My last full day in Texas found me arriving at Santa Ana NWR at dawn to check out this diverse area. I started the day out at my cabin near Benston with a hooting Great Horned Owl. I planned to walk first to Pintail Lakes and then over to Cattail Lake via the Bobcat trail when I arrived at Santa Ana. I made it out to the various Pintail Lakes to discover them all dry. I then made my way back out to the main road and
made it down to the Bobcat trail and made the walk over to Cattail Lake. Once at Cattail Lake #2 and #3 I noticed a large group of waterfowl on both lakes with most on Cattail#2. As I scanned through the flocks from the edge I noticed an odd duck which was orange red overall with a blue bill. I took several photos of it along with another interesting duck before they both disappeared into the reeds, not to be seen again. The 'odd' ducks turned out to be a pair of Masked Ducks. A true surprise to find another rarity on the trip. I was very happy to have been in the right place at the right time to find another great species. After some time spent checking the other species around I walked back out along the park road back to headquarters where I ran into Tom and Bruce and we decided to take advantage of the final day of the park road being open to vehicles. We made it around the park and made various stops and small hikes eventually making it down to the Rio Grande and having a nice encounter with a Bobcat.
I then made my way back toward Bentson State Park to check on a Say's Phoebe Tom saw earlier in the day. I eventually found the bird not far from where Tom described it. I then spent a few hours inside Bentson State Park and spent one more evening watching the sun set at Benston. The highlight of the evening turned out to be the appearance of two nighthawks, which appeared to be Lesser Nighthawks. My final full day proved to be yet another stellar day.