Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Moving Down the Texas Coast

The past 2 days have seen us moving down the coast into "the valley" as they say here in Texas. Yesterday morning we started at San Bernard NWR near Freeport in an effort to find a black rail. We found some good habitat, but heard no rail. We then stopped in at Indianola which also had good rail habitat but again found no rail. En route we did get a new year bird--cliff swallow. In general we found that the spring migration still is not really underway. So we drove on down to Kingsville to spend the nite.

The highlight of the day was dinner at Daddy O's whose sign caught our attention claiming that they had the best hamburgers in town. We walked in and asked our waitress if that claim would hold up, and she said of course. After talking with her about the menu, I chose the chicken fried chicken which in Texas is a chicken breast filet cooked like they cook a chicken fried steak (at Daddy O's their version of chicken fried steak uses an 8 oz ribeye instead of a minute steak). It came with really good mashed potatoes and gravy, and slaw. My friend went for the hamburger and confirmed that it was a very good burger. Our waitress then sold us on the homemade cheesecake that was like a good New York cheesecake. On the way out my friend walked into the kitchen, and discovered that the chef was cordon bleu trained in Philadelphia.

This morning we started well in a little county park in Kingsville where birds were calling from everywhere. We found 2 more new year birds--chimney swift and bronzed cowbird. Then we drove thru many back roads south of Kingsville looking to see if we could find more migrating shore birds but did not. Next birding stop after lunch was Laguna Atascosa NWR--my third visit here this year. We drove the 13 mile loop which really had fewer birds overall than when I came thru 3 weeks ago. What it did have this time was both an immature aplomado falcon and an adult. This bird is not currently countable under ABA rules because it has not been accepted as an established breeding bird in the US. It is still a fine bird to see and enjoy.

We then wandered around the countryside between Laguna and Brownsville looking at a few shorebirds (such as western sandpiper, short-billed dowitcher, dunlin, black bellied and american golden plovers, willets, and reddish egret). We also checked out some habitat that might have had either cassin's or botteri's sparrows, but with today's high winds sparrows were not out. We ended the day in Brownsville looking at red crowned parrots, and green parakeets (3 sitting together in the photo above).

So after 2 more days of birding here in Texas, the week count has risen to 143 different species seen. 4 more new birds for the year brings the YTD total to 446. Tomorrow morning we will head over to Santa Ana NWR to see what it has to offer. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Confusion... a bare-throated tiger heron counts but an aplomado falcon does not?