[Tweeters] Birding in South Texas and the Hill Country

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 18 21:45:39 PDT 2018

Starting April 2nd and ending April 13, I had a wonderful birding trip in South Texas with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) .  Our lead guide was Barry Zimmer who was terrific - maybe the best bird spotter I have ever seen.  The first two days we were joined by Victor Emanuel - a real treat.  When he departed a young guide from Florida, Carlos Sanchez took his spot.  He was very talented as well.
There were only a couple of misses (darn Tamaulipas Crow at the Brownsville Dump and uncooperative Seaside Sparrow) but we had just about everything else including some truly great looks.  All told we had 232 species with highlights being Aplomado Falcons (3), Elf Owl (3), Common Pauraque on day roost, 28 Whooping Cranes, Red Billed Pigeons (2). Ringed Kingfishers (3). Green Jays (many), Green Kingfishers (2 or 3), White Collared Seedeaters (3), Altamira Oriole, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (1), Audubon's Oriole (3), Tropical Parula, Gray Hawk (1), White Tailed, Harris's and Broad Winged Hawks (Many), Swallow Tailed and White Tailed Kites, Nelson's Sparrow, 8 tern species, and 30 shorebird species.  We also had an incredible fallout at South Padre Island with many great passerines with killer looks of most including especially Worm Eating and Blue Winged Warblers, Acadian Flycatcher, Indigo and Painted Buntings and Baltimore and Orchard Orioles.  
I went on to the Hill Country after the tour ended and at Lost Maples Natural Area and South Llano River State Park had great looks at and photos of Golden Cheeked Warblers, Black Capped Vireos, Zone Tailed Hawk and Scott's Oriole among others.  Altogether I ended up with 251 birds on the trip.  (I got photos of most of them.) Texas is amazing!!
I would be happy to share info with anyone thinking of a trip to the area.  I also wrote up 5 different blog posts about the visit.  All can be found at blairbirding.wordpress.com .
(But I did miss the Great Gray Owl in Bellingham.  Can't have everything I guess.)
Good birding to all
Blair Bernson

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