20TH RGV BIRDING FESTIVAL - EL CANELO RANCH

Outrageously gaudy even more or less straight out of the camera - Vermillion Flycatcher

RAIN WAS BUCKETING DOWN OVERNIGHT IN HARLINGEN as a cold front arrived from the north and this morning's field trip to the lovely El Canelo Ranch was probably too cold and windy to expect to see any owls. Despite testing conditions I still enjoyed some very nice birding with Shawneen Finnegan and Father Tom Pincelli. The highlights were some great views of Vermillion Flycatchers, a very co-operative Ladder-backed Woodpecker feeding low down in moss-covered mesquite and a tame Curve-billed Thrasher. Couch's Kingbird and Loggerhead Shrike were new for the trip as were Harris's Hawk, Common Ground Dove, Belted Kingfisher and Sprague's Pipit. New warbler species included a couple of gaudy Yellow-throateds and a young Chestnut-sided.  Lincoln's Sparrows skulked in the thickets and a few House Wrens scolded as we passed. The ranch is also home to some introduced mammals, notably Nilgai and Scimitar-horned Oryx. It is bizarre to see the latter flourishing here now that original populations in North Africa are now EIW!

Ladder-backed Woodpecker, El Canelo Ranch