Texas Birds Part Three

I’m finally getting a chance to get back to a normal routine after we lost Hannah, so I wanted to continue my series on my trip to Texas to photograph the local Texas birds. In my first blog post about Texas birds, I gave a quick summary of the trip. In part two, I talked about my visit to Estero Llande Grande state park. This post will be about the morning I spent at the Martin ranch photographing raptors.

When I set up the trip, I told our guide, Ruth Hoyt, that I wanted a chance to photograph the Harris hawks that are found in southeast Texas. She told me that I would be lucky to get any photos in early May since they would all be on nests and unlikely to show up at a blind. She was absolutely right about that. Ruth did tell me that we should see some crested caracara at the blind. We have caracara here in Florida, but we don’t see them in large numbers. They don’t seem to be as common here as they are in Texas. And Ruth wasn’t kidding when she said there would be plenty to photograph. At one point I counted upwards of 30 that had come to the blind.

Most of the birds were juveniles, but there were a few adults as well. Like the Harris hawks, the caracaras were also on nests, so while the numbers were good overall, there were only a handful of adults. That was OK with me because I think the juveniles are just as photogenic as the adults. Speaking of juveniles, here’s one with his feathers all fluffed out. Click the images to view larger if you like.

Juvenile Crested Caracara - Texas
Juvenile Crested Caracara

Not to be leave the adults out…

Adult Crested Caracara - Texas
Adult Crested Caracara

The birds had a favorite perch where they could land and scope out the meal we had prepared for them.

Best perch in the house - Crested Caracara - Texas
Best perch in the house

Sometimes there would be a little bit of competition for the perch.

Three's a crowd - Crested Caracara - Texas
Three’s a crowd

Sometimes things would get a bit heated.

Perch competition
Perch competition
Let Go!!
Let Go!!
Get Off!!
Get Off!!

The birds were doing a little courtship displaying where they would bend their heads all the way back so that it was resting on their backs. I’m thinking this might be some sort of bird yoga.

Bird yoga
Bird yoga

Of course courtship displays generally lead to something more. I guess not all the adults were on nests. Some were still making families.

Ensuring future generations
Ensuring future generations

It wasn’t only the caracaras at the Martin ranch. We got a quick glimpse of a scissor-tailed flycatcher riding the back of a caracara. I think Jeff may have been successful in getting a shot of that, but Ruth and I never had a chance to raise our cameras. But we were rewarded with a pair of greater roadrunners that stopped by (not to be confused with the lesser roadrunner…right Ruth? Jeff?).

Texas Greater Roadrunner
Texas Greater Roadrunner

And I was VERY pleased with a great kiskadee perched right outside the blind. That was one of my target birds for the trip and I was stoked to get one early in the trip with a clean background and close enough to shoot.

Great Kiskadee - Texas
Great Kiskadee

I’ll have more variety of subjects in my next post(s) as I’ll share some images from my two days at the Laguna Seca Ranch. Stay tuned!

4 Comments

  • Debbie Tubridy

    June 10, 2016 at 9:42 pm Reply

    Loved all of the behavioral shots of the caracara! Fabulous. Amazing collection of birds here.

  • Margaret Kelly

    June 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm Reply

    What great fun to watch your shots of the competing Caracaras. It put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

  • Margaret Kelly

    June 26, 2016 at 5:19 pm Reply

    I was obviously on the wrong page when I wrote about the Caracaras. But I am still delighted that I got to see part 2, which I managed somehow to miss.

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