Monday, January 11, 2010

Adios Texas

With a mid-afternoon flight from Harlingen, we wanted to spend a little more time birding before arriving at the airport. We tried the Los Fresnos water treatment plant, but it was closed, so we ended up at the Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen along the Arroyo Colorado, the first place we birded last week. Sunday morning was perfect. Perfect weather, sunshine, and very few other visitors or dog walkers.
We were greeted by a Harris Hawk perched on a light post, and "serenaded" by some squawking Kiskadees which posed for us much closer to the trail than the others we've seen this week. A small Kingfisher darted into the brush around the resaca (a small pond). It was small enough to be the Green Kingfisher, but I didn't get enough of a look to verify, so we'll hold that life bird for another trip.
Lots of small birds hopped in the branches, including this pair of Lesser Goldfinches. One little sparrow let us look at it for quite a while, but wouldn't hold still enough for a photo. After looking at the field guide at the airport, we think it might have been a Lincoln's Sparrow.
Curve-Billed Thrashers love grapefruit apparently, since this guy sampled several where they are nailed to the branches. He looks like he suspects we might steal his treat. The Green Jays liked grapefruit too.
OK, here's the challenge of the morning. I hoped it was an Olive Sparrow, which would have added to our life list, but it just doesn't have that brown eye stripe, no matter how much I adjust the lighting in Photoshop. However, the Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet also lives the same habitat in Southern Texas. What do you think? That would give us a total of 30 to add to our life list, and a grand total of 92 species for the week. Woo-hoo! All the bird feeders in the back yard were empty, so my first task at home was to fill them again, and find the heater for the bird bath. The small birds don't like the creek we built - it's too deep and fast for them. The pond company said the creek would not freeze in winter, and they were kind of right. The stream is flowing, but the waterfalls at the top are covered in ice.
The icy pattern as the water flows out resembles feathers made of ice, and is truly beautiful. It's good to be home again.

1 comment:

Kathiesbirds said...

That's quite a list. What a nice trip that must have been. I hope to drive across Texas later this year and see a few birds myself. That kiskadee would be a life bird for me!