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Field Guides Tour Report
South Texas Rarities 2020
Jan 11, 2020 to Jan 17, 2020
Chris Benesh & Mandy Talpas

This Altamira Oriole positively glowed in the morning light at Resaca de la Palma on our first morning, a great introduction to one of south Texas's iconic birds. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

No two winters are ever the same in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. That was evident this year with the complete lack of chase-able Tropical Parulas, an uncooperative Crimson-collared Grosbeak, and very few Groove-billed Anis in evidence. But we did time our visit with the re-discovery of Hook-billed Kites, one of the valley’s rarest of breeders. We also timed our visit to coincide with the discovery of a handsome Fork-tailed Flycatcher, a neotropical species that is one of the toughest rarities to connect with in the US. We also connected with the sought after Morelet’s Seedeater. On top of that we had some decent weather and a plethora of iconic south Texas birds such as Plain Chachalacas, Green Jays, Altamira Orioles, and Great Kiskadees.

Our tour began in Harlingen. We headed off to Resaca de la Palma where we connected with many local specialties, a mob scene of Wild Turkeys, some Aplomado Falcons, up close studies of a variety of waterbirds the South Padre Island Birding Center, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Red-crowned Parrots to close out the day.

The following day we were off to Dixieland Park and an abundance of whistling-ducks, Least Grebes and more in Brownsville, masses of blackbirds at the Progresso grain silos, a birdy afternoon at Estero Llano Grande before heading to McAllen for the Green Parakeet roost.

Our third morning started off in Granjeno with Burrowing Owl, Monk Parakeets at the Hidalgo Cemetery, then on to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge for the day.

The following morning we returned to Santa Ana and were rewarded with a nice study of a Hook-billed Kite from the tower there! Then we headed over to Bannworth Park to see a pair of Fulvous Whistling-Ducks before heading upriver to Salineno where we saw a male Morelet’s Seedeater by the river, then connected with Audubon’s Oriole and other goodies at the feeders. We explored a bit of the desert before heading on to Zapata for the evening.

The next day saw us return to Salineno in the hopes of interesting flybys. Nothing really doing so we headed off to Starr County Park for a few desert birds, and finished the day in Laredo at the Max A Mandel Golf Course where we connected with a couple of Red-billed Pigeons, decidedly rare at this season.

Our final morning included a visit to Falcon State Park for some nice desert birds, and then on to Anzalduas for an amazing hawk/caracara show followed by a successful Sprague’s Pipit search! Then it was off to the airport and farewells.

Thanks to all of you for coming out and sharing in a week of south Texas birding! Mandy and I wish you well and the best in birding. Cheers! — Chris

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

(Most of) the gang celebrating our successful quest for Red-billed Pigeon. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – Quite a distinctive species with its bright pinkish bill. We saw some on South Padre Island (SPI), a bunch at Dixieland Park in Harlingen, and up close birds at Bannworth Park in Mission.
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – This species is always scarce in winter here but we did manage to see a pair of birds hanging out at Bannworth Park.
SNOW GOOSE (Anser caerulescens) – We saw four or so in flight from the tower at Santa Ana NWR.
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE (Anser albifrons) – We had three of these in flight at Anzalduas Park.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) – There were small number of these around, with birds at Estero Llano Grande (ELG), Salineno, and Anzalduas.
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) – There were at least three of these at Estero.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) – The biggest concentration seen was at Estero where we had 40+.
GADWALL (Mareca strepera)
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) – We observed a single male green-headed bird at Salineno. In addition there were a number of park mallards seen.
MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi)

The pair of Fulvous Whistling-Ducks that showed so well for us. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

MOTTLED DUCK (Anas fulvigula) – Seen daily on the tour, the status of this species is complicated by the presence of Mallard and Mexican Duck taxa that can hybridize with it at times.
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) – A few scattered individuals seen. As its name suggests, it is one of the most northern breeding dabblers.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis)
REDHEAD (Aythya americana) – We (under)estimated some 500 on the Laguna Madre at SPI. A massive number of them winter along this section of the coast.
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) – There were nearly 20 at Dixieland Park in Harlingen and another couple on the river at Salineno.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – There was a particularly large flock of these at Anzalduas Park, though we paid them very little attention.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER (Mergus serrator) – We saw about a dozen birds on the Laguna Madre at SPI.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula) – The only US representative of the Cracidae, we were able to enjoy their antics on a few occasions during the tour.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – I don't see turkeys too often in the Rio Grande Valley but there were definitely some energetic ones at Resaca de la Palma.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – We saw a handful of these tiny, yellow-eyed grebes.

Our first encounter with Least Grebe in Brownsville. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – This species is decidedly rare in winter, with most retreating back into Mexico during the coldest months. However, the Max A Mandel Golf Course in Laredo has been a good spot at this time of year. We managed to see at least two birds there.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – This small dove seems to be doing well in the valley still.
COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina) – There were a couple of these visiting feeders at Falcon State Park.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – This species has been moving further north into Texas in recent years, though the lower valley remains the best place in the US to see it.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – This species was absent from much of the valley but was evident around Salineno and Laredo.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – Our only good looks were of singles at the Max A Mandel GC.

