Black-throated Green Warbler

Another birding place on our list to visit is the Edinburg Scenic Wetland Trails so we decided to hit it today. There is a community park, a butterfly gardens, and trails around 3 ponds. (A water treatment plant provides the water for the ponds.) This is a really nice place to either go for a walk or look for birds and butterflies. We saw the usual assortment of water birds, lots and lots of yellow-rumped warblers and managed to find a black-throated green warbler ---- very exciting for us.


Side view of the Black-throated Green Warbler

Front view of the Black-throated Green Warbler



Ear Lowering, etc.

After helping out with computers we headed out to get our ears lowered and run and number of errands — boring but necessary things. I talked Ed into going to a hairdresser --- she did a much better job on this hair than the barbers have done --- she left him with his curls.



Bird Walk and Estero Llano Grande State Park

Led bird walks have been helping us to identify birds so we went on another one this morning. A Pygmy Owl had been spotted so we spent some time looking for him but were unsuccessful --- we did get to see a Screech Owl.

Last year we spent a fair bit of time at a new state park called Estero Llano Grande and decided to go and see how much it had changed. They have definitely done a lot of work in a year — the park now has a large pond with a lot of water birds in it by the visitor center. You can pull up a chair and watch at least a dozen different kinds of ducks of water birds.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Cormorants drying their wings, a snowy egret in front.

An Anhinga

A Screech Owl hiding in the tree --- look closely as he matches the tree.

The headless bird --- he's preening his right wing I think.

I'm pretty sure this is a female Northern Shoveler.



Santa Anna Bird Walk

As we enjoyed our walk around Santa Anna on the Friday we decided to return and go on one of the volunteer led bird walks. Ed, myself and one other fellow made up the group so we were able to ask lots of questions and hopefully learned lots of things. I think we can now accurately identify a half dozen or so of the little birds — lots more to go but it’s a start.

Common Yellowthroat

Long-billed Trasher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Phoebe



Citrus Fiesta

Mission Texas is home of the Texas Citrus Fiesta the last weekend of January each year. Ed and I decided to go and see the parade as it was only a couple of miles away from the RV park. The parade consisted of vehicles carrying the Citrus Fiesta Royal Court ---- each fruit gets it’s own princess, local politicians, floats from the RV parks in the area (Oleander (the RV park we’re staying at) won first prize), school marching bands and Ed’s favourite — the zero turning radius lawnmowers doing wheelies.

The RV park held a “luau” which consisted of a very good dinner and entertainment including “hula dancers”.

Two of the Citrus Fiesta Royal Court.

Nice old sports car ---- Ed thinks it's a Jaguar --- with more of the Royal Court.

Now is this a fancy golf cart or a miniature sports car?

I bet more men would do the shopping if all grocery carts looked like this.

The float from our RV park --- it won first prize!

A float in the parade.

Zaph's ready for the luau

A couple in the mood to luau.

Bob (a neighbour of ours) singing Tiny Bubbles as bubbles floated around and distracted him.

The hula dancers.



Another Birding Adventure

Santa Anna Wildlife Refuge is about a ½ hour drive from the RV park and contains a number of different bird habitats. During our visit here we saw a number of water birds and shore birds as well as many birds that prefer forest cover.

I think this is a Loggerhead Shrike.

Black-necked Stilt

Harris Hawk

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I think this is a female House Sparrow.

Black-crested Titmouse

Green Kingfisher



Did you know you could drink Aloe Vera?

We skipped Spanish class today and joined a number of people from our RV park for a tour of Aloe King an aloe farm in Mercedes about ½ hour from the park. Did you know you can drink the liquid from Aloe Vera (some people claim it helps some health problems) or add it to the pot when you cook beans to eliminate gas when the beans are consumed or marinate meat in it to tenderize the meat? I know I only thought of Aloe Vera as agent in skin products to help moisture the skin or help to heal cuts or burns. During the tour we were given a sample of freshly filleted aloe vera to taste as well as some juice. It tasted at bit too much like medicine for my liking.

The naturalist at Bentsen State Park also runs a night program so we decided to check it out. We headed out at sunset to see what night creatures we might see. Javelina, raccoons and Screech Owls were spotted.

The father of the owner is explaining the harvesting process of Aloe Vera.

The fresh aloe vera wasn't that bad .... but it wasn't real tasty either

The 80 something year old father of the Aloe farm owner does sand art. We watched as you pour sand into the jar and pushed it around to make the designs.

The finished product --- a cowboy on a horse.

A field of Aloe Vera.



Rain, Rain Go Away

January 23 to January 24

One day of solid drizzle and one day of solid rain ---- Zaph and Ed looked like drowned rats when they came back from a walk. Tuesday morning was spent at the library helping people with computer problems and in the afternoon one of the fellows Ed had talked to in the morning came over to trailer to continue the discussion. He’s a musician / songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario and was trying to figure out how to use the computer to aid his recording process — interesting stuff. In the evening we went to the rec center to watch our neighbours slide show — a Patriotic Show.. The show was well done and included some amazing photos they had taken. We made the evening a double header by show our Peru slide show.



Birds, Birds, Birds

January 19 to January 22

It’s warmed up a little and stopped raining so we headed to Bentsen State Park for a walk and a chance to look at some birds. During one of our walks we were told about bird walks led by a park naturalist so I dragged Ed out of bed early on Sunday and Monday for the 8:15 walks. It’s always interesting to go with a knowledgeable person who not only recognizes the birds by site but also by sound. We were lucky enough to see a couple of birds who are primarily found in Mexico or south but have wandered into the Rio Grande Valley.

