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Raptors of the Rio Grande Valley 2015

This week long HMANA tour took in a myriad of specialist birds from the region including a couple of exciting vagrant Mexican birds: Greater Pewee and Dusky-capped Flycatcher, a handful of vagrant Mexican Butterflies: Yellow-tipped Flasher, Red Rim and White Scrub-Hairstreak, as well as bunch of local specialty species that included perhaps the two most sought after raptor species in North America.

As well as delighting in brightly colored tropical denizens of the region: Green Jays, Altamira Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole and Great Kiskadee we also caught up with some of the more skulking and difficult to find specialties of the region including Common Pauraque, White-collared Seedeater and Least Bittern. In all we tallied almost 190 species of birds including an impressive 18 species of raptors.

Highlights of the tour had to include (in no particular order): an incredible boat trip out to visit with one of North America’s rarest bird species: The Whooping Crane, a close flyby encounter with the beautiful and highly sought after Aplomado Falcon and an unforgettable encounter with the US’s rarest raptor species: Hook-billed Kite! Add to that an enjoyable stop at the Hazel Bazemore Hawkwatch to catch some of the last dribs and drabs of fall hawk migration and an unforgettable evening serenaded by Great Horned Owls right along the Rio Grande River.

You can read a Complete Trip Report, see the Species Checklist for the week, and view some photos below. More photos from the tour can be found on tour leader Luke Tiller’s Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127901929@N04/albums/72157667095185804