Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 23: Old Port Isabel Road

On the way to Sabal Palms yesterday we did a side trip on a back road hoping to see a Aplomado Falcon. Before I ramble on and on, let me leave a message to you Texans regarding your back roads. You ought to be damned ashamed of yourselves. Texans treat rural roads as dumpsites. The Old Port Isabel Road has hundreds - no thousands of old tires. Piles of tires. Mounds of tires. A twenty mile long dump. It's bad enough that some jerks dump the tires and appliances, it's almost worse that there is obviously no effort to clean them up.

North of Brownsville the road heads east off of Hwy 77. It starts off innocently, a narrow blacktop rural road. It soon turns to gravel, then after passing a shooting club the gravel gives way to deep rutted clay. Then deeper rutted hard baked clay. It is pretty bleak - sparse grassland with scattered yuccas, the only structure an old trailer with a garden hose running over the road to a cow tank, though there weren't more than a handful of cattle to be seen for miles. The road eventually became impassible for an automobile and we were forced to turned back without the Aplomado.

Some of the birds we saw were a small group of Long-billed Curlews. There were another trio joining the group and when the set their wings to land, flying like a long, thin slow-motion duck coming in with their wings set and cupped, it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Grace in triplicate. Here's list of the other birds we saw from the road:

Harris's Hawk
Long-billed Curlew
Mourning Dove
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
Vermilion Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
Northern Mockingbird
Curve-billed Thrasher
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Cassin's Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Great-tailed Grackle

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