Friday, February 8, 2013—Birding, Butterflies, and Friday Night Entertainment

130208_E-2We were so happy this morning to accompany Missouri friends, Jim and Cheryl Watts, to the National Butterfly Center (NBC) and Bentsen Rio Grande State Park.

We discovered the NBC last year, but only visited a couple of times. Vast improvements and additions have been made since then, including the addition of a well-maintained bird feeding station. Consequently, a number of different species are attracted to the area, and provides for great birdwatching and photography.

Since the the feeders are typically filled at approximately 8:30 AM, we arrived about 9:00 AM and were quite disappointed and concerned as no birds could be seen or heard. After a few minutes, however, the birds began trickling in and remained steady through the morning. It was cool and only a couple of other birders were present, making for an outstanding morning. We saw Green Jays, Greater Kiskadees, Olive Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Altamira Orioles, Clay-colored Thrush, Golden-fronted woodpeckers, Ladder-backed woodpeckers, Long-billed Thrashers, Common House Sparrows, Inca Doves, White-winged Doves, and a RAT!130201_E-3

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We were not fortunate enough to see many butterflies because of the cool temperatures and heavy winds, but did manage to see a few of God’s colorful, fluttering creatures.130208_E-17

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We then drove to Bentsen Rio Grande State Park, acquired our wrist bands, and walked to the first couple of feeding stations near the gatehouse where we observed chachalacas. Feeding station #3 did not yield any birds, and only a few wading birds were observed in the resaca. Resacas are old bendways of the Rio Grande River, and are analogous to oxbow lakes in the Midsouth. We scored a major victory at the Green Jay blind, where we were able to get up close and personal to Green Jays, Greater Kiskadees, Olive Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Altamira Orioles, Red-winged Blackbird’s, and Golden-fronted woodpeckers. It was an absolutely awesome morning.

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We topped the great morning off with lunch at El tio Chuys, our favorite family-owned Mexican restaurant near Bentsen Palm Village.

Friday night is typically entertainment night at Bentsen Palm Village and tonight Cross Strung performed. Cross Strung is Utah’s new and upcoming Bluegrass, Celtic and Contemporary folk band. They travel all over the states performing for all types of audiences.  Their vocal talents left a bit to be desired, but they more than made up for it with their fantastic instrumentals.

As if this wasn’t a busy enough day, Kay wrapped up the evening sitting around the campfire listening to pickin’ and grinnin’.

All of our Winter Texan photos can be viewed at:  https://picasaweb.google.com/DunnGoneTravels/WinterTexans20122013?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCID41uiC4OrOGw&feat=directlink

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