On the second day of my trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, me and my dad again awakened early in the morning. However, this time, we were headed to Estero Llano Grande State Park. We had heard the day before from one of the birders we met at Santa Ana that Estero Llano was the spot to go right now because it had more water then the other parks in the area.
So, we pulled into Estero Llano and walked towards visitor center. The first thing we saw as we walked onto the patio outside the visitor center was a large pond just off the deck. The number of waterfowl on it was amazing! Probably the most obvious were the three black-bellied whistling ducks sitting on a log close to the deck.
We then headed onto a trail towards a pond where we had heard you could find green kingfishers. As we were walking towards the pond, huge flocks of black-bellied whistling ducks started to fly over. We also heard sora call a couple of times. We then reached the pond and found a couple of black and yellow crowned night herons.
We then started to walk down the trail. As we walked along we saw a sign on the side of the trail. It read something along the lines of “stay on the trail and away from the sticks to avoid paragues.” There was a large pile of sticks behind it. In that pile there was a common parague.
We then walked out to an overlook that looks out over the pond. There we saw an ahinga, a double-crested cormorant, and a couple of neotropic cormorants. We then moved onto a levee that overlooks an oxbow lake. We didn’t see much but when we returned to the levee later in the day, we found a white-tailed hawk. We then headed back to our hotel to pick up my mom and sister. We then headed back to Santa Ana to see of we could find any more birds by going on the 7 mile tram loop that the park runs to allow people to see more of the park. We didn’t end up seeing any new birds but we did see two nine-banded armadillos and a bobcat(!). The bobcat was great to see as I have never seen one before and I have always wanted to.
We then went back to Estero Llano to try to find the rose-throated becard that has been hanging around since last November. However, it hadn’t been seen in a while and we were unable to find it.
After that, we began to head towards the coast where we would spend the next day. We had a few hours before dark so we decided to stop by Laguna Attacosta NWR to see what we could find before dark. The land birds were scarce but on the lake we found pintail, western sandpipers, ruddy ducks, white pelicans, long-billed curlew, and a flock of snow geese. It was a great end to a great day.