Monday, December 14, 2015

Mission to South Padre Island

We took a pontoon boat ride on the Rio Grande with our RV Park activities group from Bentsen Palm.  We had lots of birds along the river including a flyover of the Mexican Roadside Hawk, Osprey, Zone-tailed and Harris Hawks. Lots of egrets and herons and several Ringed Kingfishers near nesting tunnels in the mud cliffs.
Ringed Kingfisher

Baby Alligator by the boat ramp

Plain Chachalaca

We had just a few days at Mission and found a few more interesting creatures to photograph.
Pavon Emperor 

Least Grebe

Lark Sparrows

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Cotton Rat checks bird feeders

We spent a morning at Quinta Mazatlan near McAllen to enjoy the birds and walking through the historic paths.
Com. Pauraque blends in to the brush

Headed east to South Padre Island and checked into Isla Blanca County Park which is on the south end of this 112 mile long barrier island.  Most is a wilderness area of sand dunes but the lower 3 miles is developing into a tourist destination, especially during Spring Break.
Brown Pelicans ride the waves

Black-bellied Plovers

Forester's Tern and Least Tern

Ghost Crabs are numerous on the dunes

Willets show off

Sandwich Tern with his yellow tipped bill

White Pelicans come south to join their cousin - the Brown Pelican

Once a week we drive to the Birding Center with its boardwalks through fresh and salt water and lookouts into the Laguna Madre.  This large bay separates the barrier island from the main land of South Texas.
Belted Kingfisher

Great Egret

Roseate Spoonbills resting

White Ibis surrounded by photographers

Northern Pintails arrive from "up north"

Clapper Rail takes a bath

Clappper Rail up close

Reddish Egret finds a snack

Yellow-throated Warbler

There is a Land Trust Area on Sheephead Avenue that is a small but amazing bird magnet for migrating birds.  Food and water is provided and this late migrating Painted Bunting found just what he needed for his flight south
Aplomado Falcon  female

We took a ride southwest towards Brownsville to find the Aplomado Falcons.  First seen at some distance but with much patience, they flew closer and closer.
Roseate Spoonbill reflects colors

American Oystercatcher

Much more to come in the next 7 weeks here on the Gulf of Mexico at S.P.I. and Boca Chica.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and God's Blessings for a wonderful 2016.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rio Grande Valley - Part 3

This Texas Tortoise wishes you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  We are coming to the end of our stay near Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park. At least until March when we return for the Spring Hawk Watch.  Almost every day we ventured into the park and were greeted by new creatures.
Blue Spiny Lizards


This is the prime time for butterflies and between Bentsen and the National Butterfly Center, a mile down the road, there was plenty of beauties to find.
Silver Emperor


Bordered Patch

Red-bordered Pixie

Southern Dogface

Two-barred Flasher

Crimson Patch

Red-bordered Metalmark

Stinging Puss Moth (spines extremely poisonous)

Guava Skipper

This Clay-colored Thrush is one of the many rarities that bird watchers come to Southern Texas to see.  It was great to bird two days with friends from Green Bay: Joan Grant, Curt Ellifson, Jim Johnson and Mike Gottfredsen who were here for the RGV Bird Festival.
White-winged & White-tipped Doves

Adult Grey Hawk

Indigo Snake

Secretive Olive Sparrow

Raccoons go for a drink

Cooper's Hawk watches the feeders

Resaca at Bentsen Palm

Pavon Emperor

Texas Wasp Moth

Little Yellow

Carolina Mantid

Carmine Dragonfly

Great Purple Hairstreak

Gulf Fritillary 

Plain Chachalaca

Altamira Oriole

American Kestrel

One of our day trips took us over to Anzulduas County Park, Hidalgo Pumphouse and checking the fields along the way.
Greater Pewee - rare bird for Texas

Monk Parakeet in colony nest on power pole

Unicorn Mantid

Unicorn Mantid - a close look

Bobcat quenches thirst at the feeder area

Striped Skunk vacuums up sow bugs

Three turkeys that are having a great Thanksgiving, free and wild on the road at Bentsen State Park.
Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann