The Osprey Overlook is, I am sure, fabulous in winter, but even now the number of Coots and especially Redheads was amazing: perhaps 400 of the former, at least 2000 of the latter. With the Bayside Trail continuing closed to protect Ocelots, and Alligator Pond also closed, there wasn't much more to do than drive back down Buena Vista slowly looking for goodies on the wires. And there were! Twenty Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers all lined up.
|Count 'em: 20 Scissor-Tails|
Leaving the Refuge, I continued south on Buena Vista Road into prime Aplomado Falcon territory, hoping perhaps I might get lucky. Then BOOOM! A medium-sized falcon explodes across the road chasing something I never saw. I stopped and got onto it, long enough to see its long, narrow wings and uniform grayish color. Hardly the lifer look I hope for, but I'll take it. A few hundred yards later I finally saw a White-Tailed Hawk.
After a very productive stop in Laguna Vista at a lagoon by a waste-water treatment plant (hundreds of Coots, two Black-Necked Stilts, two Avocets, and much more), I headed across Laguna Madre to South Padre Island. After a quick bite of excellent Mexican at The Big Donkey, I first toured the boardwalk at The Birding and Nature Center, which is adjacent to the Convention Center. The boardwalk crosses salt pannes and marsh and then the beach and into the bay, with photo blinds everywhere you want them. It was especially fun shooting terns as they flew upwind.
One more stop at the Valley Land Fund Lots turned up an Inca Dove and my first legitimate Tropical Kingbird.
Tomorrow: a pontoon boat ride on the Rio Grande and a tour of Anzalduas State Park. Zone-Tailed Hawk!