Friday, January 15, 2010
Big Lows and Big Highs
Today was a day of tremendous ups and downs. My day began much earlier than it should when I ejected my previous evening's meal. But recover I did and after a McDonald's breakfast, we went to Estero LLano Grande State Park, another very new but extremely rewarding bead in the necklace which is the World Birding Center. It's in Weslaco TX and has some woodland but is mainly impoundments and grass. We arrived in the fog and immediately got information on where the participants in their recent Christmas Count had found the 6 Le Conte's Sparrows. Yes, that same species! After getting our info, we headed out to the area and after a couple of hours of flushing Grasshopper, Savannah, Lincoln's, and Lark Sparrows we finally had our quarry pop up into a scraggly bush where we drank it in for several minutes, carefully noting the important field marks and making no mistake this time. We also had a flock of about 65 Red-crowned Parrots fly overhead somewhat later in the day than anticipated, but recorded nevertheless. We also met former Waynesboro resident Huck Hutchins who asked about YuLee Larner. He's volunteering at the State Park. While at the park we also had twittering Tropical Kingbirds, a Lesser Goldfinch, the cute Black-crested Titmouse (photo), and flushed a roosting Common Parauque. In the afternoon after my peanut butter and jelly sandwich we headed north to a spot that had been reported to have Mountain Plovers. We found the place, turned off the road, went 0.2 mile and got stuck (photo). After some calls to AAA, we discovered that no tow truck would help us since the truck might get stuck too. However, along came a nearby resident who had a towing business who helped get us out and ended up charging less than the amount originally agreed to. He told us he had towed another car a short time ago that contained birders searching for Mountain Plovers. He wanted to know what the bird looked like. When shown in a field guide, he wasn't too impressed. While waiting, we had Horned Larks which was new for the year, a small consolation prize. After we were back on the road, we drove to Port Isabel and back to Brownsville. Along the way we saw no new species. Overnight in Brownsville. Species total now 230.