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    Posted December 2, 2013 by
    South Padre Island, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    What I thought looked more like a woodpecker, turned out to be a very rare sighting of an Amazon Kingfisher bird.


    Now I am familiar with run-of-the-mill Kingfisher birds as I see them all the time in the Famosa Slough near my home in San Diego. But these Amazon types are a really big deal.


    When I was traveling to southern Texas at the end of November, I sat next to a bird-watcher who was waxing rapturously over her intent to finally get a rare sighting of the Amazon Kingfisher.


    You would think that these bird fanatics might be a tad strange but they bring the big bucks when they all flock to a specific place to try and jostle for a look at a skittish bird. As an article in Coastal Currents mentioned, " birders do not mind spending money, (in the Valley) if it means penciling in a rare bird for their life list."


    Eco-tourism is the way to go. It is the wave of the travel industry future. These nature-lovers generate millions of dollars by spending, spending, spending to see a special bird or creature. Avian species beckon and amateur and professional ornithologists respond to the call.


    Many sightings of rare birds occur in the southern Texas area along the Gulf of Mexico and in the various river valleys in the area. It is a popular stopover here for migrating birds coming or going from the southern or northern hemispheres.


    When you are looking for that special species of feathered friend, don't go getting your super-optical camera lens ready yet, until you see a big crowd of birders lurking about. That will be your tip-of: the camp-off is the right place to be to jockey for that chance to observe a cagey rare bird.


    It is very exciting to behold these unusual birds. I know I really got breathless observing a smattering of roseate spoonbills resting in a spoils along the Arroyo River.


    But photographing these elusive birds can be quite the challenge. There is such a degree of difficulty in getting close enough to them that is harder than any other kind of photography I have ever done. This challenge is understandable on the bird's part as they are wise to be quick to take flight if they sense a predator (or shotgun) is near.

    Texas is filled with over-sized pick-up trucks and people handy with a gun who think nothing of loading up on the ammo and taking aim at a cute little critter. I think it's called "hunting."

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