The base for our 4-night trip was a motel near McAllen Airport. The reason for choosing it was that it was just a short walk from Quinta Mazatlan, a birding site consisting of a beautiful adobe mansion surrounded by well-maintained gardens.
Scattered throughout the grounds are staues depicting local wildlife.
Rabbits and Plain Chachalacas roam the gardens and are largely unconcerned by the presence of visitors.
Tuesday morning I went up to the site just as the rain that had greeted us the previous night was ending. On my way in, a local guide showed me where a Common Pauraque was sleeping by the entrance path.
As I walked the trails, I could hear an Olive Sparrow and a Great Kiskadee calling. One trail took me to a dead palm tree which was home to an Eastern Screech Owl.
Nearby, several feeders were being mobbed by large numbers of birds of different species: Red-winged Blackbirds, Inca Doves (below), White-winged Doves, Great Kiskadees (below), House Sparrows, Green Jays and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers. Unfortunately, the light was poor for photography.
Green Jays and Great Kiskadees are always beautiful birds to see.
A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Curve-billed Thrasher and several Black-crested Titmice were too elusive for me to photograph. Orange-crowned Warblers were more obliging.
Golden-fronted Woodpeckers were everywhere.
Plain Chachalacas seemed to be everywhere, too.
I was delighted to get really good looks at a Clay-colored Thrush, a Valley specialty bird.
The banks of a ditch behind one of the ornamental ponds were crowded with 100+ Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and a few American Coots.
My final sighting was a brief glimpse of a female Rufous Hummingbird.
Well satisfied with our time at Quinta Mazatlan, we decided to move on and to spend the afternoon at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. One of the most popular sites in the Valley, we had visited it only once before, and that was several years earlier.