CODE 5 ALERT... AMAZON KINGFISHER!

Amazon Kingfisher, San Benito TX 

IT'S NOT EVEN IN THE BOOK! A pleasant walk around Santa Ana NWR today was interrupted by news of a true mega, an Amazon Kingfisher. Once we figured out it was on a roadside only 10 minutes from Harlingen we chased it, arriving by the side of highway 100 near San Benito to find a crowd of other birders already gathered and watching it in trees on the opposite side of a resaco (Ox-bow lake) of the Rio Grande. With only one previous ABA area record (2010), a monstrously large bill and smart rifle green plumage it put smiles on a lot of faces today. A big thank you to the 'drive-by' finder Leica rep and friend Jeff Bouton as well as to the kind folks, including first lady Lizzie Gordon(!), who flagged down traffic on the busy highway to keep things safe for everyone. It was quite an event.

Santa Ana was nice too with my first Olive Sparrow, found naturally, skulking around in the brush by the side of one of the access roads, although it was otherwise rather quiet. Birds here included usual RGV specialities like White-tipped Dove, Long-billed Thrasher and Black-crested Titmouse and there were also a lot of butterflies on the wing, notably the gorgeous Mexican Bluewing. I had originally planned to go further up-river this morning, to Bentsen, which would have put me well away from the action, but was persuaded by Robert Kirk and friends to have a more sociable stroll around Santa Ana - does everything happen for a reason?