Foam Lake Birding No. 142


No. 142

            We have had a month of rainy weather.  Although the rain was badly needed, it is very nice to see the sun come out daily with temperatures in the 30s.  The flowering trees and shrubs, especially the citrus trees, are in full bloom.  On quiet evenings the smell of citrus flowers is everywhere. 

            One thing about winter months down here is that this is the time of year when we get most of our rare strays from Mexico.  These rare events cause quite a stir in the birding world because this corner of Texas represents the very northern limits of many Mexican animals, birds and plants.  I have written about common Texas specialities such as the Great Kiskadee and Chachalaca but, today, I want to spend some time writing about the rare ones that have occurred since we have been coming here.   

            In past articles I have written about the Black Vented Oriole and Muscovy Duck, and most recently, the Crimson Collared Grosbeak and Golden Crowned Warbler.  Some other strays from Mexico like the Blue Mockingbird, Elegant Trogon, Red Billed Pigeon, Glossy Ibis, Rose Throated Becard, Northern Jacana, Smooth Billed Ani, Bronzed Cowbird, Blue Bunting and White Throated Thrush (formerly White Throated Robin) have been seen within a few miles from our trailer park.  Except for the first four we have been fortunate enough to have seen the rest and have taken photos of the last two. 

            I took both pictures last year after lots of patient waiting for the birds to show up.  We had waited for the Blue Bunting at a small pond where it regularly came to drink and bathe.  The bird had other plans and showed up on the road behind us.  Luckily it was not shy and I managed to get several shots of it at a long distance resulting in a substandard photo.  The male bunting looks like a small black sparrow that gives off blue reflections in good light.  The White Throated Thrush was getting a drink from a water feature.  It drank for only a few minutes but I managed to get several pictures of decent quality.  Many birders had been waiting long hours trying to get a glimpse of it with no or limited success so, we felt lucky for the seeing the bird after waiting for only one hour.  The thrush looks like a small washed out version of the familiar Robin back home.