08 December 2011

Pandemonium in Harlingen...TEXAS (14 Nov)

So the Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival rolled on in spectacular fashion, and birding conversations drifted my way, the names of lifers floating on the air within them. Turned out that right in Harlingen, just a few miles from the Tropical Birding booth, a daily gathering of birds held among them a lifebird for me. And so it was that my TB colleague Cristina Cervantes and I found ourselves in a Baptist Church parking lot as sunset approached. This may have felt a little odd, were it not for a considerable mob of other birders with similar intentions standing closeby. Meanwhile, several of the festival vans led by various leaders such as Michael Retter, Ashli Gorbet and others, also combed the local neighborhoods for our quarry, regularly passing by with that instantly recognizable look of disappointment that only a missing bird can bring. As dusk threatened ever more closely, birders became edgy and nervous in the parking lot (well I did anyway), as not a sight nor sound of our target was to be found. Then suddenly, and undeniably dramatically, a large flock of green birds came streaming in and alighted on the roadside telephone cables. Of course, parrots being parrots, this could not be done quietly, and there was quite a din to be associated with their arrival, (almost as if the parrots wanted to make absolutely sure we had seen them!) Indeed, it was easy to understand, watching this rowdy mob of Red-crowned Parrots, why the "official" term for a flock of parrots is a "Pandemonium"! Not sure if this is countable lifer or not as debate rages over whether they arrived in the US from their native Mexico on their own steam, or rather this population became established from local escapees. I guess the fact that I am of loose morality these days with lifebirds means the decision was not too tough!

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