Wings In Flight

Streak-backed Oriole Chase, Brazos Bend SP ~ 2/10/05,

Bad photos! This was a quick chase down to the upper TX Coast area (LTC117) to Brazos Bend State Park, where a suspected "Streak-backed Oriole" had been found. The bird had been in the park for several weeks but its identity only recently bought into question. After a lot of discussion as to it possibly being a Streak-backed a chase was in order! This will be a first record for Texas. The birds usual range is Western Mexico.
The morning was cool and windy which we felt may keep the bird down rather than coming up to the tallow trees to feed on the berries. The afternoon warmed up a little once the sun came out to a high of around 60 but it was still breezy. The bird was looked for all day and was not found until 4:40pm! It was found in a thicket of yaupon hollies, feeding at head height to about 10 feet or so off the ground. We had good views of the bird luckily before darkness descended although it made it hard for us being so deep in the bushes.
Its head was a warm orange/yellow with definite deeper orange patches around its lores / cheek areas which seemed to glow and gave it a "chubby-cheeked" look. It had a small, narrow black throat patch which came up to form an edge around the base of its bill and then up to its eyes. It did not go into a streak behind its eye like a Bullocks Orioles. Its bill looked dark and straight. Its head shape looked rounded giving the bird a plump appearance. Its under parts were a warm apricot yellow with a small grey area on its lower flanks / belly area behind its legs, only seen when it turned on its side or upside down. I was not able to get the best view of its back but it was streaked. Its white wing-bars were visible. Its tail looked a greenish in color.
I also heard some Oriole sounding whistles comming from the same area where the bird was found just a few minutes afterwards. We watched the bird for about an hour from 4:40pm-5:40pm. Unfortunately photos I took did not come out well due to the shade beneath the trees, bad back lighting and the time of day. :-)

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