak grove -- usually 3-12 ft off the ground. (Graham Floyd). Oct 29: morning, seen on the south side around the covered picnic tables (Tom Langschied). Nov 2: morning, south end of last picnic tables (Sheridan Coffey) Continued sightings through Dec 4.
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.)
TX RBA logo: Varied Thrush image courtesy of Carolyn Ohl-Johnson.
Photo taken at her Christmas Mountains Oasis to mark the bird's third month anniversary (October 20, 2012 - January 20, 2013)