Friday, April 13, 2012

Hoo... you lookin' at?

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
Last Saturday I found this little fella at the San Miguelito Ranch near Raymondville, TX. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls have been very scarce in South Texas and are now only found reliably in a handful of birding hotspots on the coastal plains.

Grana and I each paid $30 to take a tour of the ranch with some visitors from Massachusetts to get this rare owl. Our tour guide, Carson, picked us up at the gate and took us to the ranch house where he said at least a pair of owls were nesting.

We had a hard time finding the owl at first. Carson thought it would be easy to find, but we ended up searching the back yard for a good 30 minutes before Carson spotted the tiny owl. If it wasn't for Carson, we probably would have missed the owl.
Our guide looking up at the owl.
We got good looks at the owl, but Carson said that the other owl that was missing usually allow approach within 5 yards! Wow, guess I'll have to come back to see that sometime. This special owl can also be found in Arizona, but aside from that it's typically only found in South Texas. How amazing it must be to own a ranch where this unique species nests.

The owl can also be found on the King Ranch nature tours, but I'm not sure if you'd be able to get as close as we did.

Other than the owl, we saw several Hooded Orioles.

And we made a run down to Estero Llano Grande State Park for another nocturnal bird - Common Pauraque. It was a little difficult to find, but last year I found a pair by Alligator Lake, so I knew where to look. I found this one in virtually the same spot.
Common Pauraque

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