Friday, February 10—Finally, No Rain

Dry surroundings greeted us this morning, despite overcast skies.

Golden-fronted woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons), Bentsen RGV State Park, Mission, TXAfter coffee, email, and breakfast, Bentsen RGV State Park beckoned us with the possibility of seeing more unusual birds.  We picked up our pass at Guest Services, walked to the gift shop to get our park wristband passes, and stopped at the first feeding station to watch the birds, and quickly saw a golden-fronted woodpecker eating suet; these are pretty birds with both red and yellow spots, each the size of nickel, on their heads.  We also saw several green jays, greater kiskadees, and Altamira orioles.  We walked to the next one, but there were few birds, so we caught the shuttle to the blind where we saw fewer birds than the last time we were there. 

Kay at the top of the Hawk Tower, Bentsen RGV State Park, Mission, TXAfter a few photos, we caught the shuttle to the Hawk Tower, walked up the switch-backed ramp, but only saw an egret and a few ducks in an otherwise empty pool of water.

We caught the shuttle back to the first feeding station, also the entrance and exit to the park, Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), Bentsen RGV State Park, Mission, TXand the volunteer advised that they would be feeding the birds in just a few minutes.  While waiting, we saw most of the birds suddenly fly off, and I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk setting on a lower limb.  The smallish hawk had a beautiful mottled, ginger-colored breast, and was obviously looking for a meal because the other birds avoided the place like the plague; the Cooper’s Hawk preys mainly on songbirds.  Ladder-backed woodpecker (Picoides scalaris), Bentsen RGV State Park, Mission, TXHowever, a lone ladder-backed woodpecker was eating suet, but stopped when it noticed the hawk as it looked upwards, and remained motionless for several minutes.  The volunteers at the park were amazed and had never seen anything like this occur in the park.  My friend, Wayne, and I had seen two hawks team up in a failed attempt to take a squirrel on our patio in January 2011, so knew how lethal they could be.  We were fortunate to see all this played out right in front of us.

We drew a large crowd who joined us in watching the stand-off.  When the volunteer finally brought bird seed, the hawk flew to an adjoining tree and the ladder-backed woodpecker escaped.Birders, Bentsen RGV State Park, Mission, TX

Bikers near Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission, TXAs we walked back to the Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, we saw several bikers pedal past.  It never ceases to amaze me as bikers in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s pedal all over the place here in the Rio Grande Valley.

Friday afternoon horseshoes, Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, Mission, TXBack at the RV park, we walked past the Friday afternoon horseshoe tournament.  Today’s crowd was small compared to last week’s.

I washed the car since constant rain for 6 days had added a layer of dirt and road junk.

Kay bought tickets to the 4:00 PM show, Roland Garcia.  Roland Garcia and his band comprised a 5-member Mexican band that played Tex-Mex country western music, mostly from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.  The band featured a drummer, steel guitar, fiddle, guitar, and bass.  All of the members were in their 50s except for the steel guitar player who appeared to be in his late 60s or older; they were pretty good, and quite entertaining.  We wished the clubhouse had been bigger so we could have danced.  As an aside, Roland Garcia is a 5th generation American (US citizen).

NOTE:  The Mexicans down here pronounce Mexican as “Messican”, and Grande as “Grandie”.

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