Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
Oooops. Forgot about seeing a possible first North-American-record bird species in Texas. I wrote a couple of days ago about my recent Texas trip, focusing on its long travel aspects, long in both time and distance. I chose as highlights bats and a lovely old lady. The blood pooling in my injured leg obviously drained from my brain. On our last day in Texas, our small tour group drove to Sabine Woods, a birding location on the Texas-Louisiana border maintained by the Texas Ornithological Society. We had learned that a Tropical Mockingbird was being seen there. This is a species never before recorded in North America. It was easy to find: other birders were present to offer directions, plus the mocker seems to be nesting with a native Northern Mockingbird. The nest could be seen; we just stood and waited for the bird to appear. The Tropical Mockingbird was discovered at Sabine on April 18. It is resident from southern Mexico south to northern Brazil and on some Caribbean islands. It is kept as a cage bird (mostly in its native locations), so will carefully be reviewed as to its legitimate wild status. An escaped or released cage bird will not make the record books. But, its presence on the Texas coast bodes strongly for its legitimacy. The bird’s home range is but a flight across the gulf. Here are a couple of my photos. The bird is larger than the Northern Mockingbird, has darker wings lacking white wing bars, and has a longer, blacker tail. I now revise my previous remarks, moving this bird right up there with bats and the president of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (her photo is here, too; she is muxh more colorful, as you can see). In the second photo, the bird is on the nest. Its head and eye are visible left center.
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