Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival 3

Wednesday morning began very early, with the alarm penetrating my brain at 4:33 a.m. After a mad dash to Harlingen's municipal auditorium, I boarded the bus for the Zapata and San Ygnacio field trip. The trip's five leaders included Jim Danzenbaker, Michael Retter, Richard Gibbons, Justin Rink and Jay Packer.

We visited the San Ygnacio Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary, known for its White-collared Seedeaters. The group didn't see that species, but I enjoyed seeing the Clay-colored Robin, Olive Sparrow, Ringed Kingfishers calling overhead, Belted Kingfisher perched on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande, Great Kiskadee, Black-crowned Night-Herons flying above the water, brilliantly colored Altamira Orioles, and Osprey.

Later in the day, I marveled at the soaring Harris' Hawk, Crested Caracara and Red-tailed Hawk; Green Jay; and Golden-fronted Woodpecker. At the Zapata County library, Richard pointed out a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the telephone wire. What a cool bird.

We ate lunch at Falcon County Park--known for Black-throated Sparrows--before beginning the drive south on 83. The bus returned to the auditorium about 4:30 p.m. The day felt incredibly long but provided a great start to the festival for this birder!


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