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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Location, location, location

South Padre Island is in the extreme southeastern tip of Texas, just slightly to the north of where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico. As such it, like nearby areas of Texas like Brownsville, forms the northernmost limit of some tropical species, that is, the only place in the United States where some southern species make it across the border. At the same time, it's situated such that it's the first landfall for birds migrating north across the Gulf. For both those reasons, it's one of the premier birding spots in the United States. In the course of probably an hour, I was easily able to see all four of these, and many, many more (73 different species during the day):

Clockwise from upper-left: Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Macro location is important, but so is micro-location. These birds were all seen while I was standing just outside the men's room door of the South Padre Island Convention Center. This morning's destination was an even more exotic (and quite famous!) location - the Brownsville Dump. A visual and olfactory treat!

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