April 1 Bentsen State Park The best I can do today is this Giant Millipede, the first I've
seen. You can buy them online for $7, and they live for 10 years. Also called Sonoran Desert Millipede, Sonoran Millipede,
Texas Striped Millipede, Ornate Millipede, Giant North American Millipede... Kewl, eh?
April 2 Bentsen State Park Arguably the best birder in all of Great Britain was one of the 13 on
the Night Hike-- no pressure there, eh? We got to the resaca late but the night went okay, just furiously fast, and
was over before it started: Barn Owl 1, Eastern Screech-Owl 5, Elf Owl 3,
Lesser Nighthawk 1 (my first one of the year), Common Pauraque 6. What he liked the best? Raccoon...
April 3 Bentsen State Park We did get some time on the Hawktower today, Carol, Jose and I,
with Joseph Kennedy... Blue-winged Teal, Least Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant,
Great Egret 1, Cattle Egret 14, Turkey Vulture 6, Cooper's Hawk 1, Harris's Hawk 2, Broad-winged Hawk 4, Swainson's Hawk 3,
Common Moorhen, American Coot, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Belted Kingfisher 1, Golden-fronted Woodpecker,
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1, Couch's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 2, House Wren 1, Northern Mockingbird, Red-winged
Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle.
April 6 Bentsen State Park
Scheduled morning bird walk: Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern
Shoveler, Plain Chachalaca, Least & Pied-billed Grebe, American White Pelican 80, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested
Cormorant, Anhinga 3, Least Bittern 1
, Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret, Little
Blue Heron 2, Tricolored Heron 2, Cattle Egret, Green Heron 1, White Ibis 1, White-faced Ibis 2, Black Vulture 1, Turkey Vulture,
White-tailed Kite 3, Mississippi Kite 1, Cooper's Hawk 2, Broad-winged Hawk 800, Gray Hawk 2, Swainson's Hawk 4, Crested Caracara
4, Merlin 1
, Peregrine Falcon 1, Sora 1, Common Moorhen, American Coot,
American Golden-Plover 6 , Solitary Sandpiper 1 , Franklin's Gull 2
Gull 8, White-winged, Mourning, Inca, Common Ground-, & White-tipped Doves, Chimney Swift, Buff-bellied 2 & Ruby-throated
Hummingbird 1, Ringed 1 & Belted Kingfisher 1 , Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
2, Brown-crested Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Green Jay, Tree, Cave, Northern Rough-winged,
Bank & Barn Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, Verdin, House Wren 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Clay-colored Robin 3, Northern
Mockingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive, Lark, Savannah & Lincoln's Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Red-winged
Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed Cowbird 1, Altamira Oriole 5, House Sparrows.
I was assigned to the Hawktower for the afternoon. Before I could go I had to wait on this visitor at my door-- a BOBCAT at my office door, just sitting on the sidewalk! I had about 25 or 30 visitors on the
hawktower, all human, since we saw ZERO hawks. This is kinda normal since the hawks fly so very high when it's very hot.
We had already seen huge kettles in the morning so we were satisfied until I learned that just 25mi away in Weslaco they had
25,000 Broadwings about 1pm! In the hot afternoon! I did have good company though with Ivan, John and Bill sticking it out
the whole time. John was from PA and Bill from CA so they got lots of lifebirds while we waited.
April 8 Bentsen State Park Swainson's Hawk directly overhead during a children's program.
April 9 Bentsen State Park Night Hike The Creatures of the Night program was mostly a Mammal Night:
A Bobcat, an Opossum, EIGHT big Raccoons, 8 Javelina, Cottontail, Bats, Armadillo; very windy-- hard to hear
owls, but thanks to a lady from Cincinatti we saw TWO FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWLS fly
in. Killdeer 2, Elf Owl 3, Lesser Nighthawk 1, Common Pauraque 3, Whip-poor-will 4
April 10 Bentsen State Park At 6am I heard THREE WHIPPOORWILLS calling as I filled feeders, and the
owls were much louder than last night since the wind had died down. While guiding tours, we found a Mexican
Freetail Bat about three feet off the ground. Artemio, Fernie, Jose and I took pictures as it hung there from
the tree, but later in the day it was dead. Hmmm...
