Post #3 of The Great South Texas Birding Adventure
Previous Post #2 Why Birders Flock to the Rio Grande Valley – Lists and Photographs
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World says it best.
Tamaulipas Crow is generally found below 300 m, where it inhabits scrubby farmland and open woodland, as well as habitation, where it regularly attends rubbish dumps.https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/tamcro/cur/introduction
Listed by the American Birding Association (ABA) as a Code-3 Rare bird, the Tamaulipas Crow occurs annually, but in very low numbers in the US. As many as 6 had been photographed by birders at the ubiquitous Brownsville Landfill in recent weeks, and this was our highest priority bird of the entire trip. The one bird that would be a life bird for all three of us.
As we followed the Google maps directions, our noses told us we were close before we could even see the entrance. The air was a swirling mass of Laughing Gulls with Great-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Turkey Vultures mixed in. As we approached the Brownsville Landfill Information sign, Jim R called out “Hooded Oriole!” and we all spotted the bright orange Icterid flitting around the entrance shrubbery.
Not knowing where to look amid the giant landfill, we asked one of the employees at the entrance booth where to go. With a pair of binoculars in hand, he stepped out and pointed up the road.
Over the course of the next 2 hours we carefully scrutinized every black-colored bird, including one likely candidate that turned out to be a piece of trash! We added Black Vultures, Crested Caracaras, Harris’s Hawks and Herring Gulls to our growing checklist.
As we back-tracked to the most likely spot, we found a Chihuahua Raven that got us excited, briefly. But not the crow…
We chatted with other dump birders, all unsuccessful in our quest to find the Rare Tamaulipas Crow.
And then the call rang out, loud and clear; “TAMAULIPAS CROW ON THE FENCE!!!” Did we finally have our treasure or was it just another close call? A quick survey; small size – check. Small bill – check. Funky squawk – check!
This was it! And it posed for us for several minutes, calling and calling the entire time.
Jim R and Rich posed and celebratory photos were captured as Jim R got his only trip lifer ON HIS BIRTHDAY!
What a great way to start our Great South Texas Birding Adventure!
eBird Location Information – As of 5/30/2021
- Hot Spot Link – Brownsville Landfill (LTC 041)
- Species Observed: 222
- Complete Checklists: 1,611
- Top eBirder: Alex Lamoreaux 73
- Google Maps Link: Brownsville Landfill
Our eBird Checklist for Brownsville Landfill 2 HOURS 7 MINUTES 22 SPECIES
Next Blog Post #4 on 6/12/21 – Laguna Vista – A Nature Trail and Fish Tacos