Day 92–The Birds I Saw

It seems like everyone is obsessed with Big Years, now that the movie is out an about and the term has become a part of the vernacular. I don’t think I’ll ever do a big year, however, it certainly felt like I was during my recent trips to West and South Texas. During a Texas Big Year, a devoted birder can get close to 500 species! We are a haven for accidentals, migratory fallouts, and rare and elusive visitors from Mexico.

Not all birdwatchers keep lists, and honestly, I’m not too fond of them myself.  However, I keep a list because I forget easily, especially if I didn’t spend an arduous few minutes catching a nice photo of a bird.  Some birds are seen on the fly, hide behind bushes, and don’t lend themselves to photography.  Honestly, there are many times when bird behavior is so wonderful that my camera remains at my side, despite ample opportunities for a photograph. Often, when something is amazing me, I’d rather see it with my own eyes, and not through a lens. I don’t know if that makes me a bad photographer, but it makes me a good bird watcher.

I saw 211 species of bird in a three week period. Quite an impressive amount! These recent trips have also brought my life list total up to 429. I do hope to hit 500 by the end of the year, and a trip to Yellowstone in September may help that, but it’s a lofty goal. Anyhow, here’s the list, * denotes a life bird for me:

Plain Chachalaca

*Scaled Quail

*Gambel’s Quail

*Montezuma Quail

Wild Turkey

Snow Goose

*Ross’s Goose

Wood Duck


Eurasian Wigeon


Blue-winged Teal

Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler

Eurasian Teal



*Common Goldeneye

*Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Least Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

*Horned Grebe

*Black-necked Grebe

Western Grebe

*Clark’s Grebe

Roseate Spoonbill

Wester Cattle Egret

Great Blue Heron

Western Great Egret

Reddish Egret

Tricolored Heron

Brown Pelican

Double-crested Cormorant


Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture

Western Osprey

Northern Harrier

*Common Black Hawk

Grey Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

*Ferruginous Hawk

*Rough-legged Hawk

Crested Caracara

Common Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon

*Clapper Rail


American Coot

Black-necked Stilt

*Grey Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Wilson’s Plover


Wilson’s Snipe

*Short-billed Dowitcher

*Long-billed Dowitcher

*Hudsonian Godwit

Marbled Godwit

*Long-billed Curlew

*Upland Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Solitary Sandpiper (one of my favorites)


*Spotted Sandpiper

*Red Knot


Western Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

*Baird’s Sandpiper

*Pectoral Sandpiper


*Stilt Sandpiper

Black Skimmer

Bonaparte’s Gull

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

*Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

*Royal Tern

*Sandwich Tern

*Least Tern

*Common Tern

Forster’s Tern

Common Pigeon

Eurasian Collared Dove

Mourning Dove

White-winged Dove

Inca Dove

White-tipped Dove

Red-crowned Amazon

Greater Roadrunner

*Western Screech Owl

*Elf Owl

*Burrowing Owl

*White-throated Swift

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

*Acorn Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

*Northern Beardless Tyrannulet

Black Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe

*Acadian Flycatcher

*Vermillion Flycatcher

Great Kiskadee

*Tropical Kingbird

Scissor-taild Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

*Great Crested Flycatcher

Brown Crested Flycatcher

White-eyed Vireo

*Hutton’s Vireo

*Red-eyed Vireo

Green Jay

Blue Jay

*Mexican Jay

*Scrub Jay

American Crow

*Tamaulipas Crow

Northern Raven

*Chihuahuan Raven


*Mountain Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

*Black-crested Titmouse


*Violet-green Swallow

Purple Martin

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cave Swallow

*American Bushtit

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

*Cactus Wren

*Rock Wren

*Canyon Wren

Marsh Wren

*Bewick’s Wren

*Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

*White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Mockingbird

Sage Thrasher

Long-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Common Starling

*Western Bluebird

*Mountain Bluebird

*Townsend’s Solitaire

Hermit Thrush

House Sparrow

*Buff-bellied Pipit

*Pine Siskin

*American Goldfinch

*Lesser Goldfinch

*House Finch

*Blue-winged Warbler

*Nashville Warbler

*Colima Warbler

*Lucy’s Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black and White Warbler

*American Redstart


*Northern Waterthrush

*Kentucky Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Orchard Oriole

Hooded Oriole

*Scott’s Oriole

Altamira Oriold

Brown-headed Cowbird

Red-winged Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Great-tailed Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle

Common Grackle

Eastern Meadowlark

Western Meadowlardk

*Lark Bunting

Song Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

*White-crowned Sparrow

*Dark-eyed Junco

Savannah Sparrow

Seaside Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

*Black-chinned Sparrow

*Brewer’s Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

*Lark Sparrow

*Black-throated Sparrow

*Cassin’s Sparrow

*Rufous-crowned Sparrow

*Spotted Towhee

*Canyon Towhee

Olive Sparrow

*Scarlet Tanager

Northern Cardinal


I saw quite a bit more than just birds!


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