Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Brown Jay

The morning began rainy, but I still drove alone 30 minutes before light to see if I could see a muscovy duck flying up the Rio Grande at dawn. No luck. I picked everyone else up at 8:30 and we headed back to San Ignacio to look for the brown jay that has been visiting feeders at a home there since the end of January. The rain had stopped at 9 when we arrived, but it was chilly. 5 other birders were there--2 from El Paso and 3 from Germany. We all patiently waited, and waited, and waited, and waited....This became a bird stake-out that can occur at times when you are determined to see a rare bird. Fortunately the jay finally made an appearance about 11:15, and then came in again at about 11:30. It was not close enough for me to get a picture, but it was on the key bird, hard to find list here in south Texas. In fact, brown jays have not been reported in south Texas for over 2 years, so this was a very good get.

The sun came out soon afterwards as we drove about an hour to Falcon SP to look for a roadside hawk that had been at the park regularly over the past month. It had not been seen since last Friday, and we joined the group of unsuccessful searchers. We did get to see several pyrrhuloxia, which for you non-birders looks alot like a cardinal (see top photo above).

We then went "around the corner" to a place named Salineno where during the winter months there is a feeding station at what was once an RV campground that abuts the Rio Grande. We pulled up chairs and spent a long time thoroughly enjoying the diverse birds attracted to the feeding stations. One of the best was the green jay shown above. I also spent more time scanning the river for the elusive muscovy duck, but again came up short.

Overall the day was very productive, increasing the week bird count to 59, and the YTD by 1 to 387. Tomorrow morning we will be up before dawn to spend the morning at Bentsen Rio Grande SP looking for several south Texas specialties including hopefully a hook-billed kite. Stay tuned!


  1. Those birds are beautiful! I like the blue faced one...wish you could put sound clips on this thing!

  2. The key to finding the brown jay was to "sit down and shut up" as the host's wife suggested. She had heard the bird while on a walk and knew it was in the area. The hosts are diligent in encouraging the brown jay by putting such tempting tasty foods like tortillas and bananas ~ peels and all out for it and the numerous other birds enjoying the feast. Sure enough within a half hour the brown jay showed up. The host was truly the host in making a fire in the outside area and then bringing out some "cowboy coffee" to brew on the stove. Quite a trip this birding adventure . . .

  3. Great find the Brown Jay! I got my lifer brown Jays in Belize during January they were very noisy and common there. Will be following your big adventure.