Sunday, December 26, 2010
A Nice Day in the Rio Grande Valley
I spent last night in South Padre Island, the closest motel to Laguna Atascosa NWR. The Motel 6 was a notch above the rest. This morning I got going after sunrise since the outside temperature was only 39F and I needed it to warm up a bit. Although I was heading to a Denny's for breakfast, I discovered that it no longer existed, the space being converted into a retail store. Instead I found a small breakfast spot near the causeway bridge that offered an inexpensive breakfast and lots of people watching. I was intrigued by how few tourists there were during this holiday time. I would have thought that South Padre Island would be a location where families might go for a holiday fest, although it was cold as hell today. Still a walk on the beach and eating out are favorites most any time of year. After breakfast, I drove to Laguna Atascosa and ran into Jeff Lemons whom Joyce and I had met at Pea Island NWR in NC when we went to see the White-cheeked Pintail. He and his family were visiting the valley and they were having a ball. He was picking up lifebirds at a rapid rate since this was his first trip to the valley. I wandered around the area and finally encountered the Rufous-backed Thrush at one of the water sources. It didn't hang around long enough for anybody else to get there. I told Jeff about the sighting and then left to drive all the way to Bentsen State Park to spend the last hours of the day there. I spent a lovely three hours walking around in an area that was just re-opened yesterday. I didn't see anything rare, but it was nice to get great views of many of the valley specialties. I left after sunset and got a motel in McAllen. I walked to a nearby restaurant and then retired and watched TV from the bed. Since I don't watch much TV, it was a bit entertaining, although I'm depressed with how small the content/advertising ratio has become. I didn't measure it, but I would guess that there's no more than 35 minutes of real content per hour of TV time. Tomorrow I'll try to fly home. I hope my planes are flying and reasonably on-time. Even if they are on time, I won't get home until midnight. Then, only four days left in the year.