What are those white birds with black wings? I asked one experienced looking birder on the trail. Ah, Avocets with winter plummage - their necks are grey, they are standing in water so you don't see their long legs, and their long bills are tucked under their wings for a snooze. No wonder I didn't recognize them!
Egrets were out in force,and we saw Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, one Cattle Egret and a Tricolored Heron. My favorite and a lifer was the elusive American Bittern. The Ringed Kingfisher finally made an appearance although it was too far away for a photo. A pair of White Tailed Kites waltzed above us, while a Loggerhead Shrike made his rounds of the reeds at lakeside. A large Caracara hardly bothered to look down on its way elsewhere.
We met only three other birders this afternoon to appreciate all these wonderful birds. The South Texas Bird Alert this week is for a Tiger Throated Heron, found in Benson, Tx, and belonging in Central America some place. Apparently it eats rats! Benson is only another 30 minutes from here. If you leave now, you can see it today... I passed this time. My back is starting to hurt from standing up so long, despite our Yoga stretches this morning.
The trails through the native vegetation yielded a Long Billed Thrasher, a lifer, and a surprise bird that we think was a Common Pauraque, startled into the air as several people passed close by. This is another South Texas speciality resident year round in this area. In the same area we found a black and white woodpecker, with a black cap, which we determined to be a female Ladderback Woodpecker. The familiar Northern Cardinal was one of the few birds willing to sit still, in the open, and pose for a photo!
Added to the Life List today: Least Grebe, Long Billed Thrasher, Ladderback Woodpecker, Black Crested Titmouse, Common Pauraque, American Bittern, Long Billed Dowitcher, Ringed Kingfisher
Previous Lifers: Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Couch's Kingbird, Groove Billed Ani, Great Kiskadee, White Tailed Kite, Plain Chachalaca, White Tipped Dove, Buff Bellied Hummingbird, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks Green Jay