Texas Day 5

Today was a low-key day. After doing laundry and running in the morning, I decided to spend the afternoon outdoors. With all the birding and driving I’ve been doing, I wanted to take things at a slower pace.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is much less birdy in the afternoon than it is in the morning. I was there from about three to six and I did not see as many individuals or species. This surprised me. Estero Llano Grande SP was hopping around this time. Still, I was out for a walk in the woods and I was relaxed. Today I went to the Resaca Vieja Trail, which follows a resaca, or oxbow, that is no longer filled with water. It looks like a large, curved ditch.

Along the trail
The view down the resaca

The animals were few but noisy when I encountered them. At one spot, I was startled by a peccary (Pecari tajacu) that ran across the trail suddenly. It was with another and they both ran frantically to avoid me, like large barrels with tiny legs crashing through the brush. Similarly, I startled a group of plain chachalacas (Ortalis vetula) I hadn’t noticed. They flew off with wingbeats that roared in the silence.

I took my time walking out of the park. The sun finally started coming out after what had been a cool, cloudy, and slightly rainy day. Two chachalacas crossed the park road and a crested caracara (Caracara cheriway) flew overhead, perfectly illuminated by the setting sun. My second ladder-backed woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) of the day called from a tree. I thought of the fleetingness of this experience, a brief blink of an eye in this unique ecosystem. Back at the hotel again, the moments are once again memories. I will cherish them forever.

Plain chachalaca, parking cone
Ladder-backed woodpecker

Tomorrow, on my last full day in Texas, I will be driving to San Antonio. I might stop to see birds along the way, and I might also do some urban birding at the city’s many parks and riverwalk. Perhaps a trip to the Alamo is in order.

Life list update:

#303: Ladder-backed woodpecker

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