Feb.27 through March 1
Within moments of finishing my note of Feb. 17., I received a key in the mail that provided me access to properties I needed to access the next day, the last of February, in the mail. The problem is the area was 200 miles away in one of my least favorite regions of the state, but nonetheless I threw a few things in the truck and was gone within minutes .....leaving the poor cat behind with minimal chow (I forgot).
I arrived near Liverpool 4 hours later in the dark and completely worn out. Had a restless night and extremely early morning. Blurry eyed the next morning, I was trying to relocate some properties with poorly marked gates not only in the dark but also a dense fog.I finally found the place(s) I wanted then after many problems with gates, got into some old farming areas....Sugar cane field many years ago...Rice mostly today. I birded there nearly all day and saw a lot of nice things in an area I can only describe as an utter maze of new and very, very old irrigation ditches and canals. I drove many a mile birding here , often just trying to get from point A to point B.
As I said, when I arrived it was very foggy but as I was on sort of a dike road, if it could be called that, I looked ahead with my bins and saw 3 Short-eared Owls perched on the road in the dim light. Early on SEOWs were just all over the place to be be replaced shortly after wards by harriers as the morning got brighter. I even flushed a couple of owls during the day! They must be in migration.
Twice I got stuck, but only once seriously. So seriously that I thought I would have to walk for miles for help as there was no possible way to describe my physical location or how to get to where I was except by GPS which was worthless for that purpose with canals every 200 yards........After an hour and the loss of 2 nice 2 X 10" boards brought along especially for this purpose, my shovel and several cords of found dead wood under the truck I managed to get out by some miracle. I was completely muddy and exhausted but still had the rest of the birding day to finish. The rest of the day was uneventful except for the frustration of locks and the endless back tracking because of some of them. I did see a single Cassin's Sparrow which really caught me off guard for Brazoria Co. and there was a single Couch's and Vermilion Flycatcher too. I am no expert on the UTC but a CASP in this country at this time of year has to be a pretty damn good bird.
I must have just missed clouds of geese/ducks it seemed.. I did not see or hear a single one but found closely cropped fields where 1000's or 10'000's must have been given the fact that there was poop everywhere...It looked like hail stones in one field. What grand fertilizer that would be in a garden. Some of it seemed still mushy as though left just yesterday. But when geese decide to go, they get.
Finally, I finished my birding day late in the afternoon and wanted to get on the road. I wanted to try to get to Rockport, but just could not stay awake during the drive, so called Petra who let me stay downstairs so I could avoid a lousy motel. Passed out asleep almost immediately after getting there. It rained that night lightly. Remember that I got stuck so bad the day before? A hell of a lot of that mud came off in her drive with that rain. She sent me "Thank You" Photo the next day. I left so early the next morning I did not notice it.
Yes I left there at dawn the next morning and birded the CTC down to Kleberg Co. before I decided a visit over to Freer might be fun. It was very windy. I was surprised to find a new location for Mountain Plovers off 665 in Jim Wells Co. 14-15 of them. I looked for the Cassin's Vireo in Freer but did not find it, but north of town in the cemetery I found two Ground Doves. One so bright red and with so little white in the tail, that you know I thought it had to be a male, a male, ah maybe hum, a male Santa Claus? :-)
The next morning bright and early I headed way on down to Webb Co. for some fun birding ....Working on my "List" you know :-) What was utterly desolate and bare ground just 2 months ago is now a carpet of yellow and pink flowers everywhere. Everything in bloom and gorgeous. I did not find much of note except a large rattlesnake, Rock Wren, and 2 Sandhill Cranes in a very odd location. Cassin's Sparrows were singing everywhere. The Lark Buntings are thinning out and the males are beginning to look real sharp. The Verdin's are singing and nest building.....I have still to hear or see a single quail of any species in this country.......Last time I was here the ground doves were all courting. It was hard to find a single one this time around as I assume they are now breeding (?).....Great Horned Owls are just everywhere and the Harris's Hawks are all gone off to nests . Things happen fast.....So much change in just a matter of a few days. There is so much more I could write about this country.....Maybe someday. Found a nice arrowhead.