April 11 Bentsen State Park The tram ride full of kids on tour yielded a Bobcat
sitting in the middle of the Resaca Vieja looking oh so much like he was saying, "Oh good! More kids!" They were thrilled
with the Javelina, with the soaring Gray Hawk,
with the Chachalaca, with the Roadrunner alongside
the tram, with Green Jays, Broadwings and Swainsons.
The tour started with a HUNDRED MISSISSIPPI KITES, and by the end of the day we
had over EIGHT HUNDRED MISSISSIPPI KITES. ScissorTailed Flycatchers,
ORCHARD ORIOLE and Altamira Oriole perched in treetops to give excellent views.
A Coyote in broad daylight stood in the middle of a dirt road looking at
all those kids on the Hawktower with the same expression on its face that the Bobcat had, "Oh good. More kids."
April 14 Bentsen State Park
Got to work too early, so stopped off at the Mission Home
: Blue-winged Teal, Neotropic Cormorants, Double-crested Cormorants, Harris's Hawk 2, American Coot 2, Killdeer
2, Rock Pigeons, Mourning Doves, Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1, Couch's Kingbird 2, Purple Martin 4, Cactus
, Northern Mockingbird 2, Pyrrhuloxia 1, Great-tailed Grackles, House Sparrows.
Back to work at Bentsen, leading the morning bird walk, with folks from WA, OR, NJ... Mottled Ducks, Blue-winged Teal,
Northern Shovelers, Plain Chachalacas, Least & Pied-billed Grebe, Neotropic Cormorants, Anhinga 1, Great Blue Heron 1,
Little Blue Heron 5, Cattle Egret 18, White Ibis 3, White-faced Ibis 3, Turkey Vultures, Mississippi
Kite 1 flying by at eye level at the Hawktower! all in group view even white secondaries, Gray Hawk 1, Swainson's
Hawk 2, Sora 1 in the open, viewed by all, at Kingfisher Overlook, Common Moorhens,
American Coots, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilts, Spotted Sandpiper 1, Solitary Sandpiper 1, Greater Yellowlegs 2, White-winged,
Mourning, Inca, Common Ground-, & White-tipped Doves, Greater Roadrunner 2, Lesser Nighthawk
3 in broad daylight in the parking lot, Chimney Swifts, Buff-bellied, Ruby-throated & Black-chinned Hummingbird,
Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 4, Black Phoebe
2, Brown-crested Flycatcher 1, Great Kiskadee, White-eyed Vireo, Green Jays, Northern Rough-winged Swallow,
Cave Swallows, Black-crested Titmouse, Verdin 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1, Clay-colored Robin 1, Northern Mockingbirds, Long-billed
Thrashers, Orange-crowned Warbler 1, Lark, Savannah & Lincoln's Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxia 1, Red-winged
Blackbirds, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Great-tailed Grackles, Bronzed Cowbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird 1, Bullock's Oriole 1 at Hawktower, Altamira Orioles, House Sparrows. Also nice was this Texas Spiny Lizard
at the Hawktower.
Right after that was the Butterfly Walk. Butterflies have been almost non-existent, and today was no exception: Giant Swallowtail,
Lyside & Cloudless Sulphur, Ceraunus & Reakirt's Blue, Queens, Turk's Cap Skipper, 2 Lantana Scrub-Hairstreaks, White
Checkered-Skipper, Clouded Skippers, Phaon Crescent, Fatal Metalmark, Tropical Leafwing-- 13 species. Pitiful.
