Goodbye Goose Island State Park

After a chilly (by Texas standards) start, we had a good end to our week at Goose Island. The birding was good and I got a couple of life birds: Clay-colored Sparrow and Harris’s Sparrow. One of my birding goals for 2015 is to get at least 100 birds in five U.S. counties. I did it in 2014, just squeezing through with my home county. So I was hoping to reach 100 birds during our week at Goose Island. It’s not easy since while the waterfowl are around (although I missed Green-winged Teal), only Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers are present.

One of the common sites at Goose Island is the Brown Pelicans waiting for anglers to return and clean their fish.

One of the common sites at Goose Island is the Brown Pelicans waiting for anglers to return and clean their fish.

By Saturday night, I was at 99 species; we were leaving Sunday morning. I got up early, took the dog for a long walk, and visited some feeders which had been unproductive all week. As things would have it, the 100th bird who hopped out of the bushes was Vermont’s State Bird, a pretty Hermit Thrush. Then, four White-Throated Sparrows arrived and I called it quits at 101 and went back to hook up the trailer and get ready to depart.

Large rafts of Redheads are everywhere, as are duck hunters traveling by noisy airboats.

Large rafts of Redheads are everywhere, as are duck hunters traveling by noisy airboats.

We are rather limited with Wifi and busting our data plans for the phones and iPads so posting photos is a challenge. After a long wait one night, I told a fellow who was standing their in the dark with his cell phone that “It’s like watching grass grow.” He didn’t get it — turns out he was a visitor from the Netherlands. He certainly agreed that the reception was awful. We are now in the Rio Grande Valley with thousands of other Winter Texans, many from Canada. Each year, as more folks get multiple devices, the signals get worse. You can get a 4G signal with three or four bars but there’s so much demand that you might as well forget it. I get up early and it works like a charm.

A face only a Turkey Vulture mother could love.

A face only a Turkey Vulture mother could love.

We are not sure we’ll make it back on the way home but in any case, it remains one of our favorite state parks in the Southwest.

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