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Monday, February 22, 2016

How to find an 8 gram birdie in a 15 acre thicket

White Ibis in a Frontera Audubon pond
Today was fun, beginning with a re-visit to the 15 acre Frontera Audubon where I hoped to find 'alleged' Groove-billed Ani and the Tropical Parula (warbler). I treked one of the nature walk trails 'between Nature Placards A and E', because the Parula was said to have been seen the previous few days. So up and down the lovely, tree-canopied trails I meandered, forlornly expecting to see nothing significant with wings. Then after 10 or 15 minutes I would sit one of several plastic chairs arranged in front of a area between A and E that where there were lots of bird feeders. There I would find winged entertainment; fat waddling White-tipped Doves, a few Carolina Wrens, Plain Chachalacas and marauding squirrels.

An Ovenbird skipped into the underbrush and kept me entertained for a while.
The Ovenbird
Nice view of Ovenbird's racing headgear

A group of four women and their male birding guide arrived and sat in the other chairs, chatting amiably. I didn't speak, but rudely listened to the birding bits they spoke of (you never know if you'll hear useful advice, right?). There we sat until a glint of movement from the canopy of trees wreathed over me... what the...? 
My sad and sorry back lit, fuzzy shot

Above my head, straight up, fluttered a tiny mite - with wings. What the... there was no doubt.  Leaping out of the chair I squeaked my best stage whisper,

'Tropical Parula!'

Quickly everyone was up, their eyes glued to the little warbler. The group's guide started calling the bird's ID, "Yellow ventral surface that runs all the way to the legs, No eye rings..." and so forth. The bird darted over us and into another tree while I desperately tried to keep my camera on it for a decent photo, but that wasn't happening. Here is my 'best' shot, if it can be called such.
I'm thinking SOME little birdies hold still

To the left here, is the shot as it exists in my noggin, for my happier, inner self. Yes. If only, right?

However, no use crying over very-nearly-almost spilt milk. The bird was present only for 60 seconds or so and the way it darted about - well, that's my excuse and I'll have to live with it for now. The bird had also been a lifer for one of the other ladies and we congratulated ourselves and shared a high five.

As the morning turned into afternoon, I decided to head out. I had all my things with me because I was checking into the Casa Santa Ana Bed & Breakfast for the remainder of the week. That's the B&B that was so welcoming when I wanted to view the White-throated Thrush. I don't know if I'll be actually there much of the time, but I'm hoping perhaps the thrush will return for a new round of photos.

Loved my room at the B&B. My favorite thing about it was - wait for it... wait for it... the bathroom! The giant shower stall had a shower you step down into, it was cool, and the sink was beautiful Mexican tile sink. Wish I could have a sink like that.

As I often do, traveling by myself, I had two beds to sprawl around on.

And a cute little sitting area. Really like the B&B.

 This afternoon I really took it easy, having lunch at a great little Chinese Buffet I discovered. Will be eating there more than once this trip, that's for sure. Day's end, another lifer, that's um... *takes off shoes to count on toes....* seven lifer species for my Texas Spring.

[Update: Visiting my friend Judy in Napa, CA, I entered the guest bath to see this beautiful plate with a memorable pattern hanging on the wall. Ah...it was like a trip back to the heart of Texas - or maybe Mexico?]

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