I've had a great time at the tail end of the American Birding Association convention - the bit I got to attend. Today, we went to the famous King Ranch, an iconic spot for Texas birders. This massive ranch sprawls over 825,000 acres and is chock full of wildlife. We saw Collared Peccaries, lots of White-tailed Deer, Armadillo, and of scores of birds, of course.
In the photo above, we're out scanning one of the wetlands on the ranch, and it was packed with birds. In all we saw about 105 species today, and many in good numbers. Our guides were Tom Langscheid and Steve Shunk, and they were extraordinary. Tom was instrumental in setting up guided ecotours through the diverse habitats of the King Ranch, and many birders now pass annually through the gates seeking rare species such as Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.
I'm now down in Harlingen, Texas, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, and looking forward to some essentially Mexican birding. There's been a Blue Bunting and Crimson-collared Grosbeak hanging around the Frontera Audubon Center and I'll try for those tomorrow. Those two are major rarities, and would be new U.S. birds for me. Get 'em or not, I'll surely see lots of interesting things down here.