Monday, May 01, 2006

GTBC: Thursday

After landing at the airport in McAllen, Texas, I ran into Ben Lizdas, Sean Smith and Roy Rodriguez, who're also competing in the Lower Coast tournament of the Great Texas Birding Classic. Clay Taylor of Swarovski collected me from the baggage claim area, and after a quick stop at the hotel, off we went to Quinta Mazatlan, a recently opened World Birding Center site. (As always, click on an image to see a larger version.)

The winding trails led us through some great habitat inhabited by many seemingly tame birds. Plain Chachalacas, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks provided the aural backdrop for our walk. The Olive Sparrows entranced me while they perched and fed very close to us. Clay, a sports aficionado, revealed that Great Kiskadees actually say "Ichiro" (as in Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners) rather than "kiskadee." I spotted a Yellow-breasted Chat (what a bright yellow!), and Clay found a Golden-winged Warbler as it foraged. An Inca Dove strutted near a water feature. We heard the Buff-bellied Hummingbirds before we saw them and enjoyed good looks at a perched male -- such long wings.

While we enjoyed long looks at Green Parakeets on a dead palm tree, the site's manager, Colleen, mentioned the Eastern Screech-Owl nest and then led us to it. Clay digiscoped the bird, which was perched in another dead palm that we'd passed earlier. That was a cool finish to the outing.

Before eating dinner at Logan's Roadhouse, we checked the Chase bank for the Peregrine Falcon that roosts in the lit letters at the top of the tall building. No sign of him. Hopefully he'll be there in the wee hours of Saturday morning.


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