08 February 2010

highlights without feathers

Not all of our time in the Rio Grande Valley revolved around birds. In our defense, part of the trip revolved around birders; Cheryl Longton was the Santa Ana NWR volunteer who initially tried to introduce us. As you may recall, Matt and I first met on "C-trail" (more on that later!) during the Red-naped Sapsucker. Yes, a bird can be a measure of time =)

Cheryl was my foster mother for my entire internship. Dave, her husband, was absolutely the best chef a starving student could have asked for... and quite a few of my birder friends met them as surrogate parents of mine. Cheryl and her daughter, Lorie, even adopted me for a weekend in Mexico.

Cheryl and Dave at Salineno:

During our brief stay, a white cat (upper left corner of the photo below) and a cabra roja were visitors to the property. Neither was unexpected, I remember the local goat herd from my first RGV visit in 2003. Still, it's amusing to find stray goats (reminds me of Thanksgiving in Arkansas in 2007).

Cabra roja:

You're asking why I included a sad photo of a red goat and a white cat. The cat doesn't belong, but the goat was cooperative when lured with a cup of seeds (and a rope around the neck). She was guided back up the road to join the other goats; it must have been quite a sight to see two birders luring a goat down the street.

The Santa Ana NWR internship got me hooked on Rabdotus snails. Ever since then, I've been taking photos of them in whatever county I find them in. Literature is rather lacking, so my feeble attempts at ID are sad at best. But they're "cactus snails" and SANWR had R. alternatus and R. dealbatus from what I could tell. The dark striations on the shell are apparently an indicator of subspecies... of which there are quite a few, but only two that were described in any detail. Oof!

Salineno's Rabdotus alternatus:

The entire trip, Matt had to put up with my gawking at old buildings. Generally decrepit gas stations from an earlier era. Sometimes offices or houses, also decrepit. But this fascination goes well back beyond our initial pseudo-date in Dublin, TX where we stared into a vacant building's wilting ceiling fan for nearly an hour. Near the Anzalduas County Park, we spotted a local gem.

Lovely old Anzalduas landmark:

Until next time, we're staying out of the cold, wet weather!


  1. You should come by Bastrop,there are 2 types of snail here,one in front of my house has a flattened spiral shell,the ones in the back have a icecream cone shell.

  2. Central TX does have some great snails; you've probably got a few of the ones that prefer juniper habitat, I definitely want to get some decent references added for ease of identification.