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Vireo- Bell's? Central/SW Texas, scrubby dry area by a river. (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
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This is a very small bird nesting right by where I'm currently staying. It's tiny, warbler size or so. The area is dry and scrubby, with some mesquite. It looks like the African savannah. Partly because of the zebras.
(No, seriously, I'm on an exotic animal hunting ranch. I fed a giraffe earlier today. I'm mostly here for animal tours, and also to drive a tank.)
There's a river about 30 feet from this tree, and I'd say this bird is definitely in its preferred habitat, as it has a nest. The nest is a delicate cup made of woven strips of plant fiber and fur. I made sure to move further away from the tree once I realized it had a nest. I'm mostly sure it's a vireo, and I think maybe a Bell's? My guide describes Bell's as being particularly small, and found near water. This is a particularly small bird right near water. I thought I'd get some second opinions, though.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
I believe that it is a Bell's Vireo.

Out of curiosity is this ranch anywhere near Uvalde or in Uvalde or Real counties? Does the song sound like "you don't know the where heck I am?"
(should read "you don't know where the heck I am?")
 
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Tired

Well-known member
United States
It is in Uvalde! Or, right on the line between Uvalde and another. The song sounds about like the bird on this page, Bell's Vireo, though I hadn't heard the wild bird recently enough to be sure it was this exact song and not something else. I would have to find the bird again tomorrow (shouldn't be hard) and listen to see if it sounds anything like what you're describing, but it does definitely have a lot of slightly different notes.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
I may have been at that same ranch a few years ago in April (or another one in/near Uvalde County?). At that ranch my group came across a singing Bell's Vireo and we all got to see it.
eta: and my song rendition is partly in jest as it can be a difficult bird to see even though it sings and sings
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Ox Ranch, the exotic hunting ranch that shares space with the tank-driving company? This little bird was near one of the cabins along the river. It took me some effort to spot it, too, I just kept seeing little flashes of the tiniest little bird.

I think you could assign any sort of rendition to this song, and if said fast enough, it could sound right.

Anything else noteworthy you saw? I'm keeping an eye out for more neat species. I've seen Vermillion Flycatchers, a Rio Grande turkey lady, what I think was a glimpse of a Blue Grosbeak, some really good views of a Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, and bunches of ravens. I've never seen Common Ravens at any reasonable distance before, they're massive! I keep thinking they're something hawkish. I believe there are Harris' Hawks in the area? Oh, and a Crested Caracara flew alongside our car for a moment on the way up. 15 feet from my window, if that. Gorgeous bird. I'm hoping for a chance to get a nice shot of one, and to see a Grosbeak for more than half a second in motion. Oh, and there was a female Green Kingfisher! Excited to see those, they're not anywhere near my house. I'd love to see a male with the nice green color.
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
Hi Tired, it looks like I was at or near Neal's Lodge in Concan in northern Uvalde County. I think maybe a ranch borders or is part of Neal's Lodge?

Those are nice birds you've seen so far. Harris's Hawk is found where you are. Very nice about the caracara and the Green Kingfisher! I'm looking at a list compiled by someone in the group I was with (before I was using eBird) and the list has Golden-cheeked Warbler, Canyon Wren, Vermilion & Ash-throated Flycatchers, and many other birds that never or rarely make it to Maryland but are regular/normal for the Uvalde area: https://ebird.org/tx/checklist/S17895180

Enjoy the rest of your stay!
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I got the two flycatchers, and a glimpse of what may have been the warbler? Definitely some variety of warbler. Bewick's wren, but no Canyon. Really nice look at my first Osprey ever. I'll definitely be going back there in the fall, if I can.

That's everything I got pictures of, including a very cool cave opilione. Opiliones are harvestmen, "daddy longlegs", and there's a completely blind species in there. Or you can filter by birds. Some of them have pretty tentative or broad IDs, I'll go back in later and try to figure out exactly what they are.

Happen to have any idea what this is?
I thought sparrow at first glance, but on zooming in, it didn't look properly like one. If it's a sparrow, it's a strange one. I'm not sure what's throwing me- maybe body shape, and the darker beak with the pale, relatively unmarked face?
 

Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
Pretty neat, especially the opilione. Hopefully you'll see Golden-cheeked Warbler while you're there. Your mystery bird ("a strange one") is a mystery as right now as I prepare to go birding this morning. I'll look at it some more when I get back.
eta: though it makes me think of House Sparrow. Also, very nice about your first Osprey!
 
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