Howdy all! Let it be known that rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. Seems like a tired record these days, but the hustle and bustle is reaching peak levels. The Halloween party is mere weeks away which brings with it outright panic. This year it is twice the levels thanks to having to do the inside decorations and possibly the cooking along with the massive outdoor trail setup due to Linda still playing the recovery card (yes, I’ve been asking every one of her doctors just how many of those cards are left in the deck – good thing she can’t throw anything in her current state). Waaaay behind on posts for the month, not to mention falling behind on reading the output of the others I follow.
Going with a quick one today so I can get back to prop building. Today’s featured feathered friend is making its second appearance on the blog.
You may recall this rather interesting looking bird is called a Plain Chachalaca – cha-cha-la ca. Our previous sighting was at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge back on our December 2016 trip down the Texas Gulf Coast (link here). This happens to be one of those birds you don’t tend to forget after your first encounter and quick to recall as soon as your ears catch tone of their presence. Their song signature is what led to the name. Cornell declares it sounds like a “raucous” and very repetitive “chac, a lak”. I on the other hand I feel it sounds more like two Bullfrogs being rubbed together in hopes of being able to start a fire. Even their call is annoying as hell – would describe it as what it sounds like when you quickly squeeze the air out of Possum lungs.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this Central American chicken.
Public Service Announcement and Legal Disclaimer. The legal services retained by Intrigued have recently directed us to explicitly state that you a) should not try to rub two Bullfrogs together and b) by absolutely no means should you attempt to try and grab a Possum and give it a giant hug! There, that should get the feathers on the legals patted down a bit… unfortunately, that means you will have to travel down to the very southern tip of Texas to hear these devil calls. Ron would clearly consider these noise boxes “visitors” to North America and will certainly argue whether they should be counted as a plus one. What I do know is I was standing in US soil when these shots were taken. The first two were taken at the Bentsen-Rio Grand State Park back in January of 2018. They were hanging out across the way from the Green Jays (link here) and the Great Kiskadees (link here). It felt like two rival teams trying to out cheer each other – pull out plugs.. insert into ears.
So, if you are heading down to Texas to get this bird checked off your list, you will certainly find them at Bentsen and Laguna Atascosa. However, if you want to spend some quality time in a much more intimate setting, head over to The Valley Nature Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas. Warning though (no, not from the legal team this time), it doesn’t look like much from the outside. I still joke to Linda about how we stood in the parking lot trying to decide if it was even worth going in. She opted to stay, I decided to give it a run through since we had made a special trip to visit it based on advice from a Texas birding book. Wow, am I glad I went in as there were birds EVERYWHERE with the entire place essentially mine to explore. Think there might have been 2 other people that showed up towards the end of my 2+ hour stay. First thing I heard when I stepped out of the visitor center was someone trying to create friction with Bullfrogs. This is when I realized that these raucous calls pretty much hide your presence from the other birds. Perfect for being able to get up close and personal with your feathered subjects.. Turns out these
Chachalacas are quite the comedians. While lining up shots of the specimen above, another decided to bomb it.
“By any chance did you see a Possum run through here!?!”
Sorry for the short post tonight. Ron came down and spent the weekend helping me put brand new heat sensors on all the Halloween props for the haunted trail. Can’t put into words just how much that helped me out, but still have a long way to go before the 5th. Stay spooky everyone!