Today we started by driving around Zapata a bit but never quite found the seedeater spot (and I didn’t really care so didn’t look too hard). Eventually, we headed off to Falcon State Park and arrived at about 9:30.
After checking in and finding out the staff didn’t know much about the Roadside Hawk, we began to walk the nature trail. Before entering the trail, we had many Pyrrhuloxia and a bit of a surprise: a Cassin’s Sparrow which was a life bird for me.
We wandered the trail for close to a couple hours, finding good birds including Verdin, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, an Altamira Oriole, and many, many Northern Mockingbirds (I think every tree had 5). We also had our only White-crowned Sparrow of the trip and the only White-eyed Vireo that wasn’t heard only. Eventually we returned to the car, where the Cassin’s Sparrow popped up and almost posed for a few seconds:
We then drove to the picnic area and walked over to the boat ramp. There were two Blue-winged Teal in with the coots but not much else. On the way back, I paused a bit for butterflies and found this duskywing among others:
We then drove around a bit finding a Harris’s Hawk and not much else, so we headed for Salineno. There were actually people around this time and the bird show was a bit better. We sat for an hour and had all the expected birds including 3 species of oriole (Altamira, Audubon’s, and 3 different Hooded), 4 doves (White-tipped, White-winged, Inca, and Common Ground-), Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Olive Sparrow, Long-billed Thrasher, and Black-crested Titmouse. I also enjoyed a Bewick’s Wren.
Unfortunately this year, Red-winged Blackbirds were coming in in huge numbers and eating everything in sight. The volunteers would chase them off occasionally but they would be back quickly. Still quite a sight even if they were annoying:
Once we had our fill, we went and scanned the river for a couple minutes and then headed towards Mission. Lunch was at a Whataburger, which was a decent fast food burger but nothing extra. After eating, we realized we still had a lot of daylight left, so I decided to head to Santa Ana. The GPS refused to pick up the road names we had, so it took a bit of effort to get there, but we arrived seconds before the visitor center closed.
We walked some of the shorter trails (I’m actually not sure which one, I got a bit lost). Besides the scenery, we enjoyed several Chachalacas, more Olive Sparrows and Black-crested Titmice and perched Red-shouldered and Harris’s Hawks. On the water were many coots and moorhens, along with several Least Grebes and many ducks including a couple Mottled. Way out, we found a Green Kingfisher.
Walking back, I got distracted by a butterfly which I eventually figured out was a Common Mestra:
From here, we went looking for a hotel (another Ringed Kingfisher flew across the road in front of us) and ended up at another Holiday Inn. Better than the one the night before at least. The person at the desk recommended a Mexican restaurant that we were able to walk to. It was called Antojito’s and was slightly above fast food but very good. I don’t think any of us actually know what we had to eat but it was all tasty so we didn’t care.
Tomorrow: Bentsen, Quinta Mazatlan, and Valley Nature Center.