Thursday, Jan 12 Our last attempt to get to the mouth of the Rio Grande along Boca Chica beach was thwarted by very high wind/waves.  We made do with looks at hunkered birds at the Hwy. 48 Shrimp Basin fishing access and at the dozen Yellow-crowned Night-Herons scrunched down in the mangroves on the north side of Hwy. 48.

Friday, Jan 13.  Chilly, but high wind gone.  We layered up and divided up, one car going back to Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen to try again for the Tropical Parula, and one car going straight to Frontera in Weslaco to try again for the Golden-crowned Warbler.

It was exactly noon when the Parula appeared; the Golden-crowned hadn't yet been seen at Frontera.  After lunch the Quinta car went to Frontera for the Golden-crowned that June hadn't seen and the female Crimson-collared Grosbeak that Barb wanted.  The warbler was flitting around, much like a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, giving incredible looks as close as 4 feet (its approach, not ours). 

We called Eric, who had gone to Estero Llano Grande SP for Black-headed Grosbeak and attempt for Becard.  He made it back to Frontera in time for very satisfying life look at the Golden-crowned.  Barb will have to come back for the grosbeak another trip.

We layered up again and took the evening tram ride at Resaca de la Palma SP on New Carmen Ave. off Hwy. 281 (Military Hwy.) just west of Brownsville.  It was unusually cold and that kept birds down, making a difficult time for park naturalist/guide Ruben.  But Ruben knows his park!  We saw Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl and Common Pauraque.

Saturday, Jan 14.  We packed up and headed north via the fruit stands just north of Harlingen.  Gotta have that bag of key limes to make taquitos as a toast to the Valley when we get home.

We checked the area (basically FM 771, 628 and 772) southeast of Kingsville, hoping for a glimpse of the not-to-be-found anis.  Good looks at raptors.  Great meal at the King's Inn at the Baffin Bay end of 628 (you can't see it from the road--go past the "Texas" store.)

The road to Drum Point was dry (caliche), so we went all the way to the point.  Great looks at all expected waders, including white morph Reddish Egrets, spoonbills, Long-billed Curlews and Marbled Godwits.  Finally saw the first Semipalmated Plovers and Western Sandpipers for the trip.

We checked out waterfront at Rockport, hoping for a loon or oystercatcher--neither seen.

Then, a fantastic look at 6, yup, SIX Whooping Cranes feeding near 12th Street just north of Goose Island SP.

Planning a tour through Hagerman NWR today to round out our nearly 200 Texas species for the year.

Edge Wade
Schulenberg, TX

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