Friday, August 1, 2008

Finally, The Ocean

Before sunup, I was on my way to Brownsville. My destination? Sabel Palm Sanctuary. The gate was closed. I thought they open at sunup, but I guess not. A bird I needed was in there, but I had a third spot lined up. TC took me to the intersection of East Cowan Terrace and Heather Lane. A few short minutes later, and I was looking at a YELLOW-GREEN VIREO (life bird #618). Recognizing that this was a residential neighborhood that probably wasn’t used to bird traffic like the other one in McAllen, I did not stay long.

I sped back to Sabel Palm. White-tipped Dove was nice, as where the Least Grebes. I also got some great looks at Black-chinned Hummingbird (literally feet away at the feeders). All in all, I thought it was a bit slow, however. I opted to take the road out to Boca Chica Beach. Botteri’s Sparrows were right were the books said they would be. More Harris’s Hawks were nice, too. An Osprey was very cooperative. I also spent some time at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Long-billed Curlew and most of the waders made for a nice drive. The Crested Caracara was just a bit too far out for good photographs. While I had seen quite a few on this trip as a whole, none were really photographable. I was ultimately hoping for Aplomado Falcon. No, I can’t count it, but it would be nice to see one anyhow. I didn’t. Spending some time near the water drip photographing Green Jays was pleasant.

As dinner time approached, I opted to head back to South Padre Island. I had been there before with my sister in November of 2005 (thus, some of these Rio Grande Valley birds were not new). I was feeling artsy-fartsy and knew I could have some fun over there. After securing a place to stay (twice as much as the Alamo Inn and half as nice), I had dinner with an old friend: the Padre Island Brewing Company. There was only one new beer since I was there a few years back, the Raspberry Wheat. With my new found knowledge from the Brewmaster’s Club at Sea World, I am certain grapes or a light cheese would have complimented this beer nicely. The quail was delicious, but it took a while for me to get it. I thought perhaps they had to head to Davis Mountains to shoot one.

I spent the sunset hours on the boardwalk (after leaving the ocean side beaches) where I photographed yet another water tower. The sunset itself was quite possibly on of the nicest I I have ever seen. Clapper Rail, Marbled Godwits, and
Black Oystercatchers were just as stunning.

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