Saturday, November 21, 2009

Estero Llano Grande WBC

Estero Llano Grande in Weslaco is one of eight World Birding Centers in southern Texas, and in just a few years has become a terrific place for birding. Boardwalks cross a variety of wetlands; trails go through grasslands and dry oak woodlands.

This is another brief sampling.

Long-billed Thrasher ...

Black-necked Stilts take flight. Note also the Short-billed Dowitcher ...

Vermilion Flycatcher ...

Great Kiskadees ...

Anhinga ...

In an old trailer park now owned by the state and adjoining the "developed" habitats, we joined a naturalist from another WBC and successfully chased down a juvenile Rose-throated Becard (lifer, but no photos).

We returned to the visitors' center and had our picnic lunch. But instead of leaving, another birder told us where a Common Pauraque could be found sleeping on the ground near a tree trunk. Her directions were precise, but she was concerned that even so we would miss the well camouflaged bird, so she led the way (birders are great that way!). As we looked at the sleeping bird, non-birders passed by and we tried to point out the bird. It took look minutes for them to find it, even though we were only a few feet from the bird. It slept peacefully. We had seen this bird on our first trip to Texas several years ago, but then we had to go looking for it at dusk (past our normal bedtime). It was a treat to see it in mid-day, even though it meant missing the strange sound it makes as it begins its nightime foraging


Good birding!

11 comments:

deejbrown said...

These are WOW photos, Chris! Especially the Paraque! And you are right, their song is unique....

Wilma said...

The Great Kiskadees are very photogenic! I have never heard of, much less seen, a Common Pauraque before. Super photo of it.

cheers,
Wilma

Chris said...

HI Chris,
This is a very nice sampling, with a lot of nice species to observe! I've not seen any of these birds, and I love the Kiskadee and the vermillon flycatcher! These are beautiful birds and you got nice shots!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, that Common Pauraque is a cool looking bird, is it related to the nighthawk species? Great photos of the Vermillion Flycatcher and Kiskadees are just awesome.
Happy birding.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Chris. Just caught up with your many recent posts & the fabulous variety of birds seen from the Rio Grand Valley etc. Superb camouflage on the Common Pauraque just like Nightjars & Snipe. FAB.

Hilke Breder said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos! Makes me happy to be a birder - so much to look forward to.

Christopher said...

Great photos from this really cool location!!!
This year was the first time we visited Estero Llano - and it seems like everybody has great stories about it. We never saw Pauraque there, but did have some nice experiences with Buff-bellied Hummingbirds at the feeders, saw a Bobcat take a Coot away, and enjoyed out time on the deck of their fabulous visitor center.
Definitely a location for anyone visiting the Rio Grande Valley to check out.

Larry said...

Hi Chris,

Looks like someone else had a great trip down to texas recently too. There are some really great spots down there.

Larry

Carlib said...

I really like your sense of humor!
beautiful bird and a great photographer!
Thanks for sharing, We don't have them where I live (Pyrenees montains in the south of France!)

Anonymous said...

We were lucky to see the Common Paraque at Estero Llano Grande on the last day of the RGVBF -- a life bird for both of us. A fellow birder helped us find it, and we helped another birder later. Isn't birding wonderful? Your photos are just great!

dAwN said...

Ahh...Excellent birds! Glad you had the opportunity to see the Becard. Jeff and I saw a pair in Patagonia Arizona several times...
Cant wait to bird Texas this spring

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