I though a successful haul of lifers from my five days in South Texas, would be between 15 to 20 new species. I just squeaked in at 15 new Life birds. It was not just about the number of birds but their quality.
And I certainly had quality in spades! My trip was bookended by two iconic Texas super specialties: whooping crane and hook-billed kite. These two birds would have been worth the price of airfare, lodging, and rental car alone!
Judging by the accents, both domestic and international, on the Whooping Crane Boat Tour and the Santa Ana observation tower, the whooper and hook-billed draw birders from both far and wide to add these relative rarities to their world life list.
I did miss a few birds on my target list: muscovy duck, Audubon’s oriole and Wilson’s plover but seeing these birds, as is the case with many species, can be a hit or miss quest and I just happened to miss.
I returned from Texas with a total of 527 species on my the United States (ABA) list and 651 species on my world bird list, but who’s counting?
Who doesn’t love a parking lot least tern? Rockport, Texas.
Birding the border on my search for America’s largest kingfisher on the Rio Grande River. The “water bottle” hook on my tripod came in handy.
Birds on the wire. I must be on 10th Street in McAllen. Green parakeets and great-tailed grackles (the ubiquitous bird of South Texas).
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Texas.