phil jeffrey:: Texas, 2009-2010 trip report


Texas Birding Trip, Dec 2009 - Jan 2010

Princeton gives me a few days off over Xmas and New Year so I decided to make the most of some of those and head to warmer climates for birding. A poor sparrow year in AZ and a Northern Jacana in TX tipped the balance to TX.

If you're reading this for trip planning, my TX web resources and site guide has details that might be some use to you - to avoid repetition I've spun it off into its own web page. The ability to use my iPhone to check sightings and act as a primitive GPS while on the road was very useful. Both features tend to be valuable but the email access didn't actually change trip plans much. I'd also started using the "voice notes" feature from the newer software as a way of keeping rapid notes in the field rather than writing anything down at the time.

Back in days of yore I used to fly into Houston and hit one or two birding sites on my way down to the McAllen-Brownsville area. That's a long drive, and of late I've found that flying into San Antonio can be cheaper. Not only can the actual flight be cheaper than Houston despite sharing the same initial leg into IAH but car rental in Houston appears to have become a lot more expensive. Flying directly to McAllen has always been far more expensive than it was actually worth.

Distances and Times

Sunrise, Sunset at San Antonio is 7:30am, 5:40pm

Wednesday Dec 30th, NJ to Laredo TX

American Airlines flight to San Antonio via Dallas/Fort Worth. Semi-chaotic scenes at check-in for a 6am flight are simply unacceptable, and I only just made it to the gate for boarding. Since American know the number of people on each flight and when they will check in, it amazes me that they did not have enough staff to handle passenger volume at 4:30am. After that things went smoothly and the remainder of the travel segment was as planned. I rented a Camry SE from Dollar at SAT airport. There really isn't any on-site car rental so there's a little additional overhead in getting to/from these facilities via shuttle buses. The Camry was comfortable if a little stodgy. You're not going to confuse it for a sports car.

On the road by 12:30pm, I headed straight to Choke Canyon State Park by way of I-35, US-281 and the town of Three Rivers. En route I saw what appeared to be a flock of Lark Buntings headed south, but they were in flight and I was at 70mph so it's rather non-definitive.

At the entrance booth to the Calliham unit of Choke Canyon SP the naturalist on duty told me where to find the Jacana. Took me about 15 mins to find it at the northwest corner of 75-acre Lake amid numerous ducks, and in the meanwhile birds like Vermilion Flycatcher (female), Eastern Phoebe, Harris's Hawk, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers kept me busy. The Northern Jacana (Life bird # 617 on US list) was foraging at the tip of the earthen ramp but I could see it from the paved ramp and managed to get closer to get a few photos in non-idyllic light.

Northern Jacana
Northern Jacana at Choke Canyon

In retrospect what I should have done is stay at Choke Canyon SP until sunset, but what I actually did was head south to Laredo and then further south toward San Ygnacio with an idea of getting to the latter location just before sunset. This didn't work out, despite generally fast roads, because of traffic around Laredo. In the end I stopped at the rest area a few miles north of San Ygnacio (in Zapata Co) for sunset, saw basically nothing despite the elevated riverside location. En route I had seen numerous American Kestels, Northern Caracara, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-tailed Hawk and both Vultures. There really aren't any mapped birding locations between Choke Cyn and Laredo so I didn't skip anything intermediate but I could have birded the river at Laredo or stayed at Choke Canyon longer.

Overnight at a run-down and noisy Motel 6 in Laredo (motel #1107). Not a recommended location. [update 2018: Motel 6 disclaimer: I had largely stopped usingthis chain because of their high average ineptitude, but the final straw is their overt racism]

Thursday December 31st, Laredo to Harlingen

This was a simple day of skipping down the Valley, picking up year birds. The plans for the trip called for a single pass through the upper valley sites. I started at San Ygnacio. The roads were very muddy due to road work, and in fact it wasn't at all clear if there were any roads underneath that mud. The feeders at the preserve were empty. They've widened the path towards the main feeder/platform area after you walk down the hill to the river, and in general I found the results here rather lacklustre with only common RGV birds present: Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Green Jay, Plain Chachalaca, Eurasian Collared-Dove and numerous Kiskadees. Probably the best bird was a single Hooded Oriole.

