Sunday, May 12, 2013


After leaving Sabal Palm, we headed towards Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. On the way, we needed water for the campers. We stopped at a gas station and arranged to take on water. As you go westward, people tend to be very friendly.


We are very close to Mexico. Most of the signs here are in Spanish not English.

Phone service

When we arrived at Sabal Palm, we got messages on our cell phones welcoming us abroad. Our cell phones had switched over to Mexican towers.

Border wall

Naive Trail

After lunch, we went back to the visitors center and then walked the native trail that led down to the Rio Grande. It is getting really hot here.

Water feature

They had a nice water feature set up for the birds at Sabal Palm.

Vegetation at Sabal Palm

Hey little guy

Sabal Palm Sanctuary

Sabal Palm Sanctuary

On Sunday, we went to Sabal Palm Sanctuary. Another incredible day of birding just south of Brownsville. This is our first day of birding along the Rio Grande. Sabal Palm is located on the south side of the border fence. There were two very rare birds that had been spotted, the crimson collared grosbeak and the masked duck. We were able to see both.
The plantation house below is being restored and will house the visitors center.

Border wall

This is new since we were here last time. A border wall has been built along a great deal of the US/Mexican border. They use the wall in areas where people can get in and blend in close to a town. This funnels people to areas where there are cameras and sensors to alert border patrol. Along the border, anytime you get close to the river a sensor is tripped and border patrol comes and checks you out.

Washy washy

After a long day of birding, we headed to the laundromat to do laundry. The same little woman was working that worked there five years ago when we came.

Magnolia warbler

View from the boardwalk

Prothonotary warbler, tanager and chestnut sided warbler

Black and white warbler

Chestnut sided warbler

Fruit for the migrants

They also put out fruit for the birds that have just flown over 500 miles so they can get their energy stores back.


The convention center is very popular with photographers due to the proximity of the birds. As you can see from the pictures, Earl and Mike were busy with their cameras as well.

Convention center at Padre Island

At South Padre Island convention center, there is an area that has been created for migrating birds. It has water features and trees and shrubs. There is also a boardwalk that extends out over the marsh that is hundreds of feet long. From here you can see rails and shorebirds. This is one of the most incredible birding spots we have been to. We saw over 100 different species the day we went here.
The birding here is phenomenal. Below is a picture of the convention center with black bellied whistling ducks lined up on top.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Headed to the convention center at Padre Island

After birding at Laguna Atascosa, we headed over to the convention center at Padre Island. We ended up spending the rest of Friday and all of Saturday at Padre Island.

Birding is tough

Earl is taking a nap. This was a really long day of birding!

Bayside Wildlife Drive

Bayside wildlife drive is a 15 mile drive through part of the nearly 100,000 acres at Laguna Atascosa. It is a really neat drive that carries you through thorn forest, coastal prairies and out to the Laguna Madre. Laguna Madre is what separates the mainland from Padre Island.
We saw various birds on the drive including some shore birds. We were not fortunate enough to see the Aplomado Falcon or an ocelot. Both of which are rare.