Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bulletin #81 – West Texas – Big Bend Nat’l Park #3

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
June 14, 2009

Bulletin #81 – West Texas – Big Bend Nat’l Park #3

Hello friends,

I had my first trip to west Texas. I went with Ed Arenson from Denver and we used Darrell Vollert as our guide. His web site is here.

We spent 2 days in Big Bend National Park and the adjacent Christmas Mountains.

It is always fun to find birds on their nests to photograph. Besides the Black-chinned Hummingbird nest with babies in Bulletin #79, we found 2 others.

The first was also a life bird for me, the Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus). This bird was in the cottonwood trees along the river in Rio Grande Village campground.

The other was a male Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura). Here he is bringing additional nesting material to the nest. It is a male because he has the black cap.

We also found a pair of Elf Owls (Micrathene whitneyi). This is the smallest ABA owl at only 5 3/4” long. He was high up in a tree, but I did get a fair picture of him. This was another life bird and I’ll try to get a better picture of him in Arizona later this month.

Sometimes when waiting for a photo opportunity, you can find something interesting and unexpected. Such was the case of this Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus). I was attempting to photography some sparrows in the grass, when the Roadrunner started to hunt the same sparrows.

In the first photo he walked out onto the grass area where the sparrows were feeding. In the second, he spotted the sparrows and walked into some longer grass to hide as he stalked them.

The next 2 photos he gets closer and closer to the flock of sparrows. In the second of these photos he was only about 20’ from me as I was photographing him and he was intent on his next meal.

He then ran the 5 feet to the sparrows, but just missed catching one of them.

This was my first time to see a Roadrunner hunting other birds.

A moment later, he was back in the short grass and raised his crest and tail for a final photo.

The last photo is a reptile, a male Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus). He is quite attractive with his orange and turquoise belly. He has a piece of grass in his mouth – looks like a cigarette dangling form his mouth.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2009 David McDonald

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1 comment:

Hog Hunting Texas said...

Wild life very nicely captured thanks for sharing these photos and post.