Laredo [Texas] could be home to a female Amazon kingfisher, a species of bird never previously reported in the United States.
On [last] Sunday afternoon, Alan Wormington of Leamington, Canada, and his friend Robert Epstein were down at Zacate Creek when they spotted and photographed the bird.
Wormington was on his way to the Rio Grande Valley when he made a stop in Laredo, caught sight of the bird and photographed it.
“He immediately posted it from his hotel room (Sunday) night,” said local birder Tom Miller. “Already, people drove up (Monday) morning.”
The news has already hit the U.S. birding community.
Bill Maynard of the American Birding Association blogged about the kingfisher in his Peeps column.
In that blog, Maynard noted that the kingfisher is typically found no further north than southern Tamaulipas and Sinaloa.
The appearance of the kingfisher coincides with a recent sighting of the bare-throated tiger heron in the Rio Grande Valley region.
The bird has already attracted many birders to South Texas. Now, with the sighting of kingfisher, many of those birders are making a stop in Laredo.
“It’s one of the best places in our country to go birding,” Miller said.
Birders in Laredo came from at least eight states and two Canadian provinces to catch a glimpse of the rare kingfisher.
There are nine species of water kingfisher. Already, three species call Laredo home — the green, ringed and belted kingfishers — and many of them can be seen in the same area along the Zacate Creek.
Although multiple photographers took photos of the bird, it must be confirmed with the American Birding Association before the sighting can be considered official.
If the Amazon kingfisher is confirmed by the ABA, Laredo will officially be the only city in the United States with four species.
This is not the first time there have been possible sightings of an Amazon kingfisher in South Texas, but this is the first time the bird has been photographed for confirmation.
No males, or even a second female, have been spotted. Although no one knows for sure where the kingfisher came from, one theory is that, as the recent cold front moved south, instead of staying in front of it, she may have tried to go around it, ending up north of the Rio Grande in the process, according to Miller, who heard the theory from a fellow birder.
Laredo has attracted birders in large numbers before.
When the blue bunting first showed up in January 2005, around 2,000 people from 15 states showed up to see it, according to local birder Susan Foster.
Source: “Rare bird sighting could be first confirmed in US.” By Zach Lindsey. Laredo Morning Times.
Images from Discovery Travel World, S.A., Santa Ana, San José Province of Costa Rica, Central America.