Well, I made it to the Rio Grande Valley. Today was just going my way. It wasn't too cold so I was able to go with my plan of wearing a skirt with some tights and sensible shoes and then as soon as I hit Houston, TX I went to powder my nose and ditched my tights and sensible shoes and put on some sandals. As soon as the plane landed in McAllen, TX I grabbed all my luggage got my rental car (and got upgraded free to a minivan WHOOT!--I LOVE driving minivans--police tend to ignore them and who wants to steal a minivan and go joyriding?) and I got a ton of work done on the Minnesota River Guide on the plane.
I followed Bouton's helpful instructions to the northern jacana and found it right away--as well as a whole gaggle of birders I know (Bouton's photos are better than mine). As more and more people arrived from the airports to get the jacana before checking in, it was almost like cheers: "Jess!", "Terry!", "Birdchick!". The bird put on quite a show, lifting it's wings to see the yellow primaries and secondaries, lifting it's giant feet, showing it's super cool wing spurs. Someone told me they could hear me squealing from the other side of the marsh. Terry from Leica casually pointed out an anhinga flying over head and I casually observed a new life bird.
I have always wondered what it would be like to be a hardcore ticker--someone who hops a flight to get a life bird, sees it and leaves after five minutes. That was almost me today. After watching the jacana put on quite a show I had to leave, my body was not adjusting well to going from 40 degree weather to 88 degrees--sweat was literally everywhere on me.
I love being in such a different habitat. Instead of red-tails on telephone poles, it's Harris hawks, instead of blue jays all over, it's kiskadees--I love this bird festival! It's awesome and if you only go to one festival in your life, make it this one.
I did have a close encounter with danger today. While walking towards the jacana with a group we heard loud buzzing and saw a loose swarm of bees moving fast over our heads. Someone warned, "Don't look up and move swiftly the other way!"
"Are those what I think they are?" I asked.
"Yep, Africanized honey bees."
Eep! I hope that the last I report on those this trip. I like adventure as much as the next gal, but it can be kept to a minimum.
Crap, my power is running out. More later.