In my last post I mentioned that Bud and I were planning on driving to a new area for birding. Now, I must mention that this park we never knew existed, but have driven, oftentimes, through the town on our way to Victoria or Houston, Texas without stopping. The park is Lions Park, the town is Refugio [locoally pronounced Ruh FEAR ee oh - Spanish translation to English, "Refuge"...but, the proper way to say it in Spanish is Ruh FOO ee oh]. A small bit of historical value of the small town, it was a battleground site during the Texas Revolution of Texas Independence which you can read more about HERE!!
Okay, so on with the reason for driving there. Lions Park. From Corpus Christi, take the interstate highway 69, after crossing the Mission River, at the first traffic light, turn left heading toward the river. The park entrance is just about two city blocks from the interstate....
Once the car was parked, and I got out to retrieve my camera and binoculars, I was hooked!! It was very impressive! The very large pond at the bottom of the hilly terraced and well maintained landscape was pretty. The hour we arrived, it was foggy and a chilly wind blew. But, before we left after the lunch hour, after spending about four hours traversing the trails, the sky turned blue and the birds became more active. But, I failed to mention the trees! The park grounds were heavily laden with trees. A dense wooded area, with winding paths, bridges, boardwalks, observation decks that jutted out over the river. Absolutely beautiful, serene, quiet and on this particular day, heavily populated with other birders that have traveled from as far as Louisiana to see the birds of Texas. A few license plates showed Quebec in Canada, Iowa, Minnesota, and other states far far away. But, I'm sure they didn't make the trip from their homes just for this park!!
Several photos will follow. I'm keeping them small for quicker loading; they can be enlarged for better viewing...
During the last two weeks, on the Texas Birding website, two rare birds were reported. Bud and I saw neither. Nor did anyone else. The Golden Crowned Warbler and a Flame Tanager [juvenile]. But, before leaving, we spotted many other species. Cardinals, Phoebes, Mockingbirds, Anhingas, Ruby Crowned Warblers, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Kingbirds, Kestrels, Sparrows of many different subspecies, Doves, Vultures, Barred Owls [third photo -below-, hidden in tree!], Flycatchers, Wrens, and more. Also, several turtles.
I took an 'off the beaten path' at one point and headed on my own along a less traveled area...walked the entire length until the path ended and it came to an open meadow. At one point the trees were so dense and the canopy was so thick, the daylight diminished and an eerie feeling crept over me...but the inner thoughts didn't deter me from continuing...after a clearing showed up at the end of the path, I stopped. To my left what did I spy? A cemetery!!! I made a U turn and walked back the way I came. lol
Returning to the parking lot after a few hours touring the park grounds, I caught up with Bud who wandered off on his own, and we returned to the big tree where the owl was perched. The first time spotting it, its back was to me. Of course I took photos then; hoping this 2nd time with Bud it'd be turned toward the camera. It was....partially. I snapped more photos for my bird photography blog.
We will definitely return to this park. Hopefully, again, during the Spring Migration in March/April!!!