Rio Grande Valley: Groove-billed Ani (#706)

No other National Wildlife Refuge hosts more bird species. Laguna is best known as America's endangered ocelot "preserve" .

No other National Wildlife Refuge hosts more bird species. Laguna is best known as America’s endangered ocelot “preserve”

A snowstorm ushered in Philly’s first day of spring but it did not prevent USAIR from whisking me to McAllen, Texas in search of two “code 4’s”. You will recall that a code 4 is a mega-rarity…a once every ten year occurrence. Yesterday and this afternoon I looked, listened, cursed, and prayed (that is mandatory down here), but unfortunately missed the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and Blue Bunting. It was some consolation that E-Bird, Cornell’s birding database, failed to receive any reports of these birds this weekend. Maybe they returned to their home country, a mere 20 miles south.

E-bird did report the presence of two Groove-billed Anis on Saturday at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This bird has eluded me because it is primarily a summer resident in the Rio Grande Valley and its population has been in decline.

This morning I drove to the precise location indicated on the report and waited for sunrise. TWO Bobcats and the Cameron County Sheriff eyed me as I walked in circles around the Refuge entrance. After only an hour or so, I noticed a flock of red-winged blackbirds flee from a flooded field. Oddly, one remained behind. I took a casual look with my binoculars and was pleasantly surprised to focus on the unmistakeable Ani! I walked towards it and it flushed to a nearby bush. I approached with my I-phone camera and snapped one shot as it flew.

Groove-billed Ani (Laguna Atascosa NWR, Tx)....photographed with I-phone!

Groove-billed Ani (Laguna Atascosa NWR, Tx)….photographed with I-phone!

About George C. Wood

A birder since age ten, but not necessarily an avid "lister", I am closing in on 700 (*800!) species seen in North America.....hoping to capture each sighting with my camera.
This entry was posted in Quest for 700 (*800!). Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Rio Grande Valley: Groove-billed Ani (#706)

  1. Dan Miller says:

    Go George!

  2. Fleur thomas says:

    Outstanding. Looking forward to being nearer you George wood! X

  3. Dr J says:

    Good emergency pix George

  4. Ziesing, Peter R says:

    Excellent George!

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. marvinweisbord says:

    Simply amazing!

  6. Joe Knowles says:

    Love this! Amazing —

  7. burkebiz says:

    Very cool wings- like a Phoenix …

    Sent from my iPhone Kevin J. Burke #484-868-8000


  8. Tom Mason says:

    You sound like a man having a “big year” … just sayin’.

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