Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rio Grande Valley Trip: Quinta Mazatlan

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. 

I hurried back to the motel to bring Dee to see the action. Although the activity had died down significantly by the time we reached Qunita Mazatlan, there were still enough birds to make our visit very worthwhile.

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.


Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Really enjoyed this group of birds! Some very different specimens from what is around these woods.
Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Marilyn Kircus said...

Great blog and I really enjoyed everything but the clay-colored robin. That is my nemesis bird. The first time I was at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park, one was there and everyone in my party saw it but me. I did get the clay-colored thrush last weekend when I was at Santa Ana NWR.