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Field Guides Tour Report
Spring in South Texas 2016
Mar 12, 2016 to Mar 20, 2016
Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

Whooping Cranes in flight as seen on our boat trip to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

South Texas is a premier destination for birders hoping to see a colorful array of herons, egrets, shorebirds, and tropical songbirds. This rich avifauna makes south Texas, particularly in spring, an interesting place to explore and, lucky for us, we were there to witness it. A recent abundance of rain had created a lot of interesting habitat, and although there were some drizzly and breezy moments during the tour, we were happy with the agreeable weather.

After meeting up in Corpus Christi, we wasted no time in getting out and seeing what coastal Texas had in store for us. Right off the bat we were immersed in plovers, sandpipers, avocets, cormorants, and terns as we birded our way north.

One of the main events of the tour came on our first full day; a birding cruise aboard the Skimmer to Aransas NWR led by Captain Tommy Moore. Not only were we graced with dozens of Whooping Cranes (some being nice and close!), but the rest of the cruise also was loaded with highlights like singing Seaside Sparrows, more than a dozen shorebird species, and even a fly-by Aplomado Falcon!

We drove north on our second day and visited the extremely birdy Lions/Shelley Park in Refugio. Whether it was the rare Greater Pewee or the point-blank looks at Barred Owl, we all found something to enjoy. Our visit was highlighted by an amazing rediscovery by some of our participants; the Flame-colored Tanager had reappeared after it had been missing for 2 months! Feeling very lucky indeed, we all got beautiful, scope views of this magnificent rarity.

Our third day was an exciting one filled with lifers for almost everyone. We visited the famous King Ranch with Jim Sinclair where we saw nearly 80 species including a secretive Sprague’s Pipit and a crowd favorite, the rare Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. We continued south and finished the day in Brownsville where we witnessed the eye-opening (and ear-splitting!) spectacle of the parrot flocks coming into roost.

The stakes were raised when we buckled down to try to relocate some continuing rarities that make the Lower Rio Grande Valley such an exciting place to visit. Over the next several days we connected with the Mexican endemic Crimson-collared Grosbeak at Laguna Atascosa NWR, a singing Tropical Parula at Bentsen Rio-Grande Valley State Park, and a stunning male Blue Bunting at Frontera Audubon (which even sang briefly!).

Even if they weren’t rare, we all enjoyed the avifauna that makes south Texas so unique. Whether it was the quiet and diminutive Green Kingfisher at Estero Llano Grande State Park, the counter-singing Long-billed Thrashers, the raucous Great Kiskadees and Plain Chachalacas, or the squabbling roost of Green Parakeets in McAllen, we all enjoyed the sensory overload of colors and sounds.

Moving upriver into the drier habitats, we spent a cool but birdy morning at Salineno, where we were able to study Altamira and Audubon’s orioles, catch a glimpse of some Red-billed Pigeons flying up-and-down the river corridor, and even spend time with the newly resident White-collared Seedeaters in the riverbank grasses.

In the end, it was a very successful trip full of a great mix of south Texas specialties, migrants heading north, some lingering rarities, and a whole lot of fun. Thanks to everyone for making this such an enjoyable trip!

— Cory & 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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

This Fulvous Whistling-Duck showed well near Rockport. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – Great looks at a couple of birds that Mary spotted for us at a roadside pond near Rockport. We teased out another later in the trip at Santa Ana NWR.
GADWALL (Anas strepera)
AMERICAN WIGEON (Anas americana)
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) – A couple of these were seen upriver near Salineno.
MOTTLED DUCK (Anas fulvigula)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)

A Great Egret in breeding colors (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis)
REDHEAD (Aythya americana)
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

A dapper Tricolored Heron (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)
BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola)
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
PLAIN CHACHALACA (Ortalis vetula)

Northern Bobwhite visiting feeders in Salineno (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
NORTHERN BOBWHITE (Colinus virginianus) – A real treat seeing these coming to the feeders in Salineno.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – These crazy birds were displaying all over the King Ranch.
Gaviidae (Loons)
COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – The best place in the US to see these tiny charming grebes is in south Texas.

