Friday, November 11, 2005

Bentsen State Park

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bentsen State Park has really changed since I last visited it. There's no longer any camping allowed inside the park, but the birding is still really good despite the loss of most of the feeding stations the campers maintained (and where it was very easy to cherry-pick many of the park's choice birds). The new visitor center is really nice (air conditioning! bathrooms! food!) but the best feature of the New Bentsen is the hawk watching platform (shown) which is a long, softly sloping boardwalk that towers over a newly re-flooded resaca. There's tons of room along the walkways of the tower, so one does not feel in the way. It's sturdily built, too, so scope shake is minimized.
We scored most of our birds here, including sora, Wilson's snipe, olive sparrow, American bittern, vermilion flycatcher, and about 50 other species. The tower alone makes Bentsen a must-re-visit destination for birders.

Later, near mid-day, we walked along the resaca near the old boat ramp and caught some good looks at ringed kingfisher, anhingas, and behind the water feature, we spotted a pair of clay-colored robins all ratty-looking from just having bathed. A skulky life bird for nearly all the folks in our group. Unfortunately, later groups missed the robins...

Also worth mentioning, lots of very obvious javelinas scarfing food from beneath the remaining feeding stations.

And a really cute gray-morph eastern screech owl taking a bit of afternoon sun.