From the Field: 110 degrees

Well today I discovered how the wildlife deals with a 110 degree heat index, it doesn’t. Instead of facing the heat the animals retreat to water. I discovered a stock pond, no more than 20 by 40 feet, literally filled to the brim with turtles, snakes, and shorebirds wandering the muddy edge. The shorebirds have been amazing in general, with just the diversity and numbers I have spotted around the smallest stock ponds, picking along miniature mudflats. Species so far have included Least, Western, Spotted, Solitary, Stilt Sandpipers, Killdeer, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Long-billed Curlew, I’ll keep an eye out to see whether the stock pond shorebird species list can increase.

On to the reptiles, several Ornate Box Turtles swam among the many Red-eared Sliders and at least three species of snakes were present with many Gulf Coast Ribbon and a Diamond Back Watersnake. I was able to photograph a small Texas Indigo Snake when it left the relative safety of the pond. For the last few days here I’ll check most of the ponds I come across. Otherwise nothing new, birds mostly silent in the field, but a family of Bobwhite today reveals that the species bred successfully even under the drought conditions.

Long-billed Curlews at stock pond, Photo Stephan Lorenz

Northern Bobwhite, Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

Texas Indigo Snake, waiting out heat in stock pond, Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

Ornate Box Turtle, Photo Stephan Lorenz

Texas Patchnose Snake, Kennedy Co. Photo Stephan Lorenz

Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Kennedy Co. Photo Stephan Lorenz

Texas Night Snake, Kennedy Co. Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

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