You can't be in the valley and not go to Nuevo Progreso. We made a trip across the border to check out the stores.

Plain Chachalaca

One of the many Javelinas

What's behind door number 1 ..... 2..... 3.... 4..... 5..... 6?

And there's 6 more doors on this side. We think it's a bunkhouse that sleeps 8 and has 2 bathrooms.

Someone's having a good time.

Entering Mexico

A display window above the shop.

Anyone need a parrot?




January 15 to January 18

Bbrrrrr.... cold and rainy for the past few days so we’ve spent a lot of time inside the trailer. A couple of our neighbours came in a watch some of of our travel slide shows and we headed over to one to watch the slides of their trip to Switzerland ... I’m ready to go there now. Zaph does manage to drag us out for walks a few times a day. I know I shouldn’t complain as a lot of places have been hit hard with extreme weather .... couldn’t believe the pictures of ice hanging off the fruit in California.

Oh, we did get out for a bit of entertainment --- "the club" hosted a fun night and I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

The hunter was treed by the two furious bobcats at his feet.

Yup, that's the gentleman's belly all decorated up to be a face.



Happy Birthday to Ed!

Well Ed turned four again .... at least that was the age he claimed to be in Spanish class. Today turned into a day of eating — first we headed out to the Olive Garden for lunch with a dozen or so neighbours to celebrate the three birthdays (after the party on Thursday I told them it was Ed’s birthday on Sunday). After some time spent flying the kite (it was windy today so we thought we’d make the most of it) we headed down to the rec centre to partake in the Sunday Ice cream Social. We let the ice cream settle and then headed out to the Texas Roadhouse where Ed enjoyed a steak dinner. Yup, Ed was full after all that eating .... he didn’t even try to eat my left overs.

The gangs all here.

A cake for Ed.

The goalie (Zaph) stopped the ball in time.



Ride em cowboy!

In searching the internet for local attractions I found the Sheriff’s Posse Roundup. Every Saturday night the park runs practice events and the public is invited to come and watch. As I’ve never been to a rodeo we decided to go and check it out. There were three age groups that covered little kids up to adults ---- one five year old sat on his horse and someone led the horse through the course (the five year looked like he was having a great time).

Warming up.

Racing to the finish line.



We Still Like Our Trailer Best

The local RV show was on at the fair grounds in Mercedes so we decided to drive over and check out the RV’s. Every year the manufacturers seem to come up with new ideas and manage to add more features. After checking out all of the fifth wheels we came to the conclusion that we still like our trailer layout a lot .... luckily we seemed to be able to find faults with many of the layouts for example there was no where to put Zaph’s bed and we’re not about to give him ours!



Boating on the Rio Grande

January 10 and January 11

A head cold had slowed me down for a few days but as I’m starting to feel better we headed out for a boat ride on the Rio Grande with a number of people from the RV park. The river is pretty quiet but I did spot a Kingfisher flying past the boat and the Border Patrol boats whizzed past us a few times.

The fellow in the trailer behind us is celebrating a birthday on the 14th and the woman in the trailer next to him is celebrating her birthday on the 12th so the neighbours decided to throw a surprise party for them. We had a great time a met a number of people.

The riverboat.

All aboard!!!

One of the restaurants on the side of the river that we passed.

Ok, Mexico is to the north and Texas is to the south.... wait that doesn't sound correct. But it is --- the river bends around in such a way that it puts part of Mexico north of Texas.

The birthday people ---- Harold and Rosetta

Setting up for the party.

Even the party animal was invited.


January 2 to January 9

We changed our travel plans and instead of heading south and east we traveled south to the valley for the month of January. The two month trek home will be through west Texas and New Mexico. Using our mapping software and the internet we found a nice park in Mission, Texas that has a homey feel to it. The park doesn’t have the amenities of most of the larger parks (pool, hot tub, tennis courts, etc.) but it is full of friendly people. Ed and I are going to Spanish class and Ed spent a couple of hours helping the "computer wiz" solve peoples computer and satellite problems. We also found some time to check out a few of the local butterfly and birding spots.

There's a train track at one end of the RV park .... luckily it's not heavily used.

Zaph and I enjoying the sun.

One bird with two heads ...... a pair of egrets in an interesting pose.

A javelina

Green Jays, Altamira Oriole and a Red-winged Blackbird

Great Kiskadee

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal

A Hawk --- we think it may be a juvenile Sharp-shinned hawk

A tri-coloured heron

One of your worst nightmares when driving a trailer is putting the trailer wheels into a ditch. This RVer cut the corner a little tight and dropped the trailer wheels into the culvert. Eventually they were able to jack the trailer up and get railway ties under the wheels so he could drive out of the ditch. Luckily his trailer only suffered minor damage.

As the Rio Grande twists around southern Texas it creates some interesting parkland. We're looking across the river into Mexico.

A father and son enjoying the sunny day by the river.

The Anzalduas Dam

A couple of fisherman in front of the dam.

The Lomita Chapel has been in this location since 1899



Happy New Year!

Ed decided that he didn’t want to drive today so we spent a lazy day hanging around the trailer. Zaph was ready to keep partying!

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