Monday, January 15, 2018

BENTSEN STATE PARK—WORLD BIRDING CENTER

Monday, January 15 - With a cold front predicted to blow into the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the next several days, we took advantage of today's beautiful weather to ride our bikes and do a little bird watching in Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and World Birding Center. With our Texas State Senior Passes we received 50% of admission to all Texas State Parks. It only amounted to $2 but every little bit helps.

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is a perfect park for biking. This is our forth time visiting the park. In the past, we hiked the roads throughout the park. This year, we decided to take our bikes and join the numerous bikers in the park. They do have a tram that travels through the park on an hourly route, but it seems most visitors ride bikes between the various birding areas.

Bentson State Park

As we entered the park, the gate house is located at perhaps the busiest or most bird visited feeding location in the park. We always linger here to see the many birds that visit the feeders. This year was a special treat because not only were many birds in the area but a bobcat stopped to snatch breakfast of an unsuspecting dove. He was too fast to get a picture, but Paul did see him as he headed back into the nearby brush to consume his meal. Of course the other birds in the area high-tailed it out of there for awhile. They soon returned but so did the bobcat. The birds were a little more careful this time, and the cat returned to the brush for a little nap.

We talked for sometime with the ranger working the gate house. He said the bobcat is a frequent visitor to the feeding area and at times even climbs the tree to nap. He showed us a picture that a visitor gave the ranger of the bobcat heading to the brush with breakfast in his mouth. What an amazing animal.

We watch many Orioles, Jays, Chachalaca, Cardinals, Sparrows, and other birds feeding in the area. Many of these birds travel out of Mexico no further North than the Birding Center. There are four other birding centers in the area that visitors can take advantage of to view birds in this region.

Great Kiskadee.
Great Kiskadee

The famous Green Jay.
The famous Green Jay.

The entertaining Plain Chachalaca.
Chachalaca

Chachalaca

Northern Cardinal.
Northern Cardinal

Golden-fronted Woodpecker.
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Altamira Oriole.
Altamira Oriole

We also visited several bird blinds setup in different areas of the park but didn't find any as busy as this first station. We also visited the two-story high hawk tower near the back of the park. On one of our previous visits, hawks were migrating through the area and a count was taking place at the tower. We didn't see any hawks on today's visit.

hawk tower

We rode and checked-out areas throughout the park and completed our circular tour of the park in about two hours. It sure is significantly easier riding our bikes than walking as he did in the past. We enjoyed our visit and will definitely visit again if in the area.

bike riding

Lots of beauty along the bike path.
bike trail

Right across the river is a Mexican park.
Mexico park

survey marker

Marsha loves how the wind turns the trees into works of art.
trees

Marsha and trees

By the way, if you stay in the RV section of Bentsen-Rio State Park located next door, admission to all five Birding Centers in the Rio Grande Valley is free. We've driven through the campground and often thought it would be a nice place to stay.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

RIO GRANDE VALLEY FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY

Friday, January 5  – We've been here in Mission, TX, since Wednesday and finally enjoying some warmer weather. We are actually in a small town west of Mission called Penitas. We are in Leisure Valley Ranch, a 55+ community where we are renting a lot from our friends, Amy and Steve. We have stayed here many times and are enjoying time with good friends.

LVR

LVR

Looking right.
LVR

Looking left.
LVR

Oranges, grapefruit and lemons are in season here in the Valley. Many people have several trees in their yard and plenty of fruit to share. We just walk around with a couple of bags and gather whatever we need to make delicious fresh juice.

making juice

The lemons are JUMONGOUS! A little comparison for you.
making juice

making juice

On Friday,  we drove a few miles south to cross the USA – Mexico border into Progresso, MX. We are visiting a dentist to have some old crowns replaced and our teeth cleaned. Progresso is a typical border town filled with tourists seeking inexpensive dental, optical, and prescription drug deals. We have always been very happy with the dental work we've received here and weren't disappointed today.

We arrived early, 8:15,  at Mustre Dental Clinic and by the looks of things when we walked out of the examination area that was a good move. Patients had filled the waiting room and were even sitting outside the office waiting for treatment. Marsha and I both had old crowns removed and were fitted for replacements. Each crown is $200 and cleaning is $25. Compared that to what we would pay in the USA, this is really, really inexpensive. These clinics are every bit as modern as those at home and most of the dentists are trained in the US and many even live there.

Mustre Dental Clinic

Mustre Dental Clinic

Mustre Dental Clinic

After our dental visit we strolled down the street visiting several of the touristy shops and eventually stopped for a couple tacos and margaritas. Again a bargain at $5 for five tacos and $4 for the BIG margaritas. There was even a fellow playing music for listening or dancing!

Mexico even likes our Astros.
Mexico

I bet that huge dog is going to make a great piƱata.
Mexico

By early afternoon we were ready to head back across the border. A quick check of our passports and by dropping a twenty-five cent toll into the turnstile for crossing the bridge over the Rio Grande, we were back home. We'll be returning in a couple weeks to be fitted for our finished crowns. In the mean time, we have plenty of adventures and “mucho” exploring to do, so stop back and enjoy the Rio Grande Valley along with us.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon. Have a great day!