April 16 Bentsen State Park What a refreshing start to the night when 100+ Mississippi Kites and
50 Broadwinged Hawks appeared. A group from Sweden, a couple from St Petersburg in Russia, and friends from back home
in Fort Wayne Indiana made tonight a special Creatures-of-the-Night program. The wind made it very difficult to hear owls,
but we caught a Ferruginous at the gate and an Elf at Green Jay Blind. Better was seeing a Screech at Paixtle and two Elf
Owls at the Old Gatehouse. A Coyote in the spotlight was the best mammal, but of course the Opossum, and Raccoon, and Javelina
and Bats, Armadillo and Cottontails were all nice too. My shotgun was great on the light as we watched one of the
Lesser Nighthawks for quite some time as it fluttered all around us. The Pauraque were quiet (or perhaps just impossible to
hear in the high winds) but we saw quite a few, including one that flew out over the Resaca at sunset. We had my first Common Nighthawk of the year, too.
April 17 Got to work too early, so stopped at Mission's Home Depot's pond: Black-bellied
Whistling-Duck 14, Blue-winged Teal 2, Green Heron 1, Harris's Hawk 2, American Coot 6, Killdeer 2, Black-necked Stilt 3,
Spotted Sandpiper 1, Rock Pigeon 1, White-winged Dove 8, Mourning Dove 2,Green Parakeet
2, Chimney Swift 18, Couch's Kingbird 2, Purple Martin 2, Cactus Wren 2,
Northern Mockingbird 2, European Starling 2, Northern Cardinal 1, Great-tailed Grackle 8. Getting home at midnight and
gettting up at 6am is of course just normal, and then starting out with a group of 100 second-graders at Bentsen
State Park on top of that... Well, that's just priceless. It was very fun, and then spent the rest of the day basically
changing hummingbird feeders. AND THEN I SAW MY FIRST HORNY TOAD EVER!! What a job, eh?
April 22 Bentsen State Park We rehearsed our roles about 4pm, but our only chance outside
was beneficial: BOBCAT at Green Jay Blind was
pretty cool, as was CLAY-COLORED ROBIN singing
loudly (at 4pm!) at Ebony Woods. Indigo Buntings on the inside loop.
This Altamira Oriole constructing his nest.
April 23 Bentsen State Park
Before the Night Hike a teacher brought in a tiny Killdeer her students
found. How many times does it have to be said-- LEAVE THE BABY BIRDS WHERE YOU FOUND THEM.
The windy night was not good for the hike-- we barely heard Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Screech Owl and Elf Owl, and then
only thanks to Kel. Better were the nightjars (6 each of Lesser Nighthawk, Common Nighthawk and Pauraque), especially when
one eager Pauraque TWICE landed on a post right next to the crowd! Mammals were low, just an Armadillo, a Jackrabbit, and
a half-grown cute Raccoon.
April 26 San Antonio Saturday morning I slipped out of the hotel room for two hours, to Friedrich Wilderness Park: Black Vulture 8, Turkey Vulture 1, Western
Scrub-Jay 1, Carolina Chickadee 3, Black-crested Titmouse 18, Swainson's Thrush 1, Hermit Thrush 2, Northern
Mockingbird 2, Nashville
Warbler 8, Magnolia Warbler 1, GoLDEN-CHeEKeD WArbLER
1, Black-throated Green Warbler 3, Black-and-white Warbler 1, Field Sparrow 1, Northern Cardinal 26, Red-winged Blackbird
1, Eastern Meadowlark 1, Great-tailed Grackle 1, Brown-headed Cowbird 2. The trail was a level-4 2miles that I rushed through
while Bruce waited in the car.
Of course, I arrived in Mission too early so I stopped by the Home Depot pond
. Great birds for just ten minutes! Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 6, Green Heron 2, Harris's
Hawk 1, American Coot 1, Killdeer 2, Forster's Tern 2, Rock Pigeon 15, White-winged Dove 4, Mourning Dove 2, Ladder-backed
Woodpecker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee 1,
Tropical Kingbird 2, Couch's Kingbird 5, Western Kingbird 1, Eastern Kingbird 1,
Tree Swallow 2, Barn Swallow
1, Cactus Wren 2
, Northern Mockingbird 6, European Starling 2, Savannah Sparrow
2, Northern Cardinal 1, Pyrrhuloxia 1, Red-winged Blackbird 1, Eastern Meadowlark 2, Great-tailed Grackles, Bronzed Cowbird
1, House Sparrows.
