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Birding Trip, South Texas

Last week (February 3-9, 2013), Angela and I spent a week in South Texas with a birding group run by Partnership for International Birding. After arrival at McAllen, we were met by our tour leader, David Trently. McAllen almost at the southern tip of Texas. At this time of year, it much warmer here than in Colorado. It took a while to get used to summer-like temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s!

During the first 3 days we visited various Parks and Wildlife Refuges around McAllen. We also made one day trip to Salineno and Falcon Lake State Park. Most of these parks were adjacent to the Rio Grande river, that forms the boundary of the US and Mexico.

Later in the week, after moving to Brownsville, we visited the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. When we arrived, the weather was overcast and foggy, a welcome change from the hot weather. During the night, water had condensed on spider webs. I have never seen so many spider webs in one location!

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Spider Webs In The Fog

Here are some of the images that I made in these foggy conditions.

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Yuccas In The Fog

 

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Great White Egret, South Padre Island

 

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Heron And Shorebirds

 

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Three Herons In The Fog

The Birding Center has many boardwalks that weave through the wetlands. This allowed one to get really close to the birdlife. I don’t own a long telephoto lens, so this was an ideal location for getting close to the birds.

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White Ibis, South Padre Island

 

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Spoonbill Wading

The boardwalk provides a great perch for herons and egrets when looking for their next meal swimming under water. I got really close to this Little Blue Heron.

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Little Blue Heron, South Padre Island

 

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Pied-Billed Grebe, South Padre Island

 

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Common Gallinule, South Padre Island

 

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Least Bittern, South Padre Island

This image was the closest that I ever got to a Great Blue Heron — about 10 feet — so I had to zoom out!

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Great Blue Heron, South Padre Island

Later in the day, we stopped at Port Isabel for an afternoon break where we had coffee and ice cream. A window cleaner was busy washing storefront windows. He had just completed this window before cleaning moving to the other side of the street. I made this image of his reflection as he was about to start cleaning the window across the street.

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Reflections Of A Window Cleaner

 

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Two Red Flowers, Port Isabel

The next day we visited Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Adjacent to the lagoon, the yucca plants were about to erupt into flower.

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Flowering Yucca, Laguna Atascosa

Leaving the refuge, we passed this Osprey who was busy munching on a fish that was caught a few minutes before we arrived.

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Osprey Feeding, Laguna Atascosa

After leaving Brownsville, we stopped for dinner at San Benito. Here we were all seated around a long table for dinner. From left to right: Angela, Georgia, Mary, Peter, Dave, Cynthia.

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Panoramic Dinner 1

I could not get everyone into one image. Here are: Will, Bobbi, David (our trip leader), Jonelle, Birgit and me.

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Panoramic Dinner 2

Dinner was accompanied by a keyboard player music. Here, are both David’s dancing with the owner of the restaurant.

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Two Davids

On the final morning, we stopped at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. We had heard that there was a Screech Owl nesting in one of the trees. We found this owl peering out of the nesting hole.

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Eastern Screech Owl, Quinta Mazatlan

During our trip we had seen about 150 different bird species. Of these about 90 species were new to both Angela and I. We enjoyed the trip, especially the company. We had a great tour leader. Thank you, David, for leading this trip.

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