Adios, Texas

We said goodbye to Texas today in a typical fashion – 70 mph on I-10 with too-many trailer trucks, a very gusty crosswind, and 80 degree temperatures. We are in Louisiana for a few days (Hi American Robins, Blue Jays, American Crows) before turning northward toward home. Here are some shots, all taken with at least 15-20 knots of wind buffeting the camera, of some Texas birds we’ve seen in the last few days.

Lesser Goldfinch riding out the wind

It is neat to see Altimira Orioles in natural settings instead of at a feeder

We saw a dozen Monk Parakeets at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse trail

Whether “kiting” or perched, White-tailed kites are special.

These White-faced Ibis make one think of their prehistoric ancestors.

We never tire of seeing the regal Great Blue Heron.

 

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Long-legged Feeders

Some birds, like these Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Great-blue Heron, stand still and suddenly strike their prey.

Great Egrets and Snowy Egret.

Great Blue Heron

The Reddish Egret is known for its “dancing” to scare up fish. This guy was resting when we saw him.

This Tri-color Heron was stirring up fish with its feet and using the wing shadows to spot fish.

Posted in 2018SW Trip, Bird Behavior, SW Trip 2018, Texas birding, Texas birds | 2 Comments

More Snapshots

Too many bird pictures, too little time – the story of birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

This House Wren looked in a nesting mood.

A school (?) of Black-necked Stilts with their Snowy Egret teacher.

Neotropic Cormorants discussing the latest tweet?

Mottled Ducks – male has bright yellow beak.

Orange-crown Warbler eating fruit.

Camera-shy Clapper Rail.

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Gone Fishing

Sally spotted a Green Heron while we were birding at South Padre Island Birding Center and we watched him get lunch.

When he leaned way over, he nearly toppled and I missed the shot because I laughed, but he recovered with a tasty treat that he promptly swallowed.

Posted in 2018SW Trip, Bird Behavior, SW Trip 2018, Texas birding, Texas birds | 1 Comment

Snapshots

So often when birding, you get a quick look at a bird and suddenly it has moved or just gone, so you grab what shots you can get. Here are a few recent ones.

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A Not So Common Pauraque

Common Pauraques, a nightjar that we heard in early evening last year at Goose Island State Park, is tough to find during the day. Earlier this week at Estero Llano Grande State Park, a birder from South Dakota put us on to this one resting right near the path.

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A Visit to Mexico

Just across the Rio Grande from Big Bend NP is the tiny community of Boquillas de Carmen, which for decades, had a close relationship with park visitors – until 9-11.

Then, in early 2002, the crossing was closed and remained closed for eleven years. The residents moved away and worked and lived elsewhere, most 250 kilometers distant. Only since early 2013, have visitors been once again allowed to cross. The community, while still very poor, is rejuvenated. We had a wonderful visit – the highlight of our Big Bend trip.

You start with a rowboat across the Rio Grande. ($5 round trip)

Then take a burro, horse, or pickup to town. ($5 round trip)

Plodding along on a burro on a dusty trail in 80 degree temperatures, it was not hard to think about how long it would take to reach the distant mountains in the 1800’s.

We hired Estoban, a guide, to support the local economy and because he was helpful – Sally got in some good Espanol practice.

Some village scenes

We had a nice lunch in the shade – I had the goat tacos which were good, and about as adventurous as I get culinary speaking.

Many of the residents sell crafts – Sally bought from this woman’s family.

It was a great experience and a reminder of how good our relations have been, and are, with our Mexican neighbors.

Posted in 2018SW Trip, Mexican Food, Mexico, National Parks | 2 Comments

Big Bend National Park

We just are finishing a road trip up to Big Bend National Park to get some sun and warmth and so we did – 37 degrees at night and mid-80’s during the day. We stopped at Casa Blanca SP and Seminole Canyon SP coming and going. Lots of straight driving at 75 but a good venture.

This is a view of the "Window" at the Chisos Basin

The Rio Grande

I’ll cover our international expedition next post.

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Comida Mexicana

When in South Texas, we try to have breakfast or lunch once a week at small restaurants where the locals eat. We got some suggestions and then, like on our recent road trip, look for places with dusty pickups and no RV’s. It’s fun to listen to conversations, enjoy the colorful decorations, and eat some tasty modest-priced food. Good birding fuel.

Posted in Accessible_Birding, Mexican Food, Mexico | 1 Comment

Just Plain Birds

I’ve been showing off flashy birds that are eye candy but we have been seeing lots of less showboat but just as interesting subjects. Here are some:

The Orange-crowned warbler is everywhere.

White Ibis (we see white-faced as well)

A gaggle of Snowy Egrets

Long-billed Curlew working the outfield of a ball park

Black Phoebe in poor light

American Wigeon and below, his main squeeze

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Olive Sparrow

Sick of grey weather, we are moseying westward for some adventures and hopefully some sun.

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