Texas Travel Diary - p 2|
9 April 2003
Here, as in many areas of the Great Plains, one can do a lot of bird photography using the car as a blind. With June Osborne's book as a guide, today I explore Park Chalk Bluffs along the Nueces river. Its pecan groves contain Golden-fronted Woodpecker and two spectacular red birds, Summer Tanager and Vermilion Flycatcher, the latter the most colorful of its group.
The Vermilion is an intriguing bird. In fall of 2001, I found this bird common in northern Argentina. Its habitat in that faraway place was open fields interspersed with trees, the same as here. It also looked and behaved the same, perching on fences and the low shaded branches of trees. As far as is known, however, the North and South American populations are separated by the dense rainforest of Central and northern South America - they do not migrate back and forth.
Later - As I'm leaving the park, I see two Greater Roadrunners along a picnic area near the exit. To get the right lighting as I follow the roadrunners, I put the car in reverse and back down an access road. Just one of the crazy things one does to get a photo. The birds weave in and out of tall grass. The more confiding roadrunner then leaps into the air to snatch something, and disappears back into the grass. Suddenly he hops onto a low post, a nice fat grasshopper in his beak. Instead of eating it, he looks for his mate and makes a soft cooing sound. This must be the roadrunner equivalent of a love song and box of chocolates.
10 April 2003