Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hook-billed kiteless

Today is the end of week #14, and after 2 long mornings in a row at hawk towers--1 at Santa Ana NWR and the next at Bentsen RGV SP--I am still without a sighting of a hook-billed kite. Over the past 10 days, only 1 kite has been reported. But the birding overall since we arrived in the valley has been quite enjoyable. Yesterday was generally a slow day for raptor migration. We did see 20 more new birds for the week on Wednesday, and one--a brown-crested flycatcher--was also a new bird for the year.

Last nite we decided to be daring and try a sushi restaurant we saw near our motel. The growth of sushi restaurants in the US over the past decade has been huge, and they are now pretty much everywhere. That said, it felt odd to see a non-asian sushi chef. We were not that hungry so we ordered lightly which proved to be wise. This place is not going to make valleyites clamor for more sushi and less Mexican cuisine.

Today spent mostly at Bentsen was slower with only 6 new birds for the week, but one was an elf owl which was a new year bird. The owl was hiding in its hole in a dead tree. When a golden-fronted woodpecker landed on the tree, the owl stuck his head out of the hole to say "you are not going to take this hole!".

So the week total finished at 170 birds, and that was done without any major migratory action. A normal migration for early April would have brought the total closer to 200. That said, 170 is still the best week for the year. The YTD number is now up to 448. Tomorrow we will try something new, driving up to Salineno to look for a muscovy duck. We also will see more of the desert based birds like the harris's hawk above. Stay tuned!

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