Sunday, November 15, 2015

Trip Report - RGVBF King Ranch Field Trip and Parrots

Friday, November 6th
Day Three

The diminutive Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

King Ranch - Norias Division

Today's field trip was to the famous King Ranch (Norias Division) near Kingsville in Kenedy County.  The King Ranch occupies 825,000 acres of Texas and has property in Florida as well,  were we go to bird in August looking for Uplands Sandpiper on their sod farms. Revenue is regenerated from cattle ranching, agriculture, sod farming, oil, hunting and nature tourism

Tom Langschied is the coordinator  for the King Ranch Nature Tour program. He and his associate Barbara  were our guides and tour leaders, 
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Nest Box

Arriving at the ranch about 8 AM, Tom and Barbara spent the next four hours working to put onto the target species of the day - Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. The ranch holds the largest population of these tropical owls north of the Rio Grande. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is a common species going south through Mexico, Central and South America.  But it is very uncommonly seen in south Texas and south-central Arizona.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

At our first stop, the owls were uncooperative, but we were able to find several Rio Grande race of Wild Turkeys, and looks at another diminutive south Texas specialty called the Northern Beardless Tyrannult.
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

After several attempts to find an owl, Tom and Barbara finally succeed at our very last stop before we had to return to Harlingen.

Raptors were very evident and we saw Red-tailed Hawks (including the Fuerts race), White-tailed Hawks, Harris's Hawks, a Swainson's Hawk, White-tailed Kites, Crested Caracaras, Sharp-shinned Hawks and Coopers Hawks. 

Other Texas species seen included Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Vermilion Flycatchers, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Green Jays and Long-billed Thrashers.
Couch's Kingbird

We also saw several white-tailed Deer, which are hunted along with Turkey and Bobwhite Quail. Another animal hunted here are a free-range population of over 10,000 Nilgai antelopes. This is an exotic species from India that has been introduced for hunting and has been quite successful in adapting to life south Texas and into Mexico.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Hugh Ramsey Park - Harligen

Arriving back in Harlingen, I had some free time, so visited a great local birding sight called Hugh Ramsey Park.

 Birds added here included  Plain Chachalacas, Orange-crowned Warbler, Curve-billed Thrasher, Belted Kingfisher, Great Kiskadees, Black-crested Titmice, Bewick's Wren and  Green Jays, House Sparrows
Plain Chachalaca

This maybe a Texas Spiny Lizard


Red-crowned Amazon Parrots

After dinner I joined with a large group of birders looking for parrots at a known roosting location in town. Near the Calvary Baptist Church a large and noisy flock of Amazon parrots were gathering to roost for the evening. They consisted primarily of Red-crowned Parrots and was able to see at least one Red-lored Parrot with the flock. Both species are found south of the border in Mexico. 
The Red-crowned is considered threatened in Mexico, The amazons are suspected to be descended from a escaped pets.
Red-lored Amazon Parrot

White-winged Dove
Birds for the Day (52) -
Plain Chachalaca, Wild Turkey, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Rosette Spoonbill, Black Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Harris's Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Red-tailed  Hawk, Laughing Gull, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged dove, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Red-crowned Parrot, Red-lored Parrot, Northern Beardless Tyrannult, Eastern Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Green Jay, Barn Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, House Wren, Bewick's Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray catbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Long-billed Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed cowbird, House Sparrows.

1 comment:

  1. It is good to see that you did some productive exploring on your own on this day, Tom.