Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Texas - Route 69 and Laguna Atascosa NWR - Monday 30th May 2011

We broke the drive down towards Brownsville with a stop at a rest stop on Route 69 (using the State Birding Trail maps - which are useful but not wholly reliable as a lot of promised improvements didn't materialise and some stops no longer exist or don't have access).

We did see Green Jay but only twice briefly flying in an out of a tree across the road. Much closer was a Hooded Oriole:

Next stop Laguna Atascosa NWR. Here the birding tour map undersold the location dramatically, suggesting the offices would be closed (they were open) and that it would be very quiet, whereas for us it was an outstanding few hours of birding.

Close to the headquarters is a small pool of running water, which attracted a number of birds including a Red-winged Blackbird:

Great-tailed Grackles were also bathing or drinking from time to time. A couple of orange halves were sufficient to provide excellent views of Green Jays:

Splendid birds!

Back in the water a Brown-headed Cowbird:

Then a Bronzed Cowbird:

And that was all within fifteen minutes!

We walked a little further along the short trail outside the offices, encountering Plain Chachalaca:

From the trail we then hopped back in the car for the driving trail, again picking up a number of new species including Northern Bobwhite:

Great views of a now 'common' species the Great Roadrunner, sunbathing:

and then preening:

A Golden-fronted Woodpecker, a new species:

A bird we'd only seen before a couple of times, the Dickcissel:

Flying overhead a Common Nighthawk:

We really enjoyed Laguna Atascosa, great spot! We tried from there to find Neotropic Cormorant and regretted not having stopped in the morning when we saw a few Cormorants on a roadside lagoon but dipped out on them, then headed exhausted to our hotel in Brownsville and a non-pizza dinner!

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