Anzalduas County Park, morning of 5/20/15

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Anzalduas County Park is bounded by the Rio Grande River, and a buoy just a short distance from the dock marked the boundary between the United States and Mexico. We had been warned that there were a lot of mosquitoes as well as Border Patrol and police at the park. The mosquito warning was correct, but the law enforcement warning was greatly understated.

There were county police, state troopers, and lot of Border Patrol agents in cars, on ATVs, and flying in a helicopter. We spoke with one of the state troopers who told us that there had been a major gun battle during the night on the other side of the river, and some of those involved swam across the river trying to escape. He told us that the large boat with mounted machine guns that we saw there was their little boat, and that their big boats were already out on patrol. Some of the areas of the park were off-limits to anyone other than law enforcement personnel.

Looking across the Rio Grande River into Mexico

We had two target bird species at the Anzalduas County Park. Gray Hawks nest there, and a Tropical Parula had been reported nesting in the Spanish moss hanging from trees near the maintenance building. We arrived at the park just as it was opening at 8:00 a.m. On the road leading to the park, we saw nesting Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and a few Northern Rough-winged Swallows.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

I thought that I heard the Tropical Parula singing, but only a few minutes after we arrived, and before I could locate it, maintenance workers started mowing the grass, and a law enforcement helicopter took off and was flying around the area, and I couldn't hear the bird song any more. We saw a few birds in the park.

Clay-colored Robin (Thrush)

Western Kingbird

I heard a hawk calling from the dike area, but that was off-limits, so I couldn't look for the hawk. A few minutes later, a Gray Hawk flew overhead. By the time I got my camera on it, the hawk was flying away from, but its key field marks are clearly seen in my photos.

Gray Hawk

A few minutes later, I saw a Swainson's Hawk kiting - really reminded me of our Virginia Red-tailed Hawks in its behavior. And then the Swainson's Hawk was heading right towards me. It was being chased away by a Couch's(?) Kingbird.

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

On our way out of the park, we saw a Black Phoebe.

Black Phoebe

Click here to continue on the trip to the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

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