Our four days of "work" has consisted of attending the park's weekly bird and nature walks, participating in the Christmas Bird count on January 3. learning how to maintain the humming bird feeders, and preparing the peanut butter/suet mix that is used at the 8 feeding stations throughout the park. That "heavy work load" earned us four days off, which we used to go to two other World Birding Center sites and an abbreviated peak at South Padre Island.
The World Birding Center is a network of nine sites dotted along 120 miles of the Rio Grande River, from South Padre Island west to the city of Roma. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park is the headquarters of this "WBC", which began in 2004, with the mission to protect native habitat as well as increasing the understanding and appreciation of the birds and wildlife. Over 10,000 acres have become available for prime viewing here along the central flyway for migrating birds. The natural vegetation along the river had been completely cleared for agriculture. Establishment of the WBC has reestablished most of this habitat for wildlife.
On the January 3, for the Christmas Bird count, we were out at 7:00 AM. It was cold but we had a beautiful sunrise over the resaca. Resaca is a new word for us. It is simply an oxbow lake which was formed when the river changed course and left some sections closed off from the new flow.
Resaca de la Palma is another World Birding Center (WBC) we visited on our day off. We took a quick tram ride around the main road, leaving the extensive hiking/biking trails for another day.
After our abbreviated visit at Resaca de la Palma we drove on to South Padre Island and visited the Chamber of Commerace information building to gather information for a longer stay here. The parking lot held a magical sand castle done during their annual sand castle building contest.
Monday the 6th, Kathy Whittier, a part time volunteer at the park, took us to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Although the temp was only 40 degrees, the wind and dampness made it feel as cold as zero at home. Lots of birds new to Marlin and I were seen here. I think we are getting the fever. When we got back home we started our life list! Fun day despite the weather.