Christmas eve was pretty much a travel day, but it did go well. My flight schedule didn't get me to Harlingen early enough to get any birding done. I checked into my Motel 6 in Mission, positioned well for my trip to Bentsen State Park first thing in the morning. This morning I was awake and up early, very antsy to get going and looking for the Black-vented Oriole. I checked out of the motel and went to a nearby Denny's for breakfast. I still arrived at Bentsen SP before it was light enough to see. Other birders began to arrive. Clearly the oriole had brought 'em out, even on Christmas. There were more than a dozen by the time the visitor's center opened at 8:00. Admission was free since the floods earlier in the year had closed much of the park to visitation and what little was open was free. After I had been there half an hour, I got a call from Carolyn Stenberg, a volunteer at Santa Ana NWR whom I met when she volunteered at Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR and helped me on the Fisherman Island surveys. She had gotten my message that I was coming to the valley to look for the oriole and she was on her way to look for it with me. She arrived and we kept circulating in the area where the oriole had been seen during the past two days. After two and a half hours, we decided to walk into the park proper since they were re-opening a section today. When we approached the first feeding station and tram stop, a couple were waving their hands excitedly. We hurried ahead and there was the oriole (web photo) bathing, then preening, and then climbing up into the twigs and into clear view. But it continued on up and out of sight. Cellphone calls to those still back at the visitor center area didn't help. By the time they arrived, the bird had disappeared. As far as I know it didn't re-appear for the rest of the morning and maybe for the rest of the day. I called Joyce to tell her and was told that I had gotten an email from Susan who manages NARBA that since she knew I was in the valley I should try to check out a report of a White-throated Thrush in Pharr TX. I called the person reporting the bird and made arrangements to meet him in 45 minutes so he could show me the area where he had seen the bird yesterday afternoon. I said my goodbyes to Carolyn and the others who wished me well on my Big Year and raced off to Pharr. I met Don at the entrance to the gated RV park and golf course and he took me to the tree where he had seen the bird. The wind was terrible and there weren't any berry bushes or trees around. So after two circuits of the only semi-acceptable habitat around the golf course, I left, asking Don to call me if the bird turns up again. Another phone call from Carolyn invited me to share Christmas dinner with her, her husband, and a group of refuge volunteers. I accepted and it was a very nice get-together. Mid-afteernoon I left and drove to Laguna Atascosa NWR to look for the Rufous-backed Thrush that's being seen there. I had no luck, so decided to try again tomorrow. I drove to South Padre Island, the location of the nearest motel, got a room and some dinner. In light of the snow storm which will blanket Norfolk on Sunday, I decided not to move up my return by a day, but instead to come home on Monday. So I'll have a day and a half more in the valley. I'll do some slow birding instead of chasing, except I will look for the thrush again tomorrow morning.