Estero Llano Grande State Park

This is another beautiful state park in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. It’s further east than Bentsen Rio Grande, and has large wetlands and ponds.

The main park building, looking across the largest of the ponds.

White-faced Ibis

White-faced Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and Snowy Egret

This is a thicket along the path where we saw a pair of nesting Pauraques. See if you can spot the bird in the picture!

Here’s the Pauraque.

One of the ponds is called Alligator Pond.

It does have alligators – and Pied Billed Grebes. This little Grebe followed the alligator all the way across the pond.

More Pied Billed Grebes

Green Kingfisher and Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

Anhinga drying its wings


Vermillion Flycatcher

At the end of the walk we came back to the park building. By that time the weather had warmed up, and butterflies were checking out the plants in the garden around the building.

Laviana White Skipper – Heliopetes laviana

Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak – Strymon istapa

Monarch – Danaus plexippus
I didn’t know any of them spent the winter in Texas.

Queen – Danaus gilippus

The caterpillar of a Crimson Patch Butterfly

The caterpillar’s food plant – Smallflower Wrightwort (Carlowrightia parvifolia)

Tropical Checkered Skipper – Pyrgus oileus

Dusky Blue Groundstreak – Calycopis isobeon

Whirlabout – Polites vibex

some Long Tailed Skippers that I can’t identify

A few more unidentified skippers

This was the best butterfly of the day – and of the trip! A Malachite – Siproeta stelenes. It’s large – about the size of a Tiger Swallowtail.

We saw a flock of Plain Chachalacas on and under one of the birdfeeders. Chachalacas are also called Mexican Pheasants.