Monday, March 11, 2013

Birding the Rio Grande Valley - Spring Break 2013 - Day 2

Our luggage was waiting for us at the hotel last night when we got back from a full day of birding, and I was SO relieved to take a shower and use deodorant!  Dave and I both slept like logs last night, and were up at 6am to start another day.  Today, we are heading to Sable Palm Sanctuary just southeast of Brownsville.
Jan and Bob picked us up at 7am and we headed out.  As we approached Sable Palm we saw an unusual looking structure and at first I couldn't figure out what it was.  It looked like an unfinished wall on a really large warehouse.
But, as we got closer, we realized that it was the new border wall.  What an incredible structure and what an eyesore.
You really have no concept of how big it is until you walk up to it.  Here is Dave standing next to it and he's 6'5".
He doesn't even come up half way to the full height of the wall.  It is just mind-blowing that we need to have such a structure.  We had to drive through it to get to Sable Palm.
Once inside the bird sanctuary, we immediately went to the bird feeders behind the visitor's center to look for the Crimson-collared Grossbeak.  We saw Plain Chachalacas
Black-crested Titmouse
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
and thankfully, the Crimson-collared Grossbeak!

After leaving Sable Palm, we drove out to Boca Chica Beach.  It is about 18 miles out Boca Chica Avenue to the beach, and along the way we went through scrub forest, coastal plain, and shoreline.  Normally, I drive when we are on vacation (birding, that is, because I don't think we've ever taken a vacation that wasn't centered around birding), but for some reason Dave has decided that he MUST drive all the time.  So, we have tipped all of our backpacks over - more than once - as he swerved to come to an abrupt halt because he heard a bird out the window or caught a glimpse of something flying that just wasn't right.  Bob and Jan have been great sports, and I think they are enjoying themselves despite the frenetic pace!  Here's Bob scoping some shorebirds.
Along the way we saw a covey of Northern Bobwhites which has been the highlight of the trip for me.  We used to hear them all the time when I was a child, but not only do you not hear them, but you don't see them either.  So, we took advantage of the opportunity to watch the entire family group until they wandered away into the scrub.
At one point along the road, Dave thought he heard a Cactus Wren calling, so we played the call and sure enough this beautiful fellow called back!
A White-tailed Hawk flew overhead
and as we neared the shoreline, we got great looks at several shorebirds, including; Red Knot, Wilson's Plover, Western, Stilt, Semi-palmated, and Least Sandpipers, Willets and Dunlin, Lesser Yellow-legs, Sanderling, Black-bellied and American Golden Plovers, Caspian Tern and Long-billed Curlew.
We finished the day with Red-crowned Parrots at the Valley Nature Center at dusk.  What a fabulous day!


Sister Marty said...

Great job...I am so glad you are getting to see some good birds...Dave sent the photo of the Scissor-tailed flycatcher...that is another one of my favorites...hope you see a lo more today. Can't wait to see the next blog entry. Have a great time and stay safe and see lots of birds! Love you, Marty

wilmsab said...

So glad that you are enjoying the trip! There's nothing like birding in the Rio Grande! Been there twice and looking forward to another adventure. Enjoy! Love hearing about your trip as it brings back great memories:)

Valentin said...

This is cool!