26 November 2008

Walking Over to Mexico

On my last day in Texas I decided to take a little side trip to Mexico. I dropped Andy and Kim off at the conference center for their last field trip and in the early morning hours made my way to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. After placing my quarter in the turnstile I simply walked across the Rio Grande and into another country.

It was early when I arrived and the streets were eerily quiet. I hit the main streets watching as shop owners opened up their doors and street crews washed the sidewalks.

Nuevo Progreso is littered with pharmacies and dental offices. Mixed in are tourist shops where I'm sure people like my self come to spend their money on inexpensive gifts. I didn't cross over with much money but you better believe I left with even less.

Since most of the shops were closed I went to Rene's for breakfast. I don't know if you have visited the Lower Rio Grande Valley area but people in that part of Texas drink horrible coffee. I would describe it as very watered down and luke warm. I really don't understand their taste but the coffee at Rene's made up for the sub par drinks I had sampled all week in Texas.

The coffee was just the right amount of jolt for my morning and the pastries there were divine. My service was very friendly and I was feeling much better about this little side trip. I only wish I could have stayed longer for margaritas in the afternoon.

After loading up on caffiene I hit the streets for some people watching and shopping. The street vendors were in full swing setting up their stands. Below are a few of the sights in Progreso. I'm not sure what kind of meat was cooking in that large pot below but it smelled good.

With only a couple of dollars left in my pocket I decided to head back home. I really enjoyed my morning in Progreso and even though I know it's not the real Mexico you would find elsewhere in the country it was just enough for my trip. I even had time to bird Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge again for an hour before picking up my travel buddies and going to the airport.

I didn't pick up any lifers in Mexico but I did add a few birds to my Mexican list like Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Mourning Dove. I think I left the country with 15 birds which isn't bad considering I wasn't actively birding. As for my ABA list I picked up 47 birds, 42 of them being lifers. With so many new birds it's hard to say which are my favorites. At the time that I saw them, each one was great. I only had a few new ones that I would put on the "better look desired" list. I don't know if I will be able to swing another trip to the festival next year but I certainly will put this area of the country on my radar for another trip one day. I still have a few birds I would like to see down there like Aplomado Falcon, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, and Hook-billed Kite. Next time my friends I'll try to take more pictures. Maybe a new camera is in order before the next big trip.

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