We started the day at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park. We were the second car in the parking lot. The other car was actually a van full of birders dressed in camouflage and carrying cameras with giant lenses. We found out that 2 were from China, 2 from Vancouver and 2 from Toronto - all Chinese birders on a tour of the US.
After a grueling and practically birdless 5 mile walk, we struck out on finding the Kingfisher. We did find a few Altamira Orioles to photograph.
It was a longshot, but Lori and I decided to head 2 hours north to try to see Whooping Cranes. Why not? Whooping Cranes eluded us on our last trip to Texas. We showed up 2 days after they migrated north in April. Now, in November, we hoped to catch the first few as they arrived to spend the winter. Off we went in our muddy Jeep. The speed limit in Texas is 75 MPH and we were going faster to make it to Goose Island before sunset. We were passing a lot of cars and pickup trucks and one big van. Guess who was driving? The Chinese guy from this morning! We slowed down long enough to wave and then sped off again.
We arrived at Goose Island in time to search the area for Cranes and found a few Sandhill Cranes which are gray, but no Whooping Cranes which are white. We drove to the Visitor Center to ask about the Cranes. The guy told us to look in the campground which was ridiculous so we headed back to the field to try again. Guess who we ran into at the parking area? Yup. The Chinese guys. They drove up to see the Cranes too. We laughed and chatted with them for a few minutes and then headed out for one more chance to save the day's birding.
I spent some time photographing this very accommodating Meadowlark.