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Big Week 2014

Part 3:  McAllen to Junction (with a stop @ Kerr WMA)

One nice thing about starting over is that I got to add Pauraque to the Big Week list, as one was singing outside my apartment this morning! ☺ After packing up once again we limped over the Subaru place, being met by MJ and Fred Syvertsen who offered to come and give moral support (plus, it always helps to have a man there when you're dealing with cars... ☺)!  After everyone dutifully grimaced at Bippy's wounds, my service advisor Elena agreed to call me later with an estimate, but Fred was dubious that a repair would be the end of my problems down the road (he confirmed that the compressor was mashed and the radiator was bent).  In the meantime Alfredo drove MJ and me to the Enterprise office, and we were able to procure a Chevy Captiva that looked like a Bippy wannabe ☺!  I dubbed him Baxter, and he drives like a charm--great CD system, too!  So after transferring all the junk and kissing the Syvertsens goodbye, we headed north (MJ got a kick out of the fact that I pointed out a White-winged Dove for the day in mid-sentence on the way back to the dealership).

The shift in schedule forced a choice of only one Hill Country stop, and since I wasn't sure if Kerr WMA was gonna be closed for a turkey hunt on Tuesday, I chose South Llano River SP, as the variety of habitat produces a variety of species, it's a little further west than Kerr (so I might get a Poorwill after all), and plus they have those feeders with a chance at some nice photo ops!  Kerr is my preference only because it's the only place I've always gotten the Black-capped Vireo (Golden-cheeked Warbler is pretty much easily gettable anywhere), and although short, it's a terrific road-birding route--just my style!  So when it dawned on me that I probably had time just to swing by Kerr on my way to Junction, just long enough to pick up the Black-capped Vireo, that sounded like a very doable plan!

The drive up was rather uneventful birdwise, although it was a beautiful day with alternating overcast and sunny skies.  The thunderheads were building as I got closer to the Hill Country, and indeed they were predicting severe storms that night!  (Just took a peek outside and it doesn't look very threatening...)  I pulled in to Kerr about 3:00, and right away picked up a chattering Carolina Chickadee out the window!  For being so late in the day the birds were surprisingly chatty; got down the road about .3 of a mile and had a Golden-cheeked Warbler singing right away!  Once I got out of the car the other songsters made themselves known:  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Bewick's Wren, Summer Tanager, and House Finch were added to the list before the warbler flew in and showed off in typical friendly Goldencheek fashion, singing away! 

Very cooperative Golden-cheeked Warbler, found nowhere else in the world except the Texas Hill Country (during breeding, anyway...)!

In this recording, the wheezy song of the Golden-cheeked Warbler is preceded by several Blue-gray Gnatcatcher buzzes, and the burbling song of a House Finch in the background.

 

He's momentarily distracted by a food item!

 

The ever-cute head-on pose...

 

Not the best lighting, but you can see the whole bird.

Continued down to about the mile point (just before entering "Fawn") when a green and gray bird shot into a tree next to the pullout, and when it shot across the road into a bush, he gave me just enough of a glimpse to confirm his identity as the Blackcap!  (BTW, that's the usual look I get, if I even get a look... )  Thankfully he started singing, but was a slow delivery, very unlike the hyper songs I usually hear!  A Turkey gobbled in the background along with a Yellow-breasted Chat giving his varied repertoire. 

Black-capped Vireo, giving a slower song than normal, perhaps because of the time of day??  (Some space between song segments was edited out...)

Headed into Junction a happy camper, with three new trip birds right outside my motel door:  Orchard Oriole, Western Kingbird, and Common Grackle! 

Click here to return to Hidalgo County Shorebirding

Click here to continue to South Llano River SP

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