Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back to Nature

I needed a nature fix, so we headed over to Laguna Atascosa NWR for a looksee.  Green Jays and Painted Buntings are popular in this area, so they were on my list.  Since over 400 species of birds have been recorded (more than any other NWR in the US), I was looking forward to spotting a lot of new creatures, including the ocelot.  It was an easy ride and we arrived at the Visitor's Center around 11 am.  A whiteboard at the door listed sightings, and a computer inside was for registering rare sightings. Paved pathways close to the building didn't yield much except for a wood rat's nest.

We could hear birds all around us, but the brush and mesquite trees kept them hidden and difficult for pictures.  At a bird blind we saw a large bird of prey, but too well hidden to identify it.  The boys had pulled the lunch bags from the truck and were at a picnic table.  Donna and I were trying to get a good shot of a large brown bird in the brush, when Ron came over and said there were about a dozen of those right near the picnic table.  Sure enough, the chacalacas were milling around waiting for a handout.

A male cardinal joined in, and then some green jays.  They especially enjoyed our orange pieces.

 Back at the feeding station, a red winged blackbird joined the jays for some seed and nibbles of grapefruit.

The boys were getting tired of us taking umpteen photos of the same thing, so we decided to do the 15 mile loop around the reserve.  One of the first things we came across was a pile of deer droppings, which I knew you would love to see.  

The drive nears the Laguna Madre, where we walked out onto a pier.  A large heron had just gone fishing successfully.

The sand flats yielded footprints which were either deer or javelina. 

And there were scores of red headed ducks and their mates.

I'm guessing this is a red shouldered hawk.

Finally a lone coyote looking lost on the sand bank.

An American Kestrel tried to catch something in the grass, but lost it.
Near the end of the route, a deer bounded across the road and into the brush.    So all in all, we had a beautiful day of nature.  Ahhhh.  It's a good life.


  1. Wonderful nature fix...Love the Green Jays!!!

  2. Definitely looks like you got to see your share of wildlife:)