August 15, 2015 Songbird Stroll

We’re delving more into migration as each day passes. Throughout the entire Lower Rio Grande Valley birding hotspots are finding the early migrants beginning to trickle through. Not just one, but two, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were seen this morning. In addition to a few more migrating birds showing up each day, butterflies wander and fly around different areas. The meandering butterflies put on quite a show, especially between September and the month of November.

Good looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo always make for a great morning! Look at those big and beautiful white tail spots at the end of each feather.

INDO yoga

We even have yoga at Quinta Mazatlan. Here is an Inca Dove stretching its wings and back while its neighbor preens a few feathers.

red-bordered metalmark

Red-bordered metalmark. This beauty is about the size of a quarter.


This Plain Chachalaca kept watch as birders walked through our entrance gate. The chachalacas are like a welcoming crew!


Great-tailed Grackles are a common bird throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Some of them have started to lose their tail feathers, which will be replaced in the months to come. The timing of their tail molt just happens to be when raptors and songbirds begin showing up in south Texas.


Green Parakeets keep watch from their favorite guard post at the entrance to Ebony Grove.

During each songbird stroll we visit many unique areas along our trails. The open landscape and scattered trees of Ebony Grove provide great habitat for Loggerhead Shrikes, Northern Mockingbirds, dozens of Inca Doves, and our Green Parakeets which have taken up residence in the adjacent palm snags. We were treated to seeing them protect their cavities this morning. While observing them from a distance they decided to cling along the palm trunk and vocalize continually. Parakeets are intelligent birds, and we are lucky to have them living right here in our backyard! Have you seen them yet?

Below is the eBird list from this morning’s Songbird Stroll.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck  12     Flyover
Plain Chachalaca  16
Turkey Vulture  1
Inca Dove  12
White-tipped Dove  3
White-winged Dove  36
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Eastern Screech-Owl (McCall’s)  1
Common Nighthawk  1
Common Pauraque  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Buff-bellied Hummingbird  3
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  6
Green Parakeet  8
Great Kiskadee  7
Couch’s Kingbird  3
White-eyed Vireo  2     One near the casita, one in the amphitheater
Green Jay  4
Cave Swallow  3
Black-crested Titmouse  2
Clay-colored Thrush  5
Curve-billed Thrasher  6
Long-billed Thrasher  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
Olive Sparrow  4
Summer Tanager  1     Near the casita
Northern Cardinal  1     Female
Great-tailed Grackle  8
Bronzed Cowbird  2     Emerald Lawn
Orchard Oriole  2     Male and female at Emerald Lawn
Lesser Goldfinch  5
House Sparrow  43

Good birding,

Kelly Smith


Bird Walk: July 27th 2013

This is a weekly bird report written and photographed by our Interpretive Guide and Birder John Brush.

It was a very pleasant morning – not too hot or too windy (the bane of bird watching in the Valley).

Bird Walk 2013-07-27 Great Kiskadee John Brush

We got to enjoy some great looks at a very cooperative Great Kiskadee – he allowed us to get within just a couple meters. Kiskadees are some of the most charming and charismatic birds of the Rio Grande Valley, and this individual confirmed that! Keep an eye open for some of their interesting food habits, like catching lizards or snatching up small fish.

Bird Walk 2013-07-27 Buff-bellied Hummingbird John Brush

All the birds seemed to want to pose for us this morning, including this lovely Buff-bellied Hummingbird. This is a full adult bird – notice the bright red bill with the black tip, along with the fully colored throat. This is the bird of the 20th anniversary of the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival! Fun fact: hummingbirds are in the same order as swifts!

Bird Walk 2013-07-27 Inca Dove John Brush

This cure pair of Inca Dove captured my attention over at Ruby Pond. Inca Doves are very social little creatures, constantly being with a partner or in a small group. They frequently take part in allopreening, which is when a bird preens the other. This can help strengthen pair bonds between the birds.

Bird Walk 2013-07-27Gray Cracker John Brush

We also couldn’t help but notice some of the great butterflies that are in the park right now. This one is a Gray Cracker – a LRGV specialty.

Bird Walk 2013-07-27 Red-bordered Metalark John Brush

This is another South Texas specialty – the Red-bordered Metalmark (this one is a female).

Bird Walk 2013-07-27 White-angled Sulphur John Brush

To finish things off, this enormous White Angled-Sulphur was drinking nectar from our native Turk’s Cap. Keep your eyes open for all the amazing birds and butterflies in the park – it’s only going to get more active from here!

Join us for a Bird and Nature Walk at 8:30am every Saturday throughout the summer at Quinta Mazatlan!