August is here and with this month comes shorebirds and quite a few young birds being seen in the scrubby woodlands and wetlands of south Texas. On a recent venture to Laguna Atascosa and South Padre Island, I saw a fair number of birds and a few mammals. No matter what time of the year I visit these great sites for Texas birding, I always get the chance to see and photograph several birds and animals.
On this most recent trip, I had some close looks at armadillos.
These funny creatures are pretty common in eastern and southern Texas and only occur in the Americas. Their hard outer “shell” provides some protection from predators but not, unfortunately, from being hit by cars. Despite being frequent roadkill victims, thankfully, live armadillos are doing well and often seen in southern Texas.
Another animal we see now and then is the Collared Peccary or Javelina.
These wild pigs are tough characters. Although they aren’t really dangerous, they can be aggressive if provoked.
Another animal that can be aggressive (although not so much to people) is the Northern Mockingbird. This common species won’t hesitate to harass and attempt to drive off raptors, cats, and other birds that may be a threat to its young.
There are a lot of young birds around right now that the Crested Caracara and other predators would love to catch and eat.
The two young birds above were coming down to a small water source for a drink. Insects come to the water too and the birds have to be careful around some of them.
Another bird I saw that day was the Mottled Duck, a specialty of south Florida and gulf coast marshes. Although this waterfowl species is pretty similar to the Mallard, it’s a distinct species that has become adapted to living in marshy habitats in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking of water, I also saw a bunch of birds over at the lagoons on South Padre Island. These included various herons and a few shorebirds.
It will be interesting to see which shorebirds have shown up in South Texas the next time I head out into the field for bird photography.