I've been doing some research prior to my upcoming Texas trip, although I haven't been able to tell you about it as I haven't had much computer access for the last week. We finally finished getting everything into the new house and out of the moldy apartment! What a relief, but what a chore.
Anyway, I'm still waiting for our new tv/internet/phone (yup, I'm adding a land line! It's work-related) to get set up, so I'm blogging from AB's office at PSU. I don't want to get her account flagged, so I won't say anything like "Ohio State rules!" or "Michigan is No. 1!" Heh heh.
Back to the research: I have a bunch of checklists downloaded for all the birding sites we're planning to visit. We want to try to hit all nine World Birding Center sites; plus Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana national wildlife refuges; then perhaps a quick jaunt up the Valley to the Falcon Dam area; then a swing through Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park near Kingsville on the way back to San Antonio. (They've been seeing some amazing birds there!)
The plans are thus: I'll leave here Friday, March 4, and fly into Austin. Mary and I will drive to San Antonio Saturday morning and see our parents, then it's down to the Valley to start our bird-intensive trip. We'll stay down there until Wednesday, when we'll head back to S.A. Then I'll hang with my parents until Saturday, when it'll be back home to PA.
There will be pictures galore, and we're hoping to see some crazy-ass specialties, rare birds, and so forth. I've been getting the ABA Rarities and TX needs-list emails from eBird, and they are seeing some WILD birds down there!
from the Rarities list, seen at places where we'll be birding:
and from the Texas needs list, also seen at places we'll be birding:
Greater White-fronted Goose
Green Kingfisher (which we missed seeing last year)
Man, we're gonna be absolutely SCOURING every place we go to try to see every bird we can. I'll be keeping lists, lists, lists! I can't express how much I enjoy reading those eBird update emails; I scour them every day, clicking on every link, making my little plans!
There are some other great Texas birds we won't see, like the Yellow-faced Grassquit and a bunch of other seabirds, because we won't make it to Aransas; we don't have enough time. Still, out of the nine days I'll be gone, we're spending five days birding! Mary has gotten so hard-core; the schedule was all her idea!
I'm really excited about seeing my parents, of course. I got so used to having them around when I was living down there last winter; it was so hard to leave. Still, I like my life up here with AB in PA, and I'm glad I'm able to get down there and see my parents. We're also planning a Christmas trip down there, and I'm sure there will be more winter birding adventures and family fun-time (and AB will be there too!).
So--sorry about the lack of photos in this post; I did see a Black Vulture soaring and circling over my workplace this afternoon, only about a hundred feet up! But of course I didn't have my camera.
Hoping to have internet access at the new house soon; I have so many photos of the new house, and I'll be taking pics of my new bird feeder (my Valentine's Day gift from my valentine!) tomorrow. The birds have found it already, as I discovered this morning after being strafed by a little White-breasted Nuthatch this morning as I stood on the porch. He buzzed me on his way to the feeder, where he grabbed a sunflower seed and flew off to crack it.