I got to work at Bentsen State Park only to realize that something odd was going on: Javier de
Leon and the Dauphins were already there with Josh. Seems last night a lucifer hummingbird had been found.
This bird doesn't normally occur in the US! And they got pictures! Lo and behold, we never did re-find it today. We did find
some good stuff though. There were so many hummingbirds to sort through-- probably 50 Ruby-Throated, 5 or so Buff-Bellied
and a Black-Chinned. I found one that was tailless! Over 1000
Mississippi Kites went overhead! A female Painted Bunting! A pair of Hooded, a pair of Altamira and a pair
of Baltimore Orioles in the garden! Ten Western Kingbirds! Lunch at NABA found
three Painted Buntings. We got rain today so had some butterflies!: Giant & Pipevine Swallowtails, Queen and Monarch,
Funereal Duskywing, Ceraunus and lots of Reakirt's Blues, Little Yellow, Cloudless and Lyside Sulphurs, Snout, Turk's Cap
and Laviana White-Skippers, White Checkered-Skippers, Brown and Dorantes Longtails, Fiery and Clouded Skippers and Sachem...added
a Zebra at NABA... no lucifer though.
April 29 Bentsen State Park
It was easy to start the day with THREE Jackrabbits at Bentsen.
Mary Beth Stowe called me to say she heard a RED-BILLED PIGEON
in the Acacia Loop right
here at Bentsen! Jose and I heard it too, comparing it with a CD right afterward. Couldn't find the Lucifer Hummingbird though...
After work I knew I couldn't take it any longer. Though it would be dark soon I needed to go to South
Padre Island! It's migration time and I just couldn't wait any longer. We were racing daylight's end, but I'm glad
we made it!: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1, Mottled Duck 2, Blue-winged Teal, Brown
Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned
Night-Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Harris's Hawk, Aplomado Falcon 1, Clapper Rail 4, Common
Moorhen, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover 1, American Oystercatcher 2 (with a photographer sitting near
them!!! what was he thinking?!), Black-necked Stilt, Willet, Sanderling, Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls, Gull-billed,Sandwich
and Royal Terns, Black Skimmer, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Lesser Nighthawk 1, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Golden-fronted
Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike 1, Barn Swallow, Marsh Wrens, Veery 3, Gray-cheeked
Thrush 1, Swainson's Thrush 3, Gray Catbird 8 (!!!!) , Northern Mockingbird 5, Tennessee Warbler, Northern
Parula (just one beauty), Yellow Warbler (Northern), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green
Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart (many!), Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler (one gorgeous male!),
Wilson's Warbler, Summer Tanager (just a few), Lincoln's Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (many! I
counted 10 males and 10 females in one group ont he ground), Indigo Bunting (many, in large groups all over the ground), Painted
Bunting (a nice male and many bright green females!), Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Bronzed and Brown-headed
Cowbird, Orchard Oriole and Baltimore Oriole (oh so many! and so hungry they ignored us totally! eating oranges everywhere!),
April 30 Another Horned Lizard showed up on the drive into Bentsen State Park,
very nice. I stopped by Harlingen's Lake Tiocano almost completely dried up, but the birds
were concentrated in what water was left: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 12, Neotropic Cormorant 6, Double-crested Cormorant
1, Great Egret 3, Snowy Egret 1, Cattle Egret 1, White-tailed Kite 2, American Coot 6, Black-necked Stilt 10, American Avocet
63, Spotted Sandpiper 2, Black Skimmer 4, Rock Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Golden-fronted
Woodpecker 1, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 2, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle. Back at home, the dogs dragged in a
baby opossum that played dead and thus survived!