Saturday, 21 March 2009

Spring Break on SPI and the Environs

The weather finally warmed up on Monday so we went to the Gladys Porter Zoo with Scooter.

The rest of the week Skip and Scooter went to a driving range, golfed a couple of times, the three of us went birding at Atascosa and here on the island.

I was thrilled to see the Altamira Oriole (icterus gularis) whilst at Atascosa. It hangs around the park office parking lot.

Long-billed thrasher (toxostoma longirostre)

Roseate spoonbills (ajaia ajaja)

Long-billed curlew (numenius americanus)

American Kestrel (falco sparverius)

Northern mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)

We then drove the 15 mile loop along the Laguna Madre and back then headed over to the Palo Alto Historic Site where the first major battle of the Mexican-American War took place in 1846.

On the way back to the island, we got caught up in the Friday-of-Spring-Break traffic snaking its way through Port Isabel then across the 4km Queen Isabella Bridge then up to the condo. The normally 10 minute drive took 1.25h. We got to see Spring Breakers in 'full breeding plumage' as they made their way towards the party venues along the main drag, Padre Boulevard. We are thankful for the ubiquitous police presence. Every night this week there has been some type of emergency vehicle making a call across the street from our condo. We are hoping that next week - although still Spring Break for several US colleges - will be much quieter.

This morning we went birding at the convention centre.

Black-bellied whistling ducks (dendrocygna autumnalis)

Black skimmer (rynchops niger)

Sandwich terns* (sterna sandvicensis)

We decided to avoid the bottleneck of the bridge and stayed on the island the rest of the day. It is common to see some enormous sea creature in this area.

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