Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lower Rio Grande Valley - part 1

We had a week before we were to arrive at Bentsen Palm in Mission, TX, so we decided to drive to Weslaco and bird several nearby areas.

We had heard that an immature Northern Jacana was at Estero Llano Grande State Park and we really wanted to see this bird.  This would be a new ABA bird as we had one in Costa Rica for a life bird.  We spent four days walking the trails along the marsh and woodlands in the park.  We saw the Northern Jacana everyday and had other great finds..
Northern Jacana coming near in the rain

Common Pauraque

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Buff-bellied Hummingbird on Turk's Cap

Loggerhead Shrike takes a lizard

Turk's Cap

Black-bellied Whistling Duck


Great Kiskadee

Bronzed Cowbird

We took 3 other day trips from the 1015 RV park - Frontera Audubon Thicket, the Hargill Playa where we observed a life bird, the Collared Plover from south of the border, LaFeria Nature Center trails and the fields north of Progresso Lakes where we had flocks of Bronzed Cowbirds.
Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

Thornbush Dasher

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite takes flight

Ruthven's Whiptail
Oblong-winged Katydid

We stopped at Santa Ana on the way back west along the Rio Grande to Mission.  Pretty quiet as it is still early here for winter birds but we did find some insects and a Ruthven's Whiptail snake.

The reason we came in October to Bentsen Rio Grande State Park is to participate in the Hawk Watch even putting up with the heat and humidity of the tropical weather.  Every morning but Sunday we take the tram to the 2 story Hawk Tower to scan the skies for hawks, falcons, kites, caracaras, ospreys and vultures migrating out of the US to Central and South America.  We observed 20 species of raptors with over 17,000 individuals, plus another 79 bird species at the park.
Mixed Raptor Kettle

Swainson's Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Ringed Kingfisher - 16 inches

Tarantula at Bentsen Rio Grande

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers - hundreds in migration

Sundays we have been attending Palm Valley Church in Mission, TX.  An upbeat, Bible based fellowship seating over 2,000 for three services. We enjoyed returning as we attended here before as winter Texans.

There's plenty more to come in the next 6 weeks at Bentsen Palm.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida