Friday, May 12, 2017

Estero Llano Lifers

I got up so early the night manager at the Motel 6 in Westlaco was still on duty he was so sweet he gave me a booklet that listed all the World Birding Center locations, with addresses, and directions, a very nice man.  I found Texicans' to be much more interesting than Texans....well I'll just leave it there.  I know it was crazy to try and visit 3 of the World Birding Center locations in one day but that is what I did! Estero Llano Grande was my first stop.

Did I tell y'all my main reason for visiting Texas was to increase my Bird Life List? That's why I'm so focused on the bird life in this first leg of my trip. If you build it they will come is the theory here.

and come they do; the birders that is....and the BIRDS!

the Visitors Center taken from the boardwalk

They have a nice set up at the Visitors Center, feeders, oranges hanging out, pnut butter feeders, and hummingbird feeders. I saw this Black Chinned Hummer

and the Buff Bellied Hummer

Buff Bellied being a lifer for me!  The feeders were buzzing!! There's flowers for the other winged critters in the park, like this Monarch,

The flowers attract Black Bellied Whistling Ducks too...LoL!!

Ducks are so very clever! Got this better look at the Black Crested Titmouse...

Lots of activity in the pond...and marsh

Wilson's Phalarope going in circles, Long and Short Billed Dowitchers, Muscovy Ducks were in there, Greater Yellow Legs,  Western Sandpipers, and I know I'm leaving something the Great Blue Heron, the Little Blue, and the Egrets, and Green Heron I saw. 

wilson's phalaropes

Western Sandpiper? I can never get these right!

greater yellow legs

Long Billed Dowitchers

I walked the plank,  and found these life birds: 

this center is very accessible

 Golden Fronted Woodpeckers

...and another the Tropical Kingbird, (deep notch in tail?) Another group of birds that gave me a hell of a time with the ID, the Western, the Couch's, and the Tropical kingbirds all very similar. 

....looking into the sun on this shot but the notch is really showing up here 

and below the Great Kiskadee 

Some mammals were around too....

It was about this point I picked up a birding buddy, and we walked a few trails together.  Up at the VC a fellow told me about a nesting Grey Screech Owl, and amazingly I found the nest cavity..

sleepy grey screech owl

The plants are very tropical, and that is part of why there is so much bird-life in this Rio Grande Valley.  

One more life bird...

the Plain Chachalaca 

and although not new saw many Curved Bill Thrashers. Love the eyes on this bird. 

The lady who I walked with told me this is the nest of the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.  Could be for sure they do nest there.  

I tried like heck to make this Flycatcher into one, but in the end I relented and am calling it the Least Flycatcher. 

Once the lady told me she voted for Trump we parted but I was ready to leave...
I picked up 7 life birds here the 7th was the Bewick's Wren that I didn't photograph, thinking it was a Carolina Wren that I see around home all the time...the lady who joined me told me Nope its a Bewick's it's here all the time she said...Grrrrrrrrr oh well not the only lifer I didn't photograph!

I will split this day into 2 posts...

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. Man, lady. You are OUT and ABOUT! Awesome! Your travels look fabulous and we hope you are super well.

    1. Hi Jennifer, so glad to have you visit, I have to catch up on your posts...I have been traveling for about 25 days and it takes me a while to get my sea legs back to steady. I am doing wonderful and feeling great!

  2. Amazing photography. What a great place. You must have gotten out of the wind by this time thank goodness.

    1. Thank you for the praise...I think I am a determined photographer...if anything. I am out of the wind and out of the heat.

  3. Once again great pictures of birds I would love to photograph too. The humming birds are so beautiful. Only one picture was missing for some reason. Can't wait for you to post the rest. I have enjoyed this trip with you.

    1. One photo missing....weird, I see them all on my screen. Texas is so diverse...when you think of the eastern beaches, then the Lower Rio Grande is tropical, travel west and high desert, then north and its Piney Woods and the middle is farming and ranching land. That brings in the diversity of the bird life.

  4. How many new lifers are you up to now? And how many all time lifers do you have so far? This is a great post and I'm so envious! I haven't been there yet! But it is now at the Tippett top of my list!

    1. After Estero Llano I had 26 new lifers! BUT more are coming so hang tight on the total...I did not do individual ebird lists for Texas I'm just going to do a State Tally once I confirm or disprove some with my not so good photos of the ones that almost got away.


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