Monday, February 16, 2009

A few more photographs and some colorful moments from Texas

As you can see, on a trip like this it's easier to get a picture of a skittish bird in the distance than it is to get a shot of a fellow birder's face.  

A trio of memorable moments from my Texas birding adventure:

Stopping by the side of the road in the growing pre-dawn light early one day to watch thousands of sandhill cranes stream overhead in long lines and sinuous V's, the wonderful music of their bugling flight calls echoing mightily in the otherwise silent morning. 

An ecstatic moment as one of our intrepid leaders, Kathy, gets us on an odd bird cruising along with a bunch of wobbly, drifting turkey vultures and catching in the afternoon sun the thick white band across its tailfeathers, making it the elusive zone-tailed hawk.  Cries of surprise and joy erupt from our entire group.  Naturalist's note:  The zone-tailed hawk is a fascinating bird, appearing very much like a turkey vulture and cruising along with them in order to sneak up on unsuspecting prey who would not normally be very concerned about a vulture.  

A crazy end to a long day along a suburban strip of malls and fast-food restaurants, where our leader Strickland lands us right smack in the middle of an enormous host of raucous, colorful, flamboyant green parakeets hanging out in the midst of it all, on powerlines and flying in thick, fast formations, screeching, screeching. One of those moments it's hard to believe you've found yourself in the midst of. 

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