Bird Walk February 4, 2014

Bird Reports written and photographed by Interpretive Guide John Brush

A group of birders braved the cool, misty morning for our bird walk, and were rewarded with lots of bird activity around the feeders. We got fantastic looks at one of our winter resident Summer Tanagers (a female, with more burnt orange on it than the other). She, along with Clay-colored Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler and our flock of Plain Chachalacas, came down to snack on the oranges. You can view the bird list on our website, which updated after every walk.

Rufous Hummingbird (JSB)

One of the birds we got great looks at was this Rufous Hummingbird (archived shot of same individual). Hummingbirds spend much of their time perched, allowing for good views (if you can find the bird initially!).

Wilson's Warbler bathing

Another bird we were pleased to see was a male Wilson’s Warbler (archive shot). At least one has made Quinta Mazatlan his winter home, and is regularly seen in the front garden or near the Ruby Pond bird feeding station.

The highlight of the day was seeing two Olive Sparrows, which are often reclusive in the winter, come out to the edge of a clearing to forage. I took a video of a family group last summer; you can see the sort of microhabitat the species uses in our forest.

Have a good week, and hope to see you out on the trails!



Bird Walk November 16, 2013

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

Bird Walk 11-16-13 Blue-headed Vireo John Brush

With our bird feeding and winter in full swing the park continues to be hopping with birds. The bird walk started off great with looks at some of our typical winter birds, like Nashville Warbler, and was a great introduction to birding in the park. The morning finished with 34 species of bird (
One of the first birds we saw was a Blue-headed Vireo (archive picture). These birds have a whitish underside and a blue-gray cap with white spectacles around the eyes. Like typical vireos, they forage for insects and other arthropods in trees by working their way slowly through the foliage.
Bird Walk 11-16-13 Summer Tanager John Brush
This female Summer Tanager was foraging in a fruiting anacua tree behind the cottage. We first heard this bird doing the diagnostic “pit-ti-tuck” call as it flew by, then got great looks a little later. This is another winter resident (though formerly bred in the LRGV). The males are a bright red while the females are orange/yellow.
Bird Walk 11-16-13 Eastern Screech-Owl John Brush
One of our resident Eastern Screech-Owls poked its head out from one of its favorite roosting sites. We have a different subspecies of these owls in the LRGV called the McCall’s Eastern Screech-Owl, and is found predominantly in South Texas and Northern Mexico. These little owls eat many insects and rodents, so its great to have them around!
Bird Walk 11-16-13 Clay-colored Thrush John Brush
One of my favorite South Texas species is the Clay-colored Thrush, and Quinta Mazatlan is one of the best spots to see them – they seem to pose for us on the walks! They often forage on the ground, picking up fallen fruits and finding arthropods in the leaf litter.
Join us for a Bird and Nature Walk at 8:30am every Tuesday and Saturday through December at Quinta Mazatlan!

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.