Bird Bullies

I think we are somehow cursed. Maybe that love of all things Halloween has finally overwhelmed my good karma or maybe it is all just a coincidence that bad weather tends stick to us like nettles on shoestrings. Regardless of the reason, we have once again brought a weather plague on the inhabitants of our exploration destination. On our southern Texas adventure we managed to bring unusually cold temps and rain to the natives and to further add in insult, managed to vacate the area just before the epic snow and ice storm hit them (please accept our apologies). Today we reached a primary destination and sure enough they are basically flooding out. Is it asking too much to have some “plain” weather !?!

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Ummmm, there you go Mother Nature, jinxing me again clearly I requested plain WEATHER and what do I get.. a Plain Chachalaca. Unless this is a play on raining cats and birds, we are not properly communicating. Might as well go with it as the birding is currently at a standstill until this downpour lets up. As we are past the older post days, going with something fresh.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our featured bird.

The odd looking creature before you comes to you courtesy of our January trip down to the Texas Gulf Coast and then into the Lower Rio Grande Valley. This Plain Chachalaca was found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Misson. Not a new bird to the blog as these rather intriguing looking birds where featured back in September 2019 (link here). That shoot was from nearby Valley Nature Center in Weslaco.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

From a States perspective, these are pretty rare as they really only come as far north as the southern tip of Texas. The rest of their year-round region rests in Central America. However, if you can make your way to the tip of Texas, you should have no issues with getting at least one of them in the tin.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

In fact, it is actually more difficult to ONLY get one of them in the tin as they like to hang in groups – that way it is easier to shake down the local Warblers for their lunch money. As I am not sure what they actually buy with the unearned money, it must be purely for sport and intimidation.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

These two were busy scouting for new victims. Eventually they spotted me taking their picture from behind a nearby tree. Hell, I almost gave them MY wallet based on the evil looks they cast my way.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

As mentioned above, as long as you make it to the key birding hotspots along the Rio Grande you should be able to tin ’em. Nature Valley Center, Estero Llano Grande SP and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley SP are excellent places to see them. Pretty sure there are many other places in that area, but I can definitely vouch for those. You will probably hear them long before you see their large bodies pushing through the underbrush or climbing through the brush.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Or you could do what Linda and I did at Bentsen and just take a pleasant stroll to the entrance of Bentsen park and take a seat on their comfy swinging bench in front of feeder station #1. Simply sit back, relax and let the show begin!

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Apparently these Chachas like their suet or peanut butter – unfortunately, didn’t ask the volunteer stationed there what their food recipe was and figured if I went over there and tried to verify for myself those damn Chachas would de-pants me and run them up the feeder pole for all to see. The one above gave me a formal glaring having suspected what I was considering.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Hmmm, out of shots and about all I told you about them is they are BB’s (bird bullies). They get their names from their obnoxious calls which sound like Cha Cha Lac. Which also answers the often-asked question on how you pronounce their names. Cornell does mention that these birds will ratchet up their calls to alert to changing weathers. Clearly based on their squawking, they were trying to warn us to get home before the snow and ice completely shut down the region. A kind act, but don’t let them full you .. still lunch room bullies!

Take care folks, time for me to rent a boat to get out of this RV spot.

16 thoughts on “Bird Bullies”

    1. Ha, yep, one of those birds that end up looking exactly as you would imagine from hearing their call. Thanks for dropping by and apologies for the late response – finally got some connectivity on the road.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The rain finally cleared up late early Sunday morning and it has been fabulous since – the storms ended up causing a fallout down here and the birding has been absolutely INCREDIBLE. Best birding week of my life so far and can’t wait to get to post about it. For some reason zero ducks down here, no idea what is going on with that, but in Warbler heaven – B. from the UK will definitely enjoy the coming blasts of color. Appreciate you dropping by and as mentioned above, sorry for the late response – horrible connectivity issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! I think being off the grid in Warbler heaven would be awesome, so no apologies needed. Enjoy your travel and can’t wait to see what it brings on the blog side

        Like

  1. Good grief! I had to look this one up, never heard of it before. A wild chicken! I was thinking that the name came from “chocolate” given their rich coloring, but no, it’s from their song, as you said. Hope the weather cooperates for you at some point!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hehehe, wild chicken – love it. Definitely an intriguing bird. To be honest I also thought the name was pronounced similar to chocolate and was surprised when I saw a better description on Cornell’s site. Weather finally cleared up last Sunday morning. Turns out that storm caused a “fallout” where we are at leading some of the best birding I have ever had. Those little Warblers were exhausted coming across the Gulf during the storms! Should be some future posts coming with incredibly colorful birds – unlike these boring grey ones ha! Thanks for dropping in Sam and apologies for the long delay as I was trying to get connectivity.

      Like

    1. Awesome! I can visualize that perfectly – pinky rings, top hats, coats draped across their shoulders smoking a cigar – “time to give up your lunch money kiddo!” Thanks for dropping by Brad – definitely enjoying our latest exploration.

      Like

    1. Glad I was able to introduce a new bird Cheryl! They are definitely interesting (as long as you don’t care giving up your lunch money ha). Pretty restricted access in the US, but if you happen to make your way down to the southern border of Texas you should be able to experience them (highly recommend waiting until the border situation settles down in that area first). Now that we are in our primary exploration destination and the rain has finally stopped, we are having the best birding we have ever had. Ended up hitting a fallout and we are seeing more Warblers this week than I have seen in my entire lifetime. Appreciate you dropping by and apologies for the late response – connectivity has been a bit of an issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful birds! We have a bully hummer that I call Trump. We have had the same awful experiences with weather on vaca. Once on a Caribbean cruise, we had winds so strong that they ripped a tree out of its planter on the 5th floor of an 18 deck ship! (Boy, did I get seasick!) Also, we went to Big Sur a couple years ago & heavy rains were so severe starting on our second day, there were landslides & Pacific Coast Hwy had to be closed! But these circumstances certainly make for memories, huh?! Chin up, better times are coming! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Things finally turned for the better – the wet stuff finally stopped coming down (area we are at got 19 inches of rain since the skies got angry) and luck of all lucks, we managed to be here for an unexpected fallout due to the bad weather – birds EVERYWHERE! Talk about lemonade out of lemons ha. Can’t imagine how awful that would be to be trapped on a ship in those conditions. I have a hard enough time when the waters are calm. Appreciate you dropping by and joining the conversation Lisa.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s