A few miles down the road, as the Camry starting to shed some of the wet caliche that covered it, I pulled onto the "park" next to the library at Zapata. I was looking for seedeater but had no success at first, with Yellow-rumped (incl. Audubon's) and Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Moorhen, Common Yellowthroat, Green and Great Blue Heron. Finally on my second pass I briefly saw a male White-collared Seedeater skulking in the grasses on the north side of the pond. Seen only once, it was enough to get the color and bill pattern from this bird.

Further down-river at Salineno the river itself was quiet (Caracara, Osprey, Gadwall, Am. Wigeon, Spotted Sandpiper, Am. White Pelican). At the feeders - which now have hosts again - there was rather more activity: White-winged Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground Dove, White-tipped Dove, Altamira Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Audubon's Oriole, Bewick's Wren, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers. The Rio Grande floods in 2010 might have caused problems with the Salineno site.

I backtracked a little to Falcon State Park and toured the camping loops, especially the lower one: Greater Roadrunner, Pyrrhuloxia, Curve-billed Thrasher, American Pipit, Vermilion Flycatcher, American White Pelican. The lower camping loop wasn't flooded this year, so wasn't quite as productive as previously. I then drove toward the lower Rio Grande Valley, skipping an intermediate stop at Roma where the town square is worth a visit if you've not been there). En route I picked up Ringed Kingfisher on roadside wires outside La Hoya.

A quick visit to Bentsen State Park yielded Tropical Kingbird and Cooper's Hawk but no sign of the Bare-throated Tiger Heron so I moved on. This was however the first Tropical Kingbird I'd seen in several years. In Weslaco at Frontera Audubon I found the preserve quiet, with no hummingbirds and just common species like White-tipped Dove, Plain Chachalaca, and a gathering Turkey Vulture roost. I zipped to nearby Estero Llano Grande SP where things were more productive: Least Grebe, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Long-billed Dowitcher, Least Sandpiper, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Common Moorhen and Anhinga.

Least Grebe
Least Grebe at Estero Llano Grande

I staked out the Green Parakeet roost at Violet/10th in McAllen and manged to get a few early birds coming into roost, leaving me just enough time for a sprint to Bentsen at sunset in search of the Tiger-Heron. It just vanished as I arrived and did not stick its head out again before sunset. I ended up staying there until after dusk, finally seeing this species flying out at 6:30pm (quite a distinctive flight style) southbound over the levee. This was USA life bird #618. A Pauraque flew by at dusk, as a bonus.

I stayed overnight in a perfectly average Motel 6 in Harlingen.

Friday January 1st 2010 - Harlingen-Mission via SPI

Rather cloudy, cold and windy I headed toward South Padre Island to start my year list off. En route it was the usual suspects: Great-tailed Grackle, Eurasian Starling, Mourning Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel; plus some nice extras: Roseate Spoonbill, Harris's Hawk, Sandhill Crane.

A rather cold and windy convention center on SPI held: American White and Brown Pelicans, Little Blue and Tricolored Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron. Redhead, Mottled Duck, Northern Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Dunlin, Sanderling, unidentified peeps, Willet, American Coot and Common Moorhen. Skulking passerines dodging the weather included: Catbird, Lincoln's Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Phoebe. Out on the bay mudflats I added Long-billed Dowitcher, Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, Northern Harrier and Bufflehead. I left South Padre after grabbing breakfast and headed for Laguna Atascosa NWR, seeing Long-billed Curlew and White-tailed Hawk en route. Stopping to check out the Curlews, a dark falcon screamed by me - an almost certain Aplomado but not seen well-enough to be sure, especially since my binoculars were not in my hands at the time.

At Laguna Atascosa itself the feeders were quiet apart from a Cooper's Hawk trying to kill a White-tipped Dove. But for a change the auto loop was fairly productive with many thousands of shorebirds on the bay flats. Willet, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit and Dunlin were the most numerous, also Ruddy Turnstone and American Avocet. Forster's and Gull-billed Terns were around. Waterfowl were also numerous: Eared Grebe, Riddy Duck, Greater White-fronted Goose, Ross's Goose, Snow Goose, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Nothern Shoveler, Redhead. Raptors were White-tailed Hawk and Caracara - no more Aplomados.

