Laguna Atascosa is always worth a visit. No matter when you go, photo opportunities present themselves and who knows, maybe you will end up being one of the lucky few who sees an Ocelot! Although I wasn’t lucky enough to glimpse one of those endangered spotted felines on a recent visit, I still saw a bunch of birds.
One of the prettiest of the bunch was a male Blue Grosbeak.
Blue Grosbeaks are related to Lazuli and Indigo Buntings and show it with gorgeous blue plumage. This stunner is a fairly common bird in many parts of Texas.
Young birds and females aren’t nearly as colorful as the males but are still nice to see.
Some of the other species at the refuge were busy feeding their young. Among those birds were Plain Chachalacas. These odd, turkey-like birds belong to the Cracidae, a family of birds that occurs in much of Central and South America. The Plain Chachalaca is the only Cracid that ranges into the USA and only makes it into south Texas.
Another bird that occurs in many parts of Mexico and Central America is the Groove-billed Ani. Like the chachalaca this odd looking bird is at the northern limit of its range in southern Texas. It is actually a species of cuckoo that forages for bugs in open, scrubby habitats.
The Tufted Titmouse is a common species in much of the eastern USA but it gets replaced by the Black-crested Titmouse in central and southern Texas.
Typical visits to Laguna Atascosa also provide the chance to see and take pictures of other animals. On the most recent visit, I enjoyed watching a rabbit jump up to feed on some succulent green leaves.
It will be interesting to see what I find at Laguna on my next visit to this birding hotspot.