When Audrey and I arrived in Brownsville to pick up Sarah, Max, and Eric from the airport, we had an extra hour to kill, so we found a small park to bird, Dean Porter Park. It was windy AF but there were new birds and new trip birds and new turtles too.
Once the whole gang was in town we headed to our Airbnb in Harlingen. This place was the shiznit. We could have sat in the yard the whole five days and still seen a ton of birds. For example, here is a checklist from one evening when we drank beer and ate popsicles.
The morning we went to South Padre with Nate and AJ we first drove the dusty Old Port Isabel Road. The highlight here was finding the nesting Aplomado Falcons who eventually flew right by us.
Later in the day after leaving South Padre we stopped at the Zapata Memorial Boat Ramp and finally found some Wilson's Plovers.
There were a bunch of terns around and I believe these must be Gull-billed with their honkin black bills and long black legs.
From this hazy spot we headed to Boca Chica Beach which involved driving the shoreline all the way to the mouth of the Rio Grande. There was a dead dolphin that caused some excitement.
While we were standing around at one point AJ yelled "pelagic bird!" We looked out over the Gulf to find a Sandwich Tern being pursued by a Parasitic Jaeger. Definitely a surprise!
At some point Max caught a fish with his bare hands because that's how he rolls.
After picking up some Mexico year birds we headed out with one more stop at some random beach that held our state Dunlin.
One morning we drove out to Sabal Palm Sanctuary and noticed this sign along the way:
It didn't feel as birdy as I wanted it to be but we did see some good stuff.
On Sarah, Max, and Eric's last night in Texas we headed south to Brownsville to visit the parrot roost at Oliveira Park. The park itself was bananas with a bunch of different soccer games, little league, a playground or two, and people everywhere. Someone noticed a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on a palm tree around the same time parrots began to fly in.
The parrots were cool, mostly Red-crowned which are ABA-approved.
There were also Red-lored (below), Yellow-headed, and White-fronted, none of which are "countable."
I was also stoked to look up at one point and see a Lesser Nighthawk cruising over.
The last morning in Harlingen we birded random spots around town. A few fun things were found...
We packed up our stuff from the Airbnb, did a little birding at a college campus, then stopped for snacks and Lone Stars before taking the gang to the airport.
On our last day in Texas after birding Salineño, Audrey and I had to make the long drive back to San Antonio. We had time to stop for stuff along the way and so we did. Like this turtle debating the idea of crossing the busy highway.
We turned it around and it scurried off into the grass. This is the sort of thing that makes Border Patrol want to stop and talk to you.
We stopped for tons of dead things including a snake, a cow, a piglet, and the saddest one, a bobcat. I learned here that butterflies drink blood.
Lastly, we stopped for some swallows nesting under a highway overpass in hopes of finally getting good looks at Cave Swallows. Success! They were nesting right alongside Cliff Swallows.
Finally I am done blogging about Texas! It was a fantastic adventure and I can't wait to go back and bird there again someday. Thanks to Audrey, Sarah, Max, and Eric for joining me! And thanks to Nate and AJ for making the trek to join us for a couple days and show us the secret pauraque hiding spot (and a million other things).
25 lifers! 41 ABA birds! Only one tick! A billion bug bites! Good times!!!!!
Sorry, pretty butterflies...