One of the Red-billed Pigeons flying along the Rio Grande on our final afternoon. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – We were able to appreciate the amazing cryptic plumage of this species at Estero.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – There was a single bird seen at the Estero blind.
BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia yucatanensis) – The only ones we came across were at the Estero bird blind, but fortunately they were good views.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola) – Jim spotted one from the deck at Estero while the rest of us were off birding elsewhere in the park.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – We managed to see one of these poking around in the reeds at Estero.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Great looks at this species at the Birding Center on SPI and a few more seen more distantly in Brownsville.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus) – Our only one was along Hwy 48 on the mudflats.

The Max A Mandel Golf Course provided our best view of Greater Roadrunner, an iconic desert species. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)
SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)

Can you see it? The cryptic Pauraque from Estero Llano Grande. What a bird! Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – There was a huge flock of these along Hwy 48, cruising over the mudflats. Fortunately they were calling quite a bit.
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata) – There were unbelievably huge numbers of these present this winter. We saw an estimated 17 at Estero and another 58 at Santa Ana NWR! Amazing!
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus fuscus) – There was one first-year bird that flew past at the Hwy 48 mudflats.

The pale Great Horned Owl hanging out in the tropical zone of Estero. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – There was a single bird hanging out on the mudflats at Hwy 48.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger) – There were a few hundred of these just north of the Convention Center on SPI.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – A few scattered snakebird sightings in Harlingen, Brownsville, and Weslaco.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Slimmer and longer tail than the next species; we had some good opportunities for study.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) – Our biggest numbers were at Estero where we saw nearly 50.
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)

This splendid Fork-tailed Flycatcher put on such a show for us! Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – It was a great trip for herons overall, with a near sweep of them in the first 48 hours of the tour.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens) – The only one seen was from the Painted Marlin Restaurant on SPI. Huge numbers of this species breed on the Laguna Madre.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – We had a single flock of eight along Hwy 281 and a single bird at Anzalduas.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Great looks at a couple of these at the SPI Birding Center.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Surprisingly few seen this year, with singles at Dixieland and Estero.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – There was a good look at one at the SPI Birding Center and then eighteen at Estero!

Carey Parks captured this iconic Great Kiskadee, a showy, noisy, yet welcome addition to the local avifauna.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – There was a flock of twenty or so at Santa Ana.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – One of the more amazing looking waterbirds in North America; we had sightings on three different occasions.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Seen daily. South Texas is one of the best places to observe this species in winter.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – This species seems do be doing quite well at the moment in south Texas. We had numerous sightings throughout the tour.
HOOK-BILLED KITE (HOOK-BILLED) (Chondrohierax uncinatus uncinatus) – One of the real highlights of the tour was a male that got up and flew around the tower at Santa Ana NWR. Thanks to a tip from the Stoll brothers, who had spotted a pair the previous morning.
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)

A composite of the male Hook-billed Kite seen from the tower at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Photos by guide Chris Benesh.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – Texas is without question the stronghold for this species in the US, and we were treated to a number of good views.
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) – It was a great winter for this species in the valley, and there was an impressive number hanging out near Anzalduas in particular.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – This is another species that has been doing quite well in the lower valley and increasing in numbers in recent years. We saw several on the tour.
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus) – We saw about a half dozen of these and had a nice scope view in Brownsville.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – This species was notable, being largely absent from North America in the winter months. This one was an adult seen at Estero.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Strigidae (Owls)
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (MCCALL'S) (Megascops asio mccallii) – For whatever reason, this species is often somewhat inconspicuous this time of year. Thankfully, there was one bird that was showing at Estero that we enjoyed viewing through the scope.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – There was a handsome, pale individual perched high up in a palm tree at Estero.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – We did see one in the valley near Granjeno.

This young White-tailed Hawk was one of dozens hanging out near Anzalduas Park. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – The largest New World kingfisher; we saw our only one well at Santa Ana NWR.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – We had a great view of one that Jim had spotted at Dixieland Park in Harlingen and then had another pair of birds at the lake in Brownsville.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – A scarce winter visitor in the valley; we had one at Resaca de la Palma.
GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons) – Charismatic and abundant in the valley.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dryobates scalaris) – A few seen at several locations; this species is not nearly as common as the preceding.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Seen at a variety of places, but very impressive numbers (45+) outside the entrance of Anzalduas Park!
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – South Texas is an important wintering area for this species and we saw some daily.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – One seen in flight near Laguna Heights.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – Scope studies of two birds hanging out on their platform off of Hwy 100.

The wonderful prize of this stealthy Sprague's Pipit seen on our final morning of birding. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We saw one really distant bird perched on a water tower visible from the Santa Ana observation tower.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus) – We saw about a dozen of these in Hidalgo, where they breed. [I]
RED-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona viridigenalis) – About 70 came in late afternoon to a Harlingen roost area; good luck for us thanks to a tip by Tamie Bulow.
GREEN PARAKEET (Psittacara holochlorus) – We saw about 400 of these coming to roost in McAllen.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – We had a great look at one at Santa Ana NWR that appeared right in the spot that the Stoll brothers had asked us about earlier that day.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Seen at Estero and Anzalduas.
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe) – A couple were seen near the coast.
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – We had a great look at one near the entrance to the Max A Mandel GC.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – It was a good trip for this attractive species, with about a dozen seen in total.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – One of the iconic birds of the Rio Grande Valley; we will not soon forget the sight and sound of this distinctive species.

