The Changing Season
By Raul Garza Jr. ... Park Ranger Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
published October 2017

If you take a walk down Chachalaca Trail you can see the season is changing once again. The sun is rising in a different position almost daily; it is casting noticeable shadows on the trails of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. A sure sign that fall is nearing, and migrant birds have begun to make their journey through the Rio Grande Valley, south into Mexico and South America again.

Soon visitors from across the globe will be arriving strapped with binoculars, scopes and cameras in hand to see the spectacle of overwintering birds in the Thorn scrub, Riparian forest and on the wetlands. More than just cooler temperatures, the winter months also bring a chance to spot a cool rare vagrant from Mexico, like the Rose-throated Becard, Northern Jacana or even the Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

Fall migration is amazing because it sets a marker for a time of year when our lakes are full of bird life with ducks and other water fowl. They come here looking for a place to call home for the winter. During that time of year, as you walk down the trail to one of the lakes you can hear the commotion filled with quacks, cackles, squeaks, and chatter. Some of the other sounds like the flutter of wings and splashing of water might spark your interest, maybe even to choose a bench and sit there quietly while watching the wonders of migratory wetland life.

Although any day is a great day to visit Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, our winter here is one of marvel and awe, sure to bring you back year after year just like the birds that come to visit us!

In a blink of an eye the heat will return, beckoning spring and our feathered friends to say goodbye; but only for a short time when the seasons begin to change.