pointers. We felt bad getting the neighborhood dogs barking but no one seemed to mind except us. Wevisited Resaca de la Palma State Park after seeing the parrots. There we got to see the Green Parakeetsin good light.We went south of Brownsville to the Sabal Palm Audubon Center. This place is cradled in a bend of theRio Grande. We had to drive through the border fence to get into it. We sat at the feeders there for overthree hours waiting for the Crimson-collared Grosbeak to show up but it never did. However we got tosee Clay-colored Thrush (formerly robin), Buff-bellied Hummingbird, White-tipped Dove and OliveSparrow. All of them were life birds. A Texas Indigo Snake crawled through the feeding area creatingsome excitement. We watched Green Anoles display and change colors. While at the center many of the
cell phones wouldn’t work thinking we were in Mexico even though technically we were still in the U.S.
After giving up waiting for the grosbeak, we headed to South Padre Island. We walked though a coastalwetland and got close to a lot of birds including the secretive Virginia Rail. Believe it or not we had apicnic ham dinner made by Sally on the grounds of the Port Isabella lighthouse. It was delicious.Wednesday, March 20, 2013
On our way to our first stop we passed a car dealer named Boggus Ford. It didn’t seem
like an idealname to sell cars. We headed to the Estero Llano Grande State Park. I picked up a Least Grebe for my lifelist. They are cute. We were fortunate to have someone tell us where we could see a CommonPauraque. We would never have seen it as it was so well camouflaged. At night they are found by seeingtheir red eye with a light. We were not to use flash to avoid scari
ng the bird. However, Chris’ flash went
off by mistake. The red eye is amazing in the picture. It was getting so hot I finally broke down andtreated myself to some ice cream.Our next stop was the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge on the Mexican border. We enjoyed watching
the Swainson’s Hawks migrating
north over the river from their winter in South America. We wanted to
see the Green or Ringed Kingfishers but couldn’t find them.
We did see a Diamondback Water Snake.We saw a Green Kingfisher (lifer) later in the day when we stopped in Hidalgo at the Pumphouse. In thattown we also saw Monk Parakeets and their communal nest. Before leaving Santa Ana, we had a picnic
at their visitor’s center.
While waiting to leave, my hat went missing. Can you believe one of my ownparty members took it? Merle is claiming to be a hero for saving it but I have my doubts.We tried to get close to the river to see some birds but were warned that it may be dangerous by theBorder Patrol. We wondered who was the most dangerous
Mexicans or the Border Patrol. We becamecynical over the border fence as it seemed very patchy and localized. I suspect someone is making a lot
of money installing it. It sure didn’t make us feel safer. Under a bridge from the U.S. to Mexico, therewere a lot of Cave and Cliff Swallows nesting. They didn’t appear to have anyone checking their
credential as they freely flew back and forth across the Rio Grande.Tonight we changed to a Travelodge in Pharr for resting up. Before retiring we had a good Italian dinner
at Johnny Carino’s. After dinner I sat with Darrel and Leona Diener at our motel. They live in McAllen,
Texas. It was good to catch up with them. I practiced with Darrel for two years in Puerto Rico.Thursday, March 21, 2013After a breakfast of more Frosted Flakes, we headed to Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park. We
waited for the Elf Owl to show itself but it didn’t. It was a nice park to hike in. We had a picnic in Mission
after our park morning.