Monday, January 18, 2010

Great Horned Owl

I haven't done a lot of checking on this owl, but I thought I'd post it here anyway, without much commentary.

Shelley and I were at Buffalo Lake NWR near Umbarger, Texas, looking for photo-ops. As we rounded the far end of the road that circumnavigates the lake, I noticed that one of the trees didn't look right. There was a big "bump" that didn't "belong" on one of the branches. We stopped and watched, and sure enough we saw some movement in the tree. A closer examination with binoculars and zoom lenses revealed another first for me. A Great Horned Owl was perched on a branch with his back towards us. He was remarkably well camouflaged with the trunk and branches, due to the pattern on his back/wings and the color. While shooting some photos, I started to work my way around the tree he was in to get a better angle. No chance of that! (We couldn't see his face well from where we were.) He watched me changing position, got nervous and flew off before I had a chance. When we got home and checked out the images on the computer, we saw that he was unabashedly watching us the whole time.

Here, he is looking over his left shoulder facing left.

He's watching us over his right shoulder in this one.
Note the excellent natural camouflage.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


The Roadrunner is also called the Chaparral Bird, and is the state bird of New Mexico. It also inhabits the Texas panhandle. The photos here were taken at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Many people don't realize it, but the roadrunner can fly. He just prefers not to. He can run at speeds up to about 17 mph, and eats a variety of lizards, snakes, scorpions, centipedes, mice, and insects. They will even eat rattlesnakes! Roadrunners are mature at 2 - 3 years old, and lay anywhere from two to 12 eggs.

(Click on the images for a larger view.)

Red Tailed Hawk

Shelley and I took an afternoon jaunt to the Palo Duro Canyon today. On the way home, we saw two Red Tail Hawks perched on power poles a mile or two apart. These are shots of one of them.

(See more Red Tail photos and info HERE.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Downy Woodpecker

While trying to catch some shots of waves of geese flying by, this little female Downy Woodpecker showed up.

(See more photos and info on Downy Woodpeckers HERE.)