I rarely take part in guided birdwalks because I prefer to be free to wander where my fancy takes me. However, Dee and I headed back to Estero Llano on Saturday to participate in the morning birdwalk there. We thought this would be easier than trying to work out for ourselves which parts of the park to visit. Also, I was pretty sure that the guides would know the locations of two species I particularly wanted to see: Common Pauraque and Eastern Screech-Owl.
As it turned out, we both greatly enjoyed the walk. The guide, Huck, was excellent and he took us to several very productive parts of the park.
The first pond we visited had both Black-crowned and Yellow Crowned (below) Night Herons.
Then Huck pointed out two Common Pauraques resting right next to the path. They really are remarkably strange-looking birds!
Alligator Pond lived up to its name by having the only alligator that we saw in the Valley.
After that, Huck led the group to see an Eastern Screech-Owl.
We walked up onto the levee that borders the park and had good views of several shorebird species: American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Dowitcher, Spotted Sandpiper and Stilt Sandpiper. In the same area we had distant views of a Red-tailed Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon and a White-tailed Kite (below).
By the time we completed the walk, we had seen no fewer than 65 species. That's pretty good for a walk that lasted just over two hours.