Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Texas - Sable Palm Audubon Sanctuary - Tuesday 31 May 2011

For Tuesday we had another long drive planned, this time after the main birding of the day. We'd worked out that Big Bend was 11-12 hours from Brownsville so it made sense to book a stop for the night in San Antonio, still a good 5-6 hours from where we were.

The first place we visited and a major birding location was the Sabel Palm Audubon Sanctuary. Like all of Southern Texas this area is experiencing a very tough drought, it being over eight months since the previous rainfall. A lot of areas marked as water on the sat nav were in fact completely dry.

Still the reserve was a great place to visit, like all Audubon sanctuaries it has a great feel to the place and very welcoming staff. As usual birds gathered on the feeders by the visitor centre, including Olive Sparrow, a new species for us:

The familiar but photogenic Northern Cardinal:

And Brown Thrasher, another new species, providing excellent views:

Out on the trail is a wetland area, we dipped out on the Green and Ringed Kingfishers but enjoyed seeing Pied-billed Grebe:

Least Grebe:

And distant views of Masked Duck, an uncommon vagrant to the USA.

The gathering light of day illuminated this juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron:

A huge crab scuttled for cover once it realised it had been spotted:

Out in the wooded area of the trail we saw Ladder-backed Woodpecker:

Inca Dove:

Couch's Kingbird:

and Ash-throated Flycatcher:

They even put the coffee on when we got back to the office and refused payment so we made a donation to the sanctuary. Onwards...

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