Hidalgo County Birding Pages

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Quinta Mazatlan 

  Dawn chorus (how many species can you identify?)

See also the photo essay for Quinta Mazatlan on David and Jan Dauphin's site.

Approximate Length:  The trail looping around the perimeter of the property is about a half-mile in length.

Approximate Birding Time:  1-2 hours

Facilities:  There's a restroom in the Visitor's Center

Fee Area.  Technically open at 8:00, but you can usually walk in before that.  Note that the park is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Directions:  Take US 83/I-2 west to 10th St.  Go south, and the entrance to the park is on the left, just south of the golf course.

I've found this to be a delightful little place to easily observe the common Valley specialties, as they have plenty of feeders scattered along the trails and in the central amphitheater area.  Certainly, if anyone has to see a White-winged Dove or they're gonna die, I would send them here!  Even the parking lot can be a great place to find Curve-billed Thrashers, Tropical and Couch's Kingbirds, and Green Parakeets!  (If you get there early enough in summer, there are Common Nighthawks calling overhead.)  Pauraques are sometimes found in the undergrowth along the driveway to the mansion.  Besides the parakeets, you can sometimes find Red-crowned Parrots along this stretch (along with the odd Yellow-crowned or Lilac-crowned Parrots), and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers are hard to miss.  One summer John Brush found a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher claiming a hole in one of the dead palm trees at the end of the entrance road!

Entrance drive, looking back towards the parking lot, with the entrance to the old Birding Trail on the right

The "Birding Trail" entrance is on the left, which in addition to taking you through nice thornscrub woodland habitat, leads to a new Educational Building and "Dragonfly Pond".  Taking the trail on the right, you can wind around and stop at the various feeders and water features.  Chachalacas will practically hop in your lap, and in addition to the throngs of Whitewings, you can also enjoy Inca and White-tipped Doves, Long-billed Thrashers, Cardinals, Black-crested Titmice, Buff-bellied and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and even Carolina Wrens at the feeders.  You may find birds more associated with desert scrub, such as Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Pyrrhuloxia, and Verdin here, and walking slowly may yield Olive Sparrow and Clay-colored Thrush year-round and Swainson's Thrush in migration.  Other common songbirds here include White-eyed Vireo year-round, Brown-crested Flycatcher in summer, and Orange-crowned and "Myrtle" Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and House Wren in winter.  Blue-headed Vireo also winters here, but I've only had it once.  This area (both sides of the road) can be a great migrant trap; one spring I had a Prairie Warbler, but aside from Wilson's, no one warbler has appeared to be more common than another during my forays, but my friends who bird the area more often than I do report that Mourning Warbler is pretty reliable at the right time of year.  One spring a singing Scarlet Tanager passed through, and one fall a female Western Tanager showed up!

The new Educational Center

"Dragonfly Pond"

One of the many feeding stations along the trail (note the Chachalaca going after the orange in the lower right corner!)

Statuary of the local wildlife (which traditionally get decked out for the holidays) is placed strategically along the trails!

Towards the eastern end of the property is a more open area where you could find migrating Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and various Empidonax flycatchers.  There are also more palm trees with nest holes; one of these sometimes has an Eastern Screech Owl peeking out, but more often they're being investigated by Golden-fronted Woodpeckers or Green Parakeets.  Some of the bigger trees are more visible at this end, so you may tend to pick up the bigger flycatchers here, including Brown-crested in summer.  You may also flush a Chuck-will's-widow in this general area, giving the general impression of a big all-brown falcon!  The recently-opened Ebony Grove has more open habitat, along with another feeding station that is often visited by Curve-billed Thrashers.  Along the pathway you may find Yellow-rumped Warblers and sparrows in winter (I had Clay-colored back here once) and other birds that prefer edges.  There's also a nest box that sometimes has a "McCall's" Screech Owl peeking out!

Trail to the Ebony Grove

Ebony Grove area

Before long you come to the back side of the mansion; orioles seem to like this area, and it's also a good place to check the open skies for Chimney Swifts in summer and swallows during migration.  Many birds on your list may be vocal flyovers, such as the kingfishers, Upland Sandpiper and Dickcissel, but once in awhile you may find a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks wheeling around looking for a place to land!

Back side of the mansion

After taking the loop around the outer edge of the property, you can then take the "Prehistoric Trail" (along the entrance road where the other two trails start) that runs along the canal.  A Tropical Parula hung out in this area for a long time.  This trail joins up with the main perimeter trail, but you may choose to swing around into the amphitheater at this point and watch the feeders for awhile; when they're fully stocked, you can enjoy watching Green Jays, Kiskadees, and even Clay-colored Thrushes as they come in to feast.  During the winter of 2017-2018, a young male Blue Bunting delighted many birders by regularly coming to dine!

