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Lower Rio Grande Valley - Texas
April 4 - 12, 2009

On the opening day of our trip we watched an Aplomado Falcon rocket from its perch to catch a swallow. On our final day thousands of migrating Swainson's Hawks passed over our picnic lunch spot. In between we enjoyed some of the continent's rarest and most striking birds: Masked Duck, Muscovy Duck, Gray Hawk, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Red-crowned Parrot, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Green Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Townsend's Warbler and Audubon's Oriole (just to name a few).

Our trip list of 215 species included a dozen hawk species, 20 shorebird species and 5 oriole species. One of our songbird fallouts included shocking looks at Hooded Warbler, Kentucky Warbler and a rare-for-the-valley Townsend's Warbler.

A kaliedescope of butterflies and dragonflies, turtles and snakes, flowering cacti and amazing scenery only enhanced our trip. But the real ingredient for enjoyment was our small and friendly group, which seems to be a feature of every Vermont Bird Tours outing. We also had the good fortune of two guides on this trip: Bryan and Texas expert Chip Darmstadt of the North Branch Nature Center.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Muscovy Duck
Gadwall
Mallard (Mexican Mallar)
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Red-breasted Merganser
Masked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Plain Chachalaca
Wild Turkey
Northern Bobwhite
Least Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Neotropic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
White-faced Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Harris's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Gray Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
White-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
Merlin
Aplomado Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Prairie Falcon  *
Clapper Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Wilson's Plover
Killdeer
American Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Lesser Yellowlegs
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Dunlin
Stilt Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Least Tern  *
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Red-billed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Inca Dove
Common Ground-Dove
White-tipped Dove
Green Parakeet
Red-crowned Parrot
Greater Roadrunner
Groove-billed Ani
Eastern Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Elf Owl
Lesser Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk
Common Pauraque
Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
Buff-bellied Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Ringed Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Empidonax flycatcher species
Black Phoebe  *
Vermilion Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Great Kiskadee
Tropical Kingbird
Couch's Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Rose-throated Becard  *
Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Green Jay
Chihuahuan Raven
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Cave Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-crested Titmouse
Verdin
Cactus Wren
Carolina Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Clay-colored Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Long-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle and Audubon's)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Summer Tanager
Olive Sparrow
Cassin's Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Crimson-collared Grosbeak  *
Northern Cardinal
Pyrrhuloxia
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird  *
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Audubon's Oriole
House Finch  *
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

* Species Bryan or Chip noticed during pre-trip scouting.

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Green Jay


Scissor-tailed Flycatcher


Buff-bellied Hummingbird


Red-crowned Parrot


Masked Duck


White-tailed Hawk


Hooded Warbler


Crested Caracara


Gray Hawk

Gulf Fritillary

Willets


Summer Tanager


Roseate Spoonbill


Black Skimmer

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All images © Bryan Pfeiffer / Wings Photography