Saturday, January 02, 2010

Let the Texas Birding Begin

Welcome to 2010 in Harlingen, Texas! After a day with Southwest Airlines, we got the rental car and headed out around 4:00 pm. With the Texas Coastal Birding Trail map in hand, we found our first life birds of the week - an Altamira Oriole, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay and the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks! We were down in Arroyo Colorado, and they were on the other side of the stream.
We didn't get a good enough look at several other birds for a confident ID. We saw some doves, but think they were Mourning Doves. There were lots of Grackles, including the Boat Tailed Gackles we always find in Texas. A Cooper's Hawk strafed the arroyo several times, and a large flying bird turned out to be a Roseate Spoonbill! We kept hearing a soft chucking sound in the grass and brush, and hoped it was a Chachalaca, but will keep trying until we are sure. This nature center was in the middle of Harlingen, and had no trail maps available, so we just asked dog walkers how to get back to the parking lot. Thank goodness we found the motel before going birding. If we waited until dusk, we never would have found it!
Total for today - 16 birds in about 1.5 hours including 4 lifers. It's going to be a great vacation!

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