Heading west toward Weslaco I picked up White-tailed Kite en route. I went back to Estero Llano SP and found largely the same species as the previous day: Pied-billed and Least Grebe, all the expected herons, Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Northern Shoveler, Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Vermilion Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler. A Green Kingfisher was perched feeding just off the observation deck - at one point this species was my #1 nemesis bird. I also watched a Least Grebe following in the wake of a Northern Shoveler. Frontera Audubon was closed for the day so I didn't go there.

Green Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher at Estero Llano Grande

Toward the end of the day I ended up back at Bentsen SP the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron was rather more cooperative, giving good views. There were Green and Belted Kingfishers at Resaca along with Anhinga, Cormorant sp, Ring-necked Duck and American Coot. Elswhere in Bentsen I picked up: Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Indigo Bunting, Altamira Oriole, White-tipped Dove, Plain Chachalaca, Merlin, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Neotropic Cormorant and White-tailed Kite were along canal, and a Pauraque was along Old Military Hwy at dusk

Stayed overnight in a Motel 6 in Mission (#4306)

Bare-throated Tiger-Heron
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (first USA record individual) at Bentsen State Park

Saturday January 2nd 2010 - Mission-Corpus Christi

At the sparrow road at La Hoya early in the day it was relatively slow but White-tailed Hawk, Northern Caracara, Red-tailed Hawk, Harris's Hawk, and American Kestrel put in a strong raptor showing. On the sparrow front Lark Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Northern Cardinal, with other species like Western Meadowlark, many pissed-off (with me) Mockingbirds, Verdin, Common Ground Dove, Mourning Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler. The first truck rolled by at 8:30am at which point I left.

Crested Caracara
Crested Caracara along "Sparrow Road" at La Hoya

Back (again !!) at the nearby Bentsen - I picked up Buff-bellied and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Olive Sparrow, searched unsuccessfully for the Allen's Hummingbird, but found singing Altamira Oriole and Inca Dove. I just birded around the visitor center. Then onto Anzalduas CP where the most numerous thing was ravenous mosquitos. In addition: Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Black Phoebe, Eastern Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, American Goldfinch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-throated Green Warbler, Meadowlark sp, Black-crested Titmouse, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers. Inca Dove and Blue-headed Vireo rounded out the list.

Heading to Santa Ana NWR I found Cattle Egret. At Santa Ana NWR itself it was relatively quiet. Around Willow Lake I had Long-billed Thrasher, Common Moorhen and American Coot, Least and Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall, N. Shoveler and Blue-winged Teal. Near the old managers residence the passerines were Black-and-white Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Great Kiskadee, Eastern Phoebe. On Pintail Lakes: American White Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill, Tricolored Heron, Snowy and Great Egrets, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck, Belted Kingfisher, Neotropic Cormorant, Black-necked Stilt and some other distant shorebirds.

Heading west to Weslaco two Peregrines were hunting amongst the farm fields. At Estero Llano the species were the same as the previous day, including cooperative Green Kingfisher, White-tailed Kite, Buff-bellied and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I looped back to Bentsen once more for Allen's Hummingbird which I finally found, along with Lesser Goldfinch, Sharp-tailed Hawk and yet another look at the Tiger-Heron. I exited the Rio Grande Valley via the large Green Parakeet roost at 10th and Violet in McAllen, with a big Great-tailed Grackle roost further north.

I drove 2:40 north and stayed overnight at the Corpus Christi Motel 6 (#231) that I've stayed at before, arriving relatively late in the day.

Sun January 3rd - Corpus Christi and Rockport to Wharton

I drove from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas for dawn, hopping on the ferry but greeted with relatively dreary weather. Water levels were high at the water treatment plant ponds but it was moderately productive: Least Grebe, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Forster's Tern, Dowitcher sp., both Pelican species, Great Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Northern Harrier, a heard Clapper Rail, and Eastern Phoebe. At nearby Paradise Pond behind the Shark Reef "Resort": White Ibis, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, with very high water at the boardwalk level.

