Friday, November 21, 2008

The Birds of Choke Canyon

The bird was the brightest red of any bird we have ever seen, vermilion in fact, and so we saw our first new bird for our life list! We would see many more.
After Guadalupe State Park it was a short drive to our next new place, Choke Canyon State Park. As we checked in, the ranger gave us a bird check list an told us of Green Jays, golden-fronted woodpeckers,and ladder-back woodpeckers, birds that we had never seen before.
So with our appetite whetted we found our campsite and set up, with the back window facing the lake. A great blue heron and a snowy egret waded near our house, and turtles lined the snags sticking above the water. with an anhinga sharing their spot. American coots fought each other and cackled as they greedily feed in the shallow bay.
We ate lunch and it was with a great deal of expectation that we drove to the 76 acre lake, to bird and to walk Molly. As soon as we got out we saw a vermilion flycatcher, followed by an indigo bunting. After walking out to a point on the lake, Renita spotted an alligator. There was a do not swim warning sign! We walked around the lake and Renita spotted our next new bird, a flock of black bellied whistling ducks. A black scoter swam nearby, all new life birds. We saw other birds of course, northern pintails, common and great tailed grackles, and then another new bird, a scissor tailed flycatcher! What a beginning!
The next morning was a another treat. Driving to town for diesel a crested caracara landed on a telephone post and posed for a picture. The two toned, carrion eating beak is unmistakeable! No camera! That afternoon we hiked the emperor's trail. Renita saw a green jay, I identified a greater kiskadee,(Oh no, we both thought the other had brought the camera).
Eastern phoebes were in the tree tops and yes, we saw the woodpeckers. Molly got into the act and tried to get us a thanksgiving wild turkey, but the leash stopped her. Definitely a place to come back to! Clear skies.

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