Despite the overcast skies and the misty rain that was falling off and on I decided to join a bird hike that was leaving the visitors center shortly after we arrived at the park. During the walk we spotted quite a few different types of birds. Unfortunately the light was not very good so I was not able to get good pics of everything. I did get some nice shots of a ladder-backed woodpecker.
The main bird that I was hoping to see in Santa Ana was the green kingfisher, I had been looking for these through our whole trip. Unfortunately I did not have any luck with the green kingfisher, even though I ran into several people who had seen them in the park that morning, I did however manage to snap a couple of pics of a scissor-tailed flycatcher which was a life bird for me.
After the bird hike I decided to head over to the Treetop Observation Tower. The tower opened back in 2006 it has two different platforms with the upper platform at around 40 feet. In front of the tower is the Canopy Rope Bridge. This 100 foot long bridge is suspended 25 feet above the ground which is height of many of the surrounding trees.
Both the tower and the rope bridge let visitors get a better look at some of the birds who spend most of their time at the tops of the trees. Birds like the vermilion flycatcher, above, spend about 90% of their time perched at the top of the trees where they hunt for flying insects. They are found mostly in Mexico and South America but the northern part of their range extends into south Texas and the other southwestern states of the United States. This was another lifer for me. While I was walking around the park chasing birds in the rain Michelle decided to stay dry while seeing the park by taking a tour on the Interpretive Tram. While on the tram tours she had a very exciting sighting, her first wild cat. This bobcat came out of the brush and walked down the road in front of the tram. The pictures where not that great, since she had to take the shots through the trams windshield, but I was glad that she got to see a bobcat because she was not with me a few days earlier when I saw my first wild bobcat at Bentsen State Park.
Note: This morning when I did this post I was not quite awake and I mixed up my vermilion flycatcher with a scarlet tanager. Even though they have similar coloration it was a stupid mistake because I was very excited when we photographed the VC because it was a life bird. Thanks to Fishing Guy, who caught the mistake, I have corrected the post so that I do not pass on any more bad information. I apologize for my error and will try in the future to get more sleep before I post.