To report a Texas rare bird sighting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Big Bend NP: FLAME-COLORED TANAGER* -- first sighting: May 6; last update: June 8
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) May 25: relocated, no more than 100 yards past beginning of Juniper Trail (Cameron Carver). May 26: several morning sightings, all near junction of Boot Springs with Juniper Trail (Steve Gast, others) May 27: continues same area (Juniper Trail head beyond cabin) (Martin Reid). May 28: heard twice up slope (Pinnacles Trail side) from the main watershed at junction of Juniper Trail head (Matt York) May 29: seen twice, both times accompanied by female Western Tanager (Romey Swanson) June 8: seen at beginning of Juniper Trail (Mark Lockwood, Tom Morris)
Big Bend: SULPHUR-BELLED FLYCATCHER* -- first sighting: June 15; last update: June 16
Carolyn Ohl reported that on June 15 a SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER* was at her Oasis in the Christmas Mountains. David and Jan Hanson were able to get good photos of it. Photo and visit instructions are on Carolyn's blog, Christmas Mountains Oasis.
Latest Reports: June 15: sightings continued throughout the day. June 16: as of noon, no sightings.
Uvalde Co: RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER* -- first sighting: Apr 20; last update: June 8
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) May 24: hybrid present (Joe Fischer). May 25: morning, both birds present. RCWA left of boat ramp, hybrid on pecan trail. (Joe Fischer) May 27: morning, RCWA present, singing in top of sycamore tree (Steve Gast). May 28-29: only hybrid seen (Erik Breden, Rex & Birgit Stanford) June 8: morning, RCWA beneath the bluff opposite the boat ramp (Romey Swanson)
LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY - Non-Review Species
For non-review species rarities and more sightings check the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Hotline.
Resaca de la Palma: Yellow-green Vireo -- first sighting: May 26; last update: June 15
On May 26 Ruben Rangel found and photographed a Yellow-green Vireo at Resaca de la Palma State Park near Brownsville. (Map) The bird was in the parking area.
Latest Reports: May 27: morning, singing in parking lot (Jon McIntyre). May 28: continues (John Brush) May 31-June 15: continues
LRGV NWR: Yellow-green Vireo -- first sighting: June 12
On June 12 John and Tim Brush found a Yellow-green Vireo at El Morillo Banco (LRGV NWR) (Map). The bird was initially heard by the river and then in tree line.
Updated Bentsen SP: Varied Bunting -- first sighting: May 22; last update: June 18
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. Both male and female Varied Buntings have been found in the same area
Latest Reports: May 23: 9am, same area (just past marker 14). May 26: both male and female seen between markers 10 and 10 (Kathy Detweiler, Bob Becker). May 26-June 18: continued sightings of the male. On June 18 found singing on east fork of Rio Grande Trail near 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
San Antonio: Western Grebe -- first sighting: June 15
On the morning of June 15 Martin Reid and Sheridan Coffey found a Western Grebe at Calaveras Lake in south San Antonio. They were at the boat ramp by the dam, and the grebe was very distant -- almost on the other side of the lake. Most probably the same bird was reported at Braunig on June 11.