Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend

While planning a birding trip to South Texas in April I sketched some  birds on my wish list. I chose to sketch in a woodcut, stylized way that focused more on shape rather than fine detail. The style is that of a preliminary working sketch if I were designing a linocut.

The birds are, from left to right, top to bottom: whooping crane, sandwich tern, fulvous whistling-duck, green parakeet, king rail, ringed kingfisher, red-crowned parrot, white-collared seedeater, bronzed cowbird, green jay, Audubon’s oriole, cave swallow, northern beardless-tyrannulet, and Couch’s kingbird.

Bird notes:

Whooping Crane: One of our rarest and tallest birds in North America. In the 1940’s where were just 21 whoopers in the wild. Since then, with conservation efforts, their numbers have grown. I hope to add this bird to the list on a cruise on Aransas Bay.

Sandwich Tern: A medium-sized tern of the Gulf Coast with a black bill dipped in mustard.

Fulvous Whistleling-duck: I struck out on this duck on my last visit to Texas but am determined to add it to my list in the ponds around McAllen.

Green Parakeet: I should find this gregarious green gem at it’s nighttime roost, about ten minutes from my digs in McAllen.

King Rail: Missed this rail in Florida but I am hoping to hear, if not see it,  at Ticano Lake. This is our largest rail in North America.

Ringed Kingfisher: I missed this kingfisher, the largest in North America, by a few minutes at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

Red-crowned Parrot: Another McAllen specialty.

White-collared Seedeater: Found only in a few places along the Rio Grande. I’m going to search around Falcon Dam.

Bronzed Cowbird: This devil-eyed bird can be found in parking lots in McAllen.

Green Jay: Not a lifer but very common in the Rio Grande Valley. This beautiful jay is a blockbuster bird in south Texas and it’s found nowhere else in the US.

Audubon’s Oriole: Hoping to add this bird to my list near my digs at the McAllen Nature Center.

Cave Swallow: Similar to the cliff swallow. I will keep my eyes to the sky to see this lifer.

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet: This small, drab flycatcher is inconspicuous, until it sings.

Couch’s Kingbird: Almost identical to the tropical kingbird, until it sings.


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