Migrating Anhingas (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – We caught a couple of migrant flocks from the hawk tower at Bentsen. We noticed their distinctive synchronized flight.

The Valley is a terrific place to see White-tailed Kite. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LEAST BITTERN (Ixobrychus exilis) – Some of us watched a cryptic bird slinking around in the reeds at Port Aransas.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

A Least Bittern peering out from cover (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor)
REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

Roseate Spoonbills are simply amazing! (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Some of these were looking mighty fine in high breeding colors.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

One of the real iconic species of the Texas coast, the majestic Whooping Crane (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
NORTHERN HARRIER (AMERICAN) (Circus cyaneus hudsonius)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus)

A Crested Caracara gets dive-bombed. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK (Buteo lineatus)
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – We caught a decent early migration from the hawk platform at Bentsen with some 70 birds taking flight.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

A Green Kingfisher from Estero Llano Grande (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)
SORA (Porzana carolina)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Gruidae (Cranes)
WHOOPING CRANE (Grus americana) – A really terrific time with these birds at the Aransas NWR as seen from the Skimmer with Tommy Moore. I estimated that 30 were seen.

Our Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl from the King Ranch (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus) – A few of these were seen on the first afternoon of the trip at Sunset Lake north of Corpus.
WILSON'S PLOVER (Charadrius wilsonia) – Cory spotted a super distant one in Corpus, and then we had closer looks at a few of these on the King Ranch the following day.

Another King Ranch treat, this Vermilion Flycatcher (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) – Seen at Sunset Lake on our first afternoon.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

Our marvelous Sprague's Pipit (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
WHIMBREL (AMERICAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus) – A couple flew past us on our boat trip.
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus)
MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus)

A gorgeous Black-throated Sparrow (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor)

The understated Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

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) – A grungy first year bird at the Brownsville Dump.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Some sharp looking birds seen near Laguna Vista.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri)
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus)

A rare Greater Pewee we saw in Refugio (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
RED-BILLED PIGEON (Patagioenas flavirostris) – Cory spotted a couple of these fast flyers rocketing past us in Salineno.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

And we lucked into the Flame-colored Tanager in Refugio too! (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)
GROOVE-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga sulcirostris) – Don photographed one while we were birding at Frontera.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – We had flight views of one at the King Ranch.
Strigidae (Owls)
EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (MCCALL'S) (Megascops asio mccallii) – One peering out of its roosting box at Estero.

Other rarities included this Crimson-collared Grosbeak... (Photo by Chris Benesh)

GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – After a bit of searching, we had nice views of one on the King Ranch.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – Jeff was the only one to see this one before it tucked back in out of sight.
BARRED OWL (Strix varia) – Terrific looks at a pair of birds in Refugio.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – Thanks to the cottontail that got too close, we were able to scope the well hidden Pauraque.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris)
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

...and this Tropical Parula. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia yucatanensis)
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Impressive in flight views of this species at Salineno.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Great looks at a male at Estero and another zipped past us at Anzalduas.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes aurifrons)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – Nice study of a female at the King Ranch.

Clay-colored Thrushes were scarce. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – No better place to see this species than in south Texas.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – Three was a nice total for the tour.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – We had a surprising flyby on our boat trip on the Aransas NWR (they breed on nearby Matagorda Island), and two pairs along Hwy 100 near Laguna Vista.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
RED-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona viridigenalis) – Quite an impressive show of this species at Oliveira Park in Brownsville.

Olive Sparrow collecting nest material (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

RED-LORED PARROT (YELLOW-CHEEKED) (Amazona autumnalis autumnalis) – At least ten of these were in the big parrot flock at Oliveira. [I]
GREEN PARAKEET (Psittacara holochlorus) – We had good looks at the evening gathering in McAllen. Also of note were three seen right in Zapata.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – Nice study of one at the King Ranch. Also seen at Bentsen and heard at Frontera.
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – Great looks at this Texas rarity in Refugio.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)

A Seaside Sparrow from our boat trip (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – One seen briefly at Frontera.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
COUCH'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus couchii)
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – We caught the first of the Spring arrivals.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus)

