Bird Walk August 23, 2014

This morning’s bird hike was filled with so many birds… many year-round residents, and some migrants coming through too! With the upcoming hot day making itself known, the Plain Chachalacas were taking it easy by laying-low and foraging in the shade. Some of them even decided to take a morning nap!

Plain Chachalaca

A Plain Chachalaca stays cool and takes a post-breakfast nap

Plain Chachalaca

Plain Chachalacas are very opportunistic with their napping spots. This is one comfy chachalaca!

Plain Chachalaca

Seen in the right light, a Plain Chachalaca’s tail has gorgeous shades of green that glow against their gorgeous brown backsides.


A rare female SCARLET TANAGER made herself known by feeding in the mesquite tree near the central pond here at Quinta Mazatlan. During the fall migration, they are a very uncommon migrant within the valley, and are most-expected in the far-eastern regions of Texas, primarily coastal sightings. Your best chance of finding this uncommon bird is during the month of September, but even so, they are never a common sight. It was fun to see this bird moving through here in the valley, as it is a “backyard bird” where I recently moved-from in northern Minnesota. Back in Duluth within the older-aged mixed deciduous woods, Scarlet Tanagers make their presence known during the breeding months. Several migrating Yellow Warblers were seen this morning too! They are delightful little yellow birds, and are one of the earlier-migrating warbler species found within the valley during the fall migration.

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

A gorgeous Buff-bellied Hummingbird rests for a few moments on a mesquite branch.

Yellow Warbler

A stunning Yellow Warbler keeps watch and forages through the branches.

Northern Mockingbird bathing

Northern Mockingbirds gotta stay clean! Here is a bathing Northern Mockingbird seen during this morning’s hike.


Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpeckers are known for their “sweet tooth,” and will readily enjoy some sips of nectar at the hummingbird feeders!


Below is the eBird list from this morning.

Plain Chachalaca  16

Swainson’s Hawk  2

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  25

Inca Dove  3

White-winged Dove  45

Chimney Swift  5

Buff-bellied Hummingbird  4

Golden-fronted Woodpecker  8     One pair had three young. Very cool to see a family foraging together, and meandering through the habitat.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker  2

Green Parakeet  2

Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill’s Flycatcher)  1

Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird  2

Carolina Wren  1

Bewick’s Wren  1

Clay-colored Thrush  2

Curve-billed Thrasher  3

Northern Mockingbird  3

European Starling  2

Yellow Warbler  5

Olive Sparrow  2

Summer Tanager  1    Female

Scarlet Tanager  1     Female. Dusky-yellow head, gray wings, bright-yellow belly. Tanager-like bill (thick at base, medium-length, coming to a sharp point). Gray wings were contrastive/well-defined among the yellow body (not grayish-yellow like Summer Tanager). Seen feeding in a mesquite tree.

Northern Cardinal  2

Red-winged Blackbird  1     One flyover

Orchard Oriole  1     One first-year male

Lesser Goldfinch  5

House Sparrow  7


Hope you have a wonderful and bird-filled weekend! Good birding,

Erik Bruhnke



Bird Walk: April 23rd, 2013

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

Had another great walk this morning at Quinta Mazatlan, joined by both out of town and local birders (including our Conservation Hero, Jane Kittleman). The morning was filled with a variety of species: 3 vireo species, 6 warbler species, along with thrushes and some flycatchers.

Bird Walk 2013-04-23 Carolina Wren John Brush

We started by seeing a family of Carolina Wrens just outside the front desk doors in the Hummingbird Garden. There were three of these short-tailed, tufty little wrens just leaving the nest box. Notice the wide yellow gape – a sure sign of a fledgling. These cuties got all the appropriate attention.

Bird Walk 2013-04-23 White-eyed Vireo John Brush

Not to be outdone by the wrens for cuteness was this White-eyed Vireo fledgling, hidden a few meters back in some thick granjeno branches. Again, this bird looks like its very recently fledged – I wouldn’t have known it was a vireo if I hadn’t seen the adult feeding it!

Bird Walk 2013-04-23 Scarlet Tanager John Brush

We also got some mesquite-blocked views of a brilliant Scarlet Tanager, which are migrating through the Valley in large numbers, especially towards the coast.

Bird Walk 2013-04-23 Summer Tanager John Brush

The second tanager species we got was this female Summer Tanager, and we later saw an immature male starting to get its bright red plumage.

Bird Walk 2013-04-23 Common Pauraque John Brush

The Bird of the Day, chosen by all present, had to have been our beautiful nesting Common Pauraque . This is the third week we’ve seen a pauraque at the exact same spot. Three weeks is significant, because if it had been incubating eggs from the first time we spotted it then it would be about now that the eggs would hatch. The bird shifted a little bit when we saw, possibly meaning that there are small baby pauraques under its brood patch. We need to continue to check it every day we can!

Join us for a Bird Walk! Tuesdays (through April) 8:30am-10:00am at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Texas.