Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Our third day, Wednesday, in TX we were in McAllen, Texas we traveled over to Mission and went to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. We hadn't even gotten parked and we spotted a pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks! (LIFER) These are some neat birds! 

And it was raining off and on throughout the day!

When we got there around 8am it was pouring! Very odd for down there! A park attendant told us it hadn't rained like that in over six months! They needed the rain. So we weren't upset about the rain, just dealt with it.

We rented some bicycles and right away we spotted the Buff-bellied Hummingbird.(LIFER) (We now have all but 3 hummingbirds ABA code 1&2. The other 3 are Violet-crowned, Rufous, and Lucifer.)

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Next we went back in front of the entrance because I thought I was a Painted Bunting fly into a tree. We didn't find it but we did find an Olive Sparrow! (LIFER)

 We started into the park on our bikes! Next stop was the first feeding station. When we first got there all the birds must have heard us coming, because there all the feeders were empty.

Plain Chachalaca
It started to rain more so we got under the picnic area and waited. Before long we spotted a White-tipped Dove, Plain Chachalaca, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Green Jay and Great Kistadee even made an appearance! All LIFER birds for us!

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Watching them at the feeders I was surprised that the Great-tailed Grackles scare away the Plain Chachalacas! They are almost the same size, but they don’t like the grackles!
Green Jay

On the other side of the road was another set of feeders and I spotted the Bronzed Cowbird! Wow, what an awesome bird! (LIFER) So small compared to the Great-tailed Grackles at the same feeder!

Great-tailed Grackles

We also saw Northern Mockingbird, Great-tailed Grackle, and red-winged Blackbirds at the feeders.

Bronzed Cowbird
White-tipped Dove
The rain had let up so we biked up to the Hawk Watch Tower. Unfortunately due to the rain they were not having the hawk watch that day. But we did spot some Couch’s Kingbird (LIFER) on the way down there. Once on the hawk tower there was a little pond that had a few different ducks and shorebirds.

Down in the pond we saw Green Heron, Wilson’s Phalarope, Greater Yellowlegs, Black-necked Stilt, Blue-winged Teal and Mottled Duck (LIFER).

Even with the rain we had already gotten 11 Lifers!

There was a path going into the park farther and actually ended up at the Rio Grande River! It wasn't pretty at all! There were water jugs, trash, and rafts! Oh my! That was a little for real for me! We didn't see any border patrol down there or any illegals, thankfully! We didn't see any Observation Deck like the map said so we headed back and the trail was actually a little long! But we got back to our bikes around noon and headed for the Kistadee trail.

On the trail they had a bird blind! There we didn't see any Great Kistadee, but we did see some more Green Jays, Plain Chachalaca, and White-tipped Doves. Along with some Northern Cardinals! (My favorite bird)
After not seeing too much at that feeding station we headed over to the next one. There was the usually and then we got a few new birds too. Black-crested Titmouse (new for the year) made an appearance and also spotted a female Painted Bunting (LIFER)!

That's a total of 12 LIFERS for the day!

We started to head back to the first feeders and didn't see anything new, so we headed back and returned the bikes.

The bikes were more enjoyable then I thought they would be.

While we were there we noticed all the lower plant life was dead, and that was due to a flood from 2010 that lasted a few months.

The next blog will be about Thursday(April 27th) and the start of the Fallout!! :)


  1. The Cowbird shot is awesome!!! Nicely captured! I would love to experience fallout one day:)

    1. I just love those Bronzed Cowbirds!!! Fallout was amazing!! hope you get too one day!!