Texas Travel Diary
Images were prepared using screen settings of 1024x768, and are
best viewed with those settings. As usual, the name of the bird can be seen by placing the cursor over the photo.
indeed be the cruelest month, but it is a great
time for a photo safari. I'm off to a place of
scorching heat and fierce winds. A boisterous,
untamed land whose natives, in the teeming millions,
zoom about at terrifying speeds in Hummer H3s and Dodge Durangos. I refer of
course to the state of Texas.
To be precise, Corpus Christi along
the Coastal Bend, where photography colleague Duncan Hill and I establish base
camp at the local Red Roof Inn. Our first stop is Goose Island State Park.
mister spray has been put up that attracts
an amazing spectacle of dozens of newly-arrived Indigo
Buntings, with a scattering of Brown Thrashers and Painted Buntings. A
sugar-water feeder nearby is attended by a life bird for me, Buff-bellied
the road at Mustang Island State Park,
the best birds are terns. The Royal
Tern soars above it all just beyond the beach. A shutter speed of 1/1600"
stops the bird's motion.
Least Tern females (?, the sexes
look the same) await their male admirers who catch small fish just beyond the
Amid much ceremony, the male presents a fish to his amour; then, in
the typical male manner, struts about, quite pleased with himself.
But the Sandwich Terns are without shame, mating right there
in front of everyone.
Willets, Sanderlings, Piping Plovers and Ruddy
Turnstones patrol the shore, investigating every bit of detritus that washes
up. I sit in wet sand nearby. When turnstones
approach to the point where I’m in their comfort zone, they suddenly go
a-scurryin’ by; then, pause to feed once they are safe again.
It would be nice to see a turnstone in its
full breeding plumage of pure black and white head. But for that I'd have
to go to the coastal tundra of northern Canada, Alaska, or even Greenland, which
is where they breed.