Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pauraque!

The Birder of the Year trip began today rather auspiciously. Leigh Johnson, Carla Lindstrom (Leigh's mom) and I arrived at the Alamo Inn & Suites in Alamo, Texas, (between Donna and San Juan) about 5 p.m. The inn's rooms reflect different themes, and my room is very western, complete with a saddle and lasso atop the large hutch (below)!

We met up with Sheridan Coffey and Martin Reid, also staying at the inn, for dinner. Following our arduous hike across the street to El Dorado, we gratefully downed the hee-YUGE glasses of beverages. The waiter later delivered hee-YUGE platters of tasty and filling Tex-Mex vittles, which we enjoyed amid laughter-accented conversation.

Sheridan previously had suggested that we go out to spotlight Common Pauraque, so we drove west to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. We received a rousing welcome from the hee-YUGE mosquitoes.

We saw Lesser Nighthawks in the darkening sky, and we heard Eastern Screech-Owls. The pauraques also created a "ruckus," with various birds calling. What a cool sound! Thanks to the spotlight, we saw the eye glow and flight of a pauraque twice. It was Leigh's first lifer of the trip, with more to come in the three upcoming days.

The bright moon cast shadows on the gravel and asphalt roads, and the stars shone brightly. As we walked back toward the cars, fireflies appeared overhead near the trees -- my second time to see them in person, both times in south Texas. This place is so cool.

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