2021-02-16 Bentsen RGV State Park

Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus
Frigid weather seemed to bring unexpected birds, such as these kiskadees, to the seed feeders at Bentsen RGV SP. The mercury rose to 30°F this morning from 22°F yesterday in south Texas. 
Wild Turkey - Meleagris gallopavo
I met these Rio Grande Wild Turkeys at Bentsen RGV SP. They are one of six subspecies (M. g. intermedia) recognised by science.

Another cold morning it was in south Texas this past Tuesday, but I was determined to get out and explore the region. The camp where I’m staying is but 1.5 miles from Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, so I set my sights of getting acquainted with the grounds there. Monday started off at 22°F, but Tuesday, the 16th of February was slightly warmer at 30°F. 

I paid my entry fee of $5 online and drove down to the park. The region had been without power since Saturday. Even on Wednesday, as I write this account, we still have no electricity. I learned the park facilities were also without power, so paying online was the only way to submit funds for entry to the park. 

Once inside the park grounds, I stopped near the entry point for the trail system at the La Familia Nature Center, where several feeder stations attracted birds of all kinds. Here were the usual suspects of sparrows, blackbirds, jays, doves and chachalacas. But it surprised me that flycatchers such as Great Kiskadees, and orioles such as the Altamira would show an interest in the seed being offered. There were oranges presented for their consumption, but it was the seed that they were going for. My guess is the unusually cold weather altered the availability of their preferred fare. Certainly, this would seem true for the normally insectivorous flycatchers. The cold snap likely took most of the bugs off the table. There seemed to be dozens of kiskadees working on the seeds scattered over the ground.

After enjoying the birds at the feeders, I continued my walk towards Kingfisher Overlook, just 0.6 miles away. When I reached the overlook, there was little interesting bird activity on the resaca waters, but a half-dozen Wild Turkeys roamed the grounds. Halfway to the overlook there was another half dozen of them where the road forked. These I enjoyed. Later I learned the turkeys here were from a subspecies unlike those I’d met before. These were Rio Grande Wild Turkeys (M. g. intermedia) and there was more brown and tan coloration to their feathers than I’d seen in other turkeys.

By this time, even with gloves and mittens for protection, my hands were getting cold. There are five miles of trails in this park, and I’d walked less than a mile. I knew I’d be back, hopefully with my repaired bicycle, to explore the grounds more thoroughly, so I headed back to the entry. When I reached the main visitor center, I met several Collared Peccarys (or Javelinas). I’d had glimpses of these piglets several times during my Texas visit this winter, but I gathered no images. This morning I remedied that deficiency, though I think I can do better if I get another opportunity.

The creatures I caught on camera, though some not well, were Altamira Oriole, American Goldfinch, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Collared Peccary, Great Kiskadee, Great-Tailed Grackle, Green Jay, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Long-Billed Thrasher, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird. Plain Chachalaca, Red-Winged Blackbird, White-Tipped Dove, and Wild Turkey.

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