The bird photography in southern Texas has been great for the past few months. Now that the migrants have moved on and the high season for photography has quieted down, I had the chance to go through my images and pick out some of the best.
Among many favorites was an encounter between a Crested Caracara and a feisty mockingbird.
This Northern Mockingbird was very unhappy with the presence of this Crested Caracara and showed it by attacking it! It was intent on driving this large raptor out of its territory and with good reason since caracaras take young birds and rob nests when given the chance.
Herons always provide good photo opportunities but you need a lot of patience to capture them in the act of catching a fish. I got lucky with the heron in the image below in finding it with a fish and in great lighting.
For taking pictures of small birds, a water drip or puddle is a wonderful photographic tool. This past spring, I was fortunate to get hundreds of excellent shots of warblers, vireos, grosbeaks, and much more. In arid environments like those found in southern Texas, even woodpeckers will come to a water source.
A water source is also an excellent means of taking better pictures of common birds like doves and mockingbirds.
In the picture above, you can truly appreciate the subtle pinkish tones and bluish eye ring of the Mourning Dove.
I also got the chance to take many pictures of beautiful male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Even though the migrants have moved off, eastern and southern Texas has several brightly colored resident species. The Painted Bunting stands out as being not only one of the most colorful species in the state but also in the entire country.
The Prothonotary Warbler is one of the more common and colorful species to haunt the cypress swamps and riparian zones of eastern Texas. The swamplands in the eastern part of the state resound with the ringing notes of this species during spring and early summer.
Those same woodlands also feature the burry song and distinct call notes of the Summer Tanager.
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a couple images of my favorite resident species, the Altamira Oriole.
These big, striking orange, black, and white birds are always a pleasure to watch.