2020-03-13 After 3 Days At The Triple R

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker - Dryobates scalaris
I met this bird working in this Red Mulberry tree (Morus rubra) in camp, where my day ended near Crystal City Texas at the Triple R RV Resort. Birds abound here next to the Nueces River.

[Addendum: Because I was using the older Sibley’s Guide, where Tufted Titmouse  and the Black-Crested Titmouse  were lumped and I failed to check other resources, I misidentified the original images on this post. I’ve made the appropriate edits now, and all should be correct.]

Crystal City provided me with a three day reprieve from the rigors of highway travel, and the Triple R RV Resort has gifted me with some nice bird encounters. I know I missed meeting several of the shier members of the bird community here, but that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re in a new hood. They call this place “An Oasis on the Nueces”, a catchy phrase, but so true. There are 109 RV sites spread out over a mile along the Nueces River, so you don’t feel cramped by your neighbors. I found the staff friendly and helpful, and the price ($28 per night) very reasonable.

On my drive here from Del Rio I stopped to look for birds at several spots. I found a roadside picnic stop south of Quemado where, among other birds, I met my first Carolina Wren. I’m certain this bird is familiar to local birders. These birds look and behave remarkably like the Bewick’s Wrens I know so well from my Southern California yard. In listening to these birds I found them quite different from the Bewick’s. The songs I heard lacked the complexity of the Bewick’s, but they more than made up for this with the volume. I could hardly believe that such a small bird could have such a loud voice. Even in camp at the Triple R, birds across the compound sounded as if they were only a few feet away.

At camp I was able to capture images of Green Jays, Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers, and Great Kiskadees, but I’m finding these birds elusive and shy. It’s been difficult capturing well lit images, but I’m enjoying the attempt. The series of captures I got of the Ladder-Backed Woodpecker on my first afternoon in camp are my favorite images from this set.

I’m struggling to decipher the songs and calls that I hear in Southern Texas. I hope I can improve my skills to recognize the vocalizations here before I finish my visit to this amazing part of the world. Some, like the kiskadee, are distinct and easy to pick up. The Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers look and sound their cousins the Gila Woodpeckers so common in Arizona, but others singers have me scratching my head.

Black-Crested Titmouse - Baeolophus atricristatus
On my first full day in camp I split my time between chores and chasing birds here at the Triple R RV Resort on the Nueces River near Crystal City Texas.

I met my first Black-Crested Titmouse here. This is another big voice in a small package. Add this species to the Oak, the Juniper, and the Bridled birds I’ve met in the west and it adds up to four (but who’s counting).

Friday morning I drove the two-plus hour drive to Corpus Christi. I stopped to stretch my legs in the desert ranch lands along the two-lane farm road I traveled, and I met my old friend the Bewick’s Wren. Texas is one of the few places where these eastern (Carolina) and western (Bewick’s) wrens share space.

Before I pay my respects to Aransas NWR, I plan to explore the area tomorrow and survey the attractions between here and the Aransas National Wildlife Reserve. I may settle for a few days in a nearby RV park if I like what I see. Though Whooping Cranes are at the top of my “wish-list” to meet here, I suspect there will be some surprises for me. Already I’m entertained by the dozens of Laughing Gulls in the Walmart parking lot where I spent Friday night. It’s very windy here, but these slender-winged, tern-like gulls know how to take advantage and execute their aerial choreography.

Species I captured for this post are Carolina Wren, Eastern Fox Squirrel, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Red-Eared Slider, Sandhill Crane, Nueces River, White-Eyed Vireo, Black Phoebe, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Northern Cardinal, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Black-Crested Titmouse, Green Jay, Turkey Vulture, and Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

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