Field Days: Sometimes the birds are sidelined

Photo Stephan Lorenz

I have been out for several hours each day in south Texas and while I have enjoyed a nice mix of singing Cassin’s Sparrows, displaying Common Nighthawk, Greater Roadrunners, White-tailed Hawks and other common brush country birds, other critters have stolen the show. The beauty of being a birder lies in the massive amount of time spent outdoors. We are usually fortunate enough to witness and experience a wide array of wildlife in addition to birds. If the birds aren’t happening scan the ground carefully to check for reptiles or glass the horizon for mammals. Even during the hottest part of the day here, reptiles are abundant, with dozens of lizards scurrying across bare ground and I finally got to see my first Texas Horned Lizard, an animal I wanted to see for a long time. Texas Horned Lizards used to be much more common throughout Texas, but have declined dramatically. Here they are still very numerous.

Texas Horned Lizard, south Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

With so much space and food around, snakes are thriving. In just two days I’ve seen three species, Texas Indigo, Western Diamondback, and this widespread, but intricately marked Checkered Garter Snake.

Checkered Garter Snake, south Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

Mammals have also been plentiful, with Coyotes seen and Black-tailed Jack Rabbits being a dime a dozen.

Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, south Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

Tomorrow I will get back to the birds. Oh, almost forgot, a pair of Gadwalls hanging out in one of the few remaining ponds was interesting and Long-billed Curlews are also still present, I assume these birds are summering here.


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