Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Just Pull Up to the Prickly Pear

We've been doing a lot of birding these past couple of days. Yesterday we went back to the Convention Centre where I got photos of the roseate spoonbills from afar.

At the Convention Centre there is a little building with a cool alligator windvane.

There are really nice walkways over the marshy area and some interesting and useful warning signs.

After lunch and a nap, we headed over to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge north of Port Isabel and on the west side of Laguna Madre. At the Visitors Centre there were a couple of viewing places. At one, we saw 8 male cardinals and a few females and several Green Jays.

We took the 15 mile circular route that took us over to the Laguna Madre.

We spotted several osprey, a northern harrier, a Harris' hawk, Skip thinks he saw a rare aplomado falcon, a killdeer, white-tipped doves, a ringed kingfisher, a golden-fronted woodpecker, several green jays, a long-gilled thrasher and a yellow warbler.

Today, we went over to the Sabal Palm Audubon Centre in the south end of Brownsville right on the banks of the Rio Grande. There are a lot of prickly pear cacti in the area and when Skip was parking the car I just told him to pull up until he hit the prickly pear. It sounded funny at the time - sigh.

Here we were within spitting distance of Mexico - just across the Rio Bravo (what the Mexicans call the Rio Grande). I was annoyed that I forgot my camera today. Argh!!

This area of 557 acres is the last representation of what once lined the banks of the Rio Grande for about 100 miles. There are many species of birds and plants where this is their northernmost extent of their range. We spotted a blue-winged teal, an American kestral, the chachalaca, a killdeer, several white-tipped doves, a ringed kingfisher, a Couch's kingbird and a black-crested titmouse .

After lunch of delicious fajitas, we headed to the University of Texas as Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. There is an oxbow lake with a bridge across it in the middle of the campus (free parking!!!) which is an excellent place to spot birds.

The highlight for me was seeing anhingas with their fanned-out wings. There were dozens of them. I also spotted a green kingfisher but unfortunately, Skip couldn't see it. Other species we spotted at UTB/TSC were: many egrets (snowy and great) tricolour and great blue herons, moorhens, least grebes, neotropic and double-crested cormorants, Skip saw a great kiskadee.

Tomorrow we're heading to Harlingen to a driving range and then to another birding place.


  1. I like those Green Jays! But I wonder if they are as loud and quarrelsome as Blue Jays...

  2. beautiful bird Geri. We're missing you back at Kniterary.