Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heat, Humidity and Clouds of Mosquitoes

I was up by 6 AM to make the hour drive down to Resaca de la Palma SP near Brownsville to search for the yellow-green vireo that was first reported the last week of June, and again on July 2nd. I saw my first yellow-green also in Brownsville back in late June of 2007. It was nesting in a neighborhood that made it very easy to see it, which was totally different than this morning.

I arrived at Resaca about 7:15 even though I knew that it might not be open until 8 AM. Sure enough the gate was still locked, but it was opened early. I pulled in and parked next to the visitor center. When the center was opened I had the opportunity to have the staff show me exactly where the bird was located. So at 8 AM on a morning with 90+% humidity, 85 degree temp, and at times clouds of mosquitoes, I began the 1.5 mile walk to find the bird. I had to stop once to put on more bug juice. No amount of repellent could keep me from occasionally inhaling a mosquito.

I got to the spot on my map, and sure enough not 1 but 2 vireos were singing. As I searched for one in the thick leaves, it flew out singing as it crossed the gravel road and disappeared into another tree. I listened to it singing for maybe another 2 minutes, but then decided that getting a photo was not likely and the mosquitoes were not letting up. I made the 3 mile round trip in an hour, and by the time I returned to the visitor center my shirt was totally soaked, and my wind pants were also wet from the knees down. I felt that hour was probably the most challenging birding conditions I experienced in this big year. I also felt fortunate to have had such good local information which allowed me to quickly see and hear the yellow-green vireo.

I cooled down in my air conditioned car as I drove over to the Brownsville dump to check it out for a tamaulipas crow. I tried to find this bird back in April, but the day I had a chance to stop in was after alot of rain and the dump was closed to birders. The crow used to be a regular at the dump, but had been absent several years in a row before a pair was seen initially back in March, and then again in mid April. They had not been reported since then, but I figured I should make an effort since I was nearby. After an hour of checking the appropriate spots, I found only 100's of laughing gulls, lots of great-tailed grackles, a few turkey and black vultures and 2 chihuahuan ravens.

On my way back to McAllen I saw 2 white-tailed hawks, and snowy, reddish and great egrets, so I have posted the photo at the top of a great egret scratching a mosquito bite.

I have just finished watching Spain beat Germany 1-0 to make it to its 1st World Cup final. I will be watching the final against the Dutch on Sunday, probably somewhere in Oregon. I saw 15 more new birds for the week today, and the vireo raises the YTD up to 635. Tomorrow I will bird here again early before catching a plane back to Utah. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Ewww what a day! Inhaling mosquitos and a tour of the dump! Glad you found your bird though. xo