A singing Boat-tailed Grackle near Goose Island (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GREEN JAY (Cyanocorax yncas) – One of the best of the south Texas specialties.
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos) – A visit to Refugio brought us into the range of this species, where we saw two.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – Great study of one near Laguna Vista where the winds revealed the white bases to the neck feathering.
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

The colorful Audubon's Oriole (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – At Salineno.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CAVE SWALLOW (TEXAS) (Petrochelidon fulva pallida)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis) – Responsive birds in Refugio.
BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus atricristatus)

One of the White-collared Seedeaters now breeding in Salineno (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) [*]
MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris)
CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

A flock of Lark Buntings carefully perched atop some razor wire (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)
CLAY-COLORED THRUSH (Turdus grayi) – We had quick looks at a pair of birds at Frontera and another two or three at Bentsen the following morning.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)
LONG-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma longirostre)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Perhaps the cutest mammal seen, this family of Hispid Cotton Rats (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)
SPRAGUE'S PIPIT (Anthus spragueii) – Afer a bit of searching, we tracked down one of these distinctive pipits.
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – Nearly 100 of these were at the Lions-Shelly Park in Refugio and a few elsewhere.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – A wintering bird at Frontera put on a decent show for most of us.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Presumably an early migrant heard chipping in the vegetation at the L Turnbull Birding Center. [*]
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata)
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana)
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi) – We had a terrific male singing at Bentsen Rio Grande SP thanks to a tip from local birders.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
WHITE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila torqueola) – We had at least three birds chasing one another in the cane grass at Salineno. While this species occurs at various spots along the river, activity here is relatively recent.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii) – A responsive bird seen near Chapeno.
SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammodramus maritimus) – A couple of nice studies of this species in marshes on our boat trip aboard the Skimmer.
OLIVE SPARROW (Arremonops rufivirgatus) – Another valley specialty, we had several good looks.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (Spizella pallida)
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – One of the more strikingly patterned sparrows around.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)
LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys) – We ran into a big flock of these on the road to Falcon Lake.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – Heard at Refugio and the King Ranch. [*]
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER (Piranga bidentata sanguinolenta) – An amazing rediscovery of this rarity that had been absent for close to two months! Don and Jeff deserve kudos for first spotting her. We watched as she munched on caterpillars later in the morning.
CRIMSON-COLLARED GROSBEAK (Rhodothraupis celaeno) – Nice views of the young male at Laguna Atascosa NWR as it foraged in the potatotrees.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – It was an amazing winter for this species here with lots seen.
BLUE BUNTING (MIDDLE AMERICA) (Cyanocompsa parellina beneplacita) – It took a while but a male started chipping and singing a bit at the Frontera Audubon Thicket. Later it came in to a water feature so that everyone came away with good views. Another great rarity.
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – At one point, a female began chasing the Blue Bunting around through the thick vegetation at Frontera.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – Forty or so of these were seen in big blackbird flocks near Progresso. Always a treat.
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
ALTAMIRA ORIOLE (Icterus gularis) – Another of the iconic valley birds.
AUDUBON'S ORIOLE (Icterus graduacauda) – Our best looks were of birds at the Salineno feeders.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – Patchily distributed in south Texas, we had some about 40 in the Zapata area.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis) – Well seen in Refugio and again on the King Ranch.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)
FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger) – Very common in the Rio Grande Valley.
HISPID COTTON RAT (Sigmodon hispidus) – These cute mouse-like rats were seen at Salineno feeding alongside the birds.
NUTRIA (Myocastor coypus) [I]
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus)
COYOTE (Canis latrans)
BOBCAT (Lynx rufus) – A quick look at one strolling away from us in the tropical zone at Estero.
WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa) [I]
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)
NILGAI (Boselaphus tragocamelus) – A few of these were seen by the lead van on the King Ranch. Originally introduced from India-Pakistan in the 1920's, there are now over 15000 in the state, most in the ranch country of south Texas. In fact, more live in Texas than in their native range. [I]


Totals for the tour: 222 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa