We left Lake Jackson early and drove to Aransas NWR. Along the way we saw our first pair of White-tailed Hawks (photo), gorgeous buteos with a striking white breast, tawny wing patch, and as their name suggests a white tail with a black band. At Aransas we went to the observation tower which overlooks the marsh adjacent to the intracoastal waterway and from which we were able to see a pair of adult Whooping Cranes. They weren't as far away as some of the ones I've seen from the tower, so the view was quite nice. There were many waterfowl in the surrounding waters including Redheads and a nice sprinkling of shorebirds including Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, and American Avocets. Back at the headquarters we were told about a Townsend's Warbler that was frequenting the live oaks in front of the visitors center. After a short search, we found it (photo).
After the usual lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we headed west to Choke Canyon State Park. Since it was on our way, we decided to try for the Northern Wheatear near Beeville. We spent only a half hour waiting for it not to show up and left, figuring we'll get it later in Alaska. We got to Choke Canyon with a little more than an hour of daylight remaining to look for the Northern Jacana which has been there. It took about twenty minutes until the bird flew up and landed in front of us. The rest of the time was spent adding a few more new species.
Today we got the first of the southern Texas specialities, Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Least Grebe. Tomorrow and the next few days we'll get ALL the rest. It's on to the RGV. Maybe the Tiger-Heron will make an appearance.
Total species to date 192.