One of the coolest things about the wildlife in South Texas is that it is full of predators. When something dies it is never long before the ecosystem opens it’s jaw and consumes it until there is nothing left but bones. I know there is a show on the NatGeo or Discovery channel where they basically put out carcasses and see what comes to dinner. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of a hyena sticking it’s head in an elephants butthole.
Moving on- South Texas has an array of winged predators including hawks, several different species of owls, vultures, and falcons.
Caracara’s are the national bird of Mexico, often depicted with a rattlesnake in their talons. Besides being interesting looking birds- the males have spotted breasts, bright golden beaks and feet, they are an unusual member of the falcon family. Caracaras are much slower than other falcons and have many behaviors similar to vultures. You often see one or two hanging out with the group of black vultures and turkey vultures. Like here! In this photo I took. Doesn’t the caracara look annoyed?
This photo wasn’t taken in the best lighting conditions. I had a great shoot in the early morning hours and even though the birds were still flying around looking cute, the sun was getting higher and everything was getting back-lit and yucky. Still, I was in the zone and I wanted to see if I could flush one of the two owls in my backyard out for a shot. Well, gol-ly- I succeeded. But with a foe in tow. My yard is populated by a lot of birds, but the most prevalent are Northern Mockingbirds. They have a pretty call, but oh my oh my are they aggressive. Fearless in fact. The other bird next to this Great horned owl is in fact a fearless mockingbird, who proceeded to pester this owl almost non stop. A moment after snapping this picture the mockingbird went back to flying around the owl, pecking and pestering him. I’ll never know if that owl took off for the brush line because of me or that mockingbird. Aren’t the owl’s feet fantastic?
This is one of my favorite shots from the contest. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we didn’t use it because we had better photos of less common birds. Vultures are pretty disgusting creatures to hang around with. They make this terrible gurgling, clucking noise that is super creepy and they poop all over each other. They also step on one another and chase each other around like a tribe of cannibals. I have never met any tribes of cannibals, so if this isn’t what it is like, I apologize for being offensive. All the same, they are pretty important for the ecosystem so they perfectly fine in my book.
A couple of examples of the fine orchids that are on display at the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens. I talked for awhile with a nice gent that does orchid growing workshops. In just 14 months I could be one too, so the nice fella claimed! He said this yellow one was his favorite. I like how soft and delicate the white petal looks in the bottom photo as well. I hope to get back to posting more often, however I am doing a wildlife photography contest (yay me!) which means I am up at dawn and tramping around in a field until I have to rush off to begin my day!
This photo was shot several days ago on a blustery day. This bird soared right above me seemingly oblivious to my presence or confident that my interest in him (or her?) was non threatening. My winged friend played around in the wind the way people sit at the edge of the ocean and let the tide ebb and flow around them. He attempted to let himself be completely still and see where the air would take him.
Whattayouthink? I really enjoyed my old blog format but I wanted something that showed a little bit larger version of my photos. Also with this new format you don’t even have to click and wait for the good stuff to load, you are just magically there, reading & peeping.