Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park – World Birding Headquarters

view of park buildings with text overlay: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in a region that is considered one of the most biologically diverse in North America. The diversity contributes to this State Park being just one of the areas in the Rio Grande Valley that make the Valley a birder’s paradise. The 587-acre state park is a stopover for migratory birds as well as home to some subtropical birds seen nowhere else in the US. PLEASE NOTE: Texas State Parks are currently closed to the public. The parks will begin reopening on April 20th for day use only with restrictions. Camping will follow at a later date. Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Facebook page for up-to-date information.   About Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley…

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Home from Work and Can’t Travel? What to do with your Downtime

travel trailer and tow vehicle with text overlay: Home from work and can't travel? Things to do in your downtime.

I had an amazing RV trip planned for April-June. I was going to see Texas bluebells for the first time, attend a couple of festivals, see the emergence of the largest bat colony in the world, ride a steam train, and taste more awesome Texas wine. There were even more things on the list to research. But now, just like everyone else, all my travel is on hold. With people home from work and even ordered to stay at home, it is so important to keep a positive attitude. What are your plans for your downtime from work and travel? Here are some of the things I plan to do to occupy my downtime. What I Plan to do in My Downtime from Work and…

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Nikon P900 Superzoom Camera – Great All-Purpose Camera

Nikon D90 and P900 side by side

With so many things closing down and a tremendous decrease in traffic to travel websites, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for what to do. Since I recently purchased new camera equipment, I decided to take some of this down time to really learn how to use it all. I chose to start with my Nikon P900 superzoom camera since I’ve had it the longest. Even though I don’t know how to use it to its fullest potential yet, I already love it. For years, my go to camera has been a Nikon D90 DSLR. This has been a more than adequate camera for the blog. However, for quite a while now I’ve been wishing for a longer telephoto lens for better bird…

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The Hidalgo Pumphouse Brings Water to the Rio Grande Valley

Prior to 1909, the semi-arid Rio Grande Valley was dotted with cattle ranches, mostly owned by Tejanos, Mexicans who found themselves on the US side of the border at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. Many of the Tejanos lost their land when droughts in the 1880s and 1890s forced them to sell to Anglo settlers. The railroad arrived in the Valley in 1904 bringing more settlers to buy up cheap land in the “Magic Valley.” A system of steam powered pumphouses constructed along the Rio Grande, including the Hidalgo Pumphouse (also known as the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse) in 1909, transformed the Valley into rich farmland. Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center In 1993, the Hidalgo County Irrigation District #2 donated the…

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Bloodless Bullfights will Continue in La Gloria, Texas

bull in arena with text overlay: Bloodless Bullfights, Santa Maria Bullring, La Gloria, Texas

Bullfighting is one of the best-known, and also most controversial, traditions of the Spanish culture. Supporters claim the bulls live a better, longer life than other cattle. They see it as art, much like ballet. As bullfighting aficionado Ernest Hemingway famously said in Death in the Afternoon (1932), “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.” Critics claim it is nothing more than torture. I have to admit, I attended a bullfight in Mazatlan in the 70s and would never go again. From the stands, it didn’t seem as “real” as I now know it is. When I learned about the bloodless bullfights in La Gloria, Texas, I was curious to see how they are different. A Very Brief…

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