Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Butterfly capital of the U.S.

Tuesday night our entire park was smokey.  I wasn't the only one complaining. Tiny pieces of soot came right through the screens. They are burning the sugarcane!  I've never thought much about sugar cane until we came down here.  I assumed, when someone first told me what it was (this isn't the first time), that they burned the field after harvest, but no, they burn the leaves prior to harvest for easier access so they can harvest it quicker and more efficiently.  They produce 1.5 million tons of sugar cane across the RGV.

9 parks and 1 nature preserve in the RGV have the title of "The World Birding Center," and Harlingen Thicket (Harlingen actually has several parks in their birding center) is one.  It follows the Arroyo Colorado waterway. We stopped by there this afternoon.  My sister-in-law, Sally, would have enjoyed the trails, some were rock, some dirt, that look like they are for hiking or biking .  Did we see any birds?  NOPE, NOT ONE, lol!  We enjoyed winding our way around and made it back to the parking lot.  

I swear the birds and butterflies weren't really blurry! Once I figure out how to use it I have a REAL camera with better zoom!😁 

These trees aren't blowing in the wind, they are bent this way.

A few weeks ago we took a trip to what is called by some the butterfly capital of the U.S., Mission, TX.  We visited the National Butterfly Center located outside of town and also saw  several Butterfly Sculptures within the town of Mission.  

An impressive 200 butterfly species have been seen at the National Butterfly Center.  Almost 40% of the 700 butterfly species found in the U.S. can be found in the RGV (Rio Grande Valley) itself.  At the Butterfly Center they are seen in wild and cultivated settings, with lots of gardens and trails with educational displays. It boasts the largest native botanical garden in the U.S.

The day we went it was chilly and windy.  The gentleman at the visitor's pavilion said the butterflies did not like the weather.  He was apparently right, as we didn't see hardly any!  We had time to walk around the trails and gardens before going to the bird feeding.

As well as the walk thru area they had several acres that were mostly undeveloped that allowed you to drive through. It was a marshy and pond area with a boardwalk and a spot to view the Rio Grande River that divides the U.S. and Mexico.

Pat's looking for butterflies!

I found an eagle!

Well labeled gardens

Spike was a large turtle.  Didnt see him either!

They have 3 resident owls.  One nests here.

Rio Grande River.  Looking across at Mexico.

When we drove thru the underdeveloped area we had to go past the Border Patrol.  No wall in this section.

We did have a view of another section of the border wall.

Stars Drive-In is a Texas chain.  It opened after Sonic.  The menu looked similar.


  1. It looks nice and fun. I'm jealous. We have been seeing some red colored birds lately. Not sure why they are here when it's so cold. Mike looked it up and thinks they might be some kind of a finch. The neighbors have bird feeders but they are not close enough to get a good look. I guess we need a bird feeder.

    1. They are probably confused today and headed down to Mexico! 35°at noon, 24° tonight and 26° tomorrow night.