Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Texas. LRGV part 3: Waterbirds 1

All photos taken at the amazing South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, where the new boardwalks give wonderful photographic opportunities. Here is some evidence from an amateur photographer:

Great White Egret and Laughing Gulls competing for food

There was only one possible outcome...

Clapper Rail

Least Sandpiper

Roseate Spoonbill

Lesser Yellowlegs

Marsh Wren

Tricoloured Heron

Black-bellied (Grey) Plover

Little Heron plus a birding gentleman who gave me something that he said changed his life: a Gideon's Bible

American Coot

Great (White) Egret

Caspian Tern

Snowy Egret

Pied-billed Grebe

Very cute!

This delightful Least Sandpiper at South Padre Island, Texas is a nice reminder of warmer times on this snowy, freezing December day in England.
Nice isn't it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Greater Roadrunners galore

The classic crest-up, tail-up pose

Greater Roadrunners appear to be habitual sunbathers. They turn their backs to the sun and raise up the feathers on the rump, lower back and mantle. The feathers appear to be incredibly erectile all over, but they are also able to sit very flat, so that the roadrunner can be a remarkable shapeshifters.

Preening poses

The crest is particularly erectile

This bird was so tame, it was coming straight for me, looking for food nearby. I really had to back off to get all (or even most) of the bird in the frame, even though I was using a 300mm lens.

Look at the change in shape between this and the previous photo

When they want to, roadrunners can flatten themselves as low as lizards, to creep along on their bellies and get under the lowest-hanging branches. Their legs appear very strong and flexible.