A trip to RGV
So naturally upon exiting the airport in Harlingen I was excited to see what I could see. Even the birds I saw between the airport and my hotel were good to see. Great-tailed Grackles and Inca Doves were seen immediately, but what drew my eye was the brilliant red spot across the rental car parking lot. A quick glimpse confirmed my suspicions so I quickly dug through my suitcases to retrieve tripod, scope, camera, and adapter.
male Vermilion Flycatcher, digiscoped in Harlingen, TX, 11/7/07 Leica photo
Shortly after this episode, I was snapping images of one of the more colorful residents of suburban Harlingen, a male Vermilion Flycatcher! Tropical Kingbirds chirred nearby as well. This once localized resident of "the valley" seems to have exploded on to the scene of late and just as they are south of the border are becoming a more common sight near human habitations. The similar Couch's Kingbird seemed much less abundant on this trip.
Tropical Kingbird digiscoped with Leica C-Lux 2 and APO Televid scope, Harlingen
As I drove diagonally across town I passed a water treatment area where large flocks of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks roosted.
adult Black-bellied Whistling-Duck perched on wall
Behind me, Great Kiskadees called loudly from the wires, each time giving their name, "Kis-ka-DEEE!" Common in the valley and all points south, Kiskadees are hard to see in North America anywhere else.
Great Kiskadee calling from the wires
Continual stops added an extra half hour to the trip from airport to hotel, but the sun was out, it was a beautiful day, and I was happy as always to return to the valley. Even the neighborhood "junk" birds were fun to see. I stopped to photograph just one more bird before checking in, one of the male Bronzed Cowbirds perched right above my parking spot in the hotel parking lot. With the common birds out of the way I was ready to find the more unusual valley specialties.