Thursday, January 10, 2013—South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

It’s Thursday, birding day.  We departed the resort at 7:00 AM, driving to South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center; thirty people participated in this birding trip. The Center was full of shore birds, wading birds, and ducks.  I learned at least two things from this trip: birds can be inconspicuous, and birding is not a social activity.130110_E22  Many of the birds we saw were in the reeds and barely visible, like the American Bittern in the photo on the left.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says, “A stocky and well-camouflaged heron of dense reed beds, the American Bittern is difficult to see.”  Other birds were far off, and could only be identified via a spotting scope.  There were many species of ducks mixed in with the Redhead ducks, which grossly outnumbered all the other ducks combined.  Several of the birders easily recognized the various species, but it is not easy as they all “look alike” on the surface.  And it gets more complicated when one attempts to identify gulls, terns, sandpipers, and skimmers far off in the glimmering mud flats.  We saw and identified over 70 species today, and learning their nuances is a difficult and slow task for me, but each time out, I discern another species or two. We even saw a couple of alligators and a few turtles.130110_E18




We had lunch at Schlitterbahn Restaurant on South Padre Island—all you can eat shrimp.  It was fried and just okay, but the salad bar was good.

Kay napped after arriving home, and I downloaded and edited photos.  Rather than happy hour, we all met at Wayne and Bessie’s for a game of ring toss.  Game components are comprised of two boxes, about 20 inches square with about a 6 inch PVC pipe piece in the center, on end.  The boxes are approximately 20 feet apart, and the object is to throw 2 1/2 steel washers into the box, or more ideally, into the pipe in the box; also, closest to the box wins points much like horseshoes.  It was a lot of fun, and the cheering section was very vocal.

There was a campfire tonight, and Kay joined a few others who were playing guitars and singing.

It sure is nice to have good weather again.

A link to all our photos taken in Texas this winter (lots of birds and butterflies) is:

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