Amphitheater feeders

Front entrance to the mansion/visitor's center

As you head towards the parking lot, there's an area just past the mansion known as the "Bat Lawn", so-called for the bat houses erected here, but this is also where the famous Green-breasted Mango (also found by John Brush, as was the bunting) hung out during the latter part of 2017 and miraculously survived the December 8th snowfall!

Road to the Bat Lawn

Hopeful birders waiting for the mango to show up!

Personal Checklist  ●=small numbers  █ = large numbers (10+) 

Please keep in mind that these lists are NOT comprehensive, and that some months may have had poor overall coverage.  Names in red indicate species that occur in the county but are extremely rare, or that normally do not occur in the county and are irruptive or true vagrants, and should not be expected.

  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Black-bellied Whistling Duck          
Greater White-fronted Goose                    
Muscovy Duck (feral)                      
Gadwall
Plain Chachalaca
American White Pelican                      
Neotropic Cormorant                      
Cattle Egret                    
Green Heron                    
Yellow-crowned Night Heron                    
Turkey Vulture                  
Sharp-shinned Hawk                      
Cooper's Hawk                
Broad-winged Hawk                    
Swainson's Hawk                      
Red-shouldered Hawk                    
Red-tailed Hawk                    
Black-necked Stilt                      
Killdeer            
Upland Sandpiper                      
Rock Pigeon          
Eurasian Collared Dove                      
Inca Dove
Common Ground Dove                
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove  
White-tipped Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo                    
Eastern Screech Owl                  
Common Nighthawk                    
Pauraque                  
Chuck-will's-widow                    
Chimney Swift          
Green-breasted Mango                      
Ruby-throated Hummingbird              
Archilochus Hummingbird              
Rufous Hummingbird                      
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Ringed Kingfisher                      
Belted Kingfisher                      
Green Kingfisher                      
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker                      
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Green Parakeet          
Red-crowned Parrot              
Lilac-crowned Parrot*                      
Yellow-crowned Parrot*                    
Olive-sided Flycatcher                    
Eastern Wood Pewee                  
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher                      
Alder Flycatcher                      
Least Flycatcher                      
Empidonax Flycatcher                    
Eastern Phoebe                  
Vermilion Flycatcher                      
Great Crested Flycatcher                      
Brown-crested Flycatcher                
Great Kiskadee
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher                      
Tropical Kingbird  
Couch's Kingbird  
Western Kingbird                      
White-eyed Vireo    
Bell's Vireo                      
Blue-headed Vireo                    
Warbling Vireo                      
Green Jay
Purple Martin              
Northern Rough-winged Swallow                    
Bank Swallow                      
Cliff Swallow                      
Cave Swallow                
Barn Swallow                
Black-crested Titmouse  
Verdin                    
House Wren        
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher        
Ruby-crowned Kinglet              
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Swainson's Thrush                      
Hermit Thrush                      
Clay-colored Thrush    
Gray Catbird                      
Curve-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Blue-winged Warbler                      
Black-and-white Warbler            
Orange-crowned Warbler            
Nashville Warbler                  
Mourning Warbler                      
American Redstart                    
Northern Parula                      
Tropical Parula                  
Magnolia Warbler                    
Yellow Warbler                    
"Myrtle" Warbler                
"Audubon's" Warbler                      
Black-throated Gray Warbler                    
Yellow-throated Warbler                    
Prairie Warbler                      
Black-throated Green Warbler                
Wilson's Warbler            
Yellow-breasted Chat                      
Olive Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow                      
Clay-colored Sparrow                      
Lincoln's Sparrow                
Scarlet Tanager                      
Summer Tanager                  
Western Tanager                      
Northern Cardinal  
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
Pyrrhuloxia                  
Rose-breasted Grosbeak                    
Blue Bunting                    
Blue Grosbeak                      
Indigo Bunting                    
Dickcissel                    
Red-winged Blackbird      
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird              
Brown-headed Cowbird            
Orchard Oriole                    
Hooded Oriole                
Bullock's Oriole                    
Altamira Oriole                    
Baltimore Oriole                    
House Finch                      
Lesser Goldfinch      
American Goldfinch                    
House Sparrow

*Undoubtedly an escapee, as this species is South American in origin

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