King Ranch road
King Ranch cattle
Crested Caracara click photo for larger view
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl click photo for larger view
Audubon's Oriole click photo for larger view
Texas: Day Five
King Ranch is truly a gem among the birding destinations of North America. An early morning rendezvous with our private guide, for the day on a ranch which is bigger than Rhode Island, started our visit to the northern Santa Gertrudis division of the ranch. Masked Duck, one of the rarest ducks in the US was the target here and only outdone for the ladies in the group by the shopping time they had at the visitors' center. Balancing the shopping with the birding, the photo stops, the lunch breaks, snack runs, and rest room needs was a workout, but we were able to squeeze it all in to a wonderful day that included the four star birds of southern Texas, Ferruginous Pigmy-Owl, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Tropical Parula, and Audubon's Oriole.
It wasn't just birds and shopping today! There were rattlesnakes, armadillos, gators, perfect cool breezes, cattle, bump gates, dusty roads, and so much more. Many of the travelers celebrated the day with what I was told (I being the designated driver) some of the best margaritas and Mexican food in the Rio Grande Valley. The food was fantastic but we will have to move on tomorrow to new roads, birds, and adventurous experiences.