by Henry Detwiler
Barry & Margie Hawthorne, Ron Nelson, and I enjoyed two weeks
and 2600 miles of birding in the great state of Texas.
species -- complete list at end of page
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
text correspond to map locations.
SATURDAY, 10 Apr
Ron had arrived on Friday, so after picking
up our minivan, I met him at the Hyatt Hotel, and we did a little
Barry, Ron, & Margie
Elliot Landfill, Corpus Christi
the Monk Parakeet colony (1) west of the airport--but saw no birds. A short while later we were back at George Bush
International Airport, staking out the luggage carousel, where we met Barry and
Margie. We returned to the parrot colony, and saw a handful of Monk
Parakeets returning to their evening roost--a great way to start out
As we drove west towards Sealey, the sky opened up, slowing
the interstate traffic to a crawl.
SUNDAY, 11 Apr 04
Clouds and rain were the order of the day, but we
picked out some good birds on the way to Attwater NWR
(2) and along the
refuge loop. Ron got his first of many Black-bellied Whistling
Ducks, and Margie spotted an American Bittern pretending to be a
reed. On the road again, we saw many Crested Caracaras.
Between more rain and hail at Aransas NWR (3), we saw waders, a Blue
Grosbeak, and a beautiful pair of White-tailed Hawks.
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
MONDAY, 12 Apr 04
Tricolored Heron with
We boarded the "Skimmer" in the morning
and set out to find the Whooping Cranes. The cold and rain
continued, so we were happy to be peering out glass windows from the
inside of the boat. Capt Tommy Moore found us a family of three whoopers,
our first Roseate Spoonbills, and our only Sandwich Terns.
After lunch the weather
cleared and we headed to the Elliot Landfill (4)
in Corpus Christi to
search for a rare Yellow-footed Gull with a broken primary feather
and missing secondaries.
|After donning orange safety vests, we
hiked over mounds of garbage in a vain search for old
"Gimpy". Still, the spectacle of thousands of
Laughing Gulls, Franklin's Gulls sporting a breeding shade of pink, and
Herring Gulls was truly awesome.
|A final stop at a park in Kingsville (5)
beautiful Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Pyrrhuloxia, Golden-fronted
Woodpeckers, Curve-billed Thrashers, and several Couch's Kingbirds.
TUESDAY, 13 Apr 04
Monica Burdette was our host at El Canelo
Ranch (6) this morning, and she showed Barry & Margie and Ron
their life Ferruginous Owls--a pair looking down at us in her
beautiful back yard.
Other birds that were equally at home in Monica's
yard and on their ranch included Curve-billed Thrasher, Hooded
Oriole, Northern Bobwhite, and Golden-fronted
Our next stop was at one
of the crown jewels of the NWR system, Laguna Atascosa (7). From
the moment we arrived we were bombarded with new and beautiful
birds. At the bird blind and along the trails we were impressed
by showy Green Jays, a Summer Tanager, Plain Chachalacas,
White-tipped Doves, Bronzed Cowbirds, a Blue-headed Vireo, hordes of
Indigo Buntings, and our first 'gator.
WEDNESDAY, 14 Apr 04
|From Harlingen we drove south to Sabal Palm Audubon
Sanctuary (8), where we were welcomed by another lifer, this exquisite
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