Over the weekend, I had a really wonderful experience: meeting and spending some time with a fellow professional writer, Jordan Blumetti, associate editor of American Way magazine, the in-flight magazine of American Airlines.
Jordan, who is based in Florida, was assigned to write a piece on Del Rio and the area for the November issue of American Way, and he reached out to me in late August, saying he wanted to ask me some questions about the area’s “culture, history and environment,” and, yes, “possibly even go birding.”
Before I go any further, let me tell you that I have never been one to interact much with members of the media other than those with whom I work directly.
Typically, I try to avoid talking to other media members at all; John McCormack of the San Antonio Express-News and Jennifer Killin of the San Angelo Standard-Times being notable exceptions.
But I make an exception when someone wants to talk to me about birds or birdwatching.
I want to share the wonderful birding here in Del Rio as widely as I can.
Jordan and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at The Brown Bag on Saturday, and we agreed to go birdwatching on Sunday morning.
We met at the WIC Center on Bridge Street and walked to the end of the Dora Alcalá Hike and Bike Trail about a block downstream from the Tardy Dam.
We got sort of a late start because Jordan had gotten in late from his trip to the Devils River State Natural Area for a presentation about its Dark Sky certification, but I didn’t really mind.
I explained a little about how Del Rio is a special place to go birdwatching because it stands at the confluence of east and west, north and south and that you never know what will turn up here.
I also talked about how birds like the Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Gray Hawk and White-collared Seedeater (now called Morelet’s Seedeater) and other species are using the Rio Grande riparian corridor to move from Mexico and the lower Rio Grande Valley into our area.
At the end of the hike and bike, we turned around and headed back upstream, and walked almost to the amphitheater before turning around and heading back.
We didn’t see a lot of birds because it was already mid-morning, but we were able to go by some of the creek’s most picturesque areas, and I don’t think Jordan minded.
I’m glad I got to meet him and glad he took such an interest in everything Del Rio has to offer.
Karen Gleason is the senior staff writer for the Del Rio News-Herald. She loves nature and the outdoors and has been an avid bird watcher since childhood.