Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Texas Day 3: South Padre Island and Estero Llano Grande

We started our third day off searching for some roosting parrots and parakeets in Brownsville. It took us only about 15 minutes to locate a small group of Red-crowned Parrots. After watching them for a few minutes, we moved on in search of Green Parakeets. Within a few minutes, we found a group of about 50 - 60 Green Parakeets and one Peach-faced Lovebird (an escaped exotic). Glad to have found the parrots and parakeets so quickly, we moved on to South Padre Island.

Green Parakeet

Peach-faced Lovebird

Our first stop on the island was the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. We immediately spotted a pair of Peregrine Falcon up on the water tower near the entrance to the Center. We found many other great birds at the Center and a few of my favorite shots are below.

Long-billed Curlew

Lesser Yellowlegs

Laughing Gull

Great-tailed Grackle

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

We tried to look for some shorebirds at some of the beach access sites but there were already too many Spring Breakers on the beach and we decided to move off the island and on to Weslaco and Estero Llano Grande State Park.

We arrived at Estero Llano and asked the people in the Visitor Center where the Rose-throated Becard had been being found. They told us where to go and we quickly hiked out towards that spot. After searching for well over an hour, we gave up on the Becard due to the extremely windy conditions. We did find some fantastic birds in the park including my lifer Plain Chachalaca, Lesser Goldfinch, Couch's Kingbird, and Green Kingfisher.

After exhausting our possibilities at Estero Llano, we headed on to our hotel in Mission. After dinner, we decided to try our luck with owls and Pauraque at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. As we hiked into the park, Eric quickly heard a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, a lifer for both of us. As we hiked farther into the park, we were greeted by the sounds of numerous Eastern Screech-Owls calling from all directions. Finally some Common Pauraques started calling and eventually started flying overhead. As we started back to our car, one of the pauraques flew within feet of Eric's head and then landed in the road about 25 feet in front of us. We had great looks at this life bird and headed back to the hotel very happy with our very successful day!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent photos! I especially love the Lesser Yellowlegs pic.