2022-09-22 Santa Ana NWR

White-Eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus
White-Eyed Vireos are most commonly found in the southeastern USA, where they may migrate north to the Mason-Dixon line, but in south Texas, they can be found year-round.

I learned a new word recently: “Documentarian”. The Oxford Dictionary’s first definition is “a photographer specializing in producing a factual record.” I believe it perfectly describes the goals I set for myself as I wander this amazing continent in search of experiences in the natural world. Sometimes the images I capture are lovely, and sometimes just so-so. Yet I don’t mind including these not quite ready for prime-time images, if they help to ‘tell the story’ of my visit to these places.

I took Wednesday off to catch my breath from my Monday and Tuesday adventures at Edinburg and Quinta Mazatlan, and to finish posting those tales on my blog. With my blogs caught up and my energy renewed, I set my sights on visiting Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday.

The weather, still being hot and humid, limited my enthusiasm for hiking the trails at the reserve. I made it as far out as the Pintail Trail, and I took a right turn into the Thorn Forest. It was good to see a different set of birds here than what I’ve been seeing the past couple weeks. The bird community here is more compatible with birds you see over much of the Rio Grande Valley all year. I believe they were all residents, and not migrants looking to move further south. Migrating birds seem to prefer staying closer to the Gulf than where I visited this day, some 60 miles west of there.

I found a shady place to sit, and patiently wait for the birds to get used to my presence. I struggled with the harsh, mid-day sun’s light, but eventually I captured images of birds such as the Black-Crested Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal, Olive Sparrow, Verdin, and White-Eyed Vireo.

As the daytime sun continued to warm the day, I surrendered to the heat and abandoned my post on the trail side. I’ve been looking forward to spending time with my friends at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, so off I went, to renew old acquaintances.

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