I'm getting there, my second to last blog on my late 2010, early 2011 birding trip to south Texas. I wasn't planning on blogging tonight but once again, the stress of life has overcome me so I decided I would take the best medicine out there for me - to talk about birds!
The South Padre Birding and Nature Center is yet another location that is a must see for anyone who enjoys the outdoors - especially birds! Situated on the Laguna Madre Bay just a jump across the street from the Gulf of Mexico, this birding center is absolutely spectacular. The center itself is an interpretive center that not only teaches you about the birds and natural surroundings, but also has a outlook 5 stories in the air that offers a very scenic view of the island. Unfortunately, I never had time to make the climb. There is also a nice gift shop in the center.
After you pay admission, $5 - you are able to walk outside into a world of coastal birding. There is a 4800 ft boardwalk that carves its way through the marsh and seaside habitat allowing visitors an up close look at the wildlife that make the area home. Tricolored, Little Blue, and Great Blue Herons were visible from all directions. Western Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers, Willet's and Greater Yellowlegs worked the muddy sidelines foraging for critters and Yellow-rumped Warblers kept your peripheral vision working non-stop!
For those of you that really like challenges both Gulls and Terns will keep you looking at the sky in mind boggling confusion as you try to figure out each species. Caspian and Royal Terns along with Laughing Gulls made up a bulk of my observations. Brown Pelicans also put on a great show of fantastic fishing displays. Some great ducks were also present including Red-head's (in numbers), Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, and Blue-winged Teal.
Tricolored Heron...one of my favorites for obvious reasons but also because like many herons, this bird is very sleuthy and is a blast to watch hunt!
Aside from the birds, it is just great to be in an area that seems to have an overall awareness of birds and wildlife throughout. Although South Padre is definitely a very modern area full of hotels that in no way can be compared to an untouched environment - it is clear that the island recognizes birders and the birds as having some value.
If you have yet to make your way to South Padre or the Rio Grande Valley, I would suggest that you make this must see spot a definite part of your agenda. You will be glad you did!
I love this sign! Love it! A great sign that birds dominate the area!
Brown Pelican... one of several during the trip. Another bird that is so much fun to watch. Also, the icon birding the shoreline.
Willets and Greater Yellowlegs... basking in the afternoon sun.
Clapper Rail... a lifer for me. I saw two of these along the boardwalks. A cool bird!
Black-bellied Plover.... yet another gorgeous shorebird.
Tricolored Heron... plumage fluffed and by the look on his face, excited about his next meal.