It is early spring in south Texas. That translates to just a few migrant birds but myriads of Spring Breakers on South Padre Island. With that in mind, I figured it would be a good time to check out a couple of nature spots I had never visited – Ramsey Nature Park in Harlingen and the Buena Vista Nature Center (that might not actually be its official name). My early afternoon trip wasn’t the ideal time to go but at least I got a good feel as to what each place offers.
Ramsey Nature Park is built along the Arroyo Colorado and was much more extensive than I thought. I particularly liked the beautiful flowers that attracted a nice variety of butterflies ranging from White Peacocks to Gulf Fritillaries.
There were plenty of birds too, including Common Ground Doves, Curve-billed Thrasher, Northern Mockingbirds and at least one vireo that I could not identify. There’s also a lot of prickly pear cactus that should produce beautiful flowers next month.
At Vista, the highlight of the nature walk were three blinds, each with drip water features. They were very well done and although I mainly saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, it looks like a good site when spring migration really kicks into gear.
At Laguna Atascosa NWR, I took pictures of Altamira Orioles, Gray Catbirds, Cardinals, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Green Jays, Long-billed Thrashers, Black-crested Titmouse, thirsty Javelinas, and Great Blue Herons in the bay. I also saw 3 White-tailed Deer does and a Nilgai.
Few spring migrants so far, but it’s still early. I’ve seen a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Yellow-throated Warbler and that unidentified vireo, and others have reported Black-and-white Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo from Laguna Atascosa.
When the Spring Breakers leave (assuming they did not destroy SPI), I’ll concentrate on the island’s warbler woods and Valley Land Fund Sheepshead lots.