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November 14, 2018 - Wild by Nature

Of the 400-plus species of birds that have been reported to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird across the Rio Grande Valley, most are year-round residents. Others are either winter or summer residents, some are migratory visitors and a few are vagrant, or accidental, species. While the birds that fall into the first three categories make up the vast majority of bird species you’ll see here in the Valley, it is the birds that fall into the vagrant species category that create the most excitement among birders.

These are birds that have strayed far outside their expected breeding, wintering or migrating range. These are individual birds that show up in an area that is hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where they are usually seen.

In January of this year, a Snowy Owl, a species that is native to Arctic regions in North America and Eurasia., was being seen in Odessa, Texas. How this bird ended up so far away from its normal range is a mystery, but once word of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a Snowy Owl in Texas got out, birders from all over the state made their way to Odessa in hopes of seeing it for themselves.

While that sighting was nearly a year ago and hundreds of miles away, there has been a much more recent vagrant bird sighting right here in the Valley. A female Varied Thrush (photographed here) was seen by several visitors to the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Tuesday of last week. The news of this rare bird sighting spread like wildfire and soon had birders from as far away as New York state, Ohio and even Ontario, Canada making their way to Mission in hopes of seeing and photographing this Robin-like bird, rarely seen east of the Rockies.

The Rio Grande Birding Festival had just kicked off the day this bird was first reported, which meant there were already many birders from across the United States in the Valley. While some of them were able to make the quick trip from Harlingen to Mission the same day, others were lined up in their cars outside the NBC’s front gate the following morning waiting for the center to open. And as the bird continued to be seen, birders from far-and-wide continued to make their way to Mission, in hopes of adding a West Coast species to their birding life lists right here in South Texas.

How long this bird will remain in the Valley is not known, but birders are expected to continue coming to Mission for as long as it makes the NBC its home away from home.

Upcoming Nature Events and Activities

• Resaca de la Palma State Park (1000 New Carmen Ave., Brownsville) Butterfly Walk, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2:30 pm, and Intro to Birding, Thursday, Nov. 15, 10 am. 956-350-2920.
• McAllen Nature Center (4101 W. Business 83, McAllen) Native Plant Tour, Mondays, 6 pm, Sunset Yoga in the Park, Mondays, Wednesdays. and Fridays, 6 pm, Morning Yoga, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 9:30 am, Bird and Nature Walk, Wednesdays, 8:30 am, Volunteer Gardening Mornings, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 am, Sunset Geocaching, Wednesdays, 6 pm. 956-681-3333.
• Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center (714 Raul Longoria Rd., Edinburg) Bird Walks, Tuesdays, 8:30–10 am, Nutty About Knots, Saturday, November 17, 2-3:30 pm, Where in the Wetlands Scavenger Hunt, Saturday, November 17, 10-11:30 am, Spectacular Saturdays, Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 am. 956-381-9922.
• Frontera Audubon (1101 S. Texas Blvd., Weslaco) Yoga on the Lawn, Tuesdays, 6:30 & 7:30 pm, Guided Bird Walks, Thursdays, 6:30 & 7:30 pm. 956-968-3275.
• Valley Nature Center (301 S. Border Ave., Weslaco) Native Plant Project Meeting, every fourth Thursday, 7:30 pm, Orchid Society Meeting, every first Sunday, 2 pm, and Brew in the Woods, Saturday, November 10, 7-10 pm. 956-969-2475.
• Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center (600 Sunset Dr., McAllen) Bird and Nature Walks, Saturdays, 8:30 am. 956-681-3370.

For more information on these and other upcoming events and activities, contact the nature center hosting them.

Weslaco Museum showcases history and culture of city

20181114 WeslacoMuseum 7987According to Sara Walker, executive director of the Weslaco Museum, located at 500 S. Texas Blvd., the museum is dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of Weslaco. Divided into two sections, one half is dedicated to the history of the city while the other showcases the culture.

The historic section starts with a display of gems and fossils found in the area. There is also display of arrowheads and prehistoric tools used by the indigenous people who lived there prior to the coming of the Spanish colonizers. A small area dedicated to Spanish colonization displays a two-wheeled ox cart similar the ones used by the settlers who moved north from Mexico. Clothing similar to what would have been worn and objects that would have been used for cooking and farming the land are on display.

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Veterans Honored at Veterans War Memorial of Texas

While the cold drizzle and windy conditions on Saturday, Nov. 10, led to moving McAllen’s Veteran’s Day program inside for the first time, featured speaker State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa would not have minded being at the memorial site, recalling the often-wet climate of Vietnam, where he served and where he lost three buddies. The annual Veterans Day remembrance is normally held at the Veterans War Memorial of Texas nearby in McAllen.

A large audience of mainly veterans and family members came for the program held in the lobby of the McAllen Performing Art Center and heard Hinojosa remind listeners of the sacrifices made by young men and women to insure freedom and the nation’s values. He noted there are individuals and countries that want to destroy this nation.
He said those who have served in the armed forces come from many backgrounds but have learned to work together.

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MOSTHistory unveils new Then and Now exhibit Saturday

20181114 MOSTH Southern Pacific ThenEDINBURG, Texas – As the Museum of South Texas History’s 1910 Jail renovations come to an end, the new Hidalgo County Courthouse will begin construction. It’s a sign of life’s progress. But, how much has changed in the city of Edinburg? You can find out by visiting at the new temporary exhibit, “Edinburg: Then and Now,” to open Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at 10 a.m. at the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg.

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Kicking off the season with a jam

20181114 Country Jam Bit O Heaven HM 1823Mick Warborg distinctly remembers his wife being out and about, garage/yard sale hopping. She came home one day with “a bunch of stuff,” he said. “All kinds of things in boxes.”

What’s that saying? One person’s junk is another person’s treasure? In this case, it couldn’t have been any closer to the truth.

In Brenda’s collection of junk/treasure was information and tools enough to teach Mick how to make fiddles from scratch. He’s made 11 already, including the two he and Brenda used to play at Bit ‘O Heaven’s country jam Wednesday in Donna.

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Bridge of Hope Children’s Choir to perform

20181114 BOHAM DSC 0373The Bridge of Hope Africa Ministries Children’s Choir will perform in concert at Restful Valley Ranch at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14, reports Restful Valley Activities Director Karla McNelly.

The Bridge of Hope Choir is an ambassador outreach to spread the word about the work of Bridge of Hope Africa Ministries, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization founded in Portland, Oregon in 2015 to help impoverished children and their families in Uganda, Africa. The traveling choir consists of 18 Ugandan children who “will share their hope for a bigger and brighter future through song, dance and the playing of musical instruments,” according to the organization’s website.

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  • November 14, 2018 - Wild by Nature

    Of the 400-plus species of birds that have been reported to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird across the Rio Grande Valley, most are year-round residents. Others are either winter or summer residents, some are migratory visitors and a few are vagrant, or accidental, species. While the birds that fall into the first three categories make up the vast majority of bird species you’ll see here in the Valley,… Read More +

  • Weslaco Museum showcases history and culture of city

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    The… Read More +

  • Veterans Honored at Veterans War Memorial of Texas

    While the cold drizzle and windy conditions on Saturday, Nov. 10, led to moving McAllen’s Veteran’s Day program inside for the first time, featured speaker State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa would not have minded being at the memorial site, recalling the often-wet climate of Vietnam, where he served and where he lost three buddies. The annual Veterans Day remembrance is normally held at the Veterans War Memorial of… Read More +

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    What’s that saying? One person’s junk is another person’s treasure? In this case, it… Read More +

  • Bridge of Hope Children’s Choir to perform

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