After 2,873 miles, we have arrived at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park and World Birding Center in Mission, Texas. Off to a great beginning. As we were getting set up, three Great Kiskadee's landed near our truck to greet us. First day, first new bird. We had to scurry through the bird book to identify the beautiful yellow bird. Pictures to follow at a later date (hopefully), since these birds are common here in the park.
We met briefly with several of the staff, checked out the office facilities, and received some books and schedules on park programs. A "Creatures of the Night" program was scheduled for that evening at 6 PM and we were told we were welcome to join if it was not full. Our luck held and two people canceled at the last minute. The event was more than a 10. We heard several screech owls, listened to bats send out clicks to locate and zero in on prey (with the help of an electronic "bat box"), learned how to spot wolf spiders at night with a flashlight held next to your temple, located a tree bark scorpion on the trunk of a tree using an ultraviolet light, and to top it off, saw a bobcat about to gobble up a cottontail. He missed, but our lights did not scare him away. He or she stood at the edge of the woods and gave us some glaring looks.
The next day we did some serious reorganizing, got groceries, then Marlin met with Javier, the Assistant Park Superintendent, and two volunteers about several maintenance projects that he will be working on. I got a short walk in the park. Only foot and bicycle traffic are allowed within the park boundary. Feeding stations abound, complete with padded and covered swings for extended viewing. My walk only covered about a half mile due to long stops at every feeder I passed. Dozens of Green Jays, Kiskadees, Altamira Orioles and other birds seemed common after this short walk. A birder's paradise, I'm thinking.
Tuesday we got our schedules and volunteer uniforms, received training on the two four wheeler vehicles, toured the nature center then took a nap!