After a brief, but successful stop at the Laguna Atascosa NWR Bahia Grande Unit, AKA Apolmado Falcon Viewing Area for the … Aplomado Falcon, we headed to a little spot that came highly recommended from the Rio Grande Valley Birding facebook Group. It really was a hidden gem and we weren’t really sure we were at the correct location until we saw the entrance sign.
The Nature Trail is nicely set up and very clean.
It has several rest benches and 3 observation blinds, each with its own water feature.
In addition to many new birds, there were a couple of reptiles lurking nearby.
By the time we finished up exploring the Nature Trail, we began the search for something to stop the rumblies in our tummies, it was time for food! We happened upon what was perhaps the best lunch of the entire adventure, The Bay B Boomers Bar & Grill in Laguna Vista, 717 Santa Isabel Blvd, Laguna Vista, TX 78578. Best fish tacos EVER!
Feeling fully restored and anxious to keep rolling, we spotted Roloff Park and beyond it, the famous Laguna Madre.
With a few more species checked off at the park, we succumbed to the lure of the famous South Padre Island and headed east.
Next Week Blog Post #5 South Padre Island – Migratory Bird Mecca
Listed by the American Birding Association (ABA) as a Code-3 Rare bird, the Tamaulipas Crow occurs annually, but in very low numbers in the US. As many as 6 had been photographed by birders at the ubiquitous Brownsville Landfill in recent weeks, and this was our highest priority bird of the entire trip. The one bird that would be a life bird for all three of us.
As we followed the Google maps directions, our noses told us we were close before we could even see the entrance. The air was a swirling mass of Laughing Gulls with Great-tailed Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Turkey Vultures mixed in. As we approached the Brownsville Landfill Information sign, Jim R called out “Hooded Oriole!” and we all spotted the bright orange Icterid flitting around the entrance shrubbery.
Not knowing where to look amid the giant landfill, we asked one of the employees at the entrance booth where to go. With a pair of binoculars in hand, he stepped out and pointed up the road.
Over the course of the next 2 hours we carefully scrutinized every black-colored bird, including one likely candidate that turned out to be a piece of trash! We added Black Vultures, Crested Caracaras, Harris’s Hawks and Herring Gulls to our growing checklist.
As we back-tracked to the most likely spot, we found a Chihuahua Raven that got us excited, briefly. But not the crow…
We chatted with other dump birders, all unsuccessful in our quest to find the Rare Tamaulipas Crow.
And then the call rang out, loud and clear; “TAMAULIPAS CROW ON THE FENCE!!!” Did we finally have our treasure or was it just another close call? A quick survey; small size – check. Small bill – check. Funky squawk – check!
This was it! And it posed for us for several minutes, calling and calling the entire time.
Jim R and Rich posed and celebratory photos were captured as Jim R got his only trip lifer ON HIS BIRTHDAY!
What a great way to start our Great South Texas Birding Adventure!