Non Birding Bill may not like to travel with me to go birding, but he knows how much I love it and when he sees a good deal, he lets me know. I've been muttering all spring that I'm jonesing for a trip to Harlingen, TX and have been kicking around the idea of meeting up WildBird on the Fly down there in November. NBB sent me a link for a sale at Southwest Airlines and being a savvy traveler, I checked a few other airlines and found an even cheaper deal with Sun Country Airlines and now I'm committed--I'm going to the Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival this November! I love this festival for the birds, the organizers, the opportunity to see many birding friends (many vendors who work the bird show circuit show up there) and the fact that it has relatively inexpensive lodging and food. If you only have the time and money for one or two bird festivals--this is the place to go. You get off the wall cool birds like green jays, the opportunity for Central American species like rose-throated becard and fabulous Mexican food. This festival is so awesome that in the most recent publication of Australia's Wingspan (the Australian version of the American Birding Association) listed their top birding festivals worldwide and the Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival was on the list.
Meanwhile, I was cleaning off the desktop on my computer and found a bunch of photos that I meant to put in the blog but I think I only put on Twitter. Above is a Wilson's snipe photo that I got at the Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds. We could hear snipe displaying above us (here is a link so you can hear what the display sounds like--they make this sound in flight with their feathers, so if you ever hear it in the wild, look up).
We had heard this sound several times, then I noticed a bird coming out of the sky and about to land, only it made this sound. I couldn't believe it, a snipe landed on a snag. Our field trip group was taking in the site and then three bloody cowbirds flew over and scared it off. Really, snipe, you were intimidated by cowbirds? I must admit, I expected more of you.
Anyway, it was cool to get a momentary look at a shorebird in a tree.