Monday, May 8, 2017

San Padre Island and Points South

No I didn't get lost or kidnapped and whisked over the border to Mehico...I've been way off the grid.  I was so braggy about having internet and wham! Gone. So today Im back in Civilization...I will try to catch up one day. Im still on the road...driving and sightseeing, but this is my last week out...

I stopped in Fulton to mail out some postcards, and saw this White Winged Dove up in the tree they are plentiful here,,,I thought it was a new bird for me, but  when I checked my book, I have seen it before on another trip to TX in 1994...but it was so long ago I forgot..

                           On this day I traveled to San Padre National Seashore. It's a long narrow spit of an island, and highways only go so far and then you have to access it by boat. 

                                               Wilma hard at work giving me directions.  

Hwy 35 past Corpus Christi, and then 358, to the park road 22. I found this little spot to stop for a leg stretch, 

...people were camping under that bridge but how can they stand the traffic noise?

Lots of water, that bridge is going to and around Corpus Christi.  Around the Indian Point I saw, a few birds no lifers but all good, this could be a western sandpiper, another group of birds that make me batty...

Just before crossing the bridge over to C-C there is a small island like only 100 ft long it was covered in Roseate Spoonbills But driving was impossible to get a photo, the ones I saw in FL last yr did not have this awesome pink breeding plumage at the shoulder this is the best shot I got...

I did see some others on South Padre with better shots...

Then finally I arrived at the San Padre National Seashore.  It is run by the National Parks Service, and so I got a nice stamp for my Passport booklet, and a coin for my collection! They did not have a penny turner much to my disappointment!

This is the Malaquite Visitors Center.  The road going in is under heavy construction....took forever, but finally I made it, the camping area lacks a lot: privacy, shade, and no charm what so ever.  But I found a spot, right across from Chris who got up and came over to introduce himself before I even got out of my van.  He polished off what looked to be a bottle of pretty good Scotch while he got his wind burn.  

I said windburn because the wind howled at about a good steady 40 mph the entire time I was there...I did take a couple beach walks but mostly I was hunkered down against the wind.  Check the white caps...

Had this Bob White Quail surprise me right behind the van...

There was a Sanderling convention going on, they were having a hard time staying on the ground...

There is another campground on the bay side the wind was getting them pretty hard too...saw this interesting young Brown Pelican resting, and some white pelicans out in the water...

Next day the wind was still howling so I left...made my way back to Robstown, and took Hwy 77 south that eventually becomes I-69E, and then Hwy 2 west to Westlaco where I found a motel for 2 nights due to the extreme heat.  It was in the triple digits when I arrived but before that I had a blast at one of the Hwy 77 rest near Sarita. 

cool tile mural in the ladies room

It was an amazing place just a tree filled spot in the middle of 4 busy lanes of traffic but a haven for the birds!!  

The Hooded Oriole...male and female, lifers,  I think they were nesting across the south bound lanes they would fly over get a worm and take off across the first I was jumping for joy thinking this was the Altamira Oriole but finally I realized it is the Hooded, I was happy with that!

Another surprise was seeing this Tropical Parula  (no white on the eye) up high singing away...the Northern Parula migrates to SC, but not these...another new bird!!


My plan was to stay in the Lower Rio Grande area for 2 nights and 3 days but the first day I got there late so I jumped in the pool and just was already too hot to try and do any birding or hiking.   I lined up my next couple days of adventure.  At the Motel  the next morning I got up early and found this amazingly huge Ringed Kingfisher on the wire.  What a way to start the day. 

His head is soooo much bigger than his body!

and more also seen's just cause they are so cool...

black bellied whistling ducks

black bellied plover

Laughing gulls
It's just not Texas without a Long Horn...even if he is napping!

Next up World Birding Center Estero Llano Grande State Park. 

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


  1. Oh wow, all the good birds! How cool are the Ringed Kingfishers? We only saw a couple and never got a photo, but they're so huge and crazy! Hooded Orioles at a rest stop? That's awesome!

    1. Hi Jen, I was so happy to see that fisher up on the line, just waiting for me or so it seemed! Im having a hell of a time with my ID's all the Orioles, Flycatchers, and Kingbirds look the same to me...

  2. I figured you either were kidnapped by aliens or no internet available.

    The Spoon bill is gorgeous and the Ringed Kingfisher reminds me of the old cartoon Character Woody Woodpecker. The whistling ducks and the black bellied plover are great looking birds. Lets just say all your pictures are fantastic.

    1. Hi Jo! LoL...yep those little birds have that enormous head I guess to help with the impact when they hit the water as they dive!

  3. Amazing how you see all these birds. Too bad about the wind and heat, but I know you make the best of it. We're getting rain.

    1. HI good to see y'all are back on the road I hope to catch up on reading blogs once Im settled back home. I found wind to be an issue in a few places...and the heat.

  4. I can't believe all those birds you saw at a rest stop! Wow. I know Texas in April was wonderful birding (we were on North Padre Island two different winter/springs) but holy cow a rest stop? Amazing. Beautiful pictures and I'm glad you got some internet back . Thanks for sharing.

    1. YEAH the trees in this rest area were full of caterpillars and bugs, so with all that food the birds were happy to be there.


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