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Monday, October 19, 2015

A day in the park

I should probably have cleaned house today but I'll get it done before Thanksgiving. I had never oded at Rio Grande Village so had the overwhelming urge to get a lifer there before winter arrives. How hard could that be? (If I saw one there, I didn't know it or get a photo.) My hopes were good starting out. It's a two hour drive what with the 45 MPH speed limit in the park. I drove even slower in parts of it because it was impossible not to run over Monarchs.

Finally arrived at my destination around noon. RGV had always been one of my favorite birding places. Got many a life bird there. I figured odes would be best at the boardwalk so went there straight away. And straight away it was disappointing.

For starters I had to look hard to even find any water, never mind odes. This above dead tree used to be out in the middle of a lovely pond. Yuck!  Finally, found little puddles here and there. No odes at the spring, but at least it had water in it.

When I left the boardwalk I was thinking, "at least I got it out of my system. That should be worth something." And it made me appreciate the oasis more, where it's quiet and not people-ridden (most of the time). A quick visit to the gambusia pond had the same results. But I thought, "it's a shame to do that long drive and not at least check out the Daniel's Ranch area. Who knows, maybe they're irrigating and all the odes are there." Lo and behold, when I headed that way they actually were irrigating. Things began looking up. I soon was sloshing around in the water seeking odes. There were lots of them. All Variegated Meadowhawks, with an occasional Common Green Darner, and one Band-winged Dragonlet. People driving by stopped in the road to see what I was doing, then moved on.

Above is the exact place were I got my lifer Tufted Flycatcher some years back. The only flycatcher I could find there today was this Vermilion Flycatcher.

To make a long story short, the most interesting find of the day was a group of Wood Ducks. I thought I counted 9, but I see only 6 on this photo. I know there were a couple that didn't fit on the photo but I see one of the ducks isn't a Wood Duck, so I guess that makes 8. I've never seen that many at one time before.

Enjoyed watching this Great Egret along the irrigation canal.

I think this dragonfly is an Eastern Ringtail, not positive. Also photographed along the irrigation canal. Saw tons of damselflies along the canal but think they'll turn out to be common stuff.

After leaving RGV I was tired and ready to go home but forced myself to check out the river at the Hot Springs. I saw some interesting odes there but they wouldn't land. I think they may have been Pale-faced Clubskimmers, but don't know. At any rate, the park is out of my system for this year, maybe longer.

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