Recent photography forays into the subtropical habitats of southern Texas have been very productive. The other day, I am pretty sure that I saw more raptors than I have ever seen in a span of 4 hours. I must have seen 25 White-tailed Hawks, Harris’s Hawks, American Kestrels, Crested Caracaras, and even an Eastern Screech Owl!
Southeastern Texas is the only place where the White-tailed Hawk occurs in the USA.
Although I did not manage to see an Aplomado Falcon on that bird-filled day, I saw one just a few days before then and was able to get close enough for some excellent shots.
A beautiful Aplomado Falcon.
On the same day that I took that shot of the falcon, I also saw good numbers of Redhead. These handsome diving ducks breed in marshes and lakes north of Texas but large numbers of them spend the winter in the Lone Star State.
Redheads in flight.
As I have mentioned before, I often see reptiles and mammals while focusing on birds. One of my best sightings was of a Bobcat at fairly close range!
Bobcats are fairly common in the brushlands of southern Texas.
The south Texas brushlands are also the haunt of Long-billed Thrashers. These streaked birds belong to the same family as the Northern Mockingbird but are much less conspicuous. They look a lot like the Brown Thrasher but are darker brown, have a gray face, a longer bill, and more defined, black streaks on the underparts.
The Long-billed Thrasher is a fairly common sight when birding in southern Texas.
While taking these photos, I also saw such bird species as Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Green Jay, maybe a hundred Savannah Sparrows (!), Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Olive Sparrow, and Eastern Meadowlark. Black-crested Titmouse and Orange-crowned Warblers seem to be everywhere.
I also saw several of my favorite valley bird, the Altamira Oriole. It’s always a pleasure to take in the stunning orange and black plumage of this beautiful bird and even better when I can get a good photo!
The beautiful Altamira Oriole.
All of these photos were taken at South Padre Island, rural Cameron County, and in Laguna Atascosa NWR.