Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Balcones Songbird Festival

Today was the day for all the early morning tours to begin at the Songbird Festival. At the last minute, I was asked to drive the second vehicle for the Texas Hill Country Bird Tour. What a surprise it was when I got in the vehicle and two of the participants called me by name and asked if I remembered them. It turns out they were on one of the bird tours that I led at Laguna Atascosa NWR during the winter. Once we were under way, I did remember them and we proceeded to have an enjoyable tour. We saw a lot of different birds, and the ladies from Dallas where happy campers!
It was a four hour tour and I was hungry when we got back to headquarters. I decided to get something to eat from the one food vendor at the festival. I chose a beef sandwich, and of course, since this is Texas it was BBQ. Not my favorite thing, but it was nice and tender. Eventually I headed back to the Flying X and took Emma for a walk.
On today's tour I noticed that the prickly pear cacti were beginning to bloom, so I got my camera out and went in pursuit of some pictures. These cacti are everywhere in this area.

This is one of the flower buds...

And this is what the blooms look like. The blooms are about four inches across.
Emma certainly needed some outside time, so we enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon outdoors. I decided to try to get some pictures of the blue grosbeak that has been hanging around the ranch.
Notice the large (gross) beak and the distinctive rusty wing bars. It has taken several days for this bird to come to the feeder area while I am outside. He has been rather skittish, but finally was comfortable enough to pose.
While I was waiting for the "perfect" shot, a Western kingbird landed on the electrical wire next to the tree.

It was another good day on the refuge! I'll be up again at 5:30 tomorrow so I can get to headquarters for the next round of tours. I'm not crazy about having to get up so early, but it's only for three days in a row.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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