I drove north from Port Aransas and Rockport to Aransas NWR where I found the usual pair of Whooping Cranes from the overlook - where they are building a new overlook ramp. Also: Great and Snowy Egret, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, and quite a few bay ducks too far out to ID given the ugly conditions. There were several American Robin flocks along the entrance road. I spent a little time scanning new sites in my meander north - the area south-east of Port Lavaca. At Magnolia and Indianola: Tricolored Heron, Forster's Tern, Greater White-fronted Goose, White-tailed Hawk, and a dead Barn Owl along the road. Out in the Gulf and the adjacent marshes: Snowy and Great Egret, White and White-faced Ibis, Hooded Merganser, Greater Scaup, Willet, Great Blue Heron, Double-creasted Cormorant, Loggerhead Shrike, Greater Yellowlegs, Savannah Sparrow. Along local roads like 2760 there were flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese and Sandhill Cranes, and a Long-billed Curlew was flying over 316.

As I cut north out of Port Lavaca along 172 toward Granado I came across the Formosa-Tejano Wetlands which had several impoundments that held American Coot, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Snow Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Sandhill Crane, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, Northern Pintail. I wasn't aware of this site.

I made it to Attwater Prairie Chicker NWR late in the afternoon and found the tour route closed due to "wet roads" so I was limited to the entrance road in rather murky conditions. Vesper and Savannah Sparrows were numerous, as were Eastern Meadowlarks - these are species that you consistently find here in winter in good numbers. Northern Harrier and Red-tailed Hawks were around but it was the dark immature raptors that gave me the most problem and it took me a while to realize that they were White-tailed Hawks (first winter) rather than Swainson's Hawks as I had initially identified them.

Overnight Super8 Wharton

Monday January 4th - Wharton to Aransas Pass

The weather gods were not on my side on this trip, so dawn in TX was again cold, overcast and windy. The auto tour road Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR was still closed, so I did a little skim and netted: multiple White-tailed Hawks, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine, White-tailed Kite, Northern Caracara on the raptor side, and Eastern Meadowlark, Vesper and Savannah Sparrows, a brief view of a Sprague's pipit. In light of the conditions I bagged Attwater and headed for Katy Prairie.

At Katy Prairie for scanned the Brookshire area at Morrison and Pattison Roads but sparrows were not playing ball - exception of a few Savannah Sparrows. A flock of Brewer's Blackbirds and lots of American Pipits were more cooperative. I found an accumulating waterfowl flock with thousands of Northern Pintails, Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose and Canada-Cackling Geese but the white-cheeked geese were too distant to ID. The sun started to break through while I was in Katy Prairie so I returned to Attwater NWR and added nothing new. So I headed south toward the Rockport area once again. The only American Crows for the trip were found around Eagle Lake.

At the Formosa-Tejano wetlands auto tour route (west of 172): Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, White-crowned Sparrow, Carolina Chickadee, Savannah Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Phoebe. This auto tour route is bumpy, grassy, with relatively few overlooks and somewhat of of a challenge for a passenger car. Waterfowl were skittish. At the impoundments visited the previous day there were two immature Bald Eagles scaring the living daylights out of Lesser Scaup, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal. Sandhill Cranes and Greater White-fronted Geese were nearby.

With a certain amount of inference I tracked down River Road on the Guadalupe River delta and found this a nice quite side road with roadside water - Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warber, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2 Red-shouldered Hawks, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Loggerhead Shrike, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. This is most certainly worth a return visit.

I returned to Port Aransas in rather better weather than the previous day and found a typical range of birds: Least Grebe, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Brown Pelican, Tricolored Heron, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I wound up at the Microtel hotel in Aransas Pass.

Tuesday January 5th - Aransas Pass to San Antonio

Returning to Port Aransas at 8:15 am it was a mere 40 degrees but at least it was sunny. As you'd anticipate I found pretty much the same birds. The surprise was a brief look at a Least Bittern in the reeds. Otherwise: Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, a Cinnamon Teal pair, and fly-by Northern Pintail, Snowy and Great Egrets, Tricolored Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, Black-necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, American White Pelican. A large adult Cooper's Hawk kept terrorizing things, and passerines were limited to Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers. For the first time I checked the area at the pier and found only Willet. There seems to be no compelling reason to go there again.

Heading down Mustang Island toward Corpus Christi I found Redhead at Corpus Christi channel, and at Packery Channel Park a little scoping turned up Willet, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, American Oystercatcher, Forster's and Royal Terns.

