Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Texas - Day 5

Our first full day in the Rio Grande Valley. After a nice breakfast at the Alamo Inn we headed to our first location, Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park. After registering in and crossing a small river we came to a visitor centre outside of which were two feeder stations. Here we saw a wide diversity of bird live, from the Chachalaca (20+) feeding on the floor to birds feeding off the feeders, such as Green Jays, Red Wing Blackbirds, Kiskadee, Northern Cardinals and Pyrrhuloxia, all coming down within 5 feet of us.

Chachalaca - Ortalis

Fox Squirrel - Sciurus niger

After some time at the feeders we headed into the park itself. Although not at it's most active due to the colder weather and slight winds we were able to see Great-tailed Grackle and a kingfisher, unfortunately to far away to photograph. We then went off the main path down one of the trials taking us more into the bush. A short time after turning away from the main path I heard a rustle in the bushes, so I slowly went off the path to investigate  I was greeted by a garter snake which I had not any idea what it was so quickly moved back. Unfortunately this must have scared the snake and it disappeared under a log.

Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus

After our walk around the reserve we headed back to the car to get some lunch. On our way we started talking to a volunteer at the park who told us where we could see a Eastern Screech Owl, so after lunch we took the park tram to the start of the path where the owl could be found. Ironically it was the same path we had walk down earlier. We found the tree that the owl was meant to be in and no matter how hard we looked we couldn't see it.

Where is he??

Luckly another visited came along who had visited the park a few times and pointed the owl out to us, it had been right in front of us all this time!!

There he is!!

Eastern Screech Owl - Megascops asio

After capturing photos of the Screech Owl we headed back to the car to drive to the Butterfly Center which was next door to Bentsen. After arriving we made out way down to the gardens hoping to see  different species of butterflies but due to the weather not being great we only saw, a flighty Queen butterfly. However it wasn't all lost as in the gardens they had a bird feeding area where we found even more bird then we had seen at Bentsen. The feeders attracted Fox Squirrels, Altamira Oriole, Green Jays, Kiskadee, Northern Cardinals and Pyrrhuloxia.

Altamira Oriole -  Icterus gularis

Long-billed Thrasher - Toxostoma longirostre

Green Jay - Cyanocorax yncas

Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis

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