Carey Parks captured this wonderful portrait of Altamira Oriole at the feeders in Salineno.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – There were a small number of these seen on the tour, and we noted their distinctive trilled vocalizations.
COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii) – Numbers of this species vary in winter in the valley, and it turned out that the only one we saw and heard was on our first morning stop at the little resaca near FM1421.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – This was a big surprise. While down in Brownsville, we got word that this bird had just been found near the Valley Acres Reservoir. We arrived in time to watch it forage and fly around a bit and visit with some of the local birding community.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus) – We had a couple of birds at Santa Ana NWR.
BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius) – A lone bird at Santa Ana NWR was the only one seen on the trip.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – A few of these were seen throughout the tour, the lower valley being a prime wintering location for this species.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) – A stunning and iconic valley species; we had some terrific studies throughout the trip. Always a crowd-pleaser.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus atricristatus)
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – A dry country species occurring in areas with lots of mesquite.

Carey also got a shot of this posing Long-billed Thrasher there!

Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris) – We bumped into our only one in Mission.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – A few of these were seen flying around at Anzalduas Park.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – This was the most common species of swallow around at this time of year, and we had up to 35 of them at Anzalduas.
CAVE SWALLOW (TEXAS) (Petrochelidon fulva pallida) – There were about a half dozen of these visible from the tower at Santa Ana.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – Small numbers seen throughout.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus) – This local rarity showed for us at Anzalduas Park where it was hanging out near the dam. A bit east of its normal range.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

A slightly blurry record shot of the male Morelet's Seedeater from Salineno. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – Our only one was near Salineno.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – There was one wintering at the SPI Birding Center.
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – Not too conspicuous this year, but we did eventually see it well at Falcon State Park in direct comparison with Long-billed.
LONG-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma longirostre) – Quite a few cooperative birds, perhaps none more so than at the feeders in Salineno.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – This is the state bird of Texas and we saw them daily.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – We had three in total, two of which were seen at random roadside pullouts. The third was at Santa Ana NWR where we could appreciate it more fully.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens) – There were a huge number of these at Dixieland Park in Harlingen.
SPRAGUE'S PIPIT (Anthus spragueii) – We managed to track one down at Anzalduas Park just before law enforcement closed off the area to do their emergency response training!

Another record shot, this one a Rock Wren with its distinctive posture, posing at Anzalduas Park. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – A couple were seen at the college in Brownsville.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – A few seen with the most at Estero.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – Some decent looks at this species at Santa Ana and very good views at the Salineno feeders.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina) – A few were at Starr County Park.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – Nice looks at a couple of birds at Falcon State Park.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys) – There was one seen at Falcon State Park.
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii) – Jim saw one at Santa Ana while the rest of the group was off birding elsewhere.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – Nice views of some at the grain silos near Progresso.
WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta) – Mostly seen out west; there were big numbers at Anzalduas Park.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – We heard one singing out near Hwy 100.

One of the Collared Peccaries hanging out at Falcon State Park, showing its collar to good effect. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis) – A good year for this species. We had eight or so at Resaca de la Palma too, including a stunning bird in morning light! Also super views in Salineno.
AUDUBON'S ORIOLE (Icterus graduacauda) – With patience, one came in to the Salineno feeders. Another was at the Max A Mandel GC.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – We searched for needles in haystacks and found a couple in among a bunch of blackbirds at the Progresso grain silos.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – We marveled at the abundance of this species at its evening roosts in shopping malls.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) [*]
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata) – The most abundant warbler in winter in the valley. We also marveled over their love of marshmallows.
NASHVILLE WARBLER (Leiothlypis ruficapilla) – One was coming in to marshmallows at Falcon State Park.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

There were not a lot of reptiles out at this season, but we did see this Rose-bellied Lizard. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – One was seen at the roadside stop our first morning of the trip.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – We had a single bird at Dixieland Park in Harlingen.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata) – Most Yellow-rumps seen were of this form, but we did have a couple of Audubon's at the Max A Mandel GC.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (Setophaga dominica) – One at Dixieland Park turned out to be our only one seen.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – We saw one at the SPI Birding Center.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – We did come across the one wintering at Estero.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – Best seen at Falcon State Park including alongside a Cardinal!
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
MORELET'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila morelleti) – We were fortunate to find a male in the reeds at Salineno without too much effort. Whew!

FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger) – The common squirrel of the area.
HISPID COTTON RAT (Sigmodon hispidus) – A few saw this at Falcon State Park.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – A fair number of these were seen at Falcon State Park. Also known as javalina.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)


Totals for the tour: 180 bird taxa and 4 mammal taxa