It was then time to head out via Corpus Christi and head north to Choke Canyon SP on my way toward San Antonio. Returning to the same lake I found the Northern Jacana again (for the year list this time) along with American Coot, Gadwall, the same Vermilion Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Lincoln's and Savannah Sparrows, Harris's Hawk and a particularly dark Red-tailed Hawk. Great Egret, Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron clustered around me expectantly as I repacked the car near the fish cleaning station (clearly a learnt behavior) and I found a Green Jay at the camp loop - perhaps about as far north as I have seen them. An Armadillo was possibly the first ever for me. The last year bird for this early start to the list was a White-winged Dove near Jourdantown en route to the airport, where checking in at American Airlines was a breeze this time around.

Trip list

Common Loon Gavia immer
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
American White Pelican Pelicanus erythrorhynchos
Brown Pelican Pelicanus occidentalis
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis
Bare-throated Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma mexicanum
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodius
Great Egret Ardea alba
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
White Ibis Eudocimus albus
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumna
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens
Ross's Goose Chen rossii
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Gadwall Anas strepera
American Wigeon Anas americana
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Mottled Duck Anas fulvigula
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Redhead Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Greater Scaup Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipter striatus
Cooper's Hawk Accipter cooperii
Harris's Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Merlin Falco columbarius
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
American Coot Fulica americana
Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis
Whooping Crane Grus americana
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana Laguna Atascosa NWR, Port Aransas
Northern Jacana Jacana spinosa Choke Canyon SP
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus coastal
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia Estero Llano Grande SP
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus Laguna Atascosa NWR, Corpus Christi, Katy, Attwater NWR
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa Laguna Atascosa NWR, Corpus Christi
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres Laguna Atascosa NWR, Corpus Christi
Sanderling Calidris alba Corpus Christi
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla Estero Llano Grande SP
Dunlin Calidris alpina South Padre Island, Corpus Christi
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus Estero Llano Grande SP
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus Estero Llano Grande SP etc
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica Laguna Atascosa NWR
Royal Tern Sterna maxima
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
Rock Dove (Rock Pigeon) Columba livia
European Collared Dove Steptopelia decaocto
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica Salineno etc
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Inca Dove Columbina inca Salineno, Estero Llano Grande SP
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Green Parakeet Aratinga holochlora McAllen
Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus Falcon SP
Common Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis Bentsen SP
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis Bentsen SP, Estero Llano Grande SP
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris Estero Llano Grande SP
Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri Bentsen SP
Allen's Hummingbird Selasphorus sasin Bentsen SP
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata Bentsen SP, US-83 at La Hoya
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana Estero Llano Grande SP, Bentsen SP
Golden-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes aurifrons
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius Bentsen SP, Guadalupe River Delta
Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Bentsen SP
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius Anzalduas SP
Green Jay Cyanocorax yncas
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos Upper TX coast
Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva Estero Llano Grande, Attwater PC NWR
Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis Formosa-Tejano wetlands
Black-crested Titmouse Baeolophus atricristatus
Verdin Auriparus flaviceps La Hoya
Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii Salineno
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
American Robin Turdus migratorius Aransas NWR
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis South Padre Island
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottus
Long-billed Thrasher Toxostoma longirostre Santa Ana NWR
Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre Falcon SP
European Starling Sternus vulgaris
American Pipit Anthus rubescens Choke Cyn SP, Katy Prairie
Sprague's Pipit Anthus spragueii Attwater PC NWR
Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens Anzalduas SP
Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica Anzalduas SP
Black and White Warbler Mniotilta varia Anzalduas SP, Santa Ana NWR
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
Olive Sparrow Arremonops rufivirgatus Bentsen SP
White-collared Seedeater Sporophila torqueola Zapata
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus La Hoya
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus La Hoya
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys La Hoya, Formosa-Tejano wetlands
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Pyrrhuloxia Cardinalis sinuatus La Hoya, Falcon SP
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Bentsen SP
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius tricolor
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Attwater PC NWR
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta La Hoya, Choke Canyon
Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus Katy Prairie
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Aransas NWR
Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus San Ygnacio
Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis Salineno, Bentsen
Audubon's Oriole Icterus graduacauda Salineno
Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria Bentsen SP
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis Anzalduas SP
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Cities, larger towns

159 species, 2 probables, 2 life birds, many year birds. Possibles included Lark Bunting along I-37, Aplomado Falcon fly-by near Laguna Atascosa NWR. This turned out to be pretty much half my year list in 5 days.