We met our neighbors, Bill and Kathy when we arrived at Santa Ana this morning. Bill has bad lungs and the smoke from the burning sugarcane fields was forcing them to go back to Alamo. They had a little news to share. They saw a Peregrine eating something near the radio tower and they had seen a large Blue Racer snake. They also gave us a location for a pair of Great Horned Owls they had seen by Willow Lake. We headed for the owl site, but couldn't seem to locate them. We eventually gave up and continued on down the path. Suddenly there was a muffled "whump! whump! whump!" of wing beats behind me. I glanced over my shoulder just as a large owl launched off the top of an 8 foot stump I had just walked passed (observant lad). We stood stunned and speechless as a pair of the big birds flew away, deeper into the woods.
There are at least five Harris's Hawks making a pretty good living at Santa Ana, culling the American Coot population. It's a great looking bird. Just great!
|A Kiskadee that got in the line of my camera as I was taking Harrisis pictures.|
The Santa Ana Refuge is on the Rio Grande, so it is often visited by our friends from the other side of the river. This tends to attract the attention of the Border Patrol with their power boats, ATVs, mountain bikes and helicopters. Apparently there was a group of hopefuls coming through this afternoon. As we were scoping out some shorebirds and ibis a chopper made a very close swing pass to check us out. The birds seemed to perceive this as the largest hawk in the world and they reacted accordingly.