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TEXAS 2011

Courtesy of James P. Smith and Craig Holden

Birdfinders enjoyed yet another fantastic tour of Texas in April 2011. No other state in North America can match the diversity of species found in Texas, and this was more than adequately reflected in our trip total of over 300 species in two weeks! Our enthusiastic group marveled in the approachability of many of the birds we saw, especially the shorebirds, gull and terns on the beaches, and rails beneath the boardwalks.

This year's tour did not feature any major falls of migrants at the coastal hot-spots but we did enjoy gentle 'pulses' of migrants and connected with several species that only rarely appear on the trip list such as the exquisite Canada and Bay-breasted Warblers seen at Sabine Woods and High Island respectively. Involved in this movements was a very early Mourning warbler, the first we've ever recorded on the tour complimenting two other tour 'firsts', both of which were found in the hill country: Calliope Hummingbird and Lark Bunting.

The raptor show was something else and, remarkably, we managed to see every single available species on our Texas tour list. Most of this was down the effort by our hard-working group at certain select watch points as we looked for stellar species such White-tailed, Mississippi, Swallow-tailed and Hook-billed Kites, and Zone-tailed, White-tailed and Grey Hawks – we got them all!

Tour highlights were many coming at us on a daily basis and very difficult to choose from, but again the Frio Bat Cave was right up there and this year was closely matched by close-up and personal views of a pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-owls on a private ranch in the Rio Grande Valley.

Full details and a thoroughly good read can be found in Graig Fulcher's excellent trip report. Craig Holden contributed the Swainson's Warbler image on the trip report along with a number of images included in this year's gallery of images. Thanks very much to the two Craigs for their contribution, and to all our participants for taking part in this year's wonderful trip.

James P. Smith

American White Pelicans and Laughing Gulls Yellow-crowned Night-heron
Roseate Spoonbill Great Blue Heron and Alligator
Least Bittern
Blue-winged Teal Swainson's Hawk
Crested Caracara Aplomado Falcon
Plain Chachalaca
Purple Gallinule Sora
King Rail Clapper Rail
Whooping Crane American Golden-plover
Wilson's Plover Killdeer
American Oystercatcher (Western) Willet
Whimbrel Wilson's Snipe
Gull-billed Tern Groove-billed Ani
Ferruginous Pygmy-owl Common Pauraque
Calliope Hummingbird Red-headed Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker
Tropical Kingbird Bell's Vireo
Black-capped Vireo Yellow-throated Vireo
Green Jay Cactus Wren
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Swainson's Thrush
Grey-cheeked Thrush Long-billed Thrasher
Sprague's Pipit Northern Parula
Tennessee Warbler Nashville Warbler
Cerulean Warbler Townsend's × Black-throated Green Warbler hybrid
Golden-cheeked Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler Black-and-white Warbler
Swainson's Warbler Mourning Warbler
Canada Warbler Hooded Warbler
Pyrrhuloxia Lazuli Bunting
Painted Bunting Vesper Sparrow
Bachman's Sparrow
Lark Bunting Lark Bunting
Bronzed Cowbird Yellow-headed Blackbird
Hooded Oriole Altamira Oriole
Pine Siskin and Lesser Goldfinches Nine-banded Armadillo
Texas Rat Snake Texas Sunset
Frio Bat Cave
Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher