TX 2010: Day 5

Feb 11

Today, we headed to Laguna Atascosa. It was drizzly to rainy when we arrived and the staff were almost surprised that anyone showed up. Luckily it stopped enough to walk the trails near the visitor’s center for a few minutes. We didn’t see too much (unfortunately the Blue Bunting didn’t show up until a day or two later).

Starting around the auto loop, we had many thrashers and a few ducks. Unfortunately the fog rolled in, so viewing the water was not easy, especially along the bay. We were able to pick out a few of the sandpipers and egrets but most were getting lost. One good bird on the way was a Grasshopper Sparrow that was sitting in the road. I was able to roll the car right up to it and snap a few shots:


Continuing around, we were passed by a couple cars and seeing more of the same. Eventually I saw something small pop up off the road. I pulled over and surprisingly was able to find it in the vegetation. It looked pipitish, so I pulled out the scope. It flew again but I again managed to refind it and confirm the blank face of a Sprague’s Pipit. This was one bird that I was hoping for but not anticipating finding. The area also had a few Gull-billed Terns flying around, of which I managed a couple marginal (for a marginal definition of marginal) photos.


Completing the loop, we drove to the observation platform and trail. It started raining a bit, but we walked down the trail to the pond. The water there was almost over the platform and the only bird on the water was a Least Grebe. Getting back turned out to be a muddy mess.

From here, we began the long drive to Rockport. Before really getting going, we did get a fairly decent look at a perched White-tailed Hawk. The drive was fairly quiet (and rainy off and on). A stop at the Sarita rest stop had more than a couple Brewer’s Blackbirds, another overdue lifer. Instead of taking the camera, I decided to drive up to the flock and get some pictures on the way out. Of course, the birds took off in by the time we did so.

Other than a big traffic jam near Corpus Christi (which was stop and go for probably 40 minutes, note this for later), we didn’t have any major issues and reached Rockport (or Fulton), where we got a room at the Best Western for the next two nights. Dinner was at Charlotte Plummer’s (which took a bit of work to find with the road being dug up). The food was excellent, especially the shrimp gumbo (thanks for the recommendation Paul).

Tomorrow: Aransas NWR and vicninity