Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Birds

Winter in Texas is a surprisingly good time to view and photograph birds. There are many migratory birds that either pass through the region or that reside here during the harsh winter months in their home range.

Tracy and I spent some time at Brazos Bend State Park recently and found some willing subjects.

It was a grey day but this pair of blue-winged teal seemed right at home in the in the overcast.

This Great Egret huddled against the chilly breeze on his perch among the leafless limbs.

This American White Ibis is a year round resident of this area and finds plenty of food in the park's waterways.

The Roseate Spoonbill explodes in a blur of pink.

Great Egrets hunt for small fish among the flooded lilies and other swamp vegetation.

For the past two weekends we have returned to Matagorda. The weather has been pretty cold and breezy which sometimes provides unique opportunities to approach birds as they are less prone to fly off when the weather is wintery.

This Osprey or fish hawk has secured his lunch and gives us a watchful eye as we approach.

I shot these action shots out the window of the Jeep and had some good luck and good light.

This majestic bird makes his home nearby and finds plenty of food in the river and wetlands.

Tracy captured these spoonbills out the window of the Jeep on the same day.

The unique shape of the bill is where this guy gets his name.

Spoonbills and Ibis feed together in the shallows.

While heading out on a fishing excursion this past Saturday I noticed a Belted Kingfisher hanging around near the launch. I always consider seeing this fisherman a harbinger of good things to come. If a Kingfisher is in the area, there are usually fish nearby too.

When I came in from fishing I found out why the slate blue bird may have been keeping such close proximity. This young bird - possibly a mate or an offspring - was injured and unable to fly.

I have never been up close to this species and it is a real beauty. Unfortunately, this one did not make it but these photos will allow others to see one up close.

When I was paddling in I saw this Double Crested Cormorant fishing in the creek.

These voracious fish eaters can sometimes decimate a local fish population.

They are not the most athletic birds and must run along the surface of the water to gain flight.

Winter is almost over (for some of us).

Keep the camera handy and be ready to shoot your favorite feathered friend when the opportunity presents itself!

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