Sunday, March 10, 2013

Harlingen Arroyo Colorado

I had mentioned in a previous posting that it was necessary to start out early in the day if we were to see any wildlife.  On Friday that was our intention, until we learned that a choir rehearsal for our park's vesper services was to be held that morning, and we wanted to attend that.  So our plans went awry,  and we left for Harlingen later than originally planned.  There are two parks in Harlingen which are located along the Arroyo Colorado, which is a second branch of the Rio Grande River.  It flows between the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that the first park in which we hiked, the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park, had a lot of lush vegetation.  It was a bit of a shock to our eyes to see such vibrant greens, when we have been seeing a lot of brown and grey plant life due to the lack of rain.
Not having lived in this area before, with the exception of my early years when my family lived in McAllen, I do not have any concept of the seasons here.  But lately I have had a sense that spring has sprung here.  I am seeing wild flowers in areas where there were none when we came in December.  The lily pads in the nature park have yellow flowers just starting to open up, and the prickly pears cactus has blooms on it.
Some of the native trees are also starting to bloom.  I especially appreciated the flower of the Texas paloverde tree.  The bloom has a bright yellow flower which is spotted with red.
We heard birds chattering around us, but only caught a brief glimpse of a hummingbird.  Unfortunately the bird feeders in the park were empty so the photo blinds around the feeding areas were useless.  And maybe early morning hours are the best time to see birds.  We did see egrets in the river, and the butterflies were so numerous we literally kept running into them!  The mosquitoes were bad along the river, so we quickly ended our time in the nature center and drove over to Harlingen Thicket.
The park is a 40 acre tract of land within an urban setting.  And just as it was a pleasure to see green vegetation at the nature park, here we were surprised by the sight of hills.  Many hiking trails wind through the hills of the thicket which has an impressive plant variety.  It was getting to be late afternoon by the time we had hiked one trail in that park and we had a commitment at Our Savior Lutheran to help finish setting up for their rummage sale.  John and I are anxious to return again to the parks of Harlingen.

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