Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4--Northern Wheatear

It is the end of day 4 that began very early near Beeville, Tx which is about 50 miles north of Corpus Christi, Tx. I arrived at 7:20 AM at a farm that is "hosting" a northern wheatear--a bird that shows up randomly and usually yearly somewhere in the lower 48 states. It is a vagrant that breeds in the far north, including Alaska.

When I arrived there were already 3 other birders there--2 guys who attend Texas A&M, Kingsville campus, and a fellow from Socorro, NM. This is typical when a rare bird shows up on the rare bird hotlines. We were all treated to good views of this very lost bird that was first confirmed on Dec. 30, and put on the hotline on Jan 2.

From there I headed back south to bird at Laguna Atascosa--one of the better known national wildlife refuges (NWR)--located east of Harlingen, Tx. It was windy, chilly and overcast. The birding was pretty good, but the ocelot crossing the road was a real treat. From there I went over to the equally famous Santa Ana NWR where the sun came out making for a very pretty late afternoon of birding. By the end of the day 31 more species were added to the year list. The best bird of the day for me was not the wheatear but instead a beautiful ferruginous hawk that I saw sitting on a fence post as I drove down Hwy 77. Tomorrow morning I will be up early again to do some birding here locally before I jump on an airplane that will take me 1st to Dallas, and then from there to Miami, Fl. Stay tuned!


  1. Okay, vagrant has shown up twice in your posts . . . I think of beggars, hobos and the like. My dashboard dictionary says when referring to ornithology it is a bird that has strayed or been blown from its usual range or migratory route. Clarity has been achieved.

  2. Back to the dashboard. I questioned earlier in our conversation ~ ferruginous ~ it means containing iron oxides or rust. In reference to the pygmy owl and hawk it means reddish brown or rust colored. fyi

  3. hey ole boy.....very ambitious posts so far...keep up the good work. did you see unc lose last night to college of charleston? miss you already. cheers, lex

  4. in the period just after the civil war, vagrant laws were enacted as an excuse to arrest african americans and put them in chain glad it only applies to birds now.