Posts in Category: Texas

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Here is something you don’t see everyday…a Yellow-billed Cuckoo sitting right out in plain sight. This very wet and very bedraggled cuckoo was feeding near the boardwalk at the Birding Center on South Padre Island, Texas, part of a wave of migrants coming through with the storm front. The bird continued to feed in plain sight as long as we watched it. It even perched on the boardwalk for a moment. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

White Ibis

We spent the morning at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco Texas yesterday. It was overcast but the birds were still beautiful on the pond by the Visitor Center, there was lots of activity around the trails. This White Ibis is caught in a classic pose over its reflection. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. +1EV to deal with the bird silhouetted against the bright water. Processed in Polarr.

White Pelicans in the air…

As we got out of the car at Fronteria Audubon in Weslaco Texas the other day, we looked up and into a huge swirl of White Pelicans moving over. They slowly circled over us, the center of the circle moving north slowly until the were behind the trees. Very impressive! I don’t know where they were coming from or where they were going, but the beauty of will remain. Sony RX10iv at about 250mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Chachalaca, chachalaca…

I did not know Plain Chachalacas did this thing with their tails…and neither did other birders that I talked to today, but they clearly do. These birds were strutting their stuff at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, where I was teaching a field workshop for Point and Shoot Nature Photography. Sony RX10iv at about 400mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

3 Kingfisher Day

Not great photos, but still, any day when you see 3 species of Kingfishers is a GOOD day. All three were too far away, but again, see previous statement. Ringed Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, and Green Kingfisher. Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center in Edinburg Texas. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent and heavily cropped. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Clouded Sulphur on Turk’s Cap

It was a very slow day for birds in the Rio Grande Valley. We went to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Lots of butterflies and dragonflies…more than I have seen there in years, but practically no bird activity. Very strange. After Santa Ana we went to Fronteria Audubon in Weslaco, Texas where the buzz of the day was a intermittently visible Golden-winged Warbler. We missed the warbler by minutes on several occasions, but again the butterflies did not disappoint. This Clouded Sulphur on Turk’s Cap was one of the last photos I took there before heading back to the hotel to cool off before evening activities. Sometimes nature provides light you would be hard pressed to duplicate in the studio. I should add a disclaimer here. I am not a butterfly expert and if someone were to tell me this is an Orange Sulphur and not a Clouded, I would not be totally surprised and in no way offended. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.

Blue Dasher at Santa Ana

Blue Dasher, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Alamo Texas

We are in New Mexico to visit our daughter and work the Festival of the Cranes, but yesterday was a travel day so today’s Pic still comes from Texas. The birding was somewhat slow at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge south of Alamo Texas when I visited last week, but there were lots of Butterflies and Dragonflies. This Blue Dasher posed nicely on its twig, giving me a good close up portrait of the face and wings. 

Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. Processed in PhotoShop Express on my Android tablet. 

Common Paraque close…

Common Paraque, Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco Texas

And here is a close up of the Common Paraque from yesterday’s post. Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco Texas. 

Sony RX10iii at 1200mm equivalent field of view. (2x Clear Image Zoom) Program Mode. Processed in PhotoShop Express on my Android tablet.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Happy Sunday!

Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Estero Llano Grande SP and World Birding Center, Weslaco TX

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light.” Jesus

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is one grumpy looking bird. In fact all Night Herons, perhaps because of their large heads and the way they suck their necks down between their shoulders, have the same look of gloom…if not outright doom. “It is not easy,” they seem to say, “being a Night Heron.” The fact that they invariably have a little tuft of feathers caught at the tip of their beaks from preening does not help any. They are, of course, much more active, as the name implies, at night, when they hunt. I will admit I have never seen one at night. They might be a very different bird. When I see them they are resting…off duty, so to speak…and their general funk might be just my interpretation of their half-asleep state. I might look a little grumpy myself if some intruding human got close enough to my perch to wake me in the middle of the night…err…this is a difficult metaphor to keep straight but you see what I mean. Of course, the generous eye gets beyond first impressions to sees the beauty in the bird, and something of it’s nobility. In this wide-eyed specimen the eye alone is enough to redeem the bird. The eye compels us to take in the elegance of the gray and black (carefully preened) plumage, the golden crown, and the strength of the beak. Yes, like all God’s creatures, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron has its own beauty. The generous eye is always rewarded by the light that fills all creation.

Happy Sunday!

Variegated Meadowhawk


We are Albuquerque New Mexico on a somewhat lieserly trip to the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR this morning, but this is from our last festival in South Texas.

The Veriegated Meadowhawk is one of the showier dragonflies. This specimen, from the National Butterfly Center​ in Mission, Texas is a particularly bright one.

Nikon P610 at 2300mm equivalent field of view (using some digital Perfect Image Zoom) from about 7 feet. 1/250 @ ISO 220 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.