I set out for the Rincon Del Diablo on Sunday morning, intending to spend a few hours in the field there.
I arrived about an hour after sunrise and encountered a pair of male and female Vermilion Flycatchers busily feeding two fledged juveniles.
The male Vermilion got a little huffy with me when I got close to the bushy huisaches where his youngsters were perched, so I moved on.
The Yellow-breasted Chats were active and noisy, calling from the carrizo.
Occasionally, one would launch itself into the air, pumping its wings in an exaggerated manner as it rose up into the sky. It would then stop flapping, spread its wings and sail to a high perch, often at the very top of a dead snag.
After about half an hour of wandering, I decided to move to the FEMA property just downstream from the Casa De La Cultura. The city recently put up a vehicle barricade there to keep cars and trucks from driving right up to the edge of the creek, and I wanted to see if it had made any difference.
As soon as I got out of the car, I saw a raptor circling just above the tall pecan trees on the Wardlaw property across the creek.
As the raptor made a graceful turn into the full light of the morning sun, I saw, much to my great delight, that it was a Gray Hawk, a neotropical hawk that reaches the northernmost end of its range in south Texas and southern Arizona. It’s been several months since I saw a Gray Hawk near the creek, and there are so few of them here that I always worry when I don’t see one for an extended length of time.
But here he or she was again, and that made me glad.
Gray Hawks are common birds of prey in Mexico and Central America. They are birds that prefer old cottonwoods and other tall trees that grow along rivers. South Del Rio is textbook habitat for them.
They are said to eat many different types of lizards and snakes. Gray Hawks are one of the many bird species that makes birding in Del Rio so special. I am very happy that they can be found here and even happier when I get to see one of them.