Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hildalgo Pump Station

On the last day of 2012 we decided that it was necessary to get out and do some hiking as the weather was going to turn cool and damp after that.  The pump station in Hidalgo has a museum as well as a birding park-it was a place which we had been wanting to visit. 
The pump station was used in the early 1900s to siphon water off the Rio Grande, it helped the local ranchers not only in watering their cattle, but also in irrigating a variety of crops.  The pump station was closed in 1983 when the Rio Grande had meandered off to the southwest.  Unfortunately, once we got to the park we discovered that the museum was closed.  However, it is also a birding center and we did find one trail which was open.  We first explored the area immediately around the station.  Here there are many blooming plants and shrubs with berries on them.  There were numerous butterflies flitting among the flowers.
While I was gazing at the activity of the butterflies I heard a bird chatter nosily in the tree above me.  The owner of that voice was a bird with green and blue plumage.  As he flew away he displayed his bright yellow tail feathers.  I later learned that it was a green jay.  We did not see much wildlife on the trail which we later hiked over.  Several Border Patrol agents drove past us on their all terrain vehicles.  The park is about ten miles southwest of the U.S.- Mexico border.  According to the McAllen Moniter there has been an increase in illegal immigration, especially on the ranch lands north of the border.  In December 127 illegals were found dead near a Border Patrol's checkpoint.  That same month a large group of immigrants were apprehended walking through the brush, among them eight women and three children younger than 12, including an 11-year-old girl from Honduras traveling alone.  It is hard to believe that our country has a neighbor in such dire straits that its citizens find it necessary to risk their lives in order to leave it!  Even though we were still miles from the border yesterday, we saw tall fences around in the park, as well as cameras and numerous Border Patrol trucks in the vicinity.  Our tax dollars at work!

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