This is a weekly bird report written and photographed by our Interpretive Guide John Brush.
The birding was excellent on this gray, wet morning. I finished the morning with 53 species – nearly equaling my previous high for a morning of birding at QM – and warblers had much to do with it! I saw 13 species of warbler in the park, most of them moving through the forest along the Wildcat trail and the path to Ebony Grove.
We started off our walk over by Ruby Pond, where this Great Crested Flycatcher sat very cooperatively in some open branches of a mesquite. Flycatchers in the genus Myiarchus look very similar for the most part, so it can take a little time to get familiar with IDing them. This isn’t the most diagnostic shot of a Great Crested, but you can see a touch of the darker gray on the throat, and the light base to the lower part of the bill (mandible). Overall, Great Crested Flycatchers are much more bright and contrasting than the other Myiarchus in the area. Learning the calls always helps too! Great Crested Flycatchers are a species that migrates through the Lower Rio Grande Valley, spending the winter mostly in Central America.
This Swainson’s Thrush popped up for a half minute or so along the far eastern portion of hte Ebony Grove trail. The buffy line extending from the bill to the similarly colored eye ring is a good field mark for this species. This is another neotropical migrant species, one that has much of its breeding range in the northern US and in Canada.