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Memories of Breeze Lake Texas

Hooded Oriole - Icterus cucullatus
Hooded Orioles spend summers in south Texas. These birds enjoyed drinking nectar from the hummingbird feeders in the camp where I spent April in Brownsville, Texas. There was also a “Reseca” or Oxbow lake on its border, and several feeder stations, with tall trees and grassy areas.

After being on the road since February 21st, on Monday March 23rd I suspended my boondocking lifestyle and settled into the Breeze Lake RV Campground in Brownsville Texas. I expected to stay one week to get my refrigerator repaired, but one thing led to another and it was seven weeks later before I resumed my mobile lifestyle and began wandering the long roads out of Texas. I met some kind people in this camp and made many friends. I feel as if I’ve been adopted by a new family, such is the warmth of the folks here.

For most of the time during my stay in Brownsville, a shelter-at-home order was in place as a measure to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and prevented me from visiting most of the premiere south Texas birding destinations I had my heart set on when I left California. Rather than whine about my misfortune, I looked around camp for opportunities to gather bird images. One of my new friends in camp maintained an array of bird feeders at their RV site, which provided me with ample opportunities to meet the local resident and migratory birds in the area. I also found a Purple Martin condo on the grounds which gave me a chance to enjoy these birds which I’d only had fleeting glimpses of elsewhere during my previous encounters.

Another feature in camp that I was able to exploit was the resaca at the edge of camp. A resaca, for those who’ve not heard the term before, is an oxbow lake left over from when the Rio Grande was a free flowing river, meandering through this low lying valley. Before it was tamed with dams to siphon off nearly every drop of water before reaching the sea at the Gulf of Mexico, the wild Rio Grande’s ever changing water course left behind curved channels on the low plain leading to the gulf. Many of these remain today scattered around the river’s valley, as horseshoe shaped shallow lakes, known locally as resacas.

My first exit plan for leaving Brownsville would have been on May 1st, but after learning that several of the premier birding locations nearby had just opened up for visitors, I felt the opportunity justified extending my stay an additional week. So on Friday the 8th, I pulled away from Breeze Lake at about 7:30am with only a vague idea of my next destinations, yet carrying the fondest of memories of the people and this place with me.

If I’ve misidentified any bird, please feel